Making the Internet Smaller

It’s been, once again, crazy busy, so I’m going to get out a quick post here, because I just haven’t had time to finish any of the longer ones.

I did a session at the CLTA Quest for Proficiency in March called “Search Faster and Smarter for #authres.” I highlighted a super underused feature in Google called the Custom Search Engine.  Here’s how it works- basically you create your own search engine page that looks like a regular Google Search page, but, and here’s the brilliant part: it searches only the pages you have pre-selected.

The Why

A lot of times you might want students to go out and search for things on the Internet, but the Internet is a big place and so you as a teacher can still give them the practice of search and making judgements about which pages to look at, while at the same time restricting the amount of extraneous incomprehensible nonsense they might have to wade through in order to accomplish a task.

Here’s a quick video that walks your through how to do this.

If you didn’t make it to the CLTA Quest for Proficiency – here’s the link to the slide show.  (The only thing it’s missing is that we did all of the searching about the Tour de France because it is the greatest sport in the world and the only reason to get out of bed in July. 🙂 )




Image Search

Learn how to find the images you want or need fast and effectively.

You can view all of the Tech Bytes on YouTube.


Faster, No Math Required Feedback

I am on a quest this semester to make feedback as fast and effortless with the least amount of mathing.  I hate trying to math by myself.  Give me four numbers and unless they’re all 2, I’ll have a different answer each time I add them up.  It’s mind blowing how terrible I am.  I’ve pretty much decided that from this point on in my life, I am going to math only with the help of a spreadsheet because it’s just less frustrating for everyone.

In the past, I’ve never used Google Forms as a way to “grade” (give feedback) on student presentations because I couldn’t figure out how to have it automatically add up the points.  Then, my friend told me about Form Publisher Add-on.  And I thought, how did I not know about this??!!

Form Publisher is a Google Form Add-on that allows you to publish your form entry to a doc or an Google Sheet.  (And the Google sheet means no mathing by yourself!)  Add-ons are amazing little programs that help you do great stuff in Sheets, Forms, Docs and Slides.  In Forms, to get an add on, click on the three dots then choose “Add-ons.”  Search for Form Publisher and then click add.  To run it, go to the puzzle piece and chose it. (You’ll run it after you set up your form. )

The Why

For as long as I can remember, I have always had intermediate students do a two minute oral exposé once a month or once a chapter.  I give them the topic:  Research a store, a country, a famous scientist, a problem, present your survey results, etc – you get the idea.  When I had my combined level 3 and AP class, I used the topics to help the AP students prepare for AP.  (I tricked them and had them preparing even in level 3!  They had no idea.)  I continued this even with my college classes. Sometimes I have it really structured- sometimes I don’t.  This unit for college they doing some reading and comparing and presenting a thesis.  The first one was, “Tell me about yourself,  your family and friends and what role do they play in your life.” I like it.  Students like it.  It’s a nice way to have some presentational speaking on a specific topic that goes along with your theme.    I needed a paperless way to add up these points.

The Set Up

There are two things to set up for Form Publisher.  One is the form and the other is destination document.  For my form, I took the student email addresses from my Google Classroom and entered this into the first question.  This way I could click on the student and populate the column that Form Publisher would use to share the document.  (You won’t see this in the example.)  Next, I added the names of all of the students in the class along with my own.  I have always had students peer grade for oral exposés.  A student would get two reviews: One from me and one from the reviewing student.

The Rubric:

I really like the presentational speaking rubric for AP.  It’s easy to follow.  It’s clear enough without being too wordy.  And I’ve used this for years in the high school as well in my college class.   (Note: When I had the combined 3/AP class, I used the same rubric for the 3s.  Only “appropriate structures” has a different meaning for level 3 and AP.)  I wanted the rubric to add itself up, so I made one question with a number  for the points (5,4,3,2,1) and one with the comment for that point value.  I wanted them to be side by side, but without fancy coding in your sheet you’ll need to have two questions.  I repeated until I had all of the criteria.

The Destination Sheet:

I made a template sheet in Google Sheets.  Form Publisher had a pretty picture in their example, so I tried to mimic that idea with relatively little success.  Because the destination sheet pulls information from the form, you have to have “markers.”  These are marked by << >>.  (I don’t know what their English name is, so I refer to them as “French quotation marks.”)  These have to match EXACTLY what is on your form questions or it won’t work.

I used a basic formula to have the points add up.  Here’s an example of what it looks like for the student.  (This was a test one.)

Each time you submit the form, Form Publisher creates a new document (or sheet) and can share it with the student.  It’s brilliant!  No paper!  Instant Feedback!  I have a section on mine for the students to do a little reflection after their exposé and after they review their feedback because if you give feedback and you don’t have them do something it’s a waste of your time.

You can make a copy of my form here.

You can make a copy of my destination sheet here.

Form Publisher has its own really easy to follow tutorials here.