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FISHBuster Video 📹🐟

Recently I read the book UDL and Blended Learning by Catlin Tucker and Katie Novak.  Many of the concepts resonated with me, particularly around using video, so much so, I had to write about it.  Anyone who knows me as a Technology Integration Specialist knows that I really enjoy video as my medium to teach.  On my YouTube channel you can find many of my brief tutorials and tips.  I find that video provides a great visual and also has so many built-in accessibility tools, which is why I use it.  When watching my videos, you can pause as you go when you want to complete a step.  You can also turn on closed captions if you need to read and listen. You can pull the transcripts and just read all of the steps. You can have the closed captions translated if needed.

I first started making videos when I was a classroom teacher for my students. If you go WAY back in my YouTube channel you can see them. Here’s an example video of a math skill.  In addition to providing students a valuable visual they could refer back too, it also took the work off of me as the teacher.  I have this collection of content, where students hear my voice, and it would free me up to work with smaller groups of students or one-on-one.  If a student was absent, or needed the skill for homework, it was there. I could find a video out there on anything, but in the time it takes to find it, I can create it and so can you. Students like to hear YOUR voice (plus I bet you can make it better than the ones you find).

In my role as a technology integration facilitator, I now create videos on the latest tech tips and updates; as well as commonly asked questions, such as how to bookmark: which is my first video as a tech integrator.  I receive many requests for short instructional videos around a skill. I also receive many thanks for these videos as well. In the grad courses I teach on technology integration, I also use video in an asynchronous model.  The data I have from YouTube, and their analytics, support my views on the effectiveness of video.  As of today, I have over 290,000 views. My sons who love YouTube make fun of me for this number. As a YouTuber, it’s pretty low, but as a teacher it’s incredibly high.  Any one of my tech tips gets hundreds of views, showing me that viewers (which I’m thinking are many staff here) do want and need the content.

When should you use Video? ⏰

According to Catlin Tucker, If you are going to explain the same thing, the same way, to everyone – make a video. It shifts control over time, place, and pace to the student (UDL and Blended Learning).  It allows students to manipulate the information in ways that are not possible during live instruction (accessibility). Recording a short 5 minute video would be more effective than providing that explanation live when students would only have one chance to “get it.” Unfortunately, when we dedicate significant amounts of class time to a basic explanation of the how for the entire class, there often isn’t time to think about supports and scaffolds that individuals may need to be successful – such as text, translations, pace of instruction, language processing etc.

Why should you use Video? 💡

This now allows YOU time to conference or have small group instruction with students potentially leaving some of that “grading” at school.  Conferencing and/or small group instruction also builds relationships and forms connections.  Video allows students who may be absent to now access your lesson, saving you time from catching them up. Videos also can provide parents with “windows into the work.”  This allows our teaching partners, as Catlin Tucker states, to have the supports they need at home to help our learners. Plus if a parent knows what a child is working on, they are more likely to provide support!

Think of how YOU learn new things.  What’s your go-to? Google? YouTube? Do you pause, rewind, fast forward? Do you have written text resources you can refer back to? Most likely you do not go sit with a person in live-time everytime you want to learn something new.  Having a video resource, that’s brief and engaging, allows for students to be able to go back and relearn, practice, and improve! It allows students to take information in visually and auditory – enable closed captions and they can read the transcript as well, activating all areas of the brain.  When YOU create the video, it adds personalization and familiarity which motivates students to watch it again and again.

Video Tips ☑️

  • Keep it short! Student engagement peaks at the 6-minute mark, so keep it brief enough. There is  subtle decline in engagement between 6 and 9 minutes and a dramatic decrease at 9 minutes. One suggestion is one minute for every year of  school (UDL and Blended Learning).
  • Chunk information, keep it simple.  Better to create a few short videos than one long video.
  • It is KEY to not overwhelm the viewer with irrelevant visuals, unnecessary info, or busy backgrounds.

 

Plan video instruction in three parts:

    • Pre-video activity- Assess prior knowledge, pique interest, drive inquiry, encourage prediction
    • Engagement around video content – embed questions or guided note template
    • Post-video activity – apply, extend, reflect

Video Tools ⚒️

To create video I’m a huge fan of Screencastify. I find it quick and easy! As a bonus, you can use the Screencastify link to collect data on if students watched the video. My previous blog post here, goes into more of the features of Screencastify! However, there are so many great tools out there to create video. You can even just use your phone and then easily push it to Google Classroom!

