Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Copy and Paste - Using Your Clipboard History

Have you ever needed to copy and paste more than one thing at a time?  I am usually working with multiple tabs open on my Chrome Browser, and many times have multiple links or names that I am trying to paste into one document at the same time.  And it drives me nuts that sometimes I "lose" something in my clipboard when I copy something new. 
The clipboard is the place where the things you copy are stored.  You can add things to the clip board by pressing Control C on a PC, Command C on a Mac, or right clicking on something and choosing Copy.  To paste what is on your clipboard you will press Control V on a PC, Command V on a Mac, or right click and press Paste.  
I'm sure you are used to people saying "There's an app for that"....  Well, now there's an extension for that!  Clipboard History is a great Chrome extension that stays up next to your Omnibox (URL address bar) and keeps a history of all of the things you have copied.

This is a list of things I have "copied" and I can click on any of
these to bring it back to my clipboard to paste into a document.
To Use Clipboard History:
  1. The first thing you need to do to use Clipboard History is download the extension.  Click on the Clipboard History link and click on the blue "+Free" button.  
  2. After you have installed it, all you have to do is click on the icon of the orange clipboard up on the right of your screen, next to the Omnibox (address bar).  
  3. Then click on the information you previously copied and want to use again, and it brings it back into your clipboard and allows you to paste that information into whatever you are working on.

You will love this extension.  It will save you lots of time and make things just a little bit easier for you!  Just to write this blog post, I used the extension three times!

Monday, April 21, 2014

My Spring Break "Project" - QR Code Dice

Leading up to spring break, I was so looking forward to some time off.  I had so many things I needed to work on - conference presentations, applications, cleaning, errands, etc.  I kept telling myself I'd get it done over break.  Soon, my list was a mile long and now that I'm back at work, I only got about half way through it.  Well, maybe only a third of the way through it....  Spring break is always too short!
Work in Progress - Just need the sixth side "Mod Podged" on.

On the last day of school before spring break, I saw a tweet for a blog post called "Roll the Dice on QR Codes" by Krissy Venosdale.  Krissy made QR code dice which linked to six different Google presentation slides.  So with one die, you can change and edit the Google presentation at any time to change up the dice.  The uses for this are endless!  Check out her blog for more information and great ideas.

The examples Krissy listed seemed to be best suited for elementary school students.  But I can imagine using this in my high school science classroom in so many different ways.  I can use it as a unit review and have six different questions or topics for students to review.  The dice can be used to give out articles for students to read and then practice writing arguments with claims and evidence.  My students could use the dice to roll for assignment or project topics, and then get into a group with other students who rolled the same topic.  And the best part, once making the dice, you can use them for all these different activities.  After seeing this blog post, I knew I had another project that I had to get done over spring break!

First, I created six different Google Presentations.  But I didn't want students to see the entire presentation page when they scanned the QR code, I just wanted them to go straight to the presentation in "play" mode.  So I chose to publish the slideshow.

Then I needed to make the QR codes.  I used goo.gl to do this.

I was then able to paste the QR codes into a table on a Word doc.  I printed them out on cardstock, and then used Matte Mod Podge with a foam brush to adhere them to 1.5" wooden blocks.  The Mod Podge works really well to adhere and protect the paper so they can be used for years in the future.

Here's a video I found with instructions on how to use Mod Podge to adhere paper to wood.

I am so excited to use these with my students!  Thanks Krissy for sharing such a great idea!  I am sure there are a ton of creative uses for these QR blocks that I haven't even thought of.  If you have any cool ideas on how to use these with students, please share in the comments.

Monday, April 7, 2014

KQED Do Now and Common Core

This past school year I have been having my students participate in the monthly KQED Do Now Science twitter chats.   Do Now is a weekly online activity where students learn about current events through various media, such as videos, articles, and more.  A question is posed, and students then get a chance to discuss the topic using social media (twitter or responding to the KQED blog).  

This program is a great way for teachers to teach students Common Core skills with relevant and current issues.

