How’s it going? Having a good week? I hope you are! It’s a great day to have a great day! Something that makes me smile, and allows me to have a great day, is having fun with images. Whether it’s Bitmoji, Giphy, or Google Draw I always enjoy manipulating images for various items I’m working on. I also LOVE showing students and teachers how to have fun with images! There are so many great ways to express knowledge – a picture or series of pictures in a presentation is a fabulous option! We can do so much with images – let’s check out a few ideas below!
Adobe Spark is an AWESOME program that allows one to create a variety of digital media. Like many programs, it has a free and premium structure; but did you know that Adobe gives FREE Premium accounts to schools? Recently, we signed up for it here in East Bridgewater – we even have single-sign-on! Adobe has many preloaded images that are copyright free, or you can use your own to create a multimedia presentation or infographic. Here are two student examples of the presentation option below (and one teacher example – mine) that showcase how it can be used. This great tool is very user-friendly! Check it out today! **Note these student examples are still being worked on.
This was a great post by Eric Curts of the blog Control Alt Achieve. He showcases 3 FREE picture editing tools. I really enjoyed RemoveBG. It allows you to remove a background from a picture. I used a picture of my family, but you could remove the background from any image. Then it allows you to have the image as a PNG (no white around it) for your files.
I had fun playing with this tool!
A NEAT trick with Slides!
This trick is better to explain in a video! It involves setting an image as a background and using transparent shapes to make it interactive. Take a look below.
Do you like animated GIFs and Stickers? I certainly do! Giphy is an AWESOME database full of copyright free GIFs and stickers. These are so much fun to use in Google Slide presentation, on a doc, in an email or just about anywhere!
Google Tip of the Week – MERGE ALL GOOGLE CLASSROOM ITEMS
This great tip comes from Dana Goldstein, Mitchell School 4th grade teacher, who wanted to print a Google Doc assignment from her whole team! She was able to use PDFMergy and combine all 55 documents into one PDF for easy printing (rather than go through all of them individually to print). Check it out below!
Do you want to have some fun with images? Need help? Reach out! I hope you have a GREAT day!
Hello Hello! How are you doing? I have had quite the past two weeks! Lately, I’ve needed help and I’m lucky enough to have the support system checking in on me when I needed it. My family and I had a HORRID bug sweep through our house and it took the better part of two weeks to really clear it out. Needless to say, my blog did not go out last week since I had the bug too and it really knocked me down for about four days. It reminded me, though, that we can all use a little help sometimes. It doesn’t make us weak to ask for help, in fact, it makes us stronger. In my case, I really needed help to get stronger for my own well-being.
This week, I had the awesome opportunity to help a few teachers with some fabulous lessons! I sat with Amy Ronayne and had some great conversations and set up of Pineapple charts! She had a super idea and I was happy to help. Sue O’Hea and Meg McGovern really wanted to have some fun with Functions and asked for my help with Flipgrid! Wow, did we have fun filming our “teams.” Lastly, my pal Stacy Linnehan helped me by showing me ClassroomQ (see below) and asked for my help with Adobe Spark for a lesson next week. This prompted me to take a look (again) at it this awesome tool. I’ve always enjoyed Adobe, but hadn’t yet explored the FREE Adobe Spark for Edu program. Did you know about this? Abobe Spark for EDU with some premium features is FREE for schools. This led to me asking for help from our tech coordinator to set up Adobe Admin on the back end of the server so we can get Adobe for Edu! Check my blog next week for the awesome work we’re doing with Adobe Spark and THANK YOU to all of those who both ask and offer help #TogetherWeAreBetter .
Let’s take a look at some of the help I was offered, and was able to give, using tech tools this week!
What a fun time I had with Sue O’Hea and Meg McGovern’s class this week making function videos for math class! We used Flipgrid to post the videos. For my group, we also used Screencastify and Adobe Spark to make the video. Flipgrid is such a great tool – and you can do so very much with it. Click here and here for instructional videos (in that order) on Flipgrid that I’ve posted in the past, and see below for our example on Functions!
