Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Adding Social Media Icons to Gmail Signature

Since we have changed email providers, it's a good time to take a look at what you are including in your email signature. In Gmail, it is much easier to include social media icons. Your email signature should include the ways you want people to contact or communicate with you.

I chose to include Twitter, Pinterest and Blogger. You could also include Facebook, LinkedIn, an icon that links to your web site, or any other web resource. Most of you will also include your phone number. I don't because I'm rarely near my work phone.

Note: Keep it simple. Don't include a resource you don't check or update regularly.

Here's how to set it up:

Choose your Icons

Go to IconFinder.com
Search for a social media icon. I'm going to use Twitter as an example.
Type "twitter" in the search bar.
On the left side of the screen, change the PRICE to FREE.
Change the ICON SIZE to 0 to 32.
Choose your favorite version of the icon.

Choose 24x24 or 32x32.
Click the PNG button and the icon will download.
In the example above, I left my email text font and size at the default and used 32x32 icons.

Upload Icons to Google Drive
Create a folder in Google Drive called "Email Icons."
Change the share settings of the folder to "Anyone on the Internet can find and view."
Upload the icons you downloaded from Iconfinder.

Go to Gmail Settings
With Gmail open, go to the gear button in the top right corner and choose SETTINGS.
On the General tab, scroll down to find the Signature area.
I left one blank line between my signature and the social media icons line.
Choose the Insert Image button. Select My Drive then the Email Icons folder.
Select the first icon then the SELECT button.
Highlight the icon by dragging your cursor over the icon just like you would if you were highlighting text.
Click the Insert Hyperlink button.

Choose the CHANGE link. Remove the / and add the URL to your Twitter profile.
Scroll to the bottom of the window and choose SAVE CHANGES.

Repeat for each social media resource. I added a space between each icon.

Send a test email to your personal email account or to a friend and ask them to click the icons to make sure the links work.

Friday, March 20, 2015


GCISD now has a new royalty free sound site for teachers and students to use. The link has been added to GCISD Important websites. At this time, only Volume 4 has been purchased. When going to the SoundzAbound site, you will already be logged in with the GCISD login. No need to log in!

Note: This can only be used inside the district. It cannot be used at a
location outside GCISD.

To use on a computer:

  1. Search by keyword or click on Volume and choose Volume 4. Go through the list to locate a music file to download.
  2. Click the Download MP3 button to download. You have the option to preview the sound before downloading.
  3. The file will save in your Downloads folder. In addition, it may open in iTunes when it's downloaded.
  4. You can use in the file in applications such as iMovie, and iTunes. It can also be saved in Google Drive.
SoundzAbound also works on the iPad. In order to use this on the iPad, you must first download a free app called Documents 5 by Readdle.
To use on an iPad:
  1. Tap the Documents 5 App by Readdle to open.
  2. On the left side menu, tap on Browser and enter www.soundzabound.com
  3. You are already logged in with GCISD credentials.
  4. Tap on Volume and Volume 4 to locate a music file to download.
  5. Tap the Download MP3 button to download. You have the option to preview the sound before downloading.
  6. A Save File box comes up. Click Done.
  7. Readdle saves files into the Downloads folder in the Documents 5 App.
  8. Tap on the menu icon in the upper left corner of the screen to access the menu.
  9. Tap on the Documents button and then tap Downloads folder.
  10. Locate the audio file.
  11. Click the audio file to open and locate the Options button in the upper right corner and go to Open In. You can open and insert the audio file in iMovie, Google Drive, Dropbox, Edmodo, iTunes, Evernote, Dropbox and several other Apps.
There is a great how-to video found on the website that shows how to download and insert a sound into applications such as iMovie and Edmodo.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Create Appointment Slots in Google Calendar

Google Apps Calendar comes with a cool built in feature called "appointment slots".   You can easily create blocks of time on your calendar that people can reserve.  It's like Sign Up Genius without having to create a separate account! 

Here's how it works:
1.  You create "appointment slots" on your calendar.  You can set individual times or choose a block and tell Google how many slots to divide it into.

2.  Share the event with specific people by entering their email address or copy the appointment page URL to send in an email.

3.  People sign up by clicking a specific time slot and choosing Save.  (Note: Users must have a Google account to sign up for events.  Parents could use their child's GCISD account if they don't have their own.)  Once a specific time has been claimed, it won't show up for other users to select.

Check out the Google help page for step by step instructions on setting up your own appointment slots.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My First Map with BatchGEO

Today's guest post comes from Erin Gerdes, 2nd grade teacher at Silver Lake Elementary.  You can follow Erin on Twitter @ErinGerdesSLE or on her blog  http://gerdesstars.blogspot.com/ 

My First Map with BatchGEO

I'm trying desperately to use as many of the fantastic ideas I learned at TCEA as possible, before I forget! ; ) One of the best presenters at TCEA to me was Tammy Worcester. She has tons of tips and ideas on how to use technology in the classroom. LOVE! One thing she showed us was how to use BatchGEO. It is super easy - as it must be, in order for me to use it. ; )

BatchGEO takes a spreadsheet and marks the locations you list. (Tammy suggests creating a Google Form to collect the data from students then using the Google Spreadsheet to transfer the information to BatchGEO). 

I started daydreaming of ways we could use it while she was speaking:
*track all the locations Flat Stanley has visited
*mark locations students have traveled
*learn about students by pinning their birthplaces
*locate the schools that communicated with us in the Holiday Card Exchange

Once I focused on Tammy again, I heard more wonderful ideas:
*locations of famous battles
*timeline of a famous person/inventor
*locations and sequence of important historical events
*many, many others

Upon returning to school, I set to work. I decided to clean up our map in the hallway. Our map was originally designated for Flat Stanley and his travels, but it soon became the map for our connections made in the Holiday Card Exchange as well. It was messy and unclear what each pin was for:

I removed the cards from our Holiday Card Exchange and entered the school names, states and zip codes on a Google Spreadsheet. *Make sure you have column headers. Once I completed the spreadsheet, I copied the spreadsheet information and opened BatchGeo.com in another tab. I pasted the information in the area where it tells you to paste then pressed 'Map Now':

Here is our completed map:

Now THIS map is on display in our hallway so others can see who we connected with in our Holiday Card Exchange. The original map is now dedicated to only locations Flat Stanley has traveled. The information is now clear and neat. : )

My plan is to share it with my students. They are about to research Famous Americans, and I think they may be able to use BatchGEO to show the path or important locations associated with the person they research. Perhaps they can use the map to then create a ThingLink to tell about each location.

Try BatchGeo and let me know if you have questions. What are some ways you or your students can use it?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Finding Copyright Free Images

Teaching our students to be good digital citizens is essential.  Since not all images on the internet can be freely used in web based teacher or student projects, we need to teach students how and where to go to look for legal and appropriate images.  Remember that our GCISD filter is not foolproof, so good monitoring is ALWAYS necessary.  

Here are some resources: (GCISD teachers can access this presentation online: http://goo.gl/r0bzoe

(GCISD teachers, view the slideshow or the
flyer below for the username and password.)
Regardless of the source, it’s a good idea to cite all images used in student projects.  

I put together a flyer of these resources with URLs and QR codes for easy sharing with students.  GCISD teachers can access the document here:  http://goo.gl/SnXrcw

For more information about copyright, check out these resources:

Teacher Copyright Chart - What Can I Use?

What is Creative Commons?
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