“Oh my goodness, I’m so excited about all of this tech my heart is racing.”
These were the words a fellow educator spoke to me this week, and I knew she was bitten by the bug 🐛…or maybe I should say fish 🐟 😉! When I get texts late at night, phone calls early in the morning, a stop in the hallway, or a booking on my calendar – hearing the excitement in a colleague’s voice about some recent tech that was used to enhance a lesson….well, it makes my heart race with the same excitement!
Why are we excited?! 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻
It’s not because of the awesomely cool tech, but rather it’s about the effect it’s going to have on student learning, student outcomes, and the engagement it will (hopefully) lead too. Trying new things and presenting material in a new way is scary, but the investment is worth the return. We do not all learn the same…some of us love a powerpoint and a two-hour lecture, where some of us are bored to tears and simply stop listening. Some love tech and others do not. However, if we invest now in offering a variety of ways to both present and assess material, our returns will grow exponentially as we will continue to reach more students. I really love what Katie Novak said recently:
Think about this next time you are creating a lesson plan for your classroom: How can you incorporate more choice and flexibility into how you motivate students, present information to them, and let them express what they have learned, in alignment with standards? In the end, you may just find that your students are engaged, purposeful, and self-directed. – Katie Novak
So – let’s feature some of the those who get my heart racing and really EXCITE this Fish! Teachers who, like Katie Novak states, strive to motivate students and give them choice. They give me the greatest returns on my investment of time in researching, learning, and creating activities that will work for them with the engagement and success of their students.
QR Codes and Forms
This week, Stacy Linnehan knew her students needed to take a math assessment, but needed a different way to do it. She decided to use Google Forms, with answer feedback and set up QR Codes around the school. The students will travel around the building and scan the QR Codes. The code will bring them to a Google Form that they will complete. Upon completion, they will receive a video that is set in the answer feedback of the form. This video will direct them to the next QR code. The assessment in Google Forms isn’t a new idea, but the QR Code and video scavenger hunt to get them to the form is a pretty AWESOME way to present the material and will engage the students as they travel around to answer the questions.
HyperDocs and School Yourself
If you haven’t met Meg McGovern, you don’t know what you’re missing. This girl is a whole lot of energy and excitement. She is someone who makes me better at what I do, simply by asking me the questions of how can I make this more engaging in regards to a particular lesson. Meg is very engaging to talk to, so when we started looking at HyperDocs together – well, it was pretty awesome. After meeting a couple times, Meg was off and running and making HyperDocs of her own! You can see an amazing (work in progress) example below. Through Meg’s HyperDoc I learned about this cool site called School Yourself! Check it out, it’s a great math site!
Unite for Literacy
To be in a first-grade room is just magical. Seeing those early learning skills, growth, and the wonder of a “firsty,” there’s just nothing like it! Jen Mahoney, first-grade teacher, is a pleasure to work with. She reached out to learn new tools so she can have different ways to have students show what they know. We recently collaborated to get Google Classroom, Flipgrid, and a plethora of other sites up and running in her classroom. While collaborating, she showed me this great site that I was unaware of Unite for Literacy. This is a great, free, site for early readers. Take a look below!
Kim Wolojian is a breath of fresh air. She’s always smiling and welcoming to everyone who enters her room. Recently, she invited me in to show me ClassKick. This site is similar to both GoFormative and Pear Deck, but much more user-friendly! See what students are doing in real time and display student answers on the board. This would be great for an exit ticket or quick check-in! Bonus- the kids REALLY like it, so it’s ANOTHER engaging option for students to display their knowledge! It even has an assignment bank, so no need to create!
Recently, there was a GREAT post from Shake Up Learning about formative tools. Personally, Pear Deck is my go-to tool for real-time, interactive, engaging, formative assessment. However, students need variety and choice to maintain engagement. Just think – do you like doing things the same way, every day, all the time? Maybe…but some of us may not. Variety for some students is what keeps them engaged. This post has so many great options for Formative Assessment. Recently, a math teacher pal of mine from Fairhaven reached out. She was asking about great online assessment options for Math that mimic MCAS. She chose this site and really likes it! Edulastic seems to be a great choice that was highlighted in Kasey Bell’s post as well! Use it for a quick question, collaborative item, or a formal assessment! It has some AWESOME features!
Tech Tip of the Week – HUGE!
This week’s tip is a new update within the accessibility settings on a Chromebook. Take a look at the video below. Chrome now has dictation available and students can dictate into any text field, on any website, by using this tool. This is great for students who need text-to-speech, but also for students that may not know how to spell a certain term when searching or working independently.
The Common Thread
The common thread among all of those I highlighted is that these educators share. Together we are better, and these teachers also believe that! Thank you for sharing with me, teaching me new and amazing things, and being cheerleaders for engagement and student success! Your energy is contagious! All of you make me better at what I do, every day, thank you for sharing with me 😊
Feel free to email, comment, or tweet and share your ideas with me! Sharing is caring and Together we are better!
Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