I Went Browsing and This is What I Found . . .

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

When I was a little girl going on car rides with my parent and/or grandparents (sitting on the fold down arm rest in the front was always a treat albeit an apparent danger but it was the 70s, who knew?), aside from listening to show tunes, Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, and Frank Sinatra, we played car games. One of the family favorites was, “Going Shopping”. Each person would start with “I am going to Pathmark, Shop ‘n Bag, the A & P (fill in any supermarket of the 70s and 80s here) and I am going to buy (something that begins with an A). The next person would then go to the market and buy what the last person bought and then whatever comes next in the alphabet. It was always fun when people would buy these obscure or even funny-sounding or embarrassing items (my mother loved to throw a Kotex in the cart). And then of course having to remember everyone’s previous purchases was always a challenge, especially as we neared the latter part of the alphabet. Anyway, browsing around thinking about this blog post reminded me of that game and those fun car rides. And now, on to the point of the post!

Here is what I put in my cart today . . .

I went browsing and I found ClassHook. A great FREE site for finding movie and TV clips to use in your class for any topic. Search by decade, grade level, topic, series, and clip length. You can even check the box to leave out the profanity.

I went browsing and I found Edulastic, a great FREE too for formative assessment that integrates nicely with Google Classroom. Upload your own pre-made assessment, browse their library, create your own from a variety of question types, and you are good to go.

I went browsing and I found Formative an in-the-moment way to visually assess your students and give immediate feedback (which, as we know, immediate or timely feedback is best to correct misunderstandings). Like Edulastic, it’s FREE, you can create from scratch, you can browse their questions and add them to yours, and you can upload one you already have made as a doc or pdf and transform it by adding to it and allowing your students to answer right there. The best element is the ability for your students to draw their responses (great for math) and your ability to see all your students’ responses at the same time. Check. It. Out.

I went browsing and I found Infographics in Foreign Language Classes. If you teach a world language, you just might want to have your students share their research using an infographic. This post will explain how.

I went browsing and I found over 500 High School Math Videos. Mr. Robb is a high school math teacher who has created videos for his AP Calculus AB and Integrated 3 Math courses. His Xtranormal video on his home page introduces the idea of having the students watch the videos before they are introduced to the content in class so that they have an idea and familiarity when the teacher intros the topic (Flipped classroom model). For more help with PreCalc and Calculus, take a look at the 100+ videos from Mr. Berberian. He started making these before Khan Academy was a household name. Looking for Algebra or PreAlgebra help? My colleague has created more than 120 videos and several playlists teaching concepts and going through whole chapters to help his students. Check out the videos and playlists on his YouTube page.

I went browsing and I found Story Maps. If you have a location-based story or event, or series of events, what better way to tell it than through maps using pictures, videos, and text. StoryMaps is similar to Google’s Tour Builder.

I went browsing and I found the Visions of Education podcast episode 100, Teaching Racial Literacy and Controversial Issues with Genevieve Caffrey. I have the tab open and have started to listen and looking at the accompanying links and resources I already know it’s going to be good. Within the first fifteen minutes Caffrey talks about why teachers fear having these controversial conversations or discussions of current events in their classroom, which, if you were part of our recent in-service, much of what she says will sound familiar. Caffrey talks about the “risks of silence” in not having these conversations and how we can start using the acronym, LET’s ACT to start. We are currently reading Not Light, But Fire by Matthew R. Kay and discussing creating the safe, caring, trusting communities in our classrooms for having meaningful conversations (and then how to have them), and this podcast and it’s accompanying resources is a good pairing. Browsing the titles of the other episodes on the podcast I found episode 67, American Indians in Children’s Literature. I encourage you to look around and listen in. Great quotes from these episodes: “Who’s past and who’s future are we talking about?” and by not talking or learning about others’ perspectives, we may be inadvertently saying, “Some people’s experiences is not important or worthy of discussion.”

New Year, New Links, New Learning

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
― Oprah Winfrey

We are only back from winter break since Monday, yet the the number of open tabs on my laptop make it feel like it’s been weeks.

This week I have several things to share so sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy.

Time-Sensitive Learning Opportunities

First, Will Richardson and Modern Learners has a free, one-hour webinar, Reimagining Assessment, coming this Tuesday, January 15th at 3PM and 8PM EST.

Next, if you were busy getting ready for the holiday break and did not get a chance to participate in the DITCH That Textbook Digital Summit, the videos are back. For a limited time only, you can watch all 35 videos. Yes, I said THIRTY-FIVE because this includes not only this year’s DITCH Summit videos, but the 2018 CUE videos, the 2017 DITCH Summit videos, and the 2016 DITCH Summit videos. This is 35 hours of professional development that you can use right away so start clicking!

Also on January 15th at 8PM ET/5PM PT, Newsela and EdCurrent are hosting a free, one-hour webinar on Moving from One Size Fits All to Universal Design for Learning. Don’t worry if you cannot make it, all registrants will get a link to the recorded video.

