Alice Keeler-Infographics Tips
Alice Keeler has an excellent post with easy to follow tips to help you or your students make great infographics with Google Slides or Drawings. Check it out here.
Screenshot of Alice Keeler's tips.
Please visit her site for more info and to download the pdf.
Tips to Organize Google Drive: Miguel and friends
Once again our Texas friend, Miguel, has posted useful, practical information! I think I first tried to organize my Google Drive when I read a post a while back from Jenn Judkins and learned about "Shift-Z". Check out Jenn's easy to follow tutorial here. Miguel Guhlin takes Google Drive organization and breaks it down into 3 pieces : Tip #1 – Create File Shortcuts Tip #2 – Copy Folders in Drive Tip #3 – Backup & Sync Read all about it on the TCEA blog, here.
Still looking for more ideas to organize your Google Drive? Richard Byrne has a great little gif to show you how to use emojis and icons to organize... check it out here.
The topic of digital distraction in the classroom has circled around, yet again.
Is it getting worse? Is it a problem of tech or of classroom management? Have we collected new research that says screens are making us dumber? Are we losing touch with one another, lacking empathy? Yes, depends on who you ask; yes, but it depends on which research you look at; yes, but... One article that many have seen and chimed in on- on both sides, is the WAPO article about putting all devices into little protective pockets while in school.
Business Insider has Stanford University computer science students protesting at Apple around cell phone addiction issues. Need to read more... Here's a few to get you started-
One article: Hechinger Report Another: WAPO- to ban or not WAPO: Screens are not evil
So, are we all talking about the same thing? Distraction in the classroom=screen time=cellphone addiction... Nope, I think that there are various threads to the discussion that kind of blend together, depending on age group or student/parent/teacher and this ends up clouding our discussion. In school- they can be used as learning tools. If they are not being used as learning tools- put them away. In social situations- talk to the real people you are with. When you see beautiful scenes in nature, at concerts, walking down the street- look and enjoy with your eyes and your other senses, instead of always holding up a phone and looking through a lens.
I liked this tweet from a Canadian friend, Alec Couros. He is a professor at the University of Regina and has spoken on and written about The Age of Distraction for about a decade.
As usual, one of my personal go-to sources is CommonSense Media. You can read a lot more about Digital Distraction here... and check out the video below.
I wrote a week or so ago about Google Keep, as well as here, and here. I went to #EdCampNQ this past weekend and in a session about chrome extensions, once again Google Keep came up. This time an AT from a neighboring district (@OsborneAllegra) demo'd how she uses Keep in her job. Because she goes from school to school, her Google Keep for work is arranged with a note for each school-but the cool thing for all you visual learners was the way she used a different photo for each note. Using her phone, she could see by quickly scrolling thru the notes exactly what she needed to accomplish at each school- with color coded notes and checkboxes. She also has a Google Keep extension that she uses for her personal account and is quite literally using it as a planning and organization tool for her summer trips. Another participant, @jrowebbrsd, also uses it for its OCR capabilities. If you've never tried to pop an image into Google Keep and then pull the text out of it... check it out in this short video. Imagine having a student who may struggle to get all the assignments written down. A quick image with a phone or other device, pop it into Google Keep, grab the text, pop it into a Google Doc and have it read to you by Read and Write for Google Chrome. If you haven't checked out Google Keep, you're missing out. It just keeps getting better.
I love the versatility of Google Forms. They can be used for so much more than surveys! I use them all the time when I am making digital breakouts for students to use. Data validation turns a form into a way to require the "secret password" or gives feedback with additional clues. Today I was reading/listening to Matt Miller and Kasey Bell's podcast and blog posts about using Google Forms for differentiation.
What I really liked about Kasey and Matt's podcast/posts was that it reminded me of 2 things. One: Use forms as a learning tool. By using branching you can give a formative assessment with the learning reinforcement built in. When a student gets a question wrong, he moves on to a video or other lesson material to reteach/reinforce the concept vs. just getting it wrong. If the student is correct, he moves to the next question. Here's the link to Kasey's post with some great step by step directions for you to try out. Just in case you don't have time to read her whole post, buried way down at the bottom is alink to (French teacher) Sylvia Duckworth's blog post on using forms for a choose your own adventure story. Check it out...it's fun to do a story this way.
Here's the podcast if you'd rather just listen along...
Reshare of Google Forms Teacher Tips... this is updated every Tuesday
#GAFEchat on Forms
This evening I participated in a #GAFEchat and the topic was Google Forms. So, it's not just me who loves Google Forms. So many interesting resources were shared...
Here's thelink to the collection of links from this #gafechat or the curated collection is listed below (use Participate.com to quickly gather all links from fast moving chats)
Google Forms Ninja Moves and Secret Passwords
Using Tables in Forms
As the school year draws to a close, I would like to share a few of the many vendor emails I get on a daily basis. These actually have something to offer busy teachers. Check out new developments at ReadWorks, Symbaloo, JoeZoo and EasyBib.
There are 2 new, exciting updates from ReadWorks coming next fall. There will be a new digital website and a new K-5 Article-A-Day program.
