Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Google Forms with Guest Mentor Teacher

Image result for podcast clipart
Last week we #Brokeout of the traditional lesson plan with #BreakoutEDU.  
This week the TechSpot is going to #Breakout of the traditional blog post.   

Mentor teachers are all around us here at SMA, and can give different perspectives on the integration of our Tech Tools.  Therefore we thought it best to actually give those teachers the mic and hear what they have to say.

Tune in to our first TechSpot podcast on Google Forms below.  

You can expect to hear about: 

  • How the mentor teacher has already used Google Forms this fall in 3 different ways
  • How we can use Forms for productivity and organization
  • How we can use Forms for data collection and data-based lesson planning

You may watch, or just have it playing in the background while you work.  

Having trouble viewing the video?  Click HERE.

Need something different?  Check out these sites!

  • Goformative.com
    • different options for questions, unique layout, nice display of student answers to share with the class
      Go Formative
  • Edulastic.com 
    • great for math teachers as you can embed your algebraic symbols within a text set

Image result for edulastic

How have you used Google Forms this year?  
Want to share another site you use for gathering data?
Leave a comment below!

Want to nominate a mentor teacher for next month?  Let us know!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Break Out of the Traditional Lesson Plan with #BreakoutEDU

As teachers we all wish for the lesson plan that...
  • Gets students out of their seats
  • Has them motivated & engaged with the content
  • Promotes collaboration
  • Allows me to become a facilitator instead of a lecturer
  • Values the learning process as much as the learning objective

That lesson is here, and in this post I am going to encourage teachers of all levels, and content areas to try one #BreakoutEDU this year. 

What is #BreakoutEDU?   

Breakout EDU is a teacher-created, clues-based, content-driven scavenger hunt.  

Students use critical thinking and collaboration to open a locked box (or two!).  To get the keys/codes they must correctly solve a series of challenging puzzles.

While www.breakoutedu.com  sells a kit with locks and a box for $100, you can easily create your own kit for under $50.  The best part... There are already some in the district that you can borrow!  Here is my DIY kit that I put together this summer.

My kit has a toolbox, several key/combination locks, a lock box, invisible ink pens and a black light flashlight.  You are more than welcome to borrow it at any time.

So how did I set it up?
I got the framework for my scavenger hunt off www.breakoutedu.com/games*.  Mine was called "The Mystery Box".  The teacher who posted it had all the instructions ready for download, and a short video displaying how to set it up. From there, I adapted it to fit our needs by personalizing the story and creating clues with meaningful content.  Our story about the box was very simplistic.  As it was the first day of school, I created a story with pictures of how our principal found this box in a closet over the summer.  It came with instructions on how to open it, but they were all in Spanish... etc etc.

Each of my classes raced to figure out how to open the box.  It was a competition to see who could open it first.  One class did it the first day, and the other had to brainstorm about the clues overnight and attempt to find the codes again the next day.  
My students were required to reflect on the game in an "Exit-Ticket" fashion.  (#BreakoutEDU suggests oral "Discussion Cards") Both of these practices allow the students to evaluate their performance regarding collaboration and critical thinking, adding closure to the lesson.

So you ask .. "Hey Coach, Where is the Tech?"   

Adding technology to a scavenger hunt such as #BreakoutEDU facilitates & adds variety in design and implementation.  

The Mystery Box involved:
  • hidden QR codes that the students scanned for clues
  • the use of the Internet for research to answer clues
  • a Google Form with data validation 
    • With data validation, students HAD to get all answers correct before the form would allow them to submit. The response for a form submission gave them a hint to unlock the box.  Look for next week's post on Google Forms to learn more.

Several SMASD teachers have already executed a #BreakoutEDU like HS Algebra teacher, Mrs. Beck and the Elementary teachers in Tech ShowCase Display #12 .  Mrs. Gornati also plans to have a Thanksgiving Day Breakout this fall.  

Are you ready to earn your #BreakoutEDU badge?  

2. Search for a game by content area that you can use as is or adapt.
3. Print out resources & watch the tutorial.

OR ...   Say  "Hey Coach!  I want to do a #BreakoutEDU"  and we will help you along the way!

*You may encounter that you need a password to search for games.  You can register on the site for free to get it, or I can email the password to you.  I didn't want to post it here, as they want to keep it away from the students who could find the clues and ruin the fun!

Are you one of the teachers already Breaking Out?  
Tell us about it in the comments below and don't forget to get the badge!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

All-New TechBadging

Welcome back to a new school year!   This year the TechSpot is back to bring your yet again your TechTuesday blog posts full of new apps, tutorials, showcases and the All-New TechBadge Program.

First we would like to Congratulate all of our former TechLevel earners over the last two years! These teachers went above and beyond to try something new in their classrooms with the end goal of providing a 21st Century Education for their students.

Congrats to the following:

Tech Level 1 Teachers:
Mrs. Eckels, Mrs. Bauer, Miss Defilippi, Mr. Snelick, Mrs. Penn 
Mr. Gavazzi, Mr. Demuro, Mrs. Defilippi, Mr. Henry, Miss Klein, Mrs. McMackin, Mr. Wurm, Dr. Millinder, Mrs. Beck & Mrs. Wensel.

