We are better when we SWIM together! 🐟 🏊 🌊 🤲🏻

We are better when we swim together! 🐟

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 Bitmoji Image

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!

Wakelet Collections Bitmoji Image

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? Bitmoji Image

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 Bitmoji Image

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:

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! Bitmoji Image 🍐

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!

Go Pats!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

Fish Dish 🐟 🍽️

Hey hey!

You did it!!! First one in the books and what a GREAT first week! I’m so grateful to get to be a part of it in some small way, so thank you for taking the time to read my blog this week. As we progress through the year, we want to keep that positivity going and communication can be a key piece! So, let’s dish about how we can communicate and be proactive with students, parents, and each other! Check out my post below for some tools, tips and tricks that focus on communication! 😀 ✏️📬💻 📱 📞 ☎️

FUN Tip of the week – EMOJIS in Google Classroom! 😀🍉🐶🐸🐟  

This is FUN! Google Classroom, as many of us already use, is a great communication tool. So, let’s make it that 1% better by adding some emojis to our topics and/or assignments! Thank you, Suzana Somers, Easton Ed. Tech Director, for this great idea! Check the video below to see the AWESOMENESS! Sometimes it’s the little things that make our kids smile.

Email – use the NEW Contacts App  📧

Email is a GREAT way to communicate as long as we practice our prudence (thinking before we write/act). You may have noticed that your contacts are no longer within your GMAIL application. They are now a separate application.  Check out the video below for tips and tricks regarding contacts. Also, reach out EB teachers if you want a quick way to get parents into a contact group by using your School Brains parent information. The same goes for students groups too!

Newsletters 🗞️ 

Newsletters are a great way to communicate with parents and students. I know as a parent myself, I love receiving regular updates about classroom happenings or good questions to ask my kids or content that they’re learning about.  Even at the young age of 7, my sons tend to not want to always tell me about school. Google Docs has some nice premade template for Newsletters or you are welcome to use ones I’ve made which you can locate under templates in the Template Gallery! Take a look at the video below to learn more! For EB teachers, I can show you an EASY way you can send regular newsletters using Docs and SchoolBrains. Reach out for more information!

Google Classroom: The NEW ABOUT tab 🆕 

So, you may have noticed but the About Tab in Google Classroom is a thing of the past.  This is actually a good thing believe it or not! Why you ask? Well, in the past you would put all of your AWESOME content on the About Tab that kids needed all year long. However, you would have to repeat this process for all sections you teach since the About Tab was not reusable.  You would also need to recreate it each year. Well, now you can reuse your ABOUT information for all sections as well as from year to year.  Check out my video below inspired by Alice Keeler’s blog post which you can read here.  To learn all there is to know about the NEW Google Classroom, click here for a listing of 32 how-to videos.

Google Sites: Classroom Website 🖥️ 

A Classroom Website can be a great communication tool for parents and/or students to obtain useful information. Much like Google Classroom, Google Sites also had a major upgrade this summer! You can now do so much more the new version of sites, including image galleries (moving images like the district site), Embed your Twitter feed, have new site layouts, and add buttons! Check out this update from Google about the button feature and this one about layouts, so cool! Reach out if you want assistance with your classroom website!

Parent/Student Surveys: Google Forms 📝  

I talk so much about Google Forms – but it’s a GREAT way to communicate as well as assess. Answers can be anonymous or tracked.  The best part – all information is put in a handy-dandy spreadsheet that you can sort, and never lose! The video below shows one idea of a behavior log you could use to communicate with a parent regarding his or her child. Forms could also be used for surveys, check-ins, or collection of important information.

Phone Tech: Communication Apps 📝 

Some prefer email, while some prefer a quick phone app (similar to texting). Whether it’s Remind, SeeSaw, Bloomz, Dojo or one of the many other communication apps, there is an easy way to reach parents, students and/or colleagues with a phone app! Bonus: many of the phone apps all have an in-class component such as Dojo or SeeSaw! Take a look at this post which describes four of these popular apps or this chart which compares MANY of these tools, showing the pros and cons of each! Always talk to your administrator first about what app is appropriate/approved to use with parents and/or students.

In class: PearDeck 🍐 

Lastly, how do I not mention one of my FAVORITE pieces of tech that we purchase as a district: PearDeck.  This is simply an amazing tool that can be used from K to Adult Ed. Check out this deck below from Beth Barra that she used on the first day to communicate with ALL of her students. PearDeck gives every student a voice! If you want to see how to use this great resource, reach out!

In what ways do you communicate? Reach out and “let’s dish!”

Have a great weekend Everyone!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