To engage with video, Google Forms or EdPuzzle are both great tools.  Embed the video you create and add some questions.  These tools also take away the YouTube clutter (if you send your videos there) AND give you some great analytics and formative data!

What a student (and current teacher) of mine said about my videos 🗣

I should also mention that I generally despise watching videos to learn how to do something (I promise I am going somewhere good with this!). I usually find videos are long with a lot of extra information and commentary – so I end up skipping around and missing what I actually need (I prefer written step by step instructions with screenshots). That being said, your videos are GREAT. They are short, to the point, no fluff and very accessible. I thought that having to watch the “how to” videos would drive me nuts, but it truly did not mind it. If you are willing, I would love to have my students watch them in the fall as I continue my technology journey.”

In Conclusion 💙

Once we embrace the reality that students can, in fact, learn without us monitoring every aspect of their experience, we benefit from exploring models that allow us to design lessons that create the space necessary to work with small groups of students. – UDL and Blended Instruction

Various models of instruction, such as a blended model, station rotation model, playlist model etc. allow us to meet students where they are, break down barriers, and maximize learning opportunities. Video can be one medium that allows us time as educators to implement various models.  We are not one-size-fits-all world, so our classrooms cannot be either. I encourage and challenge you to try just ONE short video to replace direct instruction and free yourself to work with small groups.  Use the video instruction above and see how it goes. Let me know! I’d love to hear!

Take care, everyone!

oFIShally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

 

Perception 🔍👓

big mood

It has taken me some time to put this post into a concise, and thoughtful narrative worthy of your time to read it. Hence, my significant delay in writing it.  It is an area I am very passionate about, not only because of my role as a Technology Integration Facilitator but also in my role as a daughter and a mother.

Recently, I had the privilege of taking a mother-daughter trip to Florida with my 65-year-old mother. She has Kartagener’s syndrome (1:60,000) and as a result, is legally handicapped/disabled. She is on oxygen and requires a wheelchair for longer distances; her lungs simply do not support walking, especially in an already stressful environment. She can access the world as long as she has tools to break down her barrier: her portable oxygen and alternative ways to get around (i.e. wheelchair, people movers, etc). Thankfully, she is protected under the law for these options to be available to her. However, those who do not live in a world of barriers may not plan for all in every environment. It is challenging to foresee a barrier for someone else when you do not experience it yourself.  I found the world we live in today incredibly frustrating to travel for her, to the point where I thought: If this were me, I would shut down and simply not travel. It is the small tasks, that one may not perceive as challenging for oneself, that are challenging for others. For instance, lifting your carry-on into the compartment in the plane or providing someone to push the wheelchair from point A to point B in the airport at all times. The extremely long walk from the car rental location to the airport, where there aren’t wheelchairs available. Even parking! Handicap parking is available, but what happens when you need to take your placard to the vacation destination?! Barriers for my mother are everywhere. This experience translates to learning in a DEEP way, and it struck a chord with me.

If we DO NOT provide options for accessing the curriculum and plan for all, there will be students who WILL shut down.

At its core, technology integration first drew me in due to its nature of inclusivity.  Completed a math lesson today? Throw a video of it on Google Classroom (or your platform of choice) for students to review.  Have an article to read?  Throw it on Google Classroom so students can use a screen reader if they choose, enlarge the text, set the contrast etc.  Have a writing assignment? Use Google Docs so students can type, dictate, or (gasp) use paper if they want! Reviewing for a test? Use a popular game-based site to engage students; Blooket, Kahoot, Quizizz (this is GREAT blog post on that).  Many technologies were designed and implemented to make the world more accessible – whether it’s low tech (ramp, high lighter, pencil grip, calculator, etc) or high tech (Chromebook, amplification system, closed captions, VR, etc).

Perception

Perception is the FIRST level of access to learning. If a student cannot perceive the information given, he/she/they cannot access the curriculum, build upon knowledge and further internalize information.

https://udlguidelines.cast.org/

It is very hard to sit outside of yourself and think of all the barriers that could exist in terms of students simply perceiving the information you are providing. It’s impossible really, to think of everything. So, what do we do?

