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.
Choose Your Own Adventure
With the new Black Mirror: Bandersnatch getting rave reviews, (So I hear: no TV reception where I live & no broadband to stream anything) I thought that it sounded an awful lot like "Choose Your Own Adventure". Since many of your younger students have probably never made their own choose your own adventure story, it seemed a good time to review what is out there to do this.
Sylvia Duckworth has an excellent presentation on using Google Slides to create your story. You can access her work here. Sylvia has built a wonderful set of resources; check out her web site for more. Alice Keeler has directions for this as well. If you're looking for a Dragon Quest, try following Eric Curts' directions here.
Another option is to use a Google Story Speaker add-on. This is fun, gives you a template to start with. The caveat- you need to have a Google Home device.
Google Forms is a great option to try. Justin Birckbichler shared a template to do this with his class. You should check out his blog post for the whole story. Sylvia also has agoogle doc with step by step directions for this type of story.
Wes Fryer worked with teachers on this at a VT workshop. You can get the templates and a lot more information on his blog post.
Steve Wick sent out a 12 Days of Techmas to occupy all of your spare time over the holidays. If you didn't get a chance to check it out: Here's the link
I finally watched all the new Ditch Summit videos. I liked most of them, but I learned the most from Tony Vincent's presentation. If you missed it- maybe Matt will put it up again next year, but thepdf with his links is still online. He has lots of great, really practical ideas you can use. My favorite links: Draw your own Illustrations, and somewhat a complementary resource to the Noun Project was the link he shared- Visuals for Foreign Language.
Jen Giffen produced a series of sketchnotes to go along with the Ditch Summit. You can see themhere. Full resolution available here. But here's the one from Tony's presentation, since it was my fav. Thanks for sharing your work Jen @VirtualGiff!
New Resources Available
Not really random... this was shared with me recently by a friend as we talked about immigration. I found it really interesting, maybe you will too.
I have written in the past about SDGs- Sustainable Development Goals, but before the school year ends, wanted to remind everyone that it is not too early to figure out what you'll be doing to help your students understand the concept and come up with real plans to achieve these goals. The video below is an invitation to do just that. Visit the project web site and learn more about it. Everyone can participate- preK on up...
UDL: Great collection of Assistive Tech and OT sites
A friend posted a link to an excellent collection of sites for assistive tech and OT related strategies today. H/T to Leslie DiChiara for sharing these links! The one that I really enjoyed checking out was this one on speech recognition, but you are sure to find something of interest here.
One thing that really stood out to me on Saturday when I attended EdCampAccessBoston was the continuing gap between "Our Kids" and "Their Kids" - between special educators and general educators. I know that everyone cares about all of their students. I know that everyone is busy. Sometimes we don't cover all the bases. Working together, truly working as a team- to provide what is best for all students is our goal, but it's hard sometimes!
These links- all kids can benefit from many of these strategies- not just a student on an IEP or a 504 plan. Karen Janowski, one of my friends, one of my teachers, and an amazing educator shared a few websites during these sessions that, again, almost all students can benefit from. She showed teachers how to use Lit Charts, Insert Learning- (great blog post by Caitlin Tucker), and Common Lit. I hadn't seen Lit Charts- very cool site. Think Shmoop- but way better. The guys who created Spark Notes created this tool. Read more about it here: About LitCharts, or Why LitCharts are the Best Literature Guides on Earth
What is #MADPD?? It is "a virtual “unconference” with one goal: to make a difference for the greater education community. On May 6, 100 educators from across the globe shared one idea that makes a difference in their classrooms!
It was actually pretty amazing, and the great thing- you can still access all of the presentations- free, on your own time schedule. How? By using the Awesome Table, of course.
Here's the link: https://awesome-table.com/-LBnE8hn7NBBTPOjM2Qo/view
There are 94 short presentations- bet there is something that interests you.
