Using Google Keep to Solve Problems and Record Thinking During Math

Coaching Question: How can I integrate Google Keep into my Math Curriculum?

Math Keep

This year, educators have been raving over Google Keep in almost all areas of the curriculum. I immediately seem to gravitate towards mathematics when I think of the amazing ways we can use Google Keep in our classrooms.

Why Google Keep?

  1. Students may add a photograph from a digital or hard copy of the math problem.
  2. Students may use the drawing tool to annotate or solve the problem.
  3. Students may use the voice tool to explain their thinking, which not only records but also has the speech-text option, providing a transcript of their recording (only via mobile apps).
  4. Students may work collaboratively with a partner.
  5. Students may convert the note to a Google Doc.
  6. Students may then share their work with a teacher.
  7. Students may create a digital portfolio while creating and saving notes.

Example Math Assignment

If you distributed a paper or digital math problem to students, they could take a photograph or a screenshot of the problem. Students could then use the drawing tool to solve and annotate the math problem. This allows you to go paperless or share the assignment via any digital tool or whiteboard.


In this photograph, the student takes a picture of a problem on the computer screen or whiteboard. Then, solves the problem and annotates the image.

Students record their thinking using Voice Recorder

Students could add their thinking using the Keep mobile app voice recorder.


Mobile Devices have the Voice Recording feature.

The recording will then use the speech to text feature to provide a transcript. Students may correct and edit and errors in the transcript. Or add important details that they left out.

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Keep note now has audio and written transcript of audio.

Collaboration Tool

Students may collaborate with a partner and share their work with their teacher or group members.

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Convert to Google Doc and grab image text.

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If you click on the 3 dots, you have the option to copy the note to Google Docs or grab image text! How awesome is that?

Google Keep is really a “one stop shop” when it comes to seeing students work and understanding their thinking. I find this especially true if you are using the Keep App on mobile devices due to the Voice Recording feature.

Do you use Google Keep during Math Class? If so, how?

Collaborative Storyboard for BrainPOP’s Make a Movie

This month, we have been creating movies using BrainPOP’s new Make a Movie tool. Students have been so engaged as they create informative videos about Westward Expansion.

Creating a Storyboard

To prepare students for the movie making process, you could use BrainPOP’s Make a Map tool to create the storyboard. But, unless students are working independently, the are limited in their ability to collaborate online. Also, I felt limited providing students with specific feedback as I am accustomed to Google’s Commenting, Editing and Suggesting tools. This is why I decided I would like to create a Google Drawing template for students to use while drafting their storyboards.

HyperDrawing Storymap

The following Google Drawing template is what I like to call a HyperDrawing. It is not just a Drawing with links as it also has opportunities for students to explore and engage in activities using directions in the “gutter” on the sides. I was also able to embed a video which could easily be enlarged once clicked on.

(To view- click to enlarge and Make a Copy. Change the View to 50%)


What’s Missing

I do wish I could embed a BrainPOP video within Google Drawings. But, you need to be logged into BrainPOP to watch the videos. The only way students could watch the video and work on the their storyboard would be by using Make a Map tool within BrainPOP. Or, they would just have to switch tabs between BrainPOP and Google Drawings as they work. Or, maybe BrainPOP will add a feature allowing students to collaborate online someday. One can only hope!

Have your students tried Make a Movie?

More Resources

  1. Flipped Tech Coaching: BrainPOP Make a Movie Overview
  2. BrainPOP Tutorial Webinar– 40 minutes
  3. Make-a-Movie Step Guide- Step by Step guide for using Make-A-Movie
  4. Assessment Rubric– Make a Copy of this rubric to customize
  5. Make a Movie Implementation Tips
  6. Storyboard Graphic Organizer



Example Writer’s Workshop HyperDrawing: Revising Your Lead

Coaching Question: How can I use the G Suite for Education to create blended learning activities during Writer’s Workshop?

Answer: Create blended learning activities using Google Drawings!

Why Google Drawings?

I have decided that Google Drawings is my preferred tool for most blended or flipped learning activities. Transform your Google Drawings into HyperDrawings by adding:

  • Videos
  • Links to websites, games, screencasts, formative assessments
  • Comments
  • Text
  • Photographs
  • Images
  • Share with a partner

Here is an example blended learning activity that I created using Google Drawings. (Click to Make a Copy)

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I believe every blended learning activity should have opportunities for students to explore, engage, create, apply learning, share, self-assess, and collaborate.