Tech Level 2 Teachers:
Mrs. Sines & Miss Fera

Tech Level 3 Teachers: 
Mr. Brooks, Mrs. Gabler & Miss Stolarski

Thus, the goal of the TechLevel Program was met.  As you can see we have truly built a team of teachers who are great resources for all of us when it comes to tech integration.  So now, it's time for something new!

The All-New SMASD TechBadging Center is here.  (In Beta... or perhaps Alpha stage, but it's here!)

The Badging Center is a place for you to earn/request specific badges based on your savvy tech skills and know-how in the classroom.  It is time to celebrate SMASD teachers and their efforts!  Your badges will be displayed on your classroom door and/or website for other teachers to see.

The Goal?....  We want your TechEfforts to be contagious.  We want  you to learn from each other, but first we need to know what awesome things are happening behind your classroom doors.  

How to get started: 
  1. Go to the TechSpot Badging Center.
  2. Select a category: Communication, Google, Assessment, Flipped Learning, Social Media... etc.
  3. Find a badge that you already deserve, or want to earn.If needed, use links to tutorials and/or meet up with a teach coach to learn more
  4. If you haven't already, start using the tool in your classroom
  5. Fill out the badge request form
  6. Anxiously await the arrival of your digital and print badges
  7. Display them proudly on your door & website.  
  8. Share what you know with others.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The End is in Sight!

Today marks the last Tuesday for the 2016-2017 school year! Check out our "featured post" for some reminders of ways you can clean up your digital files, wrap up this year, and prepare for next year!

This year has been a year of big changes and we would like to send out a big THANK YOU for sticking with us- whether you took time to read the blog, contributed comments, tried something new, and/or just hung in there through all the change! We're looking forward to what next year will bring. If you have any questions or concerns over the summer, please feel free to e-mail one of us. Have a great summer and we'll see you in the fall!

Thanks again for all you do!
          Angie, Jen, and Amanda

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gmail Resources

With all of our email changes this week, there's no new blog post. However, we thought it would be a good idea to have all of the Gmail resources we've created so far in one place. Below you'll find links that will be great references if you get stuck or if you have questions about the new email changes. 

Link to Slideshow: https://goo.gl/H3PLZM

Link to 10 min- Video (Slideshow with narration): https://goo.gl/5cTn5J 

Link to printable tips: https://goo.gl/Uhac0X

Thanks for bearing with us through the change!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Seesaw-Not Just for the Playground!

Portfolios are a great way to showcase student growth, but tons of papers are often hard to keep track of. Seesaw is an online portfolio tool that teachers and students can use to document learning. It is available as an app or online, so it's possible to use on most types of devices and it's easy enough that early primary students can use it! This online tool connects digital and physical learning and is a perfect way to promote accountability with your students. For example, students could explain a math concept, create science reflections, work on writer's workshop, or read aloud and record the week's sight words. This is a tool that can be used across grade levels and content areas. 

Here's how it works:

  • Teachers create an account (which takes under 60 seconds) and then set up their class. Each student will get their own online journal within Seesaw.
  • Students and teachers can add various items to document student learning, although the goal is for students to do most of the work! This could include photos, videos, and drawings and students can add voice, text, and drawing captions. 
  • Teachers can view the items students post and can approve items to be shared with parents via the app, text message, or email. This is a great way to promote the home-school connection!
  • Over the course of the school year, students will have an organized, digital portfolio of their work, which is a fabulous way to document student growth!
Check out this video clip from Seesaw for a quick overview of this tech tool:

Why try Seesaw?
  • It empowers students to take charge of their own learning.
  • It allows students to work on their writing, reflection, and critical thinking skills.
  • It documents student learning-without all the paperwork.
  • It is a great tool for fostering the home-school connection.
  • It helps students develop the 21st century skills critical for their futures.
  • It's an easy to use tool within a student friendly, safe, moderated environment.

If you're interested in checking out Seesaw, you can find the app in the Google Play and Apple App Store-search for Seesaw-The Learning Journal or check out the website https://web.seesaw.me/ . If this is a tool you've used, please leave a comment below! We'd love to showcase your students' work on the blog!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Technology and Literacy

Our blog has featured many technology tools that teachers can incorporate into their classrooms and this week is no exception. However, this week's tools all focus on incorporating technology and literacy. The interesting thing about literacy is that it is a piece of all subject areas! The technology to literacy connections below are broken down into before, during, and after reading ideas. They focus on ways to use technology in conjunction with the text, technology for discussions and to use during reading, and technology ideas to use after reading/for culminating projects. You can click on the links to go to each tool's website.

Technology for Text:

  • Audiobooks (great for younger students)
  • Books using a reading app like Kindle
  • Epic Books
  • Our librarians also have links to many technology tools for text on each school's website!
Technology for Discussions/During Reading:
Technology for After Reading/Culminating Projects:
Do you currently use any of these tools in conjunction with literacy in your classroom? If so, please leave a comment with how you use it. If you have not used any of these tools, we encourage you to try just one! It can be very overwhelming when you see lots of tools at once, so focus on one that you think would be engaging for students in your class.