Welcome everyone to my brand new blog at Edublogs! Thank you to Chris Traynor who came up with FISH online and the mnemonic device (Finding Inspiration, Support, and Happiness) that is used in the title, and Laura McPhee for “fishin on a mission” that is used in the URL of the blog. I would expect plenty of “click bait” on this blog focusing on technology integration (hahaha, bait, thanks Chris for that one).
I’m hoping you enjoy my weekly(+) posts of tech integration in the classroom! This blog will take the place of my weekly newsletter. The advantage of blogging, rather than sending out a newsletter, is when you want to search for a particular item, you simply come to this blog and search for it in the search box. Gone are the days of having to open Techletter after Techletter trying to find that one tip you wanted to remember. Additionally, posts will be categorized and date stamped, for even easier searching. I will still feature amazing tech integration by teachers I see both in-person and online, and weekly tips and tricks! I welcome other ideas as well so feel free to comment below!
If you still would still like to access previous Techletters, with amazing tech tips, from 2016-2017, you can do so by clicking here.
I’m looking forward to this blogging adventure ahead!
I hope you are all having a great week! Shout Out to Kim Parsloe this week, who got me thinking about all sorts of tools to assist students with language translation. Imagine coming to our school, from another country, and not understanding any English – what a challenge for both student and teacher! Technology, luckily, can help! Check out some tips and tricks below (I also updated my Holiday Tech Doc found at the end of the post):
Translating Tech Tools
Google Translate has both a website and extension that make it easy to copy and paste language into a platform and have it translated into a variety of languages.
If you have a website you like to use, that is able to be translated, Google Website Translator is a great tool. Simply paste the URL into the translator and it will turn the site into the language chosen (if possible). Unfortunately, not all sites can be translated.
Another reason to work in Docs! Any Google Doc can be translated into a variety of languages. Take a look at the GIF below. Simply go to Tools and choose Translate Document. It will not be a perfect translation, but it should help!
The extension Select and Speak will translate any text into another language and read it aloud. Take a look at the video below. Like Docs, this translation will not be perfect, but it will assist in understanding. Not all languages are available, but there are over 30 to choose from.
To make sure we get the latest HOLIDAY activities ….
My favorite Blogger – Eric Curts – put out the 12 days of Techmas (click here)…Guess what is Day #1….PEAR DECK and the new add-on for Slides. This is AMAZING. I’m sure the rest of his days will be great too, check out his holiday tech by clicking each day available on the image I linked above.
You can also click here for my Google Doc of Holiday Tech that spans PreK-12. I’ve added a few items to it this week, like Magnetic Poetry!
December 1st is here, and with it comes the craziness of the month ahead! I wish you well this time of year, and I hope you have some peace during a chaotic month. Please remember, I am here to help you. If you’d like a little breather, book me to come in! I LOVE teaching, and I can prepare a lesson that just shows off some tech, or I can connect it to your content. I’m happy to help and I love being with you and the kids! Click my calendar here to book me – I filled up quickly last December, so get on there early!
Let’s take a look at some top tech of the week:
Holiday Tech ❄️ ☃️
Click here for my Google Doc (which I will update as I find new activities) for Holiday Technology Activities. Here you can find activities involving the stock market, how much the 12 days of Christmas would cost today, Elves singing, make your own digital snowman and even just Christmas Fonts for Google Docs.
Equatio now FREE for teachers 🔢
The extension, Equatio, by Texthelp is now free for teachers! This is great because previously they charged for this extension. This would help one use math language in a Google Form or Doc. You can even write (digitally) or dictate an equation and it will convert it into math language for you. Check it out below:
Do you regularly send parent emails? Would you like a spreadsheet that houses student names, parent emails and a cell where you could write a personal note that automatically sends when you want it too? Even attach a file that shows something important? This is pretty cool! You could get this sheet already exported from Schoolbrains, add the mail merge add-on called Mail Merge and BOOM start sending personalized email to each and every parent or student. Keep this handy-dandy spreadsheet all year long and change the notes as you please. In a matter of minutes you can send 50 emails, all looking personalized! Send 50 more the next day – you can schedule them!
