I was so fortunate to attend a webinar with Tiffany Whitehead on Saturday on Classroom 2.0 Live. Tiffany Whitehead, aka the Mighty Little Librarian, is an amazing librarian (aren't they all?) from Louisiana. A 2016 recipient of the Louisiana Library Media Specialist Award, Tiffany is an internationally recognized librarian and a past President for ISTE’s Librarians Network.
She did an excellent presentation. You can access the livebinder here, and I will put the video recording below.
BUT- she shared a couple things that I don't want you to miss! Tiffany shared this excellent 35 page reference google doc: False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources, with tons of tips and tricks for you and your students.
And... She shared the NLP (News Literacy Project) site called Checkology: a virtual classroom, "where students learn how to navigate the challenging information landscape by mastering the skills of news literacy." You can get the premium version free for the rest of the year. Three videos featured below- an overview, a student view and a teacher view.
Participating on the sidelines of a global project in 4th grade this term, it is amazing to see the students making connections with kids across the globe. One lesson that I saw featured on The Global Oneness Project this week really stood out for me.
It is called A Tapestry of Multicultural Diversity. Check it out here.
Great book for a Read-Aloud
I just read this book over the weekend on the recommendation of a friend. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate is sure to make it to the top of your list to read to your class- elementary on up. There is a downloadable teacher's guide aligned with Common Core Standard for 5th grade but can be applied to grades 3-8.. You can even set up your own community "wish day".
Day 3 of GEC is coming up!
Monday, Nov. 13th, 10am to Thursday, Nov. 16th, 4pm. This is an online event.
Great ideas from Eric Curts
Eric publishes 4 separate Google Docs with interesting/useful links that he has collected every month. His blog is always a treasure trove of ideas that will help you as an educator and can be used tomorrow in your classroom. Check out his blog and subscribe to updates. Or if you are pressed for time today, these are the links to his documents you will enjoy checking out.
I was looking through my RSS feed today, thinking about what to focus on for this post and came across Kasey Bell's post about using Google Docs/Slides to create learning menus or choice boards for learning. She has a lot of great ideas and free templates to choose from, so don't forget to check out her post. If you love Pinterest, she also posted the link to the collection of choice boards. Lots of ideas for various disciplines and age groups.
However, most of this sort of thing- student choice- seems to me to be more about UDL than something new. Utilizing Universal Design for Learning (and teaching) means that you offer students choice in how they demonstrate their learning, as well as in how you teach or explain the material. Lisa Highfill and friends, in their Hyperdocs book, as well as on their site, offer excellent choice boards as part and parcel of hyperdocs and offering student choice. They have templates to create hyperdocs. Lisa has a whole page of examples of ways to have students "Show What They Know".
As the teacher, or lead learner or ... how do you help your students find the path to become engaged, passionate learners, to show what they know, to demonstrate their learning?
This year I am trying to build upon the shoulders of many giants, including Seymour Papert and other constructivists and makers: @lloydcrew, @LFlemingEDU and @jackiegerstein and so many others that I have learned from over the years, as I endeavor in my small way to create a space for students to learn, to create, to build, to collaborate. The lessons I try to help teachers create allow for multiple means of expression, allow students to take different pathways to learning. It's not a smooth ride, as we all learn how to create these opportunities, but it is well worth the trip.
One of the resources I am building for the teachers at HES is a list (slidedeck) of all of the "stuff" we have in our STEAM lab with examples they can use, lesson plans to show how these tools, which may well be new to some, can be used to enhance learning, and can actually correspond to the "standards". In addition, I am always on the lookout for design challenges, especially those that are freely shared and use inexpensive materials. Kevin Jarrett @kjarrett shared this link the other day in response to a friend on FB. I had never seen this one and you may find it useful as well. It's the Ready, Set, Design challenge from the Cooper Hewitt Museum- not new, but new to me. Link to the web page and downloadable pdf with activities. Another response to the same query yielded another site I hadn't seen The 5 Clue Challenge. The resources shared by teachers on Twitter, on various FB groups are simply amazing. I could spend all day on the BreakoutEdu groups or the Hyperdocs groups and find new innovative ways to teach topics, to engage students and to allow student choice.
I saw this image posted on a twitter feed the other day, but am still trying to find the correct citation for it. I also found this version, with the links on ThingLink, posted by "A happy Thinglink User" , not sure if this is the original version or if Tom created it.
I really like the way it takes Bloom's taxonomy and relates the "makered" terms to it. The verbs really don't mean a whole lot more than eduspeak sometimes. Having real examples in our classrooms and questions to help us and to help our students reflect on the learning is much more important than yet another taxonomy chart or DOK or SAMR or whatever the flavor of the month is. It's all about the learning.
