Much Ado About Everything and Then Some

Last week I shared my post, Much Ado About Everything that included information about all the new features of Flipgrid. As I was going through some flagged emails, I came across this video tutorial by Richard Byrne (aka Free Tech 4 Teachers/Practical Edtech) where Byrne reviews the whiteboard and drawing features from teacher and student views as well as how to create a grid and download student response QR codes (which would make your walls come alive). As if that were not enough, Matt Miller posted 20 Activities to Bloom (think Taxonomy) with Flipgrid’s new features where he shares different ways you and your students can use these features. Of course the Flipgrid blog has their amazing resources including their Innovation Station with their age and subject-specific integration docs.

So, whether you are someone who is new to Flipgrid, or someone who has already drank the Kool-Aid, there is something here for everyone.

This Week’s Possibilities

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”
Ann Landers

It always amazes me how many tabs I find myself with each week full of things to read, share, or try. I know I have said it before, but I am not a hoarder of things- my house is very organized- (though my children would say I have emotional attachments to some things)– I do tend to hoard my tabs until I am able to share them. And while I do use my One Tab extension when I am sharing a group of links on a particular topic with my students or colleagues, I keep the ones for my weekly share open as a visual reminder.

Many teachers at one point or another have their students participate in a group project. I use the term participate loosely as you will see in this post by John Spencer, The Four Biggest Pitfalls of Collaborative Groupings (and How to Avoid Them) that there are various forms of participation depending on the group’s individual members and their personalities. His post (which also has the podcast version included if you are more of an auditory learner) is full of great examples, strategies, and helpful videos like Collaboration vs. Cooperation, and The Seven Keys to Creative Collaboration (or more affectionately titled, Why Group Work Doesn’t Have to Suck). If you are one who either participated in group work as part of your PLC, your department, your grade level, or graduate class; or if you do any sort of group work with your students, this is one post you may want to take time to read/listen to/watch.

Who doesn’t love a good smackdown! Matt Miller posed variations had a tech smackdown during his #DITCHBook Twitter chat (every Thursday at 10PM Eastern) on this question, What are your best tips for using (GSuite tools, Flipgrid, Quizlet Live, Quizizz, Kahoot; , in your classroom and got countless responses. He culled them and put this post together, sorted by the three questions and I am sharing them here with you ICYMI. No need for FOMO here. So if you have been thinking about incorporating some new ideas into your repertoire, or have been thinking about trying a new tool, take some time to learn from fellow educators.

Continuing on the learning path, MCIU (Montgomery County Intermediate Unit) has some excellent offerings this fall that you might be interested in taking advantage of. You can filter through 12 different categories like Social Emotional, Equity and Diversity, Literacy, or you can just scroll to your heart’s content and see what catches your eye. If you really want to dive deep, there is this Universal Design for Learning Professional Learning Community (PLC) that will be run from mid-September through May.

Last is a fun extension to your Flipgrid, Padlet, and Epic books experiences. #EpicPals is now in it’s 5th year running and is brought to you by Sara Malchow. Each month there will be a new collection of primary and intermediate books available in Epic (you can use the app or the browser version) that you can search for using EpicPals. There is also an accompanying Google Doc for each month that has the books as well as both a link to the Padlet that goes with the particular book. You can read about getting started with EpicPals here then you will want to join in the fun with your students and the hundreds of others who are also participating.

For more great tips, tools, and articles like this one from Eric Sheninger, “Why It’s So Important for Teachers to Cultivate Their Own Resilience” check out this week’s Shipley PLN Lower and Middle School Edition.

Happy learning!

Binge Watch-Worthy PD

Image from Pixabay

Have you ever had a time when you have so much to do, say, watch, read, or share and you don’t know where to start? Well, when that happens to me, I put things on pause, section things off, and then just move through them in order of importance. I have had several things to share while at the same time, I have several books to read, have had meetings, etc. so I have focused on finishing my book so I can get to the other things I want and need to do like share these great tools, tips, and sites.

Escape Rooms are all the rage (though recently, Axe throwing seems to be surpassing if my Groupon and Living Social emails are any indication). We did it with two other families and I can proudly say that we broke the code and got out in about 38 minutes! Well if you didn’t know, there are Breakout games you can create and use in your classrooms. What is a Breakout? You can learn about it this summer at ISTE but you can take a look at the pre-conference materials here. Of course I click on everything so here is Tom’s Digital Breakout Sites and the GSuite Escape both of which you can use to create your own digital breakouts. My very own colleagues Andrew loves using breakout games with his class and he and another colleague Sally created their own using the GSuite Escape so he would be a great resource as well.

