Education Revelation

Getting a Google Drawing into a Google Document is easy, but it is not done in a traditional manner, like copy and paste.  You could download the drawing first and then re-upload it, but there is an easier and more efficient method.

  1. After you Google Drawing is completed and open, click on "Edit" and then hover your mouse over the Web clipboard option.  This will expand.  Click on the "Copy entire drawing to web clipboard.
    • web clipboard.jpg
  2. Now go to the document in which you want to insert your Google Drawing and click on the Edit, hover over "Web clipboard" again and this time click on the "Drawing" option.
    • web clipboard drawing.jpg
  3. Your Google Drawing should now be placed in your Google Document or Presentation.

To be able to copy and paste is extremely important.  Highlighting what is going to be copied and pasted is a skill in itself. Almost everybody knows how to highlight, copy, and paste, but here are some tricks that will make it easier.

  1. The Triple Click Method
    • This method help you quickly highlight a word or the entire paragraph.
    • Double click on a word and it will be highlighted.
      • double click to highlight.jpg
    • Triple click on any word in a paragraph and the entire paragraph will be highlighted.
      • triple-click-to-highlight.jpg
  2. Highlight all text on a page.
    • In order to copy everything on a website you just need to user your keyboard by clicking "Ctrl-a" or the "Ctrl" key and the "a" key together.
    • This will not only highlight the text, but all images as well.
  3. Hot keys to copy
    • Ctrl-c
  4. Hot keys to paste
    • Ctrl-v
  5. Copying and Saving Images
    • I tell my clients many times that the "Right click key is your friend." Left clicking performs actions and right clicking gives you options.
    • To copy a picture, just right click on it and select the "copy" option.  Now you can right click in your document where you would like your picture to go and select the "paste" option
    • copy image.jpgpaste image.jpg
  6. The highlight and then drag and drop method
    • Lets say you have parts of a document you want to use for a project you are working on.  It is a pain to be on one website, copy information and then change tabs or programs like Word so that you can paste your information.  Below is how I like to handle the situation.
    • First I use the restore down button that you all have seen, but might not have used very often.  It is found in the upper right corner of every program.
      • restore-down-button.jpg
      • This button allows you to now resize your window.  Once it is restored down, place your mouse at the edge of the program window and your mouse will change to a double arrow icon.
        • double arrow icon.jpg
      • Now lift click and hold and you can resize the width and height of the window.  If you hover your mouse at the very corner you can resize height and width at the same time.
        • corner-window-resize-icon.jpg
    • Do this for both programs you are using, for example I am writing a document in Google Docs so I resize that screen and I am copying information from the internet so I resize that screen.  I drag them side by side.
    • Now you can left click on any image and drag it right onto your document.
      • dragging-image.jpg
      • As you drag the image you will see a "+" symbol show up signifying that you are able to drop that image there.  If you get a different symbol it means you can't place it there.
    • You can use the triple click method above to highlight a paragraph of text and then drag it onto your working document as well.
      • highlight-paragraph.jpg
  7. Dragging to highlight
    • Another way to highlight text that you want to copy and paste is to just left click an area that you want to highlight and drag your cursor down to where you want to finish highlighting.
      • giphy.gif
  8. Using the shift key
    • Sometimes the dragging to highlight can be problematic because you end up draging to far, or it scrolls all the way down to the bottom.  
    • To solve this problem you can use your shift key.
      • Click to the left of the first word in any paragraph.
      • Even if you don't see your cursor, the computer remembers where you clicked.
      • Hold down your shift key and click on the last word you want to highlight.
        • shift-to-highlight.jpg


With a little practice using these methods your ability to gather and place information into your documents will have been greatly increased.  I can't imaging going through a world of technology without using these methods.

This is the very first lab I complete with my Earth Science students.  

  1. The best rock climbing shoe lab

  2. Description

    • In this lab students get together to try and discover which shoe in groups have the best rock climbing ability and then we discuss their conclusions and try to find out which person in the entire class has the best shoe for rock climbing.

    • Time: 55 minutes

      • Time will depend on how your discussion goes and whether or not the groups got into the experiment and did multiple tests.

  3. Show 11 Year Old Girl Shatters Climbing Records

    • This video shows an 11 year old girl make very difficult climbs.  I like showing this video just before the lab because I think it demonstrates the importance of effort, never giving up, and if you fail, as long as you continue there is no problem in it.



  4. Instructions for students

    • Design an experiment in groups of four.  Find out which student in your group has the shoe that would be the best for rock climbing.

