It's often hard to talk about world issues with students. We all come to school with different backstories, different issues that we have had to deal with in life. As an educator no one wants to make a student feel vulnerable, or uncomfortable. So, how do you talk with kids about first world problems vs the rest of the world problems? Or do you agree with Patrick Gothman that this sort of thinking is divisive and we should stop saying, "first-world"? How do you address the social inequities that we deal with in the US and compare/contrast them to what others face on a daily basis? The video below is made of combined images from artist Uğur Gallenkuş. You can read more about the images here.
By this time tomorrow, we will all know what this magical new product is, but so far Jay Silver is just sending out teasers. For those of you who have loved using MakeyMakey in the classroom, Jay is one of the inventors. Here's a short blurb from a longer EdSurge article. "According to a project summary from the National Science Foundation, which has given Gamebender $1 million to pilot its wares in museums and schools, the product “is composed of a projection system that allows real-time programmable interactions between everyday and virtual objects without a computer screen.” According to Andrew Sliwinski, Co-director of Scratch, “GameBender will bring the power and magic of coding to kids in a totally new way."
My Twitter feed seems to be filling up recently with warnings about copyright violations after a school district in Houston got sued- and lost- big time, to the tune of $9.2 MILLION! I know that some teachers are pretty casual about copyright, using the educational "fair use" clause as a reason not to follow the rules. Back when I taught a grade 9 computer class, one assignment was to create a page for a field guide, in conjunction with a trip to the Everglades. The kids were thrilled to see so many hits on their work, over 4000 for one year's version. I explained to them that that meant that any copyright violation was seen by 4000 lawyers. Fair Use is used in a court room- you do not want to go there. Please review the basic copyright rules! You may be surprised that some of the things you take for granted as OK, really aren't. Check out Richard Byrne's blog post about this here, or watch the video of his webinar with Dr. Beth Holland below.Copyright for Teachers.
#InnovatingPlay - #iplay019 Creating a Global Play Box
When I saw this slide deck from the #InnovatingPlay, Creating a Global Play Box, I knew that many other teachers would love to see this resource. Jessica and Christine's website/blog posts and twitter chats simply contain a wealth of resources that they have created or have been shared through their PLN. So, check out the slidedeck here- Global Play Box. When you have time to spare and you are looking for amazing ideas for Early Childhood or Elementary curricula, just spend the day following the links on their blog
STEM Lab Challenges
Karly Moura has done it again! She has created and shared an excellent collection of STEM challenge cards and badges. She gives links to all the instructions and has each task clearly defined. I don't have exactly the same array of STEM stuff that Karly has, but now that I have this slidedeck to use as a template, perhaps I can go through and decide to make some microbit or edison challenge cards. It would be a challenge to make some Cubetto or BeeBot cards- using mostly graphics for the non-readers. As always, Karly makes me think of new ways to use materials and to organize lessons, and provides ideas for assessment.
Ideas to Share
Math with Bad Drawings
8 Things Every School Must Do To Prepare For The 4th Industrial Revolution
Aeon, Medium, EdSurge...etc.
As I was following links shared by my PLN on Twitter the other day I came across Aeon. I had never heard of this unique digital magazine. It is really interesting, providing 3 channels, Essays, Ideas, and Videos. It was one of the video links below that hooked me. The tweet was something along the lines of "Watch a single cell become a complete organism in six pulsing minutes of timelapse". Through this I also clicked around to find out more about the filmmaker, Jan van IJken. Jan has a vimeo channel, andhis own site- with gorgeous graphics and images. Check it out here.
I also try to check in with both Medium and Edsurge digital magazines. You can find interesting topics, alternative viewpoints and many new writers you may not have read yet. I love the recent article about the new Scratch 3.0 . Scratch just keeps on getting better and better... and it's free. Here's a real quick minute with Mitch Resnick on using Scratch with kids.
