Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Google Classroom (As the Student)

Below is a "cheat sheet" for students to use when using Google classroom.
As some of you are going to be the "students" in a Google classroom, you may find this useful!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Create Online Worksheets for Your Students!

Check out wizer.me!

This website is easy to use and a great resource for teachers. 

Wizer.me allows to teachers to create online worksheets to share with their students.  These worksheets can be created from scratch or teachers can search a large database for already created worksheets. Worksheets are automatically graded and teacher feedback can be given. 

Watch the video below to see how to get started and create your own online worksheet...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Google Classroom Housekeeping Checklist

Is your classroom in order? Do you have...?

  • A Naming Convention
  • A Copy for Every Student 
  • Initials for your Private Comments
  • Yearlong Resources on the About tab
  • A Late Submission Google Form

#001 Naming Convention:

The end of the quarter came and went.  Were you overwhelmed with the transfer of grades from Google Classroom to PowerSchool?   Did students come up and say "Hey, I need another copy of that one assignment thingy."?  

Keep it simple by implementing a naming/numbering convention for all your assignments.  Or at least your Google Classroom assignments.

I use Quarter + # + 3 Digit Number + Assignment Name.  It works great!  

E.g.  Q4 #001 Portfolio Project

A system like this (inspired by TeacherTech) will organize your Google Drive as well as your grades spreadsheet in Google Classroom.  With a glance you can see where you have left off transferring grades into PowerSchool.  (Or, there is the option of putting it all in as one Google Classroom grade as well.)

Now you & your students can have dialog that puts everyone on the same page.  
"James, You are missing assignment #007."

#002 Make a Copy for Every Student:

Never have your students start a Google Doc or Slides from scratch!   Always create at least a blank template for them to type on.  This allows you to watch the work from the first moment.  Click on the number "undone" to see their in-progress assignments.  Catch those who need redirected before you've spent 3 days in class working on it.  Feedback & turn around times are exponentially shortened with this procedure.  

This practice also avoids the "zero".  You know they have done something even if they didn't hand it in. 

#003 Initial your Private Comments:

One of the best parts about Google Classroom is the conversations you can have with your students regarding their work.  If you use a lot of private comments, it hard to notice who had the last word.  Students could have asked an additional question without you realizing that the conversation had continued beyond your feedback.

Eliminate this problem by adding your initials (E.g. SraT; JYT; MrsT; Teach) before your comment.  Then, with a quick glance you will be able to tell if any students were reaching out to you and if a reply is necessary.
Image By TeacherTech

#004 Yearlong Resources on the About Tab:

Are there links that your class frequently visits (online textbook; kahoot, online dictionary)?  Put them on the "About" tab for a quick resource.  This is also a great place for forms. I personally put a form for students to fill out when they have a question about a grade.  Make-up forms, bonus assignments, links to class albums & galleries can also be included on this tab.

#005 Late Submission Google Form: 

Another item that is appropriately placed on the "About" tab is a Late Submission Form.  Google Classroom automatically tags assignments as Not Done, Late, Done, Returned, Resubmitted etc.  There are also options for email notifications when an assignment comes in late.  These methods may work for some teachers, however others may find themselves going crazy checking for late & resubmitted assignments in a variety of places.

A Late Submission Form can put all  late and submitted assignments in ONE PLACE!  Students use this form to submit any assignment that is coming in late no matter the reason (absence, redo, optional assignment, etc.)  The form will create a spreadsheet that allows for student name, class period, assignment, reason for late submission, link to assignment & a place for you to put the grade.

The form could be attended to periodically by the teacher, then sorted and easily recorded into PowerSchool.  

Click here for an example form that you can remix and use for your classes. (You will be prompted to make a copy.)

Inspired by Tech&Learning 

Do you have other ways you keep your classroom in order?  Have you practiced any of the above recommendations?  

Share in the comments below.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mind Mapping with Tech

Taking notes in a word processing document can sometimes omit the relationships that connect one idea to another.

