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 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

Assuring we “catch” all of our kids!

Keeping our “school of fish” together

This week I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the MASSCUE SIG SLP/SPED group meeting hosted by Kim Zajac of the Norton Public Schools and led by John F. O’Sullivan, the Educational App Guide! John has published 5 books on UDL and Assistive Technology Tools. He has so many options in his toolbox it is AMAZING!  I learned so much at this meeting, and it was great to talk to teachers from other schools about what they’re using as well to remove the barriers.  John really hit home with his focus: How can we remove the barrier so the student can reach the goal? What different paths can students take to show they’ve met the goal?

Take a look below for some great tools that will assist ALL of our learners, help remove the barriers, and keep our “fish” swimming!

UDL TECHNOLOGY  💌 🆓 📑

First up on the blog, is a FREE resource from John: UDL Technology.  This is actually a section of his book that he posts online, free! Chapter 17 has many great, free, tools you can use with all students. Just to entice you even more, take a look at some of the topics below he has posted on this great resource.  I was lucky enough to win a copy of one of his books at the workshop, so if you’d like to borrow it, let me know! His books are also available for purchase on Amazon.

My Favorite Tools for Reading Online  📖 💻

Reading text online can be a challenge. We could easily use a text-to-speech tool like Select and Speak or Read and Write, however, with MCAS and many other texts moving online, it is now a reality that all students will need to learn how to decipher text on the screen. There are many great tools to assist when reading online.  The video below shows a few of my favorites that assist with screen reading. These tools are free and available for all students.  The extension Mercury Reader clears the clutter, inverts the page coloring, changes the font and overall can clean up the page when reading online.  BeeLine Reader is another great extension that changes the font and alters the color of the text on the page. This extension has been shown to greatly assist those with dyslexia. Font changer is an extension that will allow you to customize the font, and size of the font, for all sites you visit.  Line Height Adjuster allows you to put more spacing between lines of text on the page and Visor provides a masking tool when reading online.  It is important to note that the online MCAS does provide similar tools for all students when taking the exam. Allowing students to utilize these tools when reading online may greatly aide in their success when it comes to reading text online!

 Accessibility Settings in Chrome 🔎 👍

Did you know that the Chromebook has many accessibility settings already built in? There are many beneficial settings for students, even more than just the popular ones you may see such as inverting the contrast, bigger mouse arrow, or magnification.  The video below shows many of the lesser known accessibility features within the Chrome settings.

Assistive Tech Presentation  📽️

Below, is the presentation I gave at Medfield Digital Learning day that contains ALL of my favorite AT tools. It also includes an example Assistive Technology Evaluation that I conducted, if you wish to see it.  New tools come out at such a rapid pace, there are probably even better ones now that are on this month-old presentation!

I hope you’re able to find the tools you need to assist every student in his or her success. If you ever want help finding a tech tool, feel free to reach out!

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 🐟 🐟 🐟

FishFlop 👡 🐟

Greetings! 🌸 🌼 🌷

Spring has sprung and with it a whole slew of NEW ideas 💡!  I certainly cannot wait to throw on a pair of flipflops, hence my title this week.  Let’s “flipflop” away from MCAS style tests when we can! We are deep into the first rounds of MCAS here in Massachusetts and students are doing their best at showing what they know. Can what we truly know and are able to do, be measured by just one test? On just one (or two) days? Of course not!  Our students are hungry for other ways to show knowledge, other ways to be assessed! Therefore, I chose to focus on alternative assessment ideas other than your standard paper/pencil or online test 📝. Kasey Bell and Matt Miller had some great suggestions on their Podcast this week that I included below among other ideas. Their Podcast Channel is certainly worth a listen.

Check out my post below for some alternative assessing ideas!

PBL – WorkBench 🛠️  

This FREE site is so cool! Workbench is a collection of projects already designed for you, ready to push out into Google Classroom.  Many of them have multiple steps, where students work together, at their own pace to show knowledge. Many of the projects involve a writing component, an active (doing) component, and an area to upload images as well.  Project-based learning is a great learning process for students and a great way for students to show knowledge!

 

 Presentations 📽️ 

I’ve seen teachers assign topics to students to teach the class! What a great way to show and share knowledge.  Many times I see Google Slides being used as the presentation tool of choice. Although I LOVE Slides, I see some teachers and students moving towards other tools.  A student in Janice Griffin’s ELA class chose Animaker for a book trailer – so cool, check it out below (excuse the one small spelling error in this fabulous project)!

