Well, this year has certainly not gone as expected. Unless something drastic happens, this is the last TechTuesday for the year. Things will continue to change at a dizzying rate, our new normal will somehow emerge, but...we can all catch up on that after a pause to catch our breaths. I usually have a long list of PD things that I will be attending this summer. I may or may not do a few virtually, but face to face, hands-on PD is what I actually find most useful, so my gardens will get more attention.
Ideas to Share
Interactive Google Slides
There has been so many posts, tweets, etc on using bitmojis, etc that it seems that everyone must have way more time to play around with slides, etc. than I have. I saw this video the other day and it looks interesting, but, honestly, I have not tried it. Maybe this summer. The one way I have tried to make slides interactive is using Pear Deck, which I can recommend. This video has lots of other ideas to try. One thing to keep in mind, however, is EF. If your students struggle with executive function, how many steps are involved in the actions on the slides? Is this helping or discouraging those kids? I was talking with a friend who teaches special ed classes and wondering how we could streamline what we do even more and she brought this to my attention. As we try to consolidate info, we need to be sure that it is accessible by all.
NetsBlox was shared in one of the online groups I follow as a way for kids to collaborate online to code games. It looks like a pretty well developed program, based on SNAP, with lots of options and levels. My real caveat is the same as any online collaborative site- who are the kids talking with and how is it monitored? I know the folks at Scratch and have faith that there are real people monitoring the site. Other sites- teach your kids, your students to be wary.
Steve Hargadon has pulled together a daily edu conference- for the next couple of months! This is an historic and unique event. Sessions are being held daily over the course of two months, all free to attend live. You simply sign up to access the schedule. All sessions are recorded. https://learningrevolution.com/
This morning I saw the email come through about the national parks session... which I cannot attend, but have added to my watch later list. Check out some of the other things for the week, and sign up to get access- every day for a couple months- and they are recorded.
I have included a Wakelet, after the "Just for Fun" section, with articles and sites focused on Social Emotional Learning. Currently there are about 30 articles/links; just click load more to see all articles. Some are informational, while others have activities to try with students. If you have links which you would like included, just let me know. If you would like to be a collaborator on the Wakelet, contact me.
Just for Fun- More Bitmoji Ideas
Thank yous from Google
New Or Interesting from Google
The much anticipated Present in Chrome tab has finally appeared in Google Meet in our district. You can read more about it here. "What’s changing: You can now share higher-quality video with audio content in a Meet video call. You can do this through a new present a Chrome tab feature. Now, when you use this feature with video content playing, everyone in the meeting will see and hear the video and audio being shared. This means you can confidently use videos, gifs, animations, and other media in your meetings."
Another Google update is the addition of an announcement banner for Google sites. Although the example they gave, of using it for assignments doesn't make sense to me, I thought maybe the folks at HA could use it to showcase the new counseling site that Lauren put up. "It provides clinical resources and activities/ideas/videos regarding: Covid-19, Mindfulness, Self-Care, and Emotion Regulation... So, if you want to include it on your google classroom page as a resource link, go for it! " The link is in your HA email.
Transcripts of Google Meets
I had never heard of Tactiq before last week. It is a super simple chrome extension for Google Meet that gives you a transcript of your meeting- in minutes! After you install the extension, open a meeting and turn on captions. When you are done, click the button and literally in minutes you have a transcript. Is it perfect? No. It is actually kind of funny to see what the captioning software thinks you said, but it is usually close and can provide a much needed note-taking service- for free. Check it out here.
If you haven't checked out Slidesmania for great Google Slides or PowerPoint templates, you're missing out. I love Slides Carnival and Slidesgo, but hadn't checked out Slidesmania. I saw a post about using Google colors for a template, but then started clicking around. Check out the nice designs for Remote Learning Templates. I think some of these may be really useful going forward. I liked the organization of this one, but I liked the color scheme of this one.
Holly Clark teamed up with Matt Miller to produce a great blog post with some fun activities to try at your next class meeting. Check it out here .
Just for Fun
A virtual gallery for student work or change up your Google Classroom banner. Actually I can picture a 6th grade classroom with a banner with bitmojis. You can even try it with Google Drawings or make an animated bitmoji banner.
Want more new ideas to check out?
Upcoming PD Opportunities
This week I will simply share a few of the resources that have come across my email, twitter, and various pln groups. A couple tools that stood out this week, Pear Deck and using Google Slides to create various games for students. I've also been seeing lots of choice boards, and have included some for math. The lists of "stuff" are, as always, overwhelming.