SCREENCAST FROM YOUR iPHONE! 📲
With the newest IOS update you can now screencast your phone! “When would I need this?” Well, if you want to show students how to do something on their phones, this is useful. It is also useful to add video to Google Classroom from you! It’s much easier that screencasting from one’s computer and sending to YouTube to add to Classroom. Not only can you add the screencasting tool to your quick access screen, but you can add other tools that you’d like as well. See below for the steps and an example video of me screencasting from my phone. Note – to get audio when screencasting your phone you need to long press the screen recording app and turn the mic on.
This week I read a great blog post by George Couros author of The Innovator’s Mindset and the blog The Principal of Change. If you haven’t read George Couros book or blog, I highly recommend it. George is a former Principal, and he has a great philosophy that I admire. He believes that it is important that we always work to get to “what is best for kids.” He had a great post this week about connecting with kids titled So Much More Than Letters and Numbers. I included an excerpt below:
If the technology takes away our human connection that is crucial for the development of our students, it is not worth it. Using tools like this can help to add to a conversation, but it cannot be the conversation on its own. We cannot reduce our students to becoming letters and numbers. George Couros, The Innovator’s Mindset
Technology integration is a passion of mine, and I love it, but I love connections with kids even more! Have me come in, I’d love to connect with you!
I am so very thankful to work with you, thankful to work in a great town with great kids, thankful for great bosses, thankful for all of the technology we have here, and thankful for all the support that’s given to me by you! Thank you. I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend! It will be a crazy few weeks when we come back especially with all of the December holidays approaching! Be on the lookout for Holiday Tech as I find it! I will compile it into a great list for you, separate from the Blog (but still featured here). Until then….I had some AWESOME appointments this week, here is some of the tech that came out of them! Thank you to the teachers and staff that had me come in. Special Shout Out to Melanie Lanni who booked me for document merge award certificates – I had so much fun with that!
Digital Assessment Made Easy 💻
I was booked this week for a great appointment to go over Go Formative! Go Formative is a digital assessment tool and can be used, similar to Pear Deck, in a live format or for online assessments (similar to Forms). This program now integrates with Google Classroom, making easier than ever to send out a digital assessment. Every grade, aside from grade 10, will take an online MCAS this year. Formative has similar question styles to MCAS such as Multiple Select, Multiple Choice, Show your work (MATH!), and Short Answer. Drum Roll….the best part….YOU CAN UPLOAD YOUR ALREADY EXISTING TEST AND JUST INSERT AN ANSWER KEY! No retyping or copying and pasting, and Formative generates great data and item analysis too! This is a Super Tool for all types of assessments, including just daily check-ins! Check it out today!
Document Merge 📎
Thank you, Melanie, for booking me for this task this week! Document Merges are AWESOME! Picture creating hundreds of personalized documents, letters, or certificates for students with a single spreadsheet and template. Check out the video below if interested!
Something COOL for your phone! 📲
This tech is for you (not really the kids)! Recently, I upgraded my iPhone and now I get those super cool LIVE photos. I was a little behind with phone upgrades as you can see. I had a bunch of Live photos and I really wanted to combine all of them into a mini-movie and have the photos run. Insert the AMAZING Google and the app Motion Stills which you can download to your iPhone. It’s very user-friendly and allows you to combine Live Photos into GIFS or Mini-Movies. Below is an example I made from my phone:
Video (Warning – it’s a bit annoying since the kids say “cheese” a million times)
#CHOOSEKIND Web Extension 😁
This is cute! The movie Wonder recently came out and it is based on one of the best children’s chapter books I’ve ever read! To promote the movie, the movie company released an extension. It will turn hate on social media to kind words. Take a look at the very brief video below to see!
MATH – PreK-12 🔢
This post (click here) from Richard Byrne includes a great rundown of resources to use in the classroom with Math. It has apps, youtube suggestions, lessons and more! It encompasses math from PreK to grade 12.
I hope you all had a GREAT week! I spent the better part of the week down and out with an awful sinus infection. My post below, as a result, is lacking a bit, but still FULL of GREAT TECH!!! I saw an awesome article posted by a teacher this week about inspiring students. The article is titled What to do when a student constantly refuses to work. It’s actually taken from a Podcast and is a great read. My favorite excerpt from it is as follows: “Stay focused on inspiring your students. Don’t focus on whether they are actually inspired…let the energy of YOUR classroom be such that students who don’t buy into the lessons are missing out. Remember, you can only control yourself, not anyone else” With that, I give you one of my FAVORITE inspirational videos below.
