Friday, May 26, 2023

Enhancing Classroom Engagement: The Synergy of Sketchnoting and Flip

In today's modern educational landscape, it is essential to adopt innovative techniques that not only engage students but also cater to diverse learning styles. Sketchnoting, the practice of visually capturing ideas, and Flip, a platform for making fun, creative videos, complement each other and can significantly enhance student engagement in the classroom. This blog post explores how the integration of sketchnoting and Flip can promote active learning and supports English learners in accessing the curriculum.

Sketchnoting with paper and pencil enables students to actively process and visually represent key concepts. By sketching their understanding, students reinforce their learning, improve memory retention, and develop critical thinking skills. Sketchnoting encourages students to synthesize information, identify main ideas, and make connections between concepts. This hands-on approach fosters creativity and allows students to personalize their learning experience. Additionally, the sketchnoting process provides teachers with multiple opportunities to provide real-time, individualized feedback. These encounters lead to authentic, one-one-one teachable moments with a teacher and a student. These moments create a classroom culture where the teacher is not a sage on the stage, but a guide on the side.

The sketchnoting process done by a student in Mrs. Cruz' class in Central CA.

Once students have sketched their ideas, Flip becomes a powerful tool for transforming their static visual notes into dynamic video explanations. Using Flip's fun, creative tools, students can create engaging videos that explain complex concepts. This process encourages students to delve deeper into the subject matter, develop effective communication skills, and demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the material. The combination of sketchnoting and Flip enables students to become active creators and presenters of their knowledge.

In addition, if the Flip topic is set for the class to see all the videos, a valuable digital citizenship opportunity is created. Students should be encouraged to leave positive feedback and ask clarifying questions on their classmates' videos. Building this positive habit with Flip can build similar habits when students engage in social media. 

Mrs. Cruz's students created trailers for their state reports.

For English learners, accessing the curriculum can be challenging due to language barriers. However, sketchnoting and Flip provide valuable support by offering a visual and interactive approach. Sketchnoting allows English learners to visually organize information, making it more accessible and easier to comprehend. The combination of images, icons, and keywords helps students develop vocabulary and language skills. Furthermore, Flip empowers English learners to create videos that convey their understanding, allowing them to practice language use in a meaningful context.

The integration of sketchnoting and Flip creates a powerful synergy in the classroom. By combining the benefits of paper and pencil sketching with the interactive and creative capabilities of Flip, students' engagement and understanding of key concepts are enhanced. This approach is particularly advantageous for English learners as it provides visual support and encourages language development. Educators can harness the potential of sketchnoting and Flip to create a dynamic and inclusive learning environment, where students actively participate, showcase their creativity, and take ownership of their learning.

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

The New Menu Search Bar in Google Docs


Google Docs has been a go-to platform for document creation, editing, and collaboration for millions of users across the globe. And now, with the new update that has added a Menu search bar in the toolbar across the top, it has become even easier to find features and functions without having to remember where everything is located.

This new update has been designed to save time and enhance productivity. With so many features and functions available in Google Docs, it can sometimes be overwhelming to find a particular tool, especially for new users. This is where the Menu search bar comes in handy. Now, instead of scrolling through various menus and sub-menus, users can simply type in what they're looking for in the search bar, and the platform will automatically display the relevant option.

For instance, let's say you want to add a hyperlink to your document, but you don't remember where the Header" option is located. With the Menu search bar, you can just type in "Header," and the option will appear in the search results. This feature makes it faster and easier to access the various tools and features within the platform, ultimately boosting productivity.

Another benefit of this update is that it can help users discover new features they may not have known existed. For example, if you're not aware of the new location of the "Explore" feature in Google Docs, you can simply search for it in the Menu search bar and learn more about how it can help you create better documents.

In conclusion, the addition of the Menu search bar in the Google Docs toolbar is a welcome update for users of all levels. It simplifies the process of finding tools and features, saves time, and enhances productivity. Whether you're a new or experienced user, this update is definitely worth exploring!

