Thursday, September 24, 2020
Monday, September 21, 2020
Remote learning has caused educators to rethink the way that we provide instruction to our students. For example, many of our students (and even educators) struggle with needing to juggle multiple screens and windows. Dualless is a Chrome extension, which provides users with the ability to split their browser screen into two either horizontally or vertically!
This is perfect for students who may need additional supports, need to see additional resources, or who want to increase their efficiency.
The ratio can be adjusted based upon need, which makes this a perfect companion tool for students and teachers who are working with multiple browser windows at the same time.Here are some helpful features:
- Split your current browser window into a pair and resize according to a ratio (3:7,4:6,5:5,6:4,7:3)
- Need to merge your split browser windows into a single window? No problem!
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Did you know that you can import questions from a previously used Google Form? It's possible and can make your life so much easier. Simply click on the import questions button in Google Forms, search for the Form you want, and import your questions.
Why not take things a step further and build a question bank using Google Forms? First, create a new Google Form and add questions it. You will not actually use or share this with others, because the whole idea is to important questions from this resource. Next, create your Google Forms quiz and choose the import questions button. Finally, choose the questions that you would like to import. Want to see it in action? Check out my video below:
Thursday, September 10, 2020
The annotation feature in the Google Classroom mobile app is a great way to have students complete worksheets, annotate text, highlight key ideas, and show their work for math problems! It is also a great tool for teachers to create PDF annotations for students, while you are waiting at the bus stop for your own children or enjoying a quiet evening on the couch!
How do you use this feature available on the Google Classroom iPad App? Check out my video below:
Thursday, September 3, 2020
There are tons of cool brain breaks out there! Whether you create your own or are using pre-made breaks on Teachers Pay Teachers or GoNoodle, brain breaks are an effective strategy for getting students refocused and priming their brains for learning.
Feel free to click here to access your own copy and customize it to your needs.
How Does It Work?
Did you know that you can visit Google and type in "Roll Dice" to get virtual dice? This might be a great way to complete this activity or give students the opportunity to complete this activity independently.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Although choice boards have been around for quite some time, they are gaining popularity in remote and hybrid learning situations. Why are they gaining such popularity? Choice boards help differentiate instruction by providing structured choice, provide flexibility, student autonomy, and increased engagement.
Listen, Do, and Watch Choice Board
I created the following Listen, Do, and Watch Choice Board (feel free to use for your own copy) to provide students with different options for learning about a concept. Brain research suggests that students need multiple representations of new concepts in order to solidify its meaning. The following activity capitalizes on using video, audio, and hands-on learning activities. Plus it provides opportunities to reflect on their learning.
As an added bonus, students can drag the X on top of the items that they have completed! This will help students keep track of what they have or have not completed!
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Add emojis to instructions to serve as bullets or help key instructions stand out! Our students are visual creatures, which is why apps like Instagram and Snapchat are much more engaging to our kiddos! An awesome way to get emojis is through Joy Pixel's Emoji Keyboard Chrome extension.
Tip # 2 - Don't get too attached!
Too many attachments is difficult to manage for students. A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 3 attachments in a post. What if you need more attachments? Consider embedding additional resources like websites, templates, etc. in a Google Doc with instructions.
Need a sample? Check out my UDL Essay instructions. You will notice that it contains:
- The Lesson Goal
- Suggested Steps to Complete Assignment
Did you know that you can force students to make a copy of a Google Doc by clicking a link? Check out how here! This is a great way to make optional templates available for students, so that they can make as many copies as they would like.
|Force a copy with one simple step!|
Tip # 3 - Screencast to save your voice and hair!
Add a screencast with instructions. A one to two minute screencast might be a helpful way for students to remember what to do or help parents understand an assignment. Simply attach your screencast to your assignment so that students know what to expect, how to complete, and how to submit.
One of my favorite tools is Screencastify! It is quick, easy, and saves to Google Classroom!