Edsurge had an article which seemed to be congratulating Massachusetts on how well the students fare on tests, although it was entitled 'In the Future, Today’s Education Will Look Like ‘19th-Century Medicine’, with an image similar to the one below and quoting Education Commissioner Riley: “But I think in a few years, this will start to look like 19th century medicine: Get your solder out, because the best we can do is amputate. Instead, we need scalpels.”
Interesting article, but have to say whenever someone starts talking data and testing I kind of drift back to this Alfie Kohn quote.
If you use Pear Deck, you have probably already seen these templates, but if not- here you go. Preview and Download the all new Pear Deck Math Templates
The 3-Act Tasks are really fun and a great way to teach/learn. If you want to learn more about them... check out Graham Fletcher's site here https://gfletchy.com/ But if you just want to go to a spreadsheet with a ton of great links...click here for K-12 ideas.
Not familiar with 3 Act Tasks? They came from Dan Meyer (link is to Dane Ehlert's site) and can be used across thegrade levels. Still unsure? Try one out... go over to Graham's list and pick one-like this. You can download the lesson, see the videos and the suggestions.
Black History Month
As we celebrate Black History Month, here are some of the many links that have come across my feeds lately. Please feel free to add more links to share in the comments.
You can find tons of resources for teachers at African American History Month including Library of Congress, National Archives, NEH, National Gallery of Art , and the National Park Serivce among others. https://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/for-teachers/
Multiple Google Accounts?
This week a teacher asked me about the logins on Google accounts. Since most of us have at least two logins- school and personal, it's important to know and to control which account you are in. I noticed this just last week as I created a doc in my personal account and then shared- unsuccessfully- to students, who cannot share/view out of district docs.
I have used the directions Kasey Bell shared a few years back. Alice Keeler also has a really nice step by step. My extensions are different on different accounts. You can also change your backgrounds, etc- to make it much more apparent to you. Check out Kasey's how-to video below- or if you like written directions to follow- go to Alice's blog.
Advice from Austin
I get Austin Kleon's weekly newsletter. Admittedly, I skim it, rarely reading the whole thing. But, this past week, I actually spent time on and enjoyed his post "We are verbs, not nouns". Go ahead. Read a short article. Less than 5 minutes. You'll like it.
The tools that caught my eye this week, include physics simulations, digital math and a really nice article about using Book Creator and Adobe Spark.
had a really nice article featuring Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith:
How To Use Chromebooks For Powerful Creation in School.
Great examples of both tools.
Need more PD?
Did you miss EdTech Team's ANZ Summit last weekend. Have no fear- it's available on YouTube. Check out the line- up here. Here's the blurb, "Introducing the theme CREATE, we’re mixing it up to unveil new and ever-evolving content on the most relevant topics and learning principles in the classroom today, including mindfulness, accessibility, creativity and personalized learning. Expect engaging sessions covering everything from Creating with Chromebooks to Creating Real World Problem Solvers and Teacher Leaders."
The Birdville ISD down in Texas is hosting a 12 Days of Innovation Summit.
Tony Hylander posted about this on the Future Ready Instructional Coaches group. Sign up is FREE! You will get an inspirational video via email each day. Our featured speakers include Matt Miller (Ditch That Textbook & Google Teacher Tribe), Damen Lopez (No Excuses University), Sean Gaillard (The Pepper Effect), and more! For each video you will have the opportunity to reflect and earn a certificate of professional learning. Sign up today!
WMass Scratch Meetup
I'll just repost their announcement here. If you have never tried Scratch, if you are a Scratch expert...all are welcome. Especially with the upcoming release in January of Scratch 3.0- Perfect Timing!
"Calling all educators, K-12 teachers, out-of-school leaders, tinkerers, and makers. We've got tech prizes, Scratch 3.0 updates, and a great learning community for you to join at the upcoming Meetup. And...we will be joined by a leader from the ScratchEd team at Harvard. Don't miss this opportunity to hear from the ScratchEd team first hand and share tips, tricks and questions in real time!
Scratch Meetups are designed like an unconference. We will build the agenda together and dig into topics that you want to learn about. Join us for a unique learning opportunity. Share your Scratch experience, meet new colleagues, and stay for dinner.
