Jaime Chanter's Ed Tech Blog

#GGTChallenge Google Genius Teacher Challenge

posted Apr 8, 2016, 7:56 AM by Mrs. Chanter   [ updated Apr 8, 2016, 7:59 AM ]

So, you think you're a Google genius CHALLENGE?

My intentions with this post are to kick off a movement!  Teachers submit your problems to the world with the #GGTChallenge.  I love solving these problems when I am able to.  I hope we can all work together to increase our productivity!  :) 

Here we go - 

Please tell me how to do this better.  More efficiently.  

Our district ran a wellness contest.  We logged our steps each day via google forms.  Then we found the top steppers in each building.

I created a district-wide form.  Here is what it looked like - 

Then, I had to total using formulas and find the winners.  It's taking me forever.  I tried pivot tables, but don't really understand them.  What am I missing?  Should I have used a separate form for each building?  How can I make the form do the work for me?  Any ideas or solutions are extremely welcome!  :) 

Visiting Clark Hall - Gahanna High School

posted Feb 12, 2016, 1:47 PM by Mrs. Chanter   [ updated Feb 12, 2016, 1:55 PM ]

I participate in a weekly twitter chat chocked full of super cool, innovative, generous, intelligent, and funny educators.  I try never to miss #ohedchat.  It's on Wednesday nights at 9pm.  Join us.  Bobby Dodd, the moderator of the chat, is the principal of Gahanna Lincoln High School.  He invited me to check out the amazing Clark Hall.  It just so happened that I was visiting Columbus so the invitation was timed perfectly!  

Clark Hall does not look like a high school.  Let me explain a bit about it.  Clark Hall used to be a grocery store, a Kroger to be specific.  It has been renovated into this amazing space.  Clark Hall is mostly for the upper classmen.  Juniors and seniors and a few sophomores walk out the doors of their traditional high school, cross the street, and enter Clark Hall.  Clark Hall has unique scheduling.  The students come over for block periods.  These are double the length of a traditional high school class.  Thus, the time to travel between the buildings is longer as well.  I was fortunate to peek in on super engaging classes like underwater robotics, sociology, and advanced English.  The kids were completely engaged.  They were comfortable.  They were respected.  Some were using technology, some weren't.  The bottom line though, they were all learning.  

Clark Hall is unique, but I wish it wasn't.  I wish all students could experience this type of respect and freedom.  It's extremely conducive to learning.  The staircases and hallways are wide.  The seating is varied.  There are Adirondack chairs, rocking chairs, couches, stools, rolling chairs, high tables, low tables.  Everything is easily movable.  The classrooms have removable walls to make spaces whatever sizes they need to be.  There are quiet nooks to work in, or large open areas for collaboration.  Natural light pours in through the semi-shaded windows so it's not overwhelmingly bright,  just bright enough to lift your spirits and keep you smiling.  The colors are perfect - bright but not obnoxious.   

When you look out of the windows from Clark Hall, you see Gahanna. On the school district owned property (the high school campus) you can find many businesses and restaurants.  They lease the space from the school district.  The upper classmen have open lunch.  They can pop over to Chipotle or Panera if they would like.  The staff can grab some lunch there too!  Speaking of the staff, the work room is amazing!  It's a well-designed space with productivity in mind.  There are tools, technology, and spaces to work as well as items of comfort like coffee and microwaves!  Cozy seating extends to teachers as well!

Students from nearby districts attend the wide range of sophisticated classes offered at Clark Hall.  There is a branch of the YMCA housed in the space as well.  Board meetings and professional development meetings are held in this dynamic space.  It's obviously something to be proud of and it is being utilized well.  My morning at Clark Hall was well worth the visit.  I'm hoping to see more of this type of learning space design for students everywhere.  Can you help spread the word?  It's what our students need.    

