Monday, December 8, 2014

Tip of the Week: Educanon - Insert Questions into Movies!: December 8, 2014

Educanon is an amazing and super simple online tool that lets you insert questions (even record your voice), anywhere you want, into a movie! Think about the possibilities! Use this technique as a formal assessment and gather the data from each student! Use it as a station in your classroom by inserting prompts for kids to ponder.. Insert questions as a way to dipstick understanding.. There are so many ways this process can help you and your students deepen understanding on any topic.  The free version allows you to create the following types of questions: 
You can even embed questions that you would normally ask the entire class while playing a movie.  It's an easy way to pause and reflect without you having to remember when/where to press the PAUSE button.

Here is an example of a lesson created by Megan Bowhers for a kindergarten lesson on rhyming words:

https://www.educanon.com/public/52413/139857

The videos must reside on the internet before you can bring them into educanon.  Did you know that every teacher in Sudbury is connected to their very own YouTube channel?  Did you also know that you can upload videos to this channel and share them as publicly or as privately as needed?  While logged in to your Google email, simply go to the grid on the right and locate YouTube!  (you may have to click "More")

This will come in very handy in the future as many online applications now make it easy to embed or link to videos directly from YouTube.. 

Check out some other educanon videos here:




Monday, December 1, 2014

Tip of the Week: The Four S's of Notetaking: Part 4: December 1, 2014

.. the 4th and final..

Share

"When choosing a note-taking strategy and platform, a key component should be whether or not a student's notes can be shared among peers as well as with teachers, tutors, or parents. Beyond simply emailing a document or copying a piece of paper, digital notes can become a collaborative experience.
Mark Engstrom, an eighth grade Geography teacher in São Paulo, Brazil, experimented with a different style of note taking to build content knowledge in his class. Rather than ask each student to document his or her own learning during a lecture, he created a scenario where they curated their collective knowledge. Students assumed different responsibilities and employed strategies with an eye toward contributing to the class experience.

The Pen Is Mightier Than the ????

While Mueller and Oppenheimer certainly raise critical points about the dangers of using technology to transcribe notes, that is not to say that we should punish the tool. As Matt Scully wrote to parents at his school:
Their results are not saying students should avoid technology. They seem to be clearly stating that note taking is an activity where the note taker needs to process information and reframe, reorganize, and work with the data to make note taking useful.
Today's students exist in a new (and abundant) economy of information where they require strategies that support their own acquisition of knowledge, allow them to save their notes across devices, permit them search to through the vast quantities of information, and share their learning with the rest of their community. By teaching these 4Ss, we are providing them with the skills that they will need to succeed in a world that requires constant access to information that can be applied to new problems and settings."
Here's a great video of a teacher working with his students, explaining how digital notetaking has changed the way he teaches and the way students take more ownership of their learning..


(http://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-4ss-of-note-taking-beth-holland)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tip of the Week: The Four S's of Notetaking with Laptops: Part 3: November 24, 2014

The 3rd "S"..

"Search

Just because students can save notes, it does not suggest that they can actually find what they wrote or typed. Beyond file names and organizational structures, students can also search digital notes to locate the desired information.
While I was in grad school, the potential to use Finder on my Mac to locate key terms buried in lecture notes saved me hours. Now consider the search possibilities afforded by Drive, Evernote, or OneNote. Students can look for specific words or phrases in typed text as well handwritten notes -- and even photos. By using a tablet or smartphone camera, even paper-based notes can be saved and searched, added to typed lecture notes, and then organized into a digital notebook.
Beyond searching text, the potential also exists to tag content -- to apply keywords to notes that describe the overarching purpose, important details, or even a personal rating of understanding. Students could take pictures of handwritten notes and then tag them by topic, date, unit, or level of comprehension. By tagging notes, the potential exists for students to add another layer of organization, apply an additional layer of understanding, and reflect on what they wrote."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tip of the Week: The Four S's of Notetaking with Laptops: Part 2: November 18, 2014

The Second "S"...