Don't miss out on Netflix documentaries- now available in "your classroom"!
Here's the info:
"For many years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries in their classrooms... However, this isn’t possible with schools closed. So at their request, we have made a selection of our documentary features and series available on ourYouTube channel. If you are a parent or teacher, please check the ratings so that you can make informed choices for your students and children. For more information and to download accompanying educational resources please visit the Netflix Company Blog."
One email that did attract my notice was from the UK, a weekly update on keeping kids safe online. I guess this should have been on my radar as we are asking kids to spend more time on screens, but there is a definite uptick in accounts of predators on the various sites that kids have been using more now for socializing. We are often asking kids to post video responses, but many kids, at least in the surveys I saw, are not supervised and are sharing personal videos online, talking with strangers, etc. The esafety advisor also shared links to ThinkUKnow activities for students. These are UK based, but applicable here as well.
Creating your own games? There are lots of ways to do this. Richard Byrne offers 3 ways, in addition to MIT App Inventor to create sorting and matching games in his recent blog post. I think my favorite is Educandy which has recently added a memory game template that you can use by providing a list of words or terms. Check out some of the other options he mentions in his blog as well.
Kasey Bell from Shake Up Learning demonstrated some great ideas for creating Drag and Drop Games in Google Slides. You can listen to thepodcast here, or watch the video below to learn how. The steps are also written out on her podcast/blog page.
New to Google Classroom?
The To-Do List
I wasn't going to include this one, but then realized that with everything else that you have going on , you may not know that it is there. Check out theshort blog post and share with your students if you are just starting out in Google Classroom.
Math Choice Boards
Living Maths has posted 2 versions of each grade band. Make sure you go to File>Make a Copy and DO NOT request access.
More K-5 Math Choice Boards
Laura Rogers K-5 Click here
Rob Baier from Pennsylvania made:Math Choice Boards K-8!
Here is the Crosswalk Document so you can see which CCSS standards these match up with: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WMVie3DAhf71Wq5Km-HWKUeD9OMI7-qb/view
Problem of the Day
Illustrative Math https://tasks.illustrativemathematics.org/content-standards
Dr Paul Swan https://drpaulswan.com.au/teaching-at-home/
Manipulatives and More
I was used to using VM for virtual manipulatives, but have seen a lot of posts lately that mentioned Toy Theater. This is a treasure trove of manipulatives, games and so much more. Check it out.
If you need printables visit https://classplayground.com/category/math/
This is just a screenshot of some, not all, of the vitural manipulative available.
Two posts from amazing educators stood out for me this past week. One was about Daniel Pink's new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing; and the other was from Jessica Twomey and Christine Pinto's #Innovative Play- 2 great resources- Connected Play Centers and MLK Character Traits Study .
I actually saw images with Pink's "controversial" statements about the research on timing of math in school, not realizing that this was part of Pink's book, until Matt Miller tweeted about Pink's keynote at FETC. So, I haven't read the book yet. I ordered a hard copy (so I could lend it out after I read it), which should be arriving today. But I was intrigued by the research cited and have questions about it.
Here's Matt's sketchnote:
Images from Keynote attendees' posts
So, what subject comes first in the school day? Is the data only related to math or all subjects? What does later in the day mean... how subjective is this? And last but not least- breaks... How do you time all of this? How much control do teachers have/should teachers have over scheduling?
How ? The #Innovative Play Way
I have always found that early childhood and elementary teachers come up with the best ways to learn. The connection to play is so important. This week I saw two great resources, one on Connected Play Centers- embedding character traits, which connected so nicely with their presentation on MLK - Character Trait Study, using stories to make this important connection. I love the way these teachers think and their creative ideas. They also take so much of the work out of a project by including the links, the videos, but spark ideas that let you incorporate your own materials.
Check out the Connected Play Center's updated play board here:
Check out MLK Character Traits here:
Ideas to Share
I often get asked about using Google Read and Write for Chrome. It is a pretty amazing tool set, which is often underutilized. Texthelp continues to add more and more features. This, although helpful, can put folks off. I remember the first time I saw the Kurtzweil dashboard- pretty much made me walk away. Student and teacher time is precious. Things need to work with no fuss, and no one really has a lot of time for a steep learning curve. So- Check out the training Texthelp offers online. You can spend less than an hour and get a lot of the basic skills, or just watch a 3 minute video to help you figure out one tool. Remember- use the Chrome browser- log into your school account. Teachers get all the features free, students get a free trial, or if you get lucky, your district can get a great deal and include everyone. Here's the basic training link . Here's the Resources link. Scroll down and check this one out. There's a whole series of resource material for ELL students, including this handy PDF. Need a quick video to learn a tool? Check out their YouTube channel.
