Friday, October 22, 2021

Better Writing Responses with Slides

I have been spending a lot of time working with elementary teachers on infusing technology into a new ELA curriculum. It has been a valuable experience because I have learned so much about how students use language to communicate.

Writing is an essential skill that all students need to master; however, many of our students struggle with the structure associated with writing. Have you ever considered using Google Slides to provide students with the scaffolds and supports they need to construct a writing piece? 


I recently developed the following Writing Prompt template in Google Slides for students in our elementary school; however, this could easily be adapted for use in secondary classrooms. Students read a writing prompt, brainstorm ideas, and then construct their paragraph - all in one place. 


First, students read the writing prompt. We have found that many of our students struggle with some of the vocabulary terms in writing prompts, so we added an opportunity for students to dig deeper into what a specific term means. This helps our students overcome the "vocabulary gap" which may prevent them from fully understanding the prompt. 

Then, students begin brainstorming their response. Brain research tells us that students often need to use their senses and different representations and media to formulate understanding. The following section provides students with a structured way to begin brainstorming about their topic.


Finally, students use Google Slides to construct their writing response. Students have all of their resources and ideas in one place to begin writing. 


BONUS 💡 : Want to practice reading fluency? Perhaps consider using Mote for students to read their responses and embed them into their presentation. Not familiar with Mote? Check out my blog post.





Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Google Classroom Discussion Organizer Tool

 Remote learning has transformed how students participate in class. The shift to virtual environments has introduced students to online skills, such as using Google Classroom to foster online discussion. Although some may consider online discussion self-explanatory, many students need structure to successfully master this skill. 

Building skills for effective online discussion begins with helping students understand my expectations and the structure to complete the assignment successfully. Therefore, I have developed the following Google Classroom Discussion Organization tool to help students:

  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Write an effective response
  • Edit their responses
  • Respond to classmates

Tip: It might be helpful to share an individual copy of this document with each student so that they can edit, add text, and check off each box on the checklist! 

Click here for your own copy! 

Brainstorming 

First, students begin with copying and pasting the discussion question in the document. Then, students brainstorm their ideas, based on what they know or their thoughts. I like to emphasize that this does not have to be in order! Plus, it might be helpful for students to use tools like Voice Typing to get their thoughts on paper. 

Writing Response

Next, students begin writing their responses. When students are finished, they have a checklist to ensure that they have followed instructions, checked their grammar and spelling, and completed the assignment to the best of their ability. 

Responses to Classmate

Finally, I have found that students need a framework for responding to classmates. I enjoy using the TAG framework, which I originally found in a Seesaw webinar. You can read more here. Students tell what they liked, ask a question, and give a suggestion. 


Conclusion

Online communication is quickly becoming an important workplace skill, as electronic communication increasingly becomes a staple in face-to-face and virtual environments. Therefore, it is important to prepare our students to organize their thoughts through electronic discussion. Providing students with a framework and expectations for electronic communication is an important skill we can all use to prepare our students for success inside the classroom and in the future workforce. 


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Matt Bergman (2021)


Check out Matt's Podcast



  

Monday, October 4, 2021

Create and Assign Virtual Math Manipulatives with Mathigon Polypad

Mathigon is a very helpful virtual manipulative tool that you can use to make math more engaging and exciting! It contains free tools, games, activities, and resources for all students to use! Not only can you use the activities, but you can assign assignments to your students directly from Mathigon or import your students from Google Classroom. 

Here is a quick 4-minute tutorial to learn more about the Polypad feature!  



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Matt Bergman (2021)




Check out Matt's Podcast


Friday, October 1, 2021

Notion: A Dynamic All-in-One Workspace

Are you looking keep yourself organized, take notes, upload documents, bookmark key resources and add notes to them, develop and utilize note templates, and manage a to-do list all in one place? I recently came across a free tool called Notion, which is an amazing workspace tool that can be used across any device. 


You may see some of these features in some tools like OneNote, Evernote, Apple Notes, etc.; however, very rarely can you find them all in one place! Notion has solved the dilemma of many educators and business professionals across the globe. 

Not only is this a great tool for adults, but it can be a helpful way for older students to reflect, take notes, gather resources, collaborate with classmates, and more. 

Want to see how this works? Check out my tutorial below: 



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Matt Bergman (2021)




Check out Matt's Podcast





Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Do You Use Anchor Charts?

Anchor Charts are a helpful strategy that you can use to reinforce learning, independence, and problem-solving skills in the classroom. Have you ever used Anchor Charts? Check out my Wakelet below for more information and strategies. 

What are the Benefits?

There are many different benefits to Anchor Charts in any classroom. 

First, Anchor Charts are used to increase student engagement. One helpful strategy is to develop a chart as an entire class because students will feel more a part of the learning process. 

Secondly, Anchor Charts, when designed with variability in mind, provide options for representing content differently. For instance, it may be helpful to include graphics, colorful text, and examples to help students connect with the content. 

Finally, Anchor Charts are an excellent self-regulation tool that can help reinforce classroom procedures and help students solve problems. For instance, students who have difficulty understanding a text can revisit an anchor chart containing reading comprehension tips and strategies. 

Can I Make Digital Anchor Charts? 

Absolutely! Although typically created with chart paper and markers, you can use a variety of tools to make electronic anchor charts, such as:

One of my favorite tools to use is Wakelet because I can add PDFs, images, and text all in one place. Plus, I can share this on my Google Classroom for my students to reference inside and outside of the classroom. In fact, check out my Wakelet below for more ideas and resources for creating your own Anchor Charts! 

Do you use Anchor Charts? I'd love to hear more about how you use them! Please leave a comment below. 



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Matt Bergman (2021)




Check out Matt's Podcast












Thursday, September 2, 2021

Create a Google Classroom Custom Header in Minutes with Google Slides

With the beginning of school upon us, you might want to create a custom Google Classroom header. If you upload a traditional picture, you might get this. 


Instead, you might want to use Google Slides to design a slide that everyone can see. See my example below. 



How do you do it? 

1. Open up Google Slides

2. Visit File Menu > Page Setup > Custom > Pixels and make the dimensions 1600 x 400


3. Add your pictures and design your header!

4. Visit File Menu > Download > download your current slide as a JPG or PNG 

5. Upload to Google Classroom

Want to see a video on how to do this?  Check out my video below to see this in action! 







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Matt Bergman (2021)




Check out Matt's Podcast




Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Four A's Text Rendering Protocol with Mote and Slides

 Reading protocols are great tools for analyzing and dissecting a text. One of my favorite protocols is known as the Four A's protocol because it helps provide students with a framework for constructing and composing their ideas through the graduated levels of supports offered by the protocol. 

Adding a tool like Mote and Google Slides can create dynamic discussion through audio comments. 

Want your own copy? Click here

How Does It Work?

First, students will read the assigned text. 

Then, students will use the following Google Slides presentation template and Mote to record their comments. Students can work individually or collaboratively on this assignment. 


The Four A's Protocol

The Four A's protocol is quite simple and requires students to  analyze the text through the following lenses:

• What Assumptions does the author of the text hold? 

• What do you Agree with in the text? 

• What do you want to Argue with in the text? 

• What parts of the text do you want to Aspire to (or Act upon)?

Finally, students place their recordings in the proper section of the Google Slides presentation.


Conclusion

Whether students are face-to-face or in a virtual setting, this modification to the Four A's protocol will create engaging conversation and powerful analysis! If you are interested in learning more about this protocol, I would recommend checking out this awesome article by the School Reform Initiative.  




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Matt Bergman (2021)




Check out Matt's Podcast