Google Meet – BETTER than Hangout!
If you want a great way to share your screen with 25, possibly 30, students and have the ability to chat – then Google Meet is for you! Google Meet just came out last year and has a bit more functionality than Hangouts. It’s unclear if Google plans to phase out Hangouts and replace it with Meet. Either way, both Hangouts and Meet are pretty cool! Watch the video below to see Meet and check out a comparison of Hangouts and Meet here!
Science – BioInteractives
From the site:
At BioInteractive, you can find award-winning multimedia resources, including apps, animations, videos, interactives, and virtual labs, to bring the excitement of scientific discovery into your classroom. Our rich video resources range from a series of short films on evolution, hosted by an award-winning author-scientist, to lectures on the brain given by a Nobel-prize winner—all supplemented by teacher guides and classroom activities. Our team members include scientists, artists, and educational experts.
Dedicated to advancing science education, HHMI provides powerful teaching tools for use in high schools, colleges, and universities across the country, free of charge.
Are you without devices, but still need an option for review games in class? Check out this great post from Richard Byrne about Blended Play! It’s free online portal where teachers of any subject and grade level can create games to review material
Richard Byrne highlighted the site Class Tools on his blog last week. He says: “ClassTools, developed by a history teacher named Russel Tarr, is one of my favorite places to find educational games, game templates, and graphic organizers.” I explored, and this is a pretty cool site when you’re looking for an interactive activity in a pinch. Check out his video below:
Click the link below to search ClassTools for an interactive game you can use!
YAY for long weekends! I could use a little extra sleep this weekend with the chilly weather coming in and three young boys adjusting to Daylight Savings Time, how bout you? As November is upon us, and we have disjointed weeks with Veteran’s day, Thanksgiving, and Central School Conferences, my calendar starts to slow down a bit. It seems we start to get tied down to all of the tasks that need to get done in this short month. However, I would LOVE to see you, in your classroom, and show you how Peardeck runs (I’ll build you one), Flipgrid works (I’ll create the lesson), or any of the other great tech tools we have here in EB! Please check my calendar and book me to come in, even if it’s just to show off!
I have SO MUCH TO SHARE with you this week. Check it out below:
Nice work Science Teachers 🐸 🔬
Awesome job Megan Krugger and Kelly Hansen! These 8th-grade science teachers presented at the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers annual conference last week on Debate in Science Education. They focused on GMOs, Fracking, and the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s some pretty interesting stuff, with great lessons involved! I learned quite a bit just by reading through their presentation. Take a look at the website they designed for the presentation, it’s very impressive! Click Here.
Attitude of Gratitude HyperDoc ❤ 😊 ❤ 😊
This is a great activity to modify and use with your students (click here), especially during this thankful time. This HyperDoc asks people what they are grateful for. Then, the answers are displayed in a word cloud or Padlet. The creator of this HyperDoc linked Answer Gardens to each question. You could do the same, or link a Google Doc and share results with the class. The only issue I have with Answer Garden is you cannot tell who wrote what, leaving room for students to be inappropriate. If I were to modify this activity, I would link out to a Google Doc or Padlet where students can write their answers, allowing me to see who is writing what when I view the revision history. If you’re interested in this activity, but would like assistance or the original modified into a format you can use, please book me today! I would be more than happy to put this into a format you can use!
Build a Turkey 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃
If you want a fun activity where students use Google Slides to build a Turkey, click here! It’s very cute! This is inspired by Eric Curts “Build a Jack-o-Lantern” and created by @bethkingsley13
Then, to add a font to your choices, in your own docs, simply choose your font menu and click add more fonts.
Enjoy this Ryan Gosselin SNL video about Fonts 🙂 HEHEHEHEHE!
