As the school year starts to wind down for many, it seems like we are caught in a whirlwind of trying to get "it" all in, trying to finish up projects, tying up loose ends, etc... all while trying to "finish strong". This has been the strangest school year on record for most of us. Hopefully a few of these tips, and articles can help you finish up and have fun doing it.
This has been all over Twitter and FB over the last week.
26 Great ideas for the End of the Year!
Click thru to the shared doc and make yourself a copy.
Thank you to @candytechideas, @MongelliMegan and @the geoffwagner!
BioBlitz is really fun, whether you do it with your class, your school, your club or your family. There's still time (not much) to sign up for this! Check it out here.
STEM for ALL Video Showcase
Coming up next week. Check out more info here.
Save the Dates! May 11th - 18th
Climate Action Kit
My latest "thing". I love microbits and have tried several types of bit boards to extend the pins and make it easy for elementary kids to use. This one has it all so far.
It has an easy to access Microbit board and an excellent curriculum linking to UN SDG goals with STEM content. I have attended several Inksmith webinars to learn more about the Climate Action Kit, after getting one a year or so ago. It pretty much sat on the shelf for a while, but after the webinars, and building my own plant watering system, I am hooked. These are easy to use, give very clear instructions and diagrams, are inexpensive and are linked to Ontario curriculum.
Check out the Climate Action Kit here.
Teams scores big on this one!
Imagine if the developers of the Flipgrid Shorts Camera, Immersive Reader and Microsoft Teams all sat down to come up with an idea. Well Reading Progress is just that! Learn more about automatic running records and how this new tool can be in used in reading classrooms everywhere!
I drank the Google koolaid years ago and love all of the ways we can connect with our students, collaborate, etc. But- that doesn't mean that I don't love Flipgrid, Immersive Reader, etc- all in the Microsoft realm. So when I saw this come out the other day, I had to investigate. It looks GREAT! Honestly, I am not sure how to integrate it all into our googlesphere, but we should. As teachers and students we can get free Microsoft teams accounts. I don't know how crazy it would be to assign the reading passages in Teams through Google Classroom, but there must be a way. So- check out the videos above and visit the blog post to tell you all about it.
Ideas to Share
This post is mostly about STEM, but scroll down for some resources on media literacy as well as some early reading resources.
I took the vacation week off from writing a blog post, but did 5 days of PD instead. One of the best overall STEM conferences I have attended recently was the 4 day Elem STEM con. This was very inexpensive with the early bird registration and is still a deal at ~ $50 for the sessions available. You can still register thru the end of this month, only 3 more days. Check out the resources. I spent 4-7 hours/day at this conference for 4 days and still have not even listened to half of the presentations. They expanded to include more secondary STEM, as well as a lot of great information for DEI and Special Ed.
The other great PD I attended was an all day MakeyMakey workshop- "virtually hands-on". Next month will be the Circuit Playground workshop. These are sponsored by CS for MA.
These are some of the STEM links from the Elementary STEM CON as well as the Amplify STEM conference. One that I really liked, surprisingly enough was one on math-Through the Looking Glass, Strengthening Arithmetic Skills with Fresh Perspectives. Sunil Singh was so engaging and made this fun. He also shared great links for math games that I will include below.
These look great- and they are free! Student activity centers for PreK thru grade 5.
FLORIDA CENTER FOR READING RESEARCH
Thinking about PD for the summer?
Aside fromInfosys, which I highly recommend, check outEducator Alexander's series.
Wes Fryer recently shared a media literacy lesson he created for his 5th grade class. Thanks Wes, for freely sharing your work! You can access the lesson here.
My go-to resource for media literacy is the News Literacy Project. They now have resources and lesson plans for grades 4 and up. This, in addition to the Checkology program and the NLP Sift make an excellent foundation for all of our students.
"The Sift, NLP’s free weekly newsletter for educators — delivered during the school year — explores timely examples of misinformation, addresses media and press freedom topics and discusses social media trends and issues. It also includes links, discussion prompts and activities for use in the classroom."
They have recently introduced an upper elementary unit to help students learn to tell fact from opinion. Check it out here.
This lesson is designed to help students learn the difference between fact-based and opinion-based statements. The lesson includes a fun slideshow activity, handy flowchart, graphic organizer and other materials tailored for grades 4-6.
