Binge Watch-Worthy PD

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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.

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

birthday bow box card

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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.

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)