Friday, December 21, 2018

Remove Image Background

So, you have that perfect picture but you really want to have a different background. For example, your students are studying landforms and you want to put a picture of them on the top of a mountain. If only you could take the object of the picture (your students) and put it on a different background. The good news, you CAN! There is an awesome (and free) website that can strip the background of any image away and make it transparent so you can overlay it on a new background. The curricular possibilities are endless! Give a try!

Remove the Background of an Image:
  1. Head over to
  2. Upload your image of the object you want the background removed.
  3. Make sure the object looks like you want and download the new image. Unfortunately, there are no editing tools to remove more/less. Hopefully, your image works well.

  4. Download the image and save it in a place you can easily find.

Add a New Background to the Image:
  1. Open up an image editing tool. If you are a G Suite user, use Google Drawing.
  2. Upload the background image you want into Drawing. You can search for backgrounds by clicking “Insert”, then “Image”, and choose “Search the Web”.

  3. Choose an image for the background and resize your canvas to fit.

  4. Upload your image you downloaded from on top of your new Drawing. Move it to the location you want and resize if needed.

  5. Click on File, Download As, and choose the format you want (I prefer PNG).

You have just transported the object of your image to a new location! Just think of all the curricular opportunities this offers!

If you want these steps in a document, click HERE!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Jamboard: Collaboration Tool

Teachers are always looking for ways to plan, brainstorm, and organize their ideas. These activities even get better when they are collaborative. Google has released their Jamboard with this in mind. Jamboard is a touchscreen monitor, but you do not need all that expensive hardware to use the tool. You can install the app from Google Play or iOS App Store on your mobile device or just go to Chrome and use the web-based platform. The mobile version does allow for more options and tools (and is a better experience) but the web version is still a great tool. The boards you make live in your Google Drive and can even be shared with others. The best part, these can be live collaborative projects! Give the mobile version or the web version a try and start planning!

Get Started:
  • If you have a mobile device, install the app:
  • If you are using Google Chrome go here:
    • You can also find the link in the Google Waffle as well as the “More” in Drive.

Jamboard Tools:
There is a lot that you can do with this tool without the expensive board. Give some of these activities a try.
  1. Create a new board:
    • Click the + icon
  2. Explore the tools on the left side:
    • Pen: used to draw lines and shapes with different styles (pen, marker, highlighter, brush
    • Erase: can be used as an eraser or clear the entire board
    • Colors: only a few to choose from, but makes choices easy!
    • Sticky Note: This is where it gets cool. Add notes, resize, rotate, and drag them anywhere you want.
  3. Add more “Boards”:
    • Do you want more room or pages to work? Add more! On the top there is a place to add more workspaces.
  4. Share this board with others!
    • Do this just like a Google file. Click the share button (web) 

    Mobile vs Web Version:

    There are differences between these two versions. The mobile version does everything the web version does, plus the following:
    • Allow for handwriting to turn into text
      • This is pretty cool. Write letters and they turn to written text if you choose the Aa button.

    • Allow for drawn shapes to be cleaned up
      • This takes hand-drawn images and “perfects” them into a clean drawing. This will happen if you have the shape tool turned on
    • Share Drive files
      • Any Drive file can be added to the board for collaboration.

    • Insert pictures
      • Images stored on the device as well as the camera can be inserted into the board.

    Whether you are using the mobile version or the web version, you will find many uses for Jamboard. Dig in, create a board, and explore all the possibilities!

    If you want these steps in a document click Here!

    Monday, December 17, 2018

    Holiday Google Assistant Fun

    ‘Tis the season…(I will save your ears and not sign to you). It is that time of year again. Time to spend days with families, battle holiday crowds, and enjoy some awesome Google Assistant fun! As always, the Google Assistant can make any time of year fun. All you need is the Google assistant app if it is not already on your phone (Android, iOS) and some time to sit back and enjoy! Enjoy some of these fun activities below. Just say "Ok Google" and then the phrase below each listing.

    Holiday Google Assistant Fun:

    • Give Santa a Call
      • This is one of my favorites! You will be asked some questions to help Santa create a song to suit your mood. Say: “Call Santa”Find Out What Santa is Up ToSay the phrase below to get updates on Santa’s activities.
        • “Where is Santa”

    • Joke Time!
      • Want to hear some seasonal humor? Give this a try!
        • “Tell Me a Christmas Joke”
        • “Tell Me a Santa Joke”

    • Dreidel Time!
      • Give this a try and make the Dreidel DIGITAL!
        • “Spin a Dreidel”

    • Tell Me a Holiday Story
      • Enjoy classic holiday short stories like The Snowy Day, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and Swan Lake. Get started with "Hey Google, tell me a Christmas story".
        • “Tell me Twas the Night Before Christmas”
        • “Tell me a story about Christmas”
        • “Tell me a winter story”
        • “Tell me a story about Hanukkah”
        • “Tell Me a Hanukkah Story”

    • Holiday Chill
      • The holidays are stressful. With this Google Assistant app, Jack Frost is here to spread some holiday chill. Zen-out with a Jack Frost guided meditation session or relax with the sounds of winter and have a happy, healthy holiday.
        • “Talk to Holiday Chill”

    For other fun and useful activities that Google Assistant can do, check out this site! More Google Assistant Phrases

    If you want this post in a document, click Here!

    Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    Hour of Code

    It is that time of year again...time for HOUR OF CODE!! This year’s week of Hour of Code is December 3-9. As always, makes it VERY easy for students of all ages to explore and learn about coding. They have collected many easy to do, no/low prep activities for your kids (and you) to explore coding. All you need to do is set aside a 60-minute block during that week to have your class explore. Explore with them and see what coding is all about.

    Get Started:
    1. Explore this site to get more information on how to utilize Hour of Code to its full potential:
    2. Tell your class that they are going to learn to code with some easy step-by-step game style levels. I recommend playing a game on the screen with the class first to show them how to click, drag, and explore the site and tools.

    3. Have them go to (or use the awesome "Share to Classroom" Chrome extension and push the site to them).
    4. There are many activities to choose from. To help students narrow this down, have them choose an activity in their ability level using the devices they have available.

      Filter at the top for age and ability level.

      Filter on the left side for devices, topics, activity type, length, and language.

    5. Most importantly...Have FUN!

    After your class participates you can even print certificates for them here: Students will also see a certificate when they complete an Hour of Code tutorial, but some students won’t make it to the very end in an hour — and that’s can still print them a certificate that they did it!

    If you are looking for more activities beyond Hour of Code, check out these awesome student friendly coding sites:

    Most importantly, just have fun!
    Explore, experiment, and learn!

    If you want these directions in a document click HERE!

    Friday, November 9, 2018

    Locate and Move Downloaded Images and Files on Chromebook

    Finding all those downloaded images, screenshots, camera pics/videos, and files is easy on a Chromebook once you know where to look.

    Locate downloaded  files:
    1. Click the App Launcher icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen.

    1. Locate the app icon for “Files” (blue folder icon) and click it. Files will open in a window.

    1. Click on “Downloads” on the left.

    To move files to Drive:

    1. Find the downloaded files you want.
    2. Drag them into “Drive” on the left.
      • If you want files in specific folders, click the arrow to the left of the word “Drive” and open up the Drive folder you want to move them into.
      • Drag the images into this folder.

    If you want these steps in a Document click HERE!

    Thursday, November 8, 2018

    Multiple Chrome Sign-Ins

    One of the most overlooked (and often incorrectly done) features of Chrome is the use of multiple accounts. Often time users just sign out of the web page (ex: Google) and add more Google Accounts in the same Chrome browser. This often has issues (cross-account access, accidentally using the wrong account via another tab, and many others). The easiest (and safest) way to do this is to have multiple Google Profiles on your device. What does this mean? You will run multiple versions of Chrome…one for each account you have on your device. This will save you from being in the wrong account or even opening up your personal account to FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act). Yikes! Not to mention, it will keep your school bookmarks and passwords with your school account, and your personal bookmarks and passwords with your personal=account! Win-Win! The simple rule is this: Every Google Account needs its own version of Chrome. Below are the steps to get this set up correctly.

    Setting Up Multiple Accounts: You will want to set up a Profile for every Google Account you use on your device.
    1. Click the Profile Icon in the top right.

    1. Click “Manage People”.

    1. Click “Add Person”.

    1. Enter in your account info.
    2. Do this for each Google Account you want on your device

    Switching Between Accounts:
    This is easy to do and will keep you in the safe and clear!
    1. Click your account icon in the top corner.

    1. Click the account you want to use.

    This will open a version of Chrome signed into that account, including all bookmarks, passwords, and access!

    Guest Mode:
    You can use Guest Mode to allow others to use your Chrome without having access to your account and not saving their data on your device!
    1. Click your account name in the top corner.

    1. Click “Open Guest Window”.

    1. Have them use this version of Chrome as they need to (sign in, access mail, etc…). When they are done just close this window and all their data is deleted!

    Helpful Tip: Choose a different theme for each Chrome Profile to easily identify which account you are in!

    If you want these directions in a Document click HERE!

    Wednesday, October 31, 2018

    Printing Multiple Google Documents at Once

    Let’s face it, Google Documents rule! They are so easy to access anywhere. They allow collaboration and they are FREE! All this is great, but there was one thing that was always difficult for teachers to deal with...printing. I know (and I would agree) that we really don’t need to print a Google Document. That is the point of this type of file; remaining paperless. There are those instances that we need to print all of our students’ files. In the past that involved opening one document, waiting for it to load, selecting print and going through the printing process, then repeating until all 27+ files were printed. This was very time-consuming. The good news is this process is a thing of the past. Adding a Drive Add-On eliminates all these steps. Follow the steps below to install the PDF Mergy Chromebook App (or visit this site: to make printing multiple documents easy!

    Use Chrome App with PDF Mergy App:

    1. Click on the multi-colored waffle for “Show Apps” in of Chrome and go “Web Store”.

    1. Search for “PDF Mergy” and install the App.

    1. Locate the folder containing the documents you want to print and select all the files you want and right click.
    2. Click on “Open With” and select “PDF Mergy”.

    1. If asked, allow access to Drive.
    2. A new tab will open and give the option to “Merge”. Click “Merge”. You also have the option to add additional files to the list.

    1. When the files are merged you will have a choice where to save the new PDF. Make that selection and then open this new file and send this to the printer.

    Use  PDF Mergy Website:
    1. Go to Choose “Select Files from Google Drive”.

    1. Choose where PDFs are located (Google Drive). Click “Select”.

    1. You can now re-order the PDFs if needed. Click “Merge” when you are ready.

    1. Choose where you want the new PDF saved. Then print this document!

    You have now printed multiple files in one print job!

    If you want these directions in a document click HERE!