There are so many amazing tools to enhance instruction in the EdTech world. Eventually (hint) I’ll do a post on my top 100, because honestly there are THAT many. However, a number one tool that stands out EVERY time is Pear Deck. I have to devote a post “sole”ly to them because honestly, they just keep getting better and better! Recently, I co-hosted a podcast with the amazing Tori Cameron of Steam up the Classroom. Together, we talked to Risa Bennet of Pear Deck about this amazing tool! Give it a listen here!
You can take a look at my previous posts about the Pear where I go over how to create a deck or the (newer) amazing Flashcard factory by clicking here, here and here (see so awesome – they have multiple posts). This week I’m going to talk about Pear Deck’s newest features and even better, their MASH up with NEWSELA (also a top tool!), let’s take a look below!
Pear Deck + NEWSELA
Could there BE a better mash-up (totally channeling Chandler Bing there)? Seriously, both of these tools are amazing and now they are together like PB&J! Peardeck will provide you with a deck and article DAILY to use with your class! Pick and choose, or use this great “pair” each day! You can present the Deck whole class or assign it in student-paced mode (premium) and hear from every student! To read more about this great “pair” and/or to sign up for the daily deck, click here. Also, check out my video below on how this collaboration works!
Pear Deck + Quizlet 🍐
Pear Deck has a great partnership with Quizlet when you use Flashcard Factory! It’s quite easy to copy and list from Quizlet into Flash Card Factory (100% free) and practice vocabulary in an ACTIVE format. Once completed you can then push student examples back OUT to Quizlet. I have NEVER seen so much enjoyment from practicing vocabulary than when students play Flashcard factory. I’ve seen it in grade 12 all the way down to grade 2! I use it with adults in my trainings as well and it is always a favorite! Talk about ENGAGEMENT! To read more about this integration, click here, and also be sure to watch my video below!
A common mistake when presenting an interactive Deck is not using the Pear Deck Add-on. Well, it’s now easier than ever! Recently, Pear Deck pushed out its own Menu that appears within the Google Slides Menu, right next to Tools. If you don’t see this menu appear, try adding the Google Add-on Pear Deck and the extension Pear Deck Power Up. This is a great feature, see below to learn more!
Active Learning 💃 🕺
Pear Deck is such a great tool because it really promotes active learning. All students are engaged in either the interactive slide presentation or in the vocabulary instruction. There isn’t an option for a student to tune out because they are ALL being asked to engage in a task. If you’re “urchin” for something new in the classroom, give it a try!
Save yourself the haddock, and don’t let students flounder! Pear Deck is the best thing since sliced bread 🍞, no squidding 🦑! Try Pear Deck this week – Reach out for help and I’ll gladly assist!
Special thanks to my fellow Pear Deck Coach Monsieur Fritz for giving me so many great puns!
If you have something more engaging than Pear Deck, Let minnow! Post below!
Hello hello! How is your week?! BUSY?! Well, that’s an understatement! Many of us in education find ourselves running around, putting out some fires, while we try our very best to have a successful September. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of the Green Day song “When September Ends.” Actually, it’s been my mantra in the classroom for probably the last fifteen years. I look forward to when the month is over, routines are established, and the days are going just a bit more smoothly.
Ring out the bells again
Like we did when spring began
Wake me up when September ends
With that being said, one tool we can always rely on during this crazy time to assist in a smoother day is Google Classroom. I just can’t ever say enough about this amazing tool. It always allows for one to easily push out anything to students. Posting on Google Classroom is so easy – and there are so many great tricks to make it even easier! From setting up Google Classroom to differentiating with groups, this app is just the “catch of the day” for me! You may think you know ALL there is about this tool, but I encourage you to read below – I’m sure you’ll find a good tip or trick!
Reset the Code
If you ever give out a code to students, and you write it on the board, you will be sure to have errors if there are characters o, 0, 1, l, and I. Notice the lowercase l (as in love) and the uppercase I (as in Ice) look the same! You can reset your code to avoid this problem! You can also reset the code if you by chance get an inappropriate string of characters – believe me, I’ve seen it (think of the words you used to spell on the calculator). Take a look below for this easy fix!
Student Comments (TURN THEM OFF!)