Start Small

When lesson planning, and creating student activities, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Can the information I’m providing for students be easily seen? 👁
  2. Can the information I’m providing for students be easily heard? 👂
  3. Can the information I’m providing for students be easily translated? 🗣

 

Easily Seen eye emoji

Whether information is presented on the board, on paper, or visually, students need to be able to see it in order to access it.  This may seem like a fairly obvious point but, you may not be faced with a visual barrier.  We can make learning more accessible simply by enlarging a font.  Digitally, Control + or Command + on an Apple device will enlarge the screen thus enlarging a font to see.  As a teacher with print material, or information on display, we want to be cognizant of the font we use, the clutter on the page (or board), and the size.  Lexend Font or Open Dyslexic are both great choices for readability.  I love this article from Guy Kawaskaki about the 10/20/30 rule suggesting to use 30 point font, this size is great when presenting to an audience in terms of accessibility.  In the middle-to-upper grades, I am a huge advocate of placing the meat of the lesson in Google Classroom (or the digital platform you use). This allows students to access the information at any time and perceive it as they need. They can alter contrast, enlarge the font, and translate it as needed.  Look around your room, do you think your information posted is easily seen by all students? What is the contrast? The font? The size? The readability?

Easily Heard Bitmoji Image

Making sure students can hear your information may be a little trickier, but it is just as important as your lessons being seen.  As we know, not all of our students’ process information visually. Many, especially our early readers and non-readers, need to hear information as well as see it.  My own son, Chace, benefits from hearing information when he is reading it – he is an auditory processor! Often, I still hear him reading aloud in his room because that is what works best for him, even at 11 years old.  The easiest way to have your lessons easily heard is to read or summarize aloud to students or have students read aloud.  Having students partner read together, whisper phones, videos, are great lower-tech options for auditory information.

Video is also a great option – and you can turn on closed captions to have the video read as well. Screencastify is a great option to record lessons and you can enable closed captions. Did you know you can even slow down the rate of video on YouTube?   Screen readers are a great higher-tech option, with my favorite being Read and Write among many.  Amplification systems, like the Front Row Juno Speaker, are great for cutting out background noise so your students can best hear you. YOU may think you are loud enough, but for that student who has a barrier with background noise, amplification can really assist in perception.  Look at your lessons, can students hear the information easily?

Easily Translated Bitmoji Image

Last but not least, possibly the most challenging, can your information and/or lessons be easily translated? Luckily, there are many tools we can use low-tech or high-tech to assist.  In a previous blog post, I cover digital translation tools you can use such as Google Translate. Images and Emojis are also great options to use with our EL population as it is a common language for all our students.  Video offers excellent options for translation, as you can have the closed captions translated in live time on both YouTube and Google Meet.  What we want to avoid, which is not always easily translated, are PDFs.  Some PDFs can translate easily whereas others do not – it all depends on the source they came from! I always try to dissuade PDFs and encourage Googe Docs. Google Docs is the easy app in the suite that translates.

The End Goal Bitmoji Image

As educators, our end goal is to create expert learners. By making our lessons, activities, and assessments accessible we are increasing our students’ abilities to perceive information, build upon that knowledge, and further internalize it to become resourceful and knowledgable human beings. It can feel overwhelming to make our lessons accessible for all, however, start small by asking yourself the three questions above – seen, heard, translated. Try adding/changing ONE thing. Start small. We spend so much time planning GREAT lessons, we certainly want students to be able to access the learning!

I hope not to be away as long this time. I have so many deep thoughts floating in my brain after these past two years, with accessibility being at the forefront. Be well my friends, and reach out – after all, we are better together!

 

Take Care 💜

oFIShally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

eFISHient 🐟

keyboard smash

May…my goodness, are you feeling it?  This has been the quickest, yet slowest, and certainly most challenging year!  It has been quick in the regard that we were always changing, keeping up, and doing our best to get things working the way we needed them to. We adapted!  It has felt slow due to the isolation and lack of socializing we’ve experienced this past school year.  I really miss seeing you in person!

In my opinion, the overall theme this year was maximizing our strengths so we could be most efficient and work smarter. We were already working as hard as possible.  Now, that we are in May, I don’t think anyone, or anything, is feeling the bulk and load of the year as much as the devices we’re on!  Have you noticed?  Technology seems to be running a tad slower with a few more disruptions as of late. I think the load of this year, combined with the rapid pace of updates being released, has slowed down our devices.  FEAR NOT, there are some tips and tricks we can put in place to speed things up and be more eFISHient! 🐟 🐟 🐟

UPDATES!

So many of the technical problems I’ve fixed this year are due to updates that haven’t been installed. More times than not, it’s a hidden Windows update! Google has also been pushing out updates at a rapid pace, so students have really needed to be on top of the most recent updates in order for their devices to run eFISHiently.