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

Monday, April 24, 2023

First Timers Adapt the Sketch & Tell EduProtocol


The Sketch & Tell EduProtocol, originally designed to enhance comprehension and engagement through visual storytelling, has quickly become a favorite among teachers. In this blog post, we'll explore the creative ways two teachers have adapted this powerful protocol to fit their unique classroom needs. 6th Grade teacher Jeff Uruchurtu tailored the protocol to help students grasp prepositional phrases, while 8th Grade teacher Eduardo Lemus transformed it into an exciting scavenger hunt for vocabulary terms.

  (Disclaimer: Both teachers gave me permission to use their names and show student work samples.)

Adapting Sketch & Tell for Prepositional Phrases (6th Grade ELA)

For Jeff, the challenge was finding a way to make the concept of prepositional phrases accessible and engaging to their students. After discovering the Sketch & Tell EduProtocol, they realized that this innovative approach could be the key to unlocking their students' understanding.

He began by introducing prepositional phrases and providing a few examples. Then, he asked the students to create a visual representation of these phrases using the Sketch & Tell method. Students were tasked with drawing simple scenes that incorporated various prepositional phrases, such as "on the table" or "under the bridge."

Once students had completed their sketches, they presented their visual narratives to the class, describing the action using the prepositional phrases they had incorporated. This exercise not only allowed students to practice their speaking skills but also provided them with a deeper understanding of the role that prepositional phrases play in sentences.

Following the presentations, students were asked to write sentences using the prepositional phrases they had explored during the activity. This step solidified their comprehension of the topic and demonstrated the effectiveness of the adapted Sketch & Tell protocol.

The Sketch & Tell Eduprotocol allowed Mr. Uruchurtu to build on their students' background knowledge of prep phrases, making the micro presentation an easy and comfortable structure for students to talk about content and present in front of peers. Furthermore, the repetition of the process proved to be essential in accommodating English learners and developing their sentence writing skills in a more natural way.

The Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt (8th Grade ELA)

8th Grade teacher Eduardo Lemus, on the other hand, saw the potential for the Sketch & Tell Eduprotocol to enhance vocabulary learning in his classroom. Instead of merely introducing key vocabulary terms from a novel, he decided to turn the experience into an interactive scavenger hunt.

First, he provided the students with a list of essential vocabulary words from the upcoming novel. Next, he challenged the students to locate these words in the text and sketch a visual representation of the term based on its context. By doing so, students were able to explore the novel's setting and themes while developing a better understanding of the vocabulary terms.

After students completed their sketches, they shared their findings with their peers, explaining the context of the vocabulary term and its meaning in the story. This interactive approach encouraged students to actively engage with the material and make personal connections to the novel.

After implementing the Sketch & Tell Eduprotocol, the Mr. Lemus noticed a significant increase in student engagement and participation. Additionally, the use of visuals and sentence frames not only helped English learners feel more included, but also deepened their connection to new vocabulary, while easing their fear of public speaking. 

Both Mr. Uruchurtu and Mr. Lemus successfully adapted the Sketch & Tell EduProtocol to fit their specific classroom objectives. By doing so, they not only enhanced their students' understanding of prepositional phrases and vocabulary terms but also fostered creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. The flexibility of the Sketch & Tell protocol demonstrates its potential as a versatile tool in education, capable of meeting the diverse needs of today's classrooms.

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

ChatGPT: Personal Research Assistant for Students


Do you want to improve your students' research skills and help them produce high-quality work? In many cases, students tend to rely on the first results they find in a traditional Google search, which can be unreliable or inaccurate. That's where ChatGPT, an AI tool, can come in handy. ChatGPT can assist students in finding more reputable articles that provide textual evidence to support their claims, saving them time and ensuring they use high-quality sources.

With so much information available online, students often struggle to identify reliable sources for their research. ChatGPT can help by providing students with a list of reputable sources such as academic journals, peer-reviewed articles, and books written by experts in the field. By using ChatGPT, students can save time and ensure they are using high-quality sources in their research.

Once students have identified potential sources, they need to read and analyze the articles to determine if they are relevant and provide the evidence they need to support their claims. This is another area where ChatGPT can assist students. ChatGPT can analyze the text of the article, identify key themes and arguments, and highlight the evidence used to support those arguments. This can help students focus on the most relevant information and save them time.

