Coming Soon & Here Now!

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#1 EdCamps are grass roots style education un-conferences that began a few years ago with the first being EdCamp Philly which @WendyE40 and I attended. EdCamps are known as “un-conferences” because they are free, often sponsored, attendees are encouraged to present topics of interest, sessions are not pre-planned, rather attendees write  and post their topicCo ideas on notecards on the day of the event, and if you are in a session that does not speak to you, you are encouraged to get up and move on to something else. There is one coming up in Philly on May 14 that Wendy and I again will be attending and you may sign up here. 

#2 While EdCamps are for the adults in the room, there are many schools and teachers who are hosting Student-Led EdCamps which are engaging, empowering, and a host of other “ings” for your students that I believe we could try to do too. You can check out these resources to get  your ideas flowing.

#3 Quizlet is a great for formative assessment, reviewing for a test or quiz, studying material, and learning new vocabulary and concepts, and it has gone live! Now you can turn your Quizlets into a live, team-based quiz show for your class. Students will join the live event from any device, be randomly assigned to teams (which you can reshuffle if need-be), and then the reviewing/learning/formative assessing can happen! Just another in a long line of options for having fun while learning in (and out of) class. For more like this, you can reread this post.

#4 PBS + I-Books is a match made in K-8 teacher heaven. This past Tuesday, PBS announced their most recent addition to their teaching and learning resources and materials- I-Books for K-8 teachers. These interactive I-Books will enhance a variety of curricular areas including beginning Spanish, math, and language arts and will include videos, professional development resources, lesson plans and games. These are available through I-tunes. You can read more about PBS Learning Media from a recent blog post.

#5 Many teachers are using Newsela in their classrooms for current events and election updates, but did you know that Newsela has leveled 18 Famous Speeches in their bank of resources for your classroom including several in Spanish! You can listen to Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Patrick Henry, Frederick Douglas, President Johnson, and President Obama just to name half a dozen. These can be filtered by grade level, standard, or language. Don’t just read about history- listen to it loud and clear! 

photo credit: Reputation Management Tips Businesses Can Handle via photopin (license)

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ~Henry Ford

This is a huge WOW! This teacher whom I follow on Twitter (@MrsEvon1) is sharing how her 4th grade students are using their ipads in a 1:1 environment. All throughout the day the technology and creativity is embedded in their learning and in everything that they are doing. It is truly amazing. Just because you might not be using ipads does not mean you cannot do what she, is doing. Many of the apps that she is using are also websites (Haikudeck, Vocabulary and Spelling City, Storyline Online, Kidblog, Quizlet, Wonderopolis; the ones that are not also web-based can easily be found in other tools). 

I especially like the ipad menu of activities that Mrs. Evon is using to keep her students responsible for their learning. 

You know how much I love all things Google. Well, Google has another new add-on which will make using Google forms for sign-ups like appointment times or bake sale donations even better. Now Google has added Choice Eliminator— when a selection is made that should no longer be available, Choice Eliminator gets rid of it. Now you will no longer have 5 people bringing paper plates or signing up for the 4:00 appointment. Yay!

More Google (because we could all use more Google in our life)- this from Kyle Pace in my Feedly (used to be Google Reader but, alas, sadly, that went). Anyway, when you go to Create something in Google Drive, your default choices are Folder, Doc, Sheet, Slides, Drawing, and Form; but if you look closely, you will see at the bottom of that list, “Connect More Apps.” There are many wonderful apps that once connected, can offer you and your students a lot of benefits and assistance. You can find the ones that Kyle B. Pace recommends here. I am a fan of Lucidchart, Pixlr, and Powtoons, but there are really so many options.

This next set of tools are great! I came across Wideo over the weekend, and have had it open in a tab so I could try it out (still open, am going to help my daughter make a math video for her class). Then I saw that Richard Byrne, aka Free Tech 4 Teachers, had a nice post about this and 2 other video creating sites. I have used We Video and found it fairly easy, but I have not tried Magisto (which seems to me to be similar to the easy and simple-to-use Animoto which I and my 5th grade students love). Anyway, you can read here about all 3 sites that will allow you to create your videos in the cloud (aka Web-based) then easily share them or embed them. I would say that in order of ease-of-use you should try Animoto, Magisto, We Video, then Wideo (which makes animated-style videos).

Last, for our folks teaching current events or doing current events with your students, here is Newsela— a site that allows you to search for topics by grade level, reading standard, or quizzed articles. You can sign up and create a classroom for your students and assign them articles, or just make it a job for our student to bring a piece of news to your morning circle. 

Looking for more classroom jobs? Have a class public relations person tweet out what your class is learning. Have an historian of the day find out what happened on this day in history and see that today is not just another ordinary day. I have more ideas but if you have been reading and you got to this point, you can ask me.

Shared in late October with my colleagues