"Save

To quote Alice Keeler, digital tools save students from "the Paper Yeti who lives in backpacks and gobbles up notes." Whether students work in cloud-based platforms or take pictures of analog notes, technology lets them save their work indefinitely.
I once had a wonderful advisee. Every afternoon, we repeated this routine.
  1. Find his planner.
  2. Find his notebooks.
  3. Make sure that he could find his notes in said notebooks.
  4. Put the notebooks into his backpack.
When we finally got this child a laptop, everything changed. He typed all of his notes in Google Docs so that he could access them from any device and from anywhere. Suddenly, everything was truly saved."
(http://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-4ss-of-note-taking-beth-holland)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tip of the Week: The Four S's of Notetaking with Laptops: Part 1: November 10, 2014

Articles have been written recently about the value of handwriting vs. keyboarding and some arguing about the effect on notetaking in particular. (The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard). In question is whether information is synthesized deeply enough when taking notes electronically as opposed to writing by hand.  A friend and colleague at EdTechTeacher.org, Beth Holland, wrote a very interesting article that addresses this (in my opinion) in an educationally sound way. The Four S's stand for Support, Save, Search and Share! 
I am going to cite her article word for word (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-4ss-of-note-taking-beth-holland) but breaking it down by each "S" week by week.

"... before making a blanket statement that one device may be better than another (e.g. pen vs. laptop) or calling into question what may be the best note-taking system, what if we approach the concept by identifying what is best for individual students? In other words, does the system . . .
  • Adequately support the students' learning needs?
  • Allow students to save their notes to multiple locations?
  • Let students search for salient points?
  • Permit students to share with peers and teachers?"
SUPPORT
What if, because of individual learning styles, pen and paper are a detriment to learning? By providing students with digital options, we can remove a number of barriers to learning and create a least restrictive environment.

1. Anything that's text can be heard.

By typing content, students have the option of hearing it played back through text-to-speech. Imagine the potential for an ELL/ESL student or struggling reader to be able to listen to his or her own notes!

2. Record audio directly into notes.

Others may benefit from recording audio directly into a note. Both Evernote and OneNote include an option to add audio files. Similarly, Notability and AudioNote support audio syncing. Not only do these apps record audio, but they also sync it to anything typed or written while recording. While a student might not replay an entire class, he or she might tap on a word and jump directly to that portion of the audio.

3. Establish visual hierarchy.

Most note taking and word processing tools quickly create bulleted or numbered lists. For several of my former students with visual-spatial challenges, aligning text and creating visual order helped them to better synthesize the information.
Digital notes offer multiple dimensions -- text, images, drawing, handwriting, and audio -- that paper notes do not. Students need the opportunity to identify strategies that best support their learning."
stay tuned... 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tip of the Week: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who ... : November 13, 2014

Megan Bowhers posted this to her Early Childhood Blog.  
I thought it was a great summary what a 21st Century Classroom should look like so I asked if I could also share the graphic!  Enjoy!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Tip of the Week: The 5 C's ; October 27, 2014

In my post dated May, 12, 2013, I talked about the "4 C's" of 21st Century Skills as they are supported by the Common Core standards. The "4 C's" are designed to prepare our students for the demands of the 21st century workplace and community.  The "4 C's" are known as:

Communication
Collaboration
Critical Thinking
Creativity/Innovation

I had the privilege of listening to Peter Reynolds, author, illustrator, motivator and champion of creativity, at the MassCUE Conference last week.  Peter, a New York Times bestselling illustrator, has written and/or illustrated internationally renowned children's books such as The Dot, Ish, The North Star, Judy Moody and many others.  In addition to designing the logo for the MassCUE event and giving the Keynote on day 2, he also ran a session that showcased a variety of his software applications. 


All of Peter's work champions the creative process in all of us, both young and old.  But I was really touched when he shared his two most recent books with us:  Going Places and Full Steam Ahead. These stories celebrate creativity as well as thinking outside the box.  They celebrate collaboration, communication, critical thinking and of course, creativity. 

But Peter paused for a moment and with a heavy heart said that what is really needed in our society and the workplace is a 5th "C".. and that 5th "C" stands for Compassion.


