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Showing posts from 2016

7 Tools to Make Classroom Management Easier

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Classroom management is an important aspect of teaching. Here are some of my favorite tools for managing your classroom: Too Much Noise!  1. Noise Down iOS App Noise isn't such a bad thing, but how can you keep your students at a manageable noise level? An excellent FREE tool is called the Noise Down App for iOS . This simple to use App helps you manage the noise in your classroom and even your home.  Use Noise Down to measure the current noise level in decibels and set your maximum decibel limit. As soon as someone goes over the limit, an alarm sounds. Students (and your own kids) now cannot say that they were not being too loud! Documenting Student Behavior  2. Bouncy Balls Don't have an iOS device? No worries! Bouncy Balls is a free web-based tool to measure the noise levels in your room. The site uses your microphone on your computer to measure noise levels. Students can visually see how "noisy" it is through bouncy balls, emojis, and even bubbles

11 Creative Ways to Use #HyperDocs in Your Classroom

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Are you just using Google Docs as a substitute for a worksheet? Why not use the full capabilities of Google Docs by creating a HyperDoc? If you are not familiar with the term, HyperDoc, it essentially means "an interactive Google Doc that guides students through innovative and inquiry-based learning lessons using directions, graphic organizers, links, and possible collaboration. The learning can be made to be self directed, and students can work at their own pace" ( Google Training Center, 2016 ). Let's take a look at 9 creative ways to use HyperDocs in your Classroom: 1.  Websites and Articles Obviously this is the most obvious to link to. Google Docs provides your students with access to resources that a typical paper worksheet can not. Why waste your time making copies of articles for students to read, when they can access the via a link? If you students need a paper copy, they can always print them out.  2. YouTube Playlists Yes you can link to Y

Google Drawings + Google Sheets = Badging System!

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Badging systems seem to be a popular trend in today's schools. Whether you are using badges with students or staff, there are many benefits, such as providing: A sense of autonomy  Feedback Visual representation of progress I am currently experimenting with this idea. I have a student tech crew (aka SWAT team) that I work with on a monthly basis. I wanted to provide their teachers with accurate information on competencies they have achieved and technical knowledge that they have gained.  Here is my first stab at a badging system! Step 1: Use Google Drawings to Design Badges I designed my badges using Google Drawings. If you have not had the opportunity to use this valuable tool, you may want to check it out! It is more than just drawing pictures. Step 2: Publish Your Drawing You will need to publish you Google Drawing to the web for the next part. How do you do this? Simply visit the File menu and select Publish to the Web. Click Publish and make sure that

4 Strategies for Using Video More Effectively

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Video is an effective medium many of us are use to enhance instruction; however, have you thought about how to use this tool more effectively? 1 - Where You Post Makes All of the Difference Where you post your videos makes all of the difference for learners who are hearing impaired, English Language Learners (ELL), or need to see written text. YouTube is an excellent place to house your videos because of its Automatic Closed-Captioning features. Click the Closed-Captioning button and there is nothing else to do. 2 - Embed Notes with Your Videos with VideoNot.es There are several different web applications that you can use to embed notes with your videos. One of my favorites is called VideoNot.es because it links with your Google account. How does it work? To create your first video,  paste a video link into VideoNot.es and load your video. Add notes to your presentation in the side margin. Each note will contain a bookmark with the exact time it occurs in the video.

Google Drawings Choose Your Own Graphic Organizer Template

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Graphic organizers are popular tools for gathering, organizing, and displaying information in effective ways. Have you ever thought about using the power of Google Drawings and choice to do so? Step 1: Create a Template with Graphic Organizer Options Simply create a new Google Drawing and use the drawing tools to develop different types of graphic organizers.  Place each graphic organizer in the margin area of Google Drawings, so that users can eventually drag the proper graphic organizer into place. I made my graphic organizers smaller, so that students can drag and resize to better meet their needs. Check out my example here.  Step 2: Share Your Template Click on the "Send" button in the top-right corner of your screen to create an editable copy of your image. You will want your students to make a copy of the Drawing. Here is a quick trick for automatically forcing users to make a copy of your drawing.   Step 3: Have Students Use The Template Have stu

Post #500: Two New Features from SeeSaw

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Thank you everyone for your support over the years! I cannot believe this is post number 500!  If you are a SeeSaw user, then you may have noticed that it has recently introduced two new features. Image: SeeSaw (2016) 1. Text Labels Tool Students now have the ability to use text labels to annotate drawing or video with the iOS version of the App. Choose from 8 preset label styles or create your own customized labels. According to SeeSaw, this feature will be available on the web and Android version of the App soon! Check out the following link for a demo and lesson ideas! We know from brain research that students need opportunities to express their knowledge in different ways. This is a great tool to increase the opportunities for students to communicate knowledge. 2. Translation Tools With the increasing number of ESL and ELL students in our schools, we need to find creative ways to connect with parents inside and outside of the classroom. SeeSaw now has the ability