Change your default font in Docs 😁 😁
WHAT?!! This is so simple, and I’ve been manually altering my font for years! Check out this great post from tech blogger Jake Miller. You can see the whole post here, or view the GIF below to see how to change your default font in Google Docs. I’m a big fan of the Sniglet font myself 🙂
Pear Deck Add-on – EVEN MORE AMAZING (and easier) than the site! 🍐🍐
If you have been overwhelmed by Pear Deck in the past or found it cumbersome to create Decks then this post is for you! If you flat out LOVE Pear Deck, this post is also for you because it just got BETTER! Pear Deck has added an add-on for Google Slides. What this means is that now you can take ANY Slide presentation you already have, and add questions right to the slide. IT. IS. SO. GREAT. You can watch my video if you’d like, or you can read about it from Pear Deck by clicking here. If you’d like to see what Pear Deck is all about, I will gladly create a Deck for you and come in and present it to the students so you can see how it works. Lisa Grinkis did that last week, and it worked very well! Please just book me for the time to create it, and then if needed, for the time to come in and use it with the children. Lisa felt comfortable presenting it herself since she is an avid user of Pear Deck!
Piktochart: Cool Infographic Site 🖼 🖼
Thank you, Megan Krugger for sending me this fun site to play with! If you’ve attended PD on infographics in the past, you may have seen Picktochart. This site is free (although does have a “level up” paid option) and allows you to create some pretty cool infographics. It has many templates, text boxes, images, “stickers,” graphics etc etc that you can use. It reminds me of sites like Shutterfly where you can REALLY get into making something. BEWARE, once you play with this, you are committed to HOURS of fun. I made an example below, which allowed for easy embedding (although large). This would be a great project for students to show their knowledge regarding a certain concept! Unlike Google Drawing (my app of choice), there are many templates that one can just insert information rather than start from scratch.
School Committee 🏫 🎒 🏫 🎒
Lastly, I had the wonderful opportunity to present and give an update regarding technology integration to the East Bridgewater School Committee on Thursday evening. You can check it out on EBCTV, if you’d like, and you can also access my presentation here.
I LOVE showing off the awesome things you do! Book me to come in today and see it!
I hope you’ve had a GREAT week! I’ve seen some great tech this week in classrooms, including the Cardboard Challenge down at the Middle School! What a FANTASTIC week to be a Viking! Check out some pretty cool tech integration below, and let me know if you want to “make some waves” in your classroom by trying some new tech tools! You can find my contact information in the “Contact” tab of the blog! Happy reading!
Google Maps adds Planets and Moons 🔭 🌕 🌏 🛰
Now, instead of just showing pictures of the planets, let the students travel there through Google Maps! This is really neat because you can zoom in, see craters, gasses, and features of every planet and moon that Google Maps has to offer. These are real photos of the planets and moons. Read about this latest update from Google about this cool new feature of Maps (click here)! Play with Google Maps by clicking here.
Google Slides – Photo Slideshow Add-on 📸 ➕
Perfect timing Google! Just as I was gathering all of the MASSCUE photos, Google Slides came out with a new add-on that easily creates photo slideshows. These slideshows are also EASILY embedded into Google Sites. If you are one of the many wonderful teachers in our district who takes many pictures of students and wants a place to put them, this is a great option! See the how-to video below!
MASSCUE PHOTOS 2017 📷
Thank you to everyone who sent me photos! I used the Google Add-On referenced above to create this slideshow. You need to click the right arrow, and then play button to get it started 🙂
ASSISTive tech tools: 2 new ones to try! 💡 💡
I tried a few new tools recommended by Eric Curts on his blog, this week. I found two of them to be pretty good. Resoomer and Auto Highlight both assist in summarizing articles found on the web. Resoomer will cut the article down to the most important 30% (or so) of information and Auto Highlight will leave the article in its entirety, but highlight the most important points. Paired with a screen reader (like Select and Speak), these tools would greatly assist a nonreader in understanding grade level material.
Thank you for allowing me to be a small piece of your awesomeness!
I always love my job, and where I work, but this week has been one of the absolute best of my career. The annual MASSCUE fall conference was this week and it was the 35th anniversary of this incredibly inspiring event. Spending the two days with 27 Viking staff members, who are visionaries at what they do, filled my heart. Talking to teachers, technology directors, sped directors, and administrators from other districts while at this event left me feeling inspired and thankful to be in our district. We are in an incredible time in education, and we are so fortunate to be in the place that we are. YOU are so amazing, and when we talk to other districts – many are in awe of YOU. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of that.
I will share some of our pictures of this event next week, but this week – I’ll highlight our presenters below as well as two other AWESOME tech tips! Enjoy!
MASSCUE OMG WE SAW THE PATRIOTS!!!!