I wish that Google would turn student commenting off by default, but alas, they keep them on. I may need to send them some feedback (scroll down to read more on that!). Any time you set up your classrooms, students can post until you turn this off. AHHHH!!! So, watch the video below and go turn that off! The “Ask a Question” feature works well if you care to engage with students on Google Classroom.
Use the Classwork Page (not the Stream)
The Classwork page is amazing! I’ve seen many tend to use the Stream because it appears first. However, anything in the stream doesn’t sort into a topic. Also, the Stream does not copy over in your Classroom for future years, although you can reuse the Stream from past years. If you post on the Classwork page, it appears in the Stream! Additionally, the more detailed you are in your Classwork Page with topics, material, and assignments, the easier it will be for your students. Not to mention, by posting daily you are making curriculum so much more accessible for your students! Take a look at my highlights of the Classwork page below.
GET THE PHONE APP of Classroom
Student Name Selector
Did you know in the Mobile Application of Google Classroom there is a student name picker?! Well, there is! So, RUN and download Google Classroom to your phone!!
Easily Post Pictures or Video
Remove a step for yourself, and EASILY post content from your classroom with the app! Do you ever download to upload? Well, with this quick trick – you can post anything to Classroom with a quick click. Take pictures of your notes each day and/or provide the exemplar using the camera option in Google Classroom. See below for this gamechanger!
Have Suggestions or Complaints? Tell Google!
Google for Education is really great at making improvements based on educator feedback. Most of their updates are based on the feedback they receive actually. Take a look at how to do this below!
Google Classroom Overview
There is so much more I could cover and suggest! Below I included a presentation I ran at GooglePalooza on Classroom in case you need more! Enjoy!
Pro Tip (extra): Word Count!
There is now a live word count you can enable on Docs! SO VERY COOL! Check it out below!
Do you have a favorite Google Classroom feature? Shout it out and let me know!
Helloooooooooo Everyone! Wow, what a week! Were you back for four full days this week? With students? I certainly am and when I tell you I’m RUNNING between buildings, it is NO JOKE! My brain is on overload and I’m exhausted, but in the best possible way! I love being busy! However, I do find it challenging when I go to my favorite tools and JUST LIKE THAT, they look different! Do you feel me?! Change is good, and discomfort means we are learning; but – when I rely on that familiarity of my favorite tools and I can’t figure it out…I just feel like this:
Luckily, I have a super supportive network of techie pals I can go to, and of course, I use Twitter! However…you have ME! So, let me help you! Let’s take a look at some updates below for some of our favorite tools.
Google Form Updates
Reuse questions from other forms
No longer will we need to use an add-on to reuse other form questions! Check out this new release from Google! Want to make a mixed review from a variety of other forms you’ve made? Well, it’s easy with the new feature! Open up the form you want to use, and simply click the “import questions” symbol on the taskbar. See the image below!
Google Form PERMANENT Exit Ticket
This one isn’t an update, but rather a tip from me. Having a standard form, posted always in your Classwork section, can give you quick data ANYTIME you want it. Call it “Exit Ticket” and give it its own topic. Students will always know where to find it. Be sure to have your settings like the ones below (see image). If you’d like a copy of this exit ticket form, click here!
Google Classroom Updates
Do you want to easily post a rubric for an assignment? Now you can through Google Classroom! This is going to be a great feature to use on so many assignments. To read more about creating and using Google Classroom rubrics, click here. A great video showing how to use this feature is also posted below!
Originality Reports Beta
This one is HUGE! This feature is in Beta, which is important to remember. Beta means it’s not perfect yet. However, being able to check students’ work for plagiarism is going to benefit so many! A great video is posted below which shows how this works from both the Teacher end and how it appears on the student end.
This one isn’t too new, but the former “Team Drives” has been renamed “Shared Drives” not to be confused with “Shared with Me.” Personally, I find it all a bit confusing. You can read more about the differences in your Drive by clicking here.
Priority in Drive
Did you notice a new page show up in your Google Drive this summer? Well, to get an idea of the benefits of the Priority Page, check out the video below.
Pull Text from ANYTHING
Do you write notes on your board, and you want to save them? Simply take a picture! With Drive and Google Docs, you can pull the text and convert into a digital format! Translate, enlarge, have notes read aloud…the accessibility options are endless with this GREAT trick!
