Posts

Crash Course on Using Mentimeter to Engage Students

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 There are so many cool educational technology tools to choose from! Mentimeter is quickly becoming one of my favorites because I can quickly engage large audiences with various free tools and features, such as quizzes, word cloud generators, rating scales, etc. If you are just learning Mentimeter, the free version will give you all of the bells and whistles you need to create a great presentation! When you are ready to take it a step further, there are various paid options to choose from.  The following video will show you how to use the free version of Mentimeter! 

Quickly Summarize and Increase Accessibility with Smmry and Lexend

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Reading comprehension can be difficult for students of all ages. Smmry is a tool that can be used to support students who may need a simplified summary to support their learning. It can also be used to make the research process more efficient.  How Does It Work?  Smmry reduces the text to the most important sentences by looking for keywords and phrases, then removing unnecessary transition phrases, clauses, and examples. How does it work?  First, install the Bookmark widget on Chrome or visit the Smmry website. Next, paste your content in the text box, upload a file, or paste the URL of an article into Smmry. You can choose how many sentences you would like to summarize the text. Smmry uses 7 sentences by default; however, you can change this number.  Finally, choose "Summary" when you are ready, and Smmry will automatically summarize your article.  BONUS IDEA I love how I can use Smmry to provide students with additional support for reading a text. I like to provide stude

Map Skills Made Easy with MapPuzzle

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Cartography, or the ability to identify specific states, countries, and regions on a map, is an important part of learning; however, many of our students struggle with this important skill. There are a variety of reasons for this. One of the most common learning barriers is that student differ in how they comprehend and perceive information . In other words, they need options for representing material in a way that works best for them. Remember When You Were In School?  How did you learn to identify the location of specific states and countries on a map when you were in school? If you were like me, your teacher probably handed out a worksheet and colored pencils and asked you annotate and color each land portion.  This one-size-fits-all solution may have worked for my classmates, but I struggled with this particular strategy. For some reason, it did not "click" like my teacher had anticipated. I prefer more hands-on learning opportunities; however, that was not part of the cu

Use Tiny Wow to Convert and Customize PDF's, Images, and Videos

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Tiny Wow is a free website you can use to quickly convert and customize files, images, and videos into the formats you need.  For instance, PDF's are a very common file type in education because they provide a convenient format that is accessible on multiple devices and screen readers. However, educators often find themselves frustrated trying to customize PDFs to their needs.  Tiny Wow provides you with tools for quickly creating, editing, and manipulating PDF files to meet your students' needs! Have you ever tried to share a JPEG image; however, it appears in HEIC format instead? You can use Tiny Wow to change the format of your picture! Videos can be converted as well! How Does It Work?  Tiny Wow is free and simple! 1. Upload your file to Tiny Wow and choose your format 2. Tiny Wow will convert your file into the correct format 3. Download your file! 

Two Google Docs Tricks for Providing Students with Templates and Graphic Organizers

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If you are like me, you want to provide your students with the best tools, templates, and resources for completing assignments. I often attach these resources to Google Classroom; however, this can become very cumbersome if I have more than three links.  One strategy I found helpful is embedding templates and graphic organizers into my instructions in Google Docs. Instead of having students make their own copies, I have used the following tricks to "force a copy" or show a "preview" of the template. Then students can choose to use or not use the templates without remembering to visit File > Make a Copy.  How to Force a Copy or Create a Template Preview How does it work? Check out my video

The Key to Choice? Offer Flexibility in the Product or Process

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Teachers often ask me, "How can I infuse autonomy and choice into learning?" It's a great question; the key is understanding the power of choice. Choice is a powerful tool in creating learner engagement; however, the type of choice matters greatly.  It's NOT the Choice, But the Type of Choice That Matters Katz and Assor (2006) stated that it's not the choice but the type of choice that matters. They argued there are three essential elements of choice:  Autonomy - Do students understand the relevance and meaning of the task? Competence - Are students appropriately challenged, and can they master the task? Connectedness - Do students feel a sense of belonging and accomplishment? We, as teachers, sometimes struggle with providing our students with choices. There have been times when I have felt guilty and had to give myself permission to give students choice. There have been other times when I was frustrated by the lack of flexibility I thought I had.  We Have a C

Creating Engaging Google Docs Activities with Dropdown Menus and Emoji Reactions

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Have you seen some of the new features in Google Docs lately? I have seen a lot of ideas swirling around on social media about using the Dropdown menu and Emoji Reactions features on Google Docs. One of my favorites is a Cloze Reading activity by Eric Curts . If you haven't seen this, you should totally check it out!  If you are not familiar with these features, here is a brief overview.  The Dropdown feature is a great way of providing students with scaffolds and support for correct terms, numbers, symbols, etc. I decided to take the plunge and see how this could be applied in the foreign language (or any) classroom. Here is an example of this in action:  The Emoji Reactions feature is a great way for checking for understanding! Emojis could be used to demonstrate understanding of a term, analyze the emotional state of a character, or summarize a paragraph. The best part is that this feature has a collaborative component. In other words, you could ask students to work in groups