Furthermore, ChatGPT can assist with the writing process. For students who struggle with articulating their argument or finding the right words to express their ideas, ChatGPT can provide suggestions and feedback to help them improve their writing. This can be particularly helpful for students who are not native speakers of English or who struggle with writing in general.

Moreover, ChatGPT can provide context and background information. If students are researching a historical event or a complex scientific concept, ChatGPT can provide background information to help students understand the topic more deeply. This is especially useful for students who are new to a field of study or who are trying to learn about a topic outside of their area of expertise.

Finally, ChatGPT can help students stay organized throughout the research process. By keeping track of sources and notes, ChatGPT can help students stay on top of their research and ensure that they are meeting all of their requirements. The search results students choose to use can be easily copied and pasted into digital note taking tools such as Microsoft OneNote, Google Keep, Evernote and more. As students write and report findings with word processors such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, the search results and sources found with ChatGPT can easily be cited in a myriad of citation styles.

It's understandable that some educators might feel apprehensive about using AI tools such as ChatGPT. However, it's important to keep in mind that ChatGPT is not meant to replace traditional research methods, but rather to supplement and enhance them. ChatGPT's ability to enhance the research and writing process is similar to how GPS has improved our ability to navigate and travel. Teachers should see ChatGPT as a valuable resource for students who are looking to improve their research skills and writing abilities. By using ChatGPT to help students find, analyze, and organize their sources, teachers can save time and focus on providing personalized feedback to their students. It's also essential to work with students individually or in small groups to review and vet the suggestions provided by ChatGPT. This way, teachers can ensure that the information students use is reputable and relevant to their research question or topic.

In conclusion, ChatGPT can be a valuable resource for students who are researching reputable articles to provide textual evidence to support their claims. By helping students find, analyze, and organize their sources, as well as providing context and feedback on their writing, ChatGPT can save students time and help them produce higher-quality work. As educators, we should embrace technology and AI tools such as ChatGPT to enhance our teaching and help our students succeed.

If you're interested in bringing me to your school for professional development, workshops, keynotes, training, or a follow-up on this or any of my previous blog posts, please click here to schedule an appointment to chat. My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette, is now available on Amazon and published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Click here to purchase. Don't forget to follow the hashtags #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

ChatGPT and Google Classroom: Power Up Your Ability To Provide Feedback

As an AI language model, ChatGPT can help teachers provide feedback on student writing more easily. In a previous blog post, I discussed ways to use AI tools such as ChatGPT to expedite the feedback process for student writing. Building on this, as an avid user of Google Classroom, I realized that feedback generated by ChatGPT can be stored in the Google Classroom comment bank. This can significantly reduce the amount of time spent grading student assignments.

One of the biggest challenges faced by teachers when grading student writing is providing informative and constructive feedback that is tailored to each student's needs. This process can be tedious and time-consuming, especially for writing assignments that require nuance and subjectivity. ChatGPT can simplify this process by generating criteria-based suggestions that are customized for each student.

For example, if a student is struggling with grammar and punctuation, ChatGPT can generate comments that focus on those specific areas. Similarly, if a student is struggling with the structure of their writing, ChatGPT can provide guidance. When you notice trends and similarities in the feedback that students need for issues such as grammar and punctuation, you can save them in the Google Classroom comment bank. To do this, simply copy and paste into the comment bank. This allows teachers to access and reuse comments across multiple assignments, saving time and ensuring consistency in grading.

Moreover, by storing comments in the comment bank, teachers can easily collaborate with their colleagues. If your department or PLC is using a shared Google Classroom for common or standardized assessments, all co-teachers have access to the comment bank. They can share and reuse effective comments, or create a set of standard comments that can be used across their department or school.

However, using AI-generated feedback has some potential drawbacks. Some teachers may feel that this approach is impersonal and lacks the nuance and context that human feedback can provide. Others may be concerned about the reliability and accuracy of the suggestions generated by ChatGPT.

It's important to view ChatGPT as a tool that can supplement, but not replace, the feedback provided by teachers. By using ChatGPT to generate criteria-based suggestions, teachers can save time and focus on providing more personalized and nuanced feedback to their students.