It’s pretty amazing when you see two awesome colleagues collaborating through Twitter to talk about teaching. Recently, Amy Ronayne became a Wakelet ambassador (Go Amy!) and Stacy Linnehan made a really cool Wake on Pineapple Charts (Go Stacy!). So, knowing Amy is an ambassador, Stacy shared it with Amy. Amy then booked me to put Pineapple Charts into action! Together, we came up with app smashing Google Calendar and YouCanBookMe.com – this is a work in progress, but it’s going to be pretty cool when it comes to fruition! We also added Google Forms with Autocrat to generate positive teacher feedback! MAGIC!
Do you teach with small groups or facilitate learning around the room? Do you have a “deli counter” system or line at your desk? Well – if you do, ClassroomQ is an AMAZING tool for you. It’s SUPER easy and a tool recommended to me by Stacy Linnehan who used it in Stacy Cullinane’s room during a writing lesson. Students, once they were ready for conferencing, simply clicked their bookmark for ClassroomQ and got a “ticket.” The computer dings alerting the teacher, and her screen shows who is waiting. On the student end, it shows where they are in line in the queue. The free account allows for five tickets at a time. Simply clear the screen, and the 5 starts again. We don’t really want more than 5 students waiting at a time anyway, right? This now encourages better use of time for students, rather than sitting and waiting with a hand raised, or in a line at the desk. Once set up, it’s easy to launch. Take a look at the short video below which shows how it works as teacher and student.
Tip of the week: Gmail Confidential Mode
This week, I enabled Confidential Mode for Gmail in our Google Admin Panel. This is one way Google is helping us to protect our information.
Allow users to set an expiration date for messages or revoke access at any time
Disable options to forward, copy, print, and download the email body and attachments
Allow users to set SMS passcodes wherein recipients will get a passcode by text message to be able to access the email sent using confidential mode
Let users choose to remove access early before the expiration date.
Note: Although confidential mode helps prevent the recipients from accidentally sharing your email, it doesn’t prevent recipients from taking screenshots or photos of your messages or attachments. Recipients who have malicious programs on their computer may still be able to copy or download your messages or attachments.
How are you asking for help to be the best you can be? How are you helping others to be their best? I ask myself this every day. Be well everyone, and I’m here if you need any help <3 You can book me here.
We are MARCHING closer to Spring, even if March is coming in like a Lion 🦁! The first of March and snow is predicted, can you believe it? Just like the weather, technology is also offering us a storm of new ideas! There are so many tools, tips, and tidbits – that it can be tough to keep it all together (Like that alliteration there?)! Fear not…that’s why my blog is here! Take a look below at some of my finds this week. I think they are totally top notch and many come from awesome teachers you know!
Thank you Amy Ronayne, 8th grade ELA teacher, for showing me this!
If you don’t have a home screen set, you may want to have this as your opening tab. No login, FREE TOOL, and look at the screenshot below for all the little tools it gives you. A whiteboard to draw on (smart users), a clock, timer with fun sounds like Mario theme song, noise monitor, traffic light, and MORE! You can also set cool moving backgrounds from their library. This is SUCH A GOOD FIND! Click here to check it out!
March is a BIG month for tournaments and there’s quite a bit of madness involved. If you’re looking for a GREAT site with already-made, interactive templates, Flippity.Net is a wonderful tool! It has a Template that is EASY to use for tournaments! Check out the video below!
Thank you Cassie Wadden for showing me this COOL site below that has a neat Jeopardy-style game among other features. Although this site does have a fee structure, it does have some pretty neat free components if you’re looking for something game-like, or for review.
Have you heard of Interactive Fiction? I had not until Amy Schleinkofer gave me a call following her public library visit over the February break! According to Wikipedia: “Interactive fiction, often abbreviated IF, is software simulating environments in which players use text commands to control characters and influence the environment.” She tried it whole class with her students and they LOVED it. It’s similar to coding…what a GREAT activity!
