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.

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.