Friday, May 8, 2009

Drive-thru Weekend Take Out

Monitoring Gmail Labs

If you are a Gmail user, you would be doing yourself an enormous favor to check out the features at Gmail Labs. Among many other add-on features, Google now allows you to
* access your inbox offline.
*create a Google Document from an email.
*mark messages as read without reading them.
*undo "send" (five second delay).
*add a button that lets you send a reply and archive the conversation in a single action.
*insert images into an email.
....and much more.

The labs have been churning out new features like crazy. To stay abreast, I recommend that your subscribe to the Gmail Blog. It's the perfect blog, because the team only reports when it has something to say (Just like the Drive-thru?).

Using PowerSchool Comments Creatively
I’ve always disliked the programmed “comments” options that electronic grade books provide. Currently I use custom comments in PowerSchool, but often unconventionally. For example, I will use the comment section to log notes on participation or other classroom behavior. I may use the comments to indicate that a student didn’t bring notes for an open note quiz, or neglected to take advantage of an extra credit opportunity. Of course, I make plenty of positive comments to students, but recording some basic facts about shortcomings for my own records is very helpful at conferences with parents or counselors. They are less likely to float theories of how the teacher may be the cause of the student's under performance if the teacher has noted specific occasions where the student has been unprepared or distracted. I have found this documentation extremely helpful for "cutting to the chase."

Handy Storage at
At our school, teachers use Moodle to post files that students need for class. But when the students use Wikis or the teacher needs to host larger files than your Moodle administrator will allow, it’s nice to have another third party storage option. I’m a big fan of They provide one gigabyte of file storage free (upgrades to larger storage options are reasonable). After an easy upload, the tools for embedding, sharing or downloading the files are highly intuitive. If you are a regular reader of the Drive-thru, you’ve come across more than a few hyperlinks to files.

P.S. The Drive-thru continues to publish on M,W,F for the rest of the school year.

"Take Out" with generous permission of americanvirus

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