An Excellent Chrome Extension for Helping Students with Dyslexia

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November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below.  According to the Mayo Clinic (2016), more than 3 million Americans are diagnosed with Dyslexia each year. Dyslexia can pose learning difficulties to students (and adults) with reading, writing, spelling, thinking and understanding. Chances are, you will or currently have a student with Dyslexia. How can you design a learning environment where ALL of your students can succeed? Open-Dyslexic is an open source font designed to help increase readability for students (or adults) with Dyslexia. The free OpenDyslexic Chrome extension overrides all fonts on webpages with the OpenDyslexic font, and formats pages to be more easily readable.  How does it work?  Once you install the Chrome Extension, you can turn OpenDyslexic on/off by clicking on its icon in in the top-right corner of your browser.  Here is what a typical Google Search result looks like:  Here is what it looks like once

Use Google Slides, Keynote, or PowerPoint for Flashcards?

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November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below.  If you use traditional flashcards in your classroom, then you realize that they offer a one-dimensional and one-size-fits all approach. They are perfect for students who have strong literacy and vocabulary skills; however, what about students who need a little extra help? Free tools like Quizlet offer speech-to-text capabilities, which are extremely helpful for students who need to "hear" the word being spoken; however, what about students who need visuals? Tools like Google Slides offer the capability of using images or embedding YouTube videos into your slides. Here is how you can make your own flashcards using Google Slides,  Keynote, or PowerPoint. Step 1: Create Your Slides Enter your definition on your slide and your vocabulary term in the presenter's notes section (or vice versa).  Here is an example that I created to define UDL. Step 2: Add Different Ways to Repres

Save Time and Energy with Google Classroom's Annotation Feature

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November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below.  If you have used Google Classroom lately, you may have noticed a new feature. You can now annotate and provide handwritten feedback on student assignments on the iOS and Android version of the App. Although many teachers use the commenting features of Google Classroom, you can now annotate student papers and provide written feedback to students. This is a great feature for teachers who want to provide quick feedback. How does it work?  Use the Classroom iOS or Android App to open up a submitted students assignment.  Once you open up the student assignment, choose the pencil icon (top-right corner of your screen) to open up the annotation feature.  Begin writing or drawing on the document.  After you are finished click the Save icon (in the top-right corner of your screen).  When students open up their assignment, they will see the original copy of their assignment and a PDF c

5 Reasons You Should Visit the Teacher's Lounge (PBS Teacher's Lounge)

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November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below.  When I was a young teacher, my mentor gave me the advice to stay away from the teacher's lounge! My mentor told me that it was a place where negativity thrived and new ideas died. Ironically, I am here today to tell you to visit the teacher's lounge - The PBS Teacher's Lounge - that is. In the era of social media, it is important for like-minded educators to connect and inspire learning. The PBS Teacher's Lounge is the perfect way to connect, share ideas, learn from peers, find daily inspiration and access tools and resources to enhance your work in the classroom. Here are 5 reasons why you should use this amazing tool! #1 - Get Fresh Ideas I am always looking for new ways to do things. The PBS Teachers Lounge is filled with resources for and created by you. For example, how do you teach in the Age of Trump? How do you engage your community through Instagram? Check

Upload Files and Images to Google Forms!

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November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below.  Did you notice that you can use Google Forms as a way for users to upload files and images? If you are a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) user, then you might want to check out the latest update to Forms called File Upload.  NOTE: This feature  currently does not work on personal Google accounts.  How Does It Work?  Creating a Google Form File Upload Question Create a new question in your Google Form and select the new File Upload feature. As you normally would for any question, provide instructions for users.  Uploading Files  Send out your Google Form like you normally would. When users come to the File Upload question, they will be prompted to upload any file from their computer or Google Drive (from 1 MB to 10 GB).   Where Do The Files Go?  When someone uploads a file or image to your Google Form, a folder is automatically created in Goo

4 Ways to Unleash the Power of Audio with Clyp

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I love finding new tools to record audio! I just came across an excellent post by the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog called Clyp. Clyp is an audio recording application that is available on iOS, Android, and as a web app. Users can use Clyp to upload or record up to 100 MB worth of audio content for free! Once your content is uploaded, Clyp creates a URL that you can share or embed on a website. This is an excellent tool for younger students because there is no sign in required. It reminds me very much of Vocaroo . How could I use this?  Thinking Prompts - Instead of a writing prompt, why not give students a thinking prompt? Give students the option of typing text OR using Clyp to record a 30-second response to a question.  Once students publish their response, they can share the link in the commenting section of Google Classroom, Schoology, or Edmodo. You could even have them add the link to a Padlet note.  Book Trailers - Movie trailers get movie goe