If you're interested in learning more about how compassion affects the workplace and life in general, here are a couple of articles and research studies that talk about this important topic:

Why Fostering a Culture of "Companionate Love" in the Workplace Matters (Wharton University and George Mason University)







Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tip of the week: TIPS: October 14, 2014

This week I thought I would send some updates and tips related to some of the web tools we have available to us in Sudbury!

Glogster EDU:  Glogster has recently added over 10,000 new educational graphics to their library.   In the past, his library had been populated with fairly generic and 'cute' graphics that did not tie as well to the curriculum. These new graphics are completely original and copyright free, categorized by subject, and ranging from accent graphics and text boxes to backgrounds and media players.

GlogsterEDU has also launched their iPad app!  It is pretty cool if I do say so myself... Log in the same way you do normally and have fun!  


Be on the lookout for teacher management tools in Today's Meet.. !  

Manage your classroom backchannel with permanent transcripts, the ability to pause a conversation, better access controls, add prompts along the way, and even the ability to mute a student... Coming soon!

Class DoJo now allows students to create their own avatar.. Many other management features have been added too. Over 35,000 teachers, parents and students are now using this easy to use classroom management tool!

DEStreaming: DEStreaming, online educational videos, video clips, images, sounds, songs, interactives, and much more, has added the following:

  • Global Wrap Current Events Content: presents a summary of the week’s most pressing global news, keeping students abreast of current events and connecting the past to the present
  • Content collections, featuring resources hand-selected by Discovery Education’s curriculum experts, aid in planning lessons on commonly taught topics
  • Video library features content from over 100 educational publishers aligned to Common Core includes exclusive, award-winning titles from Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Science Channel including Frozen PlanetPlanet Earth, and Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero.  DE adds to their library of resources continuously.

If you don't have an account yet, please go HERE to create your login..

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tip of the Week: Hour of Code: October 3, 2014



The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science and basic coding (programming) for students in grades K and up. Designed to show that anybody can learn the basics of programming (coding), the Hour of Code is a global event that typically takes place during Computer Science Week. This year Computer Science Week takes place December 8th through the 14th but if you can't do it during that week, you can do it the week before or after.  

So you might be asking yourself, "Why code?"  Code.org believes that "Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path."  


"The Hour of Code is organized by Code.org, a public 501c3 non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the College Board (among other partners) have come together to support the Hour of Code."

A few classrooms from across our district have participated in this "Hour of Code" with great success. In fact we have a 2nd grade teacher here in Sudbury who is doing coding activities with his students throughout the school year.  

You do not need to know anything about coding to host an event with your students.  The activities are self guided.  You choose the tutorial you want and pick an hour and Code.org takes care of the rest. They have options for every age and experience-level, from kindergarten and up.  Yes, I said kindergarten..  

Here is everything you need to know about implementing this in your classroom:



Friday, September 26, 2014

Tip of the Week: Power My Learning: September 26, 2014

PowerMyLearning.org is a free digital learning platform where K-12 students, educators, and parents can search for and use a wide variety of curated online learning activities. You will find thousands of academic games, videos, and interactive simulations that are tagged by individual Common Core Standard, subject, grade, Spanish-language support, and more.  There is even an iPad compatible option!


You can gather interactive resources into playlists for your students to use.  This tool is great for classroom use, especially if you want to differentiate learning.  It is also great for a flipped classroom model. Playlists allow you to sequence activities and assign them to an individual student or group of students based on their unique needs. You will receive feedback and can use that information to assign new activities that are an even better fit.

You can even search for playlists that others have created and edit/use as you wish.  An example:


Here is a nice video tutorial on setting up a Power My Learning Classroom:


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tip of the Week: SPS Resources and Kahoot!: September 18, 2014

Welcome back!  This week's (overly optimistic ?) blog post contains two 'tips':

First, here is a link to a new area where you can find the resources I've created for you over the years.  These links had not been centrally located in the past but now they can be found on the sudburyteachers.org site:



Second, Michael DelGreco, 7th grade math teacher at Curtis, said this about Kahoot: "... it's awesome, engaging, and the students love it!" 