OR just take a picture and put the picture in Google Classroom for students! Providing resources and making them as accessible as possible is best for all!
Keep that Cart organized!
Take a look at the amazing color-coded, Chromebook cart in Kim Hardiman’s first-grade classroom! I love it! She has a sticker on the Chromebook, on the cord, and on the shelf as well. The stickers go in rainbow order so students know their number AND color!
A pal of mine had a great idea of a beginning-of-year checklist! What’s on yours? I think I feel a post coming…
And so we begin…another year! I cannot believe it! How many is it for you? For me, I am starting my 17th year in education. I feel blessed to have been in my career this long. I still love it! Every. Single. Day. These first few weeks, especially these first two, are BUSY!
It feels as though I’m running a race. I lay down at night and my mind takes a bit to slow down. My brain is busy, my body is busy, and my heart is full. I love the back-to-school rush; the smells, the smiles, the wonder…but I miss my children. I miss my pool. I miss my bed. I wonder about the year ahead: How will I manage school, home, kids, and work? How will I stay current? How will I help people? How will I make a difference? Do people like me? I am 38 years young, and this is how I feel. Imagine how our students feel!
One of the most valuable goals we can have, right at the beginning, is to get to know our students and families. Relationships are at the heart of what we do. With positive, trusting relationships we have laid a foundation for success. I really love this article here that highlights that concept! What tech tools can help with this? Well, let’s take a look!
Flipgrid is an INCREDIBLE tool to use anytime! It can be especially helpful to get to know our students and families. You could post a prompt before school begins, or in those first few weeks, for students to take video at home to share about themselves. Have them interview a parent, sibling, or guardian even! Ask a student to show off a pet! Imagine how fun it will be to share those videos?
Even better, Flipgrid had some AMAZING new updates with their camera! We will talk about that more in upcoming posts, but check out the blog post below from Matt Miller that highlights many new features!
And as we all know, Pear Deck is a personal favorite tool of mine! You can get to know students SO WELL with this amazing (free) tool! Here’s a great deck I plan to use in classrooms this year to assist teachers in getting to know their students. Feel free to use it yourself!
Google Forms 📋
Google Forms are a GREAT way to get to know students and families! What’s even better is Forms will give you an amazing spreadsheet of data to use ALL YEAR! I loved sending home a Form to families and asking about their children. They would tell me all sorts of great information I could refer back to all year. This is great to have set up during open house as well, on Chromebooks around the room. You can check out the video below for a detailed look at how to create a form.
Goose Chase 🦆
Have you played Goose Chase??? Oh my goodness, if you haven’t…you need to try it!! This is such a FUN tool that can really do so much. It is an app and needs a mobile device like a phone, iPad, or Chromebook that supports Google Play. Basically, students have to post items in a scavenger hunt format. You create the questions or the “hunt”, so you could essentially use it to get to know your classroom. In East Bridgewater, we do have a premium account. If you’d like to use it, please reach out!
There is so much out there you can use with students to get to know them. The most important task is that we DO take a moment and do just that, regardless of the tool we use. How will you connect with your students and families this year? Let me know!
Take it easy and take a moment for yourself too! <3
Hello there! I’m back! Did you notice I took a nice summer break? As educators, we all need to take some time and step back to relax. During that time, I made some changes! Did you notice? I’m excited to show off my new themed, ready-for-the-school-year-ahead, blog!
How about trying a new tool for the new school year? Imagine, sending a video of yourself, or just your voice showing something off, to parents and students before school starts. How about offering students options in how content is represented? Well, I have the answer for you!
For a GREAT tool this week, I’d like to showcase a favorite of mine: Screencastify! I’ve mentioned this tool in my blog many times before. However, like all tech tools, Screencastify has UPDATED! I’ve been with this awesome tool since the beginning. I’m an original subscriber – an OG! Through the years, I’ve watched popular EdTech bloggers showcase other screencasting tools, only eventually to move to the best: Screencastify! I’ve known this has been the #1 Screencasting tool since the beginning. It’s FREE and it’s AWESOME! I recently spoke about this tool on the MassCUE Get a CUE Podcast, hosted by Brandon Hall! I spoke about all of my favorite features I listed below.