ChatGPT can be an incredibly useful tool for teachers looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their feedback. By generating criteria-based suggestions that can be stored in the Google Classroom comment bank, ChatGPT can streamline the grading process while providing targeted and personalized feedback to each student. Although using AI-generated feedback has potential drawbacks, it can be an invaluable tool for teachers looking to improve the quality of their feedback while also reducing their workload. Think of ChatGPT as a personal assistant and adapt its suggestions based on your expertise and knowledge of your students.

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat. My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

Friday, February 24, 2023

ChatGPT Can Be A Superpower For Teachers Teaching Writing

The use of AI tools, such as ChatGPT, in education has been met with initial reactions of hesitance and fear that students may cheat and teachers may be replaced by machines. Although these concerns are understandable, employing a growth mindset and innovative, student-centered pedagogy can transform AI tools into a teacher's superpower.

Providing feedback on student writing is an essential part of the teaching and learning process that fosters a growth mindset and a lifelong learning ethic. However, grading a large number of student papers can be time-consuming and overwhelming for teachers. This is where technology can be of great help. With the assistance of ChatGPT, teachers can expedite the process of providing feedback to students on their writing.

ChatGPT is an AI language model developed by OpenAI that can generate text, answer questions, and assist with a variety of tasks. It is capable of producing high-quality responses to a wide range of prompts and can serve as a virtual assistant.

One way that ChatGPT can expedite the process of providing feedback to students is by automating the grading process. This can be done by training ChatGPT on a set of criteria that the teacher uses to evaluate student papers. For example, teachers can ask ChatGPT to identify specific types of errors, such as grammar or spelling mistakes, or to pinpoint areas where students need to improve. The more specific the prompts are, the better ChatGPT works.

The process involves entering the criteria into ChatGPT and pasting the student's writing into the system for analysis. ChatGPT will then provide feedback based on the entered criteria, which can take the form of a summary of the key points, suggestions for improvement, or a score.

Teachers can also use ChatGPT to provide more detailed feedback to students. For instance, they can ask ChatGPT to generate sample sentences that illustrate specific grammatical concepts or provide examples of how to structure a paragraph. ChatGPT can also explain complex concepts that may be difficult for students to understand, thereby helping them learn more quickly and improve their writing skills.

Using products like Google Docs for student writing and platforms like Google Classroom, teachers can use ChatGPT to expedite the feedback process. As students write, teachers can access their work, copy and paste it into ChatGPT, and receive real-time feedback that can be copied and pasted into the commenting functions of Docs and Classroom. Developing a system within Google Classroom that chunks the writing into multiple Assignments can help students better organize and process the feedback before submitting a final draft.

The use of ChatGPT in providing feedback can also be an effective way to build relationships with students. Teachers can review the feedback with students one-on-one or in small groups by pasting some student writing into ChatGPT and asking it to provide bullet point feedback for the students to take back and revise their writing.

Finally, ChatGPT can automate the process of providing feedback to a large number of students by creating a standardized set of comments or feedback that can be used for multiple students. This saves time and ensures that all students receive the same level of feedback. The teacher can then review the feedback provided by ChatGPT and make any necessary adjustments before sharing it with students. ChatGPT-generated comments can be saved in a comments bank for future reference if Google Classroom is used.

It is important to note that using ChatGPT or any AI tool for feedback has limitations. While ChatGPT can expedite the process of providing feedback to students, it is not a substitute for a human teacher. It may not identify all of the nuances of a student’s writing and may not provide personalized feedback tailored to individual student needs. Additionally, ChatGPT's effectiveness is only as good as the data, prompts, and criteria provided by humans.

As I wrap up this blog post, let it be known that I used ChatGPT to give me targeted feedback on each paragraph. I used the feedback to improve the writing, grammar and syntax. ChatGPT is my own personal assistant and proofreader. 

Take a look at the video below showing ChatGPT at work. The example shows a prompt where I asked it to give paragraph by paragraph feedback.

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat. My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Design Thinking, ChatGPT and Eduprotocols


Design thinking is an innovative problem-solving approach that emphasizes creativity, empathy, and an end user-centered mindset. By using Chat GPT and Eduprotocols together, educators can create engaging learning experiences that allow students to engage in design thinking and develop a range of skills that are essential for success in the 21st century.

