Choice, Voice, & Assessment

This week there is a lot to share so I am going to jump right in and get started.

Read and Write Choice Board While many of you have your students reading and writing, how often are you letting your students make choices about how they are going to share their understanding of what they have read? This Choice Board offers nine tech tools/apps students that allow you to differentiate for your learners.

This next one is a BAM Radio podcast, “The Most Practical Ways to Get Students to Lead Their Learning” with Larry Ferlazzo, Yvette Jackson, Veronica McDermott, Rebecca Mieliwocki, and Gallit Zvi. This podcast speaks about using options like Genius Hour for bridging the gap between a student’s passion and the expectation for learning, and learning about students’ interests by asking them this question,

“If you didn’t have to be in school, what would you be doing?”

Alan November is an absolute favorite of mine as you probably know if you have been reading my posts. These next two shares are from his most recent articles Assessment for Learning  and Digital Citizenship Lessons from a 9-Year-Old With 18,000 Twitter Followers. In Assessment for Learning November asks,

“What if we could empower our teachers to turn assessment into a process of learning instead of a focus on measurement?”

He shares examples from Harvard down through middle school where the teachers and professors allowed their students to take assessments twice. Depending on the classroom example, teachers either had their students take the assessments on their own first and then take it again in small groups where they could work together and discuss how they arrived at an answer; or they take it in groups first, learn from each other, then take a similar assessment on their own. I think you will want to try this innovative way of assessing in your classrooms too.

In Digital Citizenship Lessons from a 9-Year-Old you will learn about Olivia Van Ledtje’s love of reading and how she shares that love and passion through her vlogs (video blog posts) and more recently, her Twitter account @thelivbits. You and your students should check out what she is doing and think about how they could share their interests too.

George Couros is another favorite educator who recently shared this post, “What Could Go Right?” Often times we are in situations or conversations with colleagues or students and coming up with a laundry list of reasons why this idea or suggestion will not work. We listen to the negatives that are shouting at us in the background- or even the ones who are speaking to them out loud- instead of thinking, what could go right. Couros posits,

“We need to make the positives so loud that the negative becomes almost impossible to hear.”

Many teachers love using Kahoot! for formative assessment and review, but how many are using it to teach or introduce new content? DITCH That Textbook’s Matt Miller explains exactly how to go about this in his post, “Teach With Kahoot!: Go beyond review with the Blind Kahoot! What is a Blind Kahoot! you ask? Check out this video (which you will also find in Matt’s blog post).

Lastly, I recently started using Flipgrid and participated in the first #FlipgridFever chat on Twitter this past week. “What is Flipgrid,” you ask? You can check out a recent post. There were so many great ideas being shared including using Flipgrid to practice a target language and connect with other classrooms around the world using their global grid connections. Teachers, get ready to make those student voices heard!

For more great articles, videos, and posts, check out this week’s Shipley PLN Lower & Middle School Edition.

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Show Me, Doctopus & Goobric, Oh my!

The Educator with a Growth Mindset by Jackie Gerstein— Jackie did a workshop this past summer. She has provided all workshop materials including videos and slidedeck. Excellent information to start conversations and think about your own mindset.

Socratic Smackdown a game about argumentation and discussion that happens in a fishbowl. Curious? Grades 6-12 are the intended players, but I am imaging that it can be modified for 4th and 5th grade. While you are visiting the Institute of Play, be sure to check out the many other game ideas in the lefthand sidebar.

Many of you are doing some sort of image searching with your students but are you sure you are doing it the right way (I.e. You are not taking what you do not have permission to take)? In the past I have shared links to sites that have images that are either in the public domain, free to use or share, are made specifically for teachers and students, etc. Pixabay is one of those sites and they have made finding the kind of images that you want even easier. Right from the search bar you can filter for image type, size, layout, color— just like you can do with Google image search search tools. Nice!

What do you get when you combine the power of Doctopus, with the organization of Classroom? Goobric And no, it is not what you get when you combine Borax with something else to make slime.

I have mentioned #GeniusHour before and have shared several posts, tweets, and articles, but this impassioned post is one that I wanted to pass along as a plug for giving this a try in your room. The first link is to the same blog, but to information specifically about getting started with Genius Hour in your classroom.

Friends, you know I often pass things along from Richard Byrne, aka FreeTech4Teachers, well today he had a great post about a fun and authentic way for students to share their learning as they complete a topic. There are so many ways to do this and I would love to help you with it. Check it out and let’s talk.

Finally, even though you may not be from Missouri, Show Me might be the site for you and your students. Show me is a free  app for teaching or explaining anything; but even if you are not using ipads, the Show Me community has hundreds of videos on all subjects for all grades that your students can access when they need to hear things another way. This would be a great site to share on your Edmodo, blog, or Moodle.