Update Chrome Chrome | Google Blog

Google has been pushing out so many updates this year. Even though Chrome should just pull the most recent update, this isn’t always the case with the number of updates that have come out.  Manually checking for updates every once in a while is sure to boost your devices’ productivity.

Update Windows What is Windows?

Windows updates can be sneaky!  There are even optional updates that can hide and affect our devices. If you do not restart your device, you will surely get behind in updates and this can cause larger issues.  Take a look at the tutorial below which quickly goes over how to update your Windows 10 device.

Clear those Cookies Chocolate Chip Cookies - Menu - Speedy Café

Clearing your browsing data will certainly make your device run quicker.  Do yourself a favor and clear it out from ALL TIME, especially if you’ve never done it.  Have your students do this too – it will help a great deal with how the devices run.

Clean out Classroom Sign in - Google Accounts

By this time in the year, your Google Classroom is loaded with an extreme amount of content.  Every time a student loads Google Classroom, they are loading all of that content from the beginning of the course.  This may take the device, especially older Chromebooks, a significant amount of time.  As we know, time is a commodity in education and sometimes we simply don’t have it. We need things to load, and we need it NOW! I hate telling teachers to clean out their classrooms, since we can reuse them next year, however, consider “cleaning” it up.  If there are items you may not need for next year (due to the unique nature of this year), clear them out.  Clear out extra topics, emojis, and clutter.  This will help Classroom load a bit quicker on the student end.  If you still find that Classroom is slow to load, consider starting fresh and having students join a new classroom. I promise you – it will load super quick!

Uninstall Chrome Extensions Force The Cloud: 5 Must Have Chrome Extensions for Admins (+1 for developers)

The more extensions you have running on your Chrome Web Browser, the slower it will run.  Also, some extensions contain “bugs” and may infect your computer. If you’ve had popups or other programs not running, a bad extension could be the culprit. You can simply right click on an extension and click uninstall or you can try Extensity which is what I like to use (see below).  With Extensity, I keep all of my extensions yet only a few are running. This keeps my web experience running at a fast pace.

 

Clear those Downloads Downloads - PC Maritime we offer support to end-users of our products

Again, this is another task you can complete to make your device run more efficiently. Think of all the items you may have sitting in your downloads. Be sure to upload the files to your Drive or back them up another way before clearing them out if they are files you need!

On a PC

On a Chromebook

I hope these little tips help! What helps YOU to operate more efficiently? For me, it’s a good 5 mile run 🏃‍♀️. Clears my head and allows me to decompress. Be sure to take care of you, so YOU can also be eFISHient! ❤️️

Take care, everyone!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

THAT’S a KEEPER! 🎣

THAT’S A KEEPER!

SO many of us are now back, full-time, in-person.  It looks a bit different, but it is SO AMAZING.  As a mother of three school-aged children, my heart is so full hearing of their learning experiences now that they are in the school building for 5 days. I also love hearing about their new friends from the other cohort, new recess options, new bus friends, etc. It’s great and they are so happy. When they are excited about school, they are more engaged, and ready to learn. I’m finally hearing “I can’t wait to go to school tomorrow.”   However, as we think about how great it is to be back we cannot dismiss all of the extremely hard work we did to get to this point. There are so many silver linings of the last year that we need to hang onto as we get back to “normal” (whatever that is). These are the “Keepers” I would like to see stick around:

Collaboration 🤝

This is EASILY the number one silver lining to come out of this year.  Obviously, teachers and departments have collaborated in years past, but this year I’ve seen collaboration become a necessity to survive. We leaned on each other more than ever before.  We divided and conquered the lessons, we planned, we borrowed, we shared, and we succeeded. We NEEDED each other, and as a result, we saw HUGE benefits in terms of working smarter, and not harder (because I don’t think we could have worked any harder). Let’s not lose this – let’s learn from it and keep it around.  As a parent, I LOVED seeing that my children were getting lessons that teachers planned together. They were on the SAME page – and with twins, to me, that’s very important. Every teacher can bring their own flair to the lesson, but planning the lessons TOGETHER is equitable for all children.  I’ve also seen so much more collaboration between schools as well; teachers sharing digital lessons with each other, ideas online, so many new Facebook groups. Sharing is caring – let’s continue to care.

