Welcome! 🐠

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!

oFISHally and Digitally yours,

Erin Fisher

 

Stay Afloat this Summer…. ⛵ 🐟 😂

Wooohoooo!

Happy Summer Everyone! We made it! 😎 It was a pleasure working with you and THANK YOU to all of those who had me in or who reached out in some way! I’m already thinking of ways to make technology integration bigger and better for next year, so stay tuned! In fact, I was so busy in this endeavor last week, I neglected my weekly blog post for the first time! Can you believe it?! I know you must have missed me 😉!

Although I plan to FULLY enjoy my summer, I find that if I don’t keep up at least a little with technology integration over the summer that I come back to a lot of catch-up work. It helps me to “stay afloat” in the summer with tech, so my post this week outlines a few great ways one can do that. You can check in as little or as much as you want! You could also just reference this post in the fall 🙂

Twitter 🐦

I find the BEST, most up-to-date tech lessons, ideas, and strategies on Twitter!  I have a few FAVORITE bloggers that I follow who post regularly and I keep them in my cheat sheet here.  I also follow @Masscue which will often retweet great posts from other Massachusetts Educators.  You can also follow me, I also retweet great things I see @MrsErinFisher.  I absolutely LOVE Twitter chats and have made so many new friends by being a part of a few.  Twitter is a great way to see the latest and greatest tech updates!

Read and Write! 📝

I LOVE to read, but I LOVE to write even more.  This year I wrote my weekly blog and also a few tech articles for various publications on Tech PD Days and EdTech Coaching.  Reading educational books and also writing about education, even just to be reflective (like my blog), help me to keep my skills “afloat.”  I plan to read Lead like a Pirate this summer as well as a whole lot of fiction! I also hope to write a few posts over the summer and keep a summer journal with my own children as we write about our favorite days.

MASSCUE 💻

Check out the MASSCUE site, as they are hosting not one, but 2 GooglePaloozas this summer for a VERY cheap rate! MASSCUE offers so much PD, most of which is free for members.  This is a fantastic organization! Consider joining – one incentive are the grants they award to members who write an application…up to $3000!

FishinOnAMission 🐟

Lastly, check back here! You may see me post a little over the summer 🙂 🐟

Other stuff 🏆

As we finish up the year, I also wanted to include a few wrap-up items…

End of Year Video/Slide Shows 📹

I’ve seen so many GREAT picture slide shows at the different schools.  iMovie seems to be a favorite, but our new District-wide Technology Coordinator told me about OpenShot! It looks like a great alternative, and it appears it would work really well with Google Drive on a Chromebook. BONUS – it’s free. Check it out below and consider it for next year’s project!

I used iMovie for this GEM below which we made for Kathy Raulinaitis’s retirement. She is my former partner when I taught 6th grade.

Pear Deck AWESOMENESS 🍐

Pear Deck just came out with 30 PREMADE AWESOME DECKS! They all focus on internet skills and involve some GREAT lessons, including how to determine “fake news.” The best part – ALREADY MADE FOR YOU! Check it out!

https://beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com/en/slides

 

I wish you all a FINTASTIC summer! 🦈

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Cast the line….into next year! 🎣 🐟

Can you feel it? Can you sense it….because it’s coming! I’m talking about SUMMER of course! Our time as teachers to rest and rejuvenate and take in some “transformative technology.” However, before this glorious time begins, let’s talk about some tasks we can do to finish out our year strong and make it just a little easier to come back!

Clean up: 

Much like our own classrooms, our own Google accounts could use some cleanup and packup as well! Check out the recommended tasks below! I assure you, you will thank yourself when you come back next year if you tend to these items now!

Google Drive 🚙

Cleaning up your Drive and sorting and organizing items will allow you to feel a sense of relief when returning next year. You can clean both your Drive and your Shared with me Drive with a few easy steps.  See the video below. This would even be a great activity to complete with your students as well!

Email ✉️

No one wants to leave with a full inbox.  View this quick video to see how to Archive all of your emails in one easy step. This clears it from your inbox but saves it in an Archive folder in case you ever need to locate that one particular email.  I never delete an email, only Archive, because I never know if I need to dig up something important!

Google Classroom 🏫

NEVER TOUCH THE GOOGLE CLASSROOM FOLDER IN YOUR DRIVE! However, you will need to clean up your Google Classrooms themselves.  Be sure to pass back all student work that was turned in. This will return ownership of items to the student.  See the link here for more information on that.

Like Email, you may want to Archive your current classes.  This is highly recommended by Google as well. This way new students and/or staff cannot see previous announcements and assignments that may not apply to them. You can always “reuse” posts from year to year which is the beauty of Google Classroom.  Be sure to go in and make sure all of your announcements and/or assignments have a topic assigned. This will help you when looking for particular items next year.

Prepare some Items to start your Year 

How nice is it to come back and be like “Oh yeah, I have this whole first-day thing ready to go!” ?  Well, read below for some quick and easy ideas of how you can prepare some items ahead. Please reach out if you need any assistance!

