Oh no! I forgot something in my template before I shared it!

A colleague of mine had to come up with a way to insert student names into a folder full of documents AFTER they had already been shared. She had no interest in opening 100 different documents one at a time, so we came up with a way to do it programmatically.

My BreakoutEDU

I almost forgot that one of the most fun parts of the Google Innovator Academy was something that I didn’t get to share with everyone as we ran out of time. We were supposed to bring a short puzzle with us that would help us explain our stories as educators. We ran short on time and my puzzle didn’t get solved (along with another teacher in the group.)

So, I may as well share my puzzle with the group. I even wrote a little bit of code to to automate the process, though the puzzle is easy enough to solve without it.

The code:

The puzzle itself:

A single shift will reveal your clue, then the rest is up to you!

“uif bvuips pg uif nptu gbnpvt qmbzt pg fohmjti mjufsbuvsf xbt tjnqmz dbmmfe uif …”

The answer is a 4 letter word that opened the breakout box to reveal a clock! My story revolved around how I started to learning to code in order to develop my own content for the iPad program at school. Then that evolved into finding ways to programmatically save time as a teacher, and developing add-ons to serve that purpose.

What am I even working on? Update!

It is nearing the end of the school year, which as any teacher knows demands a significant amount of time outside of the classroom. I have been working on finishing up grades on some projects for the end of the year. My students have an important test in one of their other subjects, so I am also trying to give them a little bit of leeway on preparing for that.

Here is just a brief update on my own various projects:

  • Finish the React.js and Sass challenges on FreeCodeCamp. I decided to pay for a month of CodeSchool to learn React and Sass and after I finished those courses, I decided to complete a few other exercises as review for myself. The goal is to be finished with these challenges at the end of May.
  • Plnnr.net is coming along, but it is in store for a big refactoring. I want to update the way projects are displayed so people can get a better sense of what is in progress and what is just suggested.
  • Refactor the UBD Templater add-on to automatically use the Common Core objectives, but allow a teacher to put in their own objectives. These need to display in a more readable format on the main page. The entire project probably needs me to go over the whole things again. Also finish by the end of May.
  • Summer time projects: FINISH THE FLASHCARD APPLICATION!!! The entire idea of the application is great, but was poorly executed by me! Now that I have gotten a lot better at using Angular.js (in my own mind, anyways) I can hopefully do a lot more with that tool.

On another note, as much as I talk about speeding up my workflow as a teacher I have no idea why I am not using Gulp! Seems like such a great tool that I should be making use of. Hopefully, I have a few minutes where I can learn how to implement that into making my life as a developer easier!

Grading curves with your Easy Online Gradebook

Can we create our own functions in Google Sheets? YES!!!

Using the template that we setup in a previous post, we can add some custom functions to make grading even easier. This can seem a little intimidating since it does require looking at code. However, HAVE NO FEAR! All you need is the ability to copy and paste and you will be good to go.

Our Playlist

A way to create and share Youtube playlists with anyone!

The idea is that you can create a playlist on Youtube and share it with your students. Then when your students have something to add, they can add the links. Since it is your playlist you can approve those links or remove them, but the end result is that you have created

[su_button url=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1r7_3S8yt4MQWD_vHwXm7oNHcNQWGMaOC004hp9sh8cU/copy” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#303248″ size=”8″ radius=”0″ icon=”icon: play-circle” text_shadow=”0px 0px 0px #000000″]Open OurPlaylist App[/su_button]


I have finished my first iteration of plnnr.net as a full MEAN-stack web application. There are even a few of my projects linked into the app. There are still lots of things to tighten up (mobile functionality, bookmarklets page, users…) but as a basic app I am pretty proud of it.

Trheajt_planner teach1he goal of the app is to compile all of the various JavaScript projects into one easily accessible place, as well as provide a system for suggesting new projects. There are tons of ways out there to improve accessibility and functionality for teachers. I have barely begin to scratch the surface.


CopyPastaForm for Google Forms

Google Forms is a great tool, unfortunately it takes a bit of time to create one. I have had the thought that it would be much easier to have one single text box that I can type in (or copy and paste into) that will generate the entire form. This led me to create…

CopyPastaForm for Google Forms

Unit By Design Template for Google Documents

In my department we use the Unit by Design Template (UBD) to do our unit plans. It takes the top-down approach of starting with your objectives and planning from there.  In order to speed up my planning process, I thought it would be a good idea to create a template that I could customize each time I put a unit plan together.

The result of that goal is:

Unit By Design Template

Feel free to download this add-on and play around with it. There is just a little bit of setup required.


First, you need to create a spreadsheet similar to the one seen above. This will have all of your objectives in it. The spreadsheet should have 3 columns.

  1. The first column is a category for the objective.
  2. The second column is a title for the objective.
  3. The third column is a longer description completing the “Students will be able to…”

Once you have finished building your list of objectives, you need to copy the key of the spreadsheet. This key is highlighted in the image above.


Open a new document and install the add-on. Click on ‘Add-ons > Unit By Design Template > Setup’ to open a setup window. Copy that key into the input box and save. Now you are ready to create a new unit!

You can get an example objective spreadsheet here:


The key is: 1c_vwNSKbW9V22zi8JBw_-Gp_CM6va_T_X6FYL88N0QM


Notice the two buttons ‘Go back a stage’ and ‘Move to the next stage’. The allow you to go back and forth between the stages of the process. Complete the fields and move to the next stage.


Select one or more of the objectives. These fields are populated from the spreadsheet that YOU created. They will be used when the template is generated. To select multiple objectives, hold down the ‘CTRL’ key.


You can add some other information that will be used for Stage 1 of the UBD. These fields are all optional. You must hit the RETURN key after each statement that you want separated in the plan.


Once again, you can select mulitple options from this list. Just hold down CTRL while you select.


How many individual lessons will you have in this unit? The number you select will be used to create lesson planning blocks in your plan. Click on SUBMIT THE FORM to start building the plan!

Next steps…

Go back through the plan that is generated and make final changes. There is always more that you can add to a unit plan! Also, if you go back to the add-ons menu, you can build individual lesson plans directly into your plan. Give it a try!

New year, new goals!

In 2015, I started learning to program with the goal of designing my own games to use in the classroom. As I progressed, however, that goal shifted towards web development. The speed with which you can get your ideas up and running –and not only running, but capable of running on a laptop, ipad, and mobile device– is so much faster.

I ended 2015 right at the end of the curriculum on FreeCodeCamp. I completed the Front End Development Certification. Frankly, I am prouder of that than I am of my Master of Teaching Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Currently, here is what I am working on…


Goals for this year: