Intro and Outro Videos for Christmas Concerts

Intro and Outro Videos for Christmas Concerts

To try to help your December run a little more smoothly, I have built a selection of video intros and outros that schools can use for their Covid Christmas Concerts and other December activities that need to be pre-recorded in light of the current provincial restrictions. 

To the left are a couple samples, but there are a few more in this Google Drive folder. Most of the intro/outro files have space where you can put your school’s name or logo onto the video using your preferred video editing application.

MBot for the Classroom

MBot for the Classroom

The MBot is an engaging robot that can be used with beginning coders, and expands to be a great resource for more advanced coders as well.

The MBot is more fragile than some of the robots that were designed for younger children, so extra care is needed for these robots.  When programming the MBot, it is best to lay the MBot on its back, or put something under it that takes its tires off the desk; if it drives off a student’s desk, it will break something – likely one of the motors that power the wheels!!

To use MBot with a Chromebook, you will need to install the mLink extension to your profile and your students’ profiles.

Google Classroom Banners for You!

Google Classroom Banners for You!

I am pumped to let you know that I have built an assortment of Google Classroom Banners for you to use to customize your Google Classrooms with some different images than the default images that Google offers.

It is important to understand that when you change the banner in Classroom, it is going to appear a fair bit darker than the way it appears in Google Drive. This is an assistive technology in action, as the darker tone makes classroom much easier to see, read, and engage with for students with vision challenges.  This cannot be changed, and likely (hopefully) is not something Google would entertain changing.

The new banners can be found in the Templates area on our CESD Teacher’s Share site.  There are other useful templates there as well that you may find you have a good use for. So, please, anything you find in that site that catches your attention – feel free to take a copy!! That’s why that site exists!!

Below is a small sampling of the Google Classroom banner resources available to you on our Teachers Share site.

Audio Recording with Mic Note

Audio Recording with Mic Note

I was wrong!

The first time I took a look at Mic Note for recording audio clips to assist our students who struggle with reading or have written language or other disabilities, I thought that it was clunky and awkward.

After much searching for a perceived better option, and coming up blank, I returned to Mic Note, only to realize that I was wholesale wrong about it.  It offers more than just audio recording, which is amazing, but for the purposes we want it for in CESD, it’s brilliant!

Among my first misconceptions was my assertion that it was difficult to record in .mp3 format, and awkward to direct to Google Drive. Wrong.

The key advantages it offers over other audio utilities are important details for educators.

Firstly, it allows for up to four hours of recording time. None of us require that much for school uses, but we definitely need more than 5 or 10 minutes as the outer limit, which is where most other applications cut the recording off.  Some sources for exams take longer than 10 minutes to read aloud.

Secondly, it can be set to store the recordings directly into your Google Drive, making them yours forever. This is another advantage over the “competition”. There are some decent applications out there – Talk & Comment and Vocaroo come to mind right away – but they store your audio on their server and delete it after an amount of time has passed. This means that for all the time it takes to record the audio, a year down the road when you wish to reuse the resource with your students, you no longer have access to your recordings from last year, or even last semester. That’s no good!

Thirdly, Mic Note allows you to edit your audio as you are in the process of recording. So, if you get your tongue in a knot reading aloud, and you need to try again, Mic Note facilitates this easily.

So, I hereby retract my earlier position about Mic Note, and I highly recommend it.

Here’s a video outlining how I recorded an English 30 exam for students requiring the accommodation, and the templates for the two exam booklets can be copied to your Google Drive through the templates section of the CESD Teachers Share Website.

Google Classroom Changes Coming for Fall

Google Classroom Changes Coming for Fall

Google is rolling out some fantastic changes to Google Classroom with the expectation that they will be up and running for fall 2021.  Keep providing your suggestions to Google via the question mark icon in the bottom left corner of Google Classrom; we have more proof that the Engineers at Google are listening to us!


Google Classroom Student Data - fall 2021

Student Data

Perhaps the most exciting of the new features is the improvement to the student metrics. In the updated Google Classroom, teachers will be able to see when a student was last active in Google Classroom, what and when their last submitted assignment was, as well as the most recent comment (which are often questions from students) from students.

This feature is a class-by-class feature that will provide teachers with some excellent data for both in-person learning as well as online!

Improved Photo Tools in the Google Classroom app

Thanks, in large part, to feedback from teachers around the world using Google Classroom, they are adding camera access inside the Google Classroom app. So, students who operate their Google Classroom through their phone will be better equipped to photograph (it will be built more as a scanning type app that utilizes the phone’s camera) completed work and easily submit it to the teacher for grading.  At first, this will only be on Android devices, but will come to Apple devices once the Android app is running smoothly with this new feature.

Offline Mode

Many of our rural students who live in areas with limited wifi access already use offline mode with their Google Drive. Now this feature is going to include Google Classroom. Students will be able to access classroom while at school, and then when they get home, their device will have retained the data to allow them to have access to this important data while at home, or away from wifi.

Originality Reports

Teachers and students will both have access to enhanced originality reports. Students can run a report prior to submitting a written assignment so as to have clarity as to the success of their personal writing.  


The creation of rubrics in Google Classroom has also improved – teachers can now export their rubric to sheets, or import a rubric from sheets.

Full Webinar

Below is the full 30-minute webinar that Google offered this morning to bring us all up-to-date with respect to the changes to Google Classroom!

Bitmoji Math Manipulatives Classroom

Bitmoji Math Manipulatives Classroom

Here is a one-slide example of a Bitmoji classroom with links. This particular slide contains 17 links to various math manipulatives. 16 of the manipulatives are on the shelving unit of this classroom and are represented by their icons from the sites they link to. Additionally, the clock on the wall contains a link to an interactive time-telling site.

Just swap my bitmoji out for yours, and you’re ready to go!