Grecian Urn Lessons?
This post from Jennifer Gonzalez still resonates with me, years later. If you have never listened to this podcast or read the write up on her blog, it is well worth your time. Essentially a "Grecian Urn" lesson is one that takes up more time than the educational value of the lesson merits.
I know that I had have given some real Grecian Urn lessons in the past. It may be a really cool project that I like to do; the kids love, the parents and even the admin think it's amazing. But, at the end of the day- is it a good use of time or is it just cool?
Sometimes it's a case of TTWWADI. This quote from Grace Hopper sums up her feelings about TTWWADI. "“The only phrase I’ve ever disliked is, ‘Why, we’ve always done it that way,’ ” she was once quoted as saying. “I always tell young people, ‘Go ahead and do it. You can always apologize later.’ ”
Just because you've always done that project to go with that unit of study, is that really a good enough reason?
Ideas to Share
Storyboardthat is having a 48 hour sale on their TPT site. It ends on Wednesday 9/25 at 11:59 pm. Although I'm not a big TPT fan, since so many teachers freely share their work every day... I am a fan of Storyboardthat and this sale- $1 for 100 pages of Mythology ideas or $1 for 200 pages of creative writing ideas and so much more, can't be beat. Check it out quickly before it goes away!
Global Collaboration Week
Miguel Guhlin recently shared a tool that I hadn't seen yet- Creative Studio for Google Slides. This is a chrome add on that allows you to export your slides as gifs, videos or even video with background music. Looking at the stats, not many users yet and mixed reviews. Try it and see it works for you. I usually end up downloading slides and flipping them to PowerPoint or just using Camtasia to get the videos that I want. This may be a tool to consolidate all that work. It is not free, by the way. There is a trial period, then $29/year. Check out Miguel's review here, and watch the developer's video below.
Celebrate Famous Latinx with Readworks and more
If you haven't tried Readworks' Article of the Day text sets, you are missing out. They have done so much to improve the search features on the site and have excellent ideas on incorporating reading throughout the day. Help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15) with these articles on Famous Latinx figures.
I saw this shared on Twitter the other day by @joliboucher. I love the idea of the template and can easily see if being used for other age groups, for special projects, etc. It is an engaging way to find great books to read. These all come from the Massachusetts Children's Book Awards. The covers and the write ups are freely shared on the Everything MCBA site. Simply click on the title and it will open a page with tons of info about the book. What I really liked about Joli's BookFlix is that it consolidates all the material in one easy to use template. Thanks so much for sharing @joliboucher! Template: https://tinyurl.com/MCBABookflix
Google for Primary Grades
I've written about this before, here, and here, but I did want to circle back and point out Eric Curts' resources as well. Eric pulled together a whole series of ideas last year, all with complete directions and templates. He has magnetic poetry, seasonal ideas, graphing and more. Please check out Eric's work here.
Ideas to Share
A special educator friend from Connecticut, Sharon Plante, recently shared an article, Audiobooks or Reading? To Our Brains, It Doesn’t Matter, about the effects of "reading" audio books on the brain. No surprises for those of us who understand that reading audiobooks is reading too, but check out the article and see what you think. I know that when I have used uPAR to check student reading comp that audio enhances the comprehension of reading material in more than 80% of ALL students tested.
Global Project Wakelet Collections by Lucy Gray
Lucy Gray has been involved in global projects for as long as I can remember. She puts out an excellent collection of links almost every day. When I looked at her Wakelet collections I was amazed at both the organization and the sheer volume of links she has collected. These 2 collections are a small portion of what you can find if you explore her shared Wakelets.
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.
Global Ed & Empathy
One of the most effective ways I know to foster empathy is to demonstrate the similarities we share. Global education projects provide a great pathway. One of the nicest projects I came across last week is the Kindness Rock project. Our 4th grade teachers have embraced both global ed and several kindness projects which actually just enhance and continue their longstanding excellent class projects. For those who haven't seen the Kindness Rock project:
Two of my champions of Global Ed have been hard at work this past week. Both Lucy Gray and Julie Lindsay have new projects in the works. Julie, over at Flat Connections, is offering a new PD program for educators that looks really interesting. After having taken her Flat Classroom course (twice), I know that I can recommend her professional development offerings for all who are interested in expanding their horizons with their students. This new series is called Playbooks and is divided up into 4 strands. You can read much more about it here.