ChatGPT is an advanced language model developed by OpenAI that can simulate human conversation. By using ChatGPT in the design thinking process, students can have a virtual assistant that can provide them with information, answer questions, and generate ideas for their projects. ChatGPT can be integrated into the design thinking process in many ways, such as helping students research and brainstorm solutions to problems, facilitating the empathy by allowing students to engage in a simulated conversation with people who are affected by the problem, and providing feedback and suggestions to throughout the process.

For those not familiar with the design thinking process, below are the basic steps. Be mindful that these steps do not necessarily always follow this order and reordering and going back and forth is acceptable as new insights are found during the process.

  • Empathize: In this stage, designers seek to understand the needs, wants, and challenges of the people they are designing for. This can involve observing, interviewing, or otherwise engaging with the target audience.
  • Define: In this stage, designers define the problem they are trying to solve. This involves synthesizing the insights gained in the empathize stage into a clear and actionable problem statement.
  • Ideate: In this stage, designers generate a wide range of ideas that could potentially solve the defined problem. This can involve brainstorming and sketching.
  • Prototype: In this stage, designers create simple and inexpensive prototypes of their ideas in order to test and refine them. This can involve creating physical or digital prototypes, depending on the nature of the problem being addressed.
  • Test: In this stage, designers test their prototypes with the target audience to gain feedback and insights. This can involve conducting user testing or other forms of feedback gathering.

If you're not yet familiar with Eduprotocols, they are a series of structured activities and reusable lesson frames that promote active learning, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. They are cross-curricular and can be adapted for any grade level. By using Eduprotocols in conjunction with design thinking, educators can create a more engaging and interactive learning experience that allows students to effectively engage in the 4 C's.

One Eduprotocol that works particularly well with design thinking is Iron Chef. In a nutshell, an Iron Chef is like a jigsaw that overtly engages students in the 4 C's. In this protocol, students work in teams to research and develop a solution to a problem or challenge. Each team is given a specific set of tools or resources that they must use to complete their project, just like an Iron Chef who is given a specific set of ingredients to use in their dishes. The Iron Chef Protocol promotes creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration, making it an ideal tool for the design thinking process.

To use Chat GPT and Eduprotocols together in the design thinking process, educators can follow these steps:

  • Introduce the design thinking process to students by providing them with a challenge or problem to solve. This could be a real-world or local issue, a project related to a specific subject area, or a prompt related to a particular skill or competency. 
  • Set up an Iron Chef by dividing students into teams and provide each team with a set of tools or resources that they must use to complete the project. For example, one team might be given a research database, another team might be given a design software, and a third team might be given a set of images or videos. The different resources can serve as the secret ingredient portion of the Iron Chef.
  • Use Chat GPT to facilitate the research and brainstorming stages of the design thinking process. For example, students can use ChatGPT to generate ideas, ask questions, and get feedback on their solutions. ChatGPT can also be used to facilitate the empathize stage by allowing students to engage in a simulated conversation with people who are affected by the problem or challenge. (Chat GPT, at the moment, is an 18 and over tool. Usage of this tool, for the time being, will need to be via a teacher account and with teacher supervision. This can alter the flow of an Iron Chef, but still feasible.)
  • Use the Iron Chef Protocol to facilitate the ideation and prototyping stages of the design thinking process. For example, each team can work on a specific solution to the problem (each team member tackles a different aspect) using the tools and resources they have been given. The Iron Chef Protocol promotes creativity and collaboration, and it encourages students to work together to create a solution that meets the needs of the user or audience.
  • In the presentation portion of Iron Chef, other teams can provide feedback to fuel the testing and refining stages of the design thinking process. 

By using ChatGPT and Eduprotocols together, educators can create engaging learning experiences that allow students to engage in design thinking and develop a range of skills that are essential for success in the 21st century.

If you'd like to learn more about Chat GPT and other AI tools, click here to view a webinar from my friends at TeacherGoals. For more information about Eduprotocols, go to and or join the Eduprotocols Facebook Group by clicking here

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Google Certified Educator Levels 1 & 2 Exam Prep Bootcamps (Asynchronous)


Looking to become a Google Certified Educator? Look no further than our exam prep bootcamp! At AdaKat EdTech Consulting, our program is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to pass the Google Certified Educator Exams, Level 1 and 2. Our Google Certified Trainers will guide you through scenarios that will prepare you for the ideas and concepts you will encounter on the exam.  

