As I'm sure most of you are aware, Google Classroom made some changes over the summer. Aside from what I consider the 3 big changes, two things I have noticed over the last couple weeks as we begin our year: One: Don't forget to click on the gear for settings! This is where you can adjust who gets to comment. Depending on your class, you may well not want student comments on your assignments. Two: You can now turn off notifications for some of your classes. Getting too many emails from classes you co-teach? Turn them off by going to Menu/Settings/Notifications/Class Notifications. H/T to Jenn Judkinsfor the gif.
The 3 big changes:
This is a new site for me. I had never even heard of this until #edcampCT in August. At a session on Primary Sources (notes) folks from CT public TV, as well as CT teachers brought this site up several times. So, what is this Thinkalong? Created by CT public television, its goal is "to help students become better critical thinkers and media consumers by giving classrooms access to news-based learning activities made to enhance their curriculum." Aimed at middle and high school students, it can help students learn to discuss difficult topics and have important, serious discussions. I love the approach they take. Check out the intro video... or just go ahead and check out the topics.
I have enjoyed using Storyboardthat since it first came out. It provides a clean, safe, easy way for students to visually organize and tell a story. Great templates are provided as well as lesson plans. This afternoon I attended a webinar which featured the new story cube and worksheet design tools. These are pretty easy to use and if you use worksheets in your classroom, you may want to check them out. They have over 40,000 objects to choose from and lots of pre-made diagrams, and instructional templates. One thing that came up at the end of the webinar was that they are having a one day sale at TPT on all of the "stuff" they have created. Each packet is going for $1.00/each. Some of these are usually 5, 10 or even $20 each. Great deal if it's something you can use...and it's a One Day Deal- Wednesday 9/12/2018
Microbit Global Challenge
As many of you know, I spent time this summer learning more about makerspaces, raspberry pi, new features of Scratch 3.0 and more. One of the things I really liked learning about was physical computing... making "stuff" and using tech to code it to do something.
Microbits have been used extensively in the UK as part of their national coding instruction. Now Microbit.org has combined forces with The World's Largest Lesson and ARM and will run a global challenge, based on UN SDGs ( Sustainable Development Goals). Cool idea! Read more about it here.
I got an excellent list of resources the other day and will just share the DM I received:
THANK YOU for your ongoing support of our mission: to engage and empower every classroom on earth with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Many of you have asked for the best resources to help you get started.
Here are our suggestions… and they’re all free!
If you would like to serve the @TeachSDGs movement even more effectively, consider turning on your notifications if you haven’t done so already. We are only as strong as you are active. Please continue to share and celebrate how you #TeachSDGs and, again, THANK YOU!! Wishing you a wonderful and well deserved summer break, The #TeachSDGs team http://www.teachsdgs.org
The amazing Alice Keeler has put together a great set of videos on how to get the most out of Google Slides. Check out her post here.
I was happy to catch Michelle Luhtala's webinar a week or so ago on Data and Data Literacy. I was kind of thinking that this was going to be more fake news kind of material, but she really took it in a different direction which I hadn't looked at in a while. Those of you who teach middle and high school social studies or science, probably know these sites, but if not- check them out. Even if you teach elementary students, some of the basics are also highlighted- check the scale of the graph, etc. I simply find Hans Rosling and his data visualizations to be pretty amazing.
This site was new to me- Social Explorer. As you might expect-lots of maps and data visualization. There's also a youtube video to demonstrate how to add your own data. She also shared some of Mark Liddell's work on statistics.
The other two links that I really liked were Lea Gaslowitz' How to spot a misleading graph- which can easily be used across both grade levels and disciplines, and David McCandless' Information is Beautiful site. Check out his visualization of Snake Oil Supplements and so many more!
Please check out Michelle's webinar recording on edweb.net or her Pearltrees links. If you have never explored Gapminder... check it out either link. I couldn't decide on my favorite Hans Rosling video... but put one below. The world certainly misses Hans, but we are so fortunate to have so many videos available to view and review.
Googlepalooza in Western Mass
Don't miss out on special pricing- only $45 thru June 30. A full day of PD and breakfast and lunch! I know I always end up driving for hours for PD- this one is just over the hill with some great presenters.
Gateway Public Schools and MassCUE are looking forward to hosting its first ever Summer Googlepalooza on 8/8/18 in western MA. Register today for the special rate of $45 for a full day of learning and breakfast and lunch! (Regular registration rate of $65 will resume on 7/1/18.) Extra bonus: any educator who attends will be able to purchase a MassCUE membership for half-price.
Hope to see you at the Summer Googlepalooza at Gateway Public Schools in Huntington, MA.
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
FIrst, apologies for missing last week's post- simply overwhelmed with setup work for student accounts and the new makerspace we are creating at HES.
International Peace Day 2017
We are celebrating the International Day of Peace at HES once again on Thursday, September 21st. The 4th graders have created a video, parts of which will be incorporated into a video with students from around the globe. This year's song was People Got to Be Free by The Rascals. The composite video is not ready yet, but the HES 4th graders created the video below, along with a 2 minute video of a cooperative game, portions of which will also be incorporated in the global celebration.
More about Peace Day...
This year's theme for International Peace Day is respect, safety and dignity for all. There is a wealth of information on the web site. Looking for ideas for both young and old... check out the video created by Peace Day Philly. How can you get involved? Check out thispage of links.
Part and parcel with a day devoted to Global Peace, are the UN SDGs- the Sustainable Development Goals. Check out the video below to learn about the 17 sustainable development goals in 2 minutes. Need lesson plans to help your students learn more about SDGs? Check out the World's Largest Lesson on Vimeo- an amazing resource for all ages.
Not Just for Middle and High School students...
Students across all grade levels can learn about the SDGs and expand their horizons, learn about the globe, empathize with others and even help make the world a more peaceful and safer place. Sharon Davison, a Kindergarten teacher in Vermont is an ambassador for SDGs. You can connect with other educators on twitter via #teachsdgs or join the movement on the Teach SDGs website.
If you have time, check out Goalkeepers, a Bill & Melinda Gates project that kicked off today.
Global Collaboration Day... Also Thursday the 21st
This is an event hosted by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon to celebrate global collaboration and to help you on your journey to connect your classroom to the world. Stop by and make some new connections.
This is one of a series of events to foster global literacy. Be sure to check out the upcoming online conference, The Global Education Conference, coming up in November.