Flat Connections is also starting a new round of projects for students. The new project this round is Windows to the World for grades 3-6, as well as the familiar favorites. This looks like an updated, revamped model of the A Week in the Life project, which I helped moderate 5 or 6 years ago. Lots of fun, lots of learning. Check out all the projects that are on offer here. These are well managed, global projects that really help you and your students connect around the world.
Lucy Gray is on the road again, currently at TCEA in Texas, then moving on to Mumbai, D.C and Boston. She and Steve Hargadon offer an incredible wealth of opportunities for teachers and students at all levels. Check out her upcoming work here.
Scratch 3.0 Preview
For all of the Scratch fans out there... it's almost here. Scratch 3.0 is due to be released in August, but... you can preview it now!
Check it out herescratch.mit.edu/preview-faq. Lots of info on the FAQ page too. Even more info is available on the wiki.
This is also the summer of the Scratch conference at the MIT media lab in Cambridge. Lots of fun, lots of learning. Amazing group of international educators. I can honestly say that I have met more people from other countries at the Scratch conferences I have attended than at ISTE conferences. I can sit and talk with folks from across the Connecticut River or sit and chat with friends from Mexico, France, Russia, Sweden, or Brazil. More info here.
Curation, Fact-Checking and More...
I had tagged a great article from Joyce Valenza- one of the world's greatest librarians- to share and then I listened to an excellent webinar from the folks over at Common Sense Media about a new game they are creating for middle and high school... but then I saw this image and post from Cult of Pedagogy by Jennifer Gonzalez. I am a dumper. I'll give you the links and maybe do a second blog post on our snow day tomorrow- but enough! I know I tend to overwhelm teachers I work with at times, but at least then I can go in to the classroom and help, can sit down and talk it through. After reading the examples she cited- oh, yeah. That's me. So... maybe tomorrow.
I was so fortunate to attend a webinar with Tiffany Whitehead on Saturday on Classroom 2.0 Live. Tiffany Whitehead, aka the Mighty Little Librarian, is an amazing librarian (aren't they all?) from Louisiana. A 2016 recipient of the Louisiana Library Media Specialist Award, Tiffany is an internationally recognized librarian and a past President for ISTE’s Librarians Network.
She did an excellent presentation. You can access the livebinder here, and I will put the video recording below.
BUT- she shared a couple things that I don't want you to miss! Tiffany shared this excellent 35 page reference google doc: False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources, with tons of tips and tricks for you and your students.
And... She shared the NLP (News Literacy Project) site called Checkology: a virtual classroom, "where students learn how to navigate the challenging information landscape by mastering the skills of news literacy." You can get the premium version free for the rest of the year. Three videos featured below- an overview, a student view and a teacher view.
Participating on the sidelines of a global project in 4th grade this term, it is amazing to see the students making connections with kids across the globe. One lesson that I saw featured on The Global Oneness Project this week really stood out for me.
It is called A Tapestry of Multicultural Diversity. Check it out here.
Great book for a Read-Aloud
I just read this book over the weekend on the recommendation of a friend. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate is sure to make it to the top of your list to read to your class- elementary on up. There is a downloadable teacher's guide aligned with Common Core Standard for 5th grade but can be applied to grades 3-8.. You can even set up your own community "wish day".
Day 3 of GEC is coming up!
Monday, Nov. 13th, 10am to Thursday, Nov. 16th, 4pm. This is an online event.
Great ideas from Eric Curts
Eric publishes 4 separate Google Docs with interesting/useful links that he has collected every month. His blog is always a treasure trove of ideas that will help you as an educator and can be used tomorrow in your classroom. Check out his blog and subscribe to updates. Or if you are pressed for time today, these are the links to his documents you will enjoy checking out.
