CAST your (student) voice! 🎣 📣

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Cast Student Voice

What do we do about apathy? There are so many obstacles when it comes to teaching, so many hills and valleys, but what do we do about the student or adult who just does not care?

Don’t try and fix something you love – but look at what doesn’t work. We all have to try and close the gaps between our achievers and those who are not reaching learning targets.  If we want to believe every child can learn, we should not be proactively taking them out of the game and expecting them to do something else. We need to find ways for them to successfully access the curriculum. We need to give all of our students a voice. 

Do you have students apathetic to learning?  Engagement is key in decreasing student apathy. Offering students choice increases access to a goal and can also provide engagement.  As educators, we cannot assume that our preferences as teachers are their preferences as learners.  We may think a lecture is best, taking notes is best, showing a video is best, technology is best, but this may not be what works for every learner in front of us.  Data doesn’t lie, and if we have gaps in our data between those achieving and those who are not, then what we’re choosing may not be what is working.  

When students take ownership of their learning, they are more engaged and thus have greater success. As educators, we often decide the activity surrounding the lesson. We may even get excited about our plan, but some of our students may not.  Again, our preference may not be theirs and our activity may not be accessible to all learners despite what we may think.  Surveying and asking kids what they’re interested in can assist in learning what they prefer. Google Forms are an awesome tool for this and it gives us valuable data to say: “We’re doing this becauseI have data that shows…” If we want to steer the direction of the lesson, providing some choices for students and allowing them to choose a preference can also work.  What are some choices we can provide? How about some options that give our students a VOICE! Let’s take a look below:

Google Forms Bitmoji Image

Google Forms are a great tool for assessment, but they are also a great survey tool as well. They can really assist us as educators in learning our students’ preferences as learners.  This is a great post by Catlin Tucker on using Google Forms to get to know our students.  If we can gather information on our students’ likes and dislikes it can help us be more effective as educators. Catlin even provides a FREE Google Form you can use to get to know your students.

Podcasting sound on

OMG, have you tried Anchor?  WOW this podcasting app, and web tool, incredible!!! It is also FREE!  Thank you to Brandon Hall, tech integrator from Pembroke, for walking me through this awesome tool.  Podcasting has exploded on the scene with both students and adults listening to Podcasts and creating podcasts! There’s a podcast for everyone really. You can find a series on sports, education, mystery etc Many of your favorite TV personalities even have a podcast.  So, how does this apply to the classroom – let’s have kids MAKE a podcast and cast their voice! What an incredible way for a student to show learning, and the best part, you could listen to it on your drive home, or while correcting papers. Reach out if you would like to start Podcasting with your students! Check out this great Google Slidedeck here on how this can be used in the classroom and Brandon’s overview of Anchor below!

This is a great article on how to use Podcasts in education. Our own Tori Cameron has a popular podcast channel on all things STEAM that you can listen too as well, and she is the guru when it comes to podcasting!

Video Bitmoji Image

Student video is also a great way to allow students to cast their voice! It is also another great way students can showcase their learning. Flipgrid, SeeSaw, and Screencastify are all wonderful tools that allow students to create video easily to showcase knowledge.

You could use Wakelet to put all student video in one place! Wakelet now integrates with both Flipgrid and Screencastify and would provide a great curation example of student video!

As a teacher, you can also create video and flip your classroom.  Check out the video below from Bill Silva, East Bridgewater Biology Teacher, that he uses with students.

Translator App Bitmoji Image

Recently, Microsoft unveiled their new translator app. This app is incredible and is available across all platforms. I was playing with it the other day, thanks to my pal Colleen Terrill, and it has many more features than my previous fav – Google Translate.  This article here describes the features and functionality of the app.  If you are traveling to a country where you cannot speak the language, or have EL students you wish to communicate with, give this app a go and provide voice to your student!

Tech Tip of the Week: Google Voice Bitmoji Image

Did you know your Google Account can be associated with a phone number? You can then link that number to your actual number on your mobile phone.  You can also use Google Voice as an app and on the web.  This would be useful if you wanted to text students or parents, but didn’t want to give out your personal number and did not want to pay for an additional number or phone. Click here for an article from another Tech Blogger on his top reasons he uses Google Voice in the classroom!

How will you give your students a VOICE and let them be heard?

Take care!

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 🐟 🐟 🐟

Surf’s Up…Express Yourself! 🏄 🐟

Express Yourself

I often think of my own children when I think about choice and expression.

