The Holidays are Coming Early: 8 Great Gifts for Teaching & Learning

29142130081_c3b12cb7af_mWith this being the last post before the winter holiday break, I am packing a lot in to this week’s share. Please read and enjoy over the break and think about how you can try to incorporate some of these into your classroom in the coming year.

Monday was a great day! I opened my inbox to see a message from Alan November about his most recent TEDx talk, “What is the Value of a Teacher”. I love to read or listen to anything from Alan November so I spent the first 20 minutes of my day watching the video and tweeting several points. You can see my Storify here.

“It is the job of the teacher to redesign the assignment to harness the power of the web” ~Alan November

One of the topics Alan spoke about is making thinking visible and he used Prism Scholars Lab as an example. Prism Scholars Lab is for “‘crowdsourcing interpretations'” and allows you to paste text and then ask three interpretive questions (facets) about that text. Your students then work synchronously or asynchronously and anonymously (so students may feel more comfortable sharing) using three different highlighters on that text based on how you have set the parameters. In real time you can see how the text changes based on how they are responding. You will literally see their thinking.

You can watch this video from the EdTech Teacher about how teachers can use this in their classrooms and how to get started. You can also view this tutorial from the people at Prism.

Next is exciting news from Khan Academy. Yesterday they announced a new addition to their vast range of subject to include grammar for native and non-native English speakers. Students, teachers, and anyone interested in honing their skills will be able to explore the videos and practice what they learn. Topics range from parts of speech to punctuation and syntax. This will be a great addition to your classroom bank of resources.

There is always something good coming from Richard Byrne and this week is no different. In this week’s Practical Ed Tech Guide, Byrne shares three different web-based collaborative whiteboard tools. I can see students working collaboratively to solve math problems, design their maker-space project, or brainstorm ideas. Of course they can work individually as well and then you can combine one of these tools with Screencastify or other screen recording device so students can share their thinking and problem solving as well as create Khan-style videos.

Who doesn’t love magnetic poetry?! So I saw this next post on Twitter the other day and thought it was definitely one I wanted to share because it is so fun and it’s pretty cool too. Wintertime Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings. You can share this with your students and have them create their own individual winter poems or create them as a class. Either way you can’t go wrong.You can visit Kasey Bell’s blog, ShakeUpLearning here for more magnetic poetry templates. She is quite the creative whiz!

This just in (meaning, I just saw this on Twitter about 5 minutes ago): a Chrome extension that takes screenshots once a minute in Google Slides then saves them as a Slides presentation right in your (or your students’) drive. It’s called Slideshot and it is from none other than Alice Keeler, Google Innovator extraordinaire. Read on for more on how this can be helpful in visualizing the progress one minute at a time!

Next, is a FREE online teaching conference, Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit. It begins this Friday, December 16 and runs until December 24th. There will be one recorded presentation released each day along with key takeaways for you to download, print, keep,  and share with your colleagues. You have until December 31 to view them as much as you want. You can read more about it here.

Last, but certainly not least are a few books that I have heard a lot about, seen tweeted and retweeted, and hashtagged in Twitter chats (#tlap, #llap, #DitchBook). They are the books I am going to put on my kindle and start reading. In fact, these books are how I came to learn about the Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit. They are, Teach Like a Pirate, Learn Like a Pirate, (which was inspired by TLAP), and Ditch That Textbook.

Wishing you happy holidays and a Happy New Year!

See you in 2017

photo credit: alh1 Detail via photopin (license)

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