Fish Dish 🐟 🍽️

Hey hey!

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

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

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

Email – use the NEW Contacts App  📧

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

Newsletters 🗞️ 

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

Google Classroom: The NEW ABOUT tab 🆕 

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

Google Sites: Classroom Website 🖥️ 

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

Parent/Student Surveys: Google Forms 📝  

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

Phone Tech: Communication Apps 📝 

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

In class: PearDeck 🍐 

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

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

Have a great weekend Everyone!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Fishin’ for Ideas that first week back? Take a “pike” below! 🎣 🐟

I am so PUMPED to share all of this GREAT stuff with you to start your best year yet!!! It’s almost here, and that first-day-of-school smell and feeling is so indescribable.  If you’re in education, you know what I’m talking about! Endless possibilities are ahead! This year is a blank slate, so how are YOU going to make it AWESOME?! Below, I’ve provided a few ideas to get your tech started, whether it be with organization or some activities! Remember, I’m here FOR YOU, so reach out anytime! 

It all begins with Google Classroom….

The best way to start with students, using technology, is to first set up your Google Classroom.This will allow you a place to push out the tech activities you wish to use.  The slides below, from Susan Herder fellow Google Certified Trainer, are a great resource to see how to use Google Classroom.  Even veterans of Google Classroom may want to check it out since Classroom had a MAJOR overhaul!  The Google Classroom FAQ page answers some great questions such as: “Where is my About Page?” Click here for that resource. 

Remember – it’s best practice, and suggested by Google, to set up a new classroom each new year.  All new features will not be available in older Classrooms, including notification settings. 

This post from Google for Education is also a great resource with videos showing how to set up and utilize the NEW Google Classroom: Click here.

Let’s set up those Chromebooks/Chrome Browser to optimize use!

These tips are helpful for both staff and students! Take a look below and try these for yourself, and with your students to streamline Chromebook use.

Set your Homepage and Opening tabs 

Great for littles, but great for me! I love when I start up Chrome and my opening page is exactly where I left off, or a few tabs open that I’ve specifically set! Spend a minute or two setting this up, and it will save you time in the long run! You could use Google Classroom to assist with this for littles, simply put the links in you want them to copy and paste into their settings.

Bookmark Bar 

This is the first video I ever made in my current position, and you can tell, but the content still holds true! Be sure to be LOGGED IN to Chrome so your bookmarks stick! If you’re on a Chromebook, you are automatically logged in.  If you need help with logging into Chrome, watch this video (by me) here.

Rearrange the Waffle 

I love this one….getting my Apps in order just makes me happy.

First-week student activities: Getting to know YOU

Many of us use some of those first moments to get to know our students or to find out useful information from parents.  Take a look below for a few great ideas of first week “getting to know you” activities:

Google Form Surveys 

I LOVE Google Forms! As a teacher, I used it to survey students and parents.  It’s easy to create and to push out to anyone! Super Score – it puts the answers in a handy-dandy spreadsheet that you can access at any time! I liked to use it to have kids rate themselves at the beginning of the year, mid-year, and end of the year. It was great to see how their own opinions of themselves as students change over time. Google Forms recently updated as well, giving it more options for colors, fonts, and themes! FUN! Click here to see the example.

Back to School Pear Deck (fun! and made for you) Image result for peardeck

Click here for a back-to-school Google Slide Deck that I modified from Pear Deck.  You will need the Pear Deck Add-on installed in Slides to use this. From there, open the Add-on and click the GREEN “Present with Pear Deck” button.  Feel free to modify this Slide Deck to suit your needs. Students will enjoy this activity, and you will enjoy getting to know each and every one of them! Pear Deck gives every student a voice, even those who may be shy to share on that first day. It allows students to share in an anonymous format, however, you as the teacher can see the student’s voice.

Have Students make YOU a Quizizz (or KaHoot)! 

This is a GREAT idea that came from Alice Keeler! In her first week back, she had students create short Quizizz games that showcased their interests. Then she had her class play the games. It was an opportunity for students to get to know each other in a FUN and interactive way! Click here for an overview of Quizizz.

Setting Goals 

As educators, we all set goals for ourselves so why not do this with our students? It’s important to have goals, hopes and dreams! See below for some techy ideas to set your goals!

