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
SDGs or Sustainable Development Goals are so important to our planet and help to provide real pathways to empathy, to learning and doing for our students. Terri Eichholz posted about a new site that combines PBL and SDGs. It is called Unit Planning Game and you can learn more about it here. Is this new to you? Have you always wanted to give it a try, but were unsure where to even begin. Have no fear, they are offering a FREE clinic starting next week ,
(Jan 21-Feb 10)
And speaking of empathy... Empathy is one of those "buzz" words of late. You need to cultivate empathy as part of the design engineering process, etc. etc. Sometimes, empathy is the #1 reason a student chooses to do a project. Many times, it's just a word. Today John Spencer sent me an email with a link to a video he made about empathy. He really brings it home to all educators. His whole blog post with 7 ways to promote empathy can be found here. (Scroll down on his page)
Google Slides Templates
Nick LaFave recently wrote a great blog post illustrating some useful Google Slides templates. He gives easy to follow directions and examples of templates for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Time Magazine, National Geographic, DC Comics, and a Harry Potter Newspaper. There are even bonus templates! Check them all out here.
Storyboardthat just keeps on getting better. If you haven't visited recently, go back and check out all the new lesson plans, incredibly useful graphic organizers, new characters and now you can use Storyboardthat to make a gif.
I saw a tweet about this ebook, created by Christine Pinto and Jessica Twomey and just had to see what it was. Rather than misquote them, " In the midst of our casual conversation, we were talking about how one of our kiddos is challenged with letter identification, but CAN remember letters J and K because he uses them on the keyboard with shortcuts. The idea sparked….what if we made a BOOK that has a shortcut for every letter of the alphabet? You never know what will connect with the kids when they are grasping the letters in the alphabet!" (https://www.innovatingplay.world/the-abc-shortcuts-of-google-apps-ebook/. The link to the book should open if you click on the image below.
Google Chrome Lab
I was going to quickly wrap this up with a reference to the new online Etch a Sketch that came out of Google Chrome Lab. But, then I went there and looked around. I've played with the chrome music lab stuff, but did you know there is a Rubic's Cube lab? They have some amazing things in the Collections pages.
Aside from all the cool Music Lab stuff, there are pages and pages of WebGl experiments, fractals, and so much more. So- I didn't actually play with the Etch a Sketch. But you can!
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.
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.