Screencastify is an extension that you can install using the Chrome Web Store. One installed, it will appear where your extensions appear next to the Google Search Web Omnibox (Yes, that’s a search box – but that’s another post).
Simply click the icon once installed, and you have the option to start recording what’s on your computer screen and record your voice along with it, if you choose. If you computer is connected to an interactive board, you can write on the board and it will record that as well. Screencasts can be used in a variety of ways such as:
FLIP your classroom: Have students view the material prior to coming in the classroom or while working in small groups
Tutorials: Explain how to do a skill or process or have students provide a video explaining a process!
Station Rotation: While in small groups, have a short video students can refer to for direction
Explanations for Parents: Send a video home to parents explaining something in the classroom or on the computer (like how to access your website or homework).
Sub Plans: The best sub plan – Screencastify + Google Classroom! Don’t worry about the students and/or Sub missing something, explain it with Screencastify!
Not only can you record your screen, but you can also choose the camera option and video yourself or something else! Maybe you want students making a commercial or maybe students need an opportunity to pause as they record. How about having students record how they solve a math problem?! Once recorded – you can also upload this video to other platforms like Flipgrid, post it to Google Classroom, or embed it into Slides! Click here for more information on Screencastify + Flipgrid (seriously, this resource is one of my best workshops ever!).
Powerful Student Ideas
I was fortunate enough to assist teachers and students this past school year on a few amazing projects that used Screencastify. Two that stood out were a an app smash of Screencastify and Slides with Stop Motion Animation (inspired here by Eric Curts), and also a project on Foley Artistry.
In 6th grade science. we had students create stop motion animation of the digestive tract. Once finished with their slides, they layered Screencastify over their project and narrated the video to explain each phase of digestion. It was pretty cool!
Another AWESOME project we worked on this year was in Music class. Students were studying Foley Artists. Foley artists are responsible for the sound effects in film. Students watching a video of a Doritos Commercial and then had to go in and be Foley Artists. This is perhaps one of the MOST FUN ways I’ve used this tool. I’ve included the original commercial and the studente example below. Pay special attention to the sound effects (crunching, falling, etc)
Screencastify has a great resource area with many ideas on how both students and teachers can use this great too. You can access that resource area by clicking here.
Perhaps one of the most a alLURing (get it, Lure, fish pun – haha) aspects about Screencastify is its ease to push out to Google Classroom and other areas. This great tool integrates, easily, with many popular platforms! Record your screencast or video, and BOOM – in less than thirty seconds you can push it out to whomever you’d like to see it.
Google Classroom: Once your recording is done, you will be brought to a finishing screen to preview. Click the Share icon and you have a few options. Choose the one below and quickly send video to Classroom.
Youtube: Similar to above, rather than choosing Classroom, choose YouTube!
Quickly Email: Upon finished the recording, you can also copy the Google Drive link or YouTube Link. Simply paste it in an email and send it off (Or schedule it – see here)!
Google Drive: Screencastify AUTOMATICALLY sends the video to your Google Drive in a folder called Screencastify. You can link an entire folder somewhere if you’d like! Be sure to title your videos once they’re created.
Wakelet: If you don’t want videos taking up space in your Drive, you can also send them to Wakelet! You could create Wakes for various concepts and push videos to categorized areas quite easily!
Google Slides: It’s very easy to embed your Screencasts into a Google Slide deck. Choose insert video and rather than YouTube, choose from Drive!
A pro tip I suggest, when using Screencastify, is to change the shared settings on the folder in your Drive. Often I will quickly grab the Google Drive link to my video and put it in an email to send off. Only to have the recipient let me know they don’t have permission to view. By setting the shared permissions on the folder to “Anyone on the web can view” you avoid this issue. Sometimes, you may post a link in Google Classroom to a video for future students, this shared setting will avoid any delays in those viewing the video. Be sure to only share links of the videos, and not the link to the WHOLE folder!
If it’s free, it’s for me….
Screencastify is perhaps one of the most generous free tools out there on the EdTech scene. Once installed, you get 50 recordings with a cap of ten minutes each PER MONTH! Also, if you make an error, just hit the re-record button (see below) rather than start again and it will not count against your monthly quota!
