Google Innovator Dashboard

Add a little more functional information to your new tab pages.

[su_button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#f7294d” color=”#ffffff” size=”8″ wide=”yes” center=”yes” radius=”0″ icon=”icon: calendar-o” text_shadow=”0px 0px 0px #000000″]Install the extension here.[/su_button]

Wonder Wall for Google Sheets

Display responses from Google Forms in real time!

The idea sprung from a professional development meeting I was having on inquiry based learning (IBL). Several apps were discussed as ways for students to share their questions in real time. I immediately thought that using Google Forms and Sheets would be a great project. My friend Daniel Sharpe who I do a weekly hour of code with thought the same thing. So we devoted two hours to making it a deployed add-on in the add-on store.

Install the add-on from the Chrome Web Store!

Check out the project, and let us know how we can improve it!

After you have installed the add-on, the first step is to create a Google Form with the correct questions. You can create your own or make a copy below.

[su_button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#f37c2d” color=”#ffffff” size=”8″ wide=”yes” center=”yes” radius=”0″ icon=”icon: users” text_shadow=”0px 0px 0px #000000″]Make a copy on your drive.[/su_button]

form-setupNext, create a spreadsheet for responses and open it. Once you have done that, all you need to do is open the add-on menu and run!






The page will update itself every 10 seconds with responses. We tried to make it look like Pinterest or Padlet style sites. However, neither of us is that great at CSS styling. So we used Bubble CSS for the text bubbles, and a project for the columns.

Send some suggestions to @rheajt or @get_sharpe, and feel free to check out any of our other projects!




Trying out Digital Breakouts at the Teacher Retreat

After trying out Digital BreakoutEDU for the first time this weekend, and I came away from it with a number of ideas. Especially since a number of the ways to format things, doesn’t work perfectly on the iPad.

In order to use the code below, you need to do a couple of things to setup your Google Site that I want to explain. It would really help to have gone through the information that has been made available by Mari and Justin on the actual Digital BreakoutEDU site.

First, create the Apps Script in your ‘Manage Site’ menu.


Next, you need to cut and paste some code into the script editor. I have provided my ideas at the bottom of this post. One is the ‘Hidden Text’ code. The other is a ‘Crypto’ display. Please play around with them!

Once you have cut and pasted the code into your script editor, save and close it out. You need to put the Apps Script onto your page somewhere, as seen below.


That should place your script onto your page. Please send me suggestions and ideas for more ways to use these in a breakout.

Hidden Text

Crypto Display

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer… student made video games!

What is storytelling like in the 21st century?

Well, one of the methods of telling stories in the new millenium is through video games! As an English teacher in a 5th grade classroom with students who have never been challenged to write anything in a second language before, they are lacking in the ability to write stories.

However, they certainly have stories to tell! One of my students told me about the program Hopscotch that they were using in their tech lessons. I looked it up and found it to be a very easy to use, drag-and-drop programming app that we could use easily on the iPads. Since they had already been exposed to the app in their tech lessons, it was a simple transition.

The first step was talking with my students about what the “adventures” of Tom Sawyer really were. I decided that we would be trying to turn those into the video games. A few examples are:

hopscotch example
Tom is jealous of the bigger boy because he is rich and has nicer clothes.
hopscotch example
Tom and Huck sneak off to the graveyard together to try and cure warts with a dead cat.
hopscotch example
Tom and Becky get lost in the cave together.

As a project at the end of the year, I could not have been more pleased with how it turned out. My students had a blast putting these adventures into the form of video games that they could play on their iPads.

It has also given me ideas on where to take the concept. Learning about Hopscotch pointed me in the direction of other, similar tools, such as: Scratch, Blockly, and Stencyl. Finding these alternative ways to tell a story makes a great project!

Coding with #COL16

I participated in a Hangout on Air with Daniel Sharpe, and the result was pretty great! We sat down and coded a decent start to an app that displays form responses in the style of Pinterest or Padlet. My internet crashed 4 times during the recording, but despite my terrible connection we would up with a decent product

Probably not for the absolute beginner, but I think there is something in there to be learned for an aspiring coder. (Experienced coders will probably ridicule my lack of style)

Do people want to see more of this? What can we introduce as we go along? Tweet at us @rheajt and @get_sharpe


Take attendance with ClassDojo with a single click!


I enjoy using ClassDojo. More importantly, my 5th grade classes enjoy when I use ClassDojo. There is something they really dig about being able to customize their own little monster avatars.