Parent Surveys 📋

Google Forms are such a POWERFUL tool!  If you already send home a “tell me about your child” type of survey, consider sending it home via Google Forms.  The benefit of this is it will put the information in a beautiful, organized spreadsheet for you.  Here is an example I’ve used in my own classroom. You could also have a few devices available at Open House for parents to fill this out as well, in the event you don’t get responses. You can use your SchoolBrains parent emails to easily email out the survey (see video below)! Book me today if you would like any assistance preparing this for next year!

Student Surveys 📝

Again, Google Forms are a great tool and surveying students will give you some very useful data for future use!  Bill Silva, Biology Teacher at the East Bridgewater JRSRHS, sends a form to his students. It provides him useful contact information so he can contact his AP students over the summer!

You can also survey your own students at the beginning of the year to see how they feel about certain subject areas. I’ve used this in an anonymous format to get more honest answers.  I gave out the form a few times throughout the year to reassess how students are feeling about themselves in the specific subject area. Consider preparing a survey now to give students at the beginning of school, it may help you get to know your students better! Click here to see the example.

First Day Activities 🥇

Aside from a Google Form, an interactive Pear Deck on the first day is a whole lot of fun and can provide you GREAT data in a nice organized spreadsheet! I’ve made this particular Deck for you to use (click here), with questions provided by Pear Deck. Feel free to modify it to suit your own needs if you would like to use it. Just remember to add the Pear Deck add-on for Slides. You may need the add-on installed before making the copy, this way the questions appear. When presenting to click the GREEN present with Pear Deck button. See the video below for assistance.

Please reach out for any assistance in making your last few days, or your first few days, a little easier. I am here for you!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Activities for the End of your Line 🎣

Hello hello fishy friends! It is June, and you know what that means?! We are at the “end of the line” and ready to “reel it in.”  It feels good to be at that finish line, doesn’t it? We’ve worked hard all year, with our students and with each other!  This is the time of year where we can reflect on our practice, and also have students reflect on the year.  There are some great activities integrating technology that you can use with your students in the reflection process.  I posted these activities last year as well as below, and added a few new ones!

Google Sites – Digital Portfolios! 

  • How about a digital portfolio?  Students can use the new Google Sites to easily create a portfolio of their best work from the school year! I’ve been in with second grade, sixth grade, and a select group of seventh and eighth graders to create digital portfolios. They are coming out beautifully and the kids really enjoy creating them. This would be a great activity for the end of year reflection and also a great tool to follow students as they move through our schools.  Book me today, and I can come in and assist you with Digital Portfolios!

Infographics 

Using Google Draw (here’s an example I made here)

  • You could create an infographic based on the grade level – “5th-grade memories” or “year in review
    • You are more than welcome to use this template I created (it will force the copy) to have the students create a “year in review” infographic – it’s blackboard themed.
  • You could have students create a memory board similar to those blackboard charts parents use – but use school memories (see here)
  • You could create an infographic based on content – “Science in a snapshot
  • You could create an “inspirational” infographic and hang them up around your room for students to see next year! 
  • You could create a sequential infographic that goes with a process writing
  • You could create an infographic that shows a cycle (water cycle, life cycle etc)
  • You could create an interactive (with hyperlinks) infographic

Memory book 

  • Using Google Slides
    • You can create a template – or use mine here (very simple) – to have students create a memory book of the year.  Push it out through Google Classroom in order to make a copy for each student. You can then show these to students on the first day of school. Let students alter backgrounds, fonts, colors, and pictures to really get creative.
  • Using Google Form
    • Create a Google Form asking students about the year. Here you can frame the questions in a way to get answers you would want to use.
    • You can use Autocrat to turn the responses into an actual Google Doc and you can make it all sorts of pretty. You can download the Doc as a PDF or publish the doc as a site. Here is an example of one I made from a form.  This type of assignment would take booking me for the conversion or you can watch the video here of how to use Autocrat.
  • Using Screencastify and Slides
    • Google Slides now allows videos (NOT on Youtube) to be embedded into slides. You could provide questions for your students and have them video the answers. From there, you can have them insert the videos into their own Slides presentation or a master copy you created that would show the whole class.  This would be fun to share with parents as well, and it would be in a safe space (Drive) which can be shared with specific people and not the whole world. You could ask questions such as, “What was your favorite lesson this year? What was your favorite activity/memory? etc”

Create a Commercial (from Edutopia) 

    • Host a class competition where students cast a vote and give an award to the team that produces the most clever, creative 30-second advertisement for your grade level/classroom/content area. Decide first as a class on the product to be pitched (plan, design, critique). Animoto is a GREAT FREE site that could assist with this commercial making or POWTOON. Animaker and iMovie (iphones/ipads) also work well! PowToon is great for comics too!

Hyperdocs 

    • Have students really help you out and have them create a Hyperdoc based on a lesson or concept you taught this year.  Once the student shares it with you, you can “File – Make a Copy” and use it next year. Here is an example I created using one of the templates on the Hyperdocs site.  There are great templates here that students can use.  There are also hyperdocs already created for you to use, and students could look at for ideas.

