It’s New(s) to Me!

This afternoon I learned about a new Google Docs feature- or, I should say, it was news to me because I do not recall having seen the option before. We can (now) add up to three columns to our Google docs. Imagine the possibilities that this feature will allow! Take a look. Thanks to Ryan Lynch for sharing this on Twitter!

Next is something I think you will really love! I learned this from Richard Byrne‘s Free Tech for Teachers newsletter that pops into my inbox weekly. JoeZoo Express is an add-on for Google Docs that you can get from my favorite store, the Chrome Web Store. What JoeZoo does is gives you a selection of comments to choose from (or you can add your own) which will make reading your students’ papers and offering feedback a snap! You can also create and add rubrics right there in the add-on and it will become part of the document.


Being classroom teachers, you probably have some sort of classroom library or set of books that you may let your students or colleagues borrow. Perhaps you have a sign-out sheet on a clipboard or cute stickers in the front of the book that says something like, “This book belongs to the classroom library of ________” , or maybe your name is emblazoned on the front cover in sharpie. While they all work, Google has come up with another way! It is an add-on for Google forms called Check-It-Out that you can get in the Chrome Web Store. You begin a Google form as usual, but you enable the add-on Check-It-Out to create the items. Then, when someone selects that item to check out, it is removed from the list of options and moves to the To-be-checked-in section (or whatever you choose to call it). The great thing about it is that because you are using Google forms, you are able to then see which items are out, who has them, and when they come back in. For more on this tool including a video explaining how to create your check out system, please read this post.

I have been reading a lot of articles and posts lately on personalized learning and thought I would share this opportunity with you to join in on a webinar next Tuesday from 1:00 – 2:00 PM Eastern Time called, “Beyond the Buzzword, Personalizing Learning at the Elementary Level”. Included with this link is also a free 16-page guide to Creating a Personalized Learning Plan for Every Student that you can download and begin using.

Finally, as one who often refers back to John Dewey and his educational philosophy, this next article from the Shipley PLN Lower and Middle School Edition on reflective questions to get your students thinking about learning is right up his alley. As I learned in my American Education Reform course that I took via Coursera, Dewey believed that genuine learning only occurs when humans focus attention on solving genuine problems AND then reflect on those experiences which makes future intelligent thought- intelligence comes not from just doing, but doing and reflecting. So perhaps you will choose to use these questions as exit tickets, reflection prompts, or just ways to encourage your students to think more deeply about the learning that is going on everyday in your classroom.

For more great articles and videos, please visit the Shipley PLN Lower and Middle School Edition.

Weekly Share: 7 for the Price of One (Tab)

2645519906Hello folks, this has been quite a week of learning and I am looking forward to sharing some tips, videos, sites, and more with you.

I love when I find great things to read, watch, and ultimately share and this week was no different. I had several tabs I was viewing and decided that I would use my One Tab extension and share them with you as a web page and then discuss a bit more in depth each item in the collection.

–> So here is the collection of items for you. Click please.

Now let’s take a look at what you will find when you open it up to reveal the tabs- it’s like “the gift that keeps on giving” to steal a well-used catchphrase from commercials past (but interestingly enough started with the phonograph).

Tab #1 EdTech Teacher Boston Innovation Summit is being held on November 2-4 and  will feature innovative-ways-to-use-your-device workshops, design thinking, project based learning, and more.

Tabs #2, 3 and 4 are all on personalized learning. The first is a post from Jackie Gerstein where she speaks to the differentiation that comes when you offer open-ended  learning activities like those you might offer in a maker-space. Tabs 3 and 4 are articles from Mindshift @KQED that are referenced in Jackie’s post and delve more deeply into what it means to really personalize learning for each student and then suggests step-by-step ways to do this. Spoiler alert: there are a couple very good charts!

Tab #5 features Sal Khan of Khan Academy speaking for a PBS special, “TED talks: Education Revolution” that aired September 13, 2016 (yes, that was just the other day if you are reading this fresh from publishing date). Khan speaks about students mastering a topic before moving on to the next and uses analogies like this to make his point,

Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why,then, do we rush students through education when they haven’t always grasped the basics?

Tab #6 is really fun. If you are like me and love to watch Jimmy Fallon and his games (though, I must admit that I am unable to stay up late to watch and watch it on DVR during the afternoon), then you will love this hilarious way to use and practice vocabulary in your classroom! Word Sneak is a game for two players (though I think you could adapt this for more) who are given a list of words that they must seamlessly sneak into the conversation. To make it work, the kids really need to have a good understanding of the meaning of the word– a great way to have fun while learning!

Tab #7 is from a favorite of mine- yes, PBS Learning Media. This time it’s their Back to School edition highlighting some of their excellent lessons. If you scroll down, you will see 60-Second Presidents- perfect for an election year (and President’s Day) like this one!