What tools could I use to add to create a blended learning activity?

Here are the tools I used to make this happen:

  • Explore: Teacher created mock screencast. (Try creating your own) Yes! You can add a video to Google Drawings. Click here to learn how! Students just click to maximize the video.
  • Engage: Watch the video again and answer questions about learning using EdPuzzle
  • Create: Add snapshots of your writing.
  • Apply: Revise your writing. Add revision snapshots.
  • Share: Create a screencast explaining your revisions using Screencastify.
  • Self-Assess: Google Forms to assess student revisions
  • Collaborate: Share Google Drawing with a partner for feedback

And of course, I love to add my Bitmojis 🙂

How do you create blended or flipped learning activities for Writer’s Workshop?

Go Digital with Morning Meeting Walls

Coaching Question: Is there a way to digitalize my Morning Meeting wall so I that I may save wall space?


Many elementary school teachers are familiarizing themselves with the Responsive Classroom approach and using a Morning Meeting to start the day. The Morning Meeting is a great way to start the day, engage students and promote a sense of community within your classroom. However, the Morning Meeting bulletin board can take up a lot of space leaving little room for student work, instructional materials or anchor charts!

Example Morning Meeting Bulletin Board:


The Solution: Go Digital

If you have a projector then definitely go digital! By having a digital Morning Meeting wall, you are not only saving space but you also allowing students to:

  1. Collaborate by adding questions
  2. Archive information to review as the year progresses
  3. Read teacher posts (and of course Bitmojis)
  4. Edit/Revise questions for the meeting
  5. Publish learning
  6. Share with parents, co-teachers, administrators, and collaborators

Plus, you don’t need to have the Morning Meeting wall projected on your whiteboard all day. Bookmark the digital Morning Meeting wall and pull it up on your whiteboard as needed throughout the day. And, share the wall with students via Google Classroom, Seesaw, e-mail etc. to have the reflect, comment, or collaborate on the digital bulletin board.

Example (Click to View)

Can you find the interactive links in this Morning Meeting Wall? (Click the image)

morning meeting wall

Need more ideas?

If you’d like more ideas for your Morning Meeting wall, check out this link with ideas for the K-2 and 3-6 classrooms.

Do you use a wall for your Morning Meeting?





Organizing Your Teacher Evaluation Evidence Using G Suite

Coaching Question: How can I organize the evidence for my teacher evaluation in my Google Drive?

This year, the district asked teachers to share artifacts/evidence for their evaluations by using Google Drive. However, as I began adding my evidence, I found it challenging to keep track of what had been added and where it was located. And, I could not add a captions to explain why each artifact was relevant to the standard. So, I decided to use Google Docs and Google Drawings to organize my information. And, my evaluator agreed that it was “Perfect!”. Yay!

Here’s what my cover page looks like:


Here’s a tutorial explaining the steps:

Copy and Save the Template

If you would like the templates, click here to access the folder. Then, right click on the folder and select “Add to My Drive”. Now you have the template in your Google Drive!

How do you organize your evidence?


Google My Maps: HyperSlide Activity for Students

This month, I have been eager to introduce Google My Maps to students and teachers. As I started planning my lessons, I decided Google Slides would easily allow me to include directions, video tutorials, games, and formative assessments within the “HyperSlide” activity. Then, upon completion of the activity, we could begin creating our own My Maps.

The following hyperSlides were created for a 2nd Grade classroom, but could easily be modified for any grade level. Just “Make A Copy” to edit the following slides.

Click here or the image below to view the activity.



Add Streaming Video to Google Drawings!

Recently, I have been using Google Drawings to create #HyperDrawings. But, I did not think it was possible to embed video into the Google Drawing! Tonight, I accidentally discovered that it is really easy to do!

Step 1: Insert a Video into Google Slides (Insert-Video)

Step 2: Click on Video- Copy (Ctrl C)

Step 3: Go to Google Drawings

Step 4: Paste (Ctrl V)

You now can click on the video in Google Drawings and it will STREAM!

Check out my tutorial to learn how:

HyperDrawings: Creating AMAZING Flipped and Blended Learning Activities for Math Class.