Consider having students make a presentation using one of these tools listed below:

PowToon –  cartoon style presentations

Animoto – picture and short video presentations

NearPod – interactive presentations

Prezi –  premade templates with an interesting flow

ToonTastic – available on certain Chromebooks using the Google Play Store (grades 7-12 in EB)

Animaker – similar to Powtoon but much more user-friendly with cartoon style templates

InfoGraphic (a fancy word for poster) 🎨 

How about having kids make an online digital poster with information and graphics to demonstrate mastery? If you google “infographics” you will find a whole bunch of GREAT resources! There are MANY awesome sites that you can use to create InfoGraphics such as PiktoChart, Canva, Adobe Spark, and even Google Slides (my personal favorite!).  Creating an inforgraphic utilizes many great skills aside from technical skills – students are researching and analysing the best information to be included in addition to using digital skills as well. Check out the video below on how to use Google Slides for a cool InfoGraphic!

Video! 📹 📼 

And of course, VIDEO is a GREAT way to have students demonstrate knowledge.  Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of Flipgrid! Flipgrid is one of many tools that allows one to easily create a quick video that is then placed in a grid.  Recently, Sean Fahey and Karly Moura, two great Ed Techies, published a free online book on using Flipgrid. The book also includes some great ideas on how to use it.  Click here for the free book.  Just this week Flipgrid also released a new feature called FlipGrid Templates. This is a GREAT feature which gives you some premade templates for flipped ideas.

Let’s Recap and SeeSaw are also GREAT sites that also allow for video creation placing videos in a safe location to view.

Open Ed – Free Resource 📖 🆓 

In the article,  “50 awesome apps that integrate with Google Classroom” the amazingly, awesome Kasey Bell features many great apps. Padlet, Pear Deck, and IXL are a few she lists as being great apps that integrate with Classroom.  Another she mentions, Open Ed, is also an incredible resource. OpenEd does have online assessments but also has other assignments as well as you can see in the screenshot below. The best part of Open Ed, other than it’s free, is that it integrates with Classroom! Woohoo!

Let’s give our kids choices to show what they know!  What ways do you have students demonstrate knowledge?  Share below! #TogetherWeAreBetter

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

FISH FUN 🎉 🐠

How’s it going?

I hope you are doing well! Can you believe it’s almost April? 🌸 OMG, I cannot believe it! Each and every day I am so proud to work with you, and proud to do what I’m doing. I love Ed Tech, and it’s a great time in education…even if it’s a little blah outside here in New England. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little cabin fever lately. I’m ready for warm weather and being outside 😎! Therefore, to break up the monotony of New England Weather, I decided to focus a little on “Fish 🐟 Fun” this week! What are you doing that’s “fun” in your classroom? What would students say is fun? Learning is the central purpose of school, and cannot always be fun, but it’s a great feeling when students enjoy a lesson and maybe even call it fun. Although sometimes fun can look chaotic, students may enjoy it, and when we enjoy learning it generally seems to stick a little more than if we are bored. For me, writing is fun. I enjoy it and that’s why I do it every week here at FishinOnaMission. Let’s take a look at some fun finds this week….

A Google a Day ❓ 

This is FUN!  Check out A Google A Day for a fun game that utilizes the Google Search Engine to solve some riddles and questions. It awards points and asks some difficult questions that you truly need to “Google.” Each day you collect points and it’s a great way to learn a new fact, and also practice “Google-ing.”

Family Feud 🛎️ 

This is a GREAT post by Matt Miller that even includes the FREE template to create your very own Family Feud style review game for your class! He suggests using a Google Form to poll your class, this will allow you to come up with your % from your “survey says” results.  Simply use his template to enter in your questions and results, and BOOM, Family Feud! What a great alternative to Jeopardy Reviews! Students generally find review games FUN, so why not give this a try! He even has an app for a buzzer that’s available across devices.

KaHoot! 🖥️

Seriously, who doesn’t love KaHoot?! KaHoot is FUN! Do you ever have issues with the names students choose when playing? Or does it take too long for your students to enter their names? Well, try the name generator within KaHoot! Check out the video below for directions.

