Google Docs: New Fonts & Templates

Google Docs is making the transition to Google Drive and with that they have recently announce some improved features for Docs users. Most notably is the addition of  60 new templates and 450 new fonts.

New Fonts:
Before you can access the new fonts you need to click on the button to Try Google Drive, found on the screen you see when you access your list of Google Docs. After that the fonts don’t show up automatically, you have to manually add the ones you commonly like to use. To access the fonts:
  1. Open a New Document.
  2. Click on the name of the font.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the list of fonts and choose Add Fonts.
  4. Choose the fonts you want to add.
New Templates:

If you’re looking for an easy and efficient way to provide students with a starting point for a digital project, Google Docs Templates can help. You can save time and guide the learning by providing students with a consistent page format by using and creating your own templates. A Google Docs template is like a virtual copy machine. There are plenty of user-submitted templates already created and available for public use and there is even a category for Students and Teachers. Here are some of the new templates created by Google of particular interest to educators:

Note: You must be signed in to your Gmail account to preview and access the templates.

Digital Notes: Combine Readability & Google Docs

One of my favorite tools to share with students and teachers is Readability. This handy bookmarklet tool scrubs webpages clean of distractions by eliminating the ads and creating a more readable version of digital text. By itself, it’s a really useful tool for students, but when combined with Google Docs, it can be part of an effective and efficient method for taking digital notes.

It’s important to note that the strategy offered here is not meant to replace traditional methods of note-taking. Rather, it is meant to be one of many note-taking strategies that can be introduced to students throughout the year as they engage in frequent everyday research experiences. If the goal of research is to find information, use it and properly cite sources, then introducing students to multiple strategies and allowing them to take flexible learning paths will help them become independent researchers and  life long learners. 

Risk Free Ways to Try Digital Notes:

  1. Content related article reviews
  2. Sharing current events
  3. Preparing a script for a podcast or narrated slideshow

The slideshow below provides step-by-step directions for combining Readability with Google Docs to take Digital Notes.

How To Combine Google Docs and Readability for Digital Note-Taking

EasyBib: One Click Access to Google Docs & More

EasyBib is a free and popular tool for creating citations. By using this tool, students no longer need to learn to format citations, which means they can focus on the reason for creating the citations and the importance of giving credit to the author.  EasyBib has some really great features worth exploring.

Export to Google Docs and More:
Now there is a button to easily export citations to Google Docs. This one-click feature really streamlines the process by creating a Doc, naming it, and popping in directly into the user’s Google Docs account for use. If you aren’t using Google Docs, you’ll notice some alternate, but handy ways to export citations, pictured below.

The EasyBib App features a scanner option to help students easily create bibliographies from book sources. This includes the ability to search by title and ISBN which can be quite helpful when the bar code is not readable by the device. The video below provides a good overview of how the EasyBib app works.

EasyBib supports it’s own social search engine designed to shows users a list of sources that have been used on a particular topic. In addition, it shows the credibility of the sources commonly used. 

Click on the tab at the top of the screen to access lessons plans to help teachers make the transition from traditional print research steps to electronic research. The lessons plans are simple and they cover a nice range of appropriate information literacy content. 

If you haven’t visited EasyBib in a while, you might want to take another look at

Great Ways to Use Google Docs – Presented Visually

These days a good way to capture the attention of an audience is to present information visually. For this reason, I created a glog of popular ways to use Google Docs for Learning to share with the teachers at our middle school. Just look at the glog, find something that interests you, and click on a link to see snippets of samples implemented by our teachers. Looking for more information or about any of these topics? View my Google Docs for Learning page on this blog.

Click image to jump to interactive glog

Use GoogleDocs Self-Grading Quiz as an Exit Ticket

Update 3.3.13:

Try Flubaroo to automate and add functionality to the GoogleDocs Self-Grading Quiz.

View new post on this blog


The GoogleDocs Form is an efficient way for teachers to collect small pieces of information because it automatically displays the information in a spreadsheet. Teachers can add formulas to those spreadsheets to create  multiple-choice quizzes that grade themselves. Since a form can be linked or embedded into a website, wiki or blog, students do not need email accounts to take a quiz. The form works well on any portable computing device or full-blown computer which makes it perfect for use as an Exit Ticket at the end of a lesson. One simple 3-5 question Exit Ticket Quiz has at least three great uses.

