Lend a Helping Fin 🐟

help!

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!

FlipGrid Bitmoji Image

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!

Pineapple Charts pineapple

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!

ClassroomQ Bitmoji Image

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 Bitmoji Image

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.

  1. Allow users to set an expiration date for messages or revoke access at any time
  2. Disable options to forward, copy, print, and download the email body and attachments
  3. 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
  4. 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.

 

Reflect…

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. 

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

The Sea of Digital Creation 🌊 📹 🐟

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The Sea of Digital Creation

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!

 

Tools 🛠️

Brush Ninja Bitmoji Image

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!

JamBoard Bitmoji Image

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!

Wakelet Bitmoji Image

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!

 

Teachers 🍎

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!

Take care everyone and be well ♥️

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oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Choice of Fish 🐠 🐟 🐡 🍥 🎣

Hello everyone!

Thank you for making the choice to read my blog this week.  I’d really like to tap into the topic of student choice.  There are so many great ways, digitally, that we can offer students choices.  In the recent article, What Giving Students Choice Looks Like in the Classroom, the author goes on to highlight the small things we can do as educators to give students choice within their day.  As brain-based research shows, giving students choice and ownership over learning increases engagement, thus increasing student success. Believe it or not, student engagement leads to teacher happiness 😉 When students are engaged in learning you will feel so jazzed up that YOU created and/or facilitated that experience and the growth that students have. However, with the standards in place dictating what we have to teach, how can we give choice? Well, it can be done in such small tasks as allowing students to choose whom to work with or if to work alone. It can be the choice of where to work or sit, or it can be in greater tasks such as how they will learn the material and interact with the curriculum as well as how they will express their knowledge.  Let’s take a look below at some options for student choice in the classroom!

Choice Boards 

Why What How   

When I think of Choice Boards, my mind immediately goes to HyperDocs. They are alike but quite different as you can read in this great article! HyperDocs are similar to Choice Boards, however, Choice Boards may not include “hyperlinks.” In fact, Choice Boards can be COMPLETELY non-digital (gasp!!)! However, we can use digital tools to easily make choice boards. We can give students multiple ways to engage with content, work with content and express what they know with content! Google Docs, Slides, Draw and even Sheets lend themselves to creating Choice Boards which can then be easily pushed our via Classroom or simply displayed on the board. You could even print choice boards for students so they can check off choices they make. Take a look at the template below that I obtained from fellow Google Certified Trainer Tracy Mulligan.  You can have your own copy to manipulate and customize as well, click here! As always reach out for help, anytime!

 

Choice after the Mini-Lesson 

In Grade 1, DeAnna Munroe has been working on Choice Boards for her literacy lessons. Entire Slide-Decks dedicated to offering choice with the “what” or representation of the lesson are being created.  While the teacher facilitates and moves around the room, students are choosing how they want to practice the skill. DeAnna is seeing incredible growth and output when students are choosing what to work on and can also use their own self-interests to connect to learning!

DeAnna says:

We were working on the sound of al yesterday (heard in walk, talk, etc.) and after one student completed her first choice she visited the creation station and wrote a story with a bunch of al words in it on a large poster.  She attached little flaps to the story with hidden al words and the goal was for her to find the words hidden in the story.  The other day we were also working on plot and first, next and last.  In the creation station, a student wrote her own story about a Ninja Bunny and attached a plot organizer to a poster and filled in the events in the story.  We were working on the sounds of sh and th and a student made his own color by word project. My students are feeling very empowered with their learning!
                       

Choice within a Station-rotation Model 

Check out Sarah Beberman’s Math Choice board when students are in the Chromebook station. While Ms. Beberman has a small group, another group is choosing what to explore on their Chromebooks related to math content.  She creates this in a Google Doc and pushes it out via Google Classroom.

Choice Board for the Entirety of the Lesson 

Sherri Craven recently made her own choice board and it was incredible. The students came into class very energetic.  Sheri introduced her choice board and it was amazing how well it went.  The students were consistently on task, students were helping each other, and not once did they need to redirected back to Math. Sheri has always been an amazing teacher but with this choice board it could reach new heights.