It might sound like extra work to record yourself; however, you could record yourself while you are already giving your class instructions or have a student do it. The point is to have something available for students who might be working remotely, need to hear it again, or weren't paying attention.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Did you know that Google Drawings is a great tool for helping students organize their thoughts? If you are teaching virtually or want to design a printable graphic organizers, Google Drawings might be a great tool! Whether students are constructing an essay or a video response, helping organize their thoughts can help solidify their argument or understanding of the topic.
I designed the following graphic organizer called "Need to Know" using Google Drawings. It contains three different components:
- What Do I Already Know? This is a great way for students to begin thinking about what they already know about a topic. Connecting background knowledge is a great way for students to connect with their topic.
- What Do I Need to Know? The following section helps students develop questions on what they need to know about their topic. I love including the 5 W's and How questions.
- What Do You Need to Know? This portion helps students think about their audience as they construct and organize their essay. Students organize their information in a hamburger-type organizer.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
There have been a ton of Bitmoji or virtual classroom ideas available to educators since the Spring. Although this tool is great for remote learning situations, it can be helpful in hybrid and face-to-face learning situations too. The idea behind a Bitmoji classroom is to replicate your own classroom and make resources, news, and tools available to students in virtual settings.
Here are several considerations to keep in mind when designing your own virtual classroom:
1. Use the Bitmoji extension to add an animated version of you!
2. Consider adding links to homework, resources, tutorials, and classroom news!
3. Don't forget about navigation! Use icons or pictures to link to slides. It might be helpful to add an icon to return back to your "home" screen or classroom.
4. Make sure that you publish your classroom to the web! This makes it easier to access regardless of device.
Want to create your own? Here is a brief tutorial on how to create your own Bitmoji classroom:
Want Your Own Copy?
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Reflection is an important piece of learning; however, we sometimes skip over it completely or do not give our students adequate practice. When reflection does occur, our students are often left to the same old routine, answering questions on a Google Doc or posting a response to a discussion question.
Why not give students a creative way to summarize their learning? iFake Text Message could be a great tool for your students to use to summarize learning, save it as an image, and share with classmates via your favorite workflow solution.
For example, what if you wanted students to summarize your lesson on the water cycle? Here is a sample text string that a student might be able to create with iFake Text Message.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Monday, August 3, 2020
Saturday, August 1, 2020
- Seesaw icons library for adding pictures of Seesaw icons in Seesaw
- Joypixels Emoji Keyboard for adding your own custom bullet points
- It may be helpful to browse Seesaw's vast library of Activities which vary by subject and grade level.
- Create a Booksnap using Seesaw Activities.
- Feel free to use the modified Frayer Model Definition template that I created in the video. Click here to make a copy of my Google Drawing, which I downloaded into Seesaw.
Friday, July 31, 2020
Monday, July 27, 2020
Friday, July 24, 2020
Check out how to do this below:
First, you will want to install the free Screencastify extension. Just keep in mind that Screencastify limits you to 50 recordings per month in the free version!
Secondly, you will want to record short clips (less than 10 seconds) of tasks that you want students to complete. In the example that I provided, I recorded how to open up a new Google Doc.
Then, you will download your video as a GIF in Screencastify.
Finally, you will want to insert your GIF into your Google Doc or Slides presentation. If you want to get rid of unnecessary or distracting parts, you can double-click on your image and use the cropping tools to get rid of the parts you do not need!
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
How does this hack work? First, you will need to use the Bitmoji Chrome extension, Flipgrid, and Google Drawings.
Next, check out my helpful video below:
Friday, July 17, 2020
A Plus Minus Interesting or PMI chart is a great tool for students to use whether analyzing a new idea or investigating an article. Here's how it works:
- Plus - students list positives or pros associated with the idea. I have found having a certain number of required responses is helpful when working with students. The following template asks students to list 3 positives or pros.
- Minus - students list negatives or cons associated with the idea. I have found having an equal number of pros and cons is helpful in developing critical thinking skills. This forces students to think equally about both ideas without unintentional bias. The following template asks students to list 3 positives or pros.
- Interesting - students use this section to list 1 - 2 interesting ideas. Whether students feel negatively or positively about an idea, there is always something interesting to learn or observe.
I have found this template helpful in any classroom K - 12; however, I recently used this template for a professional development workshop that I am hosting on remote learning. Participants used the template to analyze an article on remote learning. Want your own copy? Click here for a copy of the Google Doc template.
Thursday, July 16, 2020
I am from the Midwest, so I like to call my soda "pop," which helped inspire my acronym! Whether I am designing a student lesson or professional development opportunity, I plan with a POP!
How does it work?
First, I begin by understanding my learning goal. What do I want participants to be able to do or know at the end of my lesson?
Next, I identify or "predict" high-probability barriers that may exist in my lesson. For example, students may not understand certain vocabulary terms or how to use a certain technology. What do I know that my students are going to struggle with?
Then, I brainstorm options or ways to "overcome" many of these high-probability barriers. In other words, I begin to proactively plan on ways to address high-probability barriers through accessibility. Brain research tells us that there are 3 ways we can plan for accessibility (UDL framework):
- Options for Representing Content - Brain research states that students may need different ways to represent content if students are learning a new concept. For example, if I know that my students may struggle with understanding vocabulary terms, I might need to provide different ways of understanding the terms through Quizlet flashcards and Flocabulary videos.
- Options for Expressing Knowlege - If students are demonstrating an understanding of content, I may need to think about being flexible with the product or process.
- Flexibility in the Product - If I am asking students to demonstrate their understanding of the causes of the Revolutionary War, I may have the flexibility to have students write a paper or develop a video presentation. Just be careful! Too much choice is paralyzing. It may be helpful to offer
- Flexibility in the Process - If I don't have flexibility in the product (i.e. all students have to write an essay), I could find ways to make the process flexible. For example, students could type out their thoughts on Google Docs or use the built-in Voice Typing feature. I could also provide students with digital or paper graphic organizers to organize their thoughts.
- Options for Engagement - In other words, how can I help students connect with the learning experience. When students are engaged, they have opportunities to practice autonomy, choice, self-regulation, and goal setting. For example, I might develop a checklist with helpful reminders for my students prior to turning in a writing assignment.
Finally, I begin planning my learning experience with accessibility in mind. I plan for the high-probability barriers with accessible options. In other words, I am proactive in addressing problematic areas so that ALL participants have access to learning and can achieve the learning goal. It's not about "dumbing down" a goal, but providing tools, strategies, and resources for ALL participants to have the opportunity to achieve the goal.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
How Does It Work?
First, you will want to develop your field trip using Google Earth's Project Feature. It's free and very easy to use! Want to learn how it works? Check out my video below:
Next, you will want to determine how you will want to share your project with your students. If you have younger students, it might be helpful to create a screencast of your project through Screencastify or another screencasting tool.
If you want students to have more hands-on experiences, you can share your project as a view-only file for students to explore. This feature is helpful when you want your students to explore on their own, at their own pace, and explore links and resources that you have shared.
Whether you are creating your own field trip or having students develop their own, the possibilities are endless. This simple strategy can create powerful connections in almost any subject!
Saturday, July 11, 2020
Personalizing learning can be difficult if you do not have an accurate understanding of your student's abilities and challenges; therefore, a learning profile could be a great strategy for getting to know your students better. Here are two examples of profiles that I have made for secondary students, which could easily be adapted to the elementary and middle school classrooms.
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Check out how it works below:
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Saturday, July 4, 2020
Friday, July 3, 2020
You may also want to consider using Google Drawings to make a timeline! This is a great way for students to interact with content.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Check out my video or text below:
Idea # 1 - Do a Search
Did you know that you can do a search for a website, document, or bookmark in Google Docs? When you are adding a link, Google will suggest results or you can do a simple good search from the Insert Link window.
Idea # 2 - Use Headings and Bookmarks
Need a way to link to specific locations in your document? There are several different options.
Headings are not only a great way to organize content in your document, but also a great way to navigate through your document. If you change your text to the heading format, you can navigate using the document outline pane or you can directly link to headings using the Insert Link function.