This link comes from a Terri Eichholz post. I love the interactive google doc with lesson plans that she shared from Scott Bayer (@LyricalSwordz).
With yet more unsettling news on the rise of hate and racism, here are some resources from KQED. Click here or on the image.
Looking for a new way to improve student writing? Try this Chrome extension- Wordtune. Eric Curts wrote up a great explanation on his site, and created this how to video, as well as detailed written instructions. I tried it out and like having a lot of choices, although, as with most of this type of tool, like Grammarly, I found that having it pop up to be intrusive and used the little dot in the top left to shut it off, unless I asked it for advice. I am curious to see how well the AI works. We all know that the auto-correct can be a godsend or make really funny mistakes.
BreakoutEDU's free game of the week is Breakout THE ZOOM!
As many of you may know, math is not my favorite subject. This 30 min webinar on a new tool called Math Whiteboard honestly made the tool look really cool, but not being a math teacher, I don't know. He demo'd cool tricks with graphs, etc... made it look easy. He also seems to be available for questions and more demos. Try it and see! Let me know in the comments.
Here's a couple of example images from his site. I just saw that Eric Curts is having a webinar on this next week 4/20/21
MakeCode Skill Map
This one is in development, but go ahead and give it a shot if you don't mind that there may well be some bugs. I enjoyed the intro webinar and found most of it to be fun and easy to follow along. You can also check out the MakeCode Arcade platform, but this skillmap has potential as a teaching tool. One big plus- MakeCode Arcade has Immersive Reader!
If you haven't tried Canva, you're missing out. This platform has grown so much over the last year or so! I guess I'm not the only one who is so impressed with Canva. Richard Byrne just put up a new blog post 19 Canva Tutorials for Teachers and Students - Certificates, Comics, and More! Check out all the great tutorials he has created here.
Here's a link to Canva's OnBoarding for Educator's presentation with step by step from setup to presenting remotely and more.
Canva offers free pro accounts for educators! You can create classrooms. It is integrated with Google Classroom. Students can collaborate on work. The amount of resources available to teachers is simply amazing! Remove bg is part of the platform... You can find, reuse, recreate worksheets, comics, infographics and so much more. The Canva video below is a bit long, but worth the time. I have sat through several of Leslie Fisher's webinars on Canva and will be back for more. You can also check out Holly Clark's ideas here.
I also took a couple of quick video tours ( less than a minute) below to show you some of what is available to teachers- for free!
Yet More Jamboard
I attended a Fried.Tech webinar recently on Jamboard, not really expecting to learn anything new. Much of it was the same old, but I did learn more about the differences in using Jamboard on a tablet vs the web version (~ 11:28 on the video) There are some pretty cool things you can do with the app. Check out their presentation and slide deck.
Just in from Eric Curts
I thought I was done, but just saw this tweet from Eric. Now I have to go check out Monster Mash!
A couple of quick announcements before all of the National Poetry Month info. Did you know that this is also National Library Workers Day? Thank your librarian today!
Looking for resources for National Poetry Month?
Celebrate National Poetry month with free games from Breakoutedu.
Check out the great- free- offerings!
We are celebrating National Poetry Month with our exciting games, ‘5 Lyric Poets’ and ‘Spring into Poetry’!
Play for FREE this week only at: https://brkedu.com/Poet-SignUp
Remember to use the link to make your own copy. If you are using this in a school setting, be sure to make your copy in your school account to enable sharing with your students.
It includes a collection of 70 poem/poetry books, 4 extra poem videos, and 26 children-friendly educational videos displayed in alphabetical order defining and showing how to write different types of poems, such as: acrostic, autobiographical, ballad, cinquain, clerihew, color, concrete, couplet, diamante, elegy, epic, epigram, found, free verse, haiku, limerick, list, lyric, narrative, ode, prose, quatrain, sonnet, and more.
I tend to write about various tools for accessibility a lot as that was the biggest change for me when I flipped from private schools to public schools. I had never had kids with disabilities of any kind in my many years in private schools, either it wasn't a "good fit" or the kids had private tutors, so it did not impact my teaching. Then in the fall of 2013 I started working in a public school. I ended up taking a crash course- 36 credits in 16 months and an Ed.S later- now, I get it. This didn't even touch on equity issues relating to gender, race, digital access, etc... just physical and cognitive issues.