  1. Provide students with immediate feedback to increase motivationGive students a quick self-grading quiz at the end of a lesson, spend less than 5 minutes collecting the grades for an unlimited number of students, then publish the spreadsheet of results. Teach students how to use The Find Tool (control + f) to quickly find their score and significantly raise the stakes to increase student motivation. Please note: To avoid public humiliation and hard feelings I suggest you require students to sign in with some sort of unique identifier, in addition to their name. Before you publish the results, always remember to hide the name column.
  2. Gauge student understanding and the effectiveness of your lesson                 Results collected using the same self-grading quiz can be used for planning,reteaching, modifying and providing students with enrichment from both a big-picture and a detailed point of view. To look at the big picture, choose Form > Show Summary of Responses from the menu bar and view the results in the form of a graph for each question. To examine specific student results, sort the spreadsheet by question to identify the students who have mastered each question. If you are using video tutorials or digital resources to reteach, you can even link those resources right to each question on the spreadsheet to provide students with easy access to support.
  3. Give students a chance to voice their opinions, concerns, and questions. Although an open-ended question won’t grade itself, you can provide an optional “paragraph” style question l at the end of the Exit Ticket to give students a voice and opportunity to communicate with you about their learning. Since the self-grading quiz has provided you with freedom from grading papers, you can use the extra time to listen to collect personal feedback and respond appropriately. Copy and paste student questions into a follow up document and make note of repeated questions to identify common concerns.
Take a closer look:

Take Sample Quiz  
View Sample Results 
View Summary of Responses
Learn how:
If you don’t know how to create a Google Doc Self-Grading Quiz, you can learn how by using this awesome video tutorial, created by jspevack. A good tip for this type of learning is to set up your screen with two windows, side-by-side, and actually try to create the quiz as you go through the tutorial. Remember to use the pause button to learn at your own pace.

Tutorial: Create a Google Docs Self-Grading Quiz  

Build Vocabulary Cards with Google Presentation

There is a wealth of research to suggest that vocabulary knowledge is the single best predictor of student academic achievement across all curriculum areas. Experts agree that vocabulary development is an attainable goal. If given the opportunity to receive effective vocabulary instruction, most students can acquire vocabulary at rates that will improve their comprehension and also their chances for success in school. Technology is an effective and engaging tool that can be used to improe vocabulary acquisition for all learners and engage them in the learning process. Google Presentation offers some features that make it an attractive tool for a lesson in which students work collaboratively to construct knowledge about vocabulary by creating vocabulary cards.

Lesson: Use Google Presentation to Build Vocabulary Cards
In this activity students use the template found at the bottom of this post to guide the learning. The template includes formatting which allows students to focus on content rather than  technology. An added bonus of this template is that it includes a Help Page with links to resources and video tutorials about how to complete certain tasks when using Google Presentation.
Help Page with links to tutorials

Students work in groups of three.  Each group works on a copy of the template that has been shared with members of the group. Each student within the group has a job to do.

Jobs: Click on the images to jump to a page with tutorials and resources

Finds and inserts a video to illustrate the term using the handy feature that lets users preview and insert YouTube videos without leaving the presentation.

Find a copyright-friendly image or use the drawing tools available to draw directly an illustration of the term directly on the slide.

Use dictionary tools to compose a definition.

Create a Slide: Each student contributes to the slide, using the Help Button, if needed.
sample student card with jobs

sample student card completed

Create a Quiz Card:

After students create the vocabulary card, they use the animations feature available in  Google Presentation to turn their cards into a Quiz Card for review and practice when studying the terms

Vocabulary Card Template:

Get Template:
You must be logged in to a Gmail account to copy and use this template.

