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insPIERation

(*Note: for some reason, my blog post did not email out last week even though I wrote it. It includes Halloween activities as well as vocabulary. Check it out here. )

I am writing after two, or more like two and a half, of the most inspirational days of my working career. The MassCUE/M.A.S.S. Annual Fall conference was just held at Gillette Stadium, and amazing would be an understatement.  I have attended and presented at this conference for the last five years and, like a fine cheese, it continues to get better with age.  Now as a Board Member, I get the added benefit of assisting in the behind-the-scenes work that makes this HUGE event such a success.  The MassCUE staff and conference committee that organizes and runs the conference is an incredible group of people. Fall conference can be overwhelming, but the team does such a good job providing resources and people to help wherever they can. With over 400 vendors, hundreds of workshops, many different learning areas, and just under 3,000 attendants – it is the largest event Gillette hosts aside from games and concerts.

As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve learned different ways to manage and maneuver this conference. I am sure to book multiple sessions in my schedule, in close proximity, to really maximize my learning; I know to go see some truly INSPIRING educators, including our own in EB, who present year after year; and I’ve learned not to be shy and to TALK to people ( I know, me shy? yeah right…but sometimes I am).  I’ve made some very close friends through MassCUE who continue to lift me up and encourage me, and I try my best to do the same for them.

One of the principles that I stand behind is that we are truly better together.  When we form relationships with those who inspire us, we can work together and share ideas for a common goal: successful kids!  MassCUE stands behind this belief as well. This year MassCUE provided an Awesome Table for ANYONE to access many of the amazing sessions. I’ve included it here (click here), so take a look, it is “insPIERational”! The table can be a bit overwhelming! A few of the presenters (among many) I try to see and find ALWAYS inspire me. If you want to search them by name, they are: Jenn Judkins, Joli Boucher, Brandon Hall, Neal Sonnenberg, Ann Coates, Jonathan Schmidt, Jed Stefanowicz, Julie Spang and of course our EB presenters: Tori Cameron, Beth Barra, Meg McGovern, Stacy Linnehan, Amy Ronayne, and Sheri Craven. You can also search in the title for specific topics like SeeSaw, EdPuzzle, Flipgrid, Math, Literacy and many more!

I think Amy Ronayne said it best when she said something along the lines of:  “This conference gives me confidence, allows me to see how cool it is with what I’m doing and how it helps others. It makes me a better teacher.”

This year, more than ever, I felt like a proud mom watching our own EB staff thrive as they present to packed sessions and even get approached by administrators from other districts asking them to come and show their staff.  I always try to exude that I work in an amazing place, with amazing staff and kids, who have no idea just how incredible a place our school is. When we attend MassCUE Fall Conference, we truly get the sense of how fortunate we are. If you haven’t attended in the past, I really encourage you to give this conference a try. You will NOT regret it!

If I didn’t get to see you at the conference, and you read this blog, please reach out! I’d love to meet you in person next time – I’m sure you will be an insPIERation to me!

Take Care, Everyone!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

Get your Vocab up to Scale! 😂 🐟

One day I was sitting at the kitchen table, and my son Chace, spouted out this word that was so beyond his years.  The word was incredulous, and it’s a word that I do not even use in my daily vocabulary, nevermind my son who was in first grade at the time.  I asked him, “where did you learn that?!”  He proceeded to tell me all about his teacher and how she just put words up around the room. He would see the word every day, and at some point, it must have been discussed.  Words have such power! Students just seeing new words can have an impact on daily usage. I can’t say enough about this teacher my son had, and all of her words around the room.  She certainly left an impact on my son.  We all learn differently, and for my son, seeing the word daily worked for him. For others, however, interacting with words may work and technology can enhance this interaction.  What are some tech tools that can assist with WORDS? Well, let’s take a look below!  👀

Educandy 🍬

Educandy was just featured on both Richard Byrne and Eric Curts’ blogs earlier this month.  It appears to be the hot, new, FREE platform to engage students in vocabulary activities! Check out the video below, from Richard Byrne, on how to use this new tool! Looks like FUN!