Kahoot is an online tool that let's you post test questions, start a discussion, or take a survey.  Results are seen immediately and the data can be downloaded and looked at later to help inform your instruction.  This simple game-based tool's philosophy is that "Great Learning Starts by Asking Great Questions"

Here is a great video that walks you through the entire process of setting up and creating a Kahoot!


..and here is a link to examples and pedagogy.  I think you'll find some really cool ways to use this tool, in any content area, and at all age levels..

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tip of the Week: GameUp with BrainPop: June 23, 2014


Sudbury has a districtwide subscription to the online video resource called BrainPop and BrainPop Jr.. (directions for accessing BrainPop can be found HERE).  BrainPop consists of a huge library of videos, lessons, quizzes and more to support teaching and learning in all content areas.  These short, 'teachable moment' videos have been a favorite of many teachers for years. 

But did you know BrainPop also includes an entire lineup of curriculum connected games called Game Up?  These free games are aligned to standards and are also great for "introducing “gaming” as a serious tool and has versatile uses in traditional, flipped, or tech driven classrooms."

These games are designed to:
  • Motivate and provide goals
  • Encourage participation
  • Foster creative, interactive problem-solving
  • Strengthen critical and systems thinking
  • Pose adaptive challenges
  • Spark inquiry
  • Require very little prep by busy teachers
Watch this very informative screencast on GameUp!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tip of the Week: QR Codes in the Classroom: May 6th, 2014

QR (Quick Response) Codes

... in the classroom allow you to make teaching and learning more 'clickable'!  Check out the resources below to see how this simple tool can help you have more independent learners, more engaged learners, and differentiate instruction in your classroom!




Several teachers throughout Sudbury are using QR codes in a variety of ways! Check out my site with more resources.. QR Codes in the Classroom!  

And check out this link to a couple of ways to use QR Codes: Download a QR Code Reader on your smartphone or iPad, or laptop! I like QuickMark or I-nigma but there are tons out there!



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tip of the Week: Technology Integration Matrix - Amazing Resource! - April 3, 2014

I found a wonderful resource for teachers and administrators that "illustrates how teachers can use technology to enhance learning for K-12 students.  The TIM (Technology Integration Matrix) incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, constructive, goal directed (i.e.. reflective) authentic, and collaborative... The TIM associates five levels of technology integration (entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation) with each of the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments. Together, the five levels of technology integration and the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments create a matrix as illustrated" HERE.
THE TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION MATRIX:
  • Provides a framework for defining and evaluating technology integration
  • Sets a clear vision for effective teaching with technology
  • Gives teachers and administrators a common language for setting goals
  • Helps target professional development resources effectively
You'll find stages that are in your own comfort zone, yet you'll also see how you can grow and move toward a deeper and richer level of integration.  Videos are linked so that you can actually see projects that correspond to the items on the matrix.  

You'll find a Matrix by Grade Level HERE.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tip of the Week: Blogs in Elementary and Middle School: January 8, 2014


In a prior post I wrote about a wiki/blog tool that many teachers have used in Sudbury called PBWorks. Another great tool is KidBlog. Remember ... the 4 C's of 21st Century Learning as well as the Common Core Digital Writing skills require students to publish and communicate using digital technologies, in all content areas.  Blogs can be used to:
  • create classroom discussions
  • learn digital citizenship
  • practicing writing skills
  • get students to write for multiple purposes
  • reflect on learning
  • formatively assess writing

There are certainly other blog tools out there, including Blogger, Edmodo, Gaggle and more, but I think you'll find KidBlog particularly easy and comprehensive. 

"Our mission is to empower teachers to embrace the benefits of the coming digital revolution in education. As students become creators - not just consumers - of information, we recognize the crucial role of teachers as discussion moderators and content curators in the classroom. With Kidblog, teachers monitor and control all activity within their classroom blogging community." (http://kidblog.org/why-kidblog/)


Features: