This Week’s Time-Sensitive Exciting Shares

3271558744_148687882f_mI have been collecting some tabs of great things to share this week but you have to act fast as some are time or space limited.

Making Connections

First off is the World Read Aloud Day Skype-a-Thon coming in February. For one day only you and your students can connect with another class (or classes if you can fit them in your schedule) and share a book. This year WRAD has made it even easier to connect– even if for some reason the scheduling will not work for you, you can create a video of your class reading or re-enacting the story and then share it on World Read Aloud Day. If you want to have a virtual face-to-face with another class, you can fill out the registration and the organizers will pair you up with a partner class. Either way, your students can experience the flattening of their classroom walls and let their voices be heard by other children. Time is limited, you have until February 1 to register and sign up to be paired with another class so click here to get started!

There are other ways you and your class can make connections with others. The Flat Connections Global Online Projects for K-12 classes is beginning in February with numerous ways to connect. There is limited space for each project so take a look and sign up.

Voice Your Opinion About Homework

Next are two surveys from Alice Keeler and Matt Miller that invite you to think about homework in two different ways. The first asks you to think about  your views on homework and how homework has impacted your life and that of your students. The second asks what your classroom would look like if you did not give homework. These surveys are an opportunity for you to give pause and think critically about an oft- debated topic and give your opinion.

PBS Learning Media

These next few items are from a favorite resource I love to share and that is PBS Learning Media. PBS Learning Media has standards-based resources for all areas of your curriculum from Pre-k through 12th grade and of course the great series of shows we adults like to watch.

This first resource is for Prek-2 Spanish teachers and it is a series of animated videos that help teach Spanish. The next is Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood which is an animated series for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children that explores many different topics including social and emotional skills, social interactions, holidays and celebrations, back to school, and more.

Do your have high school students who absolutely love science, can see having a career in science, and would be interested in a mentorship with a university-level research scientist? Well PBS Learning Media and Stand Up to Cancer have opened this year’s Emperor Science Awards, a unique virtual mentoring program that pairs university-level research scientists with high school students, presenting an exciting opportunity for them to explore the world of science, grow their skills, build confidence and conduct rewarding cancer and cancer care research.”  The deadline is March 17 for a June through August 2017 mentorship. Register here.

@rmbyrne shares . . .

The last two shares come from Richard Byrne of Practical Edtech and FreeTech4Teachers. The first is Twisted Wave and is a free, browser-based audio recording and save-to-drive- or Soundcloud editing tool. Not only can you record your voice with Twisted Wave, but you can clip, edit, loop, fade, and save to Drive. The next is a fun take off of the game “Would You Rather” and asks math-based “Would You Rather” questions. This is a great way to bring some discussion and real-world math questions to your math classes. I can see using these as class openers and as ways to bring the real world relevance to your lessons.

 

More Than Just Music to Their Ears

5146079703_24f8fea201_m“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”
Rudyard Kipling, The Collected Works

I read a fantastic post about how teachers are using Hamilton the Musical in their history classes and it made me think about how I learned. My mother would say she taught me everything I know while singing to me in the bathtub and during potty training. While I may beg to differ on ‘everything’, I do believe that I learned a lot through music: the ABCs, how to spell my full name, the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Ok, the last was not while in the bath, but it was learned on Saturday mornings when Schoolhouse Rock came on in between cartoons.

There are many ways to use music to help boost memory so I thought I would share some sites you can use in your class to help improve your student’s memory for facts, concepts, and details. You can read here and here for more about tips on how to engage your students and improve memory.

  1. Teaching the American Revolution and Founding Fathers? Here is Hamilton, the Musical soundtrack on YouTube
  2. Teaching grammar, history, math? The complete Schoolhouse Rock on YouTube
  3. Flocabulary has a great channel with videos for digital citizenship, Social Studies, English, Math, and more
  4. History for Music Lovers has 53 videos on many historical topics and figures
  5. Harry Kindergarten Music is for the K-2 crowd

There are so many more to find, but why not have your students create songs to help themselves and others learn the way our 4th graders did?!

photo credit: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds via photopin (license)

Flipping Math, Go Noodle, ISTE Ignites, and Innovator’s Mindset

13122827834_9b0e1a5e13A short and sweet share today of articles, posts, and tools that I recently read and heard about.

Thinking about Flipping, then you might want to start with math for these reasons.

Teaching algebraic concepts? Try personalizing the lessons towards the interests of the students. See why here and here.

So you could not make it to ISTE15, that’s ok. ISTE has a YouTube channel with videos from keynotes, TED talks, and Ignite sessions like this one here: 14 presenters, 20 slides, 5 minutes to “share their passions.” From Karen Lirenman’s presentation she says, “Students are never too young to learn from the world” and from Pernille Ripp of Global Read Aloud fame, “students need to thrive in school, not just survive” and she asks us to ask ourselves, “Would I want to be a student in my own class?” 

Do you feel like you are constantly doing a song and dance to get your students’ attention? Perhaps your class just needs a brain break. That’s where Go Noodle comes in. I learned about it from one of the ISTE presenters from the Ignite session above. It’s free and it offers fun, engaging, silly brain breaks, energizers, and movement activities you can do with your class. Go Noodle and get moving!