Edutopia has a nice article called, " Preparing Social Studies Students to Think Critically in the Modern World", which can give you ideas about using primary sources.
Check, Please! is geared for older students, but I think high school students or any teacher could pick up a few pointers. Here's their info: "In this course, we show you how to fact and source-check in five easy lessons, taking about 30 minutes apiece. The entire online curriculum is two and a half to three hours and is suitable homework for the first week of a college-level module on disinformation or online information literacy, or the first few weeks of a course if assigned with other discipline-focused homework."
To Share with Parents
The UK has a great organization called National Online Safety, which puts out a weekly post/pdf around various topics that parents, and teachers, should stay informed about. A recent one was on TikTok, but check out all of their free, downloadable resources here.
Looking through my Wakelet for things to write about and once again either Google Slides has the most interesting articles out there or I just gravitate to them.
But, before I forget, last week was World Kindness Day. Rather than just being kind 1/365th of the time, why don't you check out some of the ideas on the Random Acts of Kindness site. They offer free curriculum ideas for K-5 and for 6-8 centered around the 6 core concepts of Respect, Caring, Inclusiveness, Integrity, Responsibility, and Courage.
Check it out here: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/
Google Slides Add On
This one comes from Julie Smith, The Techie Teacher. It is a Google MarketPlace add-on that lets you slip additional slides into a slide presentation that you have assigned on Google Classroom. For example, if you have students working on an ongoing science journal in slides and you want to add a few explanatory slides to the assignment- this add-on lets you just slide them right in. Read more about it here and grab the Add-On here.
Google Slides as Narrated Storybooks
This is from a post that Greg has on Medium. It's a really nice simple, easy to do idea. Greg describes a 6 step process. He gives excellent examples of programs to use, where to find audio, etc. I will have to check out his suggestion of using 123apps.com to record audio on chromebooks. Do check out his article and follow his suggestions to create narrated storybooks in your classroom. We haven't yet gotten the magical add audio button on our chromebooks yet... but it's coming! I was thinking that this would be a really nice simple way to use Storyboardthat images/comics, download them as images, pop into a Google slide deck and then narrate. As soon as we get audio, I know the students will have lots of ideas.
Ideas to Share
Upcoming Free Workshops
Please share with your students too! This coming Saturday, Nov 23, will be a Maker Jam sponsored by Holyoke Codes over at the MGHPCC center in Holyoke. Check it out . https://holyokecodes.org/events/maker-jam/
Digital Storytelling Tools
I was asked recently about the best tools for video on chromebooks. I recommended Adobe Spark and Screencastify. We Video is OK, but the free version is limited. Then I remembered a couple of nice posts that Richard Byrne published about digital storytelling and thought I should pass that link along as well. Richard almost always gives you a nice little video tutorial, which I always find helpful.
Handwriting & Notetaking
I keep on hearing that students remember best when they physically write/draw than if they type it. I have also seen some really interesting articles about the benefits of teaching handwriting. Do you teach handwriting? Do you have students type notes or write them out? Do you see benefits one way or the other? This is an article from Edutopia called How to Teach Handwriting and Why It Matters.
This article from the Univ of California tells students to take notes by hand to get better grades. I wonder why the research they quote is almost 6 years old and if that makes a difference? I also wonder if sketchnoting is better or worse- more or less effective.
Audio in Google Slides...almost
According to Google, by the end of November, all users should have the "insert audio" capacity. I just checked my accounts. My personal account- Yes! I can insert audio. My school account- nope. I expect that it will roll out soon. Here is a quick video from Richard Byrne to show you how to do it ( when you actually have the magic button).
Scientific Method or Engineering Design Process?
I truly had not given this conundrum much thought until this summer when Kathy Renfrew, The Science Lady, and I were chatting at an edcamp and Kathy was pretty adamant, saying that scientists use EDP, not scientific method. I don't know if all scientists do this or those in a particular field or academics vs lab or field based, etc... Then, just the other day I saw this infographic that Vivify STEM shared online, showing the differences between the two methodologies and it got me wondering again. Here's the infographic from Vivify STEM. What do you think? Is this a binary choice? What do "real" scientists use?