Google For Littles
We have just started to move GSuite down to the lower elementary grades at HES this year. I was listening to a Vicki Davis podcast recently that I thought I would share. When I first started following #GAfEs4Littles I was amazed at how much the very young students could do on Google Apps. Now, I won't get into the question of how much is too much, etc... since I honestly think that most of the debate about screen time is for home. In school, all good teachers balance their teaching methodology and the tools they use.
Here's the interview with Lee Ann Yonker in case you missed it.
If you have never checked out Christine Pinto's blog or her twitter feed- now is a great time. Whether you teach younger elementary or older students, knowing what the capabilities are and of course borrowing ideas, is always a good thing. There is a great twitter chat coming up on November 7th too- Makerspaces is the topic. If you're looking for great ideas to get you started, check out thetemplates Christine shares on her site.
Links to Share
There are so many great resources being created and shared, it is impossible to keep up. I hadn't seen this one before- BioInteractive, and liked the variety it offers for MS, HS and beyond. They have a great YouTube channel. I hadn't visited the Smithsonian Learning Lab in a long time, and they too, have updated their collection and offer "more than a million resources" .If you are working on building up your own resources with OER, Sarah Weston has an excellent collection that she is always adding to on thisGoogle Doc.
What's a blog post without news from #FlipGrid?
I was just going to put in a couple of sentences about the new Topic Discovery Library, which was just announced this week. Very cool. But when I went to their blog, there was another new post about FlipGrid Explorer. Laura the Explorer is back and will be sharing with students about nature and her explorations in Panama on theflipgrid linked below. A great opportunity for your students. Check it out!
Making Learning Visible
Once again- FlipGrid is front and center. I watched another webinar on using FlipGrid in the classroom- across all ages and disciplines to make learning visible, to share learning. This came after spending part of my afternoon with 4th graders who were introducing themselves, via FlipGrid to students around the world, as they prepare to work on projects with students in Mexico, Canada and Australia.
Here's the recording of tonight's webinar. If you haven't made time to check out this tool- it is easy to use and a great way for your students to make their learning visible.
#Global Maker Day 2017
Interested in makerspaces? Today was #globalmakerday. I was too busy all day, but plan to catch up with some of the challenges and videos later in the week. Lots of info from various vendors as well as the challenges are on the landing page.
Before I forget- again- Rushton Hurley ran a cool little project this past week- a 5 day challenge to become a better teacher. Along with ideas you can use to present or discuss materials in the classroom, he also has ideas about feedback. You can still learn more about it here and grab a couple of colleagues and give it a shot.
A couple of tools that I have been playing around with lately that you may want to check out include CheckMark and Talk and Comment
Talk and Comment is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to put voice notes and comments anywhere. "This free extension lets you record and send voice notes on all sites (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Github, Gmail, Google+, Wordpress, ...), in a easy way. Voice notes can be played even if you don't have the extension installed." Here's the quick overview:
CheckMark is a new feedback extension for Google Docs, put out by EdTechTeam. You can find in the chrome web store. Like others of its ilk, it allows you to insert pre-set comments quickly and easily. The user interface is clean and easy to use. And I think, like other users, that the ability to customize the pre-set comments would be a welcome addition. Here's a couple quick videos for you to check it out yourself.
Loom- add videos anywhere
Another way to give feedback is to pop a quick video onto an email or a Google Doc. Loom gives you a super quick and easy way to do that. And.. it's integrated with Gmail and Google Docs as well as lots of other applications and platforms. Here's a quick overview. Try it- you may like it.
Technology Petting Zoo
If you're interested in checking out some of the technology available in our makerspaces and a whole lot more, come to the Technology Petting Zoo on Thursday, 10.19.17, from 4-6 down at the Mass. Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke. The October CSTA-Western Mass' monthly meeting will feature a Technology Petting Zoo in conjunction with Eduporium. Please join us - by registering at this link: http://bit.ly/CSTA-WMA1019. Here's the link to the flyer with more info and registration. All are welcome!.
Google Keep for Research
Vicki Davis recently posted a couple of excellent tutorials on using Google Keep to take notes and keep track of your research, especially if you're a Google App school. I know I find it useful to grab info, tag it and quickly flip it into a Google Doc.
Check out Vicki's tutorial below and read more about it, get an additional video with EdPuzzle embeds on Vicki's blog.