If you decide to go that route, and upgrade to premium, it’s only $24 a year. For that $24 you get an unbelievable amount of features! You can create GIFs out of your Screencasts, pull the MP3 Audio from your file, export the file as a video file, unlimited videos and time limit, AND there are a few editing tools that you have access too as well. You can take a look at the plans here. Reach out if you want any tips and tricks on the premium plan, I’ve had mine for four years!
As always, reach out for more help with this AWESOME tool! Feel free also to search my blog with the term Screencastify to see other posts!
Take care everyone! I look forward to getting you hooked on EdTech!
I wish you all a wonderful, happy, relaxing summer!! Many of us will go OFF THE GRID, at least for a while! However, let’s face it, once August rolls around we’ll start thinking about school! At least I know I do! Well, when that time comes whether it’s next month or next week, you can visit FishinOnAMission for some ideas. Where do I go to get my ideas? I visit all of my favorite Tech bloggers and Educators! I find them all on Twitter! If Twitter isn’t your thing you can also visit their websites/blogs. I will list a BUNCH of my favorites below for your viewing pleasure!
What’s really nice is that most of these blogs/sites not only offer FREE resources, but they also have a podcast as well if you’d rather listen! If Twitter is your thing, all of the sites listed above also have a Twitter handle.
Keep “cod”nected this summer – I’d really love to hear from you! If you have a great idea, send it my way! Together we are TRULY better. 💜
Be well everyone! You’ll hear back from me in August…with a million new ideas! Until then….
Hello there! The SUN is shining, both outside and inside for me these days – I love what I do! Do you? How are your days lately? It’s always great to have that reminder once in a while when a raincloud has entered. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down at this time of year. School is coming to a close and there is just SO MUCH going on. The kids can be wild, the adults can even be wild, and we need to remember what’s at the CORE of why we’re here: the kids. It’s ALWAYS about the kids and as long as I keep my head in the game, focused on the kids, my days stay SUNNY! So, while we talk about SUN and what we plan to do in the SUN this summer – let me give you a few ideas that may even help make your fall a little sunnier!
Vocaroo is a tool that’s been around for a while, but I felt inspired by the recent MassCUE Podcast to showcase it again! This tool could REALLY make you look like a rockstar! I know many of us who prepare our first communication home while enjoying the SUN! I sit by my pool with my Chromebook, drafting my first “tech” post of the year to all of you! If/when you send home your first parent communication, use Vocaroo to record an audio clip introducing yourself. Simply copy and paste the QR code to the email, letter, postcard etc. Give a little “hear me introduce myself here” and scan the code (and provide the URL too). What a nice personal effect for new students and parents to hear your voice before they meet you! You could also put the recording on your teacher website as well! Parents LOVE this type of stuff (or at least I do as a parent). Take a look at the video below to see how to do this:
Are you already thinking about your communication with parents for next year? What will you use? There are so many options: Twitter, Instagram, Remind, Dojo, SeeSaw, Classroom Website, Newsletter, Email, Phone calls, and probably more I haven’t thought of! As a parent of three children myself, I can honestly say I LOVE TEACHER COMMUNICATION with me. I have three boys and each of their teachers uses a different app to communicate with me AND THAT’S OKAY. The goal is communication and I’m happy they’re doing it! Honestly, their quick texts within the apps have saved me so many times this year and I really appreciate their efforts. What’s so NICE about Gmail now, however, is you can schedule email. What was once only available in Remind, can now also be done in Gmail.
I’m a big fan of transparency. As a teacher, I feel like if I tweet you, email you, text you with a communication app, write a newsletter, and post on my website (which can mostly be done simultaneously believe it or not if you link accounts), then you can’t tell me you don’t know what’s going on. As a parent, I try my best to be involved and it’s MY RESPONSIBILITY to know what’s going on with my children. If the teachers are sending it in a timely manner, then I can’t ever accuse them of not doing their part. I’ve been lucky to have good teachers, in this regard, with my sons. If you plan to sit in the SUN and prepare communication for next year, check out the options below.