Flipgrid or Let’s Recap 

    • If you haven’t tried Flipgrid or Let’s Recap yet, this may be the time to do it.  Both sites are free and allow you to present a question or topic. The student then answers the question or topic with a picture or video response. Once they answer and submit the response, they lose the rights to it (unlike Screencasting). Only you, as the teacher, have the rights to the video within the platform. You cannot download or repost the videos, but you can share with students and parents via a code if you choose.  You approve the videos for viewing after you watch them. Let’s recap will put them into a montage for you, which is the only benefit that site has right now on Flipgrid. Students really enjoy using these sites! Warning – you will need a quiet space if recording video with a full class of kiddos.

Have fun with Bitmoji (grades 7-12) 

    • Have students create a collage of the year in review – or any topic for that matter, using Bitmojis.  They can edit the bitmojis and create something a bit more personal. See my video here for a tutorial.  Here is an example of Bitmoji art that I created to show off my year.

Google Sheet WordSearch! – Alice Keeler  

    • This is pretty cool! Let me know if you want/need help getting going with this. Take a custom list and make a word search in Google Sheets to push out to the kids via Classroom. Better yet, have the kids make one! Click here for this resource.

Comics! 

http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/eBooks/

    • These downloadable, interactive comic templates are pretty cool. Kids can make 9 different reflective e-books simply by entering text into the boxes. There is also a comic site where they can create short comics click here
Please let me know if you have any ideas for a cool end-of-year technology integration activity! Be sure to check in next week when I post my ideas on End-of-Year teacher activities like slideshows and surveys to make your start of next year even easier!

Have a great weekend everyone!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher  🐟 🐟 🐟

 

 

Swimming in the same “school” 🏊‍♀️🏫 🐟

Image result for Stoughton public schools

I am reminded now, more than ever, that we are one team, swimming in one school. Not just our own classrooms, our own schools or our own town, but all of us in education…everywhere. We are all one team, and we are all working towards one goal: turning out successful kids! We all play a role, whether it’s in sports, music, academics, the lunchroom, the nurse’s office, the tech office, the admin office etc. We are all working to raise these children academically, socially, and emotionally for the short time they are with us. The end goal upon graduation is they can go on and lead successful lives.  We may not always agree on the best way to do just that, but we should still acknowledge we are on the same team. In the end, we all want the same things. So, how are you “teaming” up with others, how are you swimming in the same “school of fish”?  Take a look at some of the teamwork I’ve seen with EdTech below!

Welcome to Central School  🏫

Recently, incoming Kindergarteners had their orientation at Central School.  Making the newest little Vikings feel comfortable and excited about school is a certainly a team effort! These children are our future BIG Vikings after all! I was lucky enough to be invited to work on the project below with Central School K teachers, EBCAM and Administration. It was an amazing Team Effort! Sandi Telless, Kate Byrne, and the entire K team really worked together to make something special! A special SHOUT OUT to Anne Kerrigan at EBCAM who worked with me in the Media Studio to put together the videos, pictures, audio, and music! This was such a special team effort! Together, we are truly better! I was so very inspired watching K teachers do their thing. Thank you, I am honored to “swim” with you in our school.

 

 

Inspiring Others – Raise them Up! 🙌 

I’ve been very lucky to meet some great, local, EdTech leaders through MASSCUE itself and through the MASSCUE Special Interest Groups (SIGs).  They encourage, support and inspire me. Even though I’m the (fairly) new kid on the block, they were quick to include me and guide me in everything EdTech.  If you’re interested, check them out or follow them on Twitter. Here are just a few of those who inspire me: @MatthewXJoseph @cterrillteach @rlfreedm @ZajacSLP @Stefanowicz135 @kwinsper 

In return, I try to take what I learn from them and bring it back. MASSCUE is a wonderful organization that is full of “teammates.”  You can check out what MASSCUE is all about here and learn about their monthly professional development opportunities, special interest groups, and committees. MASSCUE is so much more than just an awesome annual Fall conference! To have a group of like-minded professionals that I can go to, outside of my building, to gain perspective has been invaluable. Technology can be embedded into every discipline and every area of education. MASSCUE has members that are Tech teachers, but also administrators, special education teachers, classroom teachers, speech teachers etc! It’s for everyone who enjoys some aspect of technology in their practice. It’s a great organization if you care to join!

One way I’ve tried to inspire others is by “hooking” into those who take interest in EdTech.  You know who you are 😉. Once I “catch” you in my net, I tend not to let go!  I will try my best to encourage you, inspire you and bombard you with emails, texts, visits etc. It may sound overwhelming, but most of the fish I swim with enjoy it! Recently, I hooked into Sarah Beberman, Central School grade 2 Teacher.  We worked together on a great summer opportunity, and now she has a course prepared that looks AMAZING: ENGAGE WITH LITERACY IN THE DIGITAL AGE. Check out her course description here. I have no doubt it will be an amazing EdTech Literacy adventure!