Over the last few months, Twitter has been erupting with posts from educators that are excited about HyperDocs. However, as I started coaching my teachers in best practices for creating and using HyperDocs, I discovered that Google Drawings seems to be my preferred G Suite app to use for math instruction. There are so many possibilities when it comes to creating amazing flipped or blended learning materials!

Here’s why I prefer HyperDrawings:

  1. You can embed YouTube Videos! Yes! Just copy video inserted into Google Slides into your Google Drawing! (See tutorial video below)
  2. You can add the directions and assignments in the blank space next to the canvas.
  3. The canvas is an amazing area for students and teachers to demonstrate understanding, solve problems, create screencasts, and use virtual manipulatives.
  4. You can easily add Bitmoji stickers and clipart by dragging them into the blank space next to the canvas.
  5. Students can collaborate and receive feedback using the Comment and Share Tools.
  6. Students can research using the Explore Tool.
  7. Google Keep is now integrated into Google Drawings.

Example of a HyperDrawing used for Flipped or Blended Learning

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(Click here to View/Make a Copy of Example HyperDrawing)

HyperDrawings: Not Just a Drawing with Links

When I think of using HyperDrawings in the math classroom, I am NOT just talking about creating a drawing and adding hyperlinks. They HyperDrawings should be engaging!

HyperDrawing activities should ask students to use the following skills:


Example Tool

1) Activate Prior Knowledge Vocaroo, QR Codes, Google Docs, Padlet
2) Explore YouTube, screencasts, posters, websites
3) Create Google Drawings! Add links to: Google Slides, Powtoon, WeVideo, BrainPOP Make-A-Movie, screencasts, Popplet
4) Share Padlet Wall, Google Classroom, SeeSaw, Comments, Email, Google Slides, Google Drive
5) Self-Assess  Google Forms, Padlet Wall, Google Docs, blog post, portfolios, rubrics, surveys, Kahoot, Quizziz, Formative


Rubric for Evaluating Your HyperDocs/HyperDrawings

Here is a new rubric I created for evaluating your HyperDocs

Screenshot 2017-10-07 at 10.30.05 AM

More Resources:

Getting Started with Google Drawings and Math

Eric Curts has an AMAZING screencast and blog post with so much information on integrating Google Drawings into the math curriculum. Check out Eric’s Google Doc filled with resources. And, Kasey Bell at Shake Up Learning has a fabulous Google Drawing Cheat Sheet! What more do you need?

Have you ever created or used HyperDrawings?

7 New Ideas for Utilizing Your Classroom Webcam and Microphone

Coaching Question: I’ve received a new webcam with a microphone. How can I use this in my classroom?

You received a new webcam! So now what? Webcams are an amazing addition to your classroom. Most newer models allow you to take photographs, record video and audio! Awesome! Here are some ideas for using your webcam in your classroom.

Idea 1: Take photos or videos of student work

You can easily take photographs in Google Drawings by going to Insert-Image and then selecting Take a Snapshot. Then, annotate the images by adding labels, captions, drawings and more!

Untitled drawing Google Drawings (2)

  • Math Example:  Student illustrated a strategy for solving math problem using paper. He can take a photograph of his work and drawing and share it in tool such as Google Classroom, Wixie or Seesaw for students to view.
  • Writing Example: Student revised and edited her work in her Writer’s Notebook. She can take a photo of her revisions and share with annotations them using Wixie, Seesaw, Google Docs, Forms or Classroom. Or, students can comment on student writing by adding annotations and images as seen below.Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.43.09 PM
  • Reading Example: This is my favorite activity! Let’s say a student is looking for examples of strong writer’s craft in his text. The student can take a photo of the page and then highlight and annotate the image using Google Drawings. Then, the student may share their annotations with their teacher or classmates.
  • Science Example: Students may take photos or videos of experiments to insert into Google Doc or Google Slides report.

Idea 2: Take photos of class notes of anchor charts

If you are an elementary school teacher, you probably have a lot of anchor charts that you use during your Reading or Math Workshop. Photographing your anchor charts will allow you to curate the charts for future lessons. You could post the charts on your classroom website or create QR codes to easily access prior lessons/charts at any time.

