Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bridging Text and Context - Digitalized

Before you digitalize a worksheet, ask yourself: "What added extra value will I get from digitalization?" Here's an example of something I felt gave me more bang for my buck regarding the time used in the classroom, and out, as well as the ability to get the message across in a more meaningful manner than I could have before.

As part of our literature program, students need to get background information about the culture within which the literature is set, in order to help them understand the text better. When you understand where a person "comes from" (period of history, place) it's easier to understand what motivates the characters you are reading about. 

For the play All My Sons by Arthur Miller, I have, for years, used an activity I originally learned from an former colleague (HT Barry Solomon) who is no longer teaching. The activity has the students learning about the posters that were used in the United States during the period of World War II to whip up patriotism and convince people to enlist or help in the war effort in other ways. Originally it was a challenge finding these posters, even digitally, sharing them with our students (we would have to get a comptuer room expecially so they could see the digital materials). Happily, these days, it has become even easier to share posters, songs and clips with the students, to make the subject really come alive. 

I had digitalized the activity to some extent in the past, using Barcode readers and augmented reality. (I thought this would be really cool, but my students complained about having to install programs that they didn't want.... they love their phones - but have a hard time with me hijacking them for educational purposes sometimes). 

This year, I have taken the worksheets and digitalized them completely by putting them in Googleforms. Watch this webcast to see!  (In the description section of the YouTube you can access some of the links I used, as well as make a copy of the form if you wish.)

If you found this helpful, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you don't miss anything! (I still blog here occassionally, but most of my "blogging" has morphed into "vlogging" ;-) So - hit the bell, Click "Subscribe" and join me in my quest to leave no teacher behind in the digital age!

Digitally yours!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

A useful Googledoc Trick: Force "Copy Document"

Sharing a Googledoc or Googleside in order to have your students work collaboratively is magical. But sometimes, you need them to make a copy of their own, of the document or the slide, to save in their Drive, share with you, and work on, on their own.

You COULD give them very CLEAR instructions for how to make a copy:

...and maybe most students will do it right.... aside from the 1 or 2 who don't read that carefully or don't really understand how to make a copy or WHATEVER.....

        ....and then they fill in your master file and other students copy it and - in short - a big mess.

So in THIS blogpost I want to teach you how to AVOID that.

It's easy.

In one sentence, you copy the link you want to force people to make a copy of, and replace the word in the link that says: "edit", with the word "copy".

This works for Googledocs and slides!

Need more of an explanation? Here is my DOUBLEHEADER tutorial for this week!

And if you are still not sure of how to handle those messages which force you to Copy Document, watch the tutorial that follows.

Hope you find that helpful!

Still got questions? Write me!
And don't forget to subscribe! Here AND to my YouTube Channel!

Digitally yours, 


Friday, September 1, 2017

Getting Back into Step for the New School Year!

As usual, the summer has slip-slided away before I could say "Jack Robinson" and I now find myself in September which means that it's time to hit the ground running! My first lessons are always a combination of becoming aquainted with each other while at the same time getting right to business. Especially in the 12th grade where we REALLY have NO time to lose! So I am sharing what I am doing in our first lesson with them, this coming Monday.

I have recycled a Prezi that I prepared a few years ago, inserting the main information that my students need to know for our first day. If you have been following my blog this summer, you'll know that I am now a fledgling YouTuber, so instead of ending it off with an inspirational talk from Ashton Kutcher, as I did last year, I have made a YouTube of MYSELF! 

A few days ago our Education Ministry and CEO of the MoE held a press conference, about the importance of strengthening English language learning, in general, with an emphasis on speaking, in our schools. Many of us already DO a lot of oral activities to encourage the kids to talk, but hopefully their official statement and all the initiatives that are flowing into the field as backwash, will make it even more wide spread. Since we are all aware of the importance of producing digitally savvy citizens of the world, I intend to incorporate the making of YouTube movies into my lessons this  year whenever I can! I have no doubt whatsoever that, among my students, there will be those who can teach us ALL how to make effective YouTubes! I am aiming to turn my classroom into  an English "Maker Space", encouraging my students to come out as "makers".  And what way better to get kids talking in English and making YouTubes, than by leading the way with my own example, right?

The Prezi is embedded in the front page of my class website, so all I will have to do next Monday when I walk into the classroom will be to throw it up on the board, and it's all there!  (Want to learn how to make a Googlesite for YOUR class? Check THIS out!)

Wishing you all an inspiring, creative, challenging new school year, for you and your students! If you want ANY ideas for your classroom (Back-to-School, or otherwise) remember to make your first stop in our new Portal ! Do you have a great Back-to-School activity to share? Please share it HERE!

Oh... and Ashton Kutcher get outta my way!

Digitally yours!



Please subscribe here, to my blog, and to my YouTube channel, which is growing all the time, with (at least one) new movie each week including digital help and ideas you'll find useful! If there is anything YOU want me to blog or YouTube about, let me know in the comments!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Making your own Googlesite, in Ten Easy Steps

This is the time if year when teachers around the country (and probably around the Northern Hemisphere) are getting into first gear to get back into their classrooms. 