Sherri says:

It was so awesome. All of the students were engaged! It was my first try but I was happy with what the kids were doing. I was able to check in with many more kids that I usually do!

Choice in Expression of Content (assessment) 

This is an amazing Reading Response Choice Board created by Plymouth Tech Integration Specialist, Joli Boucher.  You can view the Google Doc here and “File>make a copy” for your own needs! This board gives students choice in the way they will be assessed on the skill. Notice, they need to choose three!

My Own 

I firmly believe in giving students choices and since I am such a strong believer I created my own choice board for my children.  Digital Literacy is important to me, as both a parent and tech integration facilitator and I do not feel as though my boys are getting these skills at their own school. Therefore, Santa will be giving them Chromebooks and I will be bookmarking the choice board below (still a work in progress) to my sons’ bookmark bars.

 

Tip of the week (unrelated to the theme):

Instead of “do you have any questions?” state… “What questions do you have?”

In closing, I hope you feel as though you have many choices in your own learning. Explore text, video, blogs, Twitter, colleagues, friends – we have so many options even for our own learning.
Image result for student choice

Take care this week and stay tuned….Winter Holiday Tech is coming soon….. 🎄 🕎

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher  🐟 🐟 🐟

Excite-a-Fish! 😲 🐟

“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!

Take a look at Meg’s awesome HyperDoc here!

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!

Class Kick  

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! 

Edulastic 

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!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

 

Swimming in the same “school” 🏊‍♀️🏫 🐟

Image result for Stoughton public schools

I am reminded now, more than ever, that we are one team, swimming in one school. Not just our own classrooms, our own schools or our own town, but all of us in education…everywhere. We are all one team, and we are all working towards one goal: turning out successful kids! We all play a role, whether it’s in sports, music, academics, the lunchroom, the nurse’s office, the tech office, the admin office etc. We are all working to raise these children academically, socially, and emotionally for the short time they are with us. The end goal upon graduation is they can go on and lead successful lives.  We may not always agree on the best way to do just that, but we should still acknowledge we are on the same team. In the end, we all want the same things. So, how are you “teaming” up with others, how are you swimming in the same “school of fish”?  Take a look at some of the teamwork I’ve seen with EdTech below!

Welcome to Central School  🏫

Recently, incoming Kindergarteners had their orientation at Central School.  Making the newest little Vikings feel comfortable and excited about school is a certainly a team effort! These children are our future BIG Vikings after all! I was lucky enough to be invited to work on the project below with Central School K teachers, EBCAM and Administration. It was an amazing Team Effort! Sandi Telless, Kate Byrne, and the entire K team really worked together to make something special! A special SHOUT OUT to Anne Kerrigan at EBCAM who worked with me in the Media Studio to put together the videos, pictures, audio, and music! This was such a special team effort! Together, we are truly better! I was so very inspired watching K teachers do their thing. Thank you, I am honored to “swim” with you in our school.

 

 

Inspiring Others – Raise them Up! 🙌 

I’ve been very lucky to meet some great, local, EdTech leaders through MASSCUE itself and through the MASSCUE Special Interest Groups (SIGs).  They encourage, support and inspire me. Even though I’m the (fairly) new kid on the block, they were quick to include me and guide me in everything EdTech.  If you’re interested, check them out or follow them on Twitter. Here are just a few of those who inspire me: @MatthewXJoseph @cterrillteach @rlfreedm @ZajacSLP @Stefanowicz135 @kwinsper 

In return, I try to take what I learn from them and bring it back. MASSCUE is a wonderful organization that is full of “teammates.”  You can check out what MASSCUE is all about here and learn about their monthly professional development opportunities, special interest groups, and committees. MASSCUE is so much more than just an awesome annual Fall conference! To have a group of like-minded professionals that I can go to, outside of my building, to gain perspective has been invaluable. Technology can be embedded into every discipline and every area of education. MASSCUE has members that are Tech teachers, but also administrators, special education teachers, classroom teachers, speech teachers etc! It’s for everyone who enjoys some aspect of technology in their practice. It’s a great organization if you care to join!