Additionally, we will provide you with practical tips and tricks to apply your Google Workspace skills to create more engaging lessons and expedite your workflow. With our bootcamps, you'll have access to a wealth of resources, including tutorials, best practices, challenges and your own personal Certified Trainer for feedback. Enroll now and take the first step toward becoming a Google Certified Educator!

Each bootcamp provides with you with access to the materials for 3 months or 2 weeks after completion. Included in the price is an exam voucher. Click the links below to see more details on each bootcamp.

Level 1 -  Level 2

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Boost Efficiency and Power Up Collaboration with Google Classroom Shells


Two things educators all need are more time and collaboration. Google Classroom Shells is a simple idea, hiding in plain sight, to help streamline the lesson design process all the while forming a foundation for effective collaboration in departments and PLC’s.

A Shell is a Google Classroom with no students enrolled. If you are fan of Marvel, it's a little bit like the "mirror dimension" from the first Dr. Strange movie. The "mirror dimension" is a place where sorcerers can practice their spells without affecting the real world. Your Shell allows you to fine tune activities, templates, instructions, accommodations and more without students seeing it. When your assignments, and different versions of them are set in your Shell, simply reuse them in your Classrooms in which students are enrolled. These templates are set so you can add unique details and documents without having to retype instructions, etc. A Google Classroom Shell is your "mirror dimension".

In this session, learn to develop a class shell within Google Classroom to house templates of often-used assignments, activities and Eduprotocols. In addition, learn to use a class shell to facilitate collaboration with departments and PLCs for common assignments and assessments. Each example shared will be rooted in 4 C’s lesson design in order to increase engagement while empowering students to take ownership of their own learning. Attendees will leave the session ready to create different types of Google Classroom Shells: Go-To Activity Templates, Common Activities and Assessments for PLCs, Eduprotocols, Curriculum Aligned, and Fitness for PE Class.

"Go-To Activities" Shell

No matter how long you've been teaching, you likely have an arsenal of go-to activities and assignments that can be reused for multiple topics. During the pandemic and distance learning, if you weren't already using Google Classroom, you were forced to adapt these lessons to Google Classroom.

One thing I found annoying was the process of reusing my go-to activities by reusing posts from different classes. Though not difficult, I was annoyed in how instructions and accommodations varied from class to class. I did not enjoy having to retype or re-edit instructions or re-attach unique versions of documents.

It was this inconvenience that led me to develop my first Google Classroom Shell. This Shell was just for me. One of my go-to assignments was my weekly assessment where I gave students the same 4 options each week to demonstrate learning. The only thing that changed was the weekly essential question. I put the instructions in English and Spanish and used the same rubric regardless of the topic. Each week, all I did was reuse the post from the Shell, type in that week's essential question and click Assign. This was such a huge time saver. Slowly, but surely, I began adding more template activities and assignments to the Shell. My lesson plan time was reduced dramatically

The X before the assignment name was a placeholder for the week number. When I reuse the post, I simply replace the X with the week number. Get started building your "Go-To Activities" Shell by creating posts with your instructions, leaving room for customization. In addition, add template documents that include the format you want to use, but open ended to add custom content for future reuse. When you reuse the post in the future, Classroom will make a copy of the documents for you. No need to attach template documents anymore!

Common Activities and Assessments for PLCs

After establishing with my Go-To Lessons Shell, colleagues thought it was a cool idea and wanted to use some of my templates. What we did instead was create a shared Shell for our PLC where we were all co-teachers. We each created a Topic with our name and added our go-to activities. Doing this, we all had access to each other's activities and template documents. We were able to reuse each other's materials.

In our PLC, we were mandated to periodically proctor common assessments. Using our PLC Shell, we collaborated on assignments for each assessment. We discussed and agreed upon instructions, documents and accommodations. We created a generic version of the assignment in addition to versions for English learners and SPED students. We were able to reuse any version from the Shell. For organizational purposes, we created a Topic titled "Common Assessments".