This resource is an AWESOME creation by Laura Cahill, fellow Massachusetts Edtech Coach. She made a beautiful template, complete with a timer linked, to use as your initial screen as kids walk in. Simply duplicate the slide everyday for your whole year of Agendas. It includes an objective space, homework, classroom, subject, and bellringer box. You can also modify it! I made a copy for myself and added it to our own Template Gallery for East Bridgewater!
Classroom has had a few updates as of late. You can read about them here or see a short video below. The Stream and the settings have recently changed. Remember how the Stream used to appear – well it’s back (sort of)!!!
I hope you’re finding success with technology tools! Reach out and let me know!
“The world doesn’t care what you know. What the world cares about is what you do with what you know.” ― Tony Wagner
I love that quote by Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators and Most Likely to Succeed. We can possess all of the knowledge in the world but if we’re not doing anything with it, then what’s the point? This week, I was fortunate to see what students and teachers are doing with their knowledge. In this blog, I get to show you what I’m doing with mine! Often, I ask myself, “How do I make it bigger? How do I further my reach? How can I do MORE with the knowledge (mostly surrounding EdTech) that I have?” All of these different tools, strategies, and ideas don’t really serve a purpose just sitting in my brain…how do we do more?
Trying something new…
I always try to do more, to reach further, but always being open to trying new things…here are a few of the new things I’ve seen:
Google does it all the time: more. They are constantly updating and upgrading to try to do more for teachers, students and overall their consumers. Locked Mode in Google Forms is one example of this. If you haven’t tried Locked Forms yet, it’s a pretty neat experience. The Chromebook goes, almost, into kiosk mode. There are no tabs available for the students to click on. The students can close the Form and access other tabs, but all data would be lost as a result (which is stated right on the form). The only downfall…GoGuardian does not run when the Locked Form is active. The students appear as “offline” when running the teacher dashboard AND a locked form.
Again, it’s what you do with what you know…I learned I could BLUR faces in my YouTube videos! Take a look at the video above to see an example, and take a look at the tutorial below to see how to do this! It comes in handy if you have any students or staff who do not wish to be filmed. You could also do some fun video projects with this feature. For instance, you know when they interview someone for a crime show that doesn’t wish to be seen? That would be a fun type of project to work into the curriculum – “witness testimony”!
A New Assesment Tool
I’ve mentioned Edulastic before, but this week I was able to see some of the data that was generated from this awesome assessment tool. Similar to Online Mcas, this assessment tool has a variety of question types and includes a bank where you can choose questions. You can also create your own. Many surrounding High Schools are starting to use this site as their online test prep. It works across all subject areas and even includes previous years’ MCAS questions.
My good friend, an amazing teacher, and MassCUE President Rayna Freedman recently told me about Wolfram Alpha. It’s certainly not new, but it’s new to me! WHAT am I doing to do with it? Well, share it with you of course. I will also analyze how I can use it for myself. I highly encourage you to check it out, mostly because it’s SO VERY COOL. According to the site “Wolfram|Alpha is a unique engine for computing answers and providing knowledge. It works by using its vast store of expert-level knowledge and algorithms to automatically answer questions, do analysis and generate reports.” Again, what can we do with this knowledge? What will you do? Check out this amazing site here!
Happy Vacation Everyone! Teaching is Tiring (and worth it) and I wish you all a restful break!
Happy February Everyone! I am so happy to be entering this lovely month and FINALLY be out of long, cold, January! Since I just LOVE tech so much, I figured I would fill the blog this week with some techy stuff I love.
The first thing I love – with Tech – is Google and all of their innovation! This week, on Tuesday, Google released a pretty hot extension: Password CheckUp. This amazing little extension, made by Google, will let you know if your password has been breached. Pretty innovative right? Read more about this amazing little nugget here, and install the extension from the Chrome Web Store here.