GoogleDocs Presentation: New Look and Features

Recently Google released a new version of its online presentation software and with it comes some additional features that have been available in traditional presentation software programs like PowerPoint and Keynote. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Include transitions in between slides
  • Use simple animations, or “flying text” 
  • Link images
  • Include tables with improved formatting options
  • Draw directly on a slide to create flowcharts, mind maps and doodles
To get a glimpse of the new tool in action, please view the Google Presentation below.

    GoogleDocs Templates: A Virtual Copy Machine

    If you’re looking for an easy and efficient way to provide students with a starting point for a digital project, Google Docs Templates can help. You can save time and guide the learning by providing students with a consistent page format by using and creating your own templates. A Google Docs template is like a virtual copy machine. There are plenty of user-submitted templates already created and available for public use and there is even a category for Students and Teachers. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

    How to Use an Existing Templates

    1. Sign in to your Google account
    2. When viewing your list of GoogleDocs, choose Create New > from Template .
    3. Use the search box at the top of the page to find templates and use the links on the left side of the page to narrow your search by category or specific type of Google Doc.
    4. When you find a template you like, click Use This Template. A unique copy of the template will move to your list of Google Docs, while the original template will remain in tact.
    5. Modify the template as needed and use it.
    How to Create a Template

    1. Sign in to your Google account
    2. Create a new document, presentation, form, spreadsheet or drawing.
    3. Add your content and save.
    4. Go to your list of Google Docs.
    5. Choose Create New > From Template .
    6. On the new screen that appears, choose Submit a Template.
    7. Click on the link to Choose from yourGoogleDocs
    8. Complete the form with information about your template and submit.
    9. The template will become available in the gallery in a few minutes.

    Sample Some Templates Available for Use

    Note: You must be signed in to your Google account to view

    historical facebook page charts template          self0grading test template
    HistoricalFacebook, created by Susan Santoli Charts in Spreadsheets
    created by the GoogleDocs
    20 Questions Self-Grading Test, created by John Warf
    5 Ideas for Use in the Classroom
    You’re bound to think of more!
    1. Create a collaborative Google Presentation with copyright-friendly images or your own photos as a starting point for students. Have studemts open the template and write about the images.
    2. Create a digital note-taking page complete with pre-formatted note cards, links to research resources and a link to Easy-Bib to collect information for the bibliography.
    3. Use the drawing tools to create a mind-map, then group the shapes, text boxes and arrows together so students can easily contribute without worrying about formatting.
    4. Create online student record-keeping templates. Use them to help students easily log their at-home, reading, instrument practice, food consumption or any task you want students to keep track of.
    5. Create a template for student portfolios to guide them through the process of self-reflection and publishing work.

    Manage Google Docs with an Assignment Tracker

    One of the challenges of rolling out Google Docs for all students at our school is in managing all those docs students are turning in. Teachers are experiencing the frustration of cluttered In Boxes taken over by individual messages from students sharing their assignments. Fortunately, I have found an awesome idea from John Miller @162  that utilizes a Google Form as an Assignment Tracker. The idea is innovative, efficient and simple. Here’s how John’s invention works:

    Teachers create a very simple Google Form to be submitted by students every time they turn in work. Information on the form should include name, class period, assignment name and a link to the Google Doc with the assignment. The information submitted by students automatically populates a spreadsheet to be used by teachers to keep track of assignments and also to launch those assignment for grading and review.


    1. Teachers only have to create one form to used for the entire year. At certain intervals, teachers can simply copy and paste the information into a new page on the same spreadsheet for the purposes of record keeping, then work from a clean sheet.
    2. Use of an assignment tracker requires virtually no work for teachers. The additional effort necessary for the assignment tracker to work is a very quick task that is completed by students, but the task in itself is easy and it should actually make them feel good when they turn in work. The task is similar to crossing items off of a To Do list and we all know that just feels good.
    3. When students submit the form, a time stamp accompanies it, so teachers can see when an assignment was turned in. This means there is no need to be diligent about checking the form on that date an assignment is due. There is a digital record.
    4. Since the information is in a Google Spreadsheet, it can be sorted or even exported to Excel and used as a database for generating form letters for missing assignments.


    Click the images to view the actual student form and teacher spreadsheet.

    Many thanks to John Miller @162 for this great idea!

    Video Tutorial