Math in Google Chrome
The other day a friend asked me how to put superscripts and subscripts into a Google Sheet. I had never done this on sheets- just on docs and kind of assumed that it would work the same way. It doesn't. And to be honest, I looked and looked and did not find a way to make it work. Using unicode did not work- it put the superscript in, but sheets read it as text- not a number; and the same with copying and pasting from a doc- looks good, but reads as text, formulas do not work. So- if you know how to do this- please share and put it in the comments!
Luckily there are some amazing teachers in my PLN who have shared great ideas of ways to use Google Chrome to help teach math and to help kids show what they know. Miguel Guhlin down in Texas, wrote a great blog post the other day- laying out eight tools/extensions you can use to enhance your math instruction. You can read more about it here.
I do want to highlight 2 of these extensions- Equatio and Desmos. Equatio, from texthelp has been flying of late. So many improvements! Those of you who struggled to get LAtex to work properly, and have tried every tool in the book to get math equations to work on a computer, check out Equatio. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Desmos is so much more than a graphing calculator. A teacher at a workshop I attended this summer did a demo and I was amazed. Not a math-oriented person myself, it was easy to see that this tool has come a long way and has a lot to offer teachers of all grades. Check out some of the ideas here.
What works? Where do you find it? How do you document it?
As we all know, one size does not fit all. Just as in the classroom, the professional development teachers need must be personalized, individualized, relevant to their work, timely, etc. So how do you find this elusive PD? I tend to look online and access my PLN. Over the years I have used Twitter (since March 2008), Ning, Classroom 2.O, Google +, edweb and oh so many other online spaces. Some have lasted, others have gone the way of Plurk and Second Life. If I had to choose one space that is amazing- it has to be Twitter. I can get more ideas, and resources from my Twitter network in one evening than I could use in a year. This, of course does depend on your network. A really good network can be a godsend when you need ideas, how-tos, etc. One really good thing that has happened over the last few years, is that you no longer have to find the thousand wonderful resource people in your field- just pop in on a few edu chats and lurk. The very best way I know to do this- without getting overwhelmed by the speed of the tweets flying by is Participate. Tweetdeck is another choice, but can sometimes get a little wonky. I love that even if I miss my favorite chats- it collects all the links and resources shared and I can peruse them later. Check out what is on offer here. On just about any day, you can find anywhere from 15 to 60 edu chats- from all disciplines, from various geographic areas, for all teachers PreK- higher ed. Jerry Blumengarten, Cybraryman has a calendar of all the chats that you can add to have them all at hand.
Hate Twitter? Try virtual conferences
I love/hate Twitter. It can be an enormous timesuck- worse than Facebook, which by the way has some excellent PD- BreakoutEdu, Hyperdocs, UpperElementary... are a few of the FB groups that I try to check in on every day.
So, try a virtual conference. These conferences are generally broadcast live as well as being recorded to watch at your leisure. If you like handouts, most have pdfs or slides available afterwards. What are some great virtual conferences?
I'm looking forward to this one from LifeLong Kindergarten at MIT. It starts October 18- and it's free! I took a similar course, maybe 4 years ago and am still in touch with the amazing educators from around the world who joined the class to learn about Scratch and creativity. Learn more here. "LCL is organized as a six-week online course (starting on October 18, 2017), but its real goal is to cultivate an ongoing learning community in support of creative learning around the world. "
Everyday Topics- Short & Focused
Another contender for PD is Simple K12. I had a subscription for years and liked the webinars when I had a chance to watch. They also have a very comprehensive library of archived webinars. You can get PD certificates for live shows and after taking a quiz on the recording. Depending on what you are doing, it can get redundant. It is not free, although sometimes they do offer free days on some topics- ie. this coming Saturday: Amazing FREE Google Basics Training Online Event Saturday, October 14th Starting at 10:00 am ET They also have big "sales" for subscriptions- sometimes half price, or buy one year, get the next for half... etc. Check out the topics, see what appeals.
How do you find your path to PD?
The lists of PD providers seems to be endless. What works for you? Where do you find inspiration? Guidance? Discover new methods to use in class?
Before I hop onto my soapbox, here's a few interesting/fun links to check out.
Eric Curts- who always comes up with great Googley ideas, posted a great template for Build a Jack-O-Lantern with Google Slides. Check it out here
Tom Mullaney posted a nice short video about Google Keep's new integration into Google Slides.
Richard Byrne pulled all of the new Google Slides features together in his post here. Although there are quite a few new features to check out, the one I was most interested in was how to insert a timeline into Google Slides. Lucky for us, Richard has it covered. Check out his blog for more.