One way I’ve tried to inspire others is by “hooking” into those who take interest in EdTech.  You know who you are 😉. Once I “catch” you in my net, I tend not to let go!  I will try my best to encourage you, inspire you and bombard you with emails, texts, visits etc. It may sound overwhelming, but most of the fish I swim with enjoy it! Recently, I hooked into Sarah Beberman, Central School grade 2 Teacher.  We worked together on a great summer opportunity, and now she has a course prepared that looks AMAZING: ENGAGE WITH LITERACY IN THE DIGITAL AGE. Check out her course description here. I have no doubt it will be an amazing EdTech Literacy adventure!

Working Together and Taking Risks 

It does take trust, and risk, when we swim together in our school. We need to trust those who swim by our side to not run us over and also take the risk that what we’re doing will keep us moving forward. I am fortunate and incredibly honored at those who have me into their classrooms and trust me. One of those such people (among many) is Stacy Linnehan, a special education Language-Based Teacher at Mitchell. Through working with her, I too, have benefited immensely.  She shows me how the tools I recommend benefit her students (You can find many of those tools in my former blog post here). She helps me to see learning and tech through a different lens. Together, we will present at the MASSCUE Fall conference on some of the tools we’ve worked to implement in her language-based classroom.

Recently, we visited Easton Public Schools on a MASSCUE Learning Walk (free for MASSCUE members). We were able to see some innovative ways to use technology in the classroom and also sit down with those in the same positions in Easton that we hold in EB.

In Closing…

Together we are better and I feel that we are so very privileged to work with children in the education profession! As my friend, Matt Joseph says: Be the match that lights someone’s fire! Who’s the match for you? Thank you so to many of you who light my fire daily, and keep it burning! You send me emails, texts, bookings, Tweets, or you just stop me in the hallway and share some tech with me, or ask me about tech – I love it! I wouldn’t want to swim with any other fish!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Hook ’em in: Using tech to build relationships ↩🎣️ 💙

Is there anything better than working with students? When you see the light go on? How full is your “bucket” after teacher appreciation week, last week? ☺ I certainly hope it is very full, and that your students sent you some love. We can take a look at education and talk about the variables that are beyond our control: kids are different today, families are different, standards are different, testing is different, technology is different, the administration is different, etc. However, what is not different is what is at the heart of education and that is relationships 👥 .  In relationships with students we as teachers make the choice and have complete control. We can choose to take on the difficult task of getting to know our students. I say difficult because often times we have to peel back the many layers of a youngster before getting to know him or her, and this takes time. Time is what we feel we don’t have, however, if you take the time it pays off during learning. It’s not always an easy world we live in, the demands of academia combined with social pressures and the internet fueling the fires 🔥, make it a difficult world for children to grow up in.  Many families are struggling and some of our kiddos are coming to school just holding it together. They need you, and not just as a teacher 💓. So, my focus this week is how technology can help build relationships with students.  What role can technology play in building warmth and trust with students? Well, read below to hear from a few of our very own on how they are doing just that! 

“Know ‘em so we can grow ‘em” 🌱

Google Classroom and Slides 

Tori Cameron, Grade 6 Teacher, says: During homeroom on google classroom I always have a question of the day. It can be about anything but usually has to do with timing during the school year. When I taught younger grades I used to have morning meeting and we always had a question of the day, so I wanted to keep up that kind of atmosphere in middle school. Throughout the year I have also given the students opportunities to create their own slides/videos on various topic to share with their class/friends.

Ginny McCarthy, Grade 6 Teacher, says: would turn the traditional sheets that ask them getting to know you questions to google slides where I could also use a program to show the students the results so they could tell who answered what. What is your favorite color etc… I also do big getting to know you poster. I was just thinking wouldn’t it be cool to scan them and create a digital presentation highlighting each child in the class! It could also run during Open House!

Laura McPhee, Grade 6 Teacher, says: I have them do an “all about me” Google Presentation at the beginning of the year.  They share them with the class so we can all get to know each other better.   I also do one myself.

These are GREAT Tori, Ginny, and Laura! I especially love how you combine the technology with a hands-on poster. Great blended learning!

