Friday, January 29, 2021

Sketch and Tell Bumper Sticker Template for Vocabulary Practice

 I am NOT a big fan of using technology for technologies sake. Instead, I am a fan of infusing technology with sound pedagogy. If you have been on social media lately, you have read a lot about the Sketch and Tell strategy developed by Eduprotocols. I really love this protocol for several reasons!

First, sketching and telling can be used on any device and with almost any application. Some of the most popular applications are PearDeck, Google Slides, Google Drawings, PowerPoint, and Keynote. 

Secondly, students have options for expressing their knowledge with different mediums, such as text, diagrams, and illustrations. 

The Sketch and Tell Bumper Sticker

Vocabulary is an important aspect of learning in any classroom. Although it may sound like common sense, research has demonstrated that academic performance and vocabulary knowledge are linked.  With this idea in mind, I developed the following template in Google Drawings for students to use different methods to define vocabulary. 

Want this template? Click here 

How Does This Work? 

The bumper sticker template contains two different tasks. 

First, students need to create a bumper sticker containing the vocabulary term, slogan, and an image or illustration of their term. Much like a Frayer model, this provides students with different ways of sharing the meaning of the word. 

Secondly, the "Tell Us..." section provides students with an opportunity to briefly explain why they chose to do what they did. Reflection is an important aspect of learning because it helps us make deeper connections with learning. 


How Could I Make This Even More Accessible? 

How can we design this in a way for more students to have access? Although students have the ability to draw and add text, have you ever considered adding an audio explanation option? You could easily download the template and upload it to a program like Seesaw or Classkick, where students can add an audio explanation of their idea. 




Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Easy 1, 2, 3: Create Your Own Accessible Book with Slides

Did you know that you can make your own accessible online textbook for students using Google Slides? Whether you are using it for a day, week, unit, or entire year, it's pretty easy. Check out the content below or watch my helpful video. 

Step 1: Add Content

First, open up Google Slides and begin adding text to your slides. It may be helpful to use a slide format that would reduce the amount of text on your slides, such as a single or double text format. 




Step 2: Accessibility Tips and Tricks

Next, you will want to begin thinking about making your book more accessible to all types of learners. Here are some ideas:

  • Adjust the Font! Consider increasing the font size to make text easier to read. It may also be helpful to use formatting tools like bold, italics, highlights, and different font colors for text to stand out!
  • Use Hyperlinks! Hyperlinks are great for providing additional resources to understand ideas and vocabulary words. Plus they are helpful for navigating through your presentation! Did you know that you can use hyperlinks to navigate to different slides in your presentation? 
TIP: Make links stand out by using the highlighter and increase font size!
  • Think about Navigation! Consider adding navigation symbols like arrows. You can use the drawing tools to draw the shape and hyperlink it to any slide in your slideshow. You also might want to consider using an Add-On like SlideContents to create a table of contents for students to use!
  • Add Audio! Many of our students with IEP's may need additional supports, such as text being read aloud. Use the Mote Chrome extension to record audio. Not only is this helpful for students with learning difficulties, it might be helpful for all students. 
  • Add Multimedia! Google Slides makes it easy for you to add video recordings, images, and animated GIF's to further illustrate ideas and processes. Remember that you can insert any YouTube or Google Drive video! Consider adding additional videos of yourself reviewing content, expanding upon ideas, and even creating a screencast demonstrating a math problem. 


Step 3: Publish and Share Your Book

Finally, it is time to share your book! To make things easy to navigate and access, you will want to publish your presentation to the web. I know that this sounds scary, but only people with the link will access. Simply visit the File Menu and choose Publish to the Web.  Share the generated link with your students via Google Classroom or another platform of your choice.



Conclusion

In conclusion, it doesn't take much to create an accessible book for your students. If you know the learning barriers that they may face, then you can design a book that will meet their needs. The best part is that your book is always up-to-date! Anytime that you make revisions or updates, your book will automatically update for students! 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Choose Your Own! 3 Choice Board Templates to Use in Any Classroom

Are you interested in creating your own choice board, but don't know where to start or don't have the time? In my previous post, I had mentioned 4 ways to design effective choice boards; however, the following post provides you with three templates to get started on choice boards:

  • Center Tic Tac Toe Choice Board
  • The 4 Course Menu Choice Board
  • Gamified Choice Board

NOTE: Effective choice boards provide students with opportunities to be flexible in the process of learning or developing a product. How will you provide students with flexibility in the product or process? 


Board 1: Center Tic-Tac-Toe Board

Choice boards often take the form of tic tac toe boards. Although it is helpful to provide students with options, there may be times when you want all students to access  the same material, such as a required article, video, etc. 

