View the newsletter at Smore: https://www.smore.com/rp438
View the newsletter at Smore: https://www.smore.com/rp438
Time for a little end of the year housekeeping lesson. If you’re a Google Classroom user, at the end of the year please consider archiving your classes. This helps keep your teacher account cleaned up AND even more importantly, keeps students’ accounts (including shared calendars) cleaned up for the future when they log in to Google Classroom! Here’s a short video I made while archiving my own classes this spring.
I recently heard about and then checked out a new handy little web-based tool I thought I’d do a quick blog post about. ClassroomScreen is a website you visit in your browser that has several handy built-in tool options I think many teachers would find valuable. So for the rest of this post imagine having ClassroomScreen open with your computer hooked up to a projector and the image being displayed for your entire class!
Of first note is that the background images that are available: they are beautiful and soothing. Of course you can upload your own photographs and share those beautiful vacation pictures if you’d prefer! So much more focused than a busy computer desktop with hundreds of icons.
The entire screen is controlled by a simple toolbar that shows across the bottom of the screen. Tools that are in use, have a simple red circle an “x” that will let you turn it right back off. Some tools have options. Here is a screen snip of just the toolbar:
From left to right the tools are:
Multiple tools can be open and in use on the screen at the same time. Just drag them around for an arrangement that makes the best sense to you! A few more screenshots follow this post, but the best way to learn about ClassroomScreen.com is to follow the link and try out the tools for yourself! Let me know if you find it valuable!
As part of my participation in the #EdublogsClub blogging challenge for educators, I’m writing this post in response to this week’s prompt to describe our classrooms, offices or other spaces in which we work. While I do have an office in our “central district office”, I also spend a lot of time in our 5 school buildings where the teachers and students I support spend their days. I spend time in other teachers’ classrooms, in the several computer labs in the schools, and even in the “teacher workrooms” and libraries of the buildings where I sometimes set up a temporary office from which to work! Much of my job does NOT rely on a specific physical space. For example, as I write the first draft of this post, I’m sitting in the teacher workroom of a school building 40 miles from my office at the central district office building. I had 3 short support meetings with teachers in this building earlier today and later on I’ll be meeting with another one about how our 1:1 iPad program can be even more effective for her students. During this “down time” between my formal meetings, I’ve set up shop on a table where teachers eat lunch in the room where they make copies. I’ve answered some emails, enrolled new students into software programs that I manage and I’ve spent a little time reviewing new posts on blogs I like to follow using Feedly, a reader to help manage my time. And now I’m taking a few minutes to write the first draft of this blog post!
But the photos I’m including are snapped from my desk. The top photo is a bulletin board that has turned in to a make-shift “motivation” board. The pictures of my family and co-workers show some of the important people in my life! But the quotes I have on there are even more helpful to see into who I am and what is important for me. Here are a few of them typed out in case you can’t read them all in the photo:
Talk to me: What do you think of the quotes on my motivation board? Do any resonate with you? Do any offend you? What quotes keep YOU going? 🙂
Here is a Great video on using Google Classroom!
In today’s blog post, I’m sharing a video I ran across through a useful resource I use to learn about Google Tools: www.thegooru.com. I’m often asked by staff to show them quickly how to use Google Classroom, but this tool has become more than a “quick share,” so I’m hoping that being able to help folks create their first classroom and then sending them to this blog post will be useful!
This video is about 50 minutes long, but you can forward through the first part of the video because this is a recording of a live webinar and the first 6 minutes (or so) are the presenter inviting the live viewers to join his Google Classroom account so they have live participation. As a viewer of the archived video, I just suggest you forward in the video to about 6:15 and start it there. (This should make the viewing length about 45 minutes total.) The video was published in September of 2015, so as of today, it is pretty current on what Google Classroom can do.)
Classroom teachers use timers all the time. I used to keep a stopwatch AND a kitchen timer on my desk when I taught middle and elementary school. In my science classes, I often needed multiple timers for each group to time experiments. I was also NOTORIOUS for being the teacher whose class was late to “specials” like music, library, art and PE. (I started life as a middle school teacher who lived by bells . . . then moved to an elementary building where each teacher’s schedule was so unique they had to get their classes where they needed to go on their own time!! What an adjustment THAT was!) So timers are a valuable resource in my eyes. Here is a short video reminding readers that the iPad operating system has a nice built-in timer/stopwatch as part of the Clock app, and also a review of an alternative timer app, Timer+ that I think is worthwhile.
