I love Breakout games and watching students interact with each other to solve problems. What I don’t like about physical breakout games is students missing out on some of the puzzles. The collaboration is great, but when using it as a review, not all students experience the same things. Digital breakouts can be done in groups of 2 or individually and allow the students to experience all of the puzzles.
I created a tutorial for digital breakouts a few years ago, but with the changes to Google sites, the process is sooooo much easier now.
Here is an image that outlines the basic steps.
- I try to write my prompts and story ahead of time. This saves me time when I’m putting everything in a Google Site. For the Christmas Breakout I recently wrote, my story line was kind of lame 😦 but it went along with the 12 days of Techmas I created for my school.
2 and 3. I create my clues in Google Drawing or Google Slides, and I use outside sources like jigsawplanet.com and Snotes. The more creative you are the more fun your breakout will be. I was provided a document from Charles (I wish I knew your last name) at the EdTech Team Summit in Topeka. His crowd-sourced document is loaded with great ideas for digital breakouts.
This first image of the gnome I uploaded into jigsaw planet and created a puzzle, and the second one has a clue hidden in the music notes. You can also overlay transparent images on a Google Drawing so it makes an area clickable. See the animation below.
You can add more images for visual appeal or as fake clues. You also want your background and titles to be fun. I created some fun graphics in my TrianglesOnly.com breakout.
4. You will use a Google Form to create your locks. I sometimes embed a countdown timer from youtube. BreakoutEDU has a great one that is free to use.
You can also use images of locks to visually represent what lock they are looking for. You want to click the 3 dots in the bottom right corner and select response validation. Set the lock code to what you want. Remember, they are case sensitive so tell your audience how to type it.
5. Now we will put it all together. I use Google Sites (sites.google.com) and house everything there. You can pull directly from your Google Drive to embed your Google Drawings (with transparent links), Google Forms, and any images you have stored in your drive. Word of caution, if you plan to use multiple pages (which I sometimes do) have participants open the Google Form in a new tab so they don’t lose the combinations they have already entered when they click on a new link in the site. If you are not familiar with Google Sites, Matt Miller has a walk-through on Ditch That Textbook that will help.
Here is a link to a Christmas Breakout I made to follow-up our 12 Days of Techmas.
And another Breakout for Geometry called TrianglesOnly.com
Hopefully you will find creating Digital Breakouts as fun as I do. I know my students love them.
I love to customize my Google Classroom banners. I mean, the ones provided by Google are super cute, but if you can add a Bitmoji then it’s better I say. I also sometimes include some icons for the content area. I create my own to avoid copyright issues, but noun project is another great resource to use.
You will create these in Google Drawing. Google Drawing is located in your Drive under more or in your Google waffle.
Now we want to go to page set-up under file, select custom, change inches to pixels and create an 800 x 200 pixel canvas.
Now the fun can begin. If you right click (or control click) on the canvas it will allow you to change the background of the canvas. I like to use the gradient feature so the middle is a little lighter.
I’ve you know ANYTHING about me, you know I like to use the Bitmoji extension. You can learn about how to use the extension in this blog post. Now remember, you don’t want to put words in the middle of you banner because Google Classroom will put the class label in the middle. You also want to leave a little room on the outside edges so it fits your browser configuration.
I added the words Happy Holidays too. Word Art is another fun tool to use if you want to play around with it.
Now you are ready to download your creation. I like .png, but you can also use .jpg
Now that you have your image in your downloads folder or whatever location you send your downloads. Now let’s put this into Google Classroom. Click on the upload photo link in the bottom right corner. Select or drag your image in. TAH DAH, you have a new custom header.
You can see my previous custom header and the new holiday header I just created. Notice the color does get a little darker when you upload. You might also play around with the location of your images. I move mine more towards the top than centered so it looks centered once inside of Classroom.
Now, let’s take this a step further. How about you let students create custom headers and each week you display a new one? Evan Mosier is having one of his classes do this and he has shared a site will the headers created by his students. They are free for anyone to use.
If you make one of your own, let me know @MandiTolenEDU on Twitter. If you use a banner from one of Evan’s students, give them a shout-out on Twitter.
Stop Motion videos in Google Slides is such an easy project for teachers and students. I first learned about Stop Motion from @ericcurts on his blog Control Alt Achieve. @jmattmiller also has some fun stop motion information on his blog too.
I created a super short little stop motion that I turned into an animated gif using Tall Tweets then embedded into a Google slide presentation, even cropping it because it acts as an image.
Stop motion videos are super easy to make in Google Slides. For the one above, I created background then I drug in my Bitmoji and placed it at the top.
Next you duplicate the slide and using the arrow keys or sliding with your mouse, move your image a little bit.
Continue the process until you have moved your object to the end. This short little movie had 11 slides total.
Now the fun begins. Using the website Tall Tweets, load your Google Slide, this sometimes takes a bit depending on the size. Next, select the duration. Play with this a little until the movie looks like you want. You can check by clicking the create gif button. When you are happy with your movie, you can save it or tweet it.
