Get Your Learning On

All genuine learning comes through experience. ~John Dewey

I hope you are having a lovely day! I have been collecting some things to share with you that I think you will find useful, informative, and thought-provoking. I’m keeping it short today . . .

I have shared in the past about great current events sites to use with your students. This week I learned that Newsela announced “Text Sets” which are articles grouped by subject. You can create your own text sets, or use or remix other teachers’ sets. Here is the article and here is the link to current text sets.

For more sites to use with your social studies and history classes, check this out– resources for teaching current events.

You may have heard the phrase, “the sage on the stage,” well writers of anything- including tweets, texts, Facebook posts, and of course emails and docs- this one is for you! Grammarly is your grammar guide on the side!

Here is a great opportunity from Coursera to learn about Web 2.0 Tools and put them into use in your classroom.

Who says young students can’t reach an authentic audience and do something with their writing?! This article about a fellow Twitterer’s 9-year-old daughter and her food blog will show you that your students can write with a purpose and for an authentic audience reaching far beyond the classroom with their writing!

Summer is coming which means you will have time to rethink your classroom space and do some garage sale shopping to make your space “more like a nice restaurant” (said a student in this teacher’s classroom) and open and inviting to more collaboration and group work.

With summer coming, you’ll have time to get your learning on. PBS teacher line has some excellent professional development opportunities that include both self-paced and instructor-facilitated grad credit courses. They range from 1.5 hours and $49 to $335 and there are numerous options that I think are worth the look.

Have you thought about how you might like to help your students become more creative? Wednesday afternoon there was a great webinar (1 hour long but even if you listen to the first 28 minutes, that would be enough-dayenu) from @edtechteacher and the topic was How to Unleash Your Student’s Creativity so they can tell the story of their learning. I watched the recording because I was unable to attend it live,  and I highly recommend viewing and trying some of the ideas. A big takeaway- if everyone’s products look the same, it’s a recipe, not creativity. We must create the space for student choice and voice.

I will leave you with this visual on the impact of technology use in the classroom. Food for thought.

Advertisements

Five Minute Activities, PhotoMath, and Musical Shares!

Photo on 2-17-15 at 2.07 PMIt might be snowy and cold, but that does not stop me from getting the Shipley PLN Lower School Edition to you. Like the postal motto: neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail will prevent me from delivering your mail (something along those lines); Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough . . . You get the picture 🙂

Singapore Math has a Facebook page where it posts daily questions that you can share with your students. Depending on the type and your age group, it might be a fun way to open your math lesson or even your day one day a week.

Speaking of math . . . This just might be one of the coolest apps I’ve seen after Wolfram Alpha! With PhotoMath you use your phone’s camera to scan a math problem from a text book or homework page, then PhotoApp solves the problem AND shows you step-by-step HOW to solve the problem. If you have or know middle or high school students, or upper elementary students, this might be something to share with them for when they need a little extra help with a problem.

If you can believe that I have another Pin to share you would be right! This pin board is all about critical thinking, but 2 of the pins stuck out for me because they are quick to implement: the first is about things you can do when you have 5 minutes- the 2nd is the invention box. I love the 5 minute activities for movement and brainteasers as they are great ways to energize and refocus your students. I love the invention box idea because we all have things lying around our house that students can repurpose when/if we give them innovation/genius hour time.

If you are having your students create written documents in Google Drive, and you want them to see which words they (or their peers if they are peer editing) use frequently, then try using the word cloud ad-on. See this post from Richard Byrne for more on how you can use this in your class.

Many of you are blogging or tweeting or are thinking about it. This from Vicki Davis and Linda Yollis talks about ways to build an authentic audience for your students. If you are on the fence about getting started, just ask the students who are receiving comments on their blogs or who have skyped with other schools how it feels when they see these comments or make these connections. They LOVE it! And by the way, our student bloggers are writing and commenting beautifully. Check them out and please leave a comment. 

Grab your chairs, some post-its, and turn on the music for this next idea. I came across this fun idea from Lisa Nielsen, the Innovative Educator. Though it seems to be geared towards adults for a post professional development reflection activity, I can see it working really nicely in the classroom as either a reflection at the end of a unit, or as a fun way to review for a test. It’s called Musical Shares and it’s a take off of the old birthday party game Musical Chairs (you know, the one where there are actually people who get out and someone who wins?). The kids move to the music, stop when it stops, sit in a chair and answer the question that is prompted on their chair.

Staying with the Music for a moment, this is a really cool video that visualizes rhythms and beats. Our music teachers and any musicphiles will find this informative and a may want to show the kids.

Finally, in many social studies classrooms, it’s mapping time. Well, here are some ideas to build map skills in the PK-8  (actually PK-6; I misread. We’ll blame it on 45) classroom.

Folks, I love sharing these with you each week. If you love getting them, and if you have found them useful, if you actually open them and maybe read them, drop me a line. Let me know that this tree is not falling in the woods with no one to hear it.

Go Ahead, Brag a Little

This morning I read @georgecouros’ most recent post on his blog and I was inspired by this question that he posed: Why are you not blogging? George was referring to a post that Alan Levine wrote about on his blog. After lots of clicking and reading, I decided to write my feelings on the question.

So, I often ask my colleagues, not necessarily, “Why aren’t you blogging,”  but “Why wouldn’t you want to share what you are doing with other teachers?” “Why wouldn’t you want to show off the great things that you are doing with your students?”

Personally, I would love all of my teachers to have a blog where they could reflect on what they are teaching, share their lessons that are successful and even not successful, announce something they are doing with their class, post information that parents might need to know, and connect with other classes.

But many are fearful of what they are not familiar with.

Or they are fearful of not having time to post regularly.

Or they just do not feel they even have the time to think, let alone write about it.

Alan Levine had some great thoughts when it came to teachers and blogging that you can read here, but the gist of what he said, was that a blog is not a thesis paper and it should not be seen as such. One should not over think their posts. As he says, “If you are spending that long writing a blog post, then you are wasting time. And you are blogging wrongly.”

The point I want to get across is that teachers should not go into their classroom and shut the door on the opportunities they would have if they opened their mind to the possibilities of sharing the great work they are doing with their students.

Be it a blog, a wiki, a mural.ly, find a platform from which you can begin to create or enhance your professional digital footprint.

So, go ahead, brag a little. What’s holding you back?
photo credit: andreakw via photo pin cc