Wednesday, June 29, 2016

QR Codes + Google Forms = Documentation Tool for the Classroom

Documentation has become increasingly important in our schools today. Especially, when it comes to tracking discipline and progress monitoring. A Google Form paired with a QR code provides you with an instantaneous way to log in information as it occurs.

Here is a quick tutorial on how you can make this work for you! Check out the my video or read below:



Step 1: Create a Google Form

Create a Google Form containing the type of information that you would like to collect. Here is a link to a sample Form that I developed. I suggest that you create a checklist (not multiple choice type of question) to quickly check off behaviors that you observed, as well as who you notified. It may also be helpful to contain a paragraph text box to further describe the incident.

Helpful Settings

Once a Form is published, it can be accessed by someone with a link; however, there are a few precautions that I would suggest that you take if you are a Google Apps for Education user.

  • Go to the Settings Gear icon and choose "Restrict to (domain name) Users," so that you have to be signed into your district's GAFE account to access.  When you select this option, you will have the ability to check a box that states "Collect email addresses." This will automatically let you know if a student entered in data. This will allow you to have a friendly conversation with that student. 
  • If you know that you are going to be away for a day or two, turn off your Form. In the Editing view of your Google Form, choose the Responses Tab and click on the button "Accepting Responses." This will prevent anyone from adding to your Form.
  • NOTE: ALL OF YOUR DATA IN YOUR GOOGLE SHEET IS SAFE! Any data that is entered into your Google Form is safely protected in the Google Sheet attached to the Form. Students cannot access this information unless you personally share the Google Sheet with them.


Step 2: Develop a QR Code

When a Form is published, it can be accessed via a link. This can be helpful when sharing with others, but it may not be helpful if you need to quickly access via a mobile device. I suggest that you copy the link to your Form and use it to create a QR Code. I love using QR Stuff or QR Code Generator to create a QR Code.

Print out your QR Code and place it on your desk or a place in your room, where you can quickly access your Form. Use your mobile device to scan the QR Code and enter in your information.

Step 3: Analyze Your Data

It is important to remember that ALL data from a Google Form is compiled into a Google Spreadsheet. To analyze your data in your Spreadsheet, go to the Editing View of your Google Form and select the Google Sheets icon. This will open up your private Google Sheet filled with results. NOTE: Students CANNOT access this information unless you personally share it with them.

Use the filtering tools to filter by student, date, behavior, etc. You can even download this spreadsheet into an Excel or PDF file format to share with others. I would highly recommend that you send any information via PDF.


Conclusion: 

A Google Form paired with a QR code could be a viable solution to analyze behavior trends and provide valuable feedback to administrators, parents, and other staff.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bridging the Gap One Recap (App) at a Time

What does your classroom typically look like during the last five minutes of class? Be honest! It sometimes is a collection of backpacks zipping, talking, and the occasional student who wants to get homework done. The last five minutes of class is critical to the comprehension of our students. Yet, how many of us are guilty of wasting 5 minutes a day? If we waste five minutes a day for a week, we have wasted 25 minutes of instructional time for a week, 2 class periods a month, and 18 class periods a year. How can we better use this time period?

I believe the key lies Carol Ann Tomlinson's quote, “Formative assessment is the bridge between today's lesson and tomorrow's.” How can we better bridge the gap between today and tomorrow?

Recap:

An excellent tool to accomplish this important task is called Recap. Available on the web or as an iOS App, teachers can develop classrooms where students can respond and reflect on what they have learned through short video messages.

How Does It Work?

Teachers have to create an account and create a class for students to enroll in. Students have the option of enrolling in a class via email address or with a pin. This is a very helpful feature for students without email addresses.

Student Login with a Pin:

In order to use the pin feature, teachers will have to manually enter in the names of their students. If you are familiar with SeeSaw, the process is very much the same. If you are having students use the pin to login, they will enter the pin and then choose their name from a list (much like SeeSaw).

Creating a Recap:

Assignments are known as "recaps." Teachers can enter in a question via text and / or with video instructions. This is perfect for students, who may have difficulty with understanding what you are trying to ask and may need to hear your voice.


As a teacher, you can set how long you want student "recaps" to be (2 minutes or less), when it is due, who to send it to (perfect for differentiation), and include an Assess Self Poll question.

Student Recaps:

Students will receive a notification that they have a Recap due and have to respond to the question(s). Students will open up the Recap and use their device's camera to record a brief message answering your question.

Receiving Student Work:

Once students are done with their Recaps, teachers can access their dashboard and watch student activity. They can see who responded, view poll responses, and leave timely feedback for students.

I also like the daily recap feature, where teachers can see the Recap question(s) and responses of their entire class in one video. Very cool!

Conclusion:

Providing students with options for how they respond is an important component of learning. Recap provides students with the ability to verbally share their responses, which is helpful for students who struggle with writing or typing. I also like the fact that students need to quickly respond to a question in 2 minutes or less, essentially creating an elevator speech. It is so important for our students to quickly gather, assess, and state their thoughts in a logical and organized fashion. This can be a great tool for helping students do so.

Monday, June 27, 2016

New Quizzes Feature in Google Forms

Did you have a chance to look at Google Forms lately? If not, you may want to check out the new Quizzes feature in Forms! This is a feature many educators have been waiting for and here are some of its key benefits:

  • It is easy-to-use and no Add-ons are required!
  • The Quizzes feature grades work for you automatically! Set the correct answer and point value for each question.
  • Students can see which questions they missed and receive feedback on the correct answers. 
  • Students can receive instantaneous feedback after they have completed the quiz or control when results are released. This is an awesome feature in the fight against cheating!

Tutorial:

Want a quick tutorial? Check out my 3 minute tutorial: 



Conclusion

Educators understand the importance of providing students with timely feedback because it is an essential component of the learning process. In an instantaneous society, our students expect quick responses. The new Google Forms Quiz feature saves you time and helps make the learning process more effective. 




Monday, June 20, 2016

Tell Your Story One Frame at a Time with Lego Movie Maker

Video is a powerful teaching and learning tool for our students. As devices becoming increasingly more mobile, there are many Apps available for our students to create powerful multimedia projects. I recently read a survey that suggests that 2/3 of American adults consider themselves to be visual learners.

This is why the popularity of social media posts increases when a picture is attached. It is why many of our students find watching and creating images and videos so powerful.

Lego Movie Maker:


Lego Movie Maker is a free iOS App that makes sharing and telling your story extremely easy. Do you remember the days of claymation? Lego Movie Maker uses the same principles of claymation to combine your iPad and the power of image, as you tell your story frame by frame.

Whether you are using Lego figurines or using objects (or people) around your room, this App is extremely easy to use. Students who are avid movie producers and those with very little experience can easily publish, edit, and create captivating movies that tell a story.

Conclusion:

Do you use video in your classroom? If so, I'd love to hear about your favorite tools.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Leave Your Popsicles at Home and Try Random Student for Teacher Instead!

Summer is a great time to recalibrate and begin to thinking about tools to make your life easier. Random Student for Teacher is an excellent iOS App that you may want to consider to integrate into your classroom for next year. Why?

The free version of the Random Student for Teacher App will allow you to create 1 class, while the paid version will allow you to create 9.

This is a great tool for you with a way to randomly call on students. You may have Popsicle sticks in your classroom, but this App takes things a step further:

• Import your student rosters from Google Classroom! This is perfect for Google Apps for Education schools!

• Have your device speak the name of the student aloud

• Take attendance so absent students are not called

• Create random groups

I like the fact that you can add your own student photos, but you can also use the photos to quiz yourself on student names. This is an excellent way to quickly learn names!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Who Inspired You to Become an Educator? Win a Chance to Earn $2,000


Who Inspired You to Become an Educator? It may be a difficult question to answer at the end of the school year, but our answer often provides us the motivation to continue our educational journey from year to year. I have to be honest, there have been times that I have considered leaving education all together. However, remembering my all time favorite teacher in school, helps me stay positive and hopeful. 

When I was a senior in high school, I entered Mrs. Jerry Guttman's Accounting I class and had no idea how a single class would change the course of my life.  Mrs. "G" inspired me with her outgoing and positive personality. She had a knack in making even the most mundane topics come to life!

Mrs. G was passionate about every aspect of her student's lives and education. It was evident in her daily lessons and interactions. If you were having a bad day, she cared enough to ask. If you were struggling with life, she had the courage to listen and offer advice. She IS the reason why I became a teacher. 

After graduation, we are often left with only the memory of our favorite teacher and the echo of their words. However, even after I graduated from high school, Mrs. G's support was unending. She would offer advice, lesson materials, and alerts to job openings! I am ever so grateful for her impact on my education and career. This all came to light one day, when I sat her in classroom many years later. I had my own students now and needed advice. 

As I was waiting in her classroom for her to return from hall duty, I saw her infamous "wall of fame," containing the Senior pictures of just about every Senior she ever had. I was surprised to locate my picture on her wall, so many years later. Then it hit me. My picture was a reminder of the fact that she never gave up on me or any of her students. That single truth meant more to me than any lesson learned, degree earned, or accomplishment that I will ever receive.

That single truth has inspired me to continue her legacy. One moment. One student. One lesson at a time.

Would you like to celebrate your favorite teacher? 

Sharing your story for a chance to win $2,000.
Inspired2Educate is a national recognition program that encourages current K-20 educators to honor the teachers or administrators who inspired them to embrace education as their life’s work.

Tell us your story in a video or in writing! Each month, PeopleAdmin will award one person with $1,000 for professional development and $1,000 for their educational institution.
#Inspired2Educatefb  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

3 Reasons You Should Be Using PBS LearningMedia

What if you had access to thousands of free and engaging digital resources that are aligned to academic standards? What if you had access to tools to make your job easier? What if you had access to tools that provide students with engaging and customized learning experiences? You and your students can with resources from PBS LearningMedia.

Here are three reasons why you should be using PBS LearningMedia:

Access to over 100,000 videos, images, interactives, and lesson plans for every grade level and subject area. Resources are aligned to national and Common Core academic standards.


Tools to make your job easier! PBS LearningMedia provides tools to increase your productivity, such as Lesson Builder, Storyboard and Quiz Maker. Teachers can create customized and self-paced lessons for students to effectively learn content. Students can use the Storyboard to demonstrate their understanding of a concept in their own way. Each resource can help you create customized and effective lessons for all students to learn.


Access to a larger community of educators, who are committed to helping ALL children succeed. It is the perfect place to connect, whether you are looking for a webinar to use digital tools more effectively or want to connect with other educators in your subject area.