I wish you all a wonderful, happy, relaxing summer!! Many of us will go OFF THE GRID, at least for a while! However, let’s face it, once August rolls around we’ll start thinking about school! At least I know I do! Well, when that time comes whether it’s next month or next week, you can visit FishinOnAMission for some ideas. Where do I go to get my ideas? I visit all of my favorite Tech bloggers and Educators! I find them all on Twitter! If Twitter isn’t your thing you can also visit their websites/blogs. I will list a BUNCH of my favorites below for your viewing pleasure!
What’s really nice is that most of these blogs/sites not only offer FREE resources, but they also have a podcast as well if you’d rather listen! If Twitter is your thing, all of the sites listed above also have a Twitter handle.
Keep “cod”nected this summer – I’d really love to hear from you! If you have a great idea, send it my way! Together we are TRULY better. 💜
Be well everyone! You’ll hear back from me in August…with a million new ideas! Until then….
Hello there! The SUN is shining, both outside and inside for me these days – I love what I do! Do you? How are your days lately? It’s always great to have that reminder once in a while when a raincloud has entered. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down at this time of year. School is coming to a close and there is just SO MUCH going on. The kids can be wild, the adults can even be wild, and we need to remember what’s at the CORE of why we’re here: the kids. It’s ALWAYS about the kids and as long as I keep my head in the game, focused on the kids, my days stay SUNNY! So, while we talk about SUN and what we plan to do in the SUN this summer – let me give you a few ideas that may even help make your fall a little sunnier!
Vocaroo is a tool that’s been around for a while, but I felt inspired by the recent MassCUE Podcast to showcase it again! This tool could REALLY make you look like a rockstar! I know many of us who prepare our first communication home while enjoying the SUN! I sit by my pool with my Chromebook, drafting my first “tech” post of the year to all of you! If/when you send home your first parent communication, use Vocaroo to record an audio clip introducing yourself. Simply copy and paste the QR code to the email, letter, postcard etc. Give a little “hear me introduce myself here” and scan the code (and provide the URL too). What a nice personal effect for new students and parents to hear your voice before they meet you! You could also put the recording on your teacher website as well! Parents LOVE this type of stuff (or at least I do as a parent). Take a look at the video below to see how to do this:
Are you already thinking about your communication with parents for next year? What will you use? There are so many options: Twitter, Instagram, Remind, Dojo, SeeSaw, Classroom Website, Newsletter, Email, Phone calls, and probably more I haven’t thought of! As a parent of three children myself, I can honestly say I LOVE TEACHER COMMUNICATION with me. I have three boys and each of their teachers uses a different app to communicate with me AND THAT’S OKAY. The goal is communication and I’m happy they’re doing it! Honestly, their quick texts within the apps have saved me so many times this year and I really appreciate their efforts. What’s so NICE about Gmail now, however, is you can schedule email. What was once only available in Remind, can now also be done in Gmail.
I’m a big fan of transparency. As a teacher, I feel like if I tweet you, email you, text you with a communication app, write a newsletter, and post on my website (which can mostly be done simultaneously believe it or not if you link accounts), then you can’t tell me you don’t know what’s going on. As a parent, I try my best to be involved and it’s MY RESPONSIBILITY to know what’s going on with my children. If the teachers are sending it in a timely manner, then I can’t ever accuse them of not doing their part. I’ve been lucky to have good teachers, in this regard, with my sons. If you plan to sit in the SUN and prepare communication for next year, check out the options below.
MassCUE (Massachusetts Computer Using Educators) just released a Podcast! You can find it where all podcasts are found. It’s called Get a Cue and it’s hosted by Brandon Hall, local tech integrator from Pembroke. Each episode will feature a local educator and how they use a tech tool in the classroom. The episodes are NOT about the tool, but about actual, practical USE of the tool! The first episode is AWESOME and already inspired me to try out the very cool tool as you can see in my post above! Check out the Podcast here or on your mobile device where you find your podcasts. If you need assistance locating FREE Podcasts (great to listen to in the car), reach out! This is a great listen while in the SUN this summer!
Tip of the week: Confidential Mode
Confidential mode has finally arrived. You can now set your emails so that no one can forward them. You can also set them to expire. Take a look below at this NEW Gmail feature!
I hope your weekend, end of year, and daily like stays sunny everyone! ☀
Are you running the race this week? Feeling like no matter how hard you push, you cannot get ahead? Well, hang in there…grab a cup of water and keep going. You’re in the final lap, and no matter how hard it is, you’ll look back this summer and miss it. This is when you realize, and your students realize, that they are not going to see you for a while. For some of us, that is a very sad loss that we may need to mourn. For some of our kids, we are the constant. We are the love. When it gets tough in these last few weeks, remember it is that loss, anxiety, and sadness that may be showing itself as difficult behaviors. So, what can we do? We can give our kids, and ourselves, something to hold onto. What is that? How about a photo slideshow/video.