Vision Boards 

This post comes from Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning! She suggests using Google Slides for Vision Boards! It’s pretty cool! Have the students visualize what they hope to achieve during the school year and make it into a presentation. Read more about this idea and others here! Also, see the example below:

Hopes and Dreams HyperDoc  

This HyperDoc, click here, has some great activities connected to one’s Hopes and Dreams for the upcoming school year! If you’re a practicing teacher of Responsive Classroom, this could be a great pick for you!

For Fun

Lastly, how bout a little fun?! Google does it again with the Emoji Scavenger Hunt! Could be a fun first-week activity! Click Here!

I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU!!! What are your first week of school ideas? I’d love to hear them!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

August – the SUNday of summer for teachers ☀️ 📅 🐟

Hello! I miss you! 🐟 🐟 🐟

I hope everyone is doing well this summer! We still have a good amount of time left, but as my title says, August feels like the Sunday of summer for us teachers!  We start to feel school looming and it’s both exciting, and a little sad, at the same time.  Spending my summer away from Twitter, away (some) from the computer, and WITH my children is amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world! However, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for my own children this year, as well as the children of East Bridgewater as they continue to learn and grow. As my own children change, so does the world around us, including educational tech! Check out my post below for a few of the bigger changes!  Also, a gift for you – this great video by John Spencer, made for teachers like you!

MAJOR GOOGLE UPDATES  

This is a great presentation, by Meagan Kelly (see her blog here), of ALL of the major Google Updates – including LOCKED QUIZZES!!!! Coming soon you can LOCK a Google Form and students cannot access the internet! Pretty awesome stuff! See these updates and more in the slides below.

Flipgrid is now FREE! 

Well, it’s free now for teachers!  We get ALL ACCESS, longer videos that you can download, unlimited grids, and much more! Flipgrid is a great way to collect video from anyone, in a safe, fun format! Check out the article here: https://help.flipgrid.com/hc/en-us/articles/360006038413-Flipgrid-is-now-free-for-all-educators-

Here are some great ideas from Matt Miller of how you could use FlipGrid in the classroom! Read about it here!

Stop Teaching like Technology Doesn’t Exist  

This article is a great post about how a teacher was trying to fit technology into already existing lessons. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. It’s a pretty good read. Click here to check it out!

Stay Tuned! I’ll be doing another post on GREAT first-week-of-school Tech Activities to get to know your students!

Enjoy these last few weeks, no one deserves it more than you! 😘 

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Stay Afloat this Summer…. ⛵ 🐟 😂

Wooohoooo!

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 🙂

Twitter 🐦

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.

MASSCUE 💻

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!

FishinOnAMission 🐟

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!

https://beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com/en/slides

 

I wish you all a FINTASTIC summer! 🦈

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Cast the line….into next year! 🎣 🐟

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!

Clean up: 

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!

Email ✉️

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!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Activities for the End of your Line 🎣

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!

Infographics 

Using Google Draw (here’s an example I made here)

  • You could create an infographic based on the grade level – “5th-grade memories” or “year in review
    • You are more than welcome to use this template I created (it will force the copy) to have the students create a “year in review” infographic – it’s blackboard themed.
  • You could have students create a memory board similar to those blackboard charts parents use – but use school memories (see here)
  • You could create an infographic based on content – “Science in a snapshot
  • You could create an “inspirational” infographic and hang them up around your room for students to see next year! 
  • You could create a sequential infographic that goes with a process writing
  • You could create an infographic that shows a cycle (water cycle, life cycle etc)
  • You could create an interactive (with hyperlinks) infographic

Memory book 

  • Using Google Slides
    • 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!

Hyperdocs 

    • 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 great templates 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.

Comics! 

http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/eBooks/

    • 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!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

No Need to Flounder…Try these Google Tips and Tricks 🐡 🐟 🐠 🙋

Hello hello hello! How can we make life easier at this busy time of year as we begin our end of year wrap-up? Well, let’s talk a little this week about some Google Tips and Tricks!  For instance, did you know you can turn any piece of a YouTube video into a GIF simply by putting the word GIF in front of the address?! How about moving the icons in your Google Waffle for ease of use? Sometimes it’s the little things! I learn these tips and tricks through friends, Twitter, and conferences. With so much tech out there, I feel like I am ALWAYS learning something new! Take a look at a few new tricks I’ve learned below!

G-Suite

A great workshop I recently attended was a workshop called #GoogleAddict. This workshop was presented by a Technology Integration Specialist from Groton-Dunstable named Julie Spang Click here for Julie Spang’s Slides titled #GoogleAddict. I’ve included a few of my favorite tips I learned from her below:

Move Your Waffle 

This is something so easy, yet so useful! You can move the icons in your Google Waffle to any order you would like.  DOn’t use Hangouts? Move it to the bottom and move Classroom or YouTube to the top! See the video below for help!

