Playing with Words – Google Sheets to jQuery Drag/Drop

flickr photo shared by Internet Archive Book Images with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) This is a modification of the old refrigerator poetry concept based on a request from some of our World Languages professors but it’ll likely have some broader applicability. It essentially allows for three major things. You can create draggable elements (words, phrases, any HTML) from a Google spreadsheet You can create destination areas for those elements (also through the Google ss) You can make it so that elements that don’t match those destinations won’t “stick” there (spreadsheet again) It might be easier to see what’s up through the short video below. This was done mostly in jQuery but there are also a few Google Script elements that make life easier. The page below has everything except the CSS. It’s decently commented I think. The only real trouble I had was figuring out where/when to feed in the draggable/droppable elements. It kicked through after a bit of experimentation but I have a long way to go with javascript. Google Script There’s a directions sheet in the spreadsheet where I wrote a custom function. That allows me to write =getId() in the cell and have it generate the right URL for whatever spreadsheet it is in. You can also automatically copy my spreadsheet by going to the following […]

Fridge Poetry – Google Sheets as Database

Back in 2013 I built a refrigerator poetry page using javascript. I really wanted to make it so anyone could add any words they wanted in some easy way but didn’t have the skills to do that at the time. It’s been hanging out in the back of my mind since then and the bits and pieces I’ve learned since then now make it pretty straightforward. This url will prompt you to copy a Google Sheet. That’s a nice little trick- just append /copy to the public sheet where it normally says /edit?usp=sharing if you copy the typical sharing URL. Sadly, it only works for Sheets. Once we’ve published the sheet, we now have a JSON feed of the data and the little URL trick in the Google Sheets gives you the URL to the fridge poetry page with Sheet ID included as a parameter. (That’s the chunk after the question mark.) The PHP to make all the words into divs is below. I usually do something like feed->entry->$t to parse out the JSON but that didn’t work with the Google Sheet data.1 I still don’t quite get things well enough to know why but this alternate path works well. Part of the difference there is using the TRUE parameter on the json_decode. The other new element for me […]


Mediocrity 2011 – Car Names for Vocabulary

This is one of those easy options for vocabulary. I thought of it when I saw the 2011 Mediocrity commercial embedded below. Essentially, they pick one of the vocabulary words and use it as a car name. The students would draw up a one page ad1 (with relevant copy) for the car that plays off the word they choose. It would certainly be more fun with word you wouldn’t normally associate with cars. I’d make sure I posted these in the room for future use. You wouldn’t do it all the time but it’d be one of those options I’d have for my students to pick from. I’d make an ad for the Abstinence that shows just a frame and chastises you for wanting doors, seats, etc. 1 A video seems like overkill

Simple Definitions, Complex Thoughts

Get them here or make up your own. You’ve got two ways to play this game. 1. Give these to your students as warm ups at various times but with one of the words blocked out and have them decide what it should be. 2. When they’ve got the hang of guessing, they start making their own based on terms you’re studying. Should work for just about any subject and is far better than the standard “write a sentence using this term” vocabulary exercises. Don’t limit yourself (or them) to vocabulary words- think historical events, novels etc1. 1 In a way it reminds me of the “its the * meets the *” style of music/movie descriptions which would be another great way to get students thinking describing novels in interesting ways that draw connections to things they know. I swear I have something about this bookmarked in delicious somewhere.

Zombie Vocabulary

So in the theme of restrictions creating creativity and my own desire to be doing things more directly related to the classroom- I have decided to start Zombie Vocabulary1. I’ll take a few words from Merriam-Webster’s word of the day and create a zombie2 themed use of the word that I’d use with my students (if I had them). So to start things off here’s facetious– WOD from Oct. 14th. 1 Why zombies? I like zombies and I like the CC zombie pictures available in flickr and saw so many I wanted to use that I needed to make a reason to use them. 2 I may switch from the zombie theme if it gets boring so other theme suggestions are welcome.

Playing with Vocabulary

I did this a while back but don’t think I ever posted about it 1. So vocabulary work often is one the most boring things an English teacher (or anyone else) ever does. The beauty of an English class is that you have a fair degree more flexibility when dealing with vocabulary than a lot of subjects. Here are two ways I wanted to attack words in a way that’d make them stick. the album Students pick a word/root/suffix/prefix and then build an album around it complete with cover art and song choices that reflect that theme. You see my Puffy Ego album above with songs like “Your You’re2 So Vain” and “I Love Me.” It’s simple and pretty engaging for students. The association with music (and likely with music they like) should really help internalize the information. the t-shirt Once again, a pretty simple idea. Students take a word/root/prefix/suffix and make a t-shirt3 with it. This could be fun and you could also make posters, hats etc and get the best ones made 4 The point is just to have students think more about the words, to do something real with them and to have a little fun. Were it me, I’d have a variety of options like these and allow students to pick various options each week. 1 […]

Not Very Punny . . .

. . . but I couldn’t resist. Not timeless certainly, nor broadly applicable but I’d have some fun with this in an English classroom. It’s along the same lines as the remixed “Read” posters Dan started and I did a few of a while back. Lil Wayne and one of his lines from A Milli1. Not sure if I need to be this obvious but it’d depend on the class. If, for some reason, you want the big version of either just click on the image. 1 A good song but probably not playable in most classrooms and if you can get away with it I’d play the version with Jay Z instead.