Google Classroom Google Classroom - Wikipedia

Oh my goodness, I’ve never been MORE PROUD of the Google Classroom use I’ve seen this year.  I hear teachers talking about Topics, using Emojis in Classrooms, having a “Master Teacher Classroom” that they pull from, reusing posts from their team members, and the list goes on and on. Many of these features have always been available, but not until the pandemic have they been used at the rate they are now.  I truly hope to see this continue as I firmly believe that posting everything in Google Classroom makes it accessible for all learners. Google Classroom was such an essential tool during hybrid and remote instruction, but can also be essential during in-person learning as well. For students to ALWAYS have access to lessons is a wonderful thing!

Technology Integration 💻

I’ve been an integration facilitator now for 5 years, with this being my 6th. Prior to this year, I had some teachers I knew that maybe were never really going to integrate technology into their instruction no matter how hard I pushed.  Then, Covid hit, and it was these teachers that relied on me the most. We had many tears, but we persevered and now all of us have so many new tech tools in our repertoire. Although technology doesn’t make a great teacher, it can GREATLY affect our students and many need it. I think the forceful integration of technology due to a pandemic allowed many to see the need for some technology purposefully integrated into daily instruction.

Virtual Meetings Meet

I have to admit, I would be so happy to NEVER see my own children on a Google Meet again in their school years. Conversely, I think virtual meetings are something we should not lose.  Having virtual meetings for PD was amazing because now we didn’t have a cap for space. I could also attend PD events all over the world without leaving my town, which is a first!  Using virtual meetings for parent-teacher conferences was awesome because more parents could attend, making it a bit more accessible to those who may have tough work schedules. I know as a parent myself, I loved the virtual conferences because I didn’t have to worry about being late by running in between each one. Virtual meetings could be used before school or after school for extra help for those who don’t have transportation.  I think we used virtual meetings in excess this year and may need a break, but they still should be “kept” around as an option going forward.

Quick Hits 💡

Lastly, I have to mention the tools that I’ve seen most used that I hope we “keep” using:

GoGuardian - YouTubeGoGuardian Teacher Dashboard – AWESOME to see teachers having this running so kiddos can ask questions in a safe space. Not all students feel comfortable raising their hand in class or approaching you. Keeping this running in-person provides a space for those who may need it.

Screencastify - YouTubeScreencastify – Using video to show and/or explain will always have a place! Making videos can be used in centers, or for students to review at home. We still may have students who have to quarantine, providing video models will give them access!

Pear Deck for Google Slides — Pear Deck PearDeck – Making your lessons interactive engages learners! Don’t just talk AT students, engage them and have them “talk” back. Again, this is another tool that may give some of your more quiet students a space to interact.

EdpuzzleEdPuzzle – Make those videos, then include questions and track WHO watches them! A GREAT TOOL for students to use while you meet with other students in class. The best part – it grades FOR you! Edpuzzle also has an amazing library of lessons already created by teachers – again, collaboration!

Google Guides - EdTechTeacher Google Tools – We have used Slides, Docs, Jamboard, and Classroom at such a high rate this year. I hope we continue to use these tools so we can reach all learners.  Not all children learn the same and by using tech purposefully in class we may reach more students than without it.

In closing❤️️:

I honestly have to say – I am so happy to see paper and pencils back out again in classrooms and the Chromebooks closed.  We all need balance, and MY GOODNESS, we have had a lot of tech this year! Of course, I went on and adopted MORE tech – be sure to check out my new Tik Tok channel for some quick tips! I’ll still post here, and to my YouTube channel. I try my best to reach ALL learners using different avenues 😍.

Take care everyone, I hope you “keep” me around!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

The Rising Tide 🌊 🐟

laptop wave

Wow – 3 months. I have never gone 3 months without writing.  Quite honestly, there is just so much in my brain I can’t seem to get it all down in a cohesive, well-thought-out post that is worthy of your time it would take to read it. I’ve also found myself with less time to write this year. Do you find yourself in a similar situation?  Time is the commodity these days, more than ever.  How much time are we teaching…how much time does it take to plan…time to email…time to record…time to give feedback?  Time. To. Just. Breathe. 

deep breaths

The tide is rising and when we think it cannot get any higher, it surpasses the last tideline.  However, we are not underwater.  We are rising as well, along with the tide. We are rising to the occasion because that is what we doSometimes, just the little things help us rise…Maybe these little things below can help you ❤️️

Meet:

Narrate your Slides:

Do you use Mote? If so, it just got even MORE amazing! Instantly record audio that directly inserts into your Slides AND saves to your Drive!

