Create drop down menu options in Google Sheets

You can easily create a drop-down menu of options in cells in Google Sheets by using the Data Validation tool. See the instructions link to youtube video below.

I use this for tracking data on my own, or for students doing a running record of self-assessment.

Drop down menus
Use the Data Validation tool to create drop-down menus


Weekly Google Classroom Tips

Google for Education recently tweeted a link to a slideshow of weekly tips for using Google Classroom.

Now, this isn’t just a list of suggestions, they are based on what actually is happening in classrooms! This is something that you will come back to week after week!

Google Classroom Teacher tips

See the slideshow here:

You can access the slideshow by clicking here

Add columns feature in Google Docs

Adding columns to a Google Doc is easy-peasy. From the “FORMAT” menu, choose “COLUMNS” and decide how many columns you’d like your document split into – the max is three regardless of page orientation.
Screenshot 2017-11-29 at 9.22.49 AM

You can also click “more options” and customize the columns further.

Screenshot 2017-11-29 at 12.12.09 PM



Digital feedback using comments and ‘paint formatting’ tool.

My students do the majority of their writing using Google Docs. This allows me to provide feedback at any time during the writing process. I use two Google Docs tools most often when giving feedback.

First is the COMMENT feature: I select the text I wish to comment upon, click the comment icon that appears (or [command+option+m]), and leave my feedback.

Second is the PAINT FORMAT feature: I use blue highlighting to indicate to the student that there is something wrong that needs fixing, whether it is spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or some other issue. This, hopefully, makes the student think critically about the writing and problem solve. Once I’ve highlighted one area, I can use the ‘paint formatting’ tool to quickly identify other areas of concern.

Watch an example of both of these tools in action:

Annotate (and share) the Internet with Diigo

The Diigo Chrome extension allows the user to highlight and add notes on the website, on a PDF of the site, or a screenshot taken from the site, all from the context menu!

The annotated website (in whatever format you’ve picked) is then sharable!

I’ve used this in my classes. I’ll highlight parts of the text I want students to pay attention to, add a note to provide context or explain an allusion.  See an example here.

Click the logo below to install the extension (it will open in a new tab).

Auto sort results of a Google Form so newest responses are on top!

If you use Google forms to collect data of a long period of time you may want the newest results to post to the top of the spreadsheet. For example, I use a form as a way to track books that kids borrow, I’d rather have the newest book to be borrowed appear at the top of the list.

Here is one way you can do this.

  1. On the bottom left of the sheet click the + to create another sheet
  2. In cell A1 paste the following formula:
    1. =sort('Form Responses 1'!A:H, 1, False)
  3. You may want to double click the title of the new sheet (Which will be “Copy of Form Responses 1” and change it to something more descriptive “Sorted” is what I chose.


Remember, this new sheet, “Sorted,” is mirroring the “Form Responses” sheet, so any changes you make to the content will show up on the “Sorted” sheet.

Google Classroom – Edit PDF feature has downside!



The new option of editing PDF’s in Google Classroom is sweet – the math teachers in my building are excited! However. . .

On the iPad, when students click on any resource (even if it is a google document/slideshow) it opens in PDF editing with a “pencil” icon and an “open in” icon (see below) they need to click that “open in” icon in order for it to open in Google docs. I’ve been running into the issue where students are editing a PDF copy of the document instead of the shared google doc, which means I can’t collaborate at all and they can’t collaborate with each other.

It is just a matter of training the students to click that icon!


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