This process galvanized our PLC and made collaboration very enjoyable. For common assessments, we downloaded our student scores to compare data at future meetings. 

Get started with this process by creating a Classroom and inviting colleagues as co-teachers. From there, create a topic for each member and add your templates and go-to activities.


These days, Eduprotocols are all the rage. If you're reading this and you haven't heard of Eduprotocols, open a new browser window and navigate to You will not be disappointed. 

For those of you new to Eduprotocols, in a nutshell, they are a series of lesson frames that can be reused over and over, with the 4C's embedded and applicable to any grade level or subject. As Eduprotocols became a huge part of my teaching, I instinctively built an Eduprotocols Shell. Just like in my "Go-To Activities" Shell, the instructions, accommodations and template documents stay the same each time I reuse. Only the topics or content changes. Below is a screenshot of my Thin Slides template.

When I reuse this Eduprotocol template, I add the topic and week number in the title. If you're new to Eduprotocols, Thin Slides is what I recommend you use to get started before diving into the rest. It's great for checking for understanding and getting students comfortable presenting in front of their peers. I facilitate by reusing the post then adding a specific topic and giving students 3 minutes to build their slide. On their slide, they will include ONLY one word and one picture about a takeaway, opinion or idea about the assigned topic. They click turn in and I present via Google Classroom on the projector each student's slide. 

When student's slide appears, they have roughly 7 seconds to present, elaborating on their one word and one picture. The one picture and word is there to help them remember what they want to say. In less than 10 minutes, I can have every kid present, everyday. Imagine how comfortable they will be presenting by the end of the year! If interested in joining one of my Eduprotocols Shells as a co-teacher, email me at

Curriculum Aligned

If you like the idea of creating a Shell for your department or PLC, then you'll be sure to like the idea of building a curriculum aligned Shell. This type of Shell, best created with a department, takes a specific curriculum and develops assignments and activities that align with each section and chapter of the textbook. 

I originally thought of this type of Shell because I was disillusioned with how textbook companies often have an online version of their book with an accompanying system for which students will login to access curriculum aligned activities. This was just one more thing for students to login to. These systems often where heavy duty, taking up processor power on Chromebooks causing them to operate very slowly. 

Since we were already using Google Classroom, I decided to adapt the curriculum's prebuilt assignments, in addition to my own, to the Google Classroom environment. Classroom works fine on Chromebooks and do not slow them down. Working with colleagues, we went section by section and chapter by chapter creating a treasure trove of activities. If new teachers joined the department, they were given access to this Shell and they had a head start. Even though we were reusing these posts, we still maintained creative control to adapt them as needed. 

Below is a screenshot of a curriculum aligned Shell for a 7th grade World History class that contains Eduprotocols for each section in the textbook.

The naming conventions above were for the grade level, chapter and section. For example, 7.1.1 stands for 7th grade, chapter 1, section 1. No matter the section being covered, this department had activities already built beforehand for teachers to pick, choose and reuse. Get started by creating a new Classroom and inviting co-teachers. Crack open your curriculum, look at the chapter/section structure, create topics for each and start building your curriculum aligned activities. This will take some time if doing for an entire textbook, but the collaboration involved will strengthen your team and save time in the future. 

Fitness for PE Class

For years I struggled to find a way to meaningfully integrate technology into a PE class. Initially, I thought about getting students to use something like a Fitbit to track fitness, but that posed too many logistical problems. I thought about having students use a fitness app on their cellphones, but not every kid has a cellphone. After a conversation with a PE teacher, we decided Google Classroom was the answer. All of our students had access to Google Classroom either on their cellphone or a school issued Chromebook. 

A PE teacher friend and I built a PE Fitness Tracker Shell. This Shell included Google Classroom Questions where students would record mile times, sit and reach scores, height, weight and much more. This allowed the teacher and students to see their fitness and health progress over time. 

Topics were created to organize activities by BMI, cardio and flexibility records. The "x's" were there as placeholders for dates of recording. This helped the teachers and students see progress over time. Below is a screenshot of this Shell.