Bookmarks are another helpful feature for linking to specific locations in your document. Check out my video for more!
Idea # 3 - Preview a Google Slide Presentation
With the emphasis on remote learning, this could be a helpful way of sharing an agenda and sharing a picture-in-picture preview of a Google Slide presentation. This is only currently available for the owner of the document but provides you with the ability to work with multiple items on the same screen at once.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Loom is a free tool that provides you with several important features to keep students engaged:
- The presenter can present information from their screen and webcam at the same time.
- Loom allows the presenter to adjust the size and location of their webcam video.
- Videos are automatically published to Loom and can be shared via a link.
- Students can leave their reactions via thumbs up/down or emojis throughout the video. This interaction is great! Especially if you ask for student feedback, such as "give me a thumbs up / down to tell me if this content makes sense."
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
I love having a dedicated place in any online class I teach, where students can ask a question and receive an answer. This public forum allows students to see questions and answers that their classmates have requested and received. Share links, videos, and responses to solve problems. Plus, it is a great way to have other students contribute to the class environment by answering their classmate's questions.
Idea # 2 - Stay Organized
Keep organized by using the topics feature to organize assignments by the due date. It may also be helpful to number your assignments for easy identification. For example, if a student is missing an assignment, it may be beneficial to refer to it as 001 Revolutionary War Essay versus Revolutionary War Analysis Essay. Organizing assignments by number also has an additional benefit! It helps keep the folders that are automatically created for each assignment in Google Drive organized.
Idea # 3 - Tips to Make Assignments Accessible
There are several different tips for making assignments accessible for students:
- Students may need visual cues to complete assignments. If you have several steps required to complete a task, you might want to consider adding emojis! This may sound very simplistic; however, it can have a significant impact on students completing assignments correctly. Joypixels is a great Chrome Extension to check out!
- Create instructions that include Frequently Asked Questions. If you know that students traditionally struggle with certain things in your assignment, why not prepare for it?
- Provide students with steps they can take if they get confused!
- Consider adding examples of student work and rubrics. This will help students understand exactly what you are looking for.
- Consider adding screencasts or videos with helpful hints, reminders, and even a way to review content that they may have forgotten.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
- Schedules can be shared easily via Google Classroom and customized to meet the needs of individual students
- Visual cues help students stay on track, focused, and maintain a sense of accomplishment
- Teachers can embed important links to resources, tools, and even GoNoodle video to take a break!
Want your own copy? Here is a link.
You may want to consider creating a small table of 4 - 6 tasks, based on the student's needs. You can easily do this by visiting the Insert Menu and choosing Table. For this example, I created a table in Google Slides with 6 tasks for students to complete. A simple 2 x 6 table will provide students with the options that they need.
Step 2: Add Content
You may want to consider adding numbers to the bottom of your table if students should complete tasks in order. It may also be helpful to add brief text descriptions and visuals for each task. Did you know that you can visit the Insert Menu and search the web right from Google Slides! All pictures are part of Creative Commons, which puts less stress on you!
Step 3: Add Scaffolds and Supports
The beauty of using a web tool like Google Slides is that you can easily share links to websites, assignments, and resources from your presentation. My example includes a link to my Google Classroom, Google Meet, and a relaxing GoNoodle video for the break!
Also, keep in mind that you can share a link directly to an assignment in Google Classroom! This makes it more efficient for students to access assignments.
If you are sharing individual copies of your daily routine visual schedule with students, then you might want to consider adding something for students to mark that they are complete! You can easily add checkmark clip art to your presentation to give it more flair and allow students to have a sense of accomplishment.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Google Classroom does have it's own rubric generator as well; however, it does not provide pre-made options at this time and does not place results in a Google Doc.
Instead, I want to show you how to create your own rubric, save as a Google Doc, and distribute to students in your favorite learning management system. Here is an easy hack for using Orange Slice and Google Classroom to generate a rubric!