Last, a thought-provoking blog post from George Couros that poses a question from his book, The Innovator’s Mindset, “If you were to start a school from scratch, what would it look like?” It is an interesting question and one of his colleagues had a great response that a teacher does not have to wait for the school or system to be transformative, the teacher can be innovative tomorrow. For more on The Innovator’s Mindset, you can read this post, “8 Characteristics of ‘The Innovator’s Mindset.’”

photo credit: Backflipping at the Boating Lake via photopin (license)

I Went to the Chrome Store and I Got . . .

Icono_web_storeWho does not love to shop?! Actually, I don’t love it and have to be in the mood, meaning I have to begin to feel withdrawal. And when I am in the mood, I rarely enjoy shopping if it involves going to the mall. This is why I enjoy “shopping” in the Chrome Store.

One of the (many) things I love about Chrome is the Chrome Store and I can get lost browsing the many apps, extensions, and themes all while on my way to looking for something else. So this post is my list of some recent Chrome additions and ones I think could be useful (and fun) to you and your students.

But first, some vocabulary.

App: Installs on your Chrome home page. Some act like shortcuts to sites, others allow for productivity (like Sheets, Slides, Docs, Drive), and still others just open in a separate window (like the Whiteboard app below).

Extension: These are tools that live on your bookmark bar

Theme: Colorful, fun decor for your Chrome home page, bookmark bar and Tabs (perhaps you have recently seen snow falling on your kids’ screens or beautiful flower blossoms on your colleague’s screen. These are themes.

This all started while I was looking for an online whiteboard app so that students who use a laptop can create math tutorials to show evidence of learning. I popped into the Chrome Store the other afternoon for what I planned on being about 5 minutes so I could do a quick search and found two to try: Ziteboard and Whiteboard Lite. After trying both, I am recommending Whiteboard Lite for its ease of use and the different tool options. You can add text, shapes, change colors, change background (to include something you upload) and change line thickness. Since we have Quick Time installed on our Macbooks, there is no immediate need for a different tool to record the screen, but if you do not, my friend and colleague Wendy recommends Screencastify. The whiteboard is a must.

Like Stacey’s Pita Chips and other salty foods, it is difficult to stop at just one and there are so many apps that I got caught up browsing the other educational tools.

I added the Highlight Key Words for Google Search extension so that when I run a search, my search words will be highlighted when I open a link. This will allow me to easily and quickly locate the info for which I am searching. This is one I am going to have my students install so that it will help make their research time more efficient.

Student-Created.TV is a fantastic site of tutorials on all subjects created by (6th grade) students for students. I first heard about this from Alan November’s, Who Owns the Learning and landed there again when I was looking for examples of math tutorials. Imagine how thrilled I was to see this can also be an app your students can add to their Chrome home page so that they can learn anytime. Then, they can use the Whiteboard Lite app and create their own!

Revolutionary War Guess My Name and Civil War Guess My Name are two “guess who” games will make learning studying the Revolutionary and Civil Wars feel more like a challenge than a test. There are four different modes: quiz, game, learn, and review so your students can get to know the various players in these important historical events. Clues are given and students choose between four possible answers. Add these apps to Chrome and your students can easily access it right from their Chrome home page.

Fraction Puzzles, Fraction Wall, Number Golf, Hundreds Grid Chart– Math game apps that your students can use to practice their math facts in a fun, interactive way. Add these apps to your Chrome and make this an option for your fast finishers. Both Fraction Puzzles and Number Golf are games within one site from MathPapa and would be great for all ages of elementary, middle, and quite possibly early high school math as they go from basic math facts, positive and negative numbers, to algebra and graphing. What I like about the Hundreds Grid Chart is that the chart can change from whole numbers, positive and negative, and decimals; it also includes a built-in calculator, a coloring tool, and the option to print. Additionally, it goes beyond numbers to 100. Fraction Wall by Visnos is an excellent visual of fractions, equivalent fractions, percents, and more. From simple to advanced, this interactive wall has many options for you and your students to practice and learn fractions.

Of course, there are countless others but I will save those for another day. . .

I went shopping in the Chrome Store and I got all these apps and extensions; what will you get?

Icono web store” by Google Inc. – Chrome Web Store. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
 

 

Boo! A Not so Scary Share

This week I am sharing articles and posts that I think are timely and important.

I just read this article about the importance of helping and teaching our students not only about how to be good digital citizens, but also how to be good digital leaders. Just because they don’t see themselves doing anything stupid or silly online when they Google themselves does not mean that they should not be found at all. We need to help and encourage our students to create a positive digital footprint so that they can be found when Googled, and that when they are, it shows their leadership, innovations, and inspirations.

Since many are implementing digital portfolios, I thought this EdWeek article by Larry Ferlazzo about the importance of making reflection a habit would be appropriate to share. EdWeek articles require a log in to read. This is free to subscribe to with your school email and a password.

I read an article from The New York Times about teaching math and in it was this great site for math riddles to be used for problem solving and critical thinking that I thought you might like to try with your (older for many riddles) classes. The riddles range in difficulty from easy to very challenging and topics from Geometry to Algebra, probability, logic, and more and would probably be best if these were worked on in small groups so students can practice problem solving collaboratively. 