The Masscue fall conference was a wonderful event once again. This conference is the LARGEST conference-style event that Gillette Stadium hosts. East Bridgewater brought a record 27 staff members to the conference this year! Anyone who expressed an interest in attending, via the Google Form, was sent to the conference. It was a great two days, with a record number of staff members presenting and representing East Bridgewater.
On Wednesday, we had our picture taken on the field! While waiting to return to the workshops upstairs, we were held in a waiting area with a security guard. The ENTIRE PATRIOTS TEAM walked by us, onto the field, 5 FEET AWAY! Tom Brady smiled and waved to us! Why do I tell you this you ask? Because maybe this little bonus will entice you to attend next year! When you attend MASSCUE, you leave feeling empowered, you leave with new ideas and you connect with others outside of East Bridgewater with a similar vision as you! It’s an amazing day, consider coming next year!
Consider presenting – if you present you get to attend both days! You all do AMAZING things in your classrooms and buildings, and others love seeing it. MASSCUE is entirely teachers, administrators and school staff, interested in using technology some way in their practices – they would love to see what you do.
Thank you, BETH BARRA for taking some great notes on Wednesday to share with staff. Beth teaches fourth grade and she has a few great tools in here that would work well for k-6 classrooms! Click here for this resource.
Check out our EB presentations below! There is some GREAT stuff from AWESOME teachers in here!
Amazing Add-ons and Extensions
Richard Byrne, of Practical Ed Tech, posted an awesome document this week that features 25 Great Google Add-Ons for teachers. There are some great ones in here that include a list of canned comments you can choose from when grading writings through Google Classroom, a really cool Word Cloud add-on for Docs, and a rubric generator for Sheets. Check out (click here) this great breakdown of 25 (newer) add-ons and extensions!
Make your DOC so it cannot be copied! WHAT?!
I was reading my weekly email from Practical Ed Tech Blogger Richard Byrne this week. It was an awesome post which I referenced above. While I was reading an item he posted, I tried to copy and paste something from it and email to a colleague, referencing him of course. Docs wouldn’t let me copy it! It wouldn’t let me “Make a Copy” of the Doc either (I could screenshot it though)! If you create a Doc, Slide, or any other G-Suite item, you can do this too! I had to research this magic and it was one of those simple little things that were there ALL ALONG. If you present on a particular topic or create a resource document, I would consider doing this. We don’t want anyone taking your work and claiming it as one’s own.
See my screenshots below:
The message I received
Go to Advanced sharing:
Check the box:
Thanks for reading! And THANK YOU EB – it’s truly GREAT TO BE A VIKING!
This week I was honored to present at the SEAM BSU chapter meeting at Bridgewater State University. SEAM is the Student Education Association of Massachusetts and falls under the MTA and NEA. I talked about each and every one of you to the group, and showed off tools you’re using in the classroom to educate students. The SEAM group was mesmerized, eager, and astonished at all that you do. When we step away from our own roles for a minute and take a look at what we’re doing and what we’ve accomplished, it’s truly amazing. It’s easy, especially at this time of year, to feel tired and heavy. Teaching in the classroom can be isolating. The weather is changing, we’re go go going with our own lives at home, juggling families and school, managing our own adult responsibilities, we’re also trying new standards, curriculums, tech tools, and getting new students (STILL)…but keep doing what you’re doing. YOU ARE AMAZING and it shows! I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a record number of BSU student teachers in the spring, they were so impressed at all that you do!
Let’s take a look at some tools below to assist you in your amazingness:
Catch of the Day: Printing ALL student’s assignments from Google Classroom 😱
Thank you, Melissa Leonard, 3rd-grade teacher, for asking me this question. I went on a hunt to find the answer! There is actually a few ways you could do this, but I found the option below to be the most user-friendly. It uses the app PDF Mergy. Take a look, if you need to combine multiple files, not just from Classroom, to print.
Screenshot Tools 🛠
There are so many great ways to take partial area screenshots. Take a look at this short video tutorial of my three favorite ways. This is great tech that will help teachers and staff of all grade levels! Please just remember copyright law and fair use law when screenshotting.
Google Form Add-ons
So many of us use Google Forms! It is such a versatile tool, and the best part is that it is always improving! Check out the article below from Richard Byrne for some cool add-ons to use with Forms that will make it even better for you!
