Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mindfulness Apps

On a recent GCISD Professional Learning Day, I had the opportunity to attend a session on Mindfulness presented by CHHS Counselor, Erin Booher. We began by participating in a mindful meditation exercise that could be used to calm a class before diving into the objectives for the day. During the presentation, Erin shared a list of mindfulness apps for both Android & iOS. Since GCISD students primarily have iOS, Mac, and Windows devices, here are a few recommendations that are accessible to our students:

Settle Your Glitter by the Momentous Institute allows children to name their feeling (mad, sad, silly, or worried), how strong their feelings are, then shake the device to start the glitter moving. Students will then focus on their breathing while the virtual glitter settles on the screen. At the end, they get to choose whether or not they or ready to settle or repeat the exercise.

Calm is an iOS app or can be accessed via browser by going to If you're a K-12 educator, fill out the form on the Calm website at to get free access to Calm's paid subscription service. 

A 4th-grade student actually told me about the Aquarium Live Free app. He said, "you just watch a bunch of fish swim around and it's really calming."

As we wrap up the school year and head into summer, give one of these apps a try and let us know how it works!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Padlet is a beneficial tool for students and teachers to use in a variety of ways. Padlet is both an app and site which teachers and students can use to display ideas, images, video, and more with a collaborative platform. Previously Padlet has been a topic of posts on our blog which you can refer to here: original post and the Padlet app post.  For directions on how to use Padlet, see this Padlet.

Padlet displays in real-time, which is both exciting and frustrating at times. Recently, Padlet began providing a new feature to prevent the displays from adjusting until you decide, which is called Focus Mode. The following will pop-up and you select REFRESH and the boxes will move around from other contributors.

Often times, Padlet is used to brainstorm or collaborate individually, in a small group, or a whole group. Collaboration can connect students with others beyond the classroom walls. In addition, Padlet can be used to create a Flowchart by connecting the boxes with arrows. There is an option to label the arrows to define the flow of the information.

For the above post in Flowchart format via Padlet, please view here.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Force a Copy for GSuite

Google Classroom has made it easy for students to have their own copy of a teacher's Google Doc. However, you can also force anyone to make a copy of a Google doc by navigating to the URL and changing "edit" at the end of the URL to "copy" and then sharing that link.
In order for the person receiving your link to make a copy without needing your permission, make sure that your share settings are set that anyone in GCISD with the link can view your original document if you are only sharing within the district, or anyone with the link can view if you are sharing outside of the GCISD domain. 

Another use of forcing a copy is with surveys or quizzes. Many teachers are using Forms to collect survey data for student voice, quizzes, and more. If a teacher then shares his/her survey with another teacher, all of the results will populate in the same Google Sheet. Here comes force a copy to the rescue! In Forms, click the three buttons to the right of the "Send" button and select "Add Collaborators"
Change the share settings to anyone with the link can edit and select "Done"

Do not copy the share URL on this page!  

After selecting "Done", navigate to the URL bar at the top of the page and change "edit" to "copy" and then copy this new URL to share. The recipient of the URL will be forced to make their own copy of the form and they will be the owner of the data that is gathered using the form.

That just made sharing our Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Forms easier!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Chrome Profiles and YouTube Checker for Student Viewing Rights

Within the district, teachers are able to view YouTube videos that are restricted for student access. However, in the past, it has been difficult to determine if the video would be open or restricted for the student.  Thanks to GCISD Technology Services, a new Google profile has been created for the sole purpose of providing teachers a way to check student access to videos and then submit a request to have a video unblocked if students do not have access.  The profile email address is (please see your campus liaison or an instructional coach for the password to this account). 

Between a work Google account, YouTube checker Google account, and personal Google accounts, it can be tricky to determine which account you are logged into if you have not set up Chrome profiles. You can create multiple Chrome profiles and easily switch between accounts without having to sign out of either account!  Below is a screencast on creating multiple profiles (

If you prefer to see a step-by-step guide, here are instructions on how to set up a second Chrome profile for the GCISD YouTube Checker account but could also be used for creating profiles for any other email account. If you would prefer a larger copy to save or view, you can access a PDF of instructions here.

If a video cannot play when logged into the YouTube checker account, you can submit a work order to have the video approved at

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