Mind Mapping promotes higher DOK levels as they promote critical thinking & the opportunity for students to synthesize content.

As teachers we can continue our best practice of mind mapping while upping the ante by augmenting the original task with technology.

There are several mind mapping tools out there that teachers in my building are already using.

See the mind map below for some ideas.  And, PLEASE COLLABORATE with us and add some of the tools that you have come across for mind mapping.

Click on the image to add to to it!

AwwApp :

- Easy to use, no login nor setup
- Instant whiteboard
- Grab the link & share with others
- Download the image & post to Google Classroom

MindMup :

- Works online or as a Google Drive App
- Easy shared on Google Classroom
- Collaborate just as you would with a Google Doc by sharing the link

(Click here to try it out on mine.  You will have to add the app to do so.)


See our featured TechShowcase this week by 
Ms. Stolarski to learn more about this tool.

What other web tools have you used for mind mapping?  How have you used something like this in the classroom?  Share your ideas and links to your maps in the comment section below.

Need help getting started?   Contact your tech coach to see how to make your lessons more engaging with interactive and collaborative mind maps.


Tech Showcase Display #17

Instagrok at SMAMS

Mr. Henry’s class teamed up with Ms. Stolarski to use Instagrok to allow students to explore space and rocketry topics before getting into more specific concepts.

InstaGrok is a search engine that produces concept maps.

Each word has a variety of resources sorted into media that can be pinned onto the concept map. 

In addition, you can adjust the difficulty (harder words versus easier terms)

During this class, students would use Instagrok to generate a concept map. Then they evaluated the sources that came up in their search. They also had a chance to explore the different types of results that came up in their map.

Then using the words generated in the concept map, they completed a word splash about the vocab that they just discovered. This tech tool is a great brainstorming tool for research projects, a great concept map generator for students learning about a topic for the first time, and a great alternative for Google for students who are overloaded with Google’s “Wall of Text”
As several teachers get into hyperdocs and multimedia text sets*, many of us will be looking for different ways to allow students to explore topics. Instagrok is a great addition to that tool kit.
*different resources that align with a topic that allow students to explore and form their own opinion. Can be text, videos, thinglinks, primary documents, images, concept maps, library databases with scholarly articles.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Videos, Videos, Videos...

What is the #1 way that people learn on the Internet ?  

Image result for youtube
Through VIDEO!  

Technology has given us access to be effortless consumers and creators of video.  No more rewinding the VCR tape between classes nor hoisting up the big camcorder on your shoulder.  Now we just use the device in our pockets, click a button or two and we are either watching or producing a video.

Today's students are interpreting video just as much as text to acquire information.  It is "where they are".  So why not make some attempts to meet them there now and again to engage with the content.

Teacher Tools for Consumers of Video:

When you want your students to watch videos as part of their learning experience, either as part of a flipped class, remediation or otherwise here are some tips for posting that video.

  • Use YouTube Playlists
    • Stop searching for videos, create lists for different courses and/or topics
    • Sign in using your smdutch.net account
    • Share the links to the playlists on Google Classroom or your Webpage
  • Use Google Forms 
    • Embed your video into a Google Form to keep students focused on the video
    • You can also ask comprehension questions to ensure that they watched it
    • If you set it up as a quiz, you and the student can get immediate feedback 
  • Use EdPuzzle Image result for edpuzzle
    • Embed questions into the video that the students must answer before moving on
    • Students can repeat sections as needed
    • Links with your smdutch.net account and Google Classroom
    • Get instant feedback, progress and data

Teacher Tools for Creators of Video:

Sometimes we think oral communication is lost when it comes to technology. Well, that is not true with video.  I can now hear every student in my classroom speak Spanish as often as I want without the limitations of a 42 min class period.  

Think of the possibilities in your classroom!  Students can now explain how they got the answer instead of simply marking a, b or c.

Okay before we get to the tools - Let's STOP for a moment and ponder here...  

Which way do you watch television?

