Lesser Known Tools Residing in GMAIL…

If you ask a teacher or student which G Suite for Edu tool they use most often I bet the response would be “GMAIL”.  They probably feel pretty confident about their mastery of composing and sending an Email. Some might even say they are ninja’s or Guru’s when it comes to using GMAIL. But are they really more than proficient users? Most people only really use the very basics of sending and receiving email.

I created the following GMAIL Learning Square to support colleagues, friends and students with learning about some of the hidden treasures residing within GMAIL.

GMAIL LEARNING SQUAREScreen Shot 2018-03-08 at 6.00.47 AM.png

Click here to Open the Learning Square

    • Useful for Support ELL Students and their families
    • Supports Connecting Globally with Classroom from other countries
    • May be integrated into a foreign language or social studies unit
    • Similar to a Folder or Cabinet for storing Email
    • Supports proficient Email Search
    • Helps students organize important messages
    • Automates EMAIL Filing process
    • Timesaver for organizing Email
    • Basis for an efficient Email search
    • Provides set amount of time to undo a sent Email
      • This is for those with a “Trigger Happy Finger”
    • Eliminates having typing individual Emails
    • May use in to share Google Drive Files
    • Timesaver enter one name versus multiple Email addresses
    • May use to sign up to different educational websites
    • Makes it easy to filter the incoming mail from “Free Sites”
    • Use to create a “Help Desk” specific Email address
    • Timesaver by providing a template for common responses
    • Use to correspond with parents or students
      • Create set answers to questions about:
        • Field trips
        • Special Project Assignments
        • Classroom Events
    • Allows the user with limited internet access to compose Email
    • Email may be read and organized off-line
    • Changes sync and update once connected to the internet
    • Correspond with ELL students
    • Supports correspondence with non-english speaking guardians
    • May be used in a foreign language class or other content area

One beauty of using G Suite tools is the hidden helpful extra features. These extra features or tools often add a powerful punch to the usability. So the next time you open a Google APP click around and see what you can discover.



Why Dim Google Calendar Past Events???

The “New Google Calendar” user interface (UI) offers quite a few helpful updates such as brightness control for past events. You might be thinking, “Why is it important to dim the color of past events?” In the world of education this is one of those “No Brainer” answers in support of visual learners. If a students maintains a Google Calendar as a schedule for school assignments and events it supports them with visually keeping track of daily activities. When a student is absent or behind and notices an event appears a brighter or pastel color this sets a signal off to check the event. The new calendar also offers both notification and reminder tools. When all three calendar tools are used together this becomes a powerful support for helping students keep track of everyday school activities.

G-cal Past events

How to Reduce Google Calendar Event Brightness

  1. Open Google Calendar
  2. Click Gear Icon (upper right corner)
  3. Select Settings
  4. Scroll Down to View Options Section
  5. Uncheck “Reduce the brightness of past events”
  6. Click Settings Back Arrow

Unenroll from Google Classroom Course…

frustrated (1)

Well it’s that time of the year and the course you were enrolled in just ended. You just enrolled in new courses and are overwhelmed with all the course tiles on the Google Classroom page. No sweat! All you have to do is unenroll from the Google Classroom Course. So now you are afraid of losing all the work submitted for the course. Still not a problem because Google Classroom creates a folder in your Google Drive to house all the course assignments. The steps to delete the course tile from the Google Classroom listing is really easy to follow once the semester ends.

Unenroll from Google Classroom Course

  • Go to classroom.google.com.
  • On the class card, click More (3 vertical dots) select Unenroll.
  • In pop-out window, click Unenroll.

G-Class Unenroll.gif

7 Fav Tips Using New Google Calendar

According to the October 2017 G Suite Blog post the transition from the “Classic Google Calendar” UI to the  “New Google Calendar” UI will be completed by February 28, 2018. After G Suite made the announcement about the updated interface I decided to switch and explore the New Google Calendar. Everyday I use Google Calendar to communicate and collaborate sharing classroom information with both teachers, teacher aides and teaching assistant. Following are are a few of my favorite tips for effectively using the New Google Calendar UI.