Those of you who know me, know that the whole "mindset" verbiage is something I don't really buy into as anything new and wonderful. But, this summer and this fall I have been focused on trying to renovate the "old" computer lab into a STEAM lab. Thus, I have been diving into the whole maker movement, maker "mindset" and trying to figure out how our elementary school, our students, our teachers, our culture- can all work with a makerspace, a STEAM lab. It's exciting to see it begin to build.
A little history...
Back, maybe 10 years ago, Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez started doing something called the Constructivist Consortium before NECC and then ISTE. I went to a couple, didn't get it. I wanted it get it, but I didn't and found it frustrating. Then they started having summer workshops called Constructing Modern Knowledge. I went to the first one- hated it, actually left a day early. I really wanted way more direction than Gary was willing to give. He wanted folks to stretch themselves, take risks and take charge of their learning. As I said, I hated it. When their book Invent to Learn came out, I read it. This is not the way I was taught, nor the way I ever taught, and certainly not the way I felt I learned best. But, after pushing back on this and all the language associated with it, it's worth doing. Students can take risks, can extend their learning. Even their teachers can try it and see how it feels to be the learner, to have the questions, to find the solutions.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to go with Judi, our HS media specialist, over to Mt. Holyoke to visit their makerspace, courtesy of former HA teacher Janet Slocum. I had never been to this new space and was really impressed by the variety of choices the students are afforded. But, keep in mind, this is Mt. Holyoke College, so they have the funding to do it up right. After seeing all the cool projects Janet has done with her students, seeing the fancy laser cutter projects, and the molds that had been made- to fill with chocolate, we sat down to talk about how to make the connections between the school/state curriculum and makerspaces. I was a little surprised to hear that even at a facility like Mt. Holyoke, that the professors, instructors aren't leveraging the makerspace and all the cool stuff they have there. Students are coming in and doing more personal work. The only exception I saw, heard about, aside from Janet's work was a print-making course. We talked about how to make the curriculum tie-ins, without making it yet one more thing for teachers to try to cram into a very busy schedule.
Today, I watched a group of 4th graders work in our STEAM lab with Sphero robots. They used Blockly drag and drop programming, and programmed their robots to make a square. Their next job was to make a maze on the floor with painter's tape and see if they could program their robots to maneuver through it. Aside from some very basic instruction before they began, they were not given a lot of directions. Some asked for more help. Some just went for it. They had 3 values to put into each roll command- time, speed and direction. I could easily see how this could be a math lesson, a physics lesson and a communication lesson- all rolled into a programming activity. Luckily, I am not under pressure to get through a set curriculum. Many of you are. How can we embrace this "maker mindset", learning by doing, when our students, our teachers, the administrators and parents are so heavily invested in test results? I watch students walk in, take control of their learning, work past the time to leave, and leave excited and smiling.
What is this mystical maker's mindset? Beats me. It's hard for me to just go for it. to try to something with no real directions, to fail sometimes. I do it because I don't have a lot of choice. There's no manual for this, no scope and sequence, no pacing guide. I ask others, I seek help from youtube, from twitter, from my PLN... but, like the kids in my STEAM lab today, I sometimes just have to try it and see. I spent half of lunch time today beginning to learn how to program the little Edison robots we have- along with the help of a 6th grader. We did a pretty good job learning as we went, learning from each other. Tomorrow we will try again and see what else we can make them do.
When we were at Mt. Holyoke, I asked the woman who is in charge of the makerspace how she learned everything she needed to know to grow and run the space. Guess what- she is self-taught. If you like to read about mindset, Dale Dougherty, one of the founders of this movement, wrote about it here; EdSurge has a list of 6 "must-haves"; read some of Colleen Graves' work here or check out some of my friend Jackie Gerstein's work here. I steal ideas from Jackie on a regular basis. She has also pointed the way to great resources like the Destination Imagination Challenges.
If you haven't tried design challenges- go ahead- give it a try. You may discover that you have a "maker's mindset".
Go Global with Empatico
I signed up to stay in the loop for this back in the summer and it looks like it is ready to go. It is a new venture, aimed at facilitating global connections and is currently focused on 8-10 year olds. If this interests you, check out the video below and head over to the site to get more info.
# FlipGrid Fever
I wrote a bit about FlipGrid back in June and it just keeps getting better. I watched a webinar this evening with two of the Flipgrid ambassadors- Karly Moura and Sean Fahey. Every time I watch a webinar, or read more about this tool, I learn something, get new ideas and come away thinking that it should be/could be used in so many ways. Is it the best tool for every job, every student? Of course not. Should the pedagogy come before the tool? Of course... but... wait til you see all the cool stuff you and your students can do! I keep hearing about student voice, student choice, making thinking/learning visible. FlipGrid can help you with all of that. I'm not going to try to recreate their webinar. They have shared their Google site with all the resources used and 3 previous webinars. Check it out right here. The tabs at the top of the site will bring you thru the topics covered this evening. Don't miss the tab labeled Rapid FIre... here's a screen shot- 4 slideshows with ideas separated by discipline. Love that Flipgrid is even a choice in a hyperdoc on the Global Read Aloud Wild Robot.