Links to Share
The Age of AI
Wes Fryer shared the link to this article/video series recently and strongly recommended it as a must read. I haven't watched all the episodes, but wanted to share the link, as it is interesting and important information for all to begin to wrap our heads around. Is AI a threat or does it offer wonders not yet imagined? Here's the blurb that came with this installment: "FRONTLINE investigates the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, from fears about work and privacy to rivalry between the U.S. and China. The documentary traces a new industrial revolution that will reshape and disrupt our lives, our jobs and our world, and allow the emergence of the surveillance society."
KQED published a downloadable guide The MindShift Guide to Understanding Dyslexia"This MindShift Guide to Understanding Dyslexia is meant to serve as a primer to: • Better understand, recognize and identify dyslexia • Discover new tools and teaching strategies to support dyslexic students in improving their reading skills • Be aware of resources that can support dyslexics of every age"
Closing the Gap- Resource Directory
As always you will find many resources here. However, the key to finding the right resource is SETT- Student, Environment, Task, and then Tech... and this is not a one and done deal. The student will change, the environment and required tasks will change- so the tech will have to change as well.
Media Literacy Week
This week is Media Literacy Week in the U.S. October 24-31st is Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2019
What is it? Why is it important? From Wikipedia: Media literacy encompasses the practices that allow people to access, critically evaluate, and create media. Media literacy is not restricted to one medium. Wikipedia
These stats are from 2 years ago- and I'm quite sure that they are worse today. At a time when misinformation and fake news spread like wildfire online, the critical need for media literacy education has never been more pronounced. The evidence is in the data:
When I saw this post by my old friend Wes Fryer, I knew I would have to share it with you. I first met Wes back in 2007 or maybe 2008 at NECC, now ISTE, spoke with him on most Saturdays on the Classroom 2.0 Live series for years and I have continued to follow his work online ever since. Wes is currently the Technology Integration and Innovation Specialist and Digital Literacy teacher at Casady School in Oklahoma City. This link is to an excellent post that Wes originally created to help teach his 5th and 6th graders. Great ideas for one and all. Click on the link or on the photo below. Thanks, Wes!
More Googley Stuff
When I first looked at my list of things to share this week, it seemed that 90% of them were ideas using something Googley. Easy to use, versatile. Check out some of the wonderful ideas folks have shared recently.
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.
GAFE for Littles
It seems like a week doesn't go by without seeing a great new idea from Christine Pinto, or a new way another teacher has used one of her templates. Looking though my bookmarks for the last couple of weeks, there were a couple of ideas I wanted to be sure you saw.
First was her graphing with Google Sheets template. I saw another teacher post on Twitter about how she had used this with her Kindergartners to graph eggs and they did a great job. What a wonderful way to introduce the idea of data collection and visualization to our youngest students! You can check out her post here. You can take this idea and run with it for spring with flowers, baby birds, etc...
Christine and Jessica Twomey also collaborated on a 2D connected play board. This is the tweet about that one. Looks like fun for a lesson or just a center time activity.
Another great collaboration from Jessica and Christine was on animal habitats- using Google Slides. Looking at this one, I could easily see this being adapted for our grade 2 habitat projects. Lots of ideas, tools, ways for students to demonstrate learning. Click though to Flipgrid and you can even get the link for the complete lesson plans.
So, if you aren't already following Jessica and Christine on Twitter- here's another reminder! You're missing out on great ideas, not only for the littles, but most can easily be transformed for all elementary grades.
Jessica Twomey : https://twitter.com/jlabar2me
Christine Pinto: https://twitter.com/PintoBeanz11
This is a resource that is new to me. It is essentially research based curriculum for CT. Here's part of the blurb- "...focuses on researching innovations in computational thinking education at the elementary and middle school levels with a primary emphasis on equity and inclusion for all underrepresented populations - underrepresented ethnic minorities, females, and students with learning differences."
What I really liked was the fractions unit for grades 3 and 4. There are also 2 Scratch units- one for an intro and one for middle school. The breadth of these ideas flow from a CT reading list for PK-2 and up to quantum mechanics for HS and uni. And the resources are free.
Check them out here https://www.canonlab.org/resources
Ideas to Share