[su_button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#189912″ color=”#ffffff” size=”8″ radius=”0″ icon=”icon: send-o” text_shadow=”0px 0px 0px #000000″]Go to my ClassDojo Attendance Extension on the Chrome Store[/su_button]


My only complaint was that I was taking attendance on ClassDojo, but I still had to send an email to the school secretary every morning and whenever a student was late. I was basically doing the same job twice, and any programmer will tell you that is a sign of sloppy coding. In this case, real-life coding.

Raising hand

So, during a meeting today I came up with what I think is a solution. A Chrome browser extension! All you have to do is:

  1. Install the extension from the Chrome Webstore.
  2. Input a couple of emails. The person who takes the attendance in your office is the first input box. This person will get the email. The second email is your own email. This is so that the program can blind carbon copy yourself for your own records.
    1. Right-click on the icon in the upper right corner of your browser (see below)  right-click
    2. Input the requested information.
    3. Click SAVE

Once you have done that, go to your class attendance page in ClassDojo. Left-click on the browser icon and the rest is automatic!

Please let me know if you think of any other things you wish ClassDojo could do! These are the kinds of things that I love building. My entire Google Innovator Project is designed about finding the great ideas that teachers have and making them reality.


#ShoutOuts on Twitter

I have been doing a few hangouts with some of my colleagues from the Google Innovator Academy this past summer. It is definitely nice to help out with some really incredible projects, as well as get some praise along the way!

Back to school and back to coding!

After an incredible summer vacation (see my post about the Google Innovator Academy, the huge American road trip across the mid-west, and even a short trip to Spain) I am back in the office and already knocking out some code!

A colleague asked me about a way to duplicate sheets inside a Google spreadsheet. He has a template for his weekly schedule built inside a sheet, and he wants to duplicate it for each week of the school year.

A very reasonable request, however, I wasn’t exactly clear how to do it. In five minutes I whipped together this little script.

A short explanation of the code:

First, you declare the number of duplicates you want. Second you create the spreadsheet object. Third, you loop over the object and each time create a duplicate of the activate sheet. Finally, run the script and watch it take away 10 minutes of manual labor!

In other news, I am going to start posting lots of code snippets that help me and my colleagues solve small problems and make our lives easier. You can help me out by making your own suggestions on my project site (work in progress, but you can still use it!) I would love to help figure out ways to improve teacher workflow!

UPDATE to my Google Innovator project ‘’

When I first submitted my project back in April, I had only taken previous projects and created a system where others could add suggestions for new tools.

It wasn’t until being at the Academy in Boulder that I had the idea to connect the ideas that teachers suggest with developers on Github. You can browse mine at

If you aren’t familiar with Github, let me give you a quick description. GitHub is a way for developers to house their open source projects. Many developers keep lots of small projects that they use as part of their resumes. Why not provide a way to connect these developers directly to those ideas?

There is no limit to the ideas that teachers have for custom functions, add-ons, extensions, and other various web apps. I am hoping to help that process by making it easier to collaborate!

Still to come:

1. Allow developers to create a gist or repository directly on Github using their API with description of the project already created.

2. Tweet out project ideas when teachers create a new project. Should I create a new hash tag for these projects or harness the power of existing ones?

3. Tweet out when a developer accepts a teacher’s project idea. 

4. I need some better ways to promote the idea. I think there are tons of people looking to help out and improve their own portfolios at the same time. Examples of this are FreeCodeCamp and Stack Overflow. How can I get people on those sites interested in


There is tons of work to do in the next few weeks. I hope sharing this prototype helps me better see ways to improve the idea. If even a few ideas that can help teachers become reality then it will be worth it!

From the Middle East to the Mid-west!

Prompted by being accepted into the #COL16 Google for Education Certified Innovator Academy in Boulder, Colorado I decided it was a perfect time to turn it into a little bit of a road trip around the mid-west. I got to see family and friends that I have been lucky enough to associate myself with in my lifetime.

First stop was Chicago.

I took a boat tour and learned about the city where I was born. Truly an impressive city that almost feels like it is one big machine. The amount of engineering that must take place to just to move people around the city is so impressive to me.

innovator-graduationThen it was off to Boulder for the Innovators Academy! I already wrote about my experience there, so please check that out if you are an educator considering an application. Definitely a professional highlight for me.

After that experience I took off for a few days in Wisconsin with family. From Madison, I decided to rent a car and drive around Minnesota and South Dakota. I got to see Ben in Minneapolis and Sam and Nora in Worthington. From there I took off all the way across South Dakota to check out Mt. Rushmore and Deadwood.

I am not a huge fan of driving but there is something very liberating about cruising across an entire state at 80 miles per hour. I am so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to make these travels.