Digital Passport is Back!
Digital Passport, the award winning suite of 6 interactive games from Commonsense Media, has been a staple in our school's digital citizenship work, so I was dismayed when it wasn't ready to go at the end of the summer. But, it's back! What's new? The biggest change is that students no longer log in the same way; no student information is collected. This is both positive and negative. The students create their own username. Their work is saved, when a unit is completed- on that computer, on that browser. If they switch computers or use a new browser- out of luck. They can download or print certificates, take screenshots, etc. But, you just know that someone will forget to do this.
One other new feature- you can now choose to play the games in English or in Spanish.
I also kind of wish there was an easier tie in with Google Classroom, but that would of course attach student data. After taking a quick glance at the new Educator Guide- clean, simple and easy to use. I'm looking forward to trying this out soon with our 3rd graders!
Looking for UDL ideas?
When Wikispaces made the difficult decision to close, so many of my favorite websites also went by the wayside or had to find a new home. So happy that my good friend, teacher, and mentor, Karen Janowski spent the time to move her incredible UDL ToolKit to a new space. If you are looking for ideas on how to accomodate students on IEPS, 504 plans, or just about any student you teach- look no further than THE UDL TOOLKIT.
To quote Karen: " My passion is to remove the obstacles to learning for all students and these free tools offer opportunities for struggling learners that promote academic success. When material is digital or electronic, it is flexible and accessible. It is our responsibility as educators to provide materials that promote success. Please encourage all educators to consider using these free tools."
Bookshare Special Collections
I just learned about an amazing tool on Bookshare from @karenjan last week. I never knew they had Special Collections. If you have students on Bookshare- check it out! You can take some of these amazing collated collections and add them as reading lists for your students. For example-
I just wanted to share this info from Shelly Terrell with excellent directions on creating and sending parent newsletters. I embedded her tweet below. Her original post can be found here. Check it out as Shelly shares her templates too!
Join the UMass #30 Day Access Challenge
Global Collaboration Week
It's here! All week! Online! Free!
Look at the flyer below and check out all the ways you can participate!
New From Google Teacher Tribe
Kasey and Matt are back with more great tips. Listen to the podcast, download it to your device and listen on the way to school. One tip that I really like is the new sidebar on Google with Save to Google Keep. Try it! Check out the show notes here for clickable links.
Googley STEAM Resources
Deb Norton presented a great selection of some of the lesser known Google tools. Some of these experiments I had seen before, but some were new to me. One app that I didn't realize the potential of is the Google Arts and Culture app. Using the app, you can access Google street view and virtually tour some of the greatest museums on Earth. I can see our HES students loving Meme Buddy and Mystery Animal and all of the wonderful AI experiments.
Please click on the image to see her slidedeck. Thanks Deb!
Great Green Screen Resources
Several teachers have asked about using GreenScreen videos in the classroom. Tricia Fuglestad has pulled it all together! Check out her great ideas below. We have a green screen in the STEAM lab, which is pretty portable, as well as a small box for stop motion animation. We also have the DoInk Green Screen app on the ipads in the STEAM lab. One other resource is Camtasia Studio software, which is installed on the PC in the STEAM lab.
Science Resources for ALL
I attended an excellent webinar presented by Tia Cooper recently. She showed so many amazing science resources- for all ages. I asked her if I could share them on the blog with everyone, and she very graciously said yes. Connect Create and Collaborate - a 30 minute webinar with more than 30 resources shared! Click on the image to check it out.
Coming soon for Read & Write for Chrome...
We are so fortunate to have a district subscription to Read and Write for Google chrome. It is a phenomenal tool for all, not just for students who struggle with reading/writing. If you haven't looked at it lately- check it out! The updates below will be rolling out over the next several weeks- so keep an eye out.
I have only read about these upcoming changes, but would love to see a new spelling and grammar checker and the Data Desk for Google Classroom certainly has me curious.
As I'm sure most of you are aware, Google Classroom made some changes over the summer. Aside from what I consider the 3 big changes, two things I have noticed over the last couple weeks as we begin our year: One: Don't forget to click on the gear for settings! This is where you can adjust who gets to comment. Depending on your class, you may well not want student comments on your assignments. Two: You can now turn off notifications for some of your classes. Getting too many emails from classes you co-teach? Turn them off by going to Menu/Settings/Notifications/Class Notifications. H/T to Jenn Judkinsfor the gif.
The 3 big changes:
This is a new site for me. I had never even heard of this until #edcampCT in August. At a session on Primary Sources (notes) folks from CT public TV, as well as CT teachers brought this site up several times. So, what is this Thinkalong? Created by CT public television, its goal is "to help students become better critical thinkers and media consumers by giving classrooms access to news-based learning activities made to enhance their curriculum." Aimed at middle and high school students, it can help students learn to discuss difficult topics and have important, serious discussions. I love the approach they take. Check out the intro video... or just go ahead and check out the topics.
I have enjoyed using Storyboardthat since it first came out. It provides a clean, safe, easy way for students to visually organize and tell a story. Great templates are provided as well as lesson plans. This afternoon I attended a webinar which featured the new story cube and worksheet design tools. These are pretty easy to use and if you use worksheets in your classroom, you may want to check them out. They have over 40,000 objects to choose from and lots of pre-made diagrams, and instructional templates. One thing that came up at the end of the webinar was that they are having a one day sale at TPT on all of the "stuff" they have created. Each packet is going for $1.00/each. Some of these are usually 5, 10 or even $20 each. Great deal if it's something you can use...and it's a One Day Deal- Wednesday 9/12/2018
Microbit Global Challenge
As many of you know, I spent time this summer learning more about makerspaces, raspberry pi, new features of Scratch 3.0 and more. One of the things I really liked learning about was physical computing... making "stuff" and using tech to code it to do something.
Microbits have been used extensively in the UK as part of their national coding instruction. Now Microbit.org has combined forces with The World's Largest Lesson and ARM and will run a global challenge, based on UN SDGs ( Sustainable Development Goals). Cool idea! Read more about it here.