Google Sheets: Beyond the Formulas!

A quick read on 3 ways to use Google Sheets, besides calculating with formulas, in the classroom!

A quick read on 3 ways to use Google Sheets, besides calculating with formulas, in the classroom!

As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of Google Apps. I use Google Slides to create all of my lessons, Google Classroom to give my students assignments and Google Docs to create documents to share with my team. One application that I wasn’t using too often was Google Sheets. I took a course and it was so informative! I learned all about formulas, add-ons, and tips and tricks for students to use Google Sheets as well. Today I am going to share with you some ways I use Google Sheets to help me ease the time consuming to-do lists of teaching.

Conditional Formatting

Even if you’re not using Google Sheets for formulas, you can use it to type in students grades and you’ll have a neat and organized list of how your kids are doing. Conditional formatting is the greatest tool you will use to make your life 100x easier! Basically, you can set it so the lower grades are one color and the higher grades are a different color. I usually create a color scale to let me see the different grades, and I can easily see the students I need to conference with at a glance. I set up my Google Sheet like this:

Planning for Grouping

I created a grouping spreadsheet to help me when I make my center-time groups. Last year, I used paper and I left out kids more often than not and it was so frustrating for me and them to figure out where to put them. I no longer worry about that because of Google Sheets! I created a sheet for each of my classes and I have a master copy of the students names pre-populated in the first column. Then, as I put them into a group I change the fill color of the cell of their name to the color of the group I am putting them in. Check it out here:

As I am creating the groups, I can quickly see which students are going where and who I still have to put in a group. This is such an amazing time saver – I no longer take hours to plan for center time and small group!

Checklists for Planning

How frustrating is it when you’re planning this awesome lesson and in your mind it’s going to be the most jaw-dropping lesson of the week and then you get to work and realized theres a major component missing? Fear not – Google Sheets FTW! You can insert check boxes into a cell to check off as you complete the tasks! I created a master copy that I make a copy of and fill in for each chapter. This helps me so much when I’m planning for the unit and I can see what I need for each lesson and check it off as I create each piece.

Another use for the checkboxes is to check off as students had in assignments, trip slips, or anything really! This will save yourself from asking, “Where did I put that paper with the kids names that brought in the permission slip?” Such a simple solution to a very real problem!

Beyond Teaching

Google Sheets is such an important tool for me – I use it beyond teaching. I have a budget spreadsheet that helps me manage my money, a blog post tracker, and I track my TpT sales goals! Email me at letstechaboutmath@gmail.com if you have any questions or want some tips and tricks on Google Sheets beyond teaching!

I hope this helps with becoming more efficient in the classroom! Thank you for stopping by, don’t forget to subscribe for exclusive access to my Google Drive with FREEBIES just for subscribers! One of the freebies is a detailed explanation of how to do these three things, so be sure to subscribe for it!

Enjoy!

☆Alexandra☆

Five Ways to Use the Promethean – Right Now!

Read about these five tools on the Promethean board that I cannot live without! Keep students engaged!

Hello Friends!

After a long wait, today I bring to you – Promethean Part 2: Five Apps to Download on it Right Now! After taking a couple of workshops about the Promethean board, I have decided that there are five specific apps to download through the Google Play Store that you need. These apps will keep the kids engaged while you’re teaching and your life so much easier. Isn’t that what this blog is about? Simplifying teaching through technology.

I’m going to be honest with you – I was not a huge fan of the Promethean board in my classroom when I first started working with it. My former school had SMART Boards and SMART Technologies were all I knew. After taking some workshops on the Promethean board, I learned that it is basically a giant tablet & I now love it and all the things you can do with it!

Google Chrome

Starting with the most used app on my board, Google Chrome. I like it because I can sign in to my school gmail account and have my bookmarks already there for me. I put a password on the administrator account on the board so that no one can access my personal google account. This makes for smooth teaching and not having to worry to pull up websites ahead of time.

Google Drive

Naturally, Google Drive is a staple on the Promethean board. I plan all of my lesson with Google Slides or Google Docs. Having them all in one place is great and I don’t have to worry about signing in every time. Because I created an administrator account with the board, there is a password on it so that only I can use my account on the Promethean. This way I’m not worried about my Google account being logged in on the board when I’m absent or if someone else has to teach in my room.

Google Slides

Google Slides is what I put my lessons on to present to the kids. I prefer this because it saves onto my account and once I am signed into Google Drive on the board, it’s so easy to pull up. I use the magic pen button (on the pink home button) to write on top of the Google Slides as I am teaching. If I want students to write, I take a quick screen shot and put it on the Infinite White Board (see my post on this amazing tool also!) to split the screen and have students write. This makes it easier to save their work to Google Drive or a flash drive.

Kahoot!

My students absolutely love Kahoot! Any reason for them to use a computer keeps them engaged. Having the app installed on the Promethean is the greatest time saver! No more logging in, searching for what you’re looking for, and waiting for it to load. It’s all there on the board for you already!

Quizizz

Quizizz is a similar concept as Kahoot – students join a live game, or you can assign a game on Google Classroom. I prefer Quizizz to Kahoot only because I’m more familiar with it, but students love both! Quizizz is self-paced, so students can answer questions in as much time as they need. The program does time the students and lets me know which questions took longer than others. I love that I also can export the data from the Quizizz. Like I said, any time students get a chance to use a computer, they love it!

PDF Viewer

The last app is a Google PDF viewer. This might sound obvious to you, but I didn’t realize it was something I would need until I didn’t have it. This makes life easier if you want to pull up a part of the textbook you’re using (we use Go Math at my school) or Engage NY pdf files if you choose to use those worksheets.

I hope these apps help you as much as they help me! Any way I can save time in the classroom with trivial things (like logging in) leaves more time for students to be actually working!

What apps do you like to use on your Promethean board? Let me know what I missed that you must use regularly!

PS – have you checked out Feedspot lately? Tech About Math made the list of fifth grade teacher bloggers to follow! 🙂

☆Alexandra☆

Google + Jigsaw = Engaging

Happy Sunday Everyone! 

Oh my goodness it’s been a while since I posted. I got so caught up with my online courses, grading, planning, and life that I put this on the back-burner, but I am back & ready to write all summer long! This is my favorite time of the year, not only because it’s Summer, but because I get to start planning and thinking about next year! It is a time of reflection and adjusting based on what worked and what didn’t work throughout this past school year and I can be creative and take my time planning for the upcoming school year! Since I have been absent for the last couple of months, there is a freebie waiting for you at the end of this post!

One of the online courses I took was about creating a more student-centered classroom. As a teacher I want to show them all of the amazing things that I love about math, but honestly, it’s much better when they discover the concepts and get excited about it all on their own, am I right? One thing I read up on was the Jigsaw method. I know this is usually used in the other content areas, and you’re probably wondering how the Jigsaw method works in Math – fear not my friends, I will share this with you!

The first thing I want to clarify is – what is the Jigsaw strategy? Well, it is a collaborative learning technique that gives students the chance to become masters of one specific concept or skill to teach to their home group. Here’s a visual I created to help you see what I mean:

As a math teacher, this may be difficult to picture doing. One way I plan to use this strategy in my classroom is to do a Resource Roundup in the beginning of the school year. Students are assigned a “Home Group” and then within the group, each student is assigned some classroom tools and resources to become the masters of. They look at the manipulatives and resources we are going to use in the fifth-grade and evaluate and compare them. This includes the digital resources involving the iPads and computers that we are fortunate enough to have (see my post on virtual manipulatives for an overview of what I use). Once they have mastered their resources, they return to their home group to share what they found. I plan to teach this activity over the course of two days – the first day giving students a chance to work with their master group and the second they share with their home group. Home groups will create a poster to advertise at least five classroom resources they look forward to using in the fifth grade. Once the posters are complete, I will hang them throughout the room as a reminder of the great tools we have to help us.

So now that you see how we can use Jigsaw in a math classroom, how does this relate to technology? Well, the G Suite is one of the greatest educational tools, and I have written about it in this postBesides having one of the master groups looking at technology resources, when students are with their home groups creating the poster, they can make it digital! Google Drawings is a great app from the G Suite that students pick up on in a snap! Nowadays, students are so tech savvy that most don’t even need direct instruction on how to use certain apps. Once students create their digital posters as a group, you can print them and hang them around the room to refer throughout the year.

One thing I noticed this past year is as students get older, they are more reluctant to use manipulatives and resources. Students see a word problem and immediately start scribbling down an equation to help them solve – the equation usually dealing with the current unit. Students don’t take the time to break out the resources we have in the classroom such as fraction bars, base ten blocks, graphic organizers, and even a problem-solving folder they have right at their tables! Reflecting on my own teaching, I realize I seldom used the resources and I hope that this activity will help students to recognize what we have in the room and when it can be useful to them. I also hope that the posters will be a reminder for myself to refer to the tools and resources as I am teaching my lessons.

What other ways are you thinking about using the Jigsaw method in your math classroom?

Enjoy!

☆Alexandra☆

PS – Here is a Freebie for you to do a Resource Roundup! in your classroom!

Find the full lesson plan at my TpT store here!

@TechAboutMath