Google Docs: Stop Email Notifications

Google Docs Limit Email Notifications

If you are shared on a Google document with a large group of people you may find the number of email notifications from collaborators inserting comments to be overwhelming. I like my students to receive the email notifications when I give them individual feedback, however, when collaborating with a large group this may be unnecessary.


In the upper right hand corner of the Google Docs is a button that says “Comments.” This button is found to the left of the blue share button. Click on the “Comments” button to reveal an option for “Notifications.” Clicking on the “Notifications” button shows that you are set to receive notifications on “All” comments. Choose the 3rd option “None” to stop receiving an email notification when a collaborator makes a comment.

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Using the Move-It Chrome Extension for Professional Development

Recently I installed the Move-It Chrome extension which reminds me every 15 minutes to take a break and do something active. During a 2 day workshop on Google Drive I decided to leave the Chrome extension on. This not only helped us to take a break every 15 minutes, it got us up and moving and having fun in the process. Notice in the video above that the participants broke out in arm circles at the prompting of the extension.


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Instructional Video Tips with Dave Mulder: Start with a Story

Dave Mulder has a wonderful style to creating online instructional videos. Previously I had shared some of his instructional video techniques in a blog. Here are some additional things we can learn from Dave Mulder

Start with a Story

I really appreciate that he did not start his video with “hi.” He starts right in with a story. Just as in the face to face classroom we want to “hook” our students into the lesson. Research shows that viewers of a video decide in the first 10 seconds whether they want to watch the video. Do not waste those first 10 seconds with an introduction. Hook the learner and set up an anticipation for wanting to learn.

Comfortable Speaking Tone

Dave has a clear and comfortable speaking tone. He clearly has practiced making videos and talks to the camera as if he is personally talking to someone, rather than awkwardly at his iPad camera or webcam.

Alternates Face and Slides

Dave starts full face, no slides. He is adding that personal touch. It is important that when teaching an online course that the instructor has presence in the course. There are many ways that this needs to happen. Including your face in your instructional videos is an excellent way to do this.

Dave switches to the slides and gives the students a clear view of the slide. He does not linger too long on the slide before bringing his face back.

Clear Slides

Dave limits the amount of text on each slide. He chooses a high quality image that helps focus what he is talking about. This allows the students to focus on what he is talking about rather than being distracted by reading the text on the slides.


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Office 365: Edit View vs. Reading View

O365 edit online


When you open an Office document from OneDrive the document you may notice you are not able to edit the document. The document is in Reading View.


Notice the menu options along the top to switch from Reading View to being able to edit online. You can also choose to edit the file in the desktop version, which will open up full editing functionality to you. The online version is limited functions, but is collaborative and in the cloud.

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Office 365: Return to OneDrive

O365 return to onedrive


If you are using Microsoft Office 365 you can enjoy the ability to access and edit your Office files in the cloud. After logging into OneDrive, choose the file you would like to view or edit.

Return to OneDrive

If you would like to return to OneDrive, look in the upper left hand corner next to the product logo. Look for the name of the OneDrive user folder to the right of the logo.  In my case it says “Alice Keeler.”  When I am shared to another users folder, it shows their name.

Click on Name

Click on this name in order to return to the OneDrive folder.

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Mac Tip: Command Option Escape to Force Quit

Mac command option esc


Force Quit

If a program freezes or needs to be forcibly quit out of you can use Command + Option + Esc to force quit out of a program. Click on the program you want to quit, choose “Force Quit.” This is NOT how you quit out of an application. Normally you would want to use Command Q to quit a program. This is only if a program is stalled and you can not exit the program the proper way. This may cause issues with the program or your computer so only use it if you must.
Force quit

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Google Sites: Creating a Blog Style Page

Google Sites Image

There are many things I like about Google Sites website creator. One of the best features is the ability to create multiple blog style pages. The advantage is to be able to have multiple courses, such as algebra and geometry, in one website.