One other thing that I really like about this tool is that it can be integrated across many platforms- including Google Classroom and Edmodo. Here's a link to a pdf to read in your spare time, for those of you who prefer paper. You can also follow the #flipgridfever hashtag on Twitter to get lots of ideas of how other teachers are using it to enhance student voice.
Seriously, it is a 2 minute job to set up; there's a free version and kids do not need an account. If you're worried about the "video" aspect- your students will probably be far less worried than you, but you can always give the option of pointing the camera to a book, an artifact, etc. and just using their voices and there are good monitoring and privacy controls. Check it out!
FIrst, apologies for missing last week's post- simply overwhelmed with setup work for student accounts and the new makerspace we are creating at HES.
International Peace Day 2017
We are celebrating the International Day of Peace at HES once again on Thursday, September 21st. The 4th graders have created a video, parts of which will be incorporated into a video with students from around the globe. This year's song was People Got to Be Free by The Rascals. The composite video is not ready yet, but the HES 4th graders created the video below, along with a 2 minute video of a cooperative game, portions of which will also be incorporated in the global celebration.
More about Peace Day...
This year's theme for International Peace Day is respect, safety and dignity for all. There is a wealth of information on the web site. Looking for ideas for both young and old... check out the video created by Peace Day Philly. How can you get involved? Check out thispage of links.
Part and parcel with a day devoted to Global Peace, are the UN SDGs- the Sustainable Development Goals. Check out the video below to learn about the 17 sustainable development goals in 2 minutes. Need lesson plans to help your students learn more about SDGs? Check out the World's Largest Lesson on Vimeo- an amazing resource for all ages.
Not Just for Middle and High School students...
Students across all grade levels can learn about the SDGs and expand their horizons, learn about the globe, empathize with others and even help make the world a more peaceful and safer place. Sharon Davison, a Kindergarten teacher in Vermont is an ambassador for SDGs. You can connect with other educators on twitter via #teachsdgs or join the movement on the Teach SDGs website.
If you have time, check out Goalkeepers, a Bill & Melinda Gates project that kicked off today.
Global Collaboration Day... Also Thursday the 21st
This is an event hosted by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon to celebrate global collaboration and to help you on your journey to connect your classroom to the world. Stop by and make some new connections.
This is one of a series of events to foster global literacy. Be sure to check out the upcoming online conference, The Global Education Conference, coming up in November.
For those of you who are new to Hadley- this is a weekly tech update. I try to post info that both the elementary and middle/high school teachers could find useful, although some pieces apply more to one age group or discipline than others. As usual, the world of edtech did not stand still over the summer. I have a whole list of things that changed to talk about, but for tonight I will try to focus on just a couple things. Just a reminder to HES teachers- please give feedback on what you would like to see in the new HES STEAM space.
Flipgrid is here. https://flipgrid.com/hesteachsteam
Practical Ed Tech Handbook
One of my all time favorite edtech bloggers is Richard Byrne- www.freetech4teachers.com/Free Technology for Teachers. I still remember when he came to ISTE as the newbie of the year and now he is a leader in the field, bringing his love of history, dogs and the woods of Maine. Recently Richard posted an update of his useful The Practical Ed Tech Handbook. You can visit his blog and read the embedded copy there or use his download link to obtain your own copy. www.freetech4teachers.com/2017/09/the-practical-ed-tech-handbook-for-2017.html
I am a big fan of Google Classroom as a great way to help streamline student workflow. Today I came across this hyperdoc about Google Classroom, clicked thru a few links and thought that many of you would like to give it a try. Great way to explore more about Google Classroom. Thanks to Ben Cogswell for sharing this Google slide hyperdoc. Click the image to see Ben's work. Remember we now have GSuite from grade 2 on up- even younger students can use these tools.
Shawn Beard does a nice job of summarizing the latest features that were rolled out this summer.
Looking for more ways to use Google Classroom? Alice Keeler shares 35 More Ways...
Watch the Playlist
Google has also launched a Welcome to Your First Day of Google Classroom site with tons of resources. Check it out here. www.blog.google/topics/education/welcome-your-first-day-classroom/