In my years of teaching, I made a photo slideshow to music every year. I showed pictures from our entire time together. And you know what? My former students still go onto YouTube and watch them, and I do too. I miss my kiddos sometimes, just as much as they miss me. I loved them like my own children, and they knew it. When your students are feeling sad this summer or lonely, which many will, they can easily pull out their phone/tablet/device and watch the happiest memories from the year. For some, this could be their happiest moments ever. I know that’s hard to swallow, but it’s true. We all like to reminisce and these types of tech items allow us to do just that! So, let’s take a look below at some tools and tips that can make creating these shows quite easy!
Complete it all on your phone
Most likely, the photos you are taking are on your phone anyway, right? So, use the tech built right into your phone. This makes it pretty easy! With a Google Phone, Google Photos will create a nice slideshow for you. With an iPhone, you can use the “memories” function and it is SO VERY EASY! Take a look below.
Here’s how to make the videos:
And here’s how to send them to YouTube:
Use Google Slides
There’s a GREAT add-on in Google Slides that will dump ALL of your photos into Google Slides. You could simply play music and launch the slide show! First, you will need to upload your photos to your Drive from your phone. TIP – if you have LIVE photos (iPhone users) they will need to have the “live” option turned off.
Upload the photos:
Use the photoSlideshow Add-on
This will allow you to dump all your photos at once into slides!
Add in self-playing music with Screencastify
First, you will need to enable Screencastify with Slides. Take a look below at the video and how to do this:
Publish the video to share
Next, you will need to find the music you would like and also publish your Slides. Take a look below at how to do this:
Adobe Spark Video
Of course, Adobe Spark Video is also a great option. This will be a bit more time consuming as you have to enter the photos one by one, but it’s much easier when intertwining video + audio.
Copyright Free Music
If you’re looking for music that is copyright free, which I highly recommend, you can check out the resources below:
Hi Friends! Can you believe we’re coming upon Memorial Day weekend? We are in that home stretch! Now is the time when we can reflect on our year. What went well? What could change? What were the best parts of learning for our students? Well, let’s find out by asking THEM! The end of the year is a great time for some projects that truly demonstrate student learning throughout the year. Let’s take a look below at some end of year student activities that encourage students to think about the year and offer you some valuable feedback.
End of Year Reflection
Google Slides are a great go-to for end of year presentations. Students are pretty comfortable with this tool. What’s even better, is that there are many pre-made templates out there you can use. Feel free to take a look at any below. Use Google Classroom to push out to students and let them create! You’ll love seeing what they come up with and it’s great feedback to see what went well throughout the year. You can even take it a step further and show them off to parents, or to next year’s students.
This is a SUPER cute template from another blogger, Meredith Akers, that you can find on her site and use. I love her use of the tool RemoveBG which takes the background off any picture! Students could really have fun with that!
Slides Carnival has beautiful templates as well with very pretty, free, backgrounds.
An infographic is a fancy name for a digital poster. I made a template below that you can feel free to use by clicking here. Adobe Spark and Canva also have beautiful, free, templates that students can use to make some awesome infographics about their year!
Videos are always my favorite! There are so many options for video projects the students can create. Personally, I LOVE Flipgrid, Screencastify, and Adobe Spark Video. All three tools are SUPER user-friendly and extremely engaging. The best part…you end up with a really beautiful product that you can show again and again. Click here if you would like an overview of Flipgrid and Screencastify. Take a look at an AWESOME use of Adobe Spark Video below created by Meg McGovern!
Looking for even more ideas? Take a look at my “End of Year” category of my blog! You will find previous years’ posts with plenty of activities! Let me know if you want any help putting these ideas into action! The students will have a blast, and as a result, you will learn what really stuck with them!
Happy Summer Everyone! We made it! 😎 It was a pleasure working with you and THANK YOU to all of those who had me in or who reached out in some way! I’m already thinking of ways to make technology integration bigger and better for next year, so stay tuned! In fact, I was so busy in this endeavor last week, I neglected my weekly blog post for the first time! Can you believe it?! I know you must have missed me 😉!
Although I plan to FULLY enjoy my summer, I find that if I don’t keep up at least a little with technology integration over the summer that I come back to a lot of catch-up work. It helps me to “stay afloat” in the summer with tech, so my post this week outlines a few great ways one can do that. You can check in as little or as much as you want! You could also just reference this post in the fall 🙂
I find the BEST, most up-to-date tech lessons, ideas, and strategies on Twitter! I have a few FAVORITE bloggers that I follow who post regularly and I keep them in my cheat sheet here. I also follow @Masscue which will often retweet great posts from other Massachusetts Educators. You can also follow me, I also retweet great things I see @MrsErinFisher. I absolutely LOVE Twitter chats and have made so many new friends by being a part of a few. Twitter is a great way to see the latest and greatest tech updates!