The Do Now topics are not just science topics....  in addition to the monthly Science topics,  there are weekly Civics, Government & Politics topics, and Arts/Popular Culture topics twice a month.  

Do Now gives students a chance to engage and respond to current issues, learn science (or art, civics, politics, etc) content, and digital citizenship skills while they explore ways to connect topics in their classes to the present day. 

I have found that having students participate in this program is a great way to:
  1. Have students learn about current events
    • Each week, KQED picks topics that are in the news.  Students have already heard about many of the topics, but don't know what is going on.
  2. Make what we are learning in class relevant to student lives
    • Many of the science current events link to things we have or will be studying in class.  So this is a great way for students to see how what we are learning really is important, and they must understand it because they will see it again outside of school.
  3. Learn digital citizenship
    • Students put some crazy things out on social media.  Their future employers and colleges will see this.  Through this program, I am able to teach my students how to use social media for learning, and help them develop a positive digital footprint.  KQED even has some instructions for teachers and students.
  4. Communicate with others
    • Students are interacting with their classmates and other students participating in the Do Now conversation on twitter and/or the KQED blog.  They must "listen" to what the others are "saying" (posting), create thoughtful responses, and engage in conversation.  
  5. Practice writing arguments (claims, evidence, and justification)
    • When I have students read and watch the Do Now media, I have them take notes on the topic. They then answer the question by making a claim, supporting it with evidence, and writing out their justification.  They write this out on a argumentation graphic organizer.  (My students have practiced this many times with other science problems. Read my previous blog post for more information and examples.)  Then, they must consolidate their answer into a concise 140 character tweet.  
  6. Create and publish content, and share it with a world wide audience
    • Many times students can't share their entire argument in 140 characters.  I encourage them to share their entire claim as a image in their tweet.  They also may make memes, short videos, or other content that they share in the Do Now online conversation.  KQED has some great resources to show students how to do this on their webpage.
Past Do Nows have included some of these great topics:
Common Core State Standards
Another great thing about having students participate in KQED's Do Now program is that it addresses a huge amount of the Common Core State Standards.  I looked through the History/Social Studies, Science & Technical Subjects Literacy and Writing standards and found that most of the standards can be addressed by participating. Here are the ones that can be met by the Do Now program:


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.

Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).

Analyze the author's purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text, defining the question the author seeks to address.

Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.

Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author's claim or a recommendation for solving a scientific or technical problem.


Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.

Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner that anticipates the audience's knowledge level and concerns.

Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.

Introduce a topic and organize ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic and convey a style appropriate to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers.

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology's capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.

Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

How to Use in Your Classroom (Tips)

  • Have students sign up for Twitter at home.  When multiple students all sign up at the same time from one campus, Twitter thinks your are not a real person.  Here are my instructions I gave my students to sign up on their own.
  • The first time I gave students a Do Now assignment, I gave them an entire 50 minute period to go through the materials on the webpage, take notes, and write out their argument.  The next day, I gave them time to write out their 140 character post(s).  I also had to show them how to tweet and what must go in the tweet (hashtag, @kqededspace, etc.)  Then they spent the rest of the period posting their tweets, responding to tweets, and retweeting.  (The next time around, I was able to spend just one period on the assignment.)
  • Students loved seeing all the tweets come in.  On iPads, it is a little harder to keep up with the tweets while following the hashtag.  It doesn't seem to update as often as on a webpage.  So I opened up and ran Visible Tweets which I projected for the class.  They loved having their tweets pop up on the board.
  • After doing Do Now a few times, students did not converse with each other as often as I liked.  So I started doing a twitter chat where I posted questions which they had to respond to throughout the period.  That helped them start to communicate and collaborate with each other.  I posted questions as "Q1:  with the question following", and they had to answer "A1:  with their answer".
  • My next goal is to pair up with other classes so they can communicate in a chat at the same time (rather than seeing tweets from other students later in the day or the next day).
  • Have fun!  The topics may not fit into your curriculum perfectly.  Many times I have not yet covered a the current topic in my content, but I still think it fosters valuable critical thinking, argumentation, and digital literacy skills.