Alice Keeler- Google Forms- Branching
I wrote a week or so ago about Google Keep, as well as here, and here. I went to #EdCampNQ this past weekend and in a session about chrome extensions, once again Google Keep came up. This time an AT from a neighboring district (@OsborneAllegra) demo'd how she uses Keep in her job. Because she goes from school to school, her Google Keep for work is arranged with a note for each school-but the cool thing for all you visual learners was the way she used a different photo for each note. Using her phone, she could see by quickly scrolling thru the notes exactly what she needed to accomplish at each school- with color coded notes and checkboxes. She also has a Google Keep extension that she uses for her personal account and is quite literally using it as a planning and organization tool for her summer trips. Another participant, @jrowebbrsd, also uses it for its OCR capabilities. If you've never tried to pop an image into Google Keep and then pull the text out of it... check it out in this short video. Imagine having a student who may struggle to get all the assignments written down. A quick image with a phone or other device, pop it into Google Keep, grab the text, pop it into a Google Doc and have it read to you by Read and Write for Google Chrome. If you haven't checked out Google Keep, you're missing out. It just keeps getting better.
I love the versatility of Google Forms. They can be used for so much more than surveys! I use them all the time when I am making digital breakouts for students to use. Data validation turns a form into a way to require the "secret password" or gives feedback with additional clues. Today I was reading/listening to Matt Miller and Kasey Bell's podcast and blog posts about using Google Forms for differentiation.
What I really liked about Kasey and Matt's podcast/posts was that it reminded me of 2 things. One: Use forms as a learning tool. By using branching you can give a formative assessment with the learning reinforcement built in. When a student gets a question wrong, he moves on to a video or other lesson material to reteach/reinforce the concept vs. just getting it wrong. If the student is correct, he moves to the next question. Here's the link to Kasey's post with some great step by step directions for you to try out. Just in case you don't have time to read her whole post, buried way down at the bottom is alink to (French teacher) Sylvia Duckworth's blog post on using forms for a choose your own adventure story. Check it out...it's fun to do a story this way.
Here's the podcast if you'd rather just listen along...
Reshare of Google Forms Teacher Tips... this is updated every Tuesday
#GAFEchat on Forms
This evening I participated in a #GAFEchat and the topic was Google Forms. So, it's not just me who loves Google Forms. So many interesting resources were shared...
Here's thelink to the collection of links from this #gafechat or the curated collection is listed below (use Participate.com to quickly gather all links from fast moving chats)
Google Forms Ninja Moves and Secret Passwords
Using Tables in Forms
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.
Google introduced voice typing over the summer and has made some big improvements. If you haven’t tried it out, it’s worth the time to check. Located right in Google Docs- top navigation bar- Tools, you can now use your voice to format your document. Is it perfect? No… but it can be very helpful for both teachers and students to quickly get some notes down, as well as for students who are articulate, but struggle to put their pen to paper. Even though it’s still a blank white space, I have seen it help kids who think they “can’t write”.
These are the basic punctuation commands, but you can access the full list here, including lots of ways to format your document simply using your voice.
· Exclamation point
· Question mark
· New line
· New paragraph
Google Forms for Quizzes
I spent Saturday morning over at Mahar in Orange, at edcamp North Quabbin. I was really impressed with how well the teachers at Mahar are integrating technology into their day to day work with students and how much they love using Google Forms with flubaroo, integrated into Google Classroom. If you 've never tried flubaroo, here's the quick overview.
If you are not using Google Forms for multiple choice or short answer quizzes, you’re missing out on a quick and easy way to collect student data, to teach and give formative assessments and more. Google Forms has changed recently, so it may look different to you. The icon- accessed from your google drive> more> forms is now purple.
Here’s an overview video for the new version of Google Forms:
Forms to Teach and Assess
Tom Mullaney recently posted about using google forms for remediation and review, featuring his Impossible to Fail Quiz. What, pray tell, is an impossible to fail quiz? Here are 2 examples- Tom’s French Revolution Quiz and a Quiz on Google Classroom. Essentially, if you get the question wrong you are directed to a video or website or document to help you, then you get to answer the question again.
If you want to give this a try yourself.. check out his tutorial here
By the way he also embedded this into a Thinglink… pretty cool idea. We have a thinglink account that can be used at the elementary school for HES classes.
Since Mike Duffy has worked so hard to get all of the chromebook carts up and running at both schools, here is just a quick reminder of all of the "hidden" features on the chromebook keyboard. Now, these keyboards can vary from one manufacturer to the next, but here's a quick animated gif from chrome48.info. How do you get this to come up on your chromebook?