Read and Write! 📝
I LOVE to read, but I LOVE to write even more. This year I wrote my weekly blog and also a few tech articles for various publications on Tech PD Days and EdTech Coaching. Reading educational books and also writing about education, even just to be reflective (like my blog), help me to keep my skills “afloat.” I plan to read Lead like a Pirate this summer as well as a whole lot of fiction! I also hope to write a few posts over the summer and keep a summer journal with my own children as we write about our favorite days.
Check out the MASSCUE site, as they are hosting not one, but 2 GooglePaloozas this summer for a VERY cheap rate! MASSCUE offers so much PD, most of which is free for members. This is a fantastic organization! Consider joining – one incentive are the grants they award to members who write an application…up to $3000!
Lastly, check back here! You may see me post a little over the summer 🙂 🐟
Other stuff 🏆
As we finish up the year, I also wanted to include a few wrap-up items…
End of Year Video/Slide Shows 📹
I’ve seen so many GREAT picture slide shows at the different schools. iMovie seems to be a favorite, but our new District-wide Technology Coordinator told me about OpenShot! It looks like a great alternative, and it appears it would work really well with Google Drive on a Chromebook. BONUS – it’s free. Check it out below and consider it for next year’s project!
I used iMovie for this GEM below which we made for Kathy Raulinaitis’s retirement. She is my former partner when I taught 6th grade.
Pear Deck AWESOMENESS 🍐
Pear Deck just came out with 30 PREMADE AWESOME DECKS! They all focus on internet skills and involve some GREAT lessons, including how to determine “fake news.” The best part – ALREADY MADE FOR YOU! Check it out!
Can you feel it? Can you sense it….because it’s coming! I’m talking about SUMMER of course! Our time as teachers to rest and rejuvenate and take in some “transformative technology.” However, before this glorious time begins, let’s talk about some tasks we can do to finish out our year strong and make it just a little easier to come back!
Much like our own classrooms, our own Google accounts could use some cleanup and packup as well! Check out the recommended tasks below! I assure you, you will thank yourself when you come back next year if you tend to these items now!
Google Drive 🚙
Cleaning up your Drive and sorting and organizing items will allow you to feel a sense of relief when returning next year. You can clean both your Drive and your Shared with me Drive with a few easy steps. See the video below. This would even be a great activity to complete with your students as well!
No one wants to leave with a full inbox. View this quick video to see how to Archive all of your emails in one easy step. This clears it from your inbox but saves it in an Archive folder in case you ever need to locate that one particular email. I never delete an email, only Archive, because I never know if I need to dig up something important!
Google Classroom 🏫
NEVER TOUCH THE GOOGLE CLASSROOM FOLDER IN YOUR DRIVE! However, you will need to clean up your Google Classrooms themselves. Be sure to pass back all student work that was turned in. This will return ownership of items to the student. See the link here for more information on that.
Like Email, you may want to Archive your current classes. This is highly recommended by Google as well. This way new students and/or staff cannot see previous announcements and assignments that may not apply to them. You can always “reuse” posts from year to year which is the beauty of Google Classroom. Be sure to go in and make sure all of your announcements and/or assignments have a topic assigned. This will help you when looking for particular items next year.
Prepare some Items to start your Year
How nice is it to come back and be like “Oh yeah, I have this whole first-day thing ready to go!” ? Well, read below for some quick and easy ideas of how you can prepare some items ahead. Please reach out if you need any assistance!
Parent Surveys 📋
Google Forms are such a POWERFUL tool! If you already send home a “tell me about your child” type of survey, consider sending it home via Google Forms. The benefit of this is it will put the information in a beautiful, organized spreadsheet for you. Here is an example I’ve used in my own classroom. You could also have a few devices available at Open House for parents to fill this out as well, in the event you don’t get responses. You can use your SchoolBrains parent emails to easily email out the survey (see video below)! Book me today if you would like any assistance preparing this for next year!
Student Surveys 📝
Again, Google Forms are a great tool and surveying students will give you some very useful data for future use! Bill Silva, Biology Teacher at the East Bridgewater JRSRHS, sends a form to his students. It provides him useful contact information so he can contact his AP students over the summer!
You can also survey your own students at the beginning of the year to see how they feel about certain subject areas. I’ve used this in an anonymous format to get more honest answers. I gave out the form a few times throughout the year to reassess how students are feeling about themselves in the specific subject area. Consider preparing a survey now to give students at the beginning of school, it may help you get to know your students better! Click here to see the example.