One of the things that are really helpful is to have a website for your class, where you can post the day's lesson plan, or homework reminders, or links to interactive activites you plan to do, or anything you plan to use for your lesson! It's a fantastic way to keep yourself organizaed and not have to go groping around to find that ellusive link.....

To share the link to your site, it's good to shorten the URL. In the webcast I showed the use of Google's useful webshorterner, where you just type and shorten the link and/ or grab a QR Code, but another option is Bitly, which enables you to make up a more logical sounding shortened URL. (Hhmm... an idea for next week's YouTube! If I make a tutorial for that, I'll link it here.. or just subscribe to my YouTube Channel, and you won't miss it!)

Googlesites are still a great way to have your students do their projects for the oral bagrut, as I did in 2014 (with the old version of Googlesites). If you want to read about that, you can read about it in my blogpost from way back then!

So... have I whet your appetite? Well, it just so happens that, I have made a short video to encourage teachers to make a Googlesite!: 10 Easy Steps to Making a Google Site, and in case you don't follow my YouTube channel (yet ;-) I am sharing it here, as well. If you DO decide to make your own class site, share it here, and let us know how  you use it!

Please feel free to ask me questions if you have any, in the comments section below the YouTube. And DO subscribe to my channel where I am trying to ensure that no teacher gets left behind!

Digitally yours,

Don't forget to subscribe here, as well!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Collect files through Google Forms!

It's something that many of us have been waiting for: you can now collect files in GoogleForms. Did you know that?

As a counselor, I often have the need for teachers to share files as part of the information I need to collect in Googleforms. If you don't have Google Classroom, this can be a workaround for collecting assignments from your students (as attachments) with feedback (in the form).

There are different types of files that can be uploaded documents, spreadsheets, PDF, drawings, images, audios and more. They can be either WORD or Googledocs. And it's really easy! Come watch how, and help me celebrate my first video in this series on my new YouTube Channel: "Digitally Yours".

I also noticed another new option in Google Forms, which is checkbox grids (in addition to multiple choice grids, which have been around for quite a while).  Just as with the difference between checkboxes and multiple choice answers, in the checkbox grid you can mark more than one option per row, as opposed to multiple choice grids, which allow you to only mark one per row. 

But it's always easier to show you rather than just tell you - so have a look, below!

Please check out my new channel, give your feedback, suggestions, requests, and SUBSCRIBE! The more subscribers I have, the more videos I will be able to make to help YOU with what you need- so that NO teacher gets left behind in the digital dimension of teaching in 2017

Digitally yours, 

PS - don't forget to subscribe to my blog AND my new YouTube channel! Wouldn't want you to miss out on anything! :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Digitally Yours: A new YouTube Channel is Born!

Just a SHOUT OUT, because I am SO excited to invite you to my new YouTube Channel!

Many of you are already tuning in to my tutorials, but now , after having the thrilling experience of getting super-inspiring training in the YouTube Academy for Teachers, I have been convinced to jump into the deep end and open a dedicated YouTube Channel just for YOU. 

The theme is No Teacher Left Behind, and I plan to invite you into my home once a week, so I can share ideas for ways to take advantage of digital pedagogy and internet tools in the classroom. I have a ton of tips for you for classroom use as well as helping you keep track of stuff, work, collaborate and lots more! We can converse in the comments under the clips, and I will try to answer any questions you have. If you have special requests, I’ll do my best to work those in as well. 

I plan to start off each week with a new video! To be sure you don’t miss any of them and hit the “SUBSCRIBE” button!

Digitally yours, 


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

YouTube Academy for Teachers Blogpost - Day Three

It came to an end - as all good things must do (bad things, as well, but we’re happy to see the back of the the bad things ….. good things are those we would like to prolong….like the YouTube Academy.)

The final day of the YT Academy began by watching and critiquing some of the movies we produced for homework over the weekend. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for all of them, but we learned from each others' successes and failures.

After watching each others' YouTube baby-steps, we were transported to hard-core YouTubing with another super-inspiring YouTuber; one who has found her own way to grow a humongous following who bask in her “little peaceful crafting galaxy” of miniatures, despite the fact that her face never appears in her YouTubes. With 480,319 subscribers and 141,831,876 views, the intelligent and talented Helena has built a tiny empire on YouTube - PipeCleanerCrafts B, one which entertains children (mostly girls, I think)  who are enchanted watching her fingers as they build miniature worlds for dolls. She spoke to us about the different, calculated decisions she took. She explained why she decided not to include visuals with her face (although not including one’s face is known to be a detractor, statistically), which languages she presents in (and which she does NOT, and why), and how she runs her channel to take advantage of it to the max; making her passion work for her. Helena illustrated the influence of high-quality, successful competitors from whom to learn; and how analyzing each other helps them each to grow. Her channel is truly an admirable labor of love, and we were lucky to have her to share her odyssey with us.
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
Photo by Keren Gottlieb Eis 
Anat Szekely continued in her ongoing task over the three-day YouTube Academy for Teachers’ adventure, to enrich us with the ins and outs of branding our channels, optimizing and promoting our movies using Search English Optimization (SEO).  She spoke all sorts of gobbledygook, and slowly but surely, ideas are starting to fall into place. Metadata, thumbnails (and the significance thereof), titles, using Trends and keywords, taking advantage of statuses, subtitles, end screens and finally: (drumroll) Analytics. This is an art in itself, one I need to play around with in order to get my head around it.  There are templates and tricks of the trade that are worth researching more deeply. For that I need time: time to experiment, time to get my hands dirty and time to digest.