The new ReadWorks Digital website will be available for all teachers and students.
Read Works - Article a Day
"ReadWorks Introduces Article-A-Day for Kindergarten - 5th grade
In just 10-15 minutes each day you can dramatically improve your students’ reading comprehension by systematically building their background knowledge and vocabulary with Article-A-Day.
Learn more about Article-A-Day"
Symbaloo Edu Lesson Plans
Symbaloo, which we use at HES for a start page for students ( with a separate start page for teachers), recently rolled out a new service using their platform- Lesson Plans for students. Essentially this is like a pathfinder. Here's their promo:
Engage your students with truly personalized learning by creating your own lesson plans and fully customizing the look and feel. Simply add videos, documents, quizzes and educational games that guide students through custom learning paths from start to finish. View the progress of your students in real time, chat with them to help them with the assignment and utilize the built-in grading tool to make your life easier. You can now get started with creating your first lesson plan. How? By taking your first lesson: A lesson plan explaining Symbaloo Lesson Plans. See what we did there? ;-)
Joe Zoo is a Google Add On, built for teachers to help with rubrics, grading and feedback. It is relatively new and has made some good upgrades recently. It is integrated with Google Classroom.
Check it out here. The video below is just a short promo video, but there is a complete playlist of how to videos on YouTube
Easy Bib Edu
I got this from Easy Bib recently. Easy Bib is an easy to use citation service and has a Google Docs add on. Click on the link to the form to get this for free if you would like to be able to view and manage student accounts. They also have a helpful resource for educators- with articles like Teaching Students How To Summarize and Paraphrase in their Own Words, or How to Conquer the Dreaded Blank Page with Writing Prompts
Questions? Check the FAQ page
To get right to it: we heard you when you said that your students loved using EasyBib, so we’re excited to let you know that you and your students can have FULL ACCESS to EasyBib EDU for free, starting with the 2016-2017 school year and beyond! This means:
We’ll keep improving EasyBib throughout the upcoming school year, adding enhancements such as a new and improved notebook, an annotation tool to help your students find and capture important information, and an improved Google Docs add-on with notes and outline support to assist students throughout the writing process.
Stay tuned for more updates and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let us know, and don’t forget to sign up for EasyBib EDU here.
Thanks and we will be in touch!
The Imagine Easy Team
One of the organizations I have been involved in for years is Classroom 2.0. As a member of the advisory board we work together to come up with topics and presenters for the Saturday noon EST shows. I was very happy to get a positive response from Eric Curts when I asked him if he would be interested in presenting, but then he ended up being scheduled on the same Saturday that I would be in Boston for edcampBoston all day. I just finished listening to the recording of the show and want to share some of the highlights with you. Google Drawings have so many uses- graphic organizers, teaching math and even as a desktop publisher.
Eric has a ton of resources that you can access at his website. These are CC licensed- so you may copy, adapt and reuse them as long as you give him attribution and don't use them commercially. One of the fabulous resources he has shared is a folder with 40 templates you can use. To adapt and use these, simply open in Google Drive and click file/make a copy. Graphic organizers are easy and fun with Google Drawings.
Click on the image below to access Eric's Slideshow
Classroom 2.0 compiled a livebinder with tons of resources for Google Drawings. You can access the livebinder here. Just a note- the links are arranged on the left hand side. All of the other notes about the show can be accessed via the Classroom 2.0 archives. The videos below are all complete webinars, each about an hour long , but have lots of examples.
No time to watch complete webinars? Avra Robinson from Edtech teacher has a great playlist with short videos to help you learn more
Executive Functioning? What is that?
Simply put, executive functioning covers all the tools that an "executive" would need to carry out his/her job- all those planning skills, organizational skills, working memory, impulse control and more. Not just for executives, these tools are used everyday by each and every one of us.
Here's the quick video version:
You can get a whole lot more information from Understood.org and even download a free ebook. ""Executive Function 101 is a free e-book from founding partner the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Download the e-book to find out what executive function is and how it impacts kids with learning and attention issues. This e-book also includes an illustration of a day in the life of a child with executive functioning issues." Click here to go to Understood.org to access the ebook.
They also have a great, short article by Amanda Morin explaining 8 Key Executive Functions
Another viewpoint- Understanding the Adolescent Brain from Sarah-Jayne Blakemore in this TED talk The mysterious workings of the adolescent brain
One of the best resources online to find ways to help your students or yourself with executive function issues- like organization, is Karen Janowski's EF Toolikit.
Karen has organized these tools into
More Executive Functioning Tools!
Dr. Cheryl Temple and Lisa Givens down in Fairfax County-Assistive Technology Services have put together an amazing resource in this powerpoint .
Google Slide Template with Horizontal Navigation
Actually this whole post was going to be about this template, because I think it has so many uses in the classroom, by both students and teachers, but then I decided to make an example to show you... so now you get a twofer. There are tons of comic makers online- these are a few examples to get you started.
You can even use Google Slides to create comic strips- check out Eric Curts' work here.