Or, maybe you have perfectly explained how to solve a math equation on your classroom whiteboard or (gasp) chalkboard. Take a photo of the equation to distribute on your website or online social media tool such as Google Classroom. Now, students may go back and review as necessary.

There are many ways to make this happen. Here are the steps that I would use.

  1. Take a photo of your anchor charts using the webcam, tablet or Smart phone
  2. Download the Google Drive app on your computer, tablet or Smart phone
  3. Upload the photo into your Google Drive
  4. Locate the photo and click ShareAnyone with a Link may ViewSearch results   Google Drive.png

To create the link to your photograph

  1. Copy and paste the URL to the photograph to
  2. Click create QR Code or copy new short link
  3. Post QR Code or link to the tool of your choiceGoogle URL Shortener.png

Idea 3: Create audio recordings

If you have a microphone, Vocaroo is a fabulous free tool to create audio recordings. To do this, students go to They post the link or QR code on their work or in Google Classroom, Seesaw, email, Google Doc, or Padlet Wall.

  • Example A: Student record themselves reading their presentation. They post a link to the audio recording into Google Classroom to get peer feedback.  Or, the create the recording to self-assess their oral reading skills.
  • Example B: Students solve a math problem. They create a QR code to place on their work explaining how they solved the problem.
  • Example C: Students create a diagram of the water cycle. They create a QR code to place on their work explaining how the cycle works.
Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.17.57 PM

Student creates an oral recording of her writing.

Vocaroo   Online voice recorder (1).png

Idea 4: Speech to text/Voice typing

If your webcam or laptop has a built in microphone, students may take advantage of Google Docs Voice Typing tool. To do this, students go Tools- then select Voice Typing.

  • Example A: Students brainstorm their story ideas while Google Docs types for them.
  • Example B: Students brainstorm their plan for starting their science projects.
  • Example C: Students quickly set goals for their next semester. Untitled drawing.png

Idea 4: Post classroom happenings to social media

Take photographs to share on your Twitter, Facebook, Seesaw, Google Classroom, or Instagram class page. Not only are you communicating with an authentic audience, you are also building parent/community relationships. Plus, you may also start curating evidence for your evaluation.

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Idea 5: Mystery Skype

Having a Mystery Skype session in your classroom is a fabulous way to connect with educators across the world using a guessing game type format. Students use Skype to access a classroom and then ask authentic questions to determine their location. Check out Microsoft’s Mystery Skype page to learn  more and connect with a classroom.

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Idea 6: QR Codes

Not only can you create QR Codes, but now you can scan them with your webcam. Bookmark a  QR Code reader sites such as on your computer. Now, students can scan the QR Codes to access your anchor charts, websites, games, or recordings. No more typing in long URLs.

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Idea 7: Live video conferencing

A webcam allows you to meet with anyone at your convenience. This year, our French Club students spoke French with students in other schools. And, our Reading Recovery teachers learned so much by observing a live lesson. We use during our live video conferences.

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Our Reading Recovery teachers observe a live reading lesson taking place in another room using the webcam.


How do you use your webcam?

Tips to Enhance Tour Builder: Creativity Choice Board

Coaching Question: We have finished our Tour Builder virtual field trips. Is there a way for students to enhance their tours?

What is Tour Builder?

Tour Builder is an amazing way to combine digital storytelling and geography. Using the Google Earth plugin, students take their audience on a virtual tour throughout the world. Students can view the locations using a birds-eye view, or the more desired street view, which allows students to get a realistic view of the location.

If you are unfamiliar with Google Tour Builder, you can view a tutorial with examples and step by step directions by clicking on the following presentation:


How may students enhance their tours?

When students finish their tours, they can add links, videos, audio recordings, games, presentations, timelines, movie trailers, quizzes, and images to their tours. Here is an example choice board that I created for a 4th Grade classroom.

Click on the image to make a copy and modify the choice board to suit your needs.


When students finish creating their project, they would just copy and paste a link into their tour.

Tour Builder   Tour of the Southeast Region  edit .pngHow may students share their tours?

Once students are finished with their tours, they may share the link to their tour. My favorite way to publish a tour is to use the Screencastify extension. The Screencastify extension is a free screen recorder. It allows students to create their very own narrated video tours.

Screencastify Extension by Christ Betcher


How do your students enhance their tours? Do you use Tour Builder in your classroom?