💡 Idea: Start the year off with a Google Slides template you create about “getting to know you” and have students fill it in and personalize it. Sometimes having a template for them to fill in can be a bit easier for littles than a blank canvas
💡 Idea: The “Ask a question” feature is a great tool in Google Classroom that creates a blog-like atmosphere in a safe space. Consider using it, like Tori said, for a question of the day to get to know your class and they can get to know each other.  It also allows for practicing of typing skills!

Pear Deck 

Amy Ronayne, Gr. 8 ELA teacher, states: Although I don’t use technology explicitly to get to know students, it does allow me to understand them better. The biggest impact that technology has in my classroom is giving all students, especially the quiet students, a voice. Instead of me asking a question and hearing from the same 10 volunteers who always put their hands up, technology such as Pear Deck 🍐 and Google applications allow me to hear from all students. By using technology in brain breaks, I get to know students’ personalities much better (ex: use Pear Deck to draw your favorite food). 

I love this Amy! I agree Pear Deck is an awesome tool to hear from every student thus allowing us to know each learner a little better!

💡 Idea: Consider using a Pear Deck on the first day to get to know students, then you can share their answers with the class anonymously. This is a great activity that every student enjoys! I even have one made if you’d like to use it! Just reach out 🙂

Google Forms  

Bill Silva, HS Science Teacher, says: For my AP kids I do a google form to ask students questions about themselves and their interests.  I use this form to also collect book #, Email and other contact info.  This is always done in June of the previous year and allows me to communicate with them over the summer and assist them with their summer work. 

Awesome Bill! Google Forms is a GREAT tool to get to know our students, and also our families with the younger level.

💡 Idea: Consider sending out your “getting to know you survey” digitally via Google Form to parents if students are younger, or your students if they are old enough.  You can refer to it all year and it puts the data in a very nice, clean, spreadsheet!
💡Idea: Consider sending a “how do you feel about ______” Google Form at the beginning of the year. Ask students their strengths and weaknesses and have them reassess themselves throughout the year. Have it be anonymous and show them the data, and have them reflect on how they’ve grown. See my example here. 

Student Choice 

Joanne Cross, Gr. 3-6 Computer Teacher, states: When I do something like coding or computer animation with kids, it’s awesome to see some kids just excel at it. It may be a student who doesn’t necessarily have success academically but I can see some real coding/programming/animation talent in some kids. They just get it and make the connections necessary to work in these fields with computers. I talk about becoming animators or programmers later in life in my class all the time, especially with students who may not have found something that they shine at yet. I like that I am able to open new avenues for students to feel success and potentially build a career path as an adult.

Dan Parks, Gr. 7 Social Studies Teacher, says:  Kids have made videos for projects that show more of their personality than a written response can demonstrate. If I provide student choice in assignments/projects I see their strengths/likes based on the choices they make.

YES! I couldn’t agree more Joanne and Dan, and this is one of the key concepts in Universal Design for Learning! Simply giving students choice over their learning allows us to know them better and foster those relationships.

💡 Idea: Consider allowing students choose how to show mastery of a concept. Narrow down those choices with tools like Google Slides, iMovie, Animaker, Powtoon, Flipgrid, PAPER and PENCIL, hands-on projects, photos…etc!

SeeSaw/FlipGrid  

Maureen Holbrook, Spanish Teacher, states: When I use SeeSaw I usually ask students questions about themselves in connection with the material that we are learning.  Their responses are personal and unique.  I will always make a comment back to them based on what they say in the video/recording.  I respond to each recording – giving advice for improvement or simply commenting – letting them know I am reading/listening to what they have to say.  It is a personal response/interaction even though it’s through technology.  It is a way to connect with students using technology – their mode of communication 😊

Tori Cameron, Grade 6 Teacher, says:  Seesaw is great because the kids can comment and encourage each other. When I give the students opportunities to make videos, their personalities really flourish. 

Sarah Beberman, Grade 2 Teacher, states: Using an application such as FlipGrid not only takes some student barriers out of the equation but lets you hear the student “voice” that you hear in writing magnified. Their personalities shine and they think they’re mini-Youtubers.