Working Together and Taking Risks 

It does take trust, and risk, when we swim together in our school. We need to trust those who swim by our side to not run us over and also take the risk that what we’re doing will keep us moving forward. I am fortunate and incredibly honored at those who have me into their classrooms and trust me. One of those such people (among many) is Stacy Linnehan, a special education Language-Based Teacher at Mitchell. Through working with her, I too, have benefited immensely.  She shows me how the tools I recommend benefit her students (You can find many of those tools in my former blog post here). She helps me to see learning and tech through a different lens. Together, we will present at the MASSCUE Fall conference on some of the tools we’ve worked to implement in her language-based classroom.

Recently, we visited Easton Public Schools on a MASSCUE Learning Walk (free for MASSCUE members). We were able to see some innovative ways to use technology in the classroom and also sit down with those in the same positions in Easton that we hold in EB.

In Closing…

Together we are better and I feel that we are so very privileged to work with children in the education profession! As my friend, Matt Joseph says: Be the match that lights someone’s fire! Who’s the match for you? Thank you so to many of you who light my fire daily, and keep it burning! You send me emails, texts, bookings, Tweets, or you just stop me in the hallway and share some tech with me, or ask me about tech – I love it! I wouldn’t want to swim with any other fish!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Hook ’em in: Using tech to build relationships ↩🎣️ 💙

Is there anything better than working with students? When you see the light go on? How full is your “bucket” after teacher appreciation week, last week? ☺ I certainly hope it is very full, and that your students sent you some love. We can take a look at education and talk about the variables that are beyond our control: kids are different today, families are different, standards are different, testing is different, technology is different, the administration is different, etc. However, what is not different is what is at the heart of education and that is relationships 👥 .  In relationships with students we as teachers make the choice and have complete control. We can choose to take on the difficult task of getting to know our students. I say difficult because often times we have to peel back the many layers of a youngster before getting to know him or her, and this takes time. Time is what we feel we don’t have, however, if you take the time it pays off during learning. It’s not always an easy world we live in, the demands of academia combined with social pressures and the internet fueling the fires 🔥, make it a difficult world for children to grow up in.  Many families are struggling and some of our kiddos are coming to school just holding it together. They need you, and not just as a teacher 💓. So, my focus this week is how technology can help build relationships with students.  What role can technology play in building warmth and trust with students? Well, read below to hear from a few of our very own on how they are doing just that! 

“Know ‘em so we can grow ‘em” 🌱

Google Classroom and Slides 

Tori Cameron, Grade 6 Teacher, says: During homeroom on google classroom I always have a question of the day. It can be about anything but usually has to do with timing during the school year. When I taught younger grades I used to have morning meeting and we always had a question of the day, so I wanted to keep up that kind of atmosphere in middle school. Throughout the year I have also given the students opportunities to create their own slides/videos on various topic to share with their class/friends.

Ginny McCarthy, Grade 6 Teacher, says: would turn the traditional sheets that ask them getting to know you questions to google slides where I could also use a program to show the students the results so they could tell who answered what. What is your favorite color etc… I also do big getting to know you poster. I was just thinking wouldn’t it be cool to scan them and create a digital presentation highlighting each child in the class! It could also run during Open House!

Laura McPhee, Grade 6 Teacher, says: I have them do an “all about me” Google Presentation at the beginning of the year.  They share them with the class so we can all get to know each other better.   I also do one myself.

These are GREAT Tori, Ginny, and Laura! I especially love how you combine the technology with a hands-on poster. Great blended learning!

💡 Idea: Start the year off with a Google Slides template you create about “getting to know you” and have students fill it in and personalize it. Sometimes having a template for them to fill in can be a bit easier for littles than a blank canvas
💡 Idea: The “Ask a question” feature is a great tool in Google Classroom that creates a blog-like atmosphere in a safe space. Consider using it, like Tori said, for a question of the day to get to know your class and they can get to know each other.  It also allows for practicing of typing skills!

Pear Deck 

Amy Ronayne, Gr. 8 ELA teacher, states: Although I don’t use technology explicitly to get to know students, it does allow me to understand them better. The biggest impact that technology has in my classroom is giving all students, especially the quiet students, a voice. Instead of me asking a question and hearing from the same 10 volunteers who always put their hands up, technology such as Pear Deck 🍐 and Google applications allow me to hear from all students. By using technology in brain breaks, I get to know students’ personalities much better (ex: use Pear Deck to draw your favorite food). 

I love this Amy! I agree Pear Deck is an awesome tool to hear from every student thus allowing us to know each learner a little better!

💡 Idea: Consider using a Pear Deck on the first day to get to know students, then you can share their answers with the class anonymously. This is a great activity that every student enjoys! I even have one made if you’d like to use it! Just reach out 🙂

Google Forms  

Bill Silva, HS Science Teacher, says: For my AP kids I do a google form to ask students questions about themselves and their interests.  I use this form to also collect book #, Email and other contact info.  This is always done in June of the previous year and allows me to communicate with them over the summer and assist them with their summer work. 

Awesome Bill! Google Forms is a GREAT tool to get to know our students, and also our families with the younger level.