    • Your experiment needs to contain:

      • A question

      • A Hypothesis

      • The characteristics of each shoe in your experiment.

      • Written observations of multiple trial.

      • A conclusion based on the results of your experiment.

  5. Discuss with the class why different shoes have better traction than other.  At the end of the lab I have the students from each group that has the best rock climbing shoe and I ask them how their group determined which shoe was the best.  Then I take their ideas and conclusion and try to discover which group had a student with the best shoe grip.

  6. My Thoughts:

    • It is amazing to me that High School students have gotten this far without having to really try to design their own experiment.  I have come to the conclusion that many teachers give their students all of the information and instructions to complete a lab.  This lab is designed to see where they are in their own abilities to think and to reason.  Finding which shoe in the class has the most traction is actually irrelevant.  The importance of this lab is to discover whether or not students can organize themselves, make multiple trials, come up with multiple observations, and develop an accurate conclusion based on their evidence that they gathered.

    • You will find that some groups won’t even take off their shoes to run their tests.  Some groups will try and finish as quick as possible without accurate results and without gathering any data.  I usually have to send them back to the drawing board multiple times.

    • As this is usually the first lab I do of the year, and groups are assigned randomly, I have each of them introduce themselves before the lab begins.  Being the first full class, this lesson is a great get to know you lab as well.

I have used many screen capture programs throughout my 19 year career as a teacher and have settled on the program LightShot.  I find LightShot very easy to use.  You can save, share and print the images quickly.  You can also edit the images without having to go to separate image editing software.  If you are looking a way to capture images and add enhancements to the images in order to better engage your students and teach them, then LightShot is a great way to go.  In fact I use and currently am using LightShot to create this tutorial. Below is a video tutorial and a written tutorial on how to download, install, and use LightShot effectively.




  1. Go to:
  2. Click the "Download for Windows" or Download for Mac" buttons at the top right.
    • lightshot-download buttons.jpg
  3. Download the file to a location you can easily find.  I usually download to either my "Downloads" folder or to my desktop.
    • download-save-button.jpg
  4. If you are using Google Chrome, when a download completes it will put a button down at the bottom of the browser.  Click it.
    • open-download-button.jpg
  5. A dialog box opens, click the "yes" button.
  6. You should now see the LightShot "feather" icon on the bottom right of you screen.  If you don't see it, you may need to click the "up" arrow icon to reveal some hidden icons.
    • lightshot-feather-icon.jpg


Using LightShot:

  1. ​To use LightShot just click the feather icon and you screen will dim.
  2. Once it has dimmed you draw a rectangle around anything visible on your screen.  
  3. Play with the different buttons to explore what they can do.  I would use LightShot to show you, but I can't screen capture a screen capture.  Watch the video tutorial above to see how to use it.

LightShot Tip:

  1. Create a "hot-key" so that you don't have to click the feather icon to get it started.  A hot key is just a couple of key strokes that when punched on your computer will activate the program.  I use ctrl-p and that is the same as clicking the feather.
  2. To create the hot key, right click on the feather icon and select the "Options" option.
    • LightShot-Options.jpg
  3. Click on the Hotkeys tab and in the text box to the right of the "General hotkey" option, just click on some keys to change it.
    • LightShot-Options2.png


Educational Tips on using LightShot and other Screen Capture software:

  1. Copy questions from the internet that I can add to a worksheet or assessment that I am creating.  Why type it all?  I screen capture the question and copy and paste it into the document I am creating.
    • LightShot-Multiple Choice Question.jpg
  2. Use LightShot to quickly create a diagram to be labeled.
    • Lightshot-labeling.jpg

I use LightShot while preparing lessons so that I can add images quickly to most of my presentations, worksheets, and assessments quickly.


While browsing Google looking for a new study/review game I could play with my Spanish and Science students, I came across this game called the "Unfair Game" and then adapted it to my style of teaching, trying to make a little more interactive and fun.