Simply press Control Alt ? and you will see the initial screen. Hold down control and you will see all the shortcuts that start with control, or hold down alt or shift and see more. Some folks love shortcuts, others hardly ever use them. To get out of the screen- click esc.
Note, this is for chromebooks- not the chrome browser on your PC or Mac.
So what are add-ons? Add-ons are additional programs or functionality that can be manually added right from the Google application. How do you get them/find them? On the top navigation bar of your Google Document-click on Add ons. Then click on Get Add ons... Add-ons vary from docs to sheets to forms, etc.
My favorite used to be the speech recognition tool, but now that you can get an even better speech to text tool from Voice Typing- right in Tools, I think my favorite is the SAS Writing Reviser. You do have to create a free SAS curriculum pathways account. There is an app with a 4 part writing process built in, but this SAS Writing Reviser is right in Google Docs. If you've never checked out their resources, it is worth your time.
Here's a quick video to show you some other favorites- including some for math teachers/students and world language teachers.
Add-ons for Google Sheets
My favorite add-on for Google Sheets are Save as Doc and Autocrat. Autocrat lets you take the info collected from a form or a spreadsheet and put it into a document. Save as Doc lets you quickly and easily consolidate data into a text document instead of a spreadsheet. Here's another quick video to show these and a couple others
Add-ons for Google Forms
This surprised me... the add-ons for forms have disappeared in the new version of Google Forms... but I know that they are coming back. I can see them in my personal Google account forms, but they have not been rolled out yet on the District accounts. Here's a very quick overview of where to find these- once they come back- and a Google Hangout with a lot more info- but it's over an hour long. Jenn Judkins is an expert as is Erik! Here's a link to the resource doc for that one. This is a link to one of Jenn's Google Forms Cheat Sheets. If you love to play with data, this is for you. New to forms and excel sheets... skip this one.
Most of us are familiar with Google Forms as we have seen them as surveys for PD and more. Over the weekend I was listening to Monica Burns, an educator who was giving a short webinar on SimpleK12 on Google Forms for Assessment. Just an FYI- SimpleK12 offers tons of webinars- sometimes a free batch on a weekend, but it's a subscription site. They have hundreds of short webinars on topics that you can use in the classroom, mostly delivered by educators in the classroom. I have had a subscription for years, so if you would like to see a sampling of what is available let me know.
Monica had some great ideas, some of which I will share with you here, but got me thinking about all the ways we could use Google forms every day. If you haven't seen the "new" Google forms, you may be a little surprised when you go to https://docs.google.com/forms/ or go to your Google Drive, click new, more and choose Forms. The icon is purple now and they have made a lot of cosmetic changes, and a few functional ones. If you've never tried forms- it's easy...and here's a series of 6 quick how-to videos (using the new forms) from Lori Alighieri.
Tracy Watanabe put together a terrific Google Form to show examples of various Google Forms for Assessment. Click on the image below to go the form to see these examples. She has 5 separate forms linked to this one and each one has tons of great examples K-12.
Monica Burns' examples- just a slideshow with screenshots from the webinar to give you some more ideas. She preloads the student names on some forms and by using the dropdown list has a quick and easy way to collect data as she observes the students.
More Great Examples
Examples from Kern Kelley
Examples from Tammy Worcester
King of Interesting Ways: Tom Barrett
Queen of Google Classroom and more... Alice Keeler has a good tutorial on how to create a formative quiz
Eric Curts has a really nice tutorial ( Just a note: the images are not working on it tonight... perhaps they will be there when you click thru) Online Assessments with Google Forms
And last, but certainly not least- I found a really cool Google Add-on for forms.
Doc to Form AddOn
If you have assessments created in Google Docs, this can help you quickly and easily convert them to forms. Why, pray tell, would you want to do that? Well, you can automatically grade a lot of the multiple choice type quizzes and much, much more if you use forms. Unless you like to carry those bundles of papers back and forth...
"Doc to Form allows you to quickly and easily create a form from text within a Google Doc.
Doc to Form allows you to quickly and easily create a Google Form from within a Doc. Simply select text and click a button to add your questions. You can choose from a variety of question types - ideal for converting traditional worksheets to Google Forms."