💡 Idea: Consider sending out your “getting to know you survey” digitally via Google Form to parents if students are younger, or your students if they are old enough.  You can refer to it all year and it puts the data in a very nice, clean, spreadsheet!
💡Idea: Consider sending a “how do you feel about ______” Google Form at the beginning of the year. Ask students their strengths and weaknesses and have them reassess themselves throughout the year. Have it be anonymous and show them the data, and have them reflect on how they’ve grown. See my example here. 

Student Choice 

Joanne Cross, Gr. 3-6 Computer Teacher, states: When I do something like coding or computer animation with kids, it’s awesome to see some kids just excel at it. It may be a student who doesn’t necessarily have success academically but I can see some real coding/programming/animation talent in some kids. They just get it and make the connections necessary to work in these fields with computers. I talk about becoming animators or programmers later in life in my class all the time, especially with students who may not have found something that they shine at yet. I like that I am able to open new avenues for students to feel success and potentially build a career path as an adult.

Dan Parks, Gr. 7 Social Studies Teacher, says:  Kids have made videos for projects that show more of their personality than a written response can demonstrate. If I provide student choice in assignments/projects I see their strengths/likes based on the choices they make.

YES! I couldn’t agree more Joanne and Dan, and this is one of the key concepts in Universal Design for Learning! Simply giving students choice over their learning allows us to know them better and foster those relationships.

💡 Idea: Consider allowing students choose how to show mastery of a concept. Narrow down those choices with tools like Google Slides, iMovie, Animaker, Powtoon, Flipgrid, PAPER and PENCIL, hands-on projects, photos…etc!

SeeSaw/FlipGrid  

Maureen Holbrook, Spanish Teacher, states: When I use SeeSaw I usually ask students questions about themselves in connection with the material that we are learning.  Their responses are personal and unique.  I will always make a comment back to them based on what they say in the video/recording.  I respond to each recording – giving advice for improvement or simply commenting – letting them know I am reading/listening to what they have to say.  It is a personal response/interaction even though it’s through technology.  It is a way to connect with students using technology – their mode of communication 😊

Tori Cameron, Grade 6 Teacher, says:  Seesaw is great because the kids can comment and encourage each other. When I give the students opportunities to make videos, their personalities really flourish. 

Sarah Beberman, Grade 2 Teacher, states: Using an application such as FlipGrid not only takes some student barriers out of the equation but lets you hear the student “voice” that you hear in writing magnified. Their personalities shine and they think they’re mini-Youtubers.

💡 Idea: Consider trying out SeeSaw and/or FlipGrid. These are great tools to post prompts and see personalities shine! You can even share it with families. SeeSaw has a parent app as well to allow for a bit more privacy than FlipGrid, where a parent may see the entire Grid.

I’m here and ready to help you get some of these tech tools in place for next year! Let’s make a Google Form for the first week to send to parents and/or students. How about a “getting to know you” Google Slide activity or Pear Deck activity?! Let me know, I’m here and ready to “hook” you up!

Closing Thoughts 

As a parent, I care MOST about teachers loving my sons. My sons spend more time with their teachers during the week than me, so it’s important to me that they’re loved first. I can assist with academics at home (luckily), but I can’t replicate the relationship they form with their teachers, I can’t replicate that inspiration they provide or the curiosity they spark. There are so many great ways we can use technology to assist in getting to know our students! However, nothing compares to you sitting with them and taking the time to talk and truly get to know and love them. “The best teachers in the world connect on some personal level with their students.  They do not only know their students, but their students know them” (Couros, 2015).

💙

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

No Need to Flounder…Try these Google Tips and Tricks 🐡 🐟 🐠 🙋

Hello hello hello! How can we make life easier at this busy time of year as we begin our end of year wrap-up? Well, let’s talk a little this week about some Google Tips and Tricks!  For instance, did you know you can turn any piece of a YouTube video into a GIF simply by putting the word GIF in front of the address?! How about moving the icons in your Google Waffle for ease of use? Sometimes it’s the little things! I learn these tips and tricks through friends, Twitter, and conferences. With so much tech out there, I feel like I am ALWAYS learning something new! Take a look at a few new tricks I’ve learned below!

G-Suite

A great workshop I recently attended was a workshop called #GoogleAddict. This workshop was presented by a Technology Integration Specialist from Groton-Dunstable named Julie Spang Click here for Julie Spang’s Slides titled #GoogleAddict. I’ve included a few of my favorite tips I learned from her below:

Move Your Waffle 

This is something so easy, yet so useful! You can move the icons in your Google Waffle to any order you would like.  DOn’t use Hangouts? Move it to the bottom and move Classroom or YouTube to the top! See the video below for help!

Organizing Made Easy 📹

This little tip is also so easy, yet so useful.  You can “move” or organize your Docs/Slides/Sheets right at the top of the item. Take a look at the video below – this may assist you with organization.