Google Classroom Shells are very versatile, help facilitate collaboration and save time. For what will you create a Google Classroom Shell? If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Simple Google Tools to Give English Learners Access to Curriculum

English learners often feel left out and teachers struggle to find ways to simply give them access to content. Have you ever felt a little uncomfortable trying to help give English learners access to content? If so, Google has a variety of easy to use tools that help teachers accommodate the learners and empower the learners to access the content. In this session, we will explore Google Docs/Slides Add-ons, Google Chrome extensions and systems to not only give access, but help aid with their development with the English language.

This session will demonstrate simple ways to use Google to give ELLs access to content in their home language and side-by-side with English. A common practice when attempting to give English learners access to content, teachers create separate versions of content or assignments in the home language. This can make English learners feel alienated, and at the same time, it does not help them grow with the English language. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for separate versions in the home language, but in this session, we will take a look at simple tools and systems to provide side-by-side translation in the same resource or activity. This can begin to help English learners feel included, accommodated and develop with the English language.

In this session, attendees will:

  • Take a look at tools built into Google Docs to aid with translation

  • Investigate Chrome extensions to help English learners access curriculum and engage

  • Demonstrate Add-ons in Google Docs and Slides for translation and engagement

  • Develop a system for side by side translation, not just versions in different languages

  • Practice using Google Translate conversation mode to enhance your ability to give in-person, real-time feedback

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

Monday, January 9, 2023

A Full Day of Professional Learning: Organic EdTech Integration with Google Workspace for Education

Are you looking for an action-packed full day of professional learning? If so, look no further. Bring in AdaKat EdTech Consulting to lead a day of affordable professional learning that will build teachers' capacity to organically integrate technology with Google Workspace for Education and more.

What does it mean to organically integrate technology? In our book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Supporting Digital Learning, we state "If you plan with the 4C's in mind, the tech will take care of itself". This means we lead with learning, never with tech. Using our 4C's lesson design process, teachers identify a learning goal and brainstorm how students will engage in communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. As the coach in this process, we rely heavily on the teacher, drawing upon their content expertise and years of experience. They know their content and students best and we will recommend technology we know resides in their teacher toolbox and only if it fits naturally. If no tech is required to enhance the learning process, we will not force it.


This day of professional learning begins by building teacher capacity and adding to their teacher toolbox. Using Google Workspace for Education tools primarily, we will show how use simple tools and strategies in innovative ways.

Executive Processing and Simple Tools for English Learners

Teachers will learn executive processing skills to expedite their workflow and how they can impart these same skills to their students. From there, we dive into simple tools that will give English learners access to content and curriculum. Supporting English learners is something all teachers must do, and we will demonstrate ideas, tips and tricks that hide in plain sight, and can be used effectively by anyone.

Engagement with Chromebooks

Too often Chromebooks are used only as tools for word processing or algorithm-based learning programs. Using Chromebooks in this manner does not engage all learners in the 4C's and makes students passive consumers of content. During this portion of the day, we will investigate ways to use Chromebooks to guide your students to be active creators of content. We'll take a look out maximizing the Chromebook's camera, built-in screen recording app and ways to strike a healthy balance of paper/pencil with technology.

Google Classroom Shells

With all of these ideas, skills, tips, tricks and strategies at the forefront, we will next take a deep dive into the development of Google Classroom Shells. Google Classroom Shells are a simple way to power up PLCs and departments increasing ability to collaborate. Attendees will learn to develop Shells for go-to lessons, common activities, common assessments, Eduprotocols, specific curriculum and even PE classes.

Now that attendees' toolboxes have begun to fill, this day of professional learning will culminate by designing lessons using our 4C's lesson design process. Using a simple 4 square, presenters will guide teachers in a brainstorm in how students will work towards a learning goal while engaging in each of the 4C's. The presenter will rely and draw upon the teachers' years of experience, content expertise and tech toolbox empowering them to organically integrate technology into the lesson. They will be given time to work one on one with the presenters, in groups and or with department/PLCs. Attendees will end the day with at least one lesson they can use in class the next day.

Are you interested in an action packed day of professional learning and lesson design like this? If so, please reach out to AdaKat EdTech Consulting. Click here to book an appointment discuss logistics and pricing. Click here to purchase a copy our book The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Supporting Digital Learning.