💡 Idea: Consider trying out SeeSaw and/or FlipGrid. These are great tools to post prompts and see personalities shine! You can even share it with families. SeeSaw has a parent app as well to allow for a bit more privacy than FlipGrid, where a parent may see the entire Grid.

I’m here and ready to help you get some of these tech tools in place for next year! Let’s make a Google Form for the first week to send to parents and/or students. How about a “getting to know you” Google Slide activity or Pear Deck activity?! Let me know, I’m here and ready to “hook” you up!

Closing Thoughts 

As a parent, I care MOST about teachers loving my sons. My sons spend more time with their teachers during the week than me, so it’s important to me that they’re loved first. I can assist with academics at home (luckily), but I can’t replicate the relationship they form with their teachers, I can’t replicate that inspiration they provide or the curiosity they spark. There are so many great ways we can use technology to assist in getting to know our students! However, nothing compares to you sitting with them and taking the time to talk and truly get to know and love them. “The best teachers in the world connect on some personal level with their students.  They do not only know their students, but their students know them” (Couros, 2015).

💙

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

“REEL-Y” Awesome Techie Teachers! 🎣 👨‍🏫 👩‍🏫

What an AWESOME week! 😍  This week was Community Tech Night in East Bridgewater. We had a great team volunteer their time to share our amazing tech use with the community. 💻 It was also the Digital Learning Day conference in Medfield this week as well. Five of our FABULOUS East Bridgewater Staff shared their knowledge with others from around the state! It was simply a great week in Ed. Tech. in EB.  Hence, the focus of my post is our AMAZING, Fabulous, Awesome staff! So, read below to see some AMAZING things your colleagues are doing!  It may give you a few new ideas. 🙂 Certainly reach out to them! I know from working with them personally, that they are always willing to help.

Community Tech Night 💻 

Community Tech Night in East Bridgewater was held on Tuesday evening.  Although it wasn’t as well attended as we had hoped, it was very well received by those in attendance. Bethany Barra, Nick Davis, Maureen Holbrook, Laura McPhee, Ginny McCarthy and Bill Silva shared their knowledge on various topics such as Hyperdocs, Google Classroom, Google Keep, Padlet, Readworks, Epic, SeeSaw, ReCap, YouTube, and more! The parents and school committee members in attendance were very impressed, as was I, with everything shared! THANK YOU so much to these fabulous teachers, and every staff member every day, willing to share their expertise! Check out the general resources below from the evening and reach out to the staff members listed if you want to know more about what they presented!

Medfield Digital Learning Day 📖

Tori Cameron, Jamie Hulke, Laura McPhee, Julia Sheehan and Erin Fisher presented at Medfield Digital Learning day this week. This is a great conference attended by over 100 schools, including schools from New Hampshire and Rhode Island!

Tori Cameron was inspired by 103.3 Amp Radio’s TJ show to start her own Podcast. He even MENTIONED HER on his radio show this week, and played some of her latest podcast episodes!  Tori presented at Medfield about Podcasting and hosting her own Podcast: Steam Up the Classroom. Check out her presentation here, it has some really great resources including great educational podcasts for kids!

Jamie Hulke and Julia Sheehan use so many great tech tools to engage their students in a truly blended learning environment. These two presented on Digital Discussion and showed all of their great tips and tricks when using tools such as FlipGrid, Instagram, Twitter Chats, Google Classroom, and even using Google Sheets as a Discussion Board – SO COOL! Check out their fabulous presentation here!

Laura McPhee presented Holy Organization Batman! In this amazing presentation, she highlights Google Keep, an incredible tool for student engagement, organization, and productivity.  The Google App is quickly blowing up and Laura’s presentation shows Keep’s full potential! Consider using this tool today and access Laura’s presentation here.

Would you like to present?

Consider sharing your knowledge with other teachers around the state! Our staff in East Bridgewater has so much to offer.  MASSCUE is currently accepting proposals for their annual fall conference. You can gather more information about this event by clicking here. Will you put in a proposal? Let me know, as a former presenter for the past 4 years I can assist you in forming your idea so it is accepted as a workshop.