The Center Tic-Tac-Toe board has students get started in the same place - the center square on the board. After they have completed the task, students can choose 2 other resources to complete a tic tac toe. 


I added numbers to help students navigate the board. All students are required to complete number 5. I also included a few emojis from Joy Pixels' Emoji Keyboard, which serve as a scaffold and way of capturing student attention. Click here to make your own copy


Board 2: The 4 Course Menu Choice Board

Menus provide students with an opportunity to engage, learn, create, and reflect! The following choice board template provides students with a structured choice board with the sections below. Click here to make your own copy. 

  • Appetizers - This is generally a section where students explore or engage with the topic to get their interest. For example, students may watch a video clip or play a game to "hook" their interest and reflect upon it. 

  • Soup and Salad - This is generally a section where students learn something that will prepare them for the main entree! For example, students may research an article, video, or website, which will help them understand and demonstrate their understanding. It may be helpful for students to reflect in this section as they prepare for the entree! 
  • Entree - This is generally a section where students create a product to demonstrate understanding. For example, students may create a presentation or product demonstrating their knowledge of the topic. 
  • Dessert - This is generally a section where students reflect on what they have learned. Provide students with different options to reflect through different mediums. 
  • Tip - This is generally a section containing a rubric showcasing expectations and how students will be graded. It may be helpful to have a checklist of expectations for complete the project and an opportunity for students to assess themselves prior to turning in the project. 


Click here to make your own copy

Board 3: Gamified Choice Board

My final choice board provides students with an opportunity to accrue a certain number of points to complete the task. The more the points, the more difficult the task! 

If you take this approach, it is important to make sure that students understand your expectations and how they will be assessed. It might be helpful to use a tool like Orange Slice to create a custom rubric.

Click here for your own copy! 








Wednesday, January 20, 2021

4 Ways to Design Effective Choice Boards

Choice boards are a great way of infusing student choice and voice into your classroom. You might think of them as tic tac toe assignment boards; however, there are a variety of different formats to choose from:
  • Lists
  • Tic tac toe boards
  • Gameboards
  • Menus
  • Scavenger hunts

 

In my experience, effective choice boards have several things in common:

1. Goal-Oriented - effective choice boards are goal-oriented, meaning that they have a purpose and are aligned to measuring important skills and concepts. Check out my example of learning about Texas!



2. Engaging - choice boards are engaging, offer a balance of rigor and relevance paired with student autonomy and reflection. Check out my example of the 1893 World's Fair menu. 

3. Flexibility - effective choice boards are flexible in the product or process of learning. 

We are often familiar with something that is flexible in the product, meaning you have the option of creating a final product of your choice. Many students like the ability to have a flexible goal like this! For example, the following vocabulary choice board gives students the option to create a portfolio of the 3 best possible products for vocabulary practice. 


Sometimes you don't have the flexibility to create the product of your choice. Instead, you might have to offer students flexibility in the process. For example, students may have to write an essay; however, you could provide them with flexible ways of writing that essay. Perhaps students type or handwrite the essay, choose to use or not use a certain graphic organizer, or choose how they will edit their draft. Here is an example of a choice board that requires students to learn about a topic; however, they can choose from a variety of different formats to learn about it. 



4. Structured Choice - believe it or not, too much choice can be a bad thing! The sweet spot for student choice is between 2 and 9. A great way of offering student choice is to offer them choice on how they respond to a discussion question. For example, students may respond via text or a Flipgrid video. The idea is for students to have a choice in how they learn or show what they know. 


Conclusion

Choice boards are an excellent way for students to practice making choices. Whether it is determining the best strategy to write an essay or which product to create, choice is a powerful motivator. Remember, choice boards are goal-oriented and focus on meeting a standard, assessing student skills, or measuring student knowledge. Choice boards are engaging, offering structured choice and providing students flexibility in the product or process. 












Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Toy Theatre: Virtual Manipulatives for the Elementary Classroom

 I am a big fan of virtual manipulatives and hands-on learning opportunities for students in the classroom. When students have the opportunity to interact with content in different ways, it helps solidify abstract concepts into meaningful learning experiences. 

Toy Theatre is a great place to get virtual manipulatives and resources for a variety of subject areas geared towards the elementary classroom. 


If you are teaching virtually, Toy Theatre could provide a variety of learning options to help students learn multiplication and division, alphabetical order, symmetry, and more! Want to see this tool in action? Check out my video


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

2 Minute Crash Course on Zoom Breakout Rooms

Want to step up your game on Zoom? Why not try creating Breakout Rooms? Breakout Rooms are a helpful way to break students out in discussion or instructional groups. One teacher that I know is creating a room for each of her students so that she can have one-on-one instruction with them. 

Need to learn how to do this fast? Check out my 2-minute tutorial below