Get Hyper (Docs)


This week I feel like I hit the motherlode with what I found while scrolling through my Twitter feed and I am excited to share my find with you.

It all started with this intriguing title, “Forms + Hyper Docs, Putting the Form in Formative Assessment!” Of course I clicked on it because I was curious about HyperDocs and I like posts that offer ideas for formative assessment. This teacher loved using HyperDocs so much that she thought she would replicate the engagement and learning into a Hyper form so that she could see all the results in one place (a spreadsheet) and provide feedback, and students could get instant feedback and the ability to retake the quiz! Phew, that is a mouthful and most likely a run-on sentence. This is the Hyper Form she made for her third grade students to show their understanding and what they know about rounding numbers.

This same teacher linked to an earlier post about Hyper Docs so naturally I clicked on it to learn more. What I learned is that Hyper Docs is not a document with a lot of links in it, rather it is a series of lessons and engaging activities  within a doc that can allow students to work independently or in small groups, and the the teacher can coach, guide, and work with another group. If I had to analogize a Hyper Doc to something so you can get a frame of reference, I would say it is similar (kind of) to TES Blendspace in that everything you need for a lesson is in it but with Hyper Docs it is prettier and more inviting packaging.

As I scrolled along on that post I saw this Padlet of HyperDocs made by other teachers and saw this HyperDoc on the Holocaust for one of my middle school history teachers, this on the 2016 Election, this Interactive States doc, this on Dia de los Muertes for my Spanish-teaching colleagues this on Exploring Makey Makey.

Still wanting to learn more, and being a serial clicker, I went here next, HyperDocs Explained. One click led to another and I came to How to Create a HyperDoc  and this set of video tutorials, and then- wait for it- Teachers Give Teachers – searchable HyperDocs lessons from other teachers that are ready for you to use, adapt, remix, share! There is something here for every grade, every subject. I found this on PAX, one of the Global Read Aloud 2016 books, this on Ancient Greece, and this on Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. 

But don’t take my word for it, click for yourself!

Hop on the Feedback Train

This is a short week so it will be a short-ish share.

A couple weeks ago I shared a great Google add on for giving feedback to your students, Joe Zoo Express. Well last week they launched their new platform making it even easier for you and your students. They have a great YouTube channel of videos and tutorials that I encourage you to check out and subscribe to so you can get the most out of this tool. Here is the list of new and improved features that they sent in their announcement:

  • New Add-on Design – we’ve redesigned our add-on to improve its usability 
  • New JoeZoo App – to bypass some of the design and functionality limitations inside Google Apps, we’ve built JoeZoo App to house our new Rubric Builder and more great tools to come 
  • New Rubric Builder – it is now faster and easier to use and includes the following improvements: 
    • Customizable Grading Scale – you can now input NAME, IB or any other scale you’d like to use 
    • Fractional Grading – you can now give B+/- Weighted Points Scoring – you’ll be able to give points, as an alternative to %, when grading a doc 
    • Rubric Sharing – if your school or district installs JoeZoo, you’ll be able to instantly share rubrics with anyone 
  • Redesigned Feedback & Grading – we’ve redesigned both to reflect what you’ve told us:
    • Multiple Assessors – now multiple teachers and students can add feedback and grading to each doc
    • Feedback & Grading History – now all of the comments, messages and grades added to a doc are grouped by Date and can be scrolled in our add-on 
    • Self/Peer/Teacher Feedback – based on who assessed whom, we group and label their comments, messages and grades in our add-on 
  • Less Clicks – we’ve reduce the number of clicks to give feedback or grade by 75%, here’s how: 
    • No More Steps – we got rid of all those steps so you can add a comment, message or grade from 1 screen in 1 step 
    • No More Menus – to add a comment you simply search and save, no more menus to click through 
  • New Comment Features – here are the requested features we added: 
    • Point Scoring – you can now indicate if your comment is corrective or praise by give it a score between 1 – 5 points
    • Fix Tip Control – you now control when you want to show a “How to Fix” tip with your comments 
    • Resource Links – you can now add links to comments if you wish students to explore helpful resources 
  • New Monkey Checkers – if your school or district installs JoeZoo, you’ll get the following improvements: 
    • Teacher Monkey Checker – users with ‘educator’ accounts will get this version
    • Student Monkey Checker – users with ‘student’ accounts will get this version, perfect for Self Assessment
    • Multiple Uses per Doc – now you can use each Monkey Checker multiple times per doc 
  • Increased Student Privacy – we take privacy seriously and have made these improvements: 
    • No Personal Information – we will no longer ask for student Names or Gender during the set up of JoeZoo 
    • Deleting Personal Information – for existing students, we will be deleting any Names and Gender information they gave us when setting up JoeZoo 
    • JoeZoo Privacy Kit – we will be providing teachers and schools a kit that will include our new Privacy and Terms of Use policies and a Parental Consent Letter template 

While stepping in at the last minute to cover a 6th grade English class, I found The Teacher’s Corner. I was looking for daily writing prompts for middle school students and this one incorporates historical events and people in each day’s prompt. This link is for the month of October. While Teacher’s Corner’s prompts came up in my query for prompts for middle school, they could easily be tweaked for use in elementary classes as well.

I enjoy thoughtful articles that prompt discussion amongst other educators and this one on homework practice from Eric Sheninger is one such post as it was tweeted and retweeted several times. In it he reminisces about how he and his brother spent after school afternoons playing outside until dinner, participating in school sports, and the like. He then went on to talk about how our students are spending their time after school – often on “obscene” hours of homework. Sheninger reminds us of the purpose of homework and asks us to look critically at the kind of homework we are assigning and at how it is affecting our students.