I used the Smartboard Notebook software to create this game.  You could however, use any number of methods to play even if you don't have an interactive white board or a projector.  Here is my basic set up:

  1. Create a new file in your interactive software.  I called it the "Unfair Game" but any title will work.
  2. Create a grid of negative and positive numbers.  I usually use a 4X4 array, but depending on how many students and rounds you will be playing you can make it bigger or smaller. I use -9 to 9.  Most numbers will have an opposite pair, but a couple of numbers won't.
  3. Now randomly mix up your numbers into the grid.
  4. Place a few of the "Balloon Pop" interactive balloons.  If you don't have Smart Notebook software then you can create the grid on your board using construction paper with one side blank and the other side with your positive and negative numbers.
    • free study game smartboard.jpg
  5. When you are ready your review game will look like this.
    • review game using smartboard.jpg
  6. Now divide your class into teams, 1-4 teams works just fine.
  7. The object of the game is to be the team with the total number of points closest to 0, a -1 will beat out a 2.
  8. Ask team one a question.  If they get the question correct, they can either choose a balloon to pop, or pass the balloon pop to a team of their choice.  If they get the question wrong, I usually go to the next team, but you can also choose to force them to take the balloon without a chance to pass it.
  9. The balloon is popped and the number added to their total score.  For students who struggle with positive and negative integers, this game is great for practicing.
  10. Team two then tries to answer the next question and the game continues until all the balloons are popped.
  11. The team with an ending score of closest to 0 is the winner.

I play this study game with high school students all the time.  It is amazing how competitive it can be.  Give it a shot an let me know how it goes.


Just came across Matific.  Matific is a free match activity website for teachers and students to access.  On this website students will get a chance to play activities that will reinforce their current mathematics knowledge.  There are also Android Math App and AppStore Math Apps that go with it. Below are some of the features that you and your students can get access to.  

1.  Go to

2. One the Math Activities Tab you will see that you can filter math activities by grade level, curriculum and what is really neat, you can filter by the math book you might be using.

Matific Math Activities Menu

3. If you were to select your Math class's grade level, you filtering menu appears on the left column of the Matific website.  From here you can select the math concepts that you are going to be teaching to see what type of digital math activities are available.  Just click on the concept and you will get multiple math standards to open up.  From there you can select digital math "episodes" or even get some free worksheets.  If you want the free math worksheets though, you will need to register for a free account.  

Math Activities Module Selector

4. Some areas of the math content tabs have actual lesson plans that are tied to specific state math and common core standards, which are very detailed and contain an opening, teacher presentation, student activity, whole class discussion, and optional follow ups.

Matific Lesson Plan format

5.  If you are to click the Math Activities by Curriculum tab you get standards based on some states and the common core math standards.  Clicking on the over arching objectives will open up all of the sub standards for that specific state math standards.

Common core math activitiesMath activities by common core standard

6.  Finally you can open up activities that are specific to many math books.  Just click the "By Book" tab, select your grade level, and then select your text.  Hopefully they have it.

Math activities by text book.

7.  After using any filter for your math grade level on the left side of the screen, math activities, episodes, worksheets and lesson plans will show up on the right side of your screen.

Matifi k6 math activities

8. It is beneficial to go ahead and register for a free account so that you have access to all of the content.  If you are a K-6 teacher then Matific is truly free.  If you are a parent or have students that need access to their online content from home it is just $3.00 per month.  For as good as the website is, that is a really aire deal.

Below is a video demonstration of the Matific Site.  You can also head over to the Matfic Youtube channel to see more detailed information, tutorials on using the site, and video of activity game play.

This tutorial is for those who are having issues with a numbered list that is copied and pasted.  If you have ever tried to accomplish this in Google Docs, you will have undoubtedly come across the issue where the copied and pasted portion continues with the numbering right where you left off.  An example of what I am talking about is below.  The left picture is what is happening and the right picture is what you want.  This can be confusing to your students.

Google Docs Numbered List Copied       Google List Issue


To solve this issue, all you need to do is right click on the second bulleted list, right between number 5 and the first word in your sentences and then select the "Restart Numbering..." option.

Google Docs List Issue resolved

When you do, you will get a popup dialogue box that allows you to tell Google Docs what number you would prefer to start the second list with.

That is all there is to it.

Here is a lab I created for my High School Earth Science course using old salad bars as stream tables to model river formation, stream abandonment, and ocean sediment layering.  The lab went well. i was a little worried that students would think this was too elementary, but most of them enjoyed the lab and watching water trickle through sand sediment creating rivers and banks.  My goal with this lab was to have them understand a little about why the world's rivers are shaped the way they are.

Grade Level: Can be modified for all grades, but designed for Jr. High and High School Earth Science

Materials Needed:

  • Stream tables, sand, ruler, water jugs (or any means of slowly trickling water into your stream table), a bucket to catch excess water.


  1. Pass out the student Exploring River Formation Lab sheet.

  2. Select a couple of students to manage the flow of water.

    • I had two stream tables that were nothing but used salad bars that were discarded in the districts junk pile.  I could believe how awesome that was.  I am hoping over time to get a few more.  Salad bars are perfect stream tables because they are on wheels and have an area that will drain water.