Easy Gifs from YouTube 📹

Do you want a little-animated GIF from YouTube? Well, simply put the word GIF in front of the address and let the GIF menu open! From there, you can have your own custom GIF! This is a bit easier than the GifIt! extension I’ve shared previously! See the video for assistance:

Remote for Slides 📱

There’s a GREAT extension that can turn your phone into a remote for your Google Slides! It’s called Remote for Slides and you can see how it works here! A handy little tool!

Some Google Fun 

Here are a few great extras from Google that I really liked playing with this week. I read about them here on Matt Miller’s blog. 

Earth Engine 🌏

Really neat for Science, take a look at the timelapse of an area on Earth. It’s really neat!

https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/

Quick Draw ✏️

This is REALLY fun! Give it a try! Google gives you something to draw, and you have a limited time to draw it. Great for a brain break!

https://quickdraw.withgoogle.com/

AWESOME Google/Grammarly Update 

Grammarly is coming to Google Docs (FINALLY)!  It’s in BETA right now and hopefully will release soon!

I hope these tips and tricks find you well! Reach out anytime you need a quick tip or easy workaround, I’m here ☺️!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Updates Updates! Let “minnow” how I can help!

WOW!  Do I have a post for you this week!  The most challenging aspect of technology integration is that there is just SO MUCH out there, and it is always changing.  However, I’m here to help! Part of my role is staying on top of latest and greatest tools, as well as updates to the current tools we use.  So, let “minnow” if I can help you with any of it! Learning a tool or seeing how a tool updated!

It’s been an amazing week of explosive updates from Google! The GMAIL updates even made the NATIONAL NEWS as seen in the video below!  In addition, there have also been updates to Docs, Slides and even a few favorite tech sites that will be changing. Read below to see the scoop! 🍦 

Email is Changing 📧

The GMAIL Update is so HUGE it hit the national news!  Read the story on NBC here. The updates to the GMAIL platform are so great!  Check out the update from Google here and watch my video below as well to see the updates in action! As of right now, 5/1, all of the updates haven’t officially hit in my email, but they will in the next few weeks. Currently, the expiration feature has not appeared in East Bridgewater, but don’t worry, it will. Google is the first email platform to allow expiration dates on email! AMAZING!  You do not have to have the new platform yet, but eventually, Google will migrate (and force) everyone over. Right now, you can “opt-in” if your Google Administrator sets the correct permissions.

Insert Slides into Docs – WHAT?!

I know, right?!  This is pretty cool and explained much better by video. Basically, you can copy and paste a Slide into a Doc, and the image will Hyperlink to the Slide Deck.  This would be great if you were having students complete a writing and include a presentation with the writing.  All of it can link into one single Doc and have the image of the Slide to go with it. Pretty cool stuff! Read the update from Google here and see the video below:

Use Rulers on Slides 📏

Another great update to Slides this week is the ability to use rulers and guides.  If you really like to make sure items and text line up, or if you are creating worksheets using Slides, the ruler will be very helpful.  You can read the update from Google here. When printing a Slide, the ruler will now let you see where the margin lies. Often, I hear teachers complain about creating certain items in sheets. The solution…SLIDES! Use Slides as a Doc, it’s much less limiting!

In Non-Google News…

Technology Updates – or should we say down? 

In Sad News…

Padlet now has a fee structure.  You are capped at a certain amount of Padlets. However, if you delete a previous Padlet, you can add another so there is still a free component. You can read about the new fee structure here.  A free alternative to Padlet is Wakelet, and this program is getting some good press!

Today’s Meet is going away. If you use Today’s Meet you will need to find another live chat tool. As of 6/15 Today’s Meet will meet no more.  Alternatives to Today’s Meet are Spiral.ac or BackChannelChat.  Let “minnow” if I can assist you with these tools! They’re pretty cool when paired with a documentary!

A little better… 🍐

Pear Deck has had some major updates, and will have even more in the next few months. Please reach out if you’re using this awesome tool and we can discuss the updates!

I’m always here to help with your technology integration needs! Send me a shout out if you’ve seen any updates lately!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

Assuring we “catch” all of our kids!

Keeping our “school of fish” together

This week I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the MASSCUE SIG SLP/SPED group meeting hosted by Kim Zajac of the Norton Public Schools and led by John F. O’Sullivan, the Educational App Guide! John has published 5 books on UDL and Assistive Technology Tools. He has so many options in his toolbox it is AMAZING!  I learned so much at this meeting, and it was great to talk to teachers from other schools about what they’re using as well to remove the barriers.  John really hit home with his focus: How can we remove the barrier so the student can reach the goal? What different paths can students take to show they’ve met the goal?

Take a look below for some great tools that will assist ALL of our learners, help remove the barriers, and keep our “fish” swimming!

UDL TECHNOLOGY  💌 🆓 📑

First up on the blog, is a FREE resource from John: UDL Technology.  This is actually a section of his book that he posts online, free! Chapter 17 has many great, free, tools you can use with all students. Just to entice you even more, take a look at some of the topics below he has posted on this great resource.  I was lucky enough to win a copy of one of his books at the workshop, so if you’d like to borrow it, let me know! His books are also available for purchase on Amazon.

