Thing 5 Presentation Tools

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My fifth grade Special Ed teacher asked me to work with him on his rainforest animal project.  In addition to working on the research during library time, I suggested we create a Google Slides project. His five male students are all visually oriented and are all terrific artists and who love to draw superheroes or cartoon characters. Using a template from Slides Carnival for Google Slides, I was inspired to create a cartoon themed presentation as a model. I have asked the 5 boys to draw a favorite character which I will then upload so that the students will have their own “information presenter/commentator”. I am hoping the use of their own character within a familiar visual format, will help engage their sustained attention and effort. In my example,

https://docs.google.com/a/rcsdk12.org/presentation/d/1q7sp4CE_uxIMDOnz9Y4vJPEDAksNzg7jFZo6HNll3Uw/edit?usp=sharing

I demonstrate how the character will make comments about the information presented. In addition to the research itself, I can give mini lessons on using google slides, searching for images, photo manipulation, digital responsibility regarding image use and attribution. By using Google Slides, students will have the opportunity to see other students’ work and teach each other as they work on their own slides. Each student will have the opportunity to create as many slides with as many details (ie images, icons, colors, etc) but within the confines of the template.

I needed to create my own Slides project before introducing it to the class. Although every district employee has Google Drive on their desktop and laptop, not every teacher has had the opportunity (or wherewithal) to incorporate it into their lessons. I’ve been assigning my students to type up responses in Google Docs and having them share their docs with me, Thing 5 allowed me the opportunity to incorporate another Google element to library time. Bonus, I finally created my own avatar!

Thing 27 Power Up Your Browser

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When I assign students to do research on World Book Kids, they always love and comment on the full page photograph of animals and people that initially comes up. When I looked through the Google Chrome settings, I learned the themes were very easy to change. Some photos don’t open well. For example, I wanted a photo of an iceberg, both above and below  the waterline on my own computer as a visual reminder of my student’s personal and academic lives. When I added it, it didn’t show properly and I couldn’t see the 10% above water. Nevertheless, I thought it would set the proper mood to change all the library desktops to either rainforest image or rainforest animals. Normally I don’t bother wasting my time on such details, but since it is so easy I may as well use any element I can to grab their attention. Also, I found the Settings–>Extensions  so I can delete whichever extension I don’t actually use. I also found CRTL-H to clear out my history.

So much power for my computer, so little time. Of the approximate 40 apps/extensions I felt compelled to review for this assignment, the one I LOVE the most and have already used is Pocket. Because of another Cool Tools assignment, I subscribe to Twitter #TLChat. I often scan through the articles and fortunately/unfortunately I always find something I want to read or reference later, but run out of time as I am usually doing this during lunch or someone interrupts me, oh you know how it goes. For those of you familiar with TL Chat, it comes out every day, meaning it is super easy to get behind. Despite how easy it is to fall behind, I know there is always something worthwhile for me to read and thus I save every daily email from TLChat. So, yes, I currently have approximately 75 editions I feel I absolutely need to review during the upcoming break. Ridiculous of course, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this dilemma.

Before pocket, I would email a link to myself or copy and paste article to Google and save. These emails would get lost in my ever expanding Inbox and if I did remember to look for it, it was of course, ridiculously time-consuming. Now, with Pocket added to my bookmark bar, when I am reading an article and feel I need to save for later, one click on Pocket and it saves to my list and allows me to tag as well.

For example, I’ve been trying to read  and come up with a decent fake news lesson plan. The articles have been coming out fast and furious. Several articles linked to other pages that I need to review. Being able to Pocket the articles and assemble a list that I can read when I am ready to sit down and have time to think and plan is very helpful. Bonus feature, I clean out my Inbox because I no longer have to save emails.

I added several extensions that looked interesting, but may or may not be useful to me. Awesome Screenshot looked good. I often use screenshots, copy to a google doc and add lots of arrows to give students a visual to help them navigate a website. I haven’t used it yet, but probably will. I also added Black menu for Google but I’ll have to see if that proves useful to me. At least I know how to delete extensions so they don’t clutter up my bookmark bar.