Thursday, February 24, 2022

Disable Chromebook Accessibility Features

Accessibility features are an awesome addition to Chromebooks. They allow the device to best work for any user whether it is text to speech, screenwriting, high contrast, magnification, and many other features. The problem is when students start to enable all these to make things “fun”, they end up causing Chromebook issues. I have even seen Chromebooks completely locked up by having too many of these features running at the same time. What can you do? You can turn off all the unneeded features that your students turn on with just a couple of clicks.

See Enabled Accessibility Features:

There are two ways to do this. The first is the easiest but depends if the student/admin has turned on the Accessibility quick access feature. Start with clicking on the clock.


  • If you see the Accessibility option you are in luck and this is very easy.

  1. Click on “Accessibility”.

  1. Scroll through the list. Anything with the checkmark is enabled. Click on the check to disable this feature. Disable all features that are not needed by that student.

  • If the Accessibility option is not shown, follow these steps.

  1. Click on the settings gear.

  1. Click on “Advanced” on the left.

  1. Click on “Accessibility”.

  1. If you want the Accessibility option to show up after clicking on the clock (even if no features are enabled), toggle it on here. Keep in mind that this will also make it easier for students to turn features on. 

  1. Click on “Manage accessibility features”.

  1. Scroll down and disable any feature you do not need for that student.

Here is a video walkthrough of all these steps. 

Click HERE.

Although these features are needed for some and are very helpful, sometimes they cause issues with the device when too many are on at the same time. I would recommend only having these features enabled for students who need them.

If you want these steps in a Document click HERE!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Pageless Documents

Documents are the most commonly used tool in education (followed closely by Slides). In the past, these were always printed and shared in that way. Now that we live in a digital world most Documents are no longer printed, they are shared and viewed on a monitor. Google has added a long-wanted feature to Documents, Pageless Documents. Because these are not printed as they were in the past, they are no longer confined to a page length. You can make a Document as long as you like without having to worry about paragraphs or sentences jumping to the next page and breaking the formatting. They flow much as websites do, a forever scroll! Check out how to change any Document into a Pageless Document with just a couple of clicks!

Set Up a Pageless Document:

  1. Open a Google Document.

  2. Click on “File” and then “Page Setup”.

  1. Select the “Pageless” tab at the top.

  1. If you want to set the page background color you can change that as well.

  1. Click “Ok” at the bottom to set this change.

  1. This can all be undone and set back to regular pages by going back into Page Setup, choosing the “Pages” tab, and clicking “Ok”.

Jump into a Document and explore the freedom of a Pageless Document!

Video Walkthrough Here:

If you want these directions in a Document click HERE!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Watermarks on Documents

Do you ever wish you could put a watermark image on the background of your Google Documents? Maybe some text to mark it as “Draft”? You now can! Watermarks have come to Google Documents. Check out how easy this is to do with the steps below!

Add a Watermark to a Document:

  1. Open a Google Document.

  2. Click “Insert” and then click “Watermark”.

Add an Image Watermark:

  1. On the right, you will see the “Image” tab. Make sure that is selected. Next, click on “Select Image”. 

  1. Choose where your image is stored (or search Google for an image). 

  1. You can adjust the image.

    • Scale

    • Whether it is faded or full contrast. 

  1. If you change your mind you can click “Remove watermark” at the bottom.

Add Text Watermark:

  1. On the right, you will see the “Text”. Make sure that is selected.

  1. In the ”Insert text” box add the text you want as your watermark.

  1. You can adjust how the text is displayed.

    • Font Style

    • Font Size

    • Bold, Italics, Color

    • Transparency

    • Diagonal or Horizontal

  1. If you change your mind you can click “Remove watermark” at the bottom.

If you want these steps in a Document click HERE!

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Animated Character Drawing

Have you ever had students create awesome drawings and wish you could bring them to life with movement? You can. With the free site you can take those hand-drawn masterpieces and make them animated GIFs to be added to any project. All you need is a drawing, the site, and Screencastify! Check out the steps and video below to get started!

Create an Animated Drawing:

  1. Create a drawing with no background. It is important to just have the character drawn without anything else on the white paper. Take a picture of this drawing with the best resolution you can and transfer this image to your computer. You can also scan it using any tool available to get a digital copy to your device.