Here is a site that I shared last year but that came by again in my Twitter feed this morning. Hstry.co is a cool site for learning and creating using interactive multimedia timelines like this featured one on Life in the Colonies or this one on Using Twitter in your classroom. You can include text, images, videos, and quizzes in the timelines you create and then share or embed these on your site. One drawback that I have is the inability to filter timelines by subject. The site is free to sign up and free to create, though access to some of the really great bundles that Hstry.co creates  (and there are some really perfect ones for our 4th and 5th graders) are for premium users at $49/year. Beyond that, it’s pretty cool.

That’s all folks.

“Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally”

Hello friends! Thank you for stopping by to read about some great sites and tools. Please be sure to read to the end to see how you can get access to THOUSANDS of FREE e-books that you can use with your class. Trust me, you will want to start using this one right away.

First is a very lovely story about everyone’s favorite S word- Stress. It is a metaphorical story about how we can approach stress. I think you will enjoy it. Coincidentally, in the online course I am spending time with, I am reading about stress and stressors. In a nutshell, we all need a balance of stress and non-stress in our lives; if we reach a tipping point that moves us toward the negative (wherein we shut down, close down, are not open to new ideas or change) we need to find a way back by seeking ways of renewing ourselves (yoga, meditation, exercise, spending time with loved ones, giving back to others, etc). It is only through the restorative process of renewal will we be open to new ideas, more creative, and able to move towards our goals. Interestingly, a recent article by Dr. Robert Brooks (if you have never heard or read his work, he is fantastic. Visit his site linked above to hear some of his talks on resilience) talks about stress and mindsets. It will complement and validate the lovely story very well. 

Next is something very cool. I saw it on Twitter this afternoon (where else!) and I think it has a real place in the classroom. It’s called Periscope and it’s an app that allows one to broadcast a live-feed of themselves and what is around them. When used for good like @JudyArzt used it for today (and not like the girl in Florida who thought it would be a bright idea to share her post-party joy ride), this app can offer amazing opportunities to share learning with others. So, how can you use it? Well, first idea that comes to my mind is virtual field trips. You all go on great learning adventures- why not broadcast these to your Twitter followers & other classrooms who might not be able to go to Gettysburg, Ellis Island, the Chesapeake Bay, or the Insectarium! Let them learn along with you. Invite others to view your makerspace I-day inventions, or share your Painted Lady butterfly habitat. I think there are many possibilities to use this app AND to incorporate proper digital citizenship/positive digital footprint lessons at the same time.

By the way, if I have not recently told you about the power of Twitter, I have been remiss. I sent a tweet (a couple actually between Friday and Monday) looking for a class to do a virtual debate with our debate club. The response has been overwhelming and very kind. There have been over a dozen retweets, half dozen favorites. And a few teachers and edutopia bloggers who personally messaged me letting me know they are either trying to find a class in their school or are offering to help if I don’t find a class which, as of about 20 minutes ago, I did!! If you are not using Twitter as a personal learning network, please let me show you to the Kool Aid. 

OK, so here is another very useful idea that I saw via Edutopia and it is about Flipped Learning. Flipped Learning is when you share information with the students via either a video that you create about the lesson, or a video someone else creates, or share information with students about the lesson before they come to the class so that they have a little knowledge ahead of time and you can go deeper during class time. Well this article talks about ways to best do this, and shares an example of a video that the teacher and author of this article used with his 4th grade students prior to the first day of school. Why I think this particular video idea is a great one is that it introduced his students to him and his classroom and some of the first day procedures before they came to school. To me, this is a great way to reduce and alleviate some first day jitters. If nothing else, it gives the students a taste of the type and styles of learning to come.

Here is another great tool that you can use with your class starting today. It’s called Educanon and it is very similar to Zaption and Edupuzzle in that it allows you to create, borrow, use, edit, and share interactive educational videos with your students in order to Flip or formatively assess your students. While you can easily create your own “bulbs” which is what these learning videos are called, you can also choose to use a premade bulb like this one on multiplication and division using modeling. (while this teacher does not specifically call it “bar modeling” it is what he is demonstrating when he shows how to solve this problem), or this one on division as repeated subtraction or this one on fractions and decimals. 

While I was watching videos on Educanon, I found that there is a great site for  video math lessons called Math Antics that I think regardless if you use them to create interactive videos, they would be a great resource for homework help and reinforcing the lessons you are teaching like Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally PEMDAS or this one on long division.

Lastly, here is a site that you are going to LOVE. It’s called Zing and it offers thousands of free ebooks of popular trade books for you and your students from PK-high school to read simultaneously while allowing each student the ability to annotate and highlight, check the built-in dictionary for unfamiliar words, and you to assign books by topic, subject, theme, lexile reading level, guided reading level, and more. Take a look at Richard Byrne’s short video tour of Zing, then sign up. It’s FREE! Want to personalize your Zing and get a few extra options— for $10 for the year, you can select and assign different books to one, some, or all of your students rather than everyone reading the same book. 

Enjoy!