I was thrilled to see the article and listen to the podcast that Katie Novak and Mirko Chardin did with Jennifer Gonzalez recently, called
If Equity is a Priority, UDL is a Must
Check out the article and podcast here:
Katie and Mirko talk with Jennifer starting ~ 5 min in.
There are new toolbars in
Equatio & in Google Read and Write.
Features in accessibility
| || |
What It’s All About: Teaching, Learning and Assessment
These frameworks are a work in progress. This is the slidedeck (ppt). The recording will post in the coming weeks.
Or join the weekly #ATchat on Twitter- Wednesdays at 8 pm EST
Please remember to make your own copy/ do not request edit access, and please credit the authors.
I highlighted Eric Curt's tutorial for Tall Tweets, back in 2018. Lately I have been seeing more and more folks using both Tall Tweets and the new version Studio Creator to quickly and easily create gifs and videos. Teachers have been assigning or offering this as an option... show mitosis as a gif, show the water cycle as a gif, etc. So, I added the new version, Creator Studio, the slides add-on, to our allowed marketplace add-ons. It has mixed reviews, so if you try it and want to share either your positive or negative experiences, let us know. It's an add-on, so go to slides, add-ons-get add-ons to find it. It looks like most of the features you may want to use may not be free.
Ideas to Share
As an open source search results clustering engine, Carrot² can show your results in different ways which you or your students may find helpful.
This one was new to me this week-
Kindu TV. It's advertised as a safe place for teachers to find and share learning videos and seems to have a nice collection. It's cool that it is free for teachers and that you can pop a YouTube video url in and they will remove the ads for you. Try it and let me know what you think.
Google Data Studio is a really cool tool that I keep trying to find more time to learn about and use. It is kind of a replacement for Awesome Table and is way easier to use than pivot tables. Wanda Terral presented on this at Spring CUE- and graciously shared her slide deck. Within the deck is a video to help you walk thru the steps she went over. Now on my watch it asap list.
This is a quick and easy accessibility feature, built right into chrome. Takes less than a minute to turn it on. These captions are not stored on the cloud, etc... just appear on your device for any audio or video. You can turn it off when not needed; you can even use it offline on audio or video you have saved. Read a bit more about it here.
This is a handy little feature to know about. It's new and it is super easy to use. Like Alice, I often have multiple tabs open and at least 3 windows. This lets me quickly and easily navigate between them
This is a new tool from Google to create short videos to share with others, and to have them respond. Richard Byrne does a nice job showing you the main features of the tool in the video below. We have applied to roll this out at HPS but it isn't available on your accounts as of this moment. However, I do have it on my personal gmail account. Not sure why they are asking us to jump through hoops on this one. It's not an IT holdup, it's a Google thing. You can read more about it here. Richard also compares this new tool, Threadit to Loom for recording right in your inbox in this video, which I also found interesting.
I thought I had enabled this one in the Marketplace a while back, but realized that I was accessing via my personal account. It's available now. It allows you to reshuffle all your slides, to combine slide decks, to add a whole bunch of images at once, download all your slides at once, etc. Another handy tool.
Adding timed assessments to Google Forms (formerly called Timify Me). This is a freemium product- an add on from Google Marketplace. You get the first 100 tests for free. Each student gets their own test, so the numbers add up quickly. I agree that this is not the time to add more pressure to either students or teachers, however, this may be useful for students who will need to prep for timed testing.
I was actually going to write about a couple of the really good sessions of the Untamed Learning Conference I attended on Saturday and am happy to say- now you can attend any of them- and I can catch the ones I couldn't attend. My favorites, so far - Digital Tools for STEM with Eric Cross and Mari Venturino, and the Student Engagement for Primary Learners (TK-2) with Jennifer Dean and Ben Cogswell. I only got to one of Jennifer and Ben's and plan to catch the other 3. Note: Click on the image or the link below it to register for free access... scroll all the way down to the bottom of their page til you see "Are You Ready?" "Get your free ticket". It's way further down the page than you would expect.
What I liked about the sessions I attended... these are educators, who are in the classrooms, either directly teaching or directly supporting teachers. The ideas they present are not theoretical, nor do they generally require paid apps, fancy equipment, etc. You can actually do these with your students.
