Secret Sauce! Embedding Doc Buttons…

Recently in the Google Docs Help Forum there was a question about adding a button to a Doc.  What the user wanted was a button at the bottom of every page providing an easy return back to the “Table of Contents” on the first page of the Document. Having done this before I shared how to create a “Linked Button”.  This is just one easy and simple way to make document navigation a tad easier. Many moons ago I fell in love with using technology in innovative manners due to its ability to make tasks easier.

When working with students of exceptionalities one tends to focus on, “What changes can I make for ease of understanding or use?” This is why simple ideas such as “Embedding Buttons” in a Google Doc becomes an important tool to share. The greatest reward was reading the original posters response to my answer,  “That’s genius. You basically created/hacked a back to top button by bookmarking the top of the page? I’m sharing this with my team!” So with that said I’m sharing the directions for creating a Google Doc with a navigational button to bring the reader back to the Table of Contents page.

STEPS for Creating Button Navigation

  • Open a New Google Doc
  • Bookmark Page Title
    • In Toolbar Click Down Arrow next to Normal Text
    • Change Normal Text to Heading

Change Heading 1

  • Type the Title
    • Highlight the Title
      • Click Insert
      • Select Bookmark

Select Bookmark

  • On Right of Bookmark Click Link
    • Copy Bookmark Link from Omnibox (Web Address (URL) Window)

Copy Bookmark

  • Click Insert
  • Select Image
  • Search for Button
  • Resize if Necessary
  • Highlight Image
  • Select Link from Toolbar
    • Paste bookmark URL
    • Click Apply

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Exploring Web Based Publishing Tools…


License: CC0 Public Domain


As an artist I feel there is no better tool than a piece of paper and pen or paintbrush.  Okay my confession there are those moments where I lean towards using digital creativity tools. One appeal for using a web based design tool is the ease of use for designing. This is an important characteristic when considering the time constraint within a school day. Another factor to consider is if the design tool provides an environment where the students can create “Original works of Art” from scratch. Last but not least how does the tool help students or teachers share the designs with an authentic audience. Considering these factors I’ve narrowed down my choices to three designing tools.


Visme allows the user to quickly design a beautiful poster, presentation, downloadable image and etc… They offer a wide variety of templates for designing infographics, presentations, charts, reports and much more! This design tool is easy and quick to use for making quick eye-catching designs. It is a tool which supports students and teachers with focusing more on content than design itself. Visme provides a wide variety of clipart, banners, background and etc… for designing that just right presentation project. Teachers and students will love the eye pleasing designs and ease of use.


Like VISME this design tools allows the user to create quick designs focused more on content versus creativity. Canva provides a vast amount of templates, clipart, backgrounds and etc… I found Canva to lend itself more to creating from scratch. This design program offers a huge amount of background designs. The design program is perfect for creating informational project to be shared via social media. I believe teachers and students would find Canva to be a perfect tool for creating social media projects for an authentic learning experience.


Google Drawing is very different from the above two mentioned design programs. The student or teacher may create posters, memes, infographics, Graphic Organizers, Charts and etc… all from scratch. The student or teacher can import images and backgrounds from internet resources. One could also insert an image via taking a snapshot. A program like this supports the student with using both critical and creative thinking skills.

Why? This is due to creating the design completely from scratch. There are no templates or suggested ideas. I also like the share setting which are built into the core Google Products. The share settings allow the user to share privately with a limited group or publicly. What is unique when one shares a Google Drawings with others they maybe able to comment depending upon owner settings. This supports an environment where students may learn to collaborate by communicating via comments as they construct a group project using drawings.

Creating Drive File Icons

My background is in special education and I’m always looking for ways for supporting  students of exceptionalities. One of the challenges for both young students and those with exceptionalities is navigating files. Today I’m going to share an idea of mine which incorporates using images to assist the student with finding and opening a specific file. This idea could be used for assisting the student with locating directions, specific classroom projects, independent work and etc… It is really a very simple idea which may save a bit of time and frustration for both the student and adults assisting them.

My last post was about color coding backgrounds of files to make it easier for students to find a group of content specific papers. Now if one takes the color coded file and adds one more step locating files may become even easier.  This step involves adding a specific images to the files within a student’s Google Drive Folder. When a folder is first open the student will see the color documents with images. Now all they have to do is click on the image to quickly locate a document.

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 8.06.10 AM

NOTE: If you are looking to expediting the lesson even faster. Add a Document with the directions using a large font size. This will save time for the student by letting them avoid opening the document but still read the directions needed to complete the task on hand.

Insert an Image

Google Docs, Drawings, Slides & Sheets:

  • Open a Google Docs, Drawings, Slides, or Sheets
  • Using the Toolbar Locate Insert 
    • Click “Insert” opens dropdown list
    • Select “Image” pop-up window opens
    • Click “Search”
      • Enter Image Name +png
        • (PNG will provide a transparent background)
    • Click “Image”
      • Blue Checkmark & Box appears around image
    • Click Blue Select Button

Icon locator Drive.gif



Organize Google Drive Files by Color…

Recently this question has come up quite a bit in the help forums and I wanted to share an easy work-around. One of the beauties for using Google Drive and Docs is the benefit for sharing files and folders digitally. Printing of files is less often used and creating with color is no longer a budgetary concern. This opens doors to other ways of categorizing and organizing ones files.

If a user changes the background of a Google Doc, Slide, Sheet, Drawings or Forms it is easily spotted from within a folder. This means you can have several groups of colleagues or students collaborating within the same folder on different documents focused on  specific content. You can further tweak this method by adding numbers within the doc’s name to represent each color group. An example of this would be to use “00” for representing blue and “01” to represent the yellow group. This method for file organization will work both within Team Drive and Google Drive.

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Digital Citizenship & Androidify…

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Each school year I change the avatar profile image for my school G+ account. I like using avatars versus my actual face for my teaching assistant position. My reasoning for this is I work with mostly students who are 13 years or under. I feel when using social media for communication with students and their families it is my responsibility to be a good “Digital Citizen Role Model”.  This is why this year I chose to create an Androidify Avatar likeness of myself for my school profile.

Theoretically it isn’t permissible for children 13 years or under to register for a social media account. However I suspect there are many under age children who do it anyway. I also realize the words “Social Media” are often mistaken as limited to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and etc… When in actuality according to the following definition from Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary social media means so much more!

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After reading an official definition I hope you come to realize Social Media may be considered as using almost any form of digital media to communicate on the world wide web. Social media formats also include and are not limited to: YouTube, Blogs, Websites, Google+, Padlet, Flipgrid, and etc… The words “Social Media” is not bad nor should it be considered a negative force. There are ways to use Social Media proactively in both education and business arenas. Due to the direction the world is heading in there may be a need for young people to learn about building and maintaining a positive digital tattoo.