Next up is DITCH Textbook’s own Matt Miller with his CUE Live session, “Tech Like a Pirate”. Nope, that is not a typo. If you are familiar with Dave Burgess, you will recognize the play on words of his Teach Like a Pirate book (and video) and Miller’s is another in the series of “Like a Pirate” ed books due to come out soon. Like Burgess who shares how to bring your lessons and content alive by hooking your students and making your content “sticky”, Miller shares how you can do these things using technology. You’ll want to watch the whole thing but if you feel like you want to jump around a bit, you can fast forward to time-stamped content that Miller has kindly listed in his post.

I have shared great tips and tools from Richard Byrne several times before. Today I am sharing his “Best of the Web- Spring 2019″ In less than one hour you will hear about tools for creating and remixing, workflow and management, exploring and more. Along with the video are the accompanying slides. A number of these I have written about before like Flipgrid, Google Science Journal, and GoFormative, and just as many are new to me like Go Synth, Game On World and Triventy. The next things I want to try are Go Synth, Brush Ninja, and Google’s VR Tour Creator. If you are like me and like to browse the web and social media, you might want to try the Recall Study Time extension. In addition to the great things he shares in this video, if you do not have your video in full screen and you don’t have your distraction free extension activated, you will see along the sidebar that Byrne has 602 videos you can scroll through and watch for other cool tips and tools.

Lastly, Earth Day is a week away and you can still sign up for activities to do with your class from Microsoft in Education including a Skype interview with Jane Goodall that Susan Reilly’s third grade class did and find lessons from PBS Learning Media. For even more ideas, head over to Roots and Shoots where you can browse projects and see ways you and your students can take action.

Resource-Full!

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This week I am sharing a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But first, apologies for the lack of sharing this past month. I have started a specialization through Coursera and have been trying to be efficient with my time, i.e.,  when I have it, I am using it to learn.

And now the shares!

Listen Up

I have listened to and read transcripts from several podcasts, TED talks, and articles the first of which is from The Cult of Pedagogy, aka Jennifer Gonzalez. Gonzalez shared how she is transforming her teaching and therefore student learning by incorporating what she learned when she began going to Crossfit workouts with her husband. Gonzalez shares four ways she has changed how she teaches based on the Crossfit methods. My personal favorites are the Differentiation and Student Choice, and Variety Matters. Who says all the students need to be doing the same things at the same time, and who says that you can’t switch things up in your classroom!

While I was browsing Gonzalez’s site, I came across her post about ways we as teachers can support students of color  which was inspired by Dena Simmons’ TED talk . Her post offers four ways Simmons suggests we can begin and continue to change our behaviors and our classrooms to honor and recognize all of our students, one of which is Create ways for students to bring pieces of their lives into the classroom.

If you teach middle or high school math or have children who are in these grades, then these Math tools Chrome Add-Ons are for you. Graphing calculators anyone??

This next was a BIG find! Thanks to Nicole Mancini who created this Author Connections Flipgrid, you and your (elementary) students can hear authors read aloud first chapters of their books, get writing advice, as well as hear the authors share their books and why you should choose to read them. It is a great resource for your budding writers and readers.

If you do anything on (in?) Chrome, then these Top 10 Must-Listen Google Teacher Tribe Podcasts are for you. From add-ons to Slides, Classroom Hacks to Special Education, there is a Must-Listen podcast for everyone that includes links to numerous resources. One of my faves is on different things you can do with Google Slides that go beyond presentations. Thanks Kasey Bell and Matt Miller for these resource-full podcasts!

It’s all about the search!

Sometimes I just get lucky and today was one of those days. I was looking for a Twitter template for a colleague and while I was searching, I came across some fantastic options. First is this list of results from a template search on Matt Miller’s DITCH That Textbook website. I knew he has written and shared about these before so his would be the first site I checked. And you know me, one click leads to another and I found Template Palooza. Take some time to browse the numerous options and then get your creative juices flowing for ways you and your students can do a deep dive into a character’s thoughts and motivations using these and other templates.

Next on the agenda

Lastly are some articles I have open and ready to read. While I have not read them yet, I am sharing them with you because I am sure they will be meaningful and thoughtful. First is an article on over-scheduling, next is on teaching students how to structure their thinking,  and last is on the importance of building relationships in our classrooms.