Looking for MORE? Pop over to the Shipley PLN Lower & Middle School Edition paper.(li)

 

 

Back to School, Back to Sharing

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Summer break has come and gone and the new school year is off and running. With the new school year comes new things to share, do, read, and try. Here are some of my picks for this week!

Google Cast for Education is a brand new app that allows you to easily and seamlessly share your screen with any or all of your students, and your students to share their screen with you. No need to connect student laptops to projectors, ask them to airdrop, or share (well, it will not replace sharing) in order to project their work, now your students can request to “Cast” to you and you can then project their screen. Take a look at this video to see how it works. @WendyE40 and I tried it and it is pretty cool.

Want to give it a try? We have already pushed this out to all laptops! You will find the Google Cast for Ed app on your school Chrome home page AND as an app when you go into or launch (F4 key) your apps.

If you love Google forms, you will love this Quiz option. Now you can create immediate feedback quizzes for multiple choice, drop-down, and checkbox questions when you choose the Quiz template.

Looking for a good book or two to read aloud to your classroom? Last night I was browsing around for read aloud options and I came across this fantastic 2016 grade-by-grade read aloud book list.

Next is an article that I saw posted (on Twitter I believe) and I like it because it reminds us of four important focal points we can use to guide our teaching: Outcomes, Big Questions, Passion for the subject, and Value of learning.

This is something that I literally stumbled upon. OK, perhaps I did not actually trip over it, but I did accidentally come across it when I was just looking through the Shipley PLN Lower & Middle School Edition’s (slight name alteration to include my middle school colleagues)  #sschat (Social Studies chat) section. This one is one I think my fifth grade team will love as it is all about exploring ancient Egypt using Nova’s interactive site to see 360 degree views of the Pyramids of Giza, the sphinx, temples, tombs, and more. But don’t stop there– while you are put exploring, you can explore North America, Australia, and other areas of our world. Yet one more reason why I continue to mention PBS in my shares.

 

Great Finds Lead to Great Shares

This week is a multi-tab week for sharing. I have come across so many interesting articles, sites, and tips that I am just going to move from left to right and jump right in!

Heather Lister is “Technically a Librarian” and definitely one to follow. Her latest post, “Make Writing” came out of a conversation she and a fellow colleague had about a recent book they read of the same title. Make Writing proposes combining the creativity and enthusiasm of the maker space with the creativity of the writers workshop. Lister shares eight options that you and your students can start trying now. Options range from stop motion stories to blackout poetry to coding.

Next up is a free download from Education Week’s Spotlight. This Spotlight features several recent articles on the topic of growth mindset. One of the articles, “In Math, Positive Mindset May Prime Students’ Brains” speaks to research on how a positive mindset can make learning math and solving problems come more easily by priming the part of the brain where math memory and recall for math knowledge lives. In another article Carol Dweck offers “6 Tips to Nurture a Growth Mindset” including this: move beyond effort towards strategies for doing something differently to improve effort, “What can I do to help myself?”

I recently learned about something new from PBS Learning Media and that is their Masterpiece Collection which features browsable lesson plans and video clips from Masterpiece  Theater to support writing about and understanding complex literature and texts. Authors include Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Anne Frank, and several others.

If you use Google Slides you will love this addition! Audience Q&A is a new feature that becomes an option when you go into presentation mode. If you want to allow your audience to ask questions and give general feedback, you select Q&A, project the link for your audience, then your audience is able to interact with you throughout your talk. Voila!

The final share of the week brings a list of amazing Google add-ons and scripts from Alice Keeler- Google Certified Educator (among many other things) extraordinaire- that will improve your workflow and organization and make you want to jump up and down with excitement because of what you will be able to do. Open the link and scroll on down to Filter Roster to see what I mean.

For a look at other articles and posts I recently had open, you can click here and view my One Tab.

Coming Soon & Here Now!

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#1 EdCamps are grass roots style education un-conferences that began a few years ago with the first being EdCamp Philly which @WendyE40 and I attended. EdCamps are known as “un-conferences” because they are free, often sponsored, attendees are encouraged to present topics of interest, sessions are not pre-planned, rather attendees write  and post their topicCo ideas on notecards on the day of the event, and if you are in a session that does not speak to you, you are encouraged to get up and move on to something else. There is one coming up in Philly on May 14 that Wendy and I again will be attending and you may sign up here. 

#2 While EdCamps are for the adults in the room, there are many schools and teachers who are hosting Student-Led EdCamps which are engaging, empowering, and a host of other “ings” for your students that I believe we could try to do too. You can check out these resources to get  your ideas flowing.

#3 Quizlet is a great for formative assessment, reviewing for a test or quiz, studying material, and learning new vocabulary and concepts, and it has gone live! Now you can turn your Quizlets into a live, team-based quiz show for your class. Students will join the live event from any device, be randomly assigned to teams (which you can reshuffle if need-be), and then the reviewing/learning/formative assessing can happen! Just another in a long line of options for having fun while learning in (and out of) class. For more like this, you can reread this post.