Close Calls

posted Sep 9, 2015, 3:52 AM by Mrs. Chanter   [ updated Sep 9, 2015, 4:08 AM ]

I've been having a lot of them lately.  My in-laws were in a pretty bad car accident.  Things were scary for a couple hours.  Everyone is okay now but it could have been so bad.  It was a real close call.  My sister-in-law is 31 weeks pregnant with her second set of twins.  She was having some problems the other night and they almost had to deliver the babies.  They would have been okay, in the NICU, but it's so much better for them to stay in the womb!  It was a close call.  The doctors managed to get everything under control and the babies are safe and sound where they should be for now.  It got me thinking.  Do we have close calls in education?  Are there moments when we lose our students forever?  We can't see it, but I bet we can feel it.  When kids go from liking you to hating you, it's a tragedy, a loss.  Before that happens, I bet there is a close call.  When you push a little too hard or cut your voice a bit too harshly.  It's a close call.  They give you a look, maybe their eyes well up.  Don't lose your students over silly power struggles like homework.  Yes, you're in charge, but it's their learning, let them own it.  Let them find their way.  Don't lose them.  Sure, you're going to have some close calls, but hopefully they will remind you how good of a thing you've got going.  These students look up to you.  They trust you.  Don't let them down.  

I started a club and opened it up to 75 kids.  Over 150 turned in permission slips.  I can't let them down.  What if this is their close call?  What if they get so down about not getting into this club they never try again?  I'm not killing anyone's desire to try.  They are all getting in.  I will find a way.  It was a close call.  

Chrome Apps vs Extensions

posted Aug 21, 2015, 7:51 PM by Mrs. Chanter   [ updated Aug 21, 2015, 7:54 PM ]

So, apps are like their own little program.  You have to open a new tab to run them.  For example, Google Drive is an app.    

Extensions can run within the app or the tab.  So, I could be on a website and hit the chrome extension button for my google calendar.  I won't leave the webpage or open up a new tab.  A little calendar will appear within what I am working on.  It's like magic.  Now, let's say I wanted a little more in depth look at my calendar, I'd probably open up the app.  Because that's right, some things have both an app and an extension!  Isn't that fun?!  It makes it easy to understand, right?  

No, seriously, it is easy once you get going.  Apps are bigger, more comprehensive, their own thing.  Extensions are cool little things that make your chrome web experience more amazing.  My favorite extensions can be found here - https://goo.gl/hekZY7  on the last two pages.  Check them out, add them to your chrome, and enjoy!

A district Twitter Chat

posted Aug 21, 2015, 4:51 AM by Mrs. Chanter   [ updated Aug 21, 2015, 7:31 PM ]

I love Twitter chats.  I blogged about them here.  It's like playing jeopardy.  Only, the questions are open-ended and more thought provoking.  You don't get any money or even any points.  Although, I think if we gamified a Twitter chat, educators would love it!  You also get to play against more than just three other brainiacs. You get to play against tons of other amazing educators!!!  It's awesome!  Twitter chats give me so great ideas and so much motivation and inspiration.  I can't get enough of it.  You should totes try one.  

That's not what this post is about, though.  It's about starting a district twitter chat.  It's one of my goals this year.  Now the hashtag has changed from the graphic below.  That was my vote, Lakewood City School District, short and simple.  However, I ran a contest and let the community choose.  We ended up with #RangerPride.  I love it.  Mostly because of the word pride.  I'm so proud of myself for coming up with the contest idea. My colleagues brought up the fact that our old hashtag wasn't really appropriate.  We used to use #lakewoodedu.  However, the edu connotation is usually reserved for college.  We are not a college.  We are k-12.  So, I'm proud that we are the Rangers and that we are all proud of that.  Now to promote the hashtag.  What better way than to start a district chat?!  

So, I've read this - http://goo.gl/Yy2LN4
and I've participated in many chats this summer.  
I'm the guest moderator on October 5, 2015 for #tlap.  
I'm ready to start a Lakewood City Schools chat.  