- Access to 30+ live sessions
- Step-by-step support on essential techniques and protocols you can use right now
- Customizable plug and play templates
- Lesson design frameworks you can use with ANY curriculum
- Student engagement strategies that actually work
- Up to 8 PD credits
What really stood out today:
1. Originality reports. This is rolling out for the next school year, and the free version only gets 5 reports, but paid is unlimited (I think). The part that I liked- it is not just for teachers to say "gotcha!" If the teacher has enabled it, the students can check their work before turning it in. It is meant to be a learning experience, not just a way to catch cheaters. The other part that will be rolling out is a way to check student/student work. Not really sure how this will work- but essentially is meant to prevent kids from last year's class just passing along their papers to a new class. But- no work is shared outside of your district... unlike turnitin, etc. This will use your data, in your accounts to check.
2. Rubrics There was a lot of good info shared, and they did a demo of how to create a rubric, but the cool piece, you and your department can create a shell class- no students- and work together to create rubrics, which you can then access and attach to your assignments/edit as needed.
Ideas to Share
You can download the free bias toolkit from Unbounded.org. Click the image below to find out more.
Alice Keeler, as well as Richard Byrne and others wrote about the new version history for Google Jamboard. This is rolling out over the next couple weeks. One thing that is different about jamboard version history, compared to docs, is that it will not show you who did what- only who was on the document, as well as allowing you to restore to a previous version.
Richard Byrne recently wrote about this chrome extension, one that I have not tried. It is called Wordtune and can help students revise their writing. Check out his post and the video below.
Here's the short version: " LightSpace is an AR (augmented reality) iOS app that allows you to turn your surroundings into a canvas. Using LightSpace’s tools, you can record a video and add things like drawings, shapes and various effects right into the shot. The best part is if you walk away from your drawing, LightSpace maps the room. So, if you walk back towards your drawing, it will reappear! This is a great way to capture engagement and build interACTIVE activities."
I wrote about this in March of 2019, as well as 2017 and included long lists of resources. You can check out the 2017 post out here, and the 2019 post here. You can look back at the post on Women and Girls in Science here.
This year we are celebrating the first female Vice President in the United States. It still both amazes and depresses me to have made both so much progress in my lifetime, and such slow incremental progress.
This site pulls in resources from the LOC, from The Smithsonian, from The National Art Gallery and more.
Breakthrough films and SciFri have an amazing collection of short videos featuring women in science. Check out the site or the YouTube Channel
Science with Sophie. Check it out here.
NEA has created a site to help you find more resources, whether you are in person or doing this virtually.
Check it out here.
Ideas to Share
or go to https://lab.scratch.mit.edu/face/
I didn't get to go to this virtual edcamp over the weekend- but Erin did! I'm sure she will have more to share, but here's a collection of 51 items created by Bruce Reicher @breicher from this day long conference. If you are looking for ideas to diversify your collection- check out the resources below. As always, librarians are the gods and goddesses of organizing information!
Google for Edu put out a slide deck- with use as template- of a whole bunch of resources you can use to help get things organized. Here's a quick video to show you all of them. And here's the link to slide deck.
One last one for today.. Greg Kulowiec shared this quick video recently to demonstrate how to watch YouTube videos directly in a Google Doc. This can help kids who get distracted easily if they go out to YouTube.
If you don't want to deal with these changes right now, scroll on down to a few other Ideas to Share.
Here's something I hope will help. John Sowash made up these graphics below and said it was OK to share them. As you can see- lots of changes. I will also link in Eric Curt's post as well as the video update from today and their slide decks. And don't worry if it's too much at once. This link from Google Edu breaks out what is offered in each tier.
It will be coming out all year, in phases and you can just concentrate on what you need/care about. I like screen recording on chromebooks, revision history on jamboard, multiple Meet moderators and pre-scheduling breakout rooms. But remember, not everything is in the free version. Check out the video below for more info about that.
Dive in, find out what changes affect you, and can help your students.
Ideas to Share
This is an excellent tutorial from Sam Kary's New EdTech Classroom for a great tool that can really help all students engage. Adding more interactivity and feedback really makes a difference. Haven't tried Actively Learn? Worth your time to investigate it.
Check out the screencastify video below for step by step directions from Kristina Uihlein Holzweiss https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cYlQDsNLWU
This is from Sarah Kiefer's post, where she said, "I can see some of you scratching your head on this post ... but if you are using a Google doc for your students and want an "interactive" portion, you can! It just takes a little bit of thinking to ensure you keep the interactive part available."