Last week I wrote briefly, about some of the issues we all deal with in education. Apparently, I am not the only one feeling like there are some gaps, with an undue emphasis on acquiring and regurgitating information, instead of doing and learning. As a strong believer in UDL, I believe that we need to look at how we are teaching, how students are learning and how they are showing their mastery. Jennifer Gonzalez of The Cult of Pedagogy, blogged about this and created the podcast embedded below.
Modern Learners shared this viral video and responded to it in their post back in September. Check out the blog post for the video response to Prince Ea. What's your response? Mine has been to create the STEAM space at HES. Still a work in progress, students can come in and DO something.
Three Quick Shares
Add Math Playground to Google Classroom
Richard Byrnes wrote a great blog post about this back in September. I love Math Playground games. I've been a fan of Colleen King for years. She is an amazing educator, math wiz, web design and coding magician and a wicked nice, shy, unassuming person. She was my hero about 10 years ago as I was struggling to get through a workshop that was simply not working for me. I had no clue about what I was trying to do, coding stuff etc... and Colleen took me under her wing and very gently showed me how to do some basic things. She also allowed me to use her as a mentor for one of my former students when he wanted to learn flash and I didn't know it. But... back to Richard's post. He noticed that you can put Math Playground games right into Google Classroom and referenced Tony Vincent's post about how one could add materials. Check out Richard's post here and start adding more fun, educational Math Playground games to Google Classroom. If you've never tried the Logic games, be sure to check them out.
I've been hearing more and more about Eduprotocols for the last 6 months. The book, by Marlena Hebern and Jon Corippo came out in March and everything I have heard about it is wonderful. Hate to admit it, but I haven't purchased a copy yet. I tend to buy paper copies of edu books, so I can lend them to people. The trade-off is not being able to click on the links. Check out the videos below. The first big one is a review of the book. Vicki Davis did an interview with Jon and Matt Miller takes on one of the protocols in his video. It may be something that some of us can look at for a PD session. Interested? Check out some of the templates- for free. See if this would help you in the classroom.
Don't Miss the Latest FlipGrid Newsletter
Everyone Can Create
Apple released this relatively new curriculum back in March, but just this month announced that these teaching guides/ideas are now available in iBooks. Yes, they are free.
This is the original post, from back in March, which gives you the basic info and links to download each book on iTunes. So what is covered: " Everyone Can Create project guides introduce the language, fundamental skills and techniques of video, photography, music, and drawing." "The Everyone Can Create collection is designed to allow teachers to easily incorporate creativity into their existing lesson plans in any subject, including language arts, math, science, history, social studies and coding. " "A new teacher guide helps bring these projects to life in the classroom with 300 lesson ideas across media, projects and subjects"
Quotes from : Apple Newsroom Update 10.1.18
Real Time Captions in Google Slides!
As part of Accessibility Awareness Month, Google is adding a new captioning feature to its Google Slides. This could be a real game changer for many of our students, as well as a huge boon to educators and their virtual audiences. This news just came out today. You can read the article here. I have not tested it out yet, but the word on social media is that is has great potential. It is currently only in US English, but the plan is to add other languages. It will be rolling out over the next few weeks. To activate it, using the Chrome browser, simply click the CC icon at the bottom of the slides and click Present. It will be interesting to see if this lives up to its potential.
I don't know how everyone stays organized and remembers all the myriad details of their day to day work. I know that I have tried so many ways to do this- Google Keep, Livescribe Pens, Alexa, and more. I saw this article the other day and I think I may well try it. I still use post-it notes- both physical and virtual. Have you tried printing on Post-Its? We Are Teachers has a nice tutorial to follow and free templates.
FlipGrid Mix Tapes
I love FlipGrid. It is an easy tool for both educators and students and has an amazing community of educators who share tips and ideas to use in the classroom. In addition to #GridPals (Think penpals, only digital) and the "Disco" library ( as of today over 4662 topics are listed in the library!) a new feature is Mix Tapes. Flipgrid can actually be a great way to build a portfolio. Now teachers can go through all the various grids and pull an individual student's work out and compile it all into a new "mix tape". Check out the video below. If you are new to FlipGrid or if you want to catch up with all the new changes- Karly and Sean have once again compiled a new Teacher Guide- check out the link, make your own copy.
After a mostly wintery April vacation, it was nice to finally see the sunshine. Hoping to have the last of the snow leave my gardens this week. I have a lot of little catchup items to share this time.