I'm thinking about using the second Tuesday of every month at  8pm.  

Maybe we can start in October.  Keep me accountable, universe.  This is important stuff.  :)

Goals project

posted Aug 9, 2015, 1:21 PM by Mrs. Chanter   [ updated Aug 9, 2015, 1:23 PM ]

Goal setting. It's huge. If you write it down, it's more likely to happen.  So, I figure if I write it down, create something visual to remind me of it quickly, and post it everywhere to keep me accountable, it'll totally happen!

Here I go. Won't you join me?

Goal #1:  Get more teachers on Google Classroom. 

Please add yours to this Google Sheet. I can't wait to see what we all accomplish!


Tiny Tips

posted Aug 4, 2015, 8:43 PM by Mrs. Chanter

No one knows them all.  I love, love, love learning new ones!

Command or Ctrl (which I just found out my 12yr.old daughter called Central and not Control) is my favorite key on any keyboard.

My favorite shortcuts include - 

Command Z = undo
Command A = select all
Command X = cut
Command C = copy
Command V = paste
Command D = display
Print Screen or Command+Shift+4 on a Mac

Shortcuts can be different on a PC than on a Mac than on a Chromebook than on a specific program/website.
There are also huge differences when it comes to using a mouse or a trackpad or even a touchscreen!

So, you can't learn them all, unless you're amazing and have a photographic memory.  However, it does help to learn the ones that you use most frequently!  Huge time saver!

To start off, copy a couple down on a post it and stick it close to your machine.  I started off with cut, copy, and paste.  Those are pretty easy to remember and used often so I graduated quickly to undo and select all.  I keep adding when I find myself reaching for the mouse to complete the same action.  When I do, I google the shortcut, make myself a post it, and set off on remembering it.  

It's insane.  I am constantly switching from one machine to another so it drives me a bit nuts when I can't be as efficient as possible.  I learned with a good old Dell and we still have one as our main machine at home.  Now, I also have a MacBook Air for work.  The students use chromebooks.    

No doubt, there will be new machines and new shortcuts along with it in our near future.  The point is, the clock is ticking so don't waste time reaching for that mouse.  Use the shortcuts!  And teach your students how to use them too!  :) 

Copyright or left?

posted Aug 4, 2015, 8:15 PM by Mrs. Chanter   [ updated Aug 4, 2015, 8:45 PM ]

I want to teach kids responsibility.  It's so darn hard sometimes though!  I believe that adding images to your work adds so much.  It draws the audience in.  C'mon, though, when I perform a google image search responsibly (i.e. Search tools <labeled for reuse) I get seriously lame results.  When I perform that same search without the filter (i.e. Who cares about copyright?!), I get way better results.  Let's say I find a great image and I want to use it in my blog post.  I contact the image/site owner.  I ask for permission to use it.  I promise I will site them.  Then, I wait.  And, I wait.  And my blog post is forgotten and so is my desire to publish.  How do we help kids avoid falling into this trap?  How can we encourage them and teach them to use images properly?  Is it okay to use and site and not ask permission?  Is it okay to tell the kids when the responsible search comes up empty to drop the responsibility and just site?  Here's an example.  I was helping students create book trailers for the "I Survived" book series.  They google image searched their title responsibly and came up with this -

Okay...  those aren't exactly the images they were hoping for.  So, I said forget the reuse with modification filter.  See what happens.  This is what happened  -


Exactly what they were looking for.  Shoot.  Copyright lesson fail.  So, I told them to use the better images and site.  Is that okay?  Am I the worst teacher ever?  What kind of example am I setting?  Why bother teaching them how to filter and search responsibly if the search comes up empty most of the time?  

And along those same lines, how do I protect children from seeing horrible images?  These books are heavy.  I mean, if you google search September 11th, you get people jumping to their deaths!  If you google search the Nazi invasion, you get piles of dead children.  That is not something I want children seeing!  How do you protect them from this?  I know it's real world, but aren't they too young for that?  I created a Google Site with a multitude of safe images for them to choose from.  In keeping them safe, I took away an opportunity for them to learn search skills.  What is the better lesson to teach?  

