Welcome back after such a beautiful week of spring-like weather for our winter break here in Massachusetts!
This will be a compilation of things that I thought were cool/useful/interesting over the last couple of weeks.
Some Shortcuts I Learned
I spent a day down at Lunenburg HS this past week at MassCue's GooglePalooza. One cool thing about this sort of conference is that, much like an edcamp, resources are usually shared online. So head over to this link, check out the 4 sessions and all of the resources that were shared. I really enjoy learning from a couple of these presenters and would highly recommend that you attend anything that Jenn Judkins or Jennifer Lowton are doing. Both are incredibly knowledgeable, funny and I always, always learn something new from them. Jenn Judkins is my go-to resource for Google Forms, and Sheets. She makes up great workflows to save everyone time (and a few trees). Jennifer Lowton is a great resource for both Google Admin type questions, as well as Special Education and tech questions.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Chromebooks
Steve Wicks has published a new Chrome resource website. Just about anything you care to know... you can find here at Chromebook 101.
Add Videos from Google Drive to Slides
Shawn Beard, as well as many others, posted about the new ability to add videos from your Google Drive to Google Slides. This is very handy, in case YouTube is blocked and it also enables you to have student videos which can created and uploaded right to Drive and shared on Google Slides.
More Math Resources
I attended a webinar featuring a man named Steve Sherman recently. I had never heard of him, but he was talking about global education and math. Well, I wish I had included him in the last post about math! To give you an idea: here's his intro blurb:
Steve is the Chief Imagination Officer of an Educational NGO in Capetown, South Africa called Living Maths. It is a mathematics, problem-solving and science enrichment program. He teaches approximately 4500 students weekly in schools around Cape Town and now recently, the world. He is passionate about sharing knowledge and empowering young people. He is also a multi-award purchasing educator and was voted most adorable educational innovator by his unbiased mother. He feels that it is his destiny to spread the joy of problem-solving and creative thinking to anyone who is willing to listen and even to those who are not. He knows Karate, Ju-jitsu and 2 other Japanese words. Steve is an Olympic medallist for the short jump and an accomplished Yo-yo winder.
Check out his website: Livingmaths.com. He does cool stuff with math; he connects kids around the world; and he's funny.
For those of you who know me, this topic will be a surprise. I do not possess a "math brain". having grown up in a time when it was OK for girls to shun math and just be a "baker", following the recipes and getting good grades. That said, I am always fascinated by the way mathematicians seem to puzzle through things. Hopefully, some of the resources I share here, will help you bring more excitement and a higher/deeper level of thinking to some of your math classes.
Today I asked John P. to explain the math behind a simple number puzzle that I wanted to use in a breakoutedu game. I knew the answer, through trial and error, but wanted to know how someone who loves math would think it through. He very kindly obliged and now I have a better idea of how a student could/should go about solving this problem: xx+yy+zz=xyz when x, y and z are different single digit numbers. I have another friend who teaches math grades 5-9 and I always used to spend my before school time in his classroom, watching his math extra help sessions- learning how my students solved problems, and then using some of these strategies in my computer applications classes with them.
One of the people I always look to for math online is Dan Meyer. Dan has been speaking and blogging about math for a long time and comes up with great real world ways to teach and learn. You can check out his blog here and listen to his 2010 TED talk below.
Jo Boaler offers a wealth of resources for math. She has a great book out calledMathematical Mindsets, has a fantastic website (You'll love her Week of Inspirational Math lessons) and will be offering an online course for teachers this summer.
Although I generally think of Alice as the goddess of Google Classroom, she actually teaches math. She recently posted a great blog post about how to update your lesson plans- using a lot of math examples. One of her references, which was new to me, was to OpenMiddle.com. This is from their About section, "Open middle problems require a higher depth of knowledge than most problems that assess procedural and conceptual understanding. They support the Common Core State Standards and provide students with opportunities for discussing their thinking." This site offers great math problems- K-12.
Another math site that I checked out recently wasSteve Wyborney's Splat blog post. Steve is math educator who also writes interactive math books for Scholastic. Check out his free downloads of his lessons.
If you're looking for some great ideas to relate math to music, to sports, to fashion... check out Thirteen.org's Get the Math for lots of challenges, videos and more.
No post about math would be complete without mentioning Math Playground. Colleen King's site has been around for quite a while and has so much to offer across all age groups. Aside from the breadth and depth of the content, Colleen makes sure that all games on her site are appropriate for students and that they are not just an ad for something. Not just shoot 'em up games, all of the games she creates or accepts on her site have strong pedagogy behind them. She takes safety to heart and you can allow even young students freedom to explore on Math Playground. Many of the games, over 100 at last count, can be played on mobile devices too. Looking for ways to model math problems with students. Thinking Blocks are exclusively on Math Playground.
Before we get to resources: Talking with kids...
Last week Dr. McKenzie shared a link to an article fromtolerance.org about talking with kids about immigration and more. As many of you also know, Judi has this magazine in the HA library. Tina Howard has also shared some excellent resources with those at HA. In addition to the wonderful resources shared this fall by our staff, I wanted to share a blog post from Terri Eichholz from last Sunday. It has a lot of great links to explore. Our students of all ages look to us to help them figure out how to talk about current events, regardless of how we feel about them politically. Some of the links referenced may be useful.
Black History Month
Not everyone agrees that having a "Black History Month" is a good idea. Here's a quick interview with Morgan Freeman from 2012.
There are a lot of resources online. I have pulled most of them into a couple of symbaloo mixes. We have the MLK Jr. resources shared previously here and here. I added a symbaloo created by another teacher, Sylvia Buller, to the HES symbaloo. I also pulled a lot of other resources together and added them to the HES symbaloo as well as embedded below. These resources are "pinned" for the month to the beginning of the tabs. This set of resources has a mix of lesson plans as well as resources to direct students to, for all ages. There are links to PBS, to Google Cultural Museum, LOC, science pages, sports pages and more.
Newsela and Biography
Newsela has teamed up with Bio.com to bring biographies to your students. Why should you care? Newsela is free (has a premium side, but you don't need it for this) and the best part- it allows your students to adjust the Lexile levels in the articles. Students who struggle with reading, but not content, will be able to get to the content with this new collaboration. You'll notice several links to Newsela on the Black History Month symbaloo.
"How do noteworthy individuals shape history?
To what extent are they products of their societies and times?
Who are the unsung heroes students may not read about in textbooks?
Now you can dive into these questions like never before: Newsela and Biography.com have partnered to bring your students closer to the lives of hundreds of noteworthy people.
Students can find leveled articles on figures ranging from Frederick Douglass to Steve Jobs, Confucius to Aretha Franklin. And teachers can easily supplement STEM or ELA lessons with biographies of Marie Curie, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Edgar Allen Poe, Maya Angelou, and countless other luminaries.