More than anything, I enjoy playing with all of the little things that you can do with Google Apps. Fonts, tables, colors, add-ons, etc. its just so much fun! Recently, I was playing around with transparency and auto shapes. Check it out below, it’s a BLAST.
Sharing is Caring
Are you looking for another option for student expression? This past week I was worked with Sarah Trainor and Kerri Trumbull, respectively. Sarah showed me a tool that I hadn’t seen before, Kidzoa! Kerri and I through our work discovered Flipsnack together. Check out both of these great tools below – you may find them to be a great option for student expression!
Flipsnack is a REALLY neat, free, site that allows you to make brochures, flyers, and books that are 3d, meaning you have virtually turning pages. This would be really cool for a brochure of some sort or flipbook. You get 3 free products before the pay structure kicks in, BUT, you can delete a project and make another.
Valentines and FUN
Eric Curts is my NUMBER ONE all-time favorite Tech Blogger. He always puts out the most awesome ideas AND he encourages you to use them, share them, manipulate them and tweet them. He’s so very collaborative and really believes in the “together we are better” mentality, which is huge for me. This week, in his own blog, he shared some Valentine’s day tech and also sent the link to ETCH-A-SKETCH! YES!!! Virtual Etch a Sketch – HOW FUN!
What do we do about apathy? There are so many obstacles when it comes to teaching, so many hills and valleys, but what do we do about the student or adult who just does not care?
Don’t try and fix something you love – but look at what doesn’t work. We all have to try and close the gaps between our achievers and those who are not reaching learning targets. If we want to believe every child can learn, we should not be proactively taking them out of the game and expecting them to do something else. We need to find ways for them to successfully access the curriculum. We need to give all of our students a voice.
Do you have students apathetic to learning? Engagement is key in decreasing student apathy. Offering students choice increases access to a goal and can also provide engagement. As educators, we cannot assume that our preferences as teachers are their preferences as learners. We may think a lecture is best, taking notes is best, showing a video is best, technology is best, but this may not be what works for every learner in front of us. Data doesn’t lie, and if we have gaps in our data between those achieving and those who are not, then what we’re choosing may not be what is working.
When students take ownership of their learning, they are more engaged and thus have greater success. As educators, we often decide the activity surrounding the lesson. We may even get excited about our plan, but some of our students may not. Again, our preference may not be theirs and our activity may not be accessible to all learners despite what we may think. Surveying and asking kids what they’re interested in can assist in learning what they prefer. Google Forms are an awesome tool for this and it gives us valuable data to say: “We’re doing this becauseI have data that shows…” If we want to steer the direction of the lesson, providing some choices for students and allowing them to choose a preference can also work. What are some choices we can provide? How about some options that give our students a VOICE! Let’s take a look below:
Google Forms are a great tool for assessment, but they are also a great survey tool as well. They can really assist us as educators in learning our students’ preferences as learners. This is a great post by Catlin Tucker on using Google Forms to get to know our students. If we can gather information on our students’ likes and dislikes it can help us be more effective as educators. Catlin even provides a FREE Google Form you can use to get to know your students.
OMG, have you tried Anchor? WOW this podcasting app, and web tool, incredible!!! It is also FREE! Thank you to Brandon Hall, tech integrator from Pembroke, for walking me through this awesome tool. Podcasting has exploded on the scene with both students and adults listening to Podcasts and creating podcasts! There’s a podcast for everyone really. You can find a series on sports, education, mystery etc Many of your favorite TV personalities even have a podcast. So, how does this apply to the classroom – let’s have kids MAKE a podcast and cast their voice! What an incredible way for a student to show learning, and the best part, you could listen to it on your drive home, or while correcting papers. Reach out if you would like to start Podcasting with your students! Check out this great Google Slidedeck here on how this can be used in the classroom and Brandon’s overview of Anchor below!
This is a great article on how to use Podcasts in education. Our own Tori Cameron has a popular podcast channel on all things STEAM that you can listen too as well, and she is the guru when it comes to podcasting!