My Favorite Tools for Reading Online  📖 💻

Reading text online can be a challenge. We could easily use a text-to-speech tool like Select and Speak or Read and Write, however, with MCAS and many other texts moving online, it is now a reality that all students will need to learn how to decipher text on the screen. There are many great tools to assist when reading online.  The video below shows a few of my favorites that assist with screen reading. These tools are free and available for all students.  The extension Mercury Reader clears the clutter, inverts the page coloring, changes the font and overall can clean up the page when reading online.  BeeLine Reader is another great extension that changes the font and alters the color of the text on the page. This extension has been shown to greatly assist those with dyslexia. Font changer is an extension that will allow you to customize the font, and size of the font, for all sites you visit.  Line Height Adjuster allows you to put more spacing between lines of text on the page and Visor provides a masking tool when reading online.  It is important to note that the online MCAS does provide similar tools for all students when taking the exam. Allowing students to utilize these tools when reading online may greatly aide in their success when it comes to reading text online!

 Accessibility Settings in Chrome 🔎 👍

Did you know that the Chromebook has many accessibility settings already built in? There are many beneficial settings for students, even more than just the popular ones you may see such as inverting the contrast, bigger mouse arrow, or magnification.  The video below shows many of the lesser known accessibility features within the Chrome settings.

Assistive Tech Presentation  📽️

Below, is the presentation I gave at Medfield Digital Learning day that contains ALL of my favorite AT tools. It also includes an example Assistive Technology Evaluation that I conducted, if you wish to see it.  New tools come out at such a rapid pace, there are probably even better ones now that are on this month-old presentation!

I hope you’re able to find the tools you need to assist every student in his or her success. If you ever want help finding a tech tool, feel free to reach out!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

“REEL-Y” Awesome Techie Teachers! 🎣 👨‍🏫 👩‍🏫

What an AWESOME week! 😍  This week was Community Tech Night in East Bridgewater. We had a great team volunteer their time to share our amazing tech use with the community. 💻 It was also the Digital Learning Day conference in Medfield this week as well. Five of our FABULOUS East Bridgewater Staff shared their knowledge with others from around the state! It was simply a great week in Ed. Tech. in EB.  Hence, the focus of my post is our AMAZING, Fabulous, Awesome staff! So, read below to see some AMAZING things your colleagues are doing!  It may give you a few new ideas. 🙂 Certainly reach out to them! I know from working with them personally, that they are always willing to help.

Community Tech Night 💻 

Community Tech Night in East Bridgewater was held on Tuesday evening.  Although it wasn’t as well attended as we had hoped, it was very well received by those in attendance. Bethany Barra, Nick Davis, Maureen Holbrook, Laura McPhee, Ginny McCarthy and Bill Silva shared their knowledge on various topics such as Hyperdocs, Google Classroom, Google Keep, Padlet, Readworks, Epic, SeeSaw, ReCap, YouTube, and more! The parents and school committee members in attendance were very impressed, as was I, with everything shared! THANK YOU so much to these fabulous teachers, and every staff member every day, willing to share their expertise! Check out the general resources below from the evening and reach out to the staff members listed if you want to know more about what they presented!

Medfield Digital Learning Day 📖

Tori Cameron, Jamie Hulke, Laura McPhee, Julia Sheehan and Erin Fisher presented at Medfield Digital Learning day this week. This is a great conference attended by over 100 schools, including schools from New Hampshire and Rhode Island!

Tori Cameron was inspired by 103.3 Amp Radio’s TJ show to start her own Podcast. He even MENTIONED HER on his radio show this week, and played some of her latest podcast episodes!  Tori presented at Medfield about Podcasting and hosting her own Podcast: Steam Up the Classroom. Check out her presentation here, it has some really great resources including great educational podcasts for kids!

Jamie Hulke and Julia Sheehan use so many great tech tools to engage their students in a truly blended learning environment. These two presented on Digital Discussion and showed all of their great tips and tricks when using tools such as FlipGrid, Instagram, Twitter Chats, Google Classroom, and even using Google Sheets as a Discussion Board – SO COOL! Check out their fabulous presentation here!

Laura McPhee presented Holy Organization Batman! In this amazing presentation, she highlights Google Keep, an incredible tool for student engagement, organization, and productivity.  The Google App is quickly blowing up and Laura’s presentation shows Keep’s full potential! Consider using this tool today and access Laura’s presentation here.

Would you like to present?

Consider sharing your knowledge with other teachers around the state! Our staff in East Bridgewater has so much to offer.  MASSCUE is currently accepting proposals for their annual fall conference. You can gather more information about this event by clicking here. Will you put in a proposal? Let me know, as a former presenter for the past 4 years I can assist you in forming your idea so it is accepted as a workshop.

Amazing Classroom Lessons this Week 🎒 

In addition to Tech Night and DLD, I also had the opportunity to assist in the most wonderful lessons this week with some fantastic teachers! Kim Hardiman, a first-grade teacher, had me come in this week to assist with a spectacular blended learning experience. Students researched a topic using a book bundle on Epic. Students took notes (on paper) from their research and created a Telling Brain Frame. From their notes, students then created a Google Slide on their topics to show their knowledge. THIS WAS ALL DONE IN FIRST GRADE – AMAZING! 