Amazing Classroom Lessons this Week 🎒 

In addition to Tech Night and DLD, I also had the opportunity to assist in the most wonderful lessons this week with some fantastic teachers! Kim Hardiman, a first-grade teacher, had me come in this week to assist with a spectacular blended learning experience. Students researched a topic using a book bundle on Epic. Students took notes (on paper) from their research and created a Telling Brain Frame. From their notes, students then created a Google Slide on their topics to show their knowledge. THIS WAS ALL DONE IN FIRST GRADE – AMAZING! 

                      

It is always a pleasure going into Christine DiLorenzo’s room, a second-grade teacher.  This week, she wanted her students exploring a tool that will allow them to create animated presentations. We chose to look at Animaker. What a great way to demonstrate knowledge!

Stacy Linnehan, Language-based special education teacher at the middle school, is always looking for new tools to try! It is always a pleasure to go into her room and give her something new! Check out her students below, using Chromebooks to view the problems she provided and standing at the whiteboards to do their work. All of her students are working at their own pace, allowing her to walk around the room and check in with each student to give that personal connection.

         

Laura McPhee had me come in and we worked together with her students to make E-Books using Book Creator. This is a great site/app to create E-Books.  You can include video, text, images, audio and more in a really cool format. The book even turns a page! Her students are creating books to show examples of physical and chemical changes.

TPACK  

Technolgy, when combined with content and pedagogy (TPACK model), can make learning more accessible and more engaging for our students. Many of the ideas above demonstrate this model! Consider integrating the T with your content and pedagogy to reach our learners in this digital learning age!

East Bridgewater staff and students are nothing short of Amazing! Have a great April Vacation week everyone 💙💚💛🧡💜❤️

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

The fish in MY school 😁 🐟 🏫

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again #togetherwearebetter!  Monday, 2/26, was our annual technology PD day here at the East Bridgewater Public Schools and so many of our own SHINED 🌞 ! Many teachers had the chance to show off what they’re doing with technology and share with colleagues. We had 32 sessions offered throughout the day with 21 of our own staff presenting!  It was a great day and so many ideas are already being put into practice.  If you check out our Twitter hashtag #greattobeaviking you can see many of the highlights of our technology integration.  Spreading the love, and best practices, is what it’s all about!  Check out just a few of the many great presentations below:

Google Classroom 📎 

Seriously, who doesn’t LOVE Google Classroom?! After out tech PD day, even administrators were inspired to use this GREAT tech tool! Principal Andrew Gentile has now started a Google Classroom for his staff where he is posting all sorts of great, important information! What a great use of Classroom and also modeling taking risks!  Bill Silva did an awesome job showing off Google Classroom and all it can do!   Check out Bill’s presentation below, he touches upon all of the great features of Classroom and how he uses it.

 

1:1 Chromebooks in Grades 1 & 2    💻

Have you wondered how our 1st and 2nd graders are using their 1:1 Chromebooks? Well Sarah Beberman and Kim Hardiman have a great presentation below that shows how they use 1:1 technology in their classrooms.  It is AMAZING and so impressive that some of our youngest students are doing so much with Chromebooks! Imagine what these kiddos will be able to do as they progress through our school system!

 

SeeSaw – A Digital Portfolio   🖼️

SeeSaw is a pretty awesome Digital Portfolio where students can post pictures, activities, videos and much, much more! Tori Cameron did a wonderful job presenting SeeSaw to many of our staff.  The next day, Joan McLaughlin was already using it and her students LOVED it! Way to go Tori, and way to go Joan!

iPads   📱

Have you wondered how our early grades are using iPads? Preschool, Kindergarten and half of first grade are 1:1 with iPads. Walk into Sandi Telless‘s room and you can easily see her students are pretty tech saavy on the iPads! Check our her slides below where she shares some of her favorite iPad apps she uses in her Kindergarten classroom:

Differentiating with Tech  🚀

Have you thought about how to differentiate with technology? Beth Barra does a great job running small groups and having activities at different levels for her students. The very next day I saw collaboration with the same Flipgrid topic in both Beth‘s room and Kim Hardiman‘s room. Nice job ladies! Check it out below:

These are only JUST A FEW of many great presentations.  If you would like to see them all be sure to visit our East Bridgewater Smart PD Site or reach out to me at Efisher@ebps.net. I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed planning, engaging, presenting, networking, and reflecting on this day! Thank you to all of those who were a part of it! It is truly GREAT to be a Viking!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Fishy Feedback 📝 🐟

 

Hello hello!