Student video is also a great way to allow students to cast their voice! It is also another great way students can showcase their learning. Flipgrid, SeeSaw, and Screencastify are all wonderful tools that allow students to create video easily to showcase knowledge.
You could use Wakelet to put all student video in one place! Wakelet now integrates with both Flipgrid and Screencastify and would provide a great curation example of student video!
As a teacher, you can also create video and flip your classroom. Check out the video below from Bill Silva, East Bridgewater Biology Teacher, that he uses with students.
Recently, Microsoft unveiled their new translator app. This app is incredible and is available across all platforms. I was playing with it the other day, thanks to my pal Colleen Terrill, and it has many more features than my previous fav – Google Translate. This article here describes the features and functionality of the app. If you are traveling to a country where you cannot speak the language, or have EL students you wish to communicate with, give this app a go and provide voiceto your student!
Tech Tip of the Week: Google Voice
Did you know your Google Account can be associated with a phone number? You can then link that number to your actual number on your mobile phone. You can also use Google Voice as an app and on the web. This would be useful if you wanted to text students or parents, but didn’t want to give out your personal number and did not want to pay for an additional number or phone. Click here for an article from another Tech Blogger on his top reasons he uses Google Voice in the classroom!
How will you give your students a VOICE and let them be heard?
In my position, in East Bridgewater, I am alone. There is only one Technology Integration Facilitator, and I’m it. I would say I feel more alone than most being the only one, but I don’t think that’s true. Often, as teachers, we don’t get past our classroom walls or out of our own hallways during our teaching day. At one time the copy room is where we would chat, but with increased technology, the line at the copy machine has significantly decreased. Our time is valuable and I see teachers choosing to eat in their classrooms and use their valuable minutes to get things done, rather than chat and eat together. Teaching can be isolating, so how can we connect? We truly are better, together…and two minds are better than one, but where and when do we find the time?
I have to truly make an effort to not feel alone, but the effort is worth it. Twitter has been the answer for me, but different tools work for different people. You may be on Instagram following other teachers, Facebook, Snapchat, Reddit, or even the new (highly recommended) Wakelet. Maybe you make time with colleagues and schedule face-to-face time together. You’re lucky if your schedule allows that! If you’re feeling alone, or you just don’t know where to find new ideas, try one of these tools to connect with other educators. You don’t always have to spend a million dollars on Teachers Pay Teachers, there are many teachers out there willing to share FOR FREE. I especially recommend a social networking tool it if you’re in a solo position like me, or feel like you are. You’d be surprised how many others are out there who think exactly like you do. They will lift you up, inspire you, and encourage you. You will feel excited to try a new idea they may share with you. Let’s take a look at where we can find these people and what great ideas transpire 😉 🌍
Twitter Chats are AMAZING! There are many chats in education happening every week. ISTE has a list of some of the top Twitter Chats for educators that are national. You can see that list here. I find that I like more local Twitter Chats and I usually find those by following @MassCUE. You don’t have to be a member of a group to participate in the Twitter Chat. For instance, Massachusetts Administrators have a regular Twitter Chat and they welcome anyone who wants to participate. The questions usually center around leadership topics.
In addition to having a great discussion on a Twitter Chat, it is also a way to network with other educators and administrators around the state. Recently, we had a MassCUE Twitter chat that focused on NEW IDEAS. I was able to use Wakelet to record the chat. Take a look at the chat here and you can get an idea of how a Twitter Chat runs, you may also find some new ideas! Take a look at one of the Q & A’s below. Please reach out if you would like to find a Twitter Chat to try, I will gladly help you!
This is the third week in a row I’ve mentioned this tool, but each week I find another great use! This week, I’ve seen how I can use it to connect with other educators. They post content, or collections, that provide ideas that inspire me! They even invite me to participate in the collections as well. Together, we are better! Take a look at this great collection on Choice Boards by Rachael Mann (which provides links to make copies of each one, FREE) and also this great collection on top education bloggers! You do not need a Wakelet account to view these collections and there are MANY great ideas within the collections! You can even share a collection with students or colleagues and they don’t even need an account to collaborate on the Wake! It also records the username of the person posting the activity!! WOOHOO!!! Check it out below:
What’s for Dinner?
