Handpicked Just for You

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I love when I have great things to share and today is one of those days. I have collection of items that include student voice, collaboration, exploration, and more than one that I think you will want to start using immediately.

First off is a favorite of mine for feedback, sharing, and reflection– Flipgrid. Here are some great ways to share your love of literacy from the Flipgrid blog. It’s titled, “Loving Literacy 365 Days a Year!” and it offers numerous ways you and your students can use Flipgrid to share a love of reading, discuss characters, learn from an author, and collaborate with other classes. For example, this teacher shared her 5th grade classes Flipgrid on book talks and opened it up to other classes to listen, comment, and add their own book talks. This authentic sharing of a love of books is just one of the amazing ways you can utilize this great tool. It’s not just for kids though, doing a search in their Disco (short for discovery) library will find that colleagues can participate as well through book chats, PD sharing, and more like this one on using tech in PE. Flipgrid is constantly upping their game and making it even better than it already is and it’s free for educators so why not get started and sign up?!

Next is a virtual book club paired with “a unit in a box” and it’s called #thebookchat. The creators of #Thebookchat choose books that introduce students to underrepresented voices and authors. Every six weeks or so educators from around the country are participating in an online discussion via Twitter using #thebookchat to discuss the selected book. Their next chat discussing James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time will be on March 10 at 9PM. What is fantastic about it is the list of diverse books and the accompanying resources for each. Everything you would need to share with your students as they read this book is included in the HyperDocs for each selected book. If you are looking for a way to add more diversity and inclusion to your curriculum (which we all should be doing), this is for you. While these books are mainly for high school students, this list from Edutopia offers books for all grade levels.

Sutori is a great tool for creating interactive timelines, but did you know you could do much more than that? This post offers 50 ways to use Sutori in all subjects and each level of school that you may not have considered. Think study guides, book reports, biographies, interactive discussions, assessments, lab reports, and 44 more.

Last and certainly not least is Classroom Screen. I learned about this yesterday from a tweet from my friend Loren and have been obsessed with it ever since. It is a multifunctional classroom management tool that you can begin using immediately. It combines timers, noise-level monitoring, stop light, a random name selector, white board, backgrounds, video, text, and more into one neat package. Just click the link, select the tool, and go. It’s that easy, that fun to use, and that good.

When Opportunity Comes Knocking . . .

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“Teachers open doors, but you must enter by yourself” ~Chinese Proverb

 

When I was trying to come up with a title for this post, I thought about what kinds of things I was sharing. I realized that much of it, while presented as tips, tools, and readings, are really opportunities. Opportunities for our own learning, opportunities for our students’ learning, and opportunities to try something new.

Opportunity #1

I am excited that the Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course or #IMMOOC for short, is offering another opportunity for us to learn together as it is coming back for round 4. Whereas rounds 1-3 revolved around the reading and discussing of Couros‘ fantastic, thought-provoking book, The Innovator’s Mindset, this round includes two additional books to choose from: Katie Martin’s, Learner-Centered Innovation and A.J. Juliani and John Spencer‘s Empower. I loved participating in the previous round and looked forward to each week’s live video session as well as the weekly Twitter chat. If you would like to learn more about the previous round, you can read about it here.  This is a learning opportunity you will not want to miss.

Opportunity #2

This next opportunity is for World Language Teachers. Eric Curts always has great resources to share and this is no different. In his post, he shares 5 tools for increasing your students’ fluency with the target language including one that you probably had not thought to use this way. One of my colleagues has been using Google Hangouts with her students and she loves the authenticity of the conversations.

Opportunity #3

Equally as fantastic is this opportunity from Shake Up Learning to enhance your teaching life:  50 apps/sites that integrate with Google Classroom. As many of you know and can attest, Google Classroom makes your workflow that much smoother with your students. Having apps that integrate with Google Classroom makes using those sites even easier with their share to classroom option. I have personally used the Flipgrid, PBS Learning Media, Padlet, Nearpod,and Screencastify, as well as the Share to Google Classroom extension (which anyone who is using Classroom should immediately install) and find the integration to be seamless. It is really as easy as click, share, choose class, done!

Opportunity #4

While browsing the above post, I saw an opportunity to learn about a new resource and clicked on a site I had not heard of before– Open Ed. Open Ed is resources for teachers and students K-12 including videos, assessments, homework, lesson plans, interactives, and more. You can search by key word, grade, type of resource, standard, or school subject. Once you get your results, you can then share them with your students by printing or sharing to Google Classroom. If you create your free account, then you can create a class and assign things to your students individually, in groups, or as a whole class (similar to your options for assignments in Google Classroom). Your teacher dashboard shows you what you have assigned, what your students complete, how they did, and then offers specific additional resources for each student for each question they need more help with which you can then assign to those students. Talk about differentiation! Pop over to Open Ed to check out what they have to offer; you will not be disappointed!

Opportunity #5

This last site is an opportunity to engage your reluctant or struggling readers. A few weeks ago I heard about this next site and am excited to share it. Storyshares is a site dedicated to pairing books with struggling or disengaged readers that are compelling, age appropriate, and at the same time, are at their reading level. You can read about StoryShares here. What is great about Storyshares is it’s interactivity. You can search by interest level (late elementary through post high school), reading level (Fountas and Pinnell), or grade level (K-5). These are books written specifically to address the need for high interest and relevant books for those whose reading level is not the same as their age and maturity level. It’s really a win-win for everyone involved.

photo credit: PMillera4 Two Doors via photopin (license)

Summer Reading List

2935271689_863cb75bd8_nSummer is a great time to catch up on all the books you may not have had time to read during the school year. This summer I am suggesting several quick, jam-packed-with- strategies, innovations, and inspirations- professional development books to add to the “beach” reads on your list. Taken from my own Amazon “books to read” list, here are some ideas:

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. I have already read and tweeted about this fantastic book that integrates marketing techniques with a lot of creativity to help you make your lessons and content memorable. If you have not read this one yet, you should add this to your reading list).

Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess (yes, she is the wife of Dave) and Beth Houf. You can follow and join in on using this hashtag- #LeadLAP to see what others are highlighting and talking about from this book about leading in a way that brings out the best in your faculty.

Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz and Dave Burgess. You can achieve a student-led classroom where students take charge of their learning and this book will explain how and give you the strategies to do so. Not only can you read this, but you can join in on a summer book study with fellow educators via Twitter.

Start. Right. Now. by Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas. Learn about the “four key behaviors of excellence”: Know the way, Show the way, Go the way, Grow each day.

Kids Deserve It: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome. Take all the “What ifs” about your school and classroom and turn them into realities because #kidsdeserveit

DITCH That Textbook : Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom by Matt Miller.

Miller shows you how to choose and incorporate teaching practices that are:
  • Different from what students see daily.
  • Innovative, drawing on new ideas or modifying others’ ideas.
  • Tech-laden with the use of digital sites, tools and devices.
  • Creative, tapping into students’ original ideas as well as your own.
  • Hands-on, encouraging students to make and try things on their own.

Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Grades in a Traditional School by Starr Sackstein. Help your students make the shift from being focused on the value of the grade  to being focused on the value of learning.

You can also take a look at this list posted by Gary Stager which includes several other great titles.

Whatever books you choose to read this summer, I hope you enjoy your learning!

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