    • River Formation Lab

  3. Once the water is flowing, stand back and let students discuss the lab questions together.  I facilitated this conversation.

Expected answers and discussion from the lab sheet:

1. What are some observations that you can make right way about the flow of water?

  • Looking for discussion about how the water is choosing the path that it is.

2. Describe how the sediments are moving.  Sand vs. silt.  

  • Students should recognize that the smaller grained particles are moving quicker down slope and the larger particles are comparatively slower.  I had my student imagine the sand sized particles as being larger particles in a real river.

3. Describe how the path is being formed down hill.

  • After about 5 minutes the “river” should be forming a path to the “ocean basin” below.  If they are paying attention closely they will notice that the path shifts as it take the easiest way down.  Over a few minutes the river should start to change direction again as it piles sediments up forcing the river to change.

I now have the student use the rulers or their hands and add a “landslide” to the river.  Rivers have been know to change their paths due to natural blockage such as landslides or lava flows.

4. What do you notice about the water’s “chosen” path?

  • Now they really see how the river will have to change direction due to the blockage.

5. Why do you think it took that path?

  • They should be thinking about the path of least resistance as water will find the easiest way to drain to the basin.  Once the river breaks through the barrier if flow very quickly.  I tied this into historical examples where natural dams and barriers in a river's path created devastating damage downstream when the dam broke.

Now I have the students smooth the slope with the ruler again.  This time they should create large broad loops, or meanders in the river and start allowing water to flow again.

Meanders in Rivers Lab

6. Describe how the erosion is now affecting your stream.  

  • How is it eroding the sides?

    • They should notice and if they don’t get some guidance the teacher, that the river goes quickly to the outside of the bank and is moving sediment slightly slower on the inside of the bank.

  • Are the sides getting wider?

    • They should notice after about 5 minutes the the sides of the river are getting wider and the depth of the river is getting shallower as the sediment piles up.

  • Which side of a bend or a meander is being eroded fastest? and Why do you think it is being eroded the fasted?

    • They should see that the river’s outside bank is changing the quickest due to the differential speed of the water as it hits the outside bank quicker.

  • Which side of a bend is having the most deposition occur? and Which types of sediments are mostly being deposited? Sand or clay?

    • Students should notice that the inside bank is where the deposition occurs the most.  This wasn’t so obvious when I do the lab so I have to point it out which sparks discussion about why that is.

Now the students take a look at the sediment in and around the river’s mouth and the ocean basin.

Sediments in Ocean Basins lab

7. What type of sediment is found at the edge of the “beach?” Sand or clay?

  • They should notice that the further you go into the ocean the more clay and silt sized particles will be found.

8. Why do you think that is?

  • This happens because the heavier sediments such as the sand drop out of the water first as the lighter material can float further into the ocean.

Lab Extension

  • One of the lab extensions I tried at the end of the day was to mark with a pencil the location of the furthest part of the “beach” in the ocean.  Then I had students take note that the mouth of the river actually moved enough sediment into the ocean that we created our own little delta.
  • I also showed students this video at the end of the lab.
  • Why Do Rivers Curve?

I just came across Calculation Nation website and they have a set of about 10 challenging games for older elementary students all the way to high school.  As I was evaluating the site, I found myself trying to beat the computer and it was difficult to pry myself away.  If students register an account they can even challenge other players instead of just a computer.  Below are some of my favorite games and a brief explanation about them and what math concept it could help students reinforce.


This game reinforces students understanding of graphing linear equations.  Before a students is completely done, they will have used the slope intercept form, found perpendicular and parallel lines all by changing the slope and the y-intercept in order to fire a torpedo to sink ships.  The more ships they hit, the more bonus tries they get to clear the boats off the screen.  Two students can play this linear equation game if they have accounts.

Linear Equations Game


Square Off

This is probably my favorite and possibly one of the more challenging games.  Students will be able to reinforce their knowledge of square areas, but will need to calculate the perimeter of the rectangle in order to capture ships.  Students can play each other or the computer.  They gain more points for how efficient their rectangles are and how many ships they can capture at any one time.

Perimeter of a rectangle game


Factor Dazzel

Students try to beat their partner or the computer in determining factors of specific chosen numbers.  The student's goal is to choose numbers that are not prime as well as find the factors of numbers that are chosen for them.  Fairly simple math game.

Find the Number Factors Game


Fraction Feud

Students will use this educational game to try and create fractions that either larger or smaller than their competitors using only specific numbers that they are given.  Students will have to really think if they want to beat this math game.  If they use all of their good numbers up without winning the round, then they will have a hard time beating the game.  It can be challenging, but students will have a better ability to compare fractions when they are finished playing.