Sometimes, email is the way to connect. Recently, I emailed colleagues and asked for their great ideas. I’ve started putting together a curation document of all of the learning menus various teachers have sent me. Have a good one and want to include it? Send it my way. Check out this Doc of all-stars in our own district and the learning menus they’ve created!
Sharing is Caring
Together, we are better and as a result, I get many resources sent to me via email, Twitter, my Google Trainer’s group, my job-alike group, MassCUE etc. Below, I’ve included a few of the Fish Bits that piqued my interest this week:
A pal from my MassCue committee group and awesome tech director Jen Judkins sent me this cool resource by Tony Vincent on YouTube – it shows how to translate videos, get the transcriptions, blur faces – it’s NEAT!
Do you have something cool to share? Send it my way and I’ll happily put it out there!
Tip of the Week: PrePEAR to Share! 🍐
This week Pear Deck released a new feature, making it EASIER than ever to share decks or Pear Deck vocabulary lists for flashcard factory with colleagues, or anyone really! Take a look at the video below! 🍐
I hope you have a moment to connect with those you love this weekend and please always feel free to connect with me, reach out! You are not alone!
Wow! It is the first five day work week of the new year and boy am I energized!! So much good stuff happening everywhere! This week I’d like to feature a few awesome teachers, and also a few awesome tools, that all center around digital creation. When I see students creating, I see engagement! Students are working, sometimes together and sometimes alone, on a common objective. They may all be using the same tool, or have a choice of different tools, but they are problem-solving and synthesizing information to present a product that demonstrates mastery of a concept. When I’ve been in rooms where students are creating, I notice not a single student is off task. Every student, even if talking, is concentrated on creating the product. Now, this may be because the tool or the content is engaging. AS we know, the first step is engagment…that hook! Once we combine the tech tool, with engagement and content….BOOM! It’s where the magic happens and it’s amazing to see! Let’s take a look at these engaging tools, and teachers, below!
This is an AMAZING tool for student and/or teacher creation! It was suggested to me by my good friend Colleen Terrill, Instructional Technology director of Mashpee after her students had such success with it! Take a look at the video below to see how to use Brush Ninja, an animated GIF creator. It is so much FUN to play with. This is also a great article by Richard Byrne on ideas of how you can use this tool for presentations. Amy Schleinkofer, 5th grade teacher, used it this week and had students post their GIFs to a Padlet. Check out some of the amazing examples of the water cycle by clicking here…Ally’s is pretty AMAZING!
Google JamBoard is both an actual board and also a Google App located in the waffle, just like Docs or Slides. It’s intended to be used on Google interactive boards (Jamboards), but can be used by any Google user. This really cool app works best on a tablet, or the app version in the Google Play store, but also has a web-based version. Think Smart Notebook Software (kind of) but in the Drive! On the app version, you can Drive content, images, links, and also write on the blank canvas. As you write, the jam appears to anyone you share it with in live time. Just think – you can walk around the classroom with a tablet and whatever your write appears on your mainboard and also student screens. Pretty cool right? The possibilities for this tool are endless! Take a look at the video below for a brief overview. Click here to try Google Jamboard!
As I learn more about this tool, I grow to love it even more. Wakelet, as I mentioned last week is a curation tool. You can add various types of content and keep it in one organized place, called a Wake. Recently, Wakelet paired up with both Flipgrid and Screencastify to offer integrations with both of these great tools! Take a look here at this article on Screencastify + Wakelet. Below, I included a brief video which mentions the Flipgrid integration. Simply post the family link in your Wake, and BOOM your videos appear! You can then add additional content with your Flipgrid videos, like Slidedecks, links, text, and video!