MassCUE (Massachusetts Computer Using Educators) just released a Podcast! You can find it where all podcasts are found. It’s called Get a Cue and it’s hosted by Brandon Hall, local tech integrator from Pembroke. Each episode will feature a local educator and how they use a tech tool in the classroom. The episodes are NOT about the tool, but about actual, practical USE of the tool! The first episode is AWESOME and already inspired me to try out the very cool tool as you can see in my post above! Check out the Podcast here or on your mobile device where you find your podcasts. If you need assistance locating FREE Podcasts (great to listen to in the car), reach out! This is a great listen while in the SUN this summer!
Tip of the week: Confidential Mode
Confidential mode has finally arrived. You can now set your emails so that no one can forward them. You can also set them to expire. Take a look below at this NEW Gmail feature!
I hope your weekend, end of year, and daily like stays sunny everyone! ☀
Are you running the race this week? Feeling like no matter how hard you push, you cannot get ahead? Well, hang in there…grab a cup of water and keep going. You’re in the final lap, and no matter how hard it is, you’ll look back this summer and miss it. This is when you realize, and your students realize, that they are not going to see you for a while. For some of us, that is a very sad loss that we may need to mourn. For some of our kids, we are the constant. We are the love. When it gets tough in these last few weeks, remember it is that loss, anxiety, and sadness that may be showing itself as difficult behaviors. So, what can we do? We can give our kids, and ourselves, something to hold onto. What is that? How about a photo slideshow/video.
In my years of teaching, I made a photo slideshow to music every year. I showed pictures from our entire time together. And you know what? My former students still go onto YouTube and watch them, and I do too. I miss my kiddos sometimes, just as much as they miss me. I loved them like my own children, and they knew it. When your students are feeling sad this summer or lonely, which many will, they can easily pull out their phone/tablet/device and watch the happiest memories from the year. For some, this could be their happiest moments ever. I know that’s hard to swallow, but it’s true. We all like to reminisce and these types of tech items allow us to do just that! So, let’s take a look below at some tools and tips that can make creating these shows quite easy!
Complete it all on your phone
Most likely, the photos you are taking are on your phone anyway, right? So, use the tech built right into your phone. This makes it pretty easy! With a Google Phone, Google Photos will create a nice slideshow for you. With an iPhone, you can use the “memories” function and it is SO VERY EASY! Take a look below.
Here’s how to make the videos:
And here’s how to send them to YouTube:
Use Google Slides
There’s a GREAT add-on in Google Slides that will dump ALL of your photos into Google Slides. You could simply play music and launch the slide show! First, you will need to upload your photos to your Drive from your phone. TIP – if you have LIVE photos (iPhone users) they will need to have the “live” option turned off.
Upload the photos:
Use the photoSlideshow Add-on
This will allow you to dump all your photos at once into slides!
Add in self-playing music with Screencastify
First, you will need to enable Screencastify with Slides. Take a look below at the video and how to do this:
Publish the video to share
Next, you will need to find the music you would like and also publish your Slides. Take a look below at how to do this:
Adobe Spark Video
Of course, Adobe Spark Video is also a great option. This will be a bit more time consuming as you have to enter the photos one by one, but it’s much easier when intertwining video + audio.
Copyright Free Music
If you’re looking for music that is copyright free, which I highly recommend, you can check out the resources below:
Hi Friends! Can you believe we’re coming upon Memorial Day weekend? We are in that home stretch! Now is the time when we can reflect on our year. What went well? What could change? What were the best parts of learning for our students? Well, let’s find out by asking THEM! The end of the year is a great time for some projects that truly demonstrate student learning throughout the year. Let’s take a look below at some end of year student activities that encourage students to think about the year and offer you some valuable feedback.
End of Year Reflection
Google Slides are a great go-to for end of year presentations. Students are pretty comfortable with this tool. What’s even better, is that there are many pre-made templates out there you can use. Feel free to take a look at any below. Use Google Classroom to push out to students and let them create! You’ll love seeing what they come up with and it’s great feedback to see what went well throughout the year. You can even take it a step further and show them off to parents, or to next year’s students.
This is a SUPER cute template from another blogger, Meredith Akers, that you can find on her site and use. I love her use of the tool RemoveBG which takes the background off any picture! Students could really have fun with that!
