Saturday, August 29, 2015

Have you ever used an image as a search term? Pretty cool.

Search Google Using An Image

Have you seen an image online and wondered where it came from? Is it a real picture or was it somehow doctored in Photoshop? Using Google's image search your answers are a simple drag and drop away.

Navigate to

Drag the image from a folder or your desktop into the search bar that appears in the center of your screen.

The search results look almost identical to your traditional text-based Google search. These results show where the image came from and other related images. At this point I can identify if the picture has a copyright attached and where the picture has been used elsewhere on the web.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Canned Responses - the Gmail hack for building beautiful email templates

Gmail is boring.  Lilly white.  Minimalist.  Beautiful in its simplicity and facility, but lacking pizzazz and panache.  

Sometimes, email should be graphical, rich, and inviting.

Canned Responses is a Gmail lab add-on that brands itself as “email for the truly lazy”.  Users draft common email responses, save, and insert them when needed.  Intended as a time-saver, Canned Responses provides an unlikely potential for building engaging, beautiful Gmail templates.

Karen Smith, a chemistry teacher at Lindbergh High School, recently built her first eNewsletter template for parents and students using the Canned Responses feature.  Her canned response features attractive headings, interactive links, and timely information.


Karen is excited to take communication to the next level.  “I love the transparency. It creates a learning partnership between parents, teacher, and students.”

Interested in building your own Gmail template?  First, activate the Canned Responses lab:
  1. In Gmail, left-click on the Settings icon,
  2. select Settings (again)
  3. choose the Labs tab
  4. scroll down to Canned Responses and select enable
  5. scroll up and click on Save Changes

To build your first template, follow these simple steps:

  1. In Gmail, Compose a new email.
  2. Insert your images, text, and links into the email to build your template.
  3. Using the drop-down menu in the lower right-hand corner, scroll over Canned responses and select New canned response....
  4. Name your template.  That’s it!

When you’re ready to use your template:

  1. In Gmail, click Compose
  2. Use the dropdown menu in the lower right-hand corner, scroll over Canned responses and select your template by name under the Insert heading.  The template should appear in the body of your new email.
  3. Make any modifications and simply Send when you’re ready.

Tips for making great school eNewsletters within Gmail:

  • test your links to make sure they work
  • use spellcheck
  • proofread your work, especially names, dates, and times
  • get permission for any images that are not your intellectual property or find images with an open Creative Commons license
  • after adding an image, click on the image and select Best fit to optimize the size for viewing
  • before sharing, send yourself a copy and view it on cell phones and other devices to consider the user experience
  • Avoid posting student’s last names and abide by photography permissions for your students

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Google Classroom - Did you see this update? IT IS AMAZING!

Google Classroom Amazingness

Google classroom was updated in a pretty big way this week. Some new features are available today while others will not roll out until the end of September .

Question-Driven Discussions

Teachers can post questions and allow the students to respond.
How might you use this?

  • Post a video and have the students respond to what they see.
  • Post an article about a topic you are studying and the students submit some type of response.

Reuse Posts

Have a post, announcement or assignment from another class? Created something from last year and you really want to reuse it this year? No problems. 

The really amazing thing is...CALENDAR INTEGRATION! (coming at the end of September.)
The Google Classroom course will automatically generate a calendar based off of what you assign. This Google calendar is just like any other calendar you currently use except when you add an assignment in Classroom it will auto populate the calendar. Magical.

Want to read more about what is new?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Where is my Promethean software? (ActivInspire)

Where is my Promethean software?

1. Navigate to Promethean Planet.
2. Log in with your free Promethean account. (or create on if you don't have one.)
3. Click Download ActivInspire.

Use the code from your CD to fully unlock the software.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Elementary Teachers with Yoga Laptop - How to fix the resolution.

Having a squished screen when you project?

Follow these steps to restore your screen to full resolution.

Note: The flashing blue screen can only be solved by unplugging and plugging back in the dock. That is currently the only solution for that issue.

You must have your dock plugged in for this to work.
Start by right clicking on an empty spot on your desktop.
1. Click Graphic Options.
2. Hover over Panel Fit.
3. Hover over Built-in Display.
4. Click Scale Full Screen
To adjust your laptop screen resolution.
1. Right click on a blank spot on your screen. Click Screen resolution.
2. Select 1280X1024
3. Click Apply.

Monday, August 10, 2015

My laptop keeps going to sleep so fast. I need help!

Keeping your laptop awake for more than 5 minutes.

Click the battery icon in the lower right corner of your screen.

Click More Power Options.

 Click Change plan settings.

Adjust the times the computer will go to sleep (causing you to log back in) while running on battery and plugged in.
Click Save changes.

Thanks Bonnie Oberkirsch and Becky Donze for the inspiration to create this post!

Note: The above image shows my computer. The laptop will run for 30 minutes on battery before shutting down. That will drain the battery a bit. Be mindful of how you adjust these settings.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

ImageMate - Why not give this software a spin?


The software should already be ready to go on your laptop. Using this makes for a faster transition between laptop and ELMO.

Short on time? Create this desktop shortcut to speed things up.

Desktop Shortcuts Save The Day!

Follow these steps to create a desktop icon that will allow you to shutdown or restart your computer with a simple click.

I learned this technique from Robin Vallis. I always appreciate his tips!

Right click on a blank spot on your desktop.
  • Click New
  • Click Shortcut

Type - Shutdown -s -t 00
Then click next.

Name the shortcut.
Click Finish.

Click and it will start shutting down your laptop!

Shortcut To Restart
Follow the above steps but use Shutdown -r -t 00

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Why is the text on my computer screen so small?

Is the text on your computer tiny?

Follow these steps to increase the size of the text on your laptop screen.

1, Start typing Control Panel on the Start screen. Click on the Control Panel.

2. Click Appearance and Personalization.

3. Click Display.

4. Click the checkbox that says Let me choose one level for all my displays

5. Click Large 150%. Click Apply. It will prompt you to logout. 

When you log back in the fonts should be larger.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Is the mouse really inefficient?

Is the mouse really inefficient? 

I hear keyboards are actually more efficient than using a mouse or touchpad. Below you will find a few Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts that might prove this theory.

Windows Key + D Will return you to your desktop super fast. Most useful when you get stuck on the start screen.

Windows Key + left or right arrows Snaps the active window to take up exactly 1/2 the screen. This might be the most productive shortcut I have ever used.

Windows Key + C Opens the charms bar.

Windows Key + X Opens a number of shortcuts. I use this to access the control panel and task manager.

Windows Key + E Pulls up Windows Explorer.

Windows Key + M Minimizes all open windows.

These are just a few that I use from time to time. Have a favorite shortcut? Add it in the comments.

Necessity pushed me to find a solution.

There was a time in my life where I was required to get my haircut every single week. During that time I was forced out of bed at 5:30, w...