Tools for Teaching

Remove. Have you or your students ever wanted to remove a background from a picture so you could layer it on another background? Well, look no further than here. It’s literally two steps: upload a photo or paste in a url; the site does the rest in as long as it takes for you to identify which images have a traffic light or bus. Then you can download your image and use it wherever you want.

Ms. Havrot’s Math Videos. Ms. Havrot is a retired Canadian math teacher who missed teaching. She began making math videos and posting them on her YouTube channel to help high school students with Trigonometry. She even includes practice quizzes! A great resource for math students and a great inspiration for math teachers to create and post their own.

Geography Games.  If you teach geography or want to brush up on your map skills, then you will want to take a look at and bookmark Setera. I learned about Setera, “the ultimate map quiz site” from Richard Byrne’s website. Setara is addictive to say the least. I started with the map of the United States and had to stop myself from moving on to the state capitals. You and your students can play online, or you can get the printables. There are over 300 games to choose from including ancient civilizations, latitude and longitude, flags, oceans, lakes. and they are in 34 languages. This site is amazing!

Retrieval Practice. Do you teach content that you would like your students to be able to learn deeply and remember later? Would you like to teach students the right way to study for learning, exams and tests? Pooja Agarwal, cognitive scientist, has a new retrieval practice guide out, “How to Use Spaced Retrieval Practice to Boost Learning”. This Spacing Guide joins the others in her resource library that are free for you to download. If you want to learn more about Agarwal, be sure to check out her video, “Brain-Friendly Learning That Works”, in the 2017 DITCH Summit.

Learning Theories. When was the last time you thought about why you teach the way you do? Well, this visual summary of 32 learning theories will remind you of the whys of yours and others’ teaching philosophies.

 

photo credit: ★Yo photography Sparkling Sydney via photopin (license)

Science, Google, Growth Mindset and More

“The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning.” ― John DeweyExperience and Education

In honor of Earth Day and because I am a huge fan of Zaption, here is a Zaption tour on the Super Powers of Trees. Share with your students as a whole class and use the questions as discussion prompts, or share via your Edmodo class page and have your kids take a look tonight for some Earth Day fun. Be sure to browse all the Tours available for your use or remixing!

If you are someone who loves Science, teaches Science, wants to learn more about how memory works, or are just a Physics buff, you will enjoy this post 15 Science YouTube channels Kids Love. These channels explain science, they are not just how tos.

New features are coming all the time to Google Classroom, and today I learned about a few more. Now teachers can invite other teachers to be part of their classroom (think student teachers, co-teachers, etc) making sharing what’s going on and multiple teachers assigning work (or knowing what work your students have from other teachers) that much easier. The next is the ability to create an assignment and save it as a draft to post later. If you have other ideas, Google is happy to listen so think about what you would need from Google Classroom and let them know.

While we are almost at the end of April, it is still poetry month and so I thought I would pass this along to you. More likely something you might be interested in for yourself, or if you are a high school English teacher you might want to share with your students. This is the Library of Congress’  Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature where you can hear authors like Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury reading some of their poetry and giving commentary along the way. For more poet interviews (including spotlights on Hispanic writers, African writers, and more) both recorded and written, see here.

Some of you have started using Thinglink with your students as a way for them to share information about a topic. Richard Byrne shares how you can use your Thinglink classroom account and the Remix feature (where you take a Thing that’s already been made and remix it your way so you are not starting from scratch) to create review lessons for your students. This post is specifically about using it for map review, but I can see it easily being used for other purposes around your curriculum (Science you can have an image the students need to label, English they can answer Qs about a novel, etc).

We talk regularly about formative assessments, but have you thought about having your students use photos, screenshots, screencasts, and videos to find out what your students learned or found interesting today? Take a look at this article from Edutopia to see how your students can share artifacts of learning using digital media.

This next post by The Nerdy Teacher is about The next best thing to being there. The Nerdy Teacher, aka Nicholas Provenzano, is a 9th grade English teacher. He was going to be out of class at a conference for a few days but wanted his students to go on in class as if he was still there. He created some screencast of himself reading 4 different Emily Dickinson poems that he then wanted students to discuss. Since he was not going to be in class, he had the students do a “Silent Discussion” using their Google Classroom stream as their platform. You can read about it here. What he saw was how much discussion and interaction happened around these poems both during classtime and after it ended. It went so much better than he thought that he wondered if he holds his students back during discussions by being too involved himself. So, if you are going to be out of school for a day or two, why not be there virtually instead! For more ways to have class discussions where everyone gets a chance to speak up, not just the ones raising their hands, try Todays Meet, or if your classroom is on Twitter, use a hashtag to have a class chat.

I have shared several articles and posts on Fixed v Growth Mindset and today I am sharing one more. This one however, is a lesson plan developed in partnership with Khan Academy and it can be used over a few days with your students. It incorporates videos, discussions, and hands-on activities that help your students see that they can make a difference in their own learning, understanding and intelligence. I think this would be a great set of mini lessons to do with your students as you approach the end of the school year because it can be used in part as a reflection of their learning while they share information with future students of your classroom.

“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