Flippity 🤸‍♀️

Flippity.com is an amazing resource for FREE, customizable templates that work with Google Sheets.  The flashcard template is a favorite of mine because it is so versatile. You can embed images and YouTube videos on to the flashcards if you wish. It also has various ways students can interact with the flashcards.

Quizlet 🙋

Quizlet on its own is an AWESOME vocabulary site with many premade lists teachers have created.  No need to add your own lists, if you search Quizlet by a story name, chapter, or title of a topic you will probably find a list of words. You can then modify them as you wish.  This tool is wonderful because it has speech-to-text built-in, as well as a picture dictionary and translator.

Once you have a list, kids can play Quizlet LIVE!  This is unlike Kahoot and Quizizz, it puts the kids into teams and they have to work together. They LOVE it! Check out both Quizlet and Quizlet Live!

Pear Deck – Flashcard Factory 🍐

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!

Great ways to use Flash Card Factory

Click here to sign-in to Flash Card Factory

Tech or Treat 🎃 🍭

Of course, we need to share some Halloween activities!  Do you have a good one? Send it my way!

PRO Tips of the Week! 💡

I learned so much cool stuff this week I had to include both!

Amazing Gradient Slides Backgrounds 🔙

Shown to me by a student, this one is quick and I love it! Check out the 50 second video below

Customize your Bitmoji!!!

LOVE LOVE LOVE this! It’s coming to a Chrome Extension near you, if it hasn’t hit already! Check it out below!

 

Did you learn something new that you can do with words? I hope so!

Take care, everyone!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

The Lid on the Tuna Can 🥫🐟

You're the best Be a Champion for ALL of our kids You're the best

 

This week I had the amazing opportunity to teach 3 blocks of Intro To Computers.  It was my first time having High School students solely to myself in longer, 77-minute, blocks.  The VERY first thing I did was attempt to connect with students. I spent time with the students…saying hello, asking about their schedules and lives, simply talking to them. Each and EVERY one.  If you know me, you know I can be loud, boisterous, and sunshiney (to the point where I can annoy some people). I engaged with the students and invested that time early, to get them working – which they did! We are a community and these are all of our kids. I went into teaching because I LOVE kids – all of them. I have a soft spot in my heart for the students who are the most work.  The most difficult kids are those who need the sense of community the most. It’s not screen time,  it’s not parenting, its community and we need to provide that for many of our students who only find it here, at school. Taking the time to connect with the students first, and show that I do care, pays me dividends in the end in terms of students working towards my objective.

Recently I attended a workshop by Jimmy Casas author of Culturize. He challenged me to think differently, stop blaming external factors, and ask myself what can I be doing? What are my fears that cause me to blame?

What we model is what we get.

The investment of time means a lot to people. Are you accessible to people? Do you have an open-door policy – and DO they walk through your door? If someone walks by and you don’t say anything it’s a missed opportunity, a missed opportunity to connect or model the behavior we want others to have. Model the behaviors that you want to see repeated. If appropriate and positive interaction is what you desire, model this yourself with others in the room and the greater classroom community. We have a responsibility to build our culture. Lead Learning and build culture – this is our job. See yourself as a community builder – first thing, think: What am I doing to build a community? Everything we do is based on the connection we make with students, and as much as I love technology – this does not replace the connection we can make face-to-face. The investment of time isn’t happening in many classrooms across the country….are we modeling the poor behavior we see in our students? Subtle things we do impact our culture in negative ways. When we complain about a student – that negative behavior is the same behavior we see in him/her. Invest the time, face to face, first thing  – the time you take now will reduce the time you could spend later trying to get your objectives accomplished.

Tech Tools to Assist:

Your Why

Remember what you said when you were in that interview chair – what is your WHY? Come back to that. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Teaching is hard, but when you’re tired – go find the child. Don’t wait for someone to come around and change your attitude…go engage with people. Go sit with a student and engage. Fill your own cup up, don’t wait for others to come and fill it.

When you know your why your what has more impact because you are walking in or towards your purpose. – Michael Jr, Comedian

The Blame Game

Clarity proceeds confidence. When students do not follow instructions we need to resist blaming the students and say to ourselves “clarity proceeds confidence” and try to be more clear.  Show students what excellence looks like, then coach them through it. Stay in there with feedback until they get to the level you want them to be at. We’re delegating too quickly when students are not yet at the level we want them to be at. If we delegate the task too early, we exhaust ourselves with trying to get there. We look for external things to blame for behavior – and we spend more time on that than trying to understand the behavior itself. Ask yourself – I wonder what happened to the student that they act that way? I had a student this week who simply sat and let me know they were going to just sit, and not do anything. The child wasn’t disruptive.  A friend told me, “That student is working harder than anyone in the class. For that student, it is harder to simply come to school and just be present than it probably is for the student next to him/her doing the work.” I had to really ask myself, why?  I didn’t ask the student to engage and I didn’t kick the student out, I just went and sat with the student. I stated that I cared, that I was worried and that I hope the student is okay. I didn’t ask the student anything – I did not pry.  By the end of class, I received a smile from the student and he/she stated, “It’s not you.” If I continued in the class, I would’ve continued this routine with the student and am confident, eventually, I would get this student to engage in the work of the class. However, I would need to invest the time. Every student is worth that time.

Tech Tools to Assist:

In Closing

Don’t be the lid on the Tuna can…Don’t give ALL the reasons you can’t do something.  Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Ask yourself – DO YOU WANT TO BE GREAT?  The world WANTS to be average and tries to pull us back…Just accept that you can never be average.  Everybody wants to be a part of something great! 

Take care, everyone,

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

 

Let’s take a Dive into Writing ✏ 🐟

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Let’s talk writing!  I absolutely love to write (hence the blog), however, sometimes it can seem like a chore when I have to do it.  Personally, I prefer to type in Docs and I find the act of typing engaging in itself.  I feel the only way to really improve as a writer, is simply to write.  However, with students, it can be challenging at times to motivate students to write. So, what can we do as educators to assist students with writing? And how can we make it easier for ourselves to look at writing? Well, let’s “dive in” and look below and see what we can find!

Docs as a Blog

I really like using the Titles and Headings options in Docs. It allows you to create a pretty neat product if you set it up just right.  You can even make your Doc look just like a blog with monthly, themed, posts.  I put an example video below! If you wish to use my template and modify it for your needs, please click here.

Google Blogger

Google Blogger is a pretty cool app! You can find Google blogger by clicking here. Sometimes, we just need a cool tool to get students writing! Why not a blog? Google has a great help center, found here, that will walk you through how to create a blog!

Writing in LIVE time

As educators, it helps to have tools so see a student’s writing over time.  There are some great tools that allow both teacher and student to see the progression!

Revision History

See the progression of a student’s writing, or the collaborative efforts of a group write, by using the revision history found in the File Menu of Google Docs.  This can be a powerful tool, and also a lifesaver especially if you accidentally have your own writing wiped out!

Draftback

Draftback is a valuable Chrome Extension that allows you to see writing play out as a video from start to finish!  You can install this extension by clicking here.  To see how it works, check out the video below.

Word Count

A live word count can help a student see the visual of his or her own writing. Analyze character count and length by turning on this great feature of Docs. You can find Word Count under the Tools menu.

Tip of the week

I love this post from Catlin Tucker which includes a “writing playlist!” It’s not a new post, but it’s new to me and a great resource! Click here to check it out!

What helps you as a writer?  I left out many of my favorite tools I use since I could go ON and ON…Can you guess what they are?!