“If your homework practices make kids dislike school and/or learning that alone should tell you something has to change.”

Last, but certainly not least, is a teaching and learning tool I learned about again from last night’s Edchat Interactive webinar with Kathy Perret. It’s called Class Flow and it’s completely FREE tool to create engaging, interactive, differentiated lessons for your class. I first mentioned in this post along with 9 other formative assessment tools. You can create your own lessons (compatible with Smart, Promethean, and more), find lessons that other teachers have shared, differentiate what your students do  by sending questions to small groups of students, give  badges, check for understanding, and work together in class or out of class.  They have lessons for students from pre-k through post-secondary that you can filter by grade, subject, rating, language- yes- I said language as they have lessons in languages from Arabic to Vietnamese and 22 in between. There is so much more to know (I only just learned about it last night) and you can learn more about it by looking at their information and short video introductions here. And by the way, as I mentioned, it is completely FREE to sign up and use!

For great articles, videos, and more like this one on teacher stress, please visit the Shipley PLN Lower & Middle School Edition!


A Trio of Tools

29848464932_1aeb40a637_qThis week I am excited to present 103 great tools! Now you may be wondering if I was sharing that many why did I only mention a “trio” in my title? Well, the extra 100 come from this list of Top 100 Tech Tools for Education, many of which you will see that you know.

While I do know a good number of these, here is one I did not know: Moovly. Moovly is similar to MySimpleShow that I introduced last week yet offers more editing tools and options. Where MySimpleShow is simple and you can put your presentations together in 3 fairly quick and easy steps, Moovly is simple in a more involved way. You can easily spend hours building your RSAanimate-style presentation (but you don’t have to!). Moovly has an education platform that will allow you and your age 13 and up students the ability to create, present, co-edit, and share animated videos. Here is the one I am working on about best practices in professional development for a course I am currently taking.

This next tool was shared with me by our head of middle school and I must say, it looks excellent and has amazing potential! Let’s Recap is a web and app-based platform for video feedback for your classroom. You create a free account, assign a prompt/problem/question to your students who then use video to respond. You can see your students’ thinking as they reflect on the assigned prompt. This is a great tool for formative assessment, for students who find it easier to talk through problems (or for whom typing or writing is difficult), and for fostering the habit of reflecting on their learning. I am pretty excited to give this a try!

Last are two short lists of great Youtube channels for history and social studies teachers. The first is a list of 7 to which I would add History Pod (for their daily what happened on this day in history), HistoryTeachers (if you like music, you’ll love what history teachers does), and Schoolhouse Rock (because I love when learning is put to music!). Interestingly enough, when I opened this week’s Shipley PLN Lower & Middle School Edition, I saw on the front page this next list of 20  great channels for social studies teachers that includes many of the 7. So whichever you choose to check out, I think you will find at least one channel to which to subscribe!

photo credit: Marcus Rahm tooltime via photopin (license)

Simple Share

This week I am excited to share a brand new, very cool, easy-to-use, FREE, simple sign-on (sign up with your Google), digital storytelling tool I learned about from Richard Byrne at Free Tech for Teachers. It is called, “My Simple Show” and it turns your stories (and uploaded powerpoints) into Common Craft-esque videos (like this one on elections). You can start from a blank slate or choose one of their templates; use your own images or theirs; and record or upload your own narration or let them narrate for you. I can see students using their templates to explain historical figures, events in a novel, introduce themselves to you; or you creating short videos to introduce a new topic to your students. This can be used for almost anything else you can imagine! Take a look below at one I quickly put together because I was so excited to give it a try. Disclaimer– I am a child of the latter half of the 1900s- the 70s and 80s to be specific. The technological advances I mention were big to me when they first came out- especially the microwave!


It is always good to have and know your options. Last week I shared the JoeZoo Express add on with you for offering feedback to your students – including creating and inserting rubrics into each student’s document. If you like to use rubrics, you will love this additional option from Alice Keeler. Take a look at what Alice Keeler has done with her Epic Rubrics for Google Sheets. Let me put it this way, personalized rubrics for each student on their own tab in a set of sheets that you can email and give students a copy in their drive. Sounds like a mouthful, I know, so best to just pop over and take a look.  Keeler has such great creations on her site that you should spend some time browsing her Google apps templates like Tweet my Class and more!

Today I heard about a brand new professional learning platform, Edchat Interactive. You may remember me posting about weekly #edchats on Twitter which I enjoy participating when my schedule allows. Two of the same fantastic educators who began that (Tom Whitby and Steven Anderson), along with Mitch Weisburgh have now founded this new online,  interactive professional learning experience. These will be live video conversations with a leader introducing a topic and then the participants breaking into small groups to discuss via video chat. The groups will then come back together to share, reflect, and discuss with the presenter and members of the other breakout groups. The schedule of seminar topics looks fantastic and I am excited to participate in these professional learning experiences.

People don’t learn just by watching. We need to interact, reflect, and participate. That’s our model, in 45 minute segments that fit into the busy lives of educators.

Lastly, I watched a very inspiring TEDWomen video last night, Linda Cliatt-Wayman, “How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard”. Cliatt-Wayman speaks about her experience as the new principal of a failing high school in North Philadelphia. She speaks passionately about leading with love in this very moving talk.

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


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.