If you are a seasoned teacher looking to learn new Scratch tips and tools, or someone recently inspired to learn about Scratch, this is the learning opportunity for you.
Certificates of participation will be available for teachers who need documentation.
Feel free to bring friends! RSVP at https://www.meetup.com/ScratchEd-WMass/"
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
New! from Google
Google announced a new set of shortcuts that you may find useful. Now to open up a new doc, sheet, or slide, simply type new.doc or new.sheets, etc. into the omnibox (address bar).
This should prove to be a time saver and is easy to remember!
Check It! Finally a spelling/grammar checker in Google Docs, courtesy of Texthelp and Read&Write for Google Chrome! We are fortunate to have R & W pushed out to the entire district, so everyone can benefit from this new feature. Kasey Bell, over at Shake Up Learning has a nice post about this. Remember, if you need to boost your skills in Read & Write, or just want to explore their offerings, they have a great training resource here.
While I was meandering about on Texthelp's YouTube channel, I noticed something else that was new to me- DataDesk. This enables the teacher to lock in features on a student's R&W toolbar for a period of time. It is hooked into Google Classroom. Now, I don't think this tool has widespread use- but for example, if I have a student who is easily distracted and I want him to work on highlighting and defining all the vocab words in a passage, I could shut off all the other features and just leave the highlighting tools on. Check out the video below and see if this tool is useful for you.
Math Type for Google Docs
I know that some of you have been waiting for this one to come along for awhile. MathType is now up and running in Google Docs as an add-on. Note- it is currently free, but they are giving you a heads up that it will require a license in the future. So, if LaTex or Equatio aren't making you happy, now you can try MathType. There is also built-in support for chemical equations.
Now for "Secrets" from Matt Miller
I try to keep up with Matt Miller's blog, his podcasts, his tweets, since he is in the classroom and has great practical ideas. This week's blog post has 10 "secrets" "Find the tips, tricks and features of your favorite G Suite tools that you didn’t know existed!" Take a quick trip over to Ditch That Textbook and check out Matt's ideas. There were a couple I didn't know.
Stop Motion Movie Making
To Test or To Teach/Learn
I was reading through some recent work on Modern Learner and I have to say- the title:
"The Testing Emperor Finally Has No Clothes" hooked me. Bruce Dixon has pulled together a very thoughtful article around the "tyranny of testing". Although I don't often agree with Alfie Kohn, thinking that he likes to stir the waters and stand back and watch, this quote, "90 percent of the variations in test scores among schools or states have nothing to do with the quality of instruction." really struck close to home. Just go read the article.
Then come back... and read about how they are changing education in Singapore. This is the title of that article: Children in Singapore will no longer be ranked by exam results. Here's why A quote: "“Learning is not a competition,” states Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Education Minister. The Ministry of Education (MOE) is planning a series of changes aimed at discouraging comparisons between student performance and encourage individuals to concentrate on their own learning development."
If you still feel like reading, try this one from the Irish Times: Classroom of 2030: A flashforward to learning techniques. Education to not only use technology as tools but also to inculcate computational thinking.
The world is changing rapidly. Our education system is not. These kids are our future.
Are we gonna just test 'em or learn with them?
Changes in GMail
Google has made some pretty significant changes to GMail. This will give you a list, or you can listen to Matt Miller and Kasey Bell tell you more about it in their GTribes podcast.
There has been a lot of discussion in the aftermath of Facebook exposures, credit data exposures, etc... I see two things that need clarification.
One- personally: "Free" is NOT FREE. You are paying for the use of websites by giving them access to your data, be it personal data: lists of friends, preferences or commercial data: what you tend to buy or look at online. Each of us deals with this in our own way. You can read more about this here. Remember that Google tracks your entire search history. Some other search engines supposedly do not do this, for example Duck Duck Go. When you are using a managed machine at school, the IT department can pretty much track and/or control everything you do.
As an educator, one of the concerns I hear is about is Google's compliance with COPPA and other rules to protect our student data. Some of the websites we have traditionally used in education, such as Today's Meet will no longer be available because of new GDPR. While data protection regulations are necessary, I am sorry to see some of the useful websites close their doors. If you're wondering about Google and chromebooks in schools- here's a nice article that I hope answers your questions and puts your mind at rest.
"Should I be concerned that my kids' school uses Google Chromebooks?
Online Safety Magazine
This is a free ~monthly magazine that you can download.
Articles this month include:
Click HERE to download the April edition.
New Feature in Book Creator
For those of you who have yet to try Book Creator, it is now on chrome, as well as iOS and is super easy to use.
The new feature that I am excited about is Read to Me. Here's the blurb from the blog:
"With this great new feature your books can be read aloud using your device’s text-to-speech capabilities. Book Creator can highlight the words as they are read and turn the pages automatically."
Check it out yourself here.
Jo Boaler on Math
For all the "I'm not a math person" folks out there... Jo Boaler wants everyone to love math. She has a great new article in Stanford Magazine. Check out the write up here. If you have not visited youcubed.org- amazing ideas there. There are tasks, challenges, resources for students, parents and teachers. Check it out. Jo also posted her new math mindset guide as well. Check out the hexagons below...
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.
Technology Petting Zoo
If you're interested in checking out some of the technology available in our makerspaces and a whole lot more, come to the Technology Petting Zoo on Thursday, 10.19.17, from 4-6 down at the Mass. Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke. The October CSTA-Western Mass' monthly meeting will feature a Technology Petting Zoo in conjunction with Eduporium. Please join us - by registering at this link: http://bit.ly/CSTA-WMA1019. Here's the link to the flyer with more info and registration. All are welcome!.
Google Keep for Research
Vicki Davis recently posted a couple of excellent tutorials on using Google Keep to take notes and keep track of your research, especially if you're a Google App school. I know I find it useful to grab info, tag it and quickly flip it into a Google Doc.
Check out Vicki's tutorial below and read more about it, get an additional video with EdPuzzle embeds on Vicki's blog.
Math in Google Chrome
The other day a friend asked me how to put superscripts and subscripts into a Google Sheet. I had never done this on sheets- just on docs and kind of assumed that it would work the same way. It doesn't. And to be honest, I looked and looked and did not find a way to make it work. Using unicode did not work- it put the superscript in, but sheets read it as text- not a number; and the same with copying and pasting from a doc- looks good, but reads as text, formulas do not work. So- if you know how to do this- please share and put it in the comments!
Luckily there are some amazing teachers in my PLN who have shared great ideas of ways to use Google Chrome to help teach math and to help kids show what they know. Miguel Guhlin down in Texas, wrote a great blog post the other day- laying out eight tools/extensions you can use to enhance your math instruction. You can read more about it here.
I do want to highlight 2 of these extensions- Equatio and Desmos. Equatio, from texthelp has been flying of late. So many improvements! Those of you who struggled to get LAtex to work properly, and have tried every tool in the book to get math equations to work on a computer, check out Equatio. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Desmos is so much more than a graphing calculator. A teacher at a workshop I attended this summer did a demo and I was amazed. Not a math-oriented person myself, it was easy to see that this tool has come a long way and has a lot to offer teachers of all grades. Check out some of the ideas here.
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?
Windows 10 updates
- One idea is from Amanda Wilp's PrimaryGal blog. She does "Scoot Math". Essentially she has the kids write their own math problem using chalk on the sidewalk and then scoot to the next problem(s) and solve them as they scoot along. You can read more about it here, and grab the free recording sheets from TPT here.
- The other math idea I saw came from Terri Eicholz's blog Engage Their Minds, about doing clothesline math. Terri got the idea from Chris Shore's website- Clothesline Math. He has lots of resources on the site and between the site and the video below you may get a better idea of what this is and how to do it in your class. Looks adaptable and fun for all ages and abilities.
Google Keep (again)