Below are some stop motion videos I created for a Triangle Congruence lesson. So yes, you can use stop motion for academic purposes too. Image how much fun it would be for students to create their own!
If you make stop motion videos, please share and tag me on Twitter @TTmomTT. I would LOVE to see them!
I love to create sketchnotes and have tried my hand at bullet journals. I love creating sketchnotes on my iPad, but I have always kept a paper journal. This year I discovered a PDF linked electronic bullet journal that you can use in Notability or GoodNotes. I wanted to try it out but not spend a ton of money on it. I discovered a tutorial online that taught me how to make one using Keynote. OH MY GOSH, it was so much fun. I created a teacher planner and I LOVE how it works. I’ve provided the PDF file for you to use if you want to try it out too.
Yes, I know, you can use Google calendar and I do, but there is something about writing on a calendar that works for me.
You click on the tabs on the side to take you to the month you want. You can click on beginning of the week to take you to the week you want.
You need to store the PDF in Google Drive or Dropbox and import it to Notability. You can also use GoodNotes, but I haven’t personally tried it.
Enjoy the file. Remember this is my first attempt so I can’t promise perfection. You an also go on Etsy and search for electronic bullet journals to find some others have created.
A lesson is only as good as the updates you make. This activity, which I first blogged about here and here, came from Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller. I love this idea and now use it as an alternative assessment activity. Please go back and read how this started for me.
One reason I love this activity so much is because it gives students choice and freedom of topic, they become the teacher so they learn the content more deeply, they peer edit which is a very crucial skill, and this year I added a Flipgrid component in collaboration with another school.
I have updated my planning documents a little. They are posted on the posts, but this will be the most up-to-date document I have. I have also created a Google Slide presentation so very little teacher direction is needed. Another update I made this year was to increase the level of peer editing. Students do not intuitively know how to do this, so I updated the document so they have a little more guidance. Lastly, and probably the most exciting part for me, was creating these CYOA stories for a sister class in another district. We sent them our completed stories and then each student left feedback via Flipgrid. We’ve sent our stories to this district before but having video Feedback through Flipgrid was amazing and meant a lot more for my students.
I’ve included some fun examples from this year. I encouraged my Geometry students to create circular images as part of the story. You can check the links above for examples from previous years including some Algebra 1 examples.
Including the Flipgrid responses from our sister school was an amazing addition. My students loved seeing the faces and hearing their reviewers. It also made the audience “authentic” to them. We did get permission from their parents for my students to view them but we did not include releasing it publically so I can’t share the link to the grid. I’ve included a screenshot of the grid below.
You can find a link to my resources below.
Planning Guide – 2018 CYOA Scoring Guide-Algebra
Student Peer Review Document – 2018 CYOA Scoring Guide-Algebra
Here is an example of a peer review. In my experience, you need to model this for your students. I have, in the past, peer-edited my own story with the class so they see what to look for.
Please give credit to Matt Miller and me if you use this idea. It has been a fabulous learning experience in my classroom and I look forward to the next update!
Key features of parabolas are important to understand the why behind quadratic graphs. It seems intuitive, and it is provided an image, but often the situation is represented as a graph with only words to guide students. My students can graph them but seem to struggle with where things are on the graph. We approached quadratics much differently this year, using only Desmos and graphing calculators to graph. We started with an idea from a colleague at another high school in my district. She uses fly swatters on day one to review key features of a parabola. This is not in the context of a situation but a good place to start. Student LOVED this activity.
This is played relay style (picture was taken on pajama day for homecoming, hence the jammies) and students run up and smack the parabola on the key feature selected.
link to slidedeck
I also gave an exit ticket in Desmos activity builder to see where we still needed to remediate. I really liked this one because it was open-ended. They moved the parabola around to meet each requirement.
I’ve included the link to the Desmos activity if you would like to use it as well.
Lastly, we worked with real situations. I gave them an Angry Birds picture and had them label, with their elbow partner, initial height, maximum height, time to max height, and time to the ground. It went pretty well and they got everything but initial height, which led to great discussions.
Our last activity was giving them a situation with an equation, they graphed it in Desmos and used their graph to make #mathsnaps. Bitmoji has updated so it wasn’t as easy to use since the beginning of the year (sad face). Students must now create an account on their app (iOS or Android) then link that to the Chrome extension. For students who didn’t have access to the app, I provided a link to clipart and emojis they could use. Here are a few of the math snaps I received this year.
This is without feedback so some of the information isn’t correct. We’ll be conferencing about it soon.
We learn from mistakes and some of mine will have some learning opportunities. YES!
I love Bitmojis. I love to show people how easy Bitmoji is to use in Google apps with the Bitmoji Chrome extension. I love to make these Bitmojis custom with your school logo or Google or Ditch That Textbook on the shirt. Here are a few I’ve created and use often.