The always-inspiring Liat Ben Rafael, (albeit without her adorable pooch this time) left her impression on us regarding branding (This Brand is Me).I believe it was she who shared the brilliant Oscar WIlde quote: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”   The most important thing for success is the person YOU are, the person YOU bring to YouTube, THAT is who people can identify with. And the message that resounded throughout the YT Academy days: watch other YouTubers, learn from them, try to analyze what they bring to the network, but in the end, we each need to find our OWN voices, our OWN messages. If we can bring ourselves to our audience, being passionate about what we want to convey, we have a chance of being noticed .

What I also realized is that there is an entire YouTube Universe out there about which I know only the very smallest speck.

These are the questions that Liat recommended we all go home, sit down and answer for ourselves in our quest for finding our inner YouTuber: our own personal brand-o-meter, if you will:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What are my values?
  3. What are my passions?
  4. What are my characteristics?
  5. What are my advantages?
  6. What are the weird things about me? (What makes me different)
  7. What are my aims? Motivations?
  8. Where will I be in 5,10, 20 years?
  9. Who am I?

Anna from Google Europe hungout with us after lunch to talk about the topic of Monetization on YouTube, further helping us pinpoint ways to draw audience attention.
Image may contain: 2 people, indoor
Photo by Keren Gottlieb Eis 
Asaf presented 10 Fundamentals of a Creative Strategy on YouTube:
  1. Shareability
  2. Conversation
  3. Interactivity
  4. Consistency
  5. Targeting
  6. Sustainability (this one is THE biggest biggie as far as I am concerned)
  7. Discoverability
  8. Accessibility
  9. Collaboration
  10. Inspiration - does this come from a place of genuine inspiration?

Image may contain: 4 people, indoor
Photo by Keren Gottlieb Eis

Finally, Bar Umansky - our dedicated unicorned GEG leader who could not participate in person, beamed in to talk about where we are and where we are headed as a community of YouTubers.  

There was so much to digest from these three days, that my head is still spinning; my heart still racing.

The three days ended with champagne and cupcakes; diplomas and tears. We were presented with certificates, and some tools of our new trade (tripod and selfie-sticks with remote controls) to give us a leg-up, and left with even more questions than we had before (which is a good thing - because without questions, we would never start looking for the answers).

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing
Photo by Liron Cohen Aviv

I embarked on this journey, planning to open a channel of “Do Nows” or “Challenges” that a teacher can turn on at any time during the lesson, when they feel that their class needs a "brain break", to have students do a short, fun activity. I even created my sample YouTube clip for it, and am very proud of myself for being brave enough to share my abject failure-of-a-first-attempt, here:

I learnt SO much from doing this! After all, Google’s 8th Principle for Innovation is: 8. FAIL WELL “Failure is the way to be innovative and successful. You can fail with pride.” And I did!

The audio of the clip is awful, I talk as if I’m addressing 4-year-olds (which would be ok if my audience were actually 4-year-olds rather than teenagers), the horizon (line of the couch behind me) isn’t straight, the timer I managed to capture is traumatic, and most importantly - the MOST profound failure that came out of this- was that I realized that this is not something I am passionate enough about, or even experienced enough at. I SHOULD be doing more of these kinds of methodological brain breaks in my lessons, but I do not.

Producing this total failure gave me the opportunity to experiment with a few editing programs. I learned a LOT about why I need to buy a lapel mic (to hone in on what I WANT the viewer to hear rather than sounds of the fan/the air conditioning/ the snoring dog, etc.) and probably invest in some good lighting solutions. But most importantly - the very element that will tip the scales of whether or not this becomes an extended journey which I decide to take upon myself, or just a short vacation: I think I figured out my passion. But that will have to wait for my next blogpost.

I can’t close this without thanking all those a Google, but especially the trio: Yael, Anat and Bar, who made this profound learning experience possible for the 30 educators from all around Israel who were fortunate enough (and dedicated enough) to participate. Those 30 colleagues have become the best support group EVER!

Digitally yours,


If you missed the blogposts from Days 1 and 2, come visit my main blog page! And if you are interested in learning more about my YouTube channel-to-be, or Digital Pedagogy, please be sure to subscribe to this blog! :-)

Photo on camera by Liron from Google.
Photo of camera by Keren Gottlieb Eis