I hope this post finds you well. It has been a tremendous week here in EB. It was a pleasure to pass out the Chromebooks to our first 25 teachers willing to pilot 1:1 teacher devices!  Already, we have teachers using Screencastify with students and this is due to having a Chromebook – Amazing! It was great to get to interact, even for a short time, with some faces I don’t usually see. I hope to work with you further. Remember, I am here for your benefit – so please reach out! There is no task too small!

Shout out to a whole SLEW of teachers this week – EB and OTHERS:

CHROMEBOOK PILOT TEACHERS way to step outside the comfort zone for some of you and take a Chromebook! I know you’re doing to do great things! PLEASE use me as a resource! I’m here for you!

Julie Sunderland and Kathy Pittsley are high school math teachers at Fairhaven High School.  Julie also happens to be a very dear friend of mine for over 20 years! Julie happened to text me on a Saturday night “Hey have you heard of Pear Deck?”  Have I heard of Pear Deck?!!! 🍐 OMG! Well – next thing you know, I basically force her to come to my house on MLK day for a 2 hour tutorial of how to use Screencastify, the Pear-Deck add-on in Slides, Quickshare Screenshot extension, and Equatio.  THESE TWO TEACHERS ARE AMAZING! Julie – right off the bat – told me “treat me like I’m dumb” which she is NOT. However, often I think that’s what we fear others will think when we don’t know about a certain concept – which can be anything, not just technology. Let me tell you, this is NOT the case with me. Never, ever, do I think anyone is dumb. In fact, I LOVE showing a new piece of technology you may have never seen before.  Needless to say, these two amazing math teachers left with some great stuff – and they emailed this week to let me know it! Math teachers – these four tools make for a great combination in HS math – give me a shout out if you want to see!

Matt Savage I loved walking into your room and hearing Disney Music and seeing Pear Deck Vocabulary running! Woohoo! Boy did your students look engaged! Way to integrate Steve McGuire’s Disney Day!

Speaking of Steve McGuire, I heard Central School Preschool had a pretty awesome dance party this week! The kids loved it!

So much fun podcasting with Tori Cameron! Did you know she has her OWN podcast?! I was honored she asked me to be on it, thanks Tori! Check our her Podcast site: Steam Up The Classroom.  A certain Ross Clayton has been featured on the podcast as well!

Sarah Beberman Thank you for allowing me to start digital portfolios with a group of your second graders! Imagine what their portfolios will look like when they graduate? So cool!

Let’s see what tips and tricks I have this week that may help you out:

Technology in Central School Preschool 👦🏻🖥️👧🏾 

I’m so very lucky that my own children have been able to attend the Central School Preschool.  If you are a staff member in this district, you may want to look into this FANTASTIC preschool program. All three of my sons have been through, and this year we were lucky enough to have the amazing Mrs. Gorham for the third (and final 😥) year. I am also lucky enough that Mrs. Gorham and I have built a great relationship, so much so, that I can say to her “How about I come in and try Flipgrid with your students!”  This week I had the most wonderful opportunity to run the iPad center during center time AND use Flipgrid with PreK E.  Flipgrid was very successful, we asked each student “What is a farm?” and the responses were precious.  PreK E then watched every response on their smartboard and had a great time seeing one another on screen. I would love to share this with you, but due to the blog being public, I will not post it here. If you are interested in seeing this cute example of Flipgrid please reach out! However, here’s a cute slideshow of PreK E using their iPads this week! If you are a teacher who would like me to come in and run a technology center for you, I would be more than happy to do so! I can even create you a CUTE slideshow after the fact to share with parents.

 

Feedback in Writing 📝 

Providing meaningful feedback for student writing is a hot topic everywhere you turn! As educators, we want to provide feedback that will both engage and assist our students with the writing process, but it can be so very time-consuming.  Below are some great posts regarding digital feedback that may make it easier, engaging and more productive for you and your students!

This is a great post from Catlin Tucker (yes that is how you spell her name) regarding shortcuts in Docs. 😺 Catlin is a HUGE proponent of not bringing home grading! She was the keynote speaker at MASSCUE a few years ago…and let me tell you…AMAZING! Her post is worth a look.

http://catlintucker.com/2017/07/shortcuts-in-google-docs/

Anyone who knows me, knows I just LOVE the extension Screencastify! This great post from blogger Jake Miller highlights how he uses Screencastify to provide feedback on writing for students in his class. Imagine giving a student audio feedback while you correct a paper, so effective! We have many teachers here already using this great tool, check out another awesome way to use it!

Click here for Jake’s post: http://jakemiller.net/screencastify-for-feedback/

See the video below about how to use Screencastify:

Special Characters in Docs 😀 

Speaking of feedback – how about using some smiley faces or even a taco in your feedback?! Have you ever needed a certain character in a Doc? Well, thank you Ginny McCarthy for asking me this question – it will help so many.  Take a look below to see how to get certain characters easily and efficiently!  Examples include checkmarks, happy face, dogs, frogs, – pretty much anything! ✅😀🐶🐸🌮

 

I hope to see you soon! Imagine what we can do! 

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

I FISH you a Merry Christmas and SEA you next year 🎊 🎅🏻 🌊

I simply cannot believe we are upon another New Year! Looking back, 2017 was quite the year in terms of technology and all that we have achieved as a district. That is all a credit to YOU! It is amazing to look around and see ALL that teachers are doing to implement technology into their classrooms in some way.  Below I would just like to showcase some of what is going on in our buildings, as it is AMAZING! Check it out….you may just see your name. 😉

Google Sheets Timeline 

I taught a course this semester through PCEA/Worcester State, titled Teaching and Learning with Google Tools.  One of the assignments was creating Timelines with Google Sheets.  Lisa Grinkis, a middle school teacher, created a textbook-worthy timeline. Check it out below (or click this link for the actual Sheet), it is INCREDIBLE! She will now use this with students as an example and have them create their own. How cool is that?! This Timeline she created went above and beyond the expectation, and really shows off the versatility of Google Sheets!

Online Learning 

8th Grade Science is doing something SUPER AWESOMELY COOL right now! Kelly Hansen started using Schoology and set up an online, 3-week course, for her students that runs parallel to her current science curriculum. Megan Krugger is also using it!  In the transition from the old standards to the New Massachusetts Science Standards, Kelly’s 8th-grade group missed out on Cells. So how is she bridging the gap? Through an online module! In class, face-to-face, she’s covering the current 8th grade standards. BOOM! 2 for the price of one and BONUS – students don’t miss out on important concepts! The content and assignments are self-paced, and the students are interacting on the discussion board. The kids LOVE it and it’s a great way to cover content in a way that may reach other learning styles!

Padlet 

Padlet is an amazing tool. It is basically an online bulletin board that can house a collection of resources for a specific topic.  If you like posting links in Google Classroom, and find that you have many links around a certain topic, you may want to think about creating a PADLET to house the links, docs, videos and other items. This way, you can just link out to your PADLET in the future.  Check out these GREAT Padlets created by Laura McPhee and Tori Cameron on Plate Tectonics and a Snowflake Padlet by Beth Barra.  Jamie Hulke also uses Padlet to have students post BookSnaps, a great way to showcase student connections to literature!

2nd Grade Selfies! 

Is there anything better than a text from 2nd grade showing me how they’re changing their profile pictures to selfies of themselves? I love it! Thanks, Sarah Beberman!

 Math Songs – NumberRock

Thank you, Melissa Leonard, 3rd-grade teacher, for this cool YouTube channel NumberRock!  It has so many great math songs!  Check out the one below, and also check out the entire YouTube channel here!

I’m very much looking forward to the break, but even more, I look forward to working with you after the break! Book me here and I’d be happy to come chat about tech integration. Think of what we can do…Google Classroom, Making Video, Creating Video playlists, GoGuardian settings, Digital Portfolios, NEWSELA, Pear Deck…the list is endless!

Enjoy the break everyone!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