First Day Activities 🥇
Aside from a Google Form, an interactive Pear Deck on the first day is a whole lot of fun and can provide you GREAT data in a nice organized spreadsheet! I’ve made this particular Deck for you to use (click here), with questions provided by Pear Deck. Feel free to modify it to suit your own needs if you would like to use it. Just remember to add the Pear Deck add-on for Slides. You may need the add-on installed before making the copy, this way the questions appear. When presenting to click the GREEN present with Pear Deck button. See the video below for assistance.
Please reach out for any assistance in making your last few days, or your first few days, a little easier. I am here for you!
Hello hello fishy friends! It is June, and you know what that means?! We are at the “end of the line” and ready to “reel it in.” It feels good to be at that finish line, doesn’t it? We’ve worked hard all year, with our students and with each other! This is the time of year where we can reflect on our practice, and also have students reflect on the year. There are some great activities integrating technology that you can use with your students in the reflection process. I posted these activities last year as well as below, and added a few new ones!
Google Sites – Digital Portfolios!
How about a digital portfolio? Students can use the new Google Sites to easily create a portfolio of their best work from the school year! I’ve been in with second grade, sixth grade, and a select group of seventh and eighth graders to create digital portfolios. They are coming out beautifully and the kids really enjoy creating them. This would be a great activity for the end of year reflection and also a great tool to follow students as they move through our schools. Book me today, and I can come in and assist you with Digital Portfolios!
You can create a template – or use mine here (very simple) – to have students create a memory book of the year. Push it out through Google Classroom in order to make a copy for each student. You can then show these to students on the first day of school. Let students alter backgrounds, fonts, colors, and pictures to really get creative.
Using Google Form
Create a Google Form asking students about the year. Here you can frame the questions in a way to get answers you would want to use.
You can use Autocrat to turn the responses into an actual Google Doc and you can make it all sorts of pretty. You can download the Doc as a PDF or publish the doc as a site. Here is an example of one I made from a form. This type of assignment would take booking me for the conversion or you can watch the video here of how to use Autocrat.
Using Screencastify and Slides
Google Slides now allows videos (NOT on Youtube) to be embedded into slides. You could provide questions for your students and have them video the answers. From there, you can have them insert the videos into their own Slides presentation or a master copy you created that would show the whole class. This would be fun to share with parents as well, and it would be in a safe space (Drive) which can be shared with specific people and not the whole world. You could ask questions such as, “What was your favorite lesson this year? What was your favorite activity/memory? etc”
Create a Commercial (from Edutopia)
Host a class competition where students cast a vote and give an award to the team that produces the most clever, creative 30-second advertisement for your grade level/classroom/content area. Decide first as a class on the product to be pitched (plan, design, critique). Animoto is a GREAT FREE site that could assist with this commercial making or POWTOON. Animaker and iMovie (iphones/ipads) also work well! PowToon is great for comics too!
Have students really help you out and have them create a Hyperdoc based on a lesson or concept you taught this year. Once the student shares it with you, you can “File – Make a Copy” and use it next year. Here is an example I created using one of the templates on the Hyperdocs site. There are greattemplates here that students can use. There are also hyperdocs already created for you to use, and students could look at for ideas.
Flipgrid or Let’s Recap
If you haven’t tried Flipgrid or Let’s Recap yet, this may be the time to do it. Both sites are free and allow you to present a question or topic. The student then answers the question or topic with a picture or video response. Once they answer and submit the response, they lose the rights to it (unlike Screencasting). Only you, as the teacher, have the rights to the video within the platform. You cannot download or repost the videos, but you can share with students and parents via a code if you choose. You approve the videos for viewing after you watch them. Let’s recap will put them into a montage for you, which is the only benefit that site has right now on Flipgrid. Students really enjoy using these sites! Warning – you will need a quiet space if recording video with a full class of kiddos.
Have fun with Bitmoji (grades 7-12)
Have students create a collage of the year in review – or any topic for that matter, using Bitmojis. They can edit the bitmojis and create something a bit more personal. See my video here for a tutorial. Here is an example of Bitmoji art that I created to show off my year.
Google Sheet WordSearch! – Alice Keeler
This is pretty cool! Let me know if you want/need help getting going with this. Take a custom list and make a word search in Google Sheets to push out to the kids via Classroom. Better yet, have the kids make one! Click here for this resource.
These downloadable, interactive comic templates are pretty cool. Kids can make 9 different reflective e-books simply by entering text into the boxes. There is also a comic site where they can create short comics click here
Please let me know if you have any ideas for a cool end-of-year technology integration activity! Be sure to check in next week when I post my ideas on End-of-Year teacher activities like slideshows and surveys to make your start of next year even easier!