Have you ever been interested in becoming a Google Certified Educator? Wondering what that even means? Once you become a Google Certified Educator, you have access to the Google Forum as well as many other resources available only to trainers. You get the updates on anything new before the general public. The best part of being a GCE is being part of the forum and being able to ask questions of other Google Educators. You are listed in a database for those seeking trainers which can provide for other opportunities outside of the classroom. Plus you get the nifty little badge to put on your email. If you would like to see what certification entails, to be endorsed by Google, see the link below from my fav. blogger Eric Curts.
FREE video service. Do you like making videos of your class using pictures and music? Do you find MovieMaker or the YouTube editor a bit difficult? Then you may want to try Typito. Richard Byrne did a great video how-to on this resource. It’s free and allows for many options when editing including putting text across pictures.
First Grade Tech
First grade is now on iPads and Chromebooks – how exciting! They really enjoyed their first experience with KaHooT!
I could not help but have the title above. We have done so much adapting this year as a district! Central Elementary is doing such an amazing job adapting to new technology in the building! JRSRHS is doing an amazing job adapting to their technological circumstances (that will improve!). Mitchell continues to adapt to new tech tools and standards. We all adapted on Tuesday, when someone broke the internet 😜 whoops (it was me, I am sorry – it won’t happen again…I hope)! Everyone is adapting, and when I see it, I am so impressed! We are preparing our kiddos for changing tides and it’s showing! Let’s see what changes are taking place in tech this week:
Catch of the Day: Typing Practice! ⌨ ⌨ ⌨ 🎣 🎣 🎣
Thank you, Sarah Beberman and Beth Barra for sending me the programs you’re using for classroom typing practice. If you find your students need additional typing practice, after computer class where they also work on typing, Sarah is using Typing Club (click here) and Beth uses both typing club and Nitro Type (click here). Typing Club even includes “Touch Typing” which gives practice for typing on the iPads as well. This may be a good use of downtime in the morning before school or “while waiting” for everyone to get up and running on their Chromebooks.
Google Slides Update
Google Slides recently had a major update! Now, it has an add-on menu, chart feature, skip a slide option, and tile view. Check out this video post to see the new features. One of the best new features is the ability to insert charts. You can now have students EASILY create timelines with the timeline chart inside Google Slides and that is just one of six (so far) diagram options!
Reopen Closed Tabs 😲 💻 😲 💻 😲 💻
Do you ever close a tab accidentally? I do it ALL OF THE TIME! Here’s a VERY quick video to show you how to reopen that tab in the exact same spot where you left it! It’s basically an “undo” for internet tabs. Sometimes it’s the tricks that are so easy, that we forget to share them! What’s your quick trick? Share your trick in the comments below or send it to me via email! These little tricks help us all and together we are better!
Special Ed Presentation 🖥
This week I had the most wonderful opportunity to present at Bridgewater State. You can view my presentation below, and you may find some helpful tools. You will notice Pear Deck Slides embedded into the presentation. This can now be accomplished with the Pear Deck add-on (see above blog post). Thank you to the IEP coordinators, James, and Special Education staff for giving a great presentation on our PD day. You’ll notice I used some of your content in my presentation.
Have you caught the FlipGrid fever? If not, give it a try! This (free) program is EXPLODING all over the Twittersphere! Flipgrid started to gain momentum last year, and recently has just exploded! This is a great site/app that can truly be used at all grade levels, including PreK! Picture a PRIVATE grid, that you can share with parents and/or students, that has little videos of a classroom activity, response to a prompt, quiz etc! You as the teacher/moderator control the grid. YOU decide what videos can be seen, and who can see them. I can’t say enough about this tool! Since it’s exploding everywhere, some of the top ed-tech leaders have created “how-to” guides. So, see below if you’re interested in using this fantastic tool! You can book me as well and I can come in and help you use it or film!
