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Showing posts from July, 2015

Defy Gravity By Camping with #Google This Week!

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I had mentioned last week about a free way to engage your kids over the summer called  Camp Google . The activities are designed for children ages 7 - 10 and are a great way to have fun with the entire family.  Each week has a different theme filled with numerous video clips, activities, and ways to earn cool badges.  Each activity is carefully designed to be engaging, create background knowledge, and provide hands-on experiences. This week's theme is all about space. Here are some of the highlights: Learn how to defy gravity by making your own zero-gravity zone out of magnets, cardboard, and pencils! What are constellations? This week's activity provides you with a quick way to make your own constellation using a flashlight, cupcake liner, and toothpicks. Learn all about surviving in space and help NASA create space food for astronauts  Very little effort is needed on your part and each activity provides kids with meaningful and engaging ways to explore content.

8 Ways You Can Use Screencasting to Help Students Learn

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Are you using the power of screencasting to get your message across? Screencasting is a great way to combine the power of visuals and audio to represent concepts in a way that works best for students. As technology is becoming more advanced, you can upload your screencasts to YouTube and automatically generate Closed Captioning for your hearing impaired students. Where can I go to screencast?  There are dozens of free screencasting tools out there. I would suggest using one that is easy to use, fits your needs,  can upload to YouTube directly, and has annotation features. Here are some of my favorites: Screencastomatic  (free) Screencastify (perfect for Chromebook and GAFE schools) (free) Explain Everything (iOS) (currently $2.99) Now what? How can I use screencasting?  Use screencasting to pre-teach lessons and flip your classroom.  Record yourself  from your computer, while you are actually teaching in class and post online. This is the perfect way for students t

Avoid Gray Hairs and Send Your Kids to Camp Google!

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If you are a parent, then you know that summer vacation is one of the most challenging times of the year. It's a time when gray hair grows exponentially in proportion with our children's complaints of boredom. How do you keep kids engaged over the summer without losing your sanity? Take them to camp -  Camp Google that is! If you have not had the opportunity to check out Camp Google , it is the perfect way to keep kids ages 7 - 10 excited about science in creative and innovative ways. No Google account is needed and each activity gives kids the chance to explore new places and see new things! The best part is that kids explore and learn from experts all across the globe, like: Khan Academy  National Geographic Kids NASA  The National Park Service Very little effort is needed on your part and each activity provides kids with meaningful and engaging ways to explore content. Each week brings a new set of activities and themes. Explore the ocean, space, nature, and

Cool #Chrome Extensions: Turn Off the Lights

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I am privileged to have been invited to serve as a facilitator and presenter at Harvard University's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Institute. My posts this week will focus on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. This afternoon, I presented  9 Ways Google Addresses Learner Variability  to show how teachers can use free tools to address the needs of students. While I was teaching, one of our participants suggested that I take a look at the Turn Off the Lights Chrome Extension . What is it?  When you are showcasing a YouTube video in class, students can often get distracted by the advertisements appearing on the side of the screen. Turn the Lights Off will darken your screen and leave the video on your screen.  It works with other sites as well. You can darken any website that you visit, so that students cannot see content, pictures, etc. until you are ready for them to do so. The extension gives you the opportunity to customize how dark or light y

Harvard University Presentation: 9 Ways Google Addresses Variability

3 Excellent Math Tools for the Classroom #UDL_HGSE

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I am privileged to have been invited to serve as a facilitator at Harvard University's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Institute. My posts this week will focus on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework.  Several participants at the UDL Institute have asked me for some tools to help support students in the math classroom. Let's take a look at a few: #1: Desmos Graphing Calculator Graphing equations can often pose difficulties to students in the math classroom. Remember when we had to buy those expensive TI-80 calculators? This can cause an extreme disadvantage to students living in poverty; however, there is a free alternative for students. If you have never seen Desmos Graphing Calculator , it provides students with access to an online graphing calculator is available as a website, App, and Chrome Extension. It provides students with the ability to interact with and understand equations in new and interactive ways.  #2: Screencasting Tools

Harvard UDL Institute: What are You Doing With the #LAST5? #udl_hgse

What are You Doing with the Last 5? (12:15 - 1:00 pm in Austin Hall 111) The last five minutes of a class period are one of the most notoriously wasted parts of class. Students often use this time to pack up materials, socialize, and get into trouble. What if there were strategies and tools to maximize this wasted time period? Join Matt Bergman as he shares with you practical and effective strategies to use technology to maximize learning and reclaim the last five minutes of class. Participants will learn how to incorporate effective technology tools and strategies to maximize learning in a timely manner (5 minutes). Materials for today's presentation

Readability-Score.com #udl_hgse

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I am privileged to have been invited to serve as a facilitator at Harvard University's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Institute. My posts this week will focus on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. Today Dr. David Rose discussed how the brain works when we read. I had no idea how our brains comprehend information. If we do not have the background knowledge of a word or theme in the text, we cannot comprehend. The parts of the brain that recognize faces also run mini-simulations in our brain when we are reading about a character.  We found an awesome tool to check the readability level of a text. It is called Readability-Score.com . If you copy and paste a text into the site, you will have a report analyzing the text structure, readability level, and grade level.   Want to check out more about the UDL Institute at Harvard? Follow #udl_hgse

Extreme Makeover: Word Wall Edition #UDL_HGSE

My Favorite UDL Sites #UDL_Hgse

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I am privileged to have been invited to serve as a facilitator at Harvard University's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Institute. My posts this week will focus on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. What is UDL? It can be frustrating to think about ALL of the challenges and barriers that exist in any classroom, lesson, or school. Then there is the fact that we all learn differently. UDL is a framework for looking at high-probability barriers that exist in a lesson or curriculum and provides scaffolds, supports, and instructional techniques to help all students learn. Even Though We are Different - We are the Same Even though we are different, there are three predictable differences that we (and students) all have. Students NEED: Options for how information is represented Options to show what we know  Options to engage differently  Want to know more about UDL?   Check out some of my favorite UDL websites . 

Get Technology for Students Living in Poverty: Credit Unions #ISTE2015

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One of my biggest takeaways from ISTE 2015 was the fact that our students living in poverty are NOT getting the technology resources they need. If students do not have the tools they need, they cannot learn. iPads, Chromebooks, and Google Apps for Education are certainly becoming the equivalent of pen and paper in the digital age. How can we help our students get resources if they do not have them? Suggestion # 1: Credit Unions Credit Unions? Yes! These non-profit organizations are owned by their members and are always looking for creative ways to give back to schools and the community. For example, I was privileged to attend a financial literacy institute in Pennsylvania and meet several credit union leaders, who informed me about grant programs for schools.  The hook - I had to tie my purchases to financial literacy and just needed to teach a few financial literacy lessons over the course of the year. If I did not feel comfortable teaching the concepts, I was given resource

Teaching Students Living in Poverty #ISTE2015 #ISTE15

I will be presenting at ISTE on Wednesday, July 1 from 11:45 - 12:45 pm. I will be sharing my experiences on   Using Technology to Address The Needs of Students Living in Poverty  in PCC 120B. Check out my presentation below: