Monday, March 25, 2019

Google Drawings in Docs and Sites

I've written before about Google Drawings as a simple, yet effective way to create graphics (including existing images, shapes, text, and more).  Here are two more tips:

When you  insert a Drawing into a Doc, then later edit the drawing, you can click the drawing in the doc and choose "Update" to get the latest version.

A more advanced tip is that you can create "hot spots" in a Google Drawing that you place on a . This means you can make certain regions in the drawing clickable.  The trick is to put a shape on the top layer of the drawing, making both its fill and outline transparent.  With the shape still selected, insert a hyperlink. You can then embed the drawing in a Google site and the image will be clickable.
Here's an example  of that.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Coding Camps this summer

How about doing some coding this summer?  Here are two computer camps that look interesting:

Applications Now Open: Advanced Coder Camp

Applications for the Advanced Coder Camp (days) July 22 to 26, 2019 at Vermont Technical College, Williston Campus for rising 7th–11th graders are now open. The camp provides an opportunity for students with some programming background to dive deeper into programming. Campers will learn to develop simple Android applications using Java and xml. Smartphone apps, robots, video games and small business - the world runs on code. Whether you dream of becoming a Google developer or want to launch your own mobile game start up, your coding path continues here. $175 (includes workbook, activities, instruction, some lunches, snacks, field trip and more) Many partial fee scholarships available.
Contact: Laurel Butler at or (802) 922-3692

Applications Now Open: Computer Camp

Applications for a new Computer Camp days July 29 to Aug 2, 2019 are now open. The camp will be held by Vermont Technical College on the CCV Upper Valley Campus in White River Junction for rising 7th – 10th graders. Campers will have a chance to explore/experience a wide variety of topics in computer programming, website development, networking, cybersecurity and related fields working with Vermont Tech faculty. They’ll also have an opportunity to meet with industry professionals who will share their experience on why careers in computing can be so rewarding. Learning, physical activity, and fun will be in abundance. The week will culminate with campers presenting their work to families and friends. $175 (includes all activities, instruction, some lunches, snacks, field trip and more) Many partial fee scholarships available.
Contact: Steven Airoldi at: or (802) 728-1337

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

VoiceThread Training March 27

As you may have read in the February Curriculum Newsletter, we have arranged for a CVSD training on using VoiceThread. The date is March 27th.  VoiceThread is a tool that engages groups in conversations.  Whether you've used VT before, or you're just curious about what the possibilities are, please consider attending.  You can attend at any CVSD school.  The location here at CVU is the library classroom.  I'll be there to host.  We start at 3:30. More information and an RSVP form is here.

Here's another example of VoiceThread in action.  Click on the comments to the left and/or advance through the slides using the arrows on the bottom right:

Friday, February 22, 2019

Take a virtual field trip!

How about taking a field trip that doesn't require permission slips, transportation requests and a post to the field trip forum?

With virtual field trips, your students can explore places all around the world.  One great resource is Google Expeditions.  This spreadsheet has a list of all of the current offerings.  These are best experienced on mobile devices, but many can be viewed on a computer, as well.  To find these, look at the ones on the VR sheet that have a link.

Here are two recently added examples:


Makaibari Tea Estate

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Read and Write for Google

Have you used Read and Write for Google lately?  Were you aware that all students at CVSD have premium accounts and that all teachers can get one, too?

Read and Write for Google is a UDL (Universal Design for Learning) tool.  Here are some features (copied from their web site).
  • Hear web pages and documents read aloud to improve reading comprehension, with choice of natural voices
  • Understand unfamiliar words with text and picture dictionaries
  • Develop writing skills with word prediction and a grammar, spelling and confusable words checker
  • Support independent student research with valuable study skills tools
  • Offers bilingual support for a growing number of languages and more.
I just used Read and Write myself the other day to listen to a passage I needed to read for a course I'm taking.
Another great feature is vocabulary lists -- Read and Write will take words you've highlighted in a document and generate a vocabulary list, which you can then edit.
Finally, speaking of the highlighting tools, you can highlight in four different colors, then combine your highlights (by color) into a new document.
So, if you haven't used it in a while (or ever), why not give it a try? I'd love to help.