Live annotations:

Web Paint is a great, FREE extension that allows you to annotate and the ink shows to those at home and those in front of you!

Kami also works well for this purpose as well, with PDFs.

Join your Meet twice, on ONE device!

If you’ve tried to model written activities with a doc cam to both students in front of you, and students at home, you know the struggle I’m referring to with this video below. The image inverts to those in class. HOWEVER, if you join your Meet twice, you can fix this and it IS possible on ONE device (although it does take some finesse)! The key piece is the Volume Master extension.

These tips and tricks are simply the suggestions I can think of to rise above that ever-rising tide of this school year.  We can do it, we always have and we always will. 💜

Take care, everyone!
oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

SLIDE…Boogie woogie woogie 🎃 👻

Bitmoji Image

I think only those pushing 40 (and older) will get my reference above. For all you youngins out there….It’s a throwback to the Electric Slide which must have been played at every wedding, prom, event etc in America that got everyone dancing back in the 90s. A line dance of sorts, not unlike all of those Tik Tok dances I’m seeing.

Slides these days, those of the Google sort, are getting everyone dancing. So much more than a presentation tool, teachers are relying on this amazing Google Product for learning right now, more than ever before . As we try to orchestrate a line dance where everyone is going in different directions, it is certainly a challenge, and takes some sophisticated choreography.  So, the question comes up – how can we make creating our lessons in slides EASIER/BETTER/QUICKER – let’s take a look at some tips…

EDIT THE MASTER

This one is a game changer.  So many times, and I even have a most-watched video of this, I’ve suggested to download something to upload it and lock it. Well, NO MORE!  This summer when I was using Slidesmania, I discovered how to “Edit the Master.”  Yes, this has always been there, but I just didn’t know how to use it! This video, shared to me by the amazing Christine Curry a co-worker of mine, REALLY shows how to maximize this feature.  It’s a bit long (worth it, watch it), so I also included the screenshot below. Basically, editing the master let’s you lock EVERYTHING on the slide – text, images, backgrounds, etc so the kids can’t remove it.  Bonus – you DON’T need to upload ANYTHING.

WRITE ON YOUR SLIDES

Do you want to write on your slides and have those at home see it too? Try the extension Web Paint:

PREMADE TEMPLATES

I see so many teachers buying these cute templates from TPT, but did you know there are SO MANY slide templates out there FOR FREE? Check out Slides Mania, Slides Carnival, or Slides GO.  Each site has so many FREE Slides templates, many of which are interactive – including planners, digital notebooks, themes etc! See the example – this Halloween Template!

AUDIO DIRECTIONS (or clips) IN SLIDES

Create the audio using Vocaroo or other voice recording sites.  Download the clip, upload it to your Drive, use the insert menu of Slides and choose audio.  Viola!  You can then set the clip in the properties of the sound to automatically play! This really helps if you need some audio directions for students to listen too.

INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES

I’ve seen SO MANY interactive activities created in Slides.  Did you know you can find them already made, out there for FREE?!  Check out this Wakelet(click here) with over 60 already-made Slides Activities.  Make a copy of any of the ones you see and make it your own.

FREE REMOTE FOR SLIDES

Do you want to move about your room, but present your slides? You can add an extension that will allow your phone to be a FREE remote to advance your slides. This is a GREAT, FREE, resource!

KEEP STUDENTS FROM DELETING SLIDES

If you’re making slide decks for students to complete work, but find they are deleting slides (to avoid work), you could use the Pear Deck Add-on for Slides. Add the questions needing to be answered and simply put the Slides into student paced mode. Students cannot delete any slides and can still complete work. Check it out here (this is a premium feature):

 

Hopefully these tips can make your digital dance just a little bit smoother. There will still be bumps and times where we crash into each other, but as things improve we can all be SLIDEing in the same direction!

Be well everyone 💙

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Fishing in the LIVE STREAM 🎣

Fishin’ in the Live Stream

Bitmoji Image

Hello! I hope you are well. I know right  now is a different time in education, but I hope you “keep swimming.”  We’re all doing our best, and staying afloat, during these “unprecedented” times.

One of the questions I’m getting lately is: How are you (or your school) running Live Meets?

