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Google Slides + Audio for Student Narrated Presentations

Your classroom has wide-ranging student needs and situations.  Some of your students may have conditions that make presenting in front of the class challenging.

Google Slides provide a lot of flexibility for students who might be reluctant to present in front of the class.  I'm including a few ideas on how you might use Google Slides (or Adobe Spark!) for students with conditions that make presenting a challenge.   Or,  you can use the tools to provide practice for students in a less anxiety-inducing environment.

Narrate the Slide Deck Slide by Slide:
As I mentioned in my last post, Google Slides now allows you to add audio files to your slides.  You can use any program that allows you to create an audio recording, but I like online-voice-recorder.  Students record what they would say for each slide, and add the audio file to the slide. (Insert>Audio).   Set the audio to autoplay as the slide is clicked, and you have a narrated slide deck!  (Refer to my last blog post for more …
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Add Audio to Google Slides

Google Slides provide the most flexibility of any tool in the Google App suite.  Some people call it the Swiss Army knife of Google!  Now you can add audio files! 

From the Google Slides top toolbar, select Insert>Audio for any audio file stored in your Google Drive. 

Your audio file appears on the slide in the form of a sound icon.
Select the icon and Format options dynamically appear on your menu bar:

Click Format options and playback options are now available to you on the right side of  your screen:

You can control how the audio file starts playing, its volume, if it should continuously play, or whether to stop or not when the slide changes.   Why would I use this option? If you use Google Slides as your presentation software for your courses, I'm sure you can think of a wealth of ways to incorporate audio into your classroom.  A few I thought of:
Add music files to the first slide, so music plays as students enter the room.  Add ambient background noises to 'set the mo…

Rethinking the Rubric

Rubrics can be problematic for teachers.  Rubrics cost time to create, students may ignore/not understand project requirements if rubrics are complex,  and Rubrics may introduce grading concerns.  (Do you find you tweak your ratings to end up with the grade you think the student deserves? )

My last few posts have been about Rubrics and ways to use them to make grading more efficient.  This post poses the question:

How can I change my Rubric so it is more user friendly for me and my students?
In my previous posts, I used a typical rubric example:

Does this rubric template serve you best?   Based on this blog post by Jennifer Gonzalez of Cult of Pedagogy and Mark Wise, consider these 5 steps to 'Repair your Rubric':

1.  Measure what really matters Simplify: Single Point Rubrics: Sometimes, we create Rubrics with many categories.  Lots of categories make it hard for students to focus on their expected learning outcome.   Consider using a Single Point Rubric.  The rubric language …

Self Grading Rubrics

Grading is definitely NOT one of most teachers' favorite tasks.  Feedback is so vital to the learning process, yet providing that feedback is time-consuming and sometimes soul-crushing.  In a previous blog post, I talked about using your phone to grade a rubric quickly using Google Forms while students were presenting.  Today we'll explore the useful tools automatically created for you when using Google Forms as a rubric.

Using the simple rubric example from the previous post, we assigned the grade ourselves.  Using the Individual tab in the Responses section, you can see each individual presentation you graded. 

You can click the three dots and select 'Print all responses' to print a copy of the graded rubric to share with your students. 




Automatic Grading with a Rubric
Creating a related Google Sheet:
One of the fabulous features of Google Forms is that you can create a linked spreadsheet with one click.  Click the Green + sign on the Responses tab and generate a li…

Schedule Emails and Personalize your Responses Efficiently

Google always innovates and changes.  They have just added three new features to help you efficiently respond to email.  You will want to check them out!


Schedule email: Next to the Send button while composing an email, you will notice a small arrow.  Click the arrow, and you will have the option to schedule the time the email is sent.

Why would you want to schedule your emails?    Have you ever emailed a parent, student, or colleague and they answered your email immediately?  You respond, they respond back, and before you know it half of the time you scheduled to do more important tasks is gone. 

Email efficiency experts suggest you answer emails two or three times per day at a set time.  (For example, I respond to email first thing in the morning, after lunch, and right before I go home.)  They also suggest scheduling email responses to send during a time when you are scheduled to look at your email again or after you have left work.  If the email sent after work hours, responders …

Google Forms as a Rubric - Leverage Your Phone Grading Presentations

Presentation season is upon us!  In many classrooms around CCHS, students will complete research and create Google Slides to present findings to their teacher and classmates.

One of the challenges for teachers is being able to both observe and provide grading/feedback during presentations.  It feels awkward to have your laptop open, and the computer can feel like a barrier to fully engaging in the presentation.  Paper rubrics feel friendlier for this task.  But you must keep up with the paper and share the feedback with students.

What to do?  Create a Google Form and use your phone to document your observations! 
Most rubrics are constructed similarly to this CCHS Presentation Skills Rubric:


You can quickly create a Linear Scale question for each row in Google Forms:




You will see the options presented like this:
Once the form is complete, email yourself the link.  While students present, use your phone to click the appropriate rating for each row!  (You can download and use the free …

Creating Infographics with Piktochart

My last blog post centered around why Infographics provide information the way your brain craves, and a few ideas of how you might use Infographics in your classroom.   This post will walk you through some of the creation tools available using Piktochart.  (Note that you can also create an Infographic using Google Slides, Google Drawing, or another tool called Canva.)

Design Considerations: I worked with students in Dora Goldings' English class this week.  (FYI, the student feedback about Piktochart was extremely positive.  The words 'Rad' and 'So cool' were heard - who knew?)  We discussed the design process for Infographics:


We reviewed and analyzed several different Infographics and talked about design elements like color, amount and type of text, and use of graphics.
Students need to make an important mindset shift when creating their Infographic.  They need to think in terms of 'telling a story' with graphics.   For example, you might see this type of…