Take care, everyone!
oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

Tired of watching your students flounder?

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I think, possibly, one of the most frustrating challenges we face as educators is when we plan for this GREAT lesson and the tech WON’T work.  Oh my goodness, I feel the heat prickle right up my neck and the panic sets in. It’s when I want to throw something!  Sometimes, the problem is beyond our control. However, other times, we may be able to have a quick fix! Let’s take a look below and see if these tricks can “tide” you over!

Update your Chrome OS

There is NOTHING more frustrating than when you have your plans in place and something just won’t run and you can’t figure out why! Sometimes, the version of Chrome is what is to blame!  Did you know even our state test, MCAS, needs at least Chrome OS 74 in order to run?  Before you run to check your Chrome version, watch the video below of how to quickly update your Chrome! Why doesn’t it update on its own, you ask? Well, it will when it’s looking for the latest version, but when Chromebooks are not used for a longer period of time (say the summer), they may not pull the latest OS version.  Thus, we need to do a manual update. Have no fear, this is a QUICK fix!

Resolve Flash Issues

Ahhh the blessed Flash. So many sites use this application, that this quick fix may help so many. Ever see the “install flash” message? This one is for you!

WiFi Issues

Sometimes multiple networks can confuse a Chromebook. It doesn’t know which one to connect to. Here’s another easy fix from Principal of the Gordon Mitchell School, Andrew Gentile.  He shows you in the video how to “prefer” a network so your Chromebook always knows what network to choose. This will result in a faster connection that will not be interrupted!

Accessibility

If we TRULY do not want our student to flounder, then accessibility tools are where it’s at!  Chromebooks have accessibility BUILT-IN!  Students may flounder with spelling when trying to access a resource, have them try this! Personally, dictation has helped so many students – including my own sons.

If these quick, troubleshooting tips don’t help you at the moment, REACH out!

What are your quick tips to help in a hurry? Let me know!

Take care!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Fishing off the right “pear” 🍐🎣

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Cod a minute to learn something new…😉 😉

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  newsela-daily-gif_full.gif

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!

Great ways to use Flash Card Factory

Click here to sign-in to Flash Card Factory

NEW Pear Deck Menu 🍐

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!

Take care, everyone!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Google Classroom: “Catch of the Day” 🎒🎣

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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!

Take care, everyone!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

FINtastic Google Updates, Tips and Tricks 🦈🦈

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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:

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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

please recycle 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!

Bitmoji Image 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

Bitmoji ImageRubrics Beta

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!

Bitmoji ImageOriginality 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.

 

Drive Updates

Bitmoji ImageShared Drives

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.

Bitmoji ImagePriority 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.

Pro Tips:

Bitmoji ImagePull 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!

Bitmoji ImageKeep 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!

 

What next…

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…

Take care, everyone!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

Fishin for Success: The FIRST Two Weeks 🎣🏅🏆

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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 🎥

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!

20 activities to “Bloom” with the new Flipgrid camera

Pear Deck 🍐

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!

In closing…Bitmoji Image

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!

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Take it easy and take a moment for yourself too! <3

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

Get “Hooked” on Screencastify! 🎥🎞

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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.

Screencast

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 classroomHave students view the material prior to coming in the classroom or while working in small groups
  • TutorialsExplain how to do a skill or process or have students provide a video explaining a process!
  • Station RotationWhile 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!

Record Video

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)

Original: https://youtu.be/HwkeEgESR3g

Student Example: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TSJh3Us3FuqXW-P6jqVyuhdtEVC4MEW2/view?usp=sharing

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. 

Integrations

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!
    • Pull audio now from your screencasts and use the clips on slides! Check it out here!

Pro Tip

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!

Privacy

If you’re concerned about privacy, fret no more! Screencastify is both FERPA and COPPA Compliant.  For more information, you can read about their privacy policy here! 

FREEMIUM

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!

Premium

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!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