There are so many different ways I’ve seen it being done, but there is one common thread among everyone- TEACHERS ARE TRYING THEIR BEST!  Live, or synchronous, teaching is a challenge as there are many variables outside of our control right now (weather, device settings, wifi connection etc).   The virtual classroom gives us challenges we had not faced before-  one of which being the best way to run a Meet. Although many variables are out of our control, let’s take a look at what we can control…

Presenting your Screen

Within a Meet, there are three options to present one’s screen. You can choose Entire Screen, A Window, and a Chrome Tab.  Each option has a purpose. Check out my video below to see!

Extending your Desktop – a second screen to SEE your students

One challenge you may have is being able to see your students while also teaching those in front of you. Try extending your desktop. This will allow for essentially two screens – one for teaching and one for the Meet.

Live Stream using Google Meet

Did you know you can use a Google Meet link to also Live Stream?  We’re currently using this for our Morning Announcements but it would work with all LIVE streaming!

Make your Meet even More Secure!

Quick Access

Although Meet is pretty secure when using the Google Classroom meeting link or the Nickname feature – students can still copy the link from the URL bar while on the Meet and send it to a pal.  If this is something that has happened to you, consider turning off QUick Access.   By turning off Quick Access every student has to ask to join your Meet.  See my example below.

Nickname

The Nickname feature is another great way to protect a Meet. It works the same way as the Google Classroom Meeting link feature.

How to Meet Faster

Is your Meet running slower than you would like? Freezing even? Try altering the video quality in your settings. By lowering to standard definition, you may find your Meet running a bit quicker. I also recommend having everything you plan to present open and ready to go.  Video seems to play slowly when on a Meet, so if possible have students watch the videos before or after the Meet and use the Meet as a time to talk, discuss, and check in.

Engagement Ideas for Meet

Jamboard in Google Meet

Woohoo!! This is a great integration!

Activities

Need some fun ideas for your Google Meet? Check out this folder that Jen Giffen posted on Twitter – it has many different templates, activities, and ideas to make Meet more engaging.

Meet + Pear Deck for Remote/Hybrid Instruction

Pear Deck is a GREAT option to have running for hybrid instruction.  Students both in class and at home can join the live session, participate, and see responses! Take a look below! Pear Deck has been a phenomenal tool to reach ALL learners!

Fix those Google Meet Camera/Mic Issues

No video, no problem! Try this quick fix if you’re experiencing issues with your video or audio on Meet.

wow So that was a LOT! Hopefully, you can pick up one little nugget that can make your Meets just a little easier!

Take care everyone,

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

The Unsung Hero 🐟🐟

have a good week

All throughout the unprecedented spring, I would refer to Google Classroom as the unsung hero of remote learning. It truly was a life preserver to help keep many of us afloat during an extremely challenging time. Now, as we gear up to enter the fall in a VERY new way, Google Classroom comes to the rescue once again. It allows for a singular place to distribute and collect work, communicate with students either through Meet or email, and also share with your plans and posts with colleagues. This tool continues to improve each and every year, however, it is still missing a few key pieces that we would all like to see.  Knowing Google, they will eventually add those key pieces but until then we can manipulate this fantastic tool with a few hacks. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites below!

Google Classroom HACKS 🛠

Track who views your links

Do you want to see if the kids are clicking the links you put in Google Classroom?  Check out this trick!!

 

Use a different font

Seriously, this is amazing! I heard about this from Janice Griffin, 7th grade teacher at my school.  Check out the website: https://coolsymbol.com/cool-fancy-text-generator.html

Type what you want for your Google Classroom topics, assignments, material or any item really!  Copy and paste it into your Google Classroom, and VIOLA! Different Fonts!

Emojis in Classroom 💥😃🦸‍♀️️

Emojis may allow for your Google Classroom to stand out! I like using an extension for emojis, but you could also use the Emoji Keyboard built in to your device or an Emoji website. Check out the Emoji extension here. Copy and paste them into Google Classroom. Personally, I love seeing them in the Topics on the Classwork Page. Eye-catching AND engaging!

If the Google Classroom Genie 🧞 appeared and granted you 3 features, what would you choose? and you CAN’T wish for unlimited wishes…mine would be: Subtopics, Discussion board options, and options to hide student names in the people tab. I would LOVE to hear your suggestions!

 

Tip of the week: Extend your Desktop

Non-Classroom related….Need two screens for remote learning? One to see your students and one to present to your students? Try extending your screen!  This works so awesomely well when you’re connected to a projector. Bonus – if you have a board that you can touch (like a Smartboard, Touchview, etc) you can fully touch that second screen. This works great with Meet, Jamboard, GoGuardian, Peardeck teacher dashboard and many more!