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!
FIrst, apologies for missing last week's post- simply overwhelmed with setup work for student accounts and the new makerspace we are creating at HES.
International Peace Day 2017
We are celebrating the International Day of Peace at HES once again on Thursday, September 21st. The 4th graders have created a video, parts of which will be incorporated into a video with students from around the globe. This year's song was People Got to Be Free by The Rascals. The composite video is not ready yet, but the HES 4th graders created the video below, along with a 2 minute video of a cooperative game, portions of which will also be incorporated in the global celebration.
More about Peace Day...
This year's theme for International Peace Day is respect, safety and dignity for all. There is a wealth of information on the web site. Looking for ideas for both young and old... check out the video created by Peace Day Philly. How can you get involved? Check out thispage of links.
Part and parcel with a day devoted to Global Peace, are the UN SDGs- the Sustainable Development Goals. Check out the video below to learn about the 17 sustainable development goals in 2 minutes. Need lesson plans to help your students learn more about SDGs? Check out the World's Largest Lesson on Vimeo- an amazing resource for all ages.
Not Just for Middle and High School students...
Students across all grade levels can learn about the SDGs and expand their horizons, learn about the globe, empathize with others and even help make the world a more peaceful and safer place. Sharon Davison, a Kindergarten teacher in Vermont is an ambassador for SDGs. You can connect with other educators on twitter via #teachsdgs or join the movement on the Teach SDGs website.
If you have time, check out Goalkeepers, a Bill & Melinda Gates project that kicked off today.
Global Collaboration Day... Also Thursday the 21st
This is an event hosted by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon to celebrate global collaboration and to help you on your journey to connect your classroom to the world. Stop by and make some new connections.
This is one of a series of events to foster global literacy. Be sure to check out the upcoming online conference, The Global Education Conference, coming up in November.
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?
This will be a compilation of things that I thought were cool/useful/interesting over the last couple of weeks.
Some Shortcuts I Learned
- To get a "clean" version of any youtube video, simply eliminate everything in front of the Y ( in youtube) and insert the word quiet.
- To download any youtube video, simply eliminate everything in front of the Y (in youtube) and insert pwn.
- To make an animated gif from any youtube video, simply eliminate everything in front of the Y ( in youtube) and insert gif.
- One last one... did you know that you can take a list of options from a spreadsheet and simply copy and paste them into a google form and it will populate your choices?
- Not a shortcut... but you can now add gradient backgrounds to Google slides and Google Drawings. (Actually this has not rolled out for our district, but should soon. It's already available in personal accounts)
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Chromebooks
Add Videos from Google Drive to Slides
More Math Resources
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.
Although not my plan to be a day late for a Tech Tuesday post, this actually works out well because today is International Peace Day. Peace One Day is celebrated internationally on September 21st. You can learn more about it here.
Our 4th graders have once again participated in this project, as they have for the last several years. This project has been developed by Lisa Parisi, a teacher on Long Island. Students create videos using a central theme of peace and a song as the background. This year's choice was K'NAAN's Wavin' Flag. Lisa splices all of these together into one video. This year the children made 2 videos- one playing a game and another singing the song. There were 20 participating schools from the US, India, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Greece, Venezuela, Ireland and Guatemala.
Here's the final cut... HES is there~ 42 seconds in. I will put the full HES only videos at the bottom of the post.
I was fortunate to participate in a webinar recently by Laura Krenicki, a middle-school social studies teacher (Gr. 6) at William J. Johnston Middle School in Colchester, CT. She is also a teacher consultant for the Connecticut Geographic Alliance (the outreach division of National Geographic), and adjunct faculty at the University of New Haven & Eastern CT State Univ.,Connecticut. The webinar is recorded and can be accessed here.
Laura shared an absolutely amazing livebinder of resources for geography, social studies, global literacy... which can be found at http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=2060427
(Note: Click on tab for "Laura Krenicki - Global Literacy and Geography" in the Livebinder).