What I like is the way this opens up options and helps to visually organize your presentation:
I did not create this template. The incredible team at Cherry Creek schools in Greenwood Village, CO created the templates and shared this and many other cool tools on their tech blog.
If you want the templates... they are shared online by Cherry Creek Schools. You can access them here. There are are a bunch of different colors/sizes. I would recommend opening the link your drive. These files will still be "view only". That means that in order to edit or use them, you will need to open the one(s) you want, choose File>Make a Copy> name it and save it. One last thing to remember- the navigation works by linking the slides to the text boxes on the top- so if you edit- pay attention to those links.
Over the weekend I was listening to several SimpleK12 webinars on Google Tools. One presenter showed a Jeopardy like game, made with Flippity.net. Now if you've ever used the online templates, PowerPoint, etc. to make Jeopardy quiz games for your students, you know that can be a pain in the neck. This looked easy.
So, I checked it out, and not only was it easy to do, but their flashcard maker would be a great way for you/your students to collaboratively study for exams. Just download the templates, open in Google Sheets and follow the step by step instructions.
The quiz show game..
Here's a short video from Richard Byrne to show you how to do it and there are also complete directions on the site as well.
The Flash Card Generator
What I really like about this
1. You can add images
2. You can add video
3. It can be collaborative! Because it is made from a Google Sheet, you can share the sheet to your entire class, assign each student/group of students one section and they make the cards for the group...remember to update the link when adding to the published card deck
4. Options- card, list, cloud, quiz
Time to spare? Time to breathe? Most of us find that we rarely have a spare minute in the day. Sometimes it feels like you can barely keep your head above water with deluge of information we get from all the various media in our lives. I've often heard the expression of drinking from the firehose to describe the experience of learners trying to filter online content.
That's why learning how to curate and save and share online content can be a real time saver.
Don’t you hate it when you know that you saw a great image, or precisely the right article or video online and then can’t find it again? Curation may be one answer. Curation combined with collaboration may help your whole grade level or department.
You all know what collaboration is, but what about curation? Isn’t that just for libraries and museums? No. Curation of online content can be done by anyone. There is simply too much information available today and aside from web site authentication, this flood of information is an ongoing issue, it’s just plain overwhelming. This is where your PLN, your peers, and the global network of educators can help. Fourth grade teachers across the country are all using very similar curricula. AP bio teachers all need to get through the same material. Teachers across the world routinely create, curate and collaborate.
There are as many ways to curate information as there are people, so I will just go over a few of them. Teachers today can demonstrate and model the use of these tools to help students make sense of the information that they are inundated with.
Social Bookmarking is an excellent way to save resources, to share to friends, a group or a class. Most social bookmarking platforms are set up so that you can use them across devices and access them anywhere that you have an internet connection. Teachers at HES are familiar with one of the tools, Symbaloo as we use it as a start page for students, as well as a start page for teachers.
Here’s a short video from Beth Holland at EdTechTeacher to explain a little more about one of these tools- Diigo, which just happens to be my favorite. You can set up a class to use Diigo, set up or join Diigo groups, etc.
These are a few of the popular curation and collaboration tools:
Aside from these tools I often use curation tools to pull from social media online. These are tools you may want to check out.
Does this take time? Yes. It is generally time well spent. Although I think that social media can sometimes be an enormous time suck, it is also critical to at least take a peek outside the bubble of Pioneer Valley and learn from other teachers around the globe. Hadley has plenty of silos already- open up your classroom walls and create, collaborate and curate with others. I spend about an hour a week on Twitter, look at the headlines from some of the other feeds and if something catches my eye, will investigate further. I learn something new every day- and it's not just about tech- it's about teaching.
The tool I use constantly, on a daily basis, is Diigo. Everyone is different. Pick one tool, try it out. Model it with your students.
Organization and communication are always a challenge. Some tools that can help you communicate with parents, as well as students and to help students stay organized are freely available.
Teacher-student-parent communications can be a lot easier with Remind (formerly Remind 101.
Remind is a messaging system used by teachers. Teachers can set up an account in seconds and then distribute the code to students and their parents. You do not need to have a smartphone to get these messages-email works. This differs from a one-call type system, since each individual teacher has control. You can send reminders about upcoming assignments and much more. Messages and announcements can be pre-scheduled. The way Remind works, privacy is maintained- you do not share your cell #, nor do you need to have student/parent numbers. Parents of students under 13 do have to sign a permission letter. Check it out here https://www.remind.com/features.
Another way to communicate and organize is through the Google Calendar system.
The last tool I wanted to mention is vastly underused- Google Keep.
Google Keep is one of the standard apps that comes along with Google Chrome. It’s essentially a little notebook, a to-do list. You can share the notes, color code the notes, take a photo of the whiteboard and it makes the text searchable… ie- if my board has the homework listed as I have seen in many classrooms- take a quick picture and add it to Keep, the text from the photo is searchable. As far as I know, Google has yet to integrate Keep and Calendar, which seems to be a no-brainer for me…but- you can add notifications to Keep and get reminders. Here are some ideas to get you started.