#4 PBS + I-Books is a match made in K-8 teacher heaven. This past Tuesday, PBS announced their most recent addition to their teaching and learning resources and materials- I-Books for K-8 teachers. These interactive I-Books will enhance a variety of curricular areas including beginning Spanish, math, and language arts and will include videos, professional development resources, lesson plans and games. These are available through I-tunes. You can read more about PBS Learning Media from a recent blog post.

#5 Many teachers are using Newsela in their classrooms for current events and election updates, but did you know that Newsela has leveled 18 Famous Speeches in their bank of resources for your classroom including several in Spanish! You can listen to Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Patrick Henry, Frederick Douglas, President Johnson, and President Obama just to name half a dozen. These can be filtered by grade level, standard, or language. Don’t just read about history- listen to it loud and clear! 

photo credit: Reputation Management Tips Businesses Can Handle via photopin (license)

Two Days in Bootcamp: No Sweat

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“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” ~Peter Drucker

Today was the second of two days of the Google Educator Certification Boot Camp led by Rich Kiker. If you have ever watched any of Lee LeFever’s in Plain English Commoncraft videos– and I recommend that you do because they are excellent explanations of what can be difficult concepts- you will absolutely think that Rich has been doing voiceovers and using a pseudonym because he sounds just like LeFever. But I digress. Rich made the two days of learning fun and informative and left many of us thinking, “Is there nothing that Google does not or cannot do or has not thought of!”

It is easy to get excited by the tools because Google has made it their business to make our workflow as simple, smooth, and as positive experience as possible.

Here is just a handful of things I learned today:

#1 Copy grades from Google Classroom to Sheets

If you are using Google Classroom and you are assigning points to student work, then you will want to choose the option to Copy All Grades to Google Sheets. Now all assignments, students, and grades are automatically added to a grade book that lives in your Classroom folder. Even better– this grade book can then be imported into tools like Power School and other online grade books that your school may use. Talk about ease of use and making life simpler for teachers, this one is amazing!

#2 Start a Google Hangout right from your calendar

Yes, that’s right. If you create a meeting appointment on your calendar, a link to a hangout is automatically created. If you invite someone outside of your organization, an invitation will be sent along with a link to join the hangout. You can open the event in your calendar and start the hangout when it’s time. Easy as pie.

#3 Senders Remorse or Undo Send an Email

Have you ever clicked send in an email and then realized there was a mistake, or worse- like Gloria in Modern Family you said things in the heat of the moment and wished you could un-send it? Well, now you can- within 30 seconds. In your mail settings you can enable undo send and choose from 10-30 seconds within which you will have that capability. Emails that you recall will automatically be moved to your drafts where you can leave it until you are ready to edit, send, or delete it.

#4 Right Click Your Way to Options

You may have used the right click/command click option in a window, document, or even a cell in Sheets, but have you right clicked on a tab in your Chrome browser? Try it.

#5 Step Onstage with the Orchestra

Have you ever dreamed of performing on stage at Carnegie Hall but you know it will never happen because you are not talented in that way? Google can put you on stage with their 360° experience. Give it a try!

For more on today’s boot camp, and to hear about some really cool tools you can check out my Storify of tweets. Trust me, there are things there you won’t want to miss.

 

photo credit: Tough Mudder Training Week 1 via photopin (license)

There’s Always More to Learn

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“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”
Michel Legrand

This post is all about learning. Many of us can get into a routine of doing things the same way we always have and thinking that we know all there is on or about a particular subject. This is not the case.

Today I spent the day with Rich Kiker for the first of two days of Google Educator Certification Boot Camp and while I thought I knew a lot about Google tools, today proved there is always more to learn.

Example #1 Set an Expiration Date for Shared Items

I thought I knew all about sharing, but I did not know that there is a new feature that allows you to share items for a limited time. Just hover over one of the people with whom you’ve shared something and a little stopwatch icon appears. Just set up the expiration date for the item and you’re good to go!

Example #2 Advanced Search Within Drive

If you are really organized and use proper naming conventions and folders then you probably do not have much of an issue with finding your files. But if you have been using and creating items in your Drive then you may fall into the category of people who can’t remember where they’ve put things or what they called them. Google Drive has a robust search feature which goes beyond just typing some words into the search bar and offers advanced features like searching by owner, file type, date, and more. Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 9.32.56 AM.png

Example #3 Automatically Search and Hyperlink Text Using the Research Pane

While you are working in a document, select a set of words, open the research pane and voila! your words are already in the search bar. Then new features in the results allow you to preview the page, link to it, or cite the result. If you choose to link, the original words in your document are now hyperlinks. Cool!

For more on Day 1 and some really cool tools and tips, you can check out my Storify (which I like to use to collect my notes).

Tree of Knowledge Image from WPClipart