 

 

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you are singing the song and thinking about the holidays, then you are partially correct. While this is not a post about the winter holidays as it is only nearly September, it is a post that brings “gifts”. These gifts, however, are in the form of great tools you can use and connections you can make right off the bat for the new school year ahead!

First off is the All New Educator’s Guide to Flipgrid 3.0. In early August, Fligrid launched a slew of updates including making it FREE to educators everywhere! Now you and your students can share your voices, connect with other classrooms, become epals, and co-pilot topics safely, securely, and easily. Just imagine using Flipgrid on one of the first days of school for students to share something they want you to know about them, goals for the start of the year, or a favorite poem.

Speaking of sharing, flattening classroom walls, and connecting, the 2018 Global Read Aloud will kickoff in just over a month on October 1. Join with over a million other students and teachers in reading one of this year’s selections.  Then use Flipgrid to share reflections, favorite passages, and messages about the book with other classrooms from around the globe.

Richard Byrne has recently released his Practical Ed Tech Handbook for the 2018-2019 School Year that you are free to view, download, and use in your classroom and schools. In it you will find tips for staying in touch with parents and students, ways to use online quiz platforms, tools for making stop-motion and documentary-style videos, and more.

As my school continues our implementation of Positive Education under the Positive Psychology umbrella, and schools are realizing the importance of promoting and facilitating a growth mindset in their learners and faculty, Learn Storm and Khan Academy offer these growth mindset lessons and activities for elementary, middle, and high school students that you can utilize with your free Khan Academy account.

Day one is coming or for some is already here. Here are three options for one-minute of retrievals from Pooja Agarwal you can use with your students to get them primed and ready to learn. These are simple, quick warm-ups you can easily implement that are research-based ways to deepen your students’ learning. You can subscribe for weekly updates, read about the research and download free guides and follow Agarwal on Twitter.

Lastly, while you are setting up your classrooms, taking a walk in the beautiful weather, or just like to listen to learn, then take a few (usually hovering around 5 – 10) minutes to listen to Matt Miller’s DITCH podcast. This will take you to a podcast about more ways to use Quizizz and if you scroll down, you can hear about Fliphunts (a mash up of Flipgrid and a scavenger hunt), changes to Google Classroom, Educator Goals and more.

A Teaching Buffet: Something for Everyone

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Some might say that I am a hoarder. But not like the ones that you see on Buried Alive. I am more of a “tabs” hoarder. I have shared this tendency before: I tend to keep lots of tabs open until I really have time to dive in. Of course I could use my One Tab extension and place them in a single, “save for later” tab, but alas, I do not. I like to leave them where I can see them until I am ready to dig in.

So today is the day I am wading through my tabs so that I can share them with you.

First off is Peer Teaching options from the Teaching Channel. One of the best ways to know if your students understand a topic or concept is to have them teach another student. So in this menu of videos from the Teaching Channel, you will find several options to use peer teaching in your class from appetizers to dessert.

Next is a “Wow!” It is a collection of digital history projects for use in grades 9-12 but some can be widened to include 6th -12th. What first led me to this was my looking for resources to use with our fourth grade students in their study of slavery as they prepare to read Jefferson’s Sons. I found this post from The Global History Educator that really is a WOW for history teachers. Included are 12 digital history projects that include The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, Mapping the 4th of July, Back Story, and nine more incredible resources to use right now in history classes as a resource for you and your students.

The next two are from Matt Miller of DITCH Homework and DITCH Textbook fame. The first is several ways to end the year with GSuite tools and the next is 10 Things Teachers Should Know About the New Google Sites. Personally I love the new Google Sites and find it very easy to use. While I miss the sharing options for individual pages, I think the new drag and drop interface makes up for it until they hopefully bring that piece back.

I have written before about Jo Boaler and the other day I came across this video where she introduced Polyups. Never being one to pass up on anything from Jo Boaler, I took a look. After I figured out how they work, I was hooked and your students will be too. Polyups is a computational math thinking playground for students in grades 3 through 12 and covers Number Sense, Operations, Order of Operations, Problem Solving in 3rd -5th; Functions, Sequences, Logical Thinking, Algorithmic Thinking in 6th-8th; and Series, Numerical Methods, Calculus, Algorithms in 9th -12th. You can take a look at their videos here.