Slides Carnival has beautiful templates as well with very pretty, free, backgrounds.
An infographic is a fancy name for a digital poster. I made a template below that you can feel free to use by clicking here. Adobe Spark and Canva also have beautiful, free, templates that students can use to make some awesome infographics about their year!
Videos are always my favorite! There are so many options for video projects the students can create. Personally, I LOVE Flipgrid, Screencastify, and Adobe Spark Video. All three tools are SUPER user-friendly and extremely engaging. The best part…you end up with a really beautiful product that you can show again and again. Click here if you would like an overview of Flipgrid and Screencastify. Take a look at an AWESOME use of Adobe Spark Video below created by Meg McGovern!
Looking for even more ideas? Take a look at my “End of Year” category of my blog! You will find previous years’ posts with plenty of activities! Let me know if you want any help putting these ideas into action! The students will have a blast, and as a result, you will learn what really stuck with them!
Recently, I was speaking with a principal from western Massachusetts. He was talking about the value of effective teacher collaboration. He referenced articles and studies that provide evidence that positive teacher collaboration leads to student achievement. Pharell, who is always happy, states “Collaborate with people you will learn from.” I feel like I am always learning when I collaborate both in, and outside, the walls of my building. It’s important for me, and my own well-being, to stretch myself. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable, but that’s okay. If I’m uncomfortable, I’m growing and sometimes growth can be painful. However, many times, it’s amazing!
Two quotes that really struck me from the articles shared are as follows:
Effective teacher collaboration is defined as engaging in regular routines where teachers communicate about classroom experiences in an effort to strengthen pedagogical expertise and push colleagues to try new things.From Here
Collaboration is a systematic process in which educators work together, interdependently, to analyze and impact professional practice in order to improve individual and collective results. From Here
This task of collaborating can be daunting. How do we find those who can be impactful? Who can truly stretch us and LIFT us up as individuals? Working with those who help me to grow professionally fills my heart. Not only has my tribe helped me to become a better technology integration facilitator, but they’ve also become my friends. Some were virtual friends first that turned into in-person friends, some are colleagues who have become friends, and some are friends who have become my tribe. Try to find those who fill your heart, and help you grow – I promise it’s worthwhile. As a result, your student achievement may even increase…a happy teacher is an effective teacher! Take a look below at some sites, tools, and resources that may assist you in finding those who lift your soul.
Instagram is a great tool for social networking, but did you know it’s also a great tool for professional practice? There are educators out there who have a strictly teaching Insta! They create activities and templates and share them via profile. There are giveaways and hashtags among other goodies! Instagram can be a bit easier to follow than Twitter depending on the area of expertise. If you’re looking for a tribe where you can easily watch and observe, take a look at some of these great teachers’ Instas below (one is a teacher of our own!):
Have you heard of Facebook? You know, that social networking tool for older people (which I’m one of them)? Well, there are entire groups dedicated to professional practice on Facebook. Much like the town gossip page, teachers host Facebook pages and groups that house awesome materials and discussions about best practice. I belong to the two groups below, but there are MANY others for all areas of teaching that you can find here.
I mention Twitter a lot, and I love it. However, I do remember when I was completely overwhelmed by this social media platform. It’s not a tool where you can quietly hide and just watch. Everyone sees what you like, comment on, and post and there isn’t really a way to prevent that. Over time, I have grown to LOVE Twitter and this is truly a tool where I found my tribe that is outside my school walls. In my position, I’m a bit isolated, so I go to Twitter to find others in positions like mine. We tweet back and forth, email and even meet up in person and visit each other’s schools! Through Twitter, I really learned more about MassCUE and it’s members and it became my PLN. Like other platforms, Twitter also has great accounts to follow! I have a document here of who I follow (although I need to add a few more). This list is primarily bloggers I follow, not so much my local tribe (see them below). If you take a look at the hashtag #FollowFriday you can see quite a few GREAT educators tweeting about other GREAT educators. It’s so important that we build each other up and find our tribe – simply for our own sanity!
Are you happy in your role? Do you feel like you’re growing? If not, consider trying one of the tools above to find those who will lift you up! Follow just ONE new person or group on one social platform – it could change your life (it certainly did for me)!