What do I do when I want my kiddos to eat vegetables…do I just put them on the plate and say EAT THEM? Well, yes…sometimes I do – because sometimes there are MUST DOs. However, sometimes, I really want them to eat some good stuff – like before a soccer game. So how do I get them to eat more, and want to eat it?! I cut up as many vegetables and fruits as I can, I put it on a platter, and put it in the center of the table.  The same vegetables that I will have the argument over if just PUT them on the plate – magically get eaten.  How many Pinterest posts do you see of food being made to look all sorts of cute (engaging) so kids will eat it?! How many secret recipes do you make to “hide” the veggies? Have you done this? Prepare food in a different way, or different presentation so someone will eat it? Sometimes, I let my kids cook the food – and that same food that they turn their nose up  at (shrimp) now becomes appealing because they had a stake in it. They know the love and work that went into making the food, and it makes it that much more appealing.

    

Whether it’s at home with my children, or here at school, sometimes simply the way we package things can make all of the difference. Are we giving choices? Are we giving different ways to interact with what we teach? Are we giving different ways for students to express their learning? How are we engaging our learners so they want to learn? Mickey Mouse pancakes with pureed zucchini hidden inside. 😉

In our own lives, we have choices of how we express ourselves as both individuals and also as teachers. We can choose to dress and present ourselves a certain way, we can also teach and present material in the way we choose. Think about the excitement and empowerment you feel when you’ve curated just the right lesson.  YOU were able to choose that activity, lesson, idea etc So why not allow students the same choice?  How can we allow students to choose how they show knowledge best? Let’s EMPOWER and EXCITE our learners by providing them with a choice! Just like my children with their vegetables, choice can produce some magical outcomes!

The Brain 🧠 Bitmoji Image

Did you know that when we offer students multiples ways to express learning we’re actually activating a whole network of the brain?! Pretty incredible right?! By maximizing the different networks of the brain, we are increasing student learning and success!

So how can we give choice in expression? Bitmoji Image

There are so many options we can give to students in how they can express knowledge. They could take an assessment, write a paper, record a video, create a project etc. Whichever way they choose, the rubric to assess could still remain the same! Seeing what students choose is eye-opening, and gives us some insight into their learning styles!

Let’s take a look at some different options that you could use for students to EXPRESS knowledge:

Infographics (posters) Bitmoji Image

Infographics can be BEAUTIFUL ways for students to express knowledge – think Digital Poster.  They can include information, images, links, animations and plenty of other cool features!  PiktoChart and Canva are two great (free) tools to use to make Infographics.  The advantage to these tools, over say Google Draw (a personal fav), is that they have some canned content you can use.  Lots of speech bubbles, shapes, frames, backgrounds etc. As always, let me know if you need help with these tools!

PiktoChart

https://piktochart.com

Canva

https://www.canva.com/

Digital Books  Bitmoji Image

Digital Books are so much FUN! Think of a book on a computer with virtually turning pages!  A digital book can contain text, audio, video, images, and much, much more! Unfortunately, you only get one free book per digital book site, BUT, there are many digital book sites out there. Here are two of my favorites:

Book Creator

bookcreator.com

Flip Book

http://fliphtml5.com/

Creative Slide Presentations Bitmoji Image

If you’re looking for a cool Slide Presentation tool that goes a little beyond Google Slides (gasp!) check out Animaker or Powtoon. Both are free (although do have premium options) and allow students to make some pretty cool presentations! Check out a video example below of a current 6th grade project we’re working on!

Animaker

https://www.animaker.com/

PowToon

https://www.powtoon.com/

Putting it all together Bitmoji Image

So, next time you need to assess a standard, how about a Choice Board for student expression? For instance, students can write an essay, make a Digital Book, create a presentation, or make a poster (digital or drawn). I find giving choice, but not too many, can provide some parameters for those that can get overwhelmed. Switch out your choices with different assignments – offer a test as an option or a make a video! Not every student learns the same way, so why give everyone the same assessment? Provide the same rubric for everyone with the key points, and see the magic happen. Let me know if you give this a whirl, I’d love to see it in action!

Tech Tip of the Week: Download Docs (or Sheets, Slides, Draw) into other Formats  

Sometimes it’s the little things that we need…Take a look at this SHORT video clip here to see how you can take your Google Format and convert it into PDF, Microsoft, or other formats.

Don’t Forget that Holiday Tech! 

Click the link here for my Holiday Tech Google Doc! 

Once again, thank you for choosing this blog! I hope you are all having a FABULOUS week!

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  🐟 🐟 🐟