Shout outs to some awesome teachers this week!! Check out the Choice Boards below created by Amy Ronayne, Jamie Hulke, Stacy Linnehan and Beth Barra (in that order). These boards provide engagement for students as they choose how they want to approach a concept. The end product allows for creativity and a bit of student personality as well. These teachers are always willing to share, be sure to reach out to them and/or follow them on Twitter! They will gladly send you a copy of the board to modify for your own needs!
Just to give you an idea of the power of Choice Boards and/or Learning Menus, take a look at this tweet from Stacy Linnehan regarding her choice board she tried. Check out how many views it received. WHOA! This board was originally inspired by another teacher she saw on Twitter. Sharing is caring and together we are better!
Tip of the week: BIG Google Classroom Updates (again) 💡
So, if you haven’t already noticed Google Classroom had another huge update this week! It looks quite different and a few new features have been added like drag and drop in the classwork page and assigning form quizzes directly from Classroom. Take a look at the article from Google here.
Twitter Chat 🐦
Don’t forget, if you’re looking to discuss great things you’ve tried, or you’re looking for new ideas, join our Twitter Chat THIS TUESDAY! It is going to be an AMAZING chat that will leave you feeling excited! I will release the questions ahead, so look for them THIS weekend! Haven’t done a Twitter Chat before, but want too? Reach out and I will gladly walk you through it! They are super easy and SO MUCH FUN!
I hope you’re finding this time of year as ENGAGING as I am! If not, reach out and let me help you feel engaged!
Welcome back, everyone! Are you ready for it? Another great calendar year in Ed-Tech? I know I am! I can’t wait to see what this year holds. 2018 was full of so many great ideas that I know 2019 can only be better! Do you have the resolution to try something new? A “new year, new me” sort of thing? Don’t just insert innovation into your diet – try it with your instruction too! Even if it’s just something small, trying something new can reinvigorate our practice and our students. My blog has some neat ideas for new activities, such as my post on Choice Boards, Student Expression, or one of my favorite tools: Pear Deck!
As a tech-educator, I am also trying new things…here’s what I’ve tried this week! Take a look:
Curating Content: Wakelet (The new Padlet, only better)!
This is a pretty neat tool I must say! I had heard of Wakelet last year when Padlet instituted a fee structure, but I had yet to play with it. Then, I was on a Twitter Chat with my good friend Colleen Terrill before the holidays and she was able to save the WHOLE chat to Wakelet. She then shared the collection or “wake” with me! She put me in touch with James from Wakelet and he walked me through it. Well, to say I was blown away is an understatement. This tool has so much potential and you can do so many cool things with it! It reminds me of Padlet and Pinterest all wrapped into one! I’m just getting into it, but I am SO pumped about it! You could even use this awesome tool to create Choice Boards too!
This is a great post by Karly Moura about Wakelet where she includes others who are using it and her experience with it! I have a feeling you’re going to see this tool EXPLODE on the EdTech scene!
This is so much fun! It came to be from an AWESOME Ed-Tech blogger by the name of Jake Miller. If you haven’t checked out his blog, I HIGHLY recommend subscribing. He teaches everything using GIFs! It’s so cool! I’m a video girl myself, but GIFs are quick and FUN! Check out his blog to see what I mean. Meanwhile, here’s how you can use emoji for bullets. Take a look at my video below!
I caught this neat activity in another blog I subscribe too, Control Alt Achieve by the AWESOME Eric Curts! By subscribing, I get an email with little gems including his “intake” from other Ed-techies! This one is by Amanda Sandoval, a history teacher from California.
Tip of the Week: Multiple Google Accounts
Have you had family Google Photos show up in your school account? Wonder why a link is opening under your personal account when you’re logged in at school? Take a look at this great post from Shake Up Learning regarding how to manage your multiple Google Accounts. She actually suggests creating separate profiles. This is a GREAT tip!
New year, New Ideas… 🐦
For more new ideas, please join me in the first MassCue Twitter chat of the new year. We will be discussing new ideas and learning from each other! It will be GREAT!