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Check out how to do it below:
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
The following video will feature:
- Speak Selection
- Alex voice
- Reader View in Safari
- A webpage that you found while researching on Safari
- PDF article that you need to read for an assignment
- Check and listen to your email
- Open up an iBook and listen to your favorite chapter
- Read aloud a writing assignment in Google Docs as part of the editing process
Monday, April 27, 2020
But first, check out how to actually record and embed audio.
Step 2: Launch Audio Voice Recorder to record content for your slide. Remember, you will need to embed an audio file for each slide that you want audio. if you have four slides needing audio, then you will need four different audio records (1 for each slide).
Step 3: Download your audio clip and save it to your Google Drive.
Step 4: Open up Google Slides and insert your audio file.
- Your slideshow should be in presentation mode for students to listen to it.
- If you are worried about students not understanding how to put it in presentation mode, consider publishing your presentation.
- Have your audio automatically playing when students arrive on the slide.
Monday, April 20, 2020
Do you need a list of all of the available icons that you can add to Seesaw? Check out this awesome article or the list of icons below:
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Thursday, April 9, 2020
With a simplistic interface, Jamboard is easy to use for anyone who would like to try it out! Users have a variety of tools at their disposal, such as:
- Pen, marker, highlighter tool
- Virtual post-it notes (much like Padlet)
- Upload images
- Laser pointer
- Solving math problems
- Marking up text
- Venn Diagrams
- Annotating processes
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
It provides a gamified approach, where students earn fake money in order to buy and implement certain strategies, such as increasing point values and throwing a monkey wrench into your competition.
Gimkit can be used as a live game (much like Kahoot) or as an assignment (much like NearPod). Plus there are many accessibility features, which makes it easier for students of all abilities and disabilities. Students learn through repetition and at their own pace!
Want a tutorial on how to use it? Check out my crash course below:
Monday, April 6, 2020
1. Enable the Waiting Room
The Waiting Room feature is very helpful because it is much like using a Ring Doorbell. It shows you who would like to enter your room and then you can accept or deny their access.
You can find this by visiting your profile and visiting the Meetings section. This is where you can check this item.
2. Disable Joining Meeting Before Host
It's best to leave the "Enable join before host" box unchecked. This will prevent anyone from joining your room before you. This is a default setting in Zoom.
You can find this by visiting your profile and visiting the Meetings section. This is where you can leave this item unchecked.
3. Require a Meeting Password
To restrict who can and cannot access your Zoom chat, enable passwords. Zoom recently made this a default setting on all Zoom accounts to prevent unauthorized attendees.
You can find this by visiting your profile and visiting the Meetings section. This is where you will find the password.
NOTE: Be careful where you are sharing this password too. If you are sharing this on a school webpage, then anyone can access it. If you are sharing this via Google Classroom, Remind, etc. it limits who will have exposure to this password and your link.
4. Mute Participants Upon Entry
There have been reports of inappropriate comments that have been made by participants. You can use the Mute Participants Upon Entry Tool to mute participants when they come into your classroom. They will have to turn on the microphone in order to talk.
You can find this by visiting your profile and visiting the Meetings section and choose Mute Participants Upon Entry.
5. Turn Off Screen Sharing for Participants
There have been reports of people inappropriately sharing pornographic and inappropriate images via Zoom. How can you remedy this? A simple solution is to open your profile, visit the Settings menu and visit Screensharing. Choose Host Only! This will change your default settings for new meetings and prevent others from sharing their screen by default.
NOTE: It might also be helpful to disable desktop/screen share for users too!
6. Lock Your Meeting
Lock your meeting once everyone arrives so that you don't have any unwanted visitors. You can do this by:
- Click on the Manage Participants tab at the bottom of your screen
- A side-panel will pop up. Choose More
- Choose Lock Meeting
7. Remove Users Who Cannot Abide by the Rules
Did you know that you can remove participants who are distracting? You can do this by visiting the Participants Panel at the bottom of your screen.
- If the Participants panel is not visible, click Manage Participants at the bottom of the Zoom window.
- Next to the person, you want to remove, click More.
- From the list that appears, click Remove.