Comparing Fractions Game


Times Square

This multiplication facts game is great for students to practice their multiplication tables 1-9.   If you remember the "Connect Four" game, then this game will remind you of it.  You need to multiply numbers to eliminate your 100's table numbers.  They can only be used once and you can only move one slider at a time so it isn't as simple as you might think.  Students will need to play both defence and offence in this game if they are going to be able to multiply numbers for the win.

Connect 4 Multiplication Game



Dig It

In this older elementary math game, students are given numbers and a numberline.  In order to dig for gems along the numberline, they need to create an improper fractions and then choose where along the numberline that improper fraction is.  Once they have made their choice the shovel digs a hole to collect coins.  The closer to the correct placement of the number on the numberline, the deeper the hole will be dug and the more gems that can be collected.

Improper Fractions Number Line Game


Drop Zone

Drop Zone is another fraction based game where students have to add fractions up to equal one.  They gain points based on how many fractions they can add up to equal one.  

Adding Fractions Game


Flip and Slide

In this upper elementary/intermediate level math game students will enhance what they understand with regards to moving geometric shapes about a coordinate plane.  In order to collect fireflies and ladybugs, they need to tell the computer whether to translate, reflect, and rotate their triangle up, down, left and right, clockwise and counterclockwise and how many spaces as well as determine wheter to move their triangle around and about either the y or x axis.  They can make up to 4 simultaneous moves in each round.

Rotating triangles around the coordinate plane game


There are about 6 other games that are found on the Calculation Nation game site that I tried, but the ones listed in this blog post were my favorites and what I consider to be the most fun and educational and least difficult to understand game play.  For other educational resources for teachers please visit the rest of the website

In this Earth Science Lab, students are able to demonstrate models of sand dunes, their predominant wind patterns, and the approximate angles of repose.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Time: 1-2 class periods.

Materials you will need:

  • Enough sand, a little water to make the sand moist, ruler, a computer, a beaker, Sand Dune Lab Sheet

Pre-Discussion Procedure:

  • I first discussed erosion by wind.  The Glacier, Gravity, and Wind Erosion Google Presentation can be found here.

    • Deflation, abrasion, saltation, creep, suspension, haboobs,

    • Techniques for slowing wind erosion down

    • Deposition by wind, loess, sand dunes, dune migration

    • Other types of wind erosion features such as desert varnish and cross bedded sandstone (sand dunes in the rock record.)

  • I discussed the importance of knowing the direction the wind is blowing and how scientists can use it in the rock record to determine dominant wind patterns.

  • I did not actually discuss the different types of sand dunes.  The lab is setup so that students will explore these.

Star Sand Dune Type

Lab Procedure:

  • The lab is detailed on the actual Sand Dune lab sheet for students.

  • Students grabbed their science tray full of sand, a ruler and a cup.

  • They then proceeded to fill out the lab sheet.

  • Each dune needs to be modeled, so when they were finished their model I had them raise their hands so I could visually see it.  I asked these questions.

    • Which type of dune is modeled?

    • Which direction is the wind blowing?

  • I also discussed with each group the importance of slope on their model.  Most students had really steep slopes.

Barchan Sand Dune Type

Teacher Reflection:

  • I went to a science conference and learned that “touch turns on the brain.”  I asked myself how I can turn on their brains with this lab and decided that I would let them create models of the five different types of sand dunes.

    • I asked a few students if playing in the sand and building the actual model helped at all, and received positive feedback.  When given a quiz with images, they did quite well detailing the direction of the wind and know what type of dune they were observing.

  • On the lab sheet, I have the question about how tall can some dunes get.  Some of the dune heights were not readily found on their internet searching.

  • I put the question about countries on the lab sheet, trying to do some cross curriculum with geography.  I think next year I am going to add a blank tiny world map in the space and have them mark where in the world the sand dunes actually can be found.

  • My original goal was to have students apply “wind” to the sand to create their dunes, but blowing on the sand required too much force to really form a dune.  I then had students moisten the sand and just shape them into each type of dune.  This worked much better.

  • The ruler and the beaker were used mainly as shaping tools to help students create the sand dune type model.

Longitudinal Sand Dune Type


  • I felt the lab went well.  I was a little worried about getting sand everywhere, but that didn’t really happen.  Students stayed on task and as they demonstrated each sand dune model, I was able to critique their angles and assess whether or not they understood the direction of sand dune migration.