As part of my “celebration” of October as Connected Educator Month, I thought I would post a short reflection following my Saturday morning Twitter chat today. I like to participate in #SatChat which occurs every Saturday morning at 6:30 am Central Time (where I live). It’s pretty early, but I’m a morning person, so I’m already “up” if not fully awake…a couple little dogs are on a morning routine that helps ensure that I’m ready to go when 6:30 rolls around. So I grab my coffee and log in to HootSuite, the tool I like to use to more easily follow the chat messages as they come in. This morning, I just climbed back in bed with my laptop and participated in my pjs…now that is some convenient professional learning, right there!
As I was participating in today’s topic of “Game Changers,” I was challenged by some of the questions the moderator posed, especially Q2: How does your philosophy of education impact student success? and Q4: Does your philosophy of education make you a game changer? So I thought about how I could have an increased impact and be more of a game changer. This reflection combined with Connected Educator challenges I’ve been working on resulted in a conviction to be more reflective and regular in my blogging practices. I frequently share things from my Saturday morning Twitter chats with individual teachers or administrators in our district, but I don’t know if I have ever actually blogged my reflections for all to see. Who knows…maybe someone, somewhere will read my reflection and be challenged to impact students under their direction in a positive way. So, here is my first post reflecting personally on #SatChat October 18, 2014:
Game changers are important to keep education moving because the world is constantly changing. We’ve all seen the quotes about how industry has changed so much in the last 100 years, but if a teacher from 100 years ago walked in to a school or classroom, they would know just what to do because education has changed very little while other industries have been through total transformations. I hope in the schools I support, a similar transformation is starting. We don’t need to change everything…just the things that are not the BEST. Keep what’s best and change the rest.
A couple of quick resources to share that I gleaned from this morning’s chat:
1. An article to read about Rigor: 22 Ways to Add Rigor to Your Classroom
Although the term “rigor” is not a new one, the emphasis on rigor in education today is high. We see it mentioned in new standards, new teacher evaluation tools, and lots of educational commentary. I like the definition of Rigor from The Glossary of Education Reform which includes this phrase:
” instruction, schoolwork,learning experiences, and educational expectations that are academically, intellectually, and personally challenging”
You can read the whole article explaining rigor here: http://edglossary.org/rigor/
2. A blog post that could challenge you, but also might help you maintain sanity as a teacher: Buried Alive: A Cautionary Tale about Piles of Work
In this post, Starr Sackstein reflects on sharing responsibility with students as a way to both empower students AND maintain a reasonable work load for the teacher. While she is a journalism teachers, her post has relevance for teachers of all subjects.
In the future, I’ll try to be more reflective following my Saturday morning Twitter chats, so that others can also benefit from my early, weekend morning forays into professional learning in my pajamas!
In early December, I spent two days at a great conference put on by SDE titled Power Up! which focused on lots of great technology integration ideas. I had the pleasure of attending with two great elementary teachers from one of our district’s buildings and I’m excited to work with them to implement a few of the ideas we brainstormed while we were at the conference together.
One of the things that I was motivated to do as a result of the conference was to dedicate myself again to sharing more information out through my blog. So for the next couple of weeks, and through the Christmas break, I’m going to try to be faithful about writing blog posts and promoting my blog to our staff a little bit more. (Hopefully I can develop this into more of a habit!) The content I’m going to focus on for these next few weeks is going to cover the main points and resources I came away from the Power Up! conference. So . . . here is my first “share out” from this conference:
“Engaging Students with Digital Images” was the title of one the sessions I attended. Gail Lovely presented this session that really has application for all educators no matter what the grade level or subject matter or type of students in your classroom. Some main points from the session that I think are worth being reminded of:
Some specific examples of how images can be important in your classroom using the ideas above:
I sometimes review manuscripts for publishing companies, and I’ve had the pleasure of recently reviewing one that mentioned Jeff Utecht’s Ted Talk titled “Community Trumps Content.” He does an excellent job of bringing to the forefront the idea that schools are trying to keep kids away from the social aspect of today’s technology when, in reality, that very social aspect is what can draw kids to technology and its application in education. Here is the video from YouTube: