Chrome Extensions: Productivity
This week I whitelisted a few more chrome extensions for our students. As most are aware, having too many extensions up and running can really suck the life out of performance, so it is best to use something like Extensity to manage them.
The extensions I added are Save to Google Keep, Internet Abridged and Reader View.
Google Keep is becoming more and more robust, a great place to take quick notes, an easy way to collate ideas and save to Drive; it has the ability to OCR text in images, etc... I have been using it more and more of late and like to be able to right click on a web page and Save to Keep. I can add labels as I go.
I was trying out new summarizers. When looking for resources, I tend to skim through articles to weed out the fluff before settling in to actually read something closely. Summarizers can be tricky, as I am never sure of the algorithm used and so many times, they simply don't work. This one, Internet Abridged, seems to work and the summaries actually makes sense to me vs. some I have tried which seem to simply leave out 50% of the words.
Another extension added this week is Reader View. For many who regularly use iPads you are used to seeing those little lines that indicate a web page can be viewed in Reader View- cleaned up, minus all the distractions. Now, you and your students can do the same thing in Google Chrome. Try it!
Some of the other extensions I recommend include: OneTab, SpeedDial2, and Mercury Reader, along with AdBlock and TextHelp's Read and Write for Google Chrome. . Honestly, I do have at least 150 extensions, but I regularly use a very small percentage and leave the rest off until I need them.
Science Games That Give You Superpowers
H/T to Fred Delventhal for sharing Larry Ferlazzo's post on this science games site. It does appear that Legends of Learning is really free.
"Over 1000 curriculum aligned science games for elementary and middle school students within the Legends of Learning adventure. Legends of Learning is always free for teachers and students in school." Here's a review of the site.
Fake News- again...
Here's another resource, new to me, Mind over Media, from the Media Education Lab. I first met Renee Hobbs years ago at Educon in Philly. She is an internationally-recognized authority on digital and media literacy education. Ten years ago we all thought that the CRAP test would be all the students needed to help them verify web sources. Needless to say, times have changed as evidenced by Alec Couros' recent article for EdCanNetwork: How do we teach students to identify fake news? In a world where it is increasingly dangerous to simply trust what we read and see...
I was so fortunate to attend a webinar with Tiffany Whitehead on Saturday on Classroom 2.0 Live. Tiffany Whitehead, aka the Mighty Little Librarian, is an amazing librarian (aren't they all?) from Louisiana. A 2016 recipient of the Louisiana Library Media Specialist Award, Tiffany is an internationally recognized librarian and a past President for ISTE’s Librarians Network.
She did an excellent presentation. You can access the livebinder here, and I will put the video recording below.
BUT- she shared a couple things that I don't want you to miss! Tiffany shared this excellent 35 page reference google doc: False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources, with tons of tips and tricks for you and your students.
And... She shared the NLP (News Literacy Project) site called Checkology: a virtual classroom, "where students learn how to navigate the challenging information landscape by mastering the skills of news literacy." You can get the premium version free for the rest of the year. Three videos featured below- an overview, a student view and a teacher view.
Participating on the sidelines of a global project in 4th grade this term, it is amazing to see the students making connections with kids across the globe. One lesson that I saw featured on The Global Oneness Project this week really stood out for me.
It is called A Tapestry of Multicultural Diversity. Check it out here.
Great book for a Read-Aloud
I just read this book over the weekend on the recommendation of a friend. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate is sure to make it to the top of your list to read to your class- elementary on up. There is a downloadable teacher's guide aligned with Common Core Standard for 5th grade but can be applied to grades 3-8.. You can even set up your own community "wish day".
Day 3 of GEC is coming up!
Monday, Nov. 13th, 10am to Thursday, Nov. 16th, 4pm. This is an online event.
Great ideas from Eric Curts
Eric publishes 4 separate Google Docs with interesting/useful links that he has collected every month. His blog is always a treasure trove of ideas that will help you as an educator and can be used tomorrow in your classroom. Check out his blog and subscribe to updates. Or if you are pressed for time today, these are the links to his documents you will enjoy checking out.
The problem with fake news is not anything new. The terminology has changed a bit- from yellow journalism to media literacy to "fake news" and “post-truth” but the message is still the same. Educators and students need to sharpen up our CRAP detectors. You can take Howie Reingolds' mini-course, teach your students a memorable acronym or check out the plethora of lessons on offer from Kathy Schrock.
We all live in our own little bubbles and we often create our own echo chambers - listening to, watching the news, videos from - only the folks that we agree with. It may be outside of our comfort zone, but we may well get closer to ferreting out the truth if we look, and train our students to look- outside our bubbles. Check out the graphic below from i.imgur- sorry not sure about the attribution- maybe Vanessa Otero@vlotero. See full size.
Here's a list of sites with Lesson Plans you can use to learn more about fake news and to help teach your students how to be more critical of information from news sources.
One of the new resources this week is the updated Diigo chrome extension. Diigo is used for bookmarking and annotating. The new chrome extension streamlines these features and adds a new screenshot annotation tool. So, why should you care? Diigo can help you categorize bookmarks and share them across all of your devices. It can be used as both a research and a note-taking tool. You can create groups in Diigo and share bookmarks with your peers or create student groups. I've been using Diigo since 2008 and have over 11,000 bookmarks! Now, some of these sites no longer exist- but the premium Diigo version also offers a way to save a page cache- so you never lose the resource. You can sign up as a teacher for a free accounts and get a teacher dashboard to monitor student accounts. Students at HES in grades 4-6 have Diigo accounts.
Big Changes in Google Classroom
I sent out an email blurb about this last week, but essentially you can now differentiate your assignments in Google Classroom. Matt Miller of Ditch That Textbook has created a brief tutorial.
Last, but not least... 3D Toontastic. Google bought out Toontastic a while ago and has just released a new app for digital storytelling- 3D Toontastic. The really cool thing about this- it works on "some" chromebooks. I haven't tried it out on the chromebooks at HES- but my personal chromebook is on the list. It is also an android and iOS app. And- it's free.
So- if you have the time- and the right device- check it out!