Organizing Made Easy 📹

This little tip is also so easy, yet so useful.  You can “move” or organize your Docs/Slides/Sheets right at the top of the item. Take a look at the video below – this may assist you with organization.

Easy Gifs from YouTube 📹

Do you want a little-animated GIF from YouTube? Well, simply put the word GIF in front of the address and let the GIF menu open! From there, you can have your own custom GIF! This is a bit easier than the GifIt! extension I’ve shared previously! See the video for assistance:

Remote for Slides 📱

There’s a GREAT extension that can turn your phone into a remote for your Google Slides! It’s called Remote for Slides and you can see how it works here! A handy little tool!

Some Google Fun 

Here are a few great extras from Google that I really liked playing with this week. I read about them here on Matt Miller’s blog. 

Earth Engine 🌏

Really neat for Science, take a look at the timelapse of an area on Earth. It’s really neat!

https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/

Quick Draw ✏️

This is REALLY fun! Give it a try! Google gives you something to draw, and you have a limited time to draw it. Great for a brain break!

https://quickdraw.withgoogle.com/

AWESOME Google/Grammarly Update 

Grammarly is coming to Google Docs (FINALLY)!  It’s in BETA right now and hopefully will release soon!

I hope these tips and tricks find you well! Reach out anytime you need a quick tip or easy workaround, I’m here ☺️!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Updates Updates! Let “minnow” how I can help!

WOW!  Do I have a post for you this week!  The most challenging aspect of technology integration is that there is just SO MUCH out there, and it is always changing.  However, I’m here to help! Part of my role is staying on top of latest and greatest tools, as well as updates to the current tools we use.  So, let “minnow” if I can help you with any of it! Learning a tool or seeing how a tool updated!

It’s been an amazing week of explosive updates from Google! The GMAIL updates even made the NATIONAL NEWS as seen in the video below!  In addition, there have also been updates to Docs, Slides and even a few favorite tech sites that will be changing. Read below to see the scoop! 🍦 

Email is Changing 📧

The GMAIL Update is so HUGE it hit the national news!  Read the story on NBC here. The updates to the GMAIL platform are so great!  Check out the update from Google here and watch my video below as well to see the updates in action! As of right now, 5/1, all of the updates haven’t officially hit in my email, but they will in the next few weeks. Currently, the expiration feature has not appeared in East Bridgewater, but don’t worry, it will. Google is the first email platform to allow expiration dates on email! AMAZING!  You do not have to have the new platform yet, but eventually, Google will migrate (and force) everyone over. Right now, you can “opt-in” if your Google Administrator sets the correct permissions.

Insert Slides into Docs – WHAT?!

I know, right?!  This is pretty cool and explained much better by video. Basically, you can copy and paste a Slide into a Doc, and the image will Hyperlink to the Slide Deck.  This would be great if you were having students complete a writing and include a presentation with the writing.  All of it can link into one single Doc and have the image of the Slide to go with it. Pretty cool stuff! Read the update from Google here and see the video below:

Use Rulers on Slides 📏

Another great update to Slides this week is the ability to use rulers and guides.  If you really like to make sure items and text line up, or if you are creating worksheets using Slides, the ruler will be very helpful.  You can read the update from Google here. When printing a Slide, the ruler will now let you see where the margin lies. Often, I hear teachers complain about creating certain items in sheets. The solution…SLIDES! Use Slides as a Doc, it’s much less limiting!

In Non-Google News…

Technology Updates – or should we say down? 

In Sad News…

Padlet now has a fee structure.  You are capped at a certain amount of Padlets. However, if you delete a previous Padlet, you can add another so there is still a free component. You can read about the new fee structure here.  A free alternative to Padlet is Wakelet, and this program is getting some good press!

Today’s Meet is going away. If you use Today’s Meet you will need to find another live chat tool. As of 6/15 Today’s Meet will meet no more.  Alternatives to Today’s Meet are Spiral.ac or BackChannelChat.  Let “minnow” if I can assist you with these tools! They’re pretty cool when paired with a documentary!

A little better… 🍐

Pear Deck has had some major updates, and will have even more in the next few months. Please reach out if you’re using this awesome tool and we can discuss the updates!

I’m always here to help with your technology integration needs! Send me a shout out if you’ve seen any updates lately!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