Switch it Up! 💡 

Sometimes, just switching it up is fun.  If kids are bored, if you are bored, change what you’re doing.  I know it’s hard, but reach out…don’t get stuck in a rut. Don’t forget….I’m here for you too, even if you just want an idea of something different to try.  I’m not the answer, but I’m here to assist you and sometimes just collaborating helps new ideas come about! Think about it 😊

Feel free to share with me what you’re doing to have some learning “fun” in the classroom! Comment below or email me directly!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Fish on your Plate 🍽️ 🐟

One of the best features of Google Products is the ability to share items we’ve made.  #TogetherWeAreBetter and many teachers feel this way.  You can comb the web and find so many teacher-created, FREE, materials to use in your room.  I am a firm believer in “sharing is caring” and I love it when I see others that feel this way too. TeachersPayTeachers does have many good resources, but let’s face it, we’re not on an unlimited budget as classroom teachers.  Below you will find many AMAZING, FREE, items you can use in the classroom that are made for you and ready to use with students! Check out some great templates below, and see the “Fish” on my Plate this week!

Google Doc (free) Newspaper Templates 📰

Have you ever wanted to send out a newsletter in a newspaper format? How about making a classroom newspaper as a class, or individual student project? Check out these SUPER cool templates to create a newspaper in Google Docs. Simply click the one you like and it opens to an editable version! These templates are very easy (and fun) to work with!

Click here to access this great resource!

Google Doc (free) Graphic Organizers 📂

If you click this site here, you will be brought to a site that offers MANY, free, graphic organizers and templates made in Google Docs and Draw.  Simply File>Make a Copy to use these great resources! Push it out via Google Classroom to have access to all students’ work! Enjoy!

Google Draw (free) AMAZING Templates ✏️

Eric Curts, of Control Alt Achieve, is perhaps my FAVORITE tech blogger.  He is constantly posting amazing resources and providing video explanations on how to use them. He even gives out PDP credits if you watch his webinars and take a quiz following it.  If you click this link here, you will be brought to his MANY templates that he’s created using Google Tools.  These are free to use, edit, modify and push out to students, he only asks that you do not charge when using his resources (meaning you don’t alter something and put it up on Teachers Pay Teachers for $$).

Here is a screenshot of one example of a template he has created called “compose a Tweet” template. This would be really cute to have students create a fake Tweet:

Google Classroom Tips and Tricks 💡

This isn’t so much about Templates but with Google Classroom being the leader in applications used in our district, I thought I would share a great post by Tony Vincent.  He has some great tips and tricks when using Google Classroom like using Emojis in your announcements or assignments. He also shows how you can use the Google Classroom App on say an iPad with a stylus and draw on assignments to offer feedback. What a great idea! Check out his post by clicking here.

 

If you end up using these great items, invite me in to see! I love visiting and seeing the great things you do! 

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Let’s “Cod”-llaborate! 😊 🐠

I learn the most by collaborating with others! Colleagues and friends have so much to offer. When we look at our students, many times, they are able to learn and process the information best when they can get into groups and talk it out or create with peers. Collaboration is powerful and truly improves our abilities, it is a SUPERPOWER! The best part is: it’s free and available to all.   How do you foster collaboration professionally? How do you have students collaborate? Let’s take a look below for some great options that enhance collaboration.

Google Classroom – Ask a Question!

I’ve said it before, many times, and I’ll say it again – is there a better tool for a teacher than Google Classroom?  Recently, our building administrators have all started using Google Classroom to communicate and collaborate with staff – AWESOME! I see coaches use it for teams, teachers use it for students, and staff use it for professional development. Classroom is just a GREAT tool.

A useful, collaborative, feature of Classroom is the “Ask a Question” feature. This could basically turn your Google Classroom into a blog. You can ask a question and allow students to respond to each other as well as your prompt.  You can also poll your class with this option and students can see results in LIVE time (unlike Google Forms).

Read more about the  Question Feature of Classroom here!

Group Work – an EASY way to group and share the template!

This was a GREAT post by Alice Keeler this week.  She shows how one can install an add-on she coded and easily create random groups and a group assignment automatically shared with all who need it!  This may look a tad challenging at first to install – but I’m telling you, once you have this going, it’s quite easy.  Plus, you can book me if you’d like assistance 🙂

Suggestion Mode – Collaborative Writing

Last week I co-authored my first article for an Ed Tech Magazine. It was a great experience and I LOVED the collaboration between a friend and myself. I would open up the doc and see the changes he made and what was added, then I would add to it. We would discuss changes using the chat and/or comment feature. It was great, and I highly recommend trying it with students.  A lot of critical thinking went into it and it made me a better writer in the process.  Plus, who doesn’t like sharing the load!  Take a look at the video below to see some of the tools we used to collaborate.