  1. Head to

  1. Upload your drawing image. After it is uploaded click “Next”.

  1. You will need to make sure the border around your character displays your whole character. Change the border if needed.

  1. You will be asked to make sure your outline is complete around your drawing. You can edit the outline or have the site try again if there is an issue.

  1. The next step is important. You will need to align the dots for the location of the eyes, ears, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles so that the site knows where to put the motion. Just move the dots to the correct location if they are not already there. Then click “Next”.

  1. Your animation will be created! Yay! Choose what action you want your character to do. There are many choices on the left.

This is the end of the use of the site. You can share this if you want, but it will only be a web link. That does not work well for a project. The next section will show you how to create a GIF from this motion video for use in any project type you want!

Make the Animated Drawing a GIF:

  1. Make sure to have the Screencastify extension installed and set up. 

  1. Click the extension and turn off your camera and mic (you do not need these for this recording).

  1. Click “Record” and start recording your screen. Make sure your character is visible and your mouse icon is not in the space the character is moving (slide it to the left). 

  1. Record for about 15 seconds then click the “Stop” button to stop recording.

  1. Screencastify will open a new tab and you will see your recording. At the top click on “Open in Editor”. 

  1. When the new tab opens, click on your clip in the bottom left to select it.

  1. Click on “Crop”. 

  1. Move the corners of the crop tool to only include your character and the space they move into. Make sure it also includes any place your character moves to (if it moves across the screen make sure to select all the areas it covers)

  1. Click the play icon to make sure it is in your newly cropped area and then click “Done”. 

  1. Click on “Export” in the top right when you are ready.

  1. From the dropdown choose “Export to Screencastify”.

  1. Name your image and save it.

  1. On the next screen click on “Export Video”.

  1. Select “Export GIF”.

  1. You will see the resolution. You can leave it at what it shows or adjust it. The bigger the number, the better quality, but also the larger the size. Too big will cause issues creating or using in projects. Generally, I just leave it where it is set. Click “Export”.

  1. Your GIF will be created. When it is done click “Download GIF

  1. You can now use this GIF in any project, even Documents where videos can not be added!

Here is a video showing all these steps in real-time! 

If you want these directions in a Document click HERE!


Monday, February 7, 2022

Delete Unwanted Old Emails

Is your Gmail a mess? Is it filled with old emails you no longer need? Search for unwanted emails by date or label to easily delete them. Spend a few minutes, clean up those unwanted emails, and get closer to the coveted “Zero Inbox”!

Delete Old Emails Before a Specific Date:

If you want to delete all emails before a specific date, you can use the “before” or “older_than” search in your Gmail search box. 

  1. Use this search format: before: YYYY/MM/DD. For example…if you want to delete all emails before January 1, 2020. You’ll need to run the following search query: before:2020/1/1

  1. You can also use the “older_than” search. If you want to delete all emails older than a year, use this search: older_than: 1y

  • You can change the search by adding a number to the “y”.

    • (ex: 2 years=2y) or even a number of days (ex: 45 days=45d).

  1. The results for the “before” and “older_than” searches are different. 

    • before”: shows sent and received emails. 

    • older_than”: shows only received emails.

  1. To delete the emails found in your search, click the arrow next to the checkbox at the top-left. From the drop-down menu click on “All”. 

  1. You will also see a notification that says “Select all conversations that match this search” at the top. If you click on it all your emails from your inbox will be selected that fit your search.

  1. Click the trash can icon at the top to send these selected emails to your trash. They will be permanently deleted after 28 days.

Delete Old Emails Within Labels

Most of us use labels to organize our emails. If you no longer need email in a label (maybe it was a previous year’s communication you really no longer need) you can delete all emails that have a label assigned to them.

  1. To search for all emails with a label use this search: label: label name. Here is my “label: google” search.

  1. You can add a time search to a label search as well. For example, if you want delete all emails older than 1 year and in a label use this search: older_than:1y label:label name. Here is my “older_than:1y label:google” search.

  1. Delete these search emails the same way as described above by clicking the dropdown arrow, selecting “All” and clicking on the trash can icon.

Head to your Gmail Inbox and start cleaning out those old unwanted emails!

If you want these directions in a Document click HERE!