I went down to Connecticut today to attend the Greenwich Country Day School's Maker Faire. Although I was very disappointed that the scheduled keynote speaker, Colleen Graves was unable to attend due to a family emergency, I did enjoy listening to Ron Beghetto speak about creativity.
A couple points that resonated with me:
My favorite workshop of the day was with Rush Hambleton- "Meet the Microbit". It was fun to experiment with this relatively inexpensive, easy to use pocket size computer that lets you get creative with digital technology. I had played around with these a little bit, but working in small groups I learned a lot more than I had previously tried by myself. With the new version of Scratch coming out in August children will be able to program physical devices (like micro:bit).
Catch Up Time
Finally, the wonderful set of tools is free for both teachers and students- and is now COPPA compliant so kids under 13 can use it with supervision. A couple of our 4th grade classes have used this on some of the global projects they have done in the past and now we can give them accounts that they can use for so many projects! Richard Byrne has a nice roundup of the features on his blog.
Images for student work
We have a tab on our HES Symbaloo with a lot of these links, but Tony Vincent recently put up a nice post with some that we don't currently have listed. Check them outhere.
Checkboxes in Google Sheets
One of the things I really like about Google Keep is the quick and easy way to create checkboxes. Now, for all the spreadsheet fans- you can create checkboxes in Google Sheets. Alice Keeler writes about it here and shows you how- step by step.
Two great updates from FlipGrid to share. First- and this is happening soon- Wednesday, May 9th - World Record Wednesday.
Quote from the blog:
"It starts with you. It starts with us!
On May 9, 2018, you can be part of history! Our Global Classroom will aim for the student voice record books and attempt a World Record on Flipgrid. 24 Hours, all nations, all learners, across the globe, sharing the same message. We are calling on students, educators, digital citizens and global ambassadors to join together using your phone, tablet, or computer to record a message uniting The World"
One more from FlipGrid... AppSmashBash. Want to do more with FlipGrid? Looking for ideas? Check out the webinar #App SmashBash.
Did You Know?
Before I share links about the Olympics- I have 3 quick things to share.
Duck Duck Moose
You may have known this for months, but I just happened across an article about Khan Academy and apps for littles. Did you know that Khan bought Duck Duck Moose? Did you know that all 21 of those apps are now free?
Unicheck Plagarism Checker
Richard Byrne has an interesting post on his blog about a plagiarism checker that is integrated right into Google Classroom- via an add-on from UniCheck. The article was written by a staffer at unicheck. Read the post here.
2018 Winter Olympics
My colleagues in 3rd grade who are doing a unit on the Olympics kindly haven't complained yet about all the resources I have been bombarding them with, but there are so many fantastic ideas out there.
There's a whole set of 16 videos from the National Science Foundation to illustrate the math and science of some of the sports.
Today I happened on this series of photos and links on Twitter. These math related ideas come from Desmos. Dennis Sheeran has a great collection of links on his site, all nicely collated on a hyperdoc. Check it out here.
The folks over at SpheroEdu have been hard at work coming up with a new video, using Spheros participating in curling.
Olympics Hyperdocs are all the rage online. Please remember that if you use these to #FILEMAKEACOPY.... and then give credit to the original creator. When I use a hyperdoc that someone else made, I make sure to go through each and every link to make sure they all work and to be sure that any info being collected from students is only being collected by me, not another school or teacher.
Here's some links to check out:
Just in case you haven't visited BreakoutEdu recently, the platform has changed a bit- with a free section and a premium section. You must register on the site for access. These are both Free.
Other Olympic Collections
Excellent PD Opportunity
I attended this digital conference last year and this year it looks even better! I didn't have a chance to attend this weekend, so I have some catching up to do. "The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit is a nine-day, FREE virtual event. It brings together some of the brightest minds in education to discuss technology, pedagogy and more." Sign up here. There are new speakers featured each day. The videos will only be available online til December 31st. Try it- great PD, on your schedule, and it's free.
New Assistive Tech Book
Chris Bugaj has a new assistive technology book coming out in April, but you can pre-order now. I have had the opportunity to read a bunch of different books on various aspects of assistive technology and to be honest- most are just "textbooks"- read 'em once and done. Chris's first book was the standout in a series of typically informative, but boring, textbooks. It was funny; it was informative; it was inspirational. I kept it. I even still look inside it. Now how many textbooks have you used for college or post college courses that you can say that about?
Here's the blurb: " School districts often struggle to develop consistent practices for meeting the assistive needs of special education students. This playful yet professional book will help public school educators select, acquire and implement technology to help all students, but especially those with special needs."