1- Expanded or Condensed View

Clicking the Main Menu Icon (3 horizontal bars)

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 6.53.20 PM
expands or condenses the calendar view.

Calendar expand & Contract

As a bifocal wearer I find the expanded view easier to read.

2- Show Weekdays Only

  • Click Gear Icon
  • Select Settings

Select Settings

  • Scroll to “View Options” Section
  • Uncheck “Show Weekends”
  • Changes are Automatically Saved

Uncheck Show weekends

I push into classrooms to assist students and take supplemental notes.
Having my calendar in week view no weekends provides me quick access to the information needed for supporting my students.

3- Add Lists to Events

  • Add or Open an Event
  • Type Agenda Style List
  • Highlight Text
  • Click numbered or Bulleted List

Calendar List


Lists are quick & easy to create. I use lists to share classroom information with SPED Teacher, Teaching Assistance and Teacher Aids.

4- Use Bold Face Text

  • Add or Open an Event
  • In Event Composer Click B (Bold)
  • Type word or sentence
  • Click B again to unbold

Cal Bold Text

I like to add bold title to separate my list sections. Examples: Homework, Classroom Activities, Other & etc…

5- Hide Calendars from Listing

  • Click Gear Icon
  • Select Settings
  • Left Sidebar Scroll to Calendar Lists
  • Wave Cursor (Pointer) Right of Calendar Name
  • Click Preview Icon (Looks like Eyeball)
    • A / appears through Preview Icon
    • Calendar no-longer seen in listing

Hide Calendar.gif

If you belong to a handful of Google Classrooms the other calendar list may have grown. I’m a visual learner and find the listing becomes overwhelming when too many calendars are listed. The calendars are important so I don’t want to delete them but hide from the list.

6-Duplicate an Event

  • Click Event
  • Click Options Settings Icon (3 vertical dots)
  • Select Duplicate
  • Click Date Field & Select New Date
  • Edit Information
  • Click Save

Duplicate Event.gif

Duplicating an event is a “Big Timesaver” for me. It saves time adding a new event, typing a title, details and sometime adding new attachments. It is easier and quicker to edit an event already formatted in an easy to read communication style.

7- Dim Color for Past Events

  • Click Gear Icon
  • Select Settings

Select Settings

  • Scroll to “View Options” Section
  • Check “Reduce the brightness of past events”

Dim Events

Once more as a visual learner this supports my finding the daily event with ease.

Simplicity & Power of Authentic Learning…


This week I stumbled upon Wanda’s Terrel’s Tweet about Day 2 of #SketchCue &  at first thought, “what an opportunity for me to further explore using Google Drawings”. The focus of #SketchCue supports the tenets of learning to create Sketchnotes. A sketchnote is exactly how it sounds. One uses the creative power of drawing and design to capture notes from lectures, research, and etc…  Sketchnoting supports an individual with expressing their content knowledge in a visual format. I found this opportunity to share my Google Drawings Sketchnotes to be engaging and motivating. It was then when I realized a simple activity such as this has the ability to develop into a  “Powerful Authentic Learning Tool” supporting student engagement.

I found myself exploring clipart designs along with examining the meanings for the #SketchCue word topics. After sharing my first sketchnote and receiving a “Like” it dawned on me how this simple use of social media could engage students with further developing vocabulary skills. It always amazes me how a simple activity shared in an authentic manner has the power to motivate the creator. I found myself wanting to contribute new creations every day as well as enjoying reading the creative shares of educators from around the world. It became evident to me authentic learning opportunities are engaging and leads to furthering one’s content knowledge base.

My #SketchCue Day 1 Entry

Word: Arrows

#SketchCue Arrows (1)

My #SketchCue Day 2 Entry

Word: Banners

#SketchCue Banners (1).jpg