I often think of my own children when I think about choice and expression.
What do I do when I want my kiddos to eat vegetables…do I just put them on the plate and say EAT THEM? Well, yes…sometimes I do – because sometimes there are MUST DOs. However, sometimes, I really want them to eat some good stuff – like before a soccer game. So how do I get them to eat more, and want to eat it?! I cut up as many vegetables and fruits as I can, I put it on a platter, and put it in the center of the table. The same vegetables that I will have the argument over if just PUT them on the plate – magically get eaten. How many Pinterest posts do you see of food being made to look all sorts of cute (engaging) so kids will eat it?! How many secret recipes do you make to “hide” the veggies? Have you done this? Prepare food in a different way, or different presentation so someone will eat it? Sometimes, I let my kids cook the food – and that same food that they turn their nose up at (shrimp) now becomes appealing because they had a stake in it. They know the love and work that went into making the food, and it makes it that much more appealing.
Whether it’s at home with my children, or here at school, sometimes simply the way we package things can make all of the difference. Are we giving choices? Are we giving different ways to interact with what we teach? Are we giving different ways for students to express their learning? How are we engaging our learners so they want to learn? Mickey Mouse pancakes with pureed zucchini hidden inside. 😉
In our own lives, we have choices of how we express ourselves as both individuals and also as teachers. We can choose to dress and present ourselves a certain way, we can also teach and present material in the way we choose. Think about the excitement and empowerment you feel when you’ve curated just the right lesson. YOU were able to choose that activity, lesson, idea etc So why not allow students the same choice? How can we allow students to choose how they show knowledge best? Let’s EMPOWER and EXCITE our learners by providing them with a choice! Just like my children with their vegetables, choice can produce some magical outcomes!
The Brain 🧠
Did you know that when we offer students multiples ways to express learning we’re actually activating a whole network of the brain?! Pretty incredible right?! By maximizing the different networks of the brain, we are increasing student learning and success!
So how can we give choice in expression?
There are so many options we can give to students in how they can express knowledge. They could take an assessment, write a paper, record a video, create a project etc. Whichever way they choose, the rubric to assess could still remain the same! Seeing what students choose is eye-opening, and gives us some insight into their learning styles!
Let’s take a look at some different options that you could use for students to EXPRESS knowledge:
Infographics can be BEAUTIFUL ways for students to express knowledge – think Digital Poster. They can include information, images, links, animations and plenty of other cool features! PiktoChart and Canva are two great (free) tools to use to make Infographics. The advantage to these tools, over say Google Draw (a personal fav), is that they have some canned content you can use. Lots of speech bubbles, shapes, frames, backgrounds etc. As always, let me know if you need help with these tools!
Digital Books are so much FUN! Think of a book on a computer with virtually turning pages! A digital book can contain text, audio, video, images, and much, much more! Unfortunately, you only get one free book per digital book site, BUT, there are many digital book sites out there. Here are two of my favorites:
If you’re looking for a cool Slide Presentation tool that goes a little beyond Google Slides (gasp!) check out Animaker or Powtoon. Both are free (although do have premium options) and allow students to make some pretty cool presentations! Check out a video example below of a current 6th grade project we’re working on!
Putting it all together
So, next time you need to assess a standard, how about a Choice Board for student expression? For instance, students can write an essay, make a Digital Book, create a presentation, or make a poster (digital or drawn). I find giving choice, but not too many, can provide some parameters for those that can get overwhelmed. Switch out your choices with different assignments – offer a test as an option or a make a video! Not every student learns the same way, so why give everyone the same assessment? Provide the same rubric for everyone with the key points, and see the magic happen. Let me know if you give this a whirl, I’d love to see it in action!
Tech Tip of the Week: Download Docs (or Sheets, Slides, Draw) into other Formats
Sometimes it’s the little things that we need…Take a look at this SHORT video clip here to see how you can take your Google Format and convert it into PDF, Microsoft, or other formats.