As always, if you want to try any of this amazing task, reach out! You can find my booking calendar on the Contact page of my blog. I love this stuff, and there is no task too small that I don’t enjoy! Even if you just want me to film for you, for FlipGrid! Maybe you just need an idea of how to get going with technology in your classroom, I’m here for you in these changing tides 🌊
Wow! Is it a busy time at school or what?! We are officially in the full swing of things. The transition month has passed, and with it, the crazy that is “going back to school.” The days are cooling off and the routines are set. A teacher asked me a great question last week: “With so much tech out there to choose from, how do we know we’re using the right tool?” For instance, with math alone, you could use Prodigy, Moby Max, Front Row, IXL, XtraMath, Kahn Academy and the list goes ON AND ON! There are so many great ed-tech tools out there, but I think Alice Keeler said it best, last week, on Twitter: “There isn’t enough tech training in the world for whatever the tool is. The right tool is the one you’re excited to invest time in.”
So, I’m here – to hopefully help EXCITE you! I LOVE THIS STUFF! So….here we go:
Catch of the day: Class Dojo Toolkit App
This catch of the day is a shout out to 3rd-grade teacher Kim Wolohojian, and her 3rd-grade team, for using Dojo App that contains the new, updated, amazing Toolkit! If you open the toolkit on a phone it will project to your computer for display. Toolkit is only an option on the phone app and can’t be opened by the computer itself (but they are working on it). There’s a new feature in the toolkit called “group maker” that lets you pair and group students at random similar to Flippity. However, unlike Flippity, Dojo has a do not pair together option! That means if you have two students or groups of students that don’t work well together, it will not pair them together when you randomize! How AWESOME is that??!!
If you are not familiar with Class Dojo, click here for a preview. It is similar to the app Remind which I’ve seen widely used throughout the district. With DOJO, in addition to a family communication piece, where you can send text-updates and photos in a safe environment, you can also have a classroom management piece. Students have avatars and you, as the teacher, can award points. You can also take away points. The parents can see the management piece if you choose or it can be turned off to parents and only the texting option can be seen. I have this as a parent for my own sons, and I LOVE it.
If you would like to see a great comparison of parent-communication apps, including Remind, Dojo and much more click here.
Halloween Google Slide Activity 🎃 👻 🕸 🎃 👻 🕸 🎃 👻 🕸
OMG, this is so cute (click here)! From Eric Curts (one of my favorite techies) – make a jack o lantern in Google Slides! The template is already created for you and students can use all of the images to create a digital Jack-O-Lantern. There’s even a writing component to the activity. You can alter the master anyway you would like, and then use Google Classroom to push it out to students.
You could go one step further and have each student make a Jack-O-Lantern that reflects his or her personality, submit it to you and you could put them all in a master slide deck and have kids try to guess who’s is who’s.
Halloween Hyper Doc 📎 💻 🌏 📰 🎃 📎 💻 🌏 📰
This is an AWESOME(click here) Hyperdoc full of all sorts of (free) Halloween activities. It is geared towards middle school, but check it out and you may find some activities you can use in your classroom. It has many interactive, appropriate, Halloween tech games, videos on the history of jack-o-lanterns and other traditions, an option to “Trollify” yourself (from Trolls the movie), a Halloween light show, and much much more! Please preview any items on the Hyperdoc before showing students.
Book Creator 📚 📚 📚 📚
Shout out to School Committee member Aimee McAlpine who created this great resource (click here) on online book creators. A few 6th-grade teams plan to use these resources to create books to then read to their third-grade friends.
For those of you who do not know Aimee, she is an Instructional Technology Specialist for the Marshfield Public Schools as well as a parent and school committee member. Thank you, Aimee!
Math Resources 🔢
Another favorite techie of mine, Richard Byrne, put out free math resources that he enjoys. We’ve seen many of these before but I feel like I should always include posts on math tech. These resources span all maths, so take a look! The Geoboard is one of my favorite tools!
This add-on is as silly as it sounds, but it’s still pretty cute! Take a gander and see how to “Lisa Frank” your Google Doc! Sometimes, it’s the little things that get kids excited to learn! This could be that “little” thing!
Who to Follow 📝
If you’re wondering the best tech bloggers to follow (aside from me of course – lol) click here for the top tech bloggers according to Ed Tech Magazine. This is a great run-down and I follow many of these ed-tech leaders myself! What’s great is that many of these bloggers provide FREE RESOURCES that they create and allow all to use. They are firm believers in the Teachers-Give-Teachers movement! I suggest finding just one to follow that is similar to your own field or interests, and check in on their blog or subscribe. You won’t regret it, I promise!