Like this....        OR           Like this?!?!?!

Image result for selfie video
So, please remind your students to hold their phones horizontally while filming.

Other hints when you ask your students to record video: 

  • Avoid editing (unless that is the learning goal)
    • Instead, reinforce planning & preparation with storyboards & scripts
    • Editing can turn your 2 day project into a 10 day project very quickly
    • Most times it is quicker to have the students do a one-take video 2 or 3 times than to edit parts together
  • Keep it steady
    • Use a tripod or create one with your elbows on a solid surface

Now for the tools:

1.  Let's Recap Throwback Post:  Click here or go to our featured post to see this tool again
Kudos to SMAHS teacher Jamie Caskey and junior Sophie Geitner for using Let's Recap schoolwide for the Pi Day Challenge.  Check it out here & be sure to explore the Scavenger Hunt tabs to see examples.

2. FlipGrid : I just found this tool yesterday!  I would categorize this as the High School version of Let's Recap (although - Let's Recap is K-12)   


Some Pros & Cons: 
  1. Both work with your smdutch.net accounts
  2. Both can easily link to Google Classroom
  3. Let's Recap provides you with presentation-ready highlights of student answers.
  4. Flipgrid allows the students to see their classmate's responses.
  5. Let's Recap allows multiple "classes" for free.
  6. Let's Recap allows you to limit the time 15 seconds - 2 minutes
  7. Flipgrid has a standard 1:30 sec response time.

3. Google Classroom:  Lastly don't forget that you can have students submit any type of media through Google Classroom and it is all there and organized for you to view.  

Image result for google classroom

Interested in learning more about how to use any of these tools in your classroom? - Contact your TechCoach today!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Student-Centered Learning with EdPuzzle & ActivelyLearn

Scenario 1:
Tonight's assignment

  • Read chapter 2 of The Red Badge of Courage

Tomorrow's reality
  • Class tries to have a discussion, but half of the population has not read the assignment and of those who have there are varying levels of comprehension.
  • Teacher is stuck choosing a group to which to teach: 
    • Do I reread the selection with them, risking the advanced students to be bored and unchallenged? 
    • Do I teach to those who have understood the selection and leave the others attempting to catch up?
Scenario 2:
Tonight's assignment
  • Watch the video on Solving 2-Step Equations

Tomorrow's reality
  • Some students watched the video and took notes and are ready for class time application.  Others were posting to Snapchat while the video was playing in the background.
  • Teacher is faced with the decision of 
    • Showing the video again
    • Lecturing on the content that was in the video
    • Giving all students the same practice problems even though they are all at different stages in learning

This was how teaching used to be. Now with apps like EdPuzzle and ActivelyLearn teachers can easily make more effective use of class time while differentiating instruction.

Scenario 1 with ActivelyLearn
Tonight's assignment
  • Read chapter 2 of The Red Badge of Courage in ActivelyLearn.  You will have embedded comprehension and reflection questions as you read allowing you to interact with the text. 
Tomorrow's reality
  • Based on the responses in ActivelyLearn the teacher groups the students for differentiated instruction
    • Those who haven't done the assignment will now do it during class
    • Those who need guidance will have teacher led or mentor led discussions
    • Those who are above expectations can work on an extension activity or mentor others

Scenario 2 with EdPuzzle
Tonight's assignment: 
  • Watch the video on Sovling 2-Step Equations on EdPuzzle. You will be stopped periodically to check for understanding.  Feel free to rewind sections of the video that are unclear to provide the most accurate response.  The last question will give you an opportunity to do a self-evaluation.
Tomorrow's reality
  • Based on the results of the EdPuzzle assignment, the teacher creates a stations activity where learners are challenged to figure out why each problem was solved incorrectly.  Groupings are made so that there is a mentor learner in each.
  • Students who didn't complete the assignment will be on a device finishing it. 
  • Teacher is now freed to pull those who need it for remediation.

Schedule an appt with your TechCoach or a fellow teacher to learn more!