The second one is my Algebra 1 team. We shared a Google Drawing and each dropped in our Bitmojis. We used this for back-to-school documents.
This one we made as a header for Google Classroom. This was our technology group that presented at our New Teacher Institute this year. We each had our school shirt on. LOVE IT!
Before I get sidetracked by all the fun things we can do with custom Bitmojis, this is really about creating custom FEEDBACK Bitmojis for your students.
Before you begin, you will need to download the Bitmoji Chrome Extension. If you haven’t created your Bitmoji, stop, do it now, RIGHT NOW! You are missing out on soooo much fun!
Bitmoji created? Ok, resume the blog post.
This first video is a short tutorial on how to create a custom Bitmoji in Google Drawing. This can be used in ANYTHING, not just Google Keep. I use these in Google Slides and on Twitter all the time.
This alone should make your day. But if you want the awesomeness to continue, place these images in Google Keep for quick feedback in Google Docs. The next video will show you how to do this.
Please share your custom Bitmojis with me on Twitter (@TTmomTT). Here’s a Twitter tip, download your custom Bitmoji as a .jpg so the background turns white. Most of the time you want a transparent background but Twitter will turn that transparent background black and make it more difficult to see.
Hope to see your custom Bitmoji around the Twittersphere.
I can’t believe that a year has passed. It seems like yesterday when I was sitting at my computer, waiting to see if I had been selected. I was more than excited when I was selected and the fast and furious adventure began.
What a wonderful group of educators you are surrounded by in the Innovator program. I am amazed at our ideas and desire to make education better. If you follow the #GoogleEI hashtag on Twitter you will see the amazing group of people I have been honored to join.
I miss my #TOR16 group and wish we could see each other more! I hear other cohorts talk about their group members and now I completely understand the awe and respect they have for each other. This group is amazing!
My innovator project started as an idea to use Google Expeditions in the math classroom. With encouragement from my coaches, it morphed into an online repository of activities to Make Math Not Suck. The name, logo, and website design have gone through many iterations but I am so happy with the results. I love when other teachers send me a message telling me that the projects or questioning activities I’ve shared have helped them. This is what #GoogleEI is all about. Sharing your ideas with the world to make the world a better place. I’ve had the opportunity to share this information at Google Summits, conferences, and with schools. #GoogleEI opens so many doors so you can share more. I want to give a huge shout-out to Shaelynn Farnsworth, my amazing mentor. She has encouraged and challenged me and helped make my project better. I hope I can measure up to her when I become a mentor.
So… this is the end of my first year as a Google Innovator. I can’t say thank you enough for the experience, the opportunity, the challenge, the collaboration, the support, and most of all the family. I look forward to representing the #GoogleEI group with new ideas.
To my #TOR16 family… I wish we were all closer. Our academy time together was amazing, and I love running into cohort members at different events. I love to see everyone’s accomplishments and look forward to seeing how we continue to make education better.
If you are considering applying to be a Google for Education Innovator, GO FOR IT! This has been one of the best decisions of my life!
I REALLY dislike cutting out paper activities. This dislike is what prompted me to create my first activity (drag and drop Geometry Proofs) with technology. When my team found a fun Memory Game activity I CRINGED at the thought of cutting out all of those sets and then finding a place to store them.
I went through a few attempts to create a memory game in Google Slides. I thought about linking pages but I needed to see two at a time. I wanted to remove one element “on click” but I could only get them to dissolve in a specific order. I settled on deleting the cards and it worked like a charm.
I know, you are all wanting to create your own memory game now! You’re in luck, I have a quick tutorial for you!
I used the basic white background so it didn’t distract from game. Place all of the “back side” of the cards, the part with the content, evenly spaced on your background. I ended up putting boxes around mine to help me get them spaced. I love that Google Slides give you guide lines as you place your items.
You can also use the arrange menu and select horizontal or vertical and align them perfectly.
This is probably the most important step. We don’t want the background to be deleted while we are playing the game. Once you have the “back side” set exactly as you want it, go to file – download as – and pick jpg or png.
Once it’s downloaded, delete all of your elements. I know, that’s scary. I do go into my history and set that version as editable background, you know, just in case you made a mistake.
Now you will set this as the background. There is a background button on the top middle of the menu bar. Once you click it, select your image and set as the background. Now you can breathe again. All of that work is still there, not gone forever!
We are ready to make the cards. I used the rectangle shape and held down the SHIFT key to make sure I had perfect squares.
I used the gradient tool to select the background and put a ? on it just like the original memory game.
One suggestion from my students was to make this an image so the ? wasn’t editable. Sometimes when clicking on the square they got the ? instead.
You can copy and paste these and use the align tool again to get them close to where you want them. Then move them exactly where you need them.
Create the rules page. I’ve included the image of my rules page below. It explains how you would “flip” the cards over to play the game.
Play the game!
I sent this to my students through Google Classroom and said make a copy for each student. They enjoyed it and learned from the activity as well.
If you make a memory game, please share! I love to see how people use my ideas.