I learned about this next site on Twitter. Taste Atlas is just that– a world map of foods. I just finished reading Americanah and Jollof of Rice was one of the dishes Ifemelu (main character) mentioned several times. Taste Atlas has Jollof of Rice on Nigeria since it is a national dish. Once you click on a food or search a country, you will get foods of the region, where you can find the best of it, and recipes, and more. Interestingly enough, when I searched Florence, Italy (since I was recently there and my son is there studying abroad) one of the places they mentioned as best places to eat is the pizza place my son raves about, Gusta Pizza. Pretty cool.

Class Pad is a free digital math tool that makes solving math problems on the computer as easy as click, type, draw, and solve. It’s your digital scratch paper with built-in calculator that I can see teachers using along with Screencastify to make tutorial videos and your students doing the same to show how they solve problems. One of the cool aspects of Class Pad is the ability of Class Pad to recognize your geometrical figures that you draw and turn them into sharp figures (unless you draw a circle- no sharp lines there!). Subscribe to their YouTube channel where they will be adding more videos as they create them.

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

 

 

In the Know

34604271491_919b678a1c_nLast week during the IMMOOC live session, one of the things discussed was how to keep track of everything that is out there and the pressure some feel to be in the know and keep up. A few quoteables that I tweeted from the conversation are below:

It’s not about adding on and doing more; it is about what we want our kids to learn and how we are going to get there- what conditions we need to set. Season 4, Episode 3 with  via

‘I might not be able to keep up with what’s new, but I will try to keep up with what’s best for Ss’

“We need to support & praise everyone where they are at”

“We need to be innovating out of a desire to find what’s best, not just what is new”

With so much out there, it can be tough to keep up with it all. That is why I tell teachers to find what works for you and these students right now, and go from there. There are many different versions of the same thing that one need not use all of them; choose the one that you and your students like. Now of course, what works this year with this group might not work for next year’s students so we have to keep in mind the needs of the group we have at the moment.

Part of why I like to share the way I do is to help my teaching colleagues who might not have time to sift through all that is out there. I love to find articles, videos, research, tips, and tools. I then read, watch, try, and think about what might be helpful, useful, interesting, and thought-provoking. The rest is what comes next- the weekly, or every-other-weekly share. So without further ado, this week’s share.

This first share is from Matt Miller and it is all about taking annotating to a whole new level. I love the idea of taking articles or pdfs and formatting them within a table so that students can annotate alongside it. The comment option in Google Docs is another way to do this. Check out the highlighting and sticky note add-on options in the post.

Speaking of annotating, Richard Byrne is always sharing great tools and tips and this week is no different. In his Practical Edtech Tip of the Week he shares Tools for annotating videos and images. If you are a teacher who uses videos for teaching, introducing these tools to your students or using them yourself will definitely enhance your teaching and their learning. And, if you are someone who uses Edpuzzle, you are used to adding questions, text, and other information to spots along your video timeline, so using one of these should feel natural.

Next up is a podcast from Modern Learners wherein Dr. David Gleason and Will Richardson discuss The Costs of High Expectations. Adolescence is starting earlier and going later. People have social/academic expectations of the kids who may develop earlier because they look older than they are, but don’t have the mental capacity to meet these expectations yet.  This is just a taste of what was discussed:

Is it our fear of losing our reputation for getting kids into competitive schools what holds us back from doing what we know to be right for kids as far as over-scheduling putting undue stress on them? “Who wants to come to a vanilla school?”

For additional reading on expectations, executive functioning, and the mismatch between developmental readiness and expectations, you can take a look at this linked-in  article, “All Aspects of Students’ Development Varies, Including Executive Functioning Skills”.

Student voice, choice, and empowerment are themes in this round of the Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course. These interactive learning menus from Shake-Up Learning offer your students (and colleagues if you use these during PD sessions) the opportunity to choose their learning path from various choices on the learning menu choice board. These boards also allow you to differentiate by offering options that speak to different strengths and ways students like to learn and share their learning.

If you would like to read more about the importance of giving students choice, Alfie Kohn’s article, “Choices for Children: Why and How to Let Students Decide” is on point.

Lastly, I have mentioned Pooja Agarwal and retrieval practice as a learning tool a lot recently. That is because of all the science and evidence behind the practice of retrieving that Agarwal shares on her site. This week she shared a quick, no-quiz retrieval strategy called Two Things and it is a fast and easy way to have your students think about what they are learning.

photo credit: wuestenigel What’s new? via photopin (license)