                      

It is always a pleasure going into Christine DiLorenzo’s room, a second-grade teacher.  This week, she wanted her students exploring a tool that will allow them to create animated presentations. We chose to look at Animaker. What a great way to demonstrate knowledge!

Stacy Linnehan, Language-based special education teacher at the middle school, is always looking for new tools to try! It is always a pleasure to go into her room and give her something new! Check out her students below, using Chromebooks to view the problems she provided and standing at the whiteboards to do their work. All of her students are working at their own pace, allowing her to walk around the room and check in with each student to give that personal connection.

         

Laura McPhee had me come in and we worked together with her students to make E-Books using Book Creator. This is a great site/app to create E-Books.  You can include video, text, images, audio and more in a really cool format. The book even turns a page! Her students are creating books to show examples of physical and chemical changes.

TPACK  

Technolgy, when combined with content and pedagogy (TPACK model), can make learning more accessible and more engaging for our students. Many of the ideas above demonstrate this model! Consider integrating the T with your content and pedagogy to reach our learners in this digital learning age!

East Bridgewater staff and students are nothing short of Amazing! Have a great April Vacation week everyone 💙💚💛🧡💜❤️

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

FishFlop 👡 🐟

Greetings! 🌸 🌼 🌷

Spring has sprung and with it a whole slew of NEW ideas 💡!  I certainly cannot wait to throw on a pair of flipflops, hence my title this week.  Let’s “flipflop” away from MCAS style tests when we can! We are deep into the first rounds of MCAS here in Massachusetts and students are doing their best at showing what they know. Can what we truly know and are able to do, be measured by just one test? On just one (or two) days? Of course not!  Our students are hungry for other ways to show knowledge, other ways to be assessed! Therefore, I chose to focus on alternative assessment ideas other than your standard paper/pencil or online test 📝. Kasey Bell and Matt Miller had some great suggestions on their Podcast this week that I included below among other ideas. Their Podcast Channel is certainly worth a listen.

Check out my post below for some alternative assessing ideas!

PBL – WorkBench 🛠️  

This FREE site is so cool! Workbench is a collection of projects already designed for you, ready to push out into Google Classroom.  Many of them have multiple steps, where students work together, at their own pace to show knowledge. Many of the projects involve a writing component, an active (doing) component, and an area to upload images as well.  Project-based learning is a great learning process for students and a great way for students to show knowledge!

 

 Presentations 📽️ 

I’ve seen teachers assign topics to students to teach the class! What a great way to show and share knowledge.  Many times I see Google Slides being used as the presentation tool of choice. Although I LOVE Slides, I see some teachers and students moving towards other tools.  A student in Janice Griffin’s ELA class chose Animaker for a book trailer – so cool, check it out below (excuse the one small spelling error in this fabulous project)!

Consider having students make a presentation using one of these tools listed below:

PowToon –  cartoon style presentations

Animoto – picture and short video presentations

NearPod – interactive presentations

Prezi –  premade templates with an interesting flow

ToonTastic – available on certain Chromebooks using the Google Play Store (grades 7-12 in EB)

Animaker – similar to Powtoon but much more user-friendly with cartoon style templates

InfoGraphic (a fancy word for poster) 🎨 

How about having kids make an online digital poster with information and graphics to demonstrate mastery? If you google “infographics” you will find a whole bunch of GREAT resources! There are MANY awesome sites that you can use to create InfoGraphics such as PiktoChart, Canva, Adobe Spark, and even Google Slides (my personal favorite!).  Creating an inforgraphic utilizes many great skills aside from technical skills – students are researching and analysing the best information to be included in addition to using digital skills as well. Check out the video below on how to use Google Slides for a cool InfoGraphic!

Video! 📹 📼 

And of course, VIDEO is a GREAT way to have students demonstrate knowledge.  Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of Flipgrid! Flipgrid is one of many tools that allows one to easily create a quick video that is then placed in a grid.  Recently, Sean Fahey and Karly Moura, two great Ed Techies, published a free online book on using Flipgrid. The book also includes some great ideas on how to use it.  Click here for the free book.  Just this week Flipgrid also released a new feature called FlipGrid Templates. This is a GREAT feature which gives you some premade templates for flipped ideas.

Let’s Recap and SeeSaw are also GREAT sites that also allow for video creation placing videos in a safe location to view.

Open Ed – Free Resource 📖 🆓 

In the article,  “50 awesome apps that integrate with Google Classroom” the amazingly, awesome Kasey Bell features many great apps. Padlet, Pear Deck, and IXL are a few she lists as being great apps that integrate with Classroom.  Another she mentions, Open Ed, is also an incredible resource. OpenEd does have online assessments but also has other assignments as well as you can see in the screenshot below. The best part of Open Ed, other than it’s free, is that it integrates with Classroom! Woohoo!

Let’s give our kids choices to show what they know!  What ways do you have students demonstrate knowledge?  Share below! #TogetherWeAreBetter

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