I'm all about teaching them to search safely.  I hate filters and blocked sites.  I also hate when my eight year old comes home scared to death of concepts he's too young to understand.  What advice can you give me and other teachers facing these same struggles?

Snagit Web Extension

posted Aug 2, 2015, 8:19 AM by Mrs. Chanter   [ updated Aug 2, 2015, 8:20 AM ]

Thank you, @alicekeeler and my little Amanda Martin!  

I downloaded it months ago.  I meant to figure it out.  I tried once, failed, and didn't have time to keep trying.  Then, Alice reminded me.  So, I tried again.  I failed again.  And let me tell you, it's not hard.  I just have this amazing talent of doing everything the hard way.  Luckily, my 10 year old was grabbing a snack.  I called her back to our little computer room and asked for help.  She was awesome!  She was proud and even explained how it would be a little different for me on my Dell than it was for her on her chromebook.  I am in love with this extension.  If you haven't tried it yet, go do it right now.  Here's a quick tutorial just in case you don't have a little techy around!  

  • Go to Google Chrome Web Store.
  • Type snagit into the search field.  
  • You have to scroll down a bit because it is an extension.  More on apps vs extension in a later post.  :) 
  • Then click add it to chrome!  A little button like the one at the beginning of this post will appear on your toolbar up to the right of the omnibox (that's the box you type urls into).  
  • Now, you're ready to go!  Click on the little snagit button whenever you want to snag something from your screen.

  • Click on the Snagit button
           This toolbar will appear on the right of your screen.  
  • Choose which tool you'd like to use.  
             I almost always use the first one - Region.  It gives me the freedom to only snag what I want.  
  • Then you drag the area you want to capture.  
            If you don't get it quite right on the drag, you can adjust it with the crosshairs.  
            When you're happy with your selection, click the camera icon.  
  • A new tab will open up.  You will need to name your image.  
            It will automatically go into your Google Drive!!!!  All of your snagit images will be saved in a folder already created for you called TechSmith.

  • Check out all of the options they give you too!  You can add shapes and/or text!  You can grab a link or download it!  I love it!  


8 Reasons to Try Twitter Chats

posted Jul 31, 2015, 9:29 AM by Mrs. Chanter

Twitter chats are awesome.  

  1. They make time fly.
  2. They teach you.
  3. They strengthen your PLN.
  4. They open your eyes to the *world.
  5. They connect you with passionate people.
  6. They challenge you.
  7. They allow for your comfort level of participation.
  8. They are fun.

* These are my followers.  People all over the world want to hear what I have to say.  I wish I could show you the map of who I follow but that costs $5 a month and if you read my previous post, I'm a teacher and don't have that kind of moolah to throw around.  :) 
Embedded image permalink

I only started participating in Twitter chats this year.  I'm completely hooked.  I have reminders set on my iPhone.  The only trouble is, they all seem to happen during bedtime.  My youngest three (we have 6!) go to bed between 8 & 9pm.  So, half the time, I'm trying to draft tweet answers or post them or catch up on the ever flying stream of amazing ideas.  It's invigorating!  Seriously, I love it.  I want to run one.  I'm hoping this year to start one at the district level.  

Yesterday, on Twitter, someone (I forget who & when I tried to figure it out, it took way longer than I have time for) posted this - 

Embedded image permalink

It blew my mind.  I had no clue these Twitter shortcuts existed.  I'm so excited to try them out.  Here is a list of educational twitter chats to get you started or get you back in the Twitter chat game.  If you're new, just watch, or if you're bold, jump right in.  It's okay to fail!  :) 

You can add these to your google calendar and then set up reminders or alerts!  So cool!  I'm looking forward to chatting with you!

1-10 of 11