What's blog post without #FlipGrid?
I got to introduce Karly Moura and Sean Fahey on Classroom 2.0 live this weekend. These two educators have been at the forefront of #Flipgrid Fever and have come up with so many ideas that you can take and use tomorrow. This is thelivebinder link from the show. There are resources for all age groups and disciplines. Here's a whole padlet full of ideas embedded below.
But- what I wanted to tell you- something new this month is the ability to get
transcriptions of the videos- automatically- in 26 different languages!! You can set up captioning in the admin panel. It worked well for me in English- although I don't know how to tell it to put in punctuation, etc. I tried speaking English and having it transcribe in French. It didn't look to me like it translates and transcribes, only transcribes, but I could be wrong. Play with it and see. My thought was that this could be a way to make the videos more accessible- with the captions. Have to check this one with my AT experts and let you know.
A Welcome Addition to Osmo
I just got myCoding Duo game pieces and downloaded the new app. This is the latest game from Osmo and I think it's one of their better games. It is a "collaborative coding experience that features Awbie and Mo, and is designed for all kids who love Osmo Coding. " The coding game introduced last year is fun, but it's meant for an individual to use. This game is collaborative by design. You do need to have both the Awbie coding game and the Coding Jam game in order to play (you use those game pieces). While I am not a fan of the Coding Jam game, not having a musical bone in my body, using the pieces for this collaborative game was fun! With the exception of the Hot Wheels Mind Racer game (what were they thinking??), the entire line of Osmo games can be a welcome addition in the classroom.
Google Mystery Animal
One of the curious tweets I saw over the Thanksgiving break was about Google's Mystery Animal, a Google AI voice experiment. This is essentially a 20 questions game. How can you use this in class? Well, aside from having fun, it is an excellent way to hone questioning skills. Do you need special equipment? Nope- you can connect with Google Home, if you have that, or simply use your browser. Try it! You may like it. Your students may be inspired to find out more about this sort of coding works.
2 Great Resources from...#FlipGrid... of course
One of the projects I have been thinking about offering in our STEAM space includes various visual illusions, recognizing and creating patterns. I saw-yet again on twitter from my PLN- this very cool Scratch project with speed illusions done in Scratch. Check it out below. It may take a minute to load.
Visual Illusions to Sierpinski Triangles to fractals and more
As I investigated visual illusions, I got sidetracked by patterns, including Sierpinski Triangles, patterns and finally fractals. The math involved in these is interesting. It may help students to build/draw these patterns in order to increase their understanding of the math, and their appreciation of the art. Try the fractivities at fractalfoundation.org.
Sierpinski Triangle Project
These projects can be toned down for younger students or go 3D and fancy with older students. Erica Clark has an excellent blog post and directions on her website.
Want to try decotropes? These 2 sided optical illusion toys are fun and easy to make. You can even download the template from Ana's site
But I think my favorite project wasn't an illusion, but a math pattern. I had never heard of spirolaterals. These are really cool patterns. Try these with your students. H/T again to Erica Clark.
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.
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!
I know there are whole websites out there, full of videos to inspire teachers and students. This video was shared today on Terri Eicholoz' blog and it worked for me. I'd like to think that as teachers we can all break out of our simple cogs in a wheel dynamic and make a difference as well as helping our students to do the same.
I know, I know, let's finish up this year, before we talk about next year, but my reality has always been that if I did not plan, get PD or just get my ideas in order over the summer, that when September rolls around, I am plumb out of time and need to be ready to go. I cannot take the time for reflection and planning once the school year starts. So, here goes...
One of the things I have heard from teachers is that "this year" they are going to start a blog, or begin to use student portfolios, or find better ways to communicate with parents. There are many ways to do this, but you can't change your mind midstream and expect parents to follow along. Most parents have access to the internet, either via phone, laptop, or computer. If you can "train" them to check your website, not the bottom of the backpack for the newsletter, you may find that they begin to look to your blog, or site for information and may even interact online. But, if you give them the paper newsletter, they may or may not read it and they will certainly not look in yet another place online for the same information. No one has the time or energy to check your blog or site if the information comes home in what may be a more familiar format. So, what are some options to explore?
New Google Sites
Interested in Global Projects?
Black History Month
Google Add Ons
Google Cast For Education
Google Docs Story Builder
Google Lit Trips
Google Tour Builder
Google Tour Creator
Stop Motion Animation
Teaching And Learning
Virtual Field Trips