Blog Style

A blog style webpage allows you to post an “article” everyday but not lose the previous content. When you post a new blog, the previous blog article goes below the new article. For teaching this is really important. I post the daily agenda on a blog style page. For students who were absent or need to look something up from previous days they only need to scroll down to find the previous content.
Blog Style Page

Create Page

Click on the create page icon at the top of Google Sites. Note that you have to be signed into Google Sites in order to see the editing icons.
google sites create page

Announcement Style

The default page style is “Web page.” Change this to the “Announcements” from the template options.
google sites choose announcements style page

New Post

This is an important thing to remember: Use the “New post” button, not the “create page” icon.
Google Sites New Post


It is easy to make the mistake of creating a new page instead of a new post. You will want to copy and paste the content into a new post if you accidentally create the wrong type of page.
new post

Beware the Pencil

If you go to the announcements style page and click on the pencil to edit, you are editing the header. If you want to edit the post, click on the post title to isolate the post from the other posts, then click on the edit pencil.
edit pencil

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Bing in the Classroom: Free Lesson Plans

bing info

Everyday on a high quality photo image is displayed. Microsoft’s Bing in the Classroom provides free search lessons to go along with the image of the day. In the bottom right hand corner of the image of the day is a photo info button. Click on this to find out more information about the picture and also to find a link to the lesson of the day.
photo of the day bing in the classroom lesson plan

Grade Levels

A lesson for grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12 are provided free of charge in the Microsoft Educator Network. Each of the lessons are linked to Common Core standards and provide a search based activity for students to do that is based on the image of the day.

Even though a particular grade range template is matched with Common Core standards for that grade level, oftentimes the question could be applicable to any grade level. The expectations about the quality, depth and breadth of the answers the students come up with could be adjusted for any grade level.


These activities provide the students with an essential question that ask students to practice their search skills and to use evidence to support their answers. Many of the questions have an open ended response, thus asking students to apply critical thinking skills to their research.


There are a variety of ways these search activities can be incorporated into the classroom. Students can work individually, in small groups or as a whole class. These are also great challenge activities for students to work on.

Blank Template

The daily lessons provided cover a topic chosen by the Bing in the Classroom lesson designer as they are inspired by the image. It is likely that this question does not correlate with the activities you were planning. Bing in the Classroom is now providing the blank template so you can write your own essential questions for your students. Even better, so that your students can create their own. bing in the classroom lesson template


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Office 365: Use Excel Survey to Gather Information

O365 Excel Survey



I have heard some users of Microsoft 365 that they wish there was a way to have something like Google Forms to collect formative assessment or survey data from students and parents. Office 365 provides this functionality.

Excel Survey

In OneDrive, click on “New.” The last document option is “Excel survey.”

Create Survey

Name the file and you will be taken to a screen to create your survey form.
Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 10.28.26 AM

Add a Title

Where it says “Enter a title for your survey here” click to edit. Click below the title to enter a description for the survey form.
Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 11.12.42 AM

Enter a Question

Click where it says “Enter your first question here.” This will open the settings for the question. Delete the default text of “Enter your first question here” and replace it with your first question. The “Question Subtitle” allows you to provide additional context or directions for your question.
add a question excel survey

Response Type

The default question type is a text box for students to input their answers. Choose from the drop down list if you would like to have a different answer choice.
O365 response type



For a multiple choice question choose “Choice.” Delete out the default text of “Choice A”, “Choice B”, etc… Hint: use the keyboard shortcut “Control A” to select all of the default text. Each answer choice A, B, C, D, etc… is entered on it’s own line. Type your answer choices and press enter between choices.

O365 choice option

Default Answer

If you want to have a default answer that the students can accept, for example if the question is “What assignment is this?” you may want a default answer to pre-slug that field on the survey form. Click done.

Add Another Question

Click “Add New Question” at the bottom of the question list to add another.
Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 11.33.20 AM

Share Survey

The results of the survey form will automatically go into an Excel spreadsheet. Click on “Share Survey” at the bottom right.
share survey O365

Copy Link

Use “Control C” to copy the link to the survey. Share this link with your students, or whoever you need to take the survey.

Survey Options

If you need to get back to the survey form to edit or share it, locate the “Survey” icon in the toolbar. Click on this for the options to “View Survey,” “Edit Survey,” “Delete Survey,” Or “Share Survey.”
O365 Survey

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Google Docs: Tips for Restricting Collaborators


I got a message this morning from a teacher who discovered that some other people were inadvertently added as collaborators to a folder in Google Drive. Since she was the owner of the folder, she was upset that someone else had given people permission to the folder. Especially when we are trying to protect student data we want to make sure that unauthorized people are not accidentally given access to our documents.


Within the share window, at the bottom, is a link to change permissions for who can add collaborators.

Within a document, click on the blue share button to find this setting.

To share a folder click on the folder in the new Google Drive and click on the share icon above the document list.
google drive share folder 2

Link Below Invites

Below where it says “Invite people” is a link to change who can change document or folder permissions. Click on the “Change” link.

Only the Owner Can Change

Choose the 2nd option “Only the owner can change the permissions.”
only owners Google Drive Share

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