I truly wish you the BEST first week – seriously, it’s going to be FINTASTIC 🦈 !

Take Care!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

100🐟

100

Hey there? Have you missed me? It’s been a while….and there’s a reason for that.  I’ve written this post in my head so many times. I’ve thought about this post for at least a year.  Why….because this is my 100th post and I’ve avoided it.  I knew it was coming, and the fact that it was coming during such a unique time made me avoid it even more.  I have so many feelings and a tech post about 100 tech tools just didn’t seem relevant or appropriate. Well, I guess the tech tools may be relevant, but it still didn’t feel right.

The second week of shutdown due to Covid-19, I started running.  I downloaded one of those couch to 5K apps that told me I’d run a 5K by May, and sure enough, the app was right. Boy, am I a SLOW runner…but I’m so grateful I started.  I needed something just to get out of my head, to clear it, and to manage ALL of those feelings I was having about everything going on.  It was on one of those runs, recently, that this post hit me.

thanks emoji balloons

This is my 100th post – and my message to you is this: This year will be different, BUT it will also be the same if not better than any other. Why you ask…because you ALWAYS give it 100. That’s why you’re here, reading this.  You are the type of person who reads blogs, who looks for ways to improve, who is on the internet/social media, those crazy groups that make all sorts of Bitmoji stuff (c’mon, you know the one I’m talking about), Tik Tok, Insta following a million teachers, Book clubs, Podcasts, etc etc. You have ALWAYS given it 100% every year and this year will be no different. The year will look different and the teaching will look different, but your 100% attitude of doing what’s best for YOUR students will be the same.  You’ve got this…give it 100% – I know I will and I know I am, even right now.

And since I’m giving it my 100% (and sometimes it feels like more), here’s a resource with over 100 of my favorite things!  Enjoy. It’s a work in progress and meant to support you. It will grow, but it’s coming out well so far.

100 percent

Make your mouse BIG, make your videos SHORT, and give it your 100% this year. At the end of the day, that’s all we can do…give it our very best effort. Thanks for sticking with me through 100 posts. On to the next 100…stay TUNAed for lots more fish puns.

Take care everyone, it feels good to be back.

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

So many updates….

keep me posted

Throughout this journey of remote learning,  Google has surely tried to keep up!  So many updates have come out for all Google Products in the last two months. Trying to keep up with updates is a full-time job! Luckily, it really is my full-time job…so, without further ado, check out some my favorite updates (among many) below.

Also, be sure to check the end of this post for the latest trend in education – Bitmoji virtual classrooms. Thanks to my friend Nancy Carroll, tech integration specialist from Walpole, for the slide deck!

Add to Tasks: task button

Your email just got the task button! Woohoo!!  It looks like this:

Why is this a great update? Check out this video below to see how to use tasks.  It makes it so you no longer have to leave emails unread – you just add them to tasks and get a reminder embedded right into your Google Calendar.

Hyperlink Individual Words in Sheets

Sheets received a great update in the last week. If you ever wanted to use Sheets as a database, you may have noticed you could only hyperlink an entire cell, rather than a singular word or phrase. Well, that has changed!  Now, just as in any other Google Product, you can hyperlink individual words.

Google Docs FIXED Images

One of the concerns I have received with Google Docs (over Word) is the lack of ability with inserting images.  Recently, Docs received a great update in terms of image options. If you like to have a Google Docs newsletter or insert images for students, check out this new update!

Audio THROUGHOUT Slides

Drumroll please….this update is LONG awaited!  Finally, you can have music or narration play THROUGHOUT Google Slides.  This works really well with picture slideshows as well as student projects! Be sure to use copyright free audio when using this new feature. Get free music to use here or record your own narration with Vocaroo!!

The Latest Trend….

Have you seen the latest trend that’s popping up all over the internet? Bitmoji Virtual Classrooms or Slides? Well, they are quite cute and easy to make! Make a virtual classroom and insert yourself in! Use it as a Slide and insert Hyperlinks over different areas of your classroom (like your library, or math centers)

Want to make one of your own? Click here for an editable template.

For a few more resources, check these out below:

How to put Bitmojis into Google Products

How to use and Install Bitmoji Extensions

Do you have a recent update that you just LOVE?!! Share it out, I love learning new things!!

Take care, Everyone!
Bitmoji Image

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