Collaboration with You!

Really when I want to learn the most, I go to you! Although we are great on our own, we are even better together!  Through talking out lessons over the phone or in person, visiting classrooms, engaging in Twitter chats or talking at conferences, I learn so much and I would like to think those I meet with learn things in return! Collaboration is key and I would love to collaborate with you. Sometimes the conversation sparks ideas or sometimes it’s just walking into a room and seeing something special that gives you that AHA! moment! #TogetherWeAreBetter

Maybe we can collaborate! I look forward to it! 😊

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

 

 

(Google) DRIVE your School 🐟 🚙

What a week!!  This week, for me, began with no power in Bridgwater since we had another Bomb-Cyclone!  What is with these storms?! I’m both teaching and taking a course outside of school, and to be without WIFI for 72 hours would have been challenging. However, I use Google Apps for everything I do – thank Google! I opened up my Chromebook, without power and without internet in my home, and set to work.  How do you ask? Well…read below 😜

Working Offline  💻

With the recent weather and a recent trip over the February break, working offline has been a HUGE bonus for me!  Did you know that a Chromebook or Google Apps on a PC/MAC will open Docs, Slides, and Sheets and let you work on said apps WITHOUT internet access? Then when access is restored, the Doc/Slide/Sheet will sync with your Google Drive.  I was able to write an entire research paper on my flight to Florida, without internet access! I certainly wasn’t paying for it on Jet Blue, and I didn’t need too. My work simply synced once I got my device back on Wifi! I recommend doing this only with singular documents/slides/sheets etc. If it is a collaborative project, you may run into confusion once your work syncs with a partner’s work.  So, let students know – no reason they can’t write that assignment or create that slide presentation if WIFI is down! As long as you have a charged battery, Google Apps are there! You can read the specifics on this from Google here.

If you get a REAL hankering for internet when Wifi is down or unavailable, your phone can be used as a personal hotspot and your Chromebook can connect to that hot spot. There are a few things I do not on Google Apps, so I find myself going to soccer practice in the dome with my Chromebook. I connect it to the hot spot in my phone, and BOOM, I can work for the hour at soccer practice on blogposts like this! You can read more about how to do this here.  **Note: using your phone as a personal hotspot for Wifi uses quite a bit of data, so be sure you have enough stored up before using this option. 

Transferring Files and Email  ✉️ 

Have you ever wanted to migrate your email or Drive files to another Google Account? How about condense files into one account? Well, of course, Google makes this SUPER easy! With a click of a button, Google will create a nice and neat, new little folder in the Gmail account of your choosing and dump a whole Drive worth of files in there. It keeps all of your files in their organized fashion with folders and subfolders.  You can do this with email as well.

For detailed directions of this process, click here and you can watch the video below as well.

Nothing is EVER Gone 😱 

Are you afraid you wiped out a whole file? When fear not, the revision history is there for you! In many of the Google Apps you can check the revision history for a detailed description of each step in the process of the Document/Slide/Sheet.  This is helpful to see who was responsible for which piece in a group assignment, and also helpful if you accidentally wipe something out that you want back! If you really look carefully through the revision history, you can even see if whole chunks of information are pasted into a Doc.

If you’re ever fearful that you deleted something, and it’s within 30 days, the Google Admin panel has the ability to restore it! So reach out to your Google Admins (me for EB) if this happens to you!

Organizing your Digital Life 📂 

Google Drive is an amazing tool and can be organized and utilized in so many great ways. Check out Neal Sonnenberg’s Slides on Organizing your Digital Life! His tips and tricks are FABULOUS!

Everything is available EVERYWHERE 🗺️ 

So, I’m going to Disney in August… where am I keeping any of my notes, important info, dinner reservation lists?  GOOGLE DRIVE.  It’s never lost this way. I can go ANYWHERE, I can lose my phone, I can lose WIFI access, but my Google Sheet/Doc/Slide will still open. Anywhere in the world, I can access my information in my Drive, even without Wifi! THAT is POWERFUL! Thank you, Google!

Reach out for any of the above tips, or any of your other tech needs!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