Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Students Writing Classroom Blog Posts

One of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) student standards focuses on communication and collaboration; that students must communicate, interact, and publish with peers and experts using a variety of digital tools.  

What do you have students doing in your classroom to meet this standard?  One suggestion could be to have students write posts to a classroom blog.

Often times teachers are so busy during a jam packed day, they don’t have time to sit and write a blog post of classroom  happenings.  Thus, it becomes another after school extra added onto the full plate taken home each evening.

Solution is simple, let the students be blog authors.  

You can share rights with student accounts so they can become blog authors, but with this method you will need to change these rights each year.

An easier method to consider would be to have students email their blog posts into the blog.  As a student composes an email, the subject of the email is the title of the post, and the content of the message is the post itself.  Images can be included in the post.

Blogger settings have email options, providing you with the email address in which to send the post.  Many teachers prefer to have the option set on draft mode so they can preview the post before publishing.

By doing this students simply email in their post, the teacher proof reads the content, then publishes when ready.  

Have a designated blog author for the week.  Choose at random a few authors each week.  Have students write blog posts at least once every two weeks as a task they need to complete.  

Students will be motivated authors regardless of how you implement.  And you will be sharing stories of classroom happenings beyond the Friday folders that are sent home.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Flashcards and Jeopardy Board from Google Spreadsheets

Flippity.net is a free online resource that will easily turn Google Spreadsheets into a set of online flashcards, or an online Jeopardy game.

Once you complete the steps to create your online content, it becomes dynamic in nature. As you change the contents of the spreadsheet, including adding or removing rows, the online flashcards or gameboard also changes.

This enables a teacher to maintain one Google Spreadsheet, and then use the same link they have bookmarked for flashcard review or a Jeopardy game.  This link can be a QR code on a wall, or simply bookmarked for easy access.

Have students create their own sets of online flashcards or Jeopardy game boards, and share with each their peers. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Effective Instruction for Smarter Balance


Four Things About My Journey
United States Grouping

Today's Objective - Each participant will experience Smarter Balance Testing environment to better understand what students will need in order to be successful, then create lessons/resources to be used with their classroom as soon as tomorrow.

Penguin, Emu, Roadrunner Continuum

DOK Level 1, 2, or 3?
Folder of DOK resources

Oaks Portal for Students - take practice tests as a guest


Classroom Mingle

Resources to assist teachers in creating practice for students

Skills Needed

Evaluation and PDU - please send Joe or Heidi an email if you need your PDU's.

Did you find any great resources that you would like to share?  We will add them to the resource list !

Thanks for joining us today!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Need Pictures for Projects? Photos for Class

The struggle to help students find safe and copyright free images to use in class projects is ongoing.  Free Technology for Teachers shared a site last week called Photos for Class that allows for students to search through Flickr and find G rated CC licensed photos for school use.   Using the search term "cougars" my results were 15+ pages of images ranging from the animals to the automobile.  All images were school appropriate.   It was quick and easy, no log ins or ads.  This site can be used on the iPad as well.  Choose download under the image, tap and hold on the loaded image, and then "save photo".  This will put the photo in the camera roll with the proper attribution at the bottom.

What sets Photos for Class apart is the fact that when you download the image the proper citing information is along the bottom of the image.  Even though to some students taking a screen shot from Google will be easier, properly attributing is an important skill to develop in our students starting at a very young age.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Using Google Classrooms to Facilitate Performance Tasks

After visiting with many teachers who have experienced the new Smarter Balance testing environment, one of the more demanding portions of the test is the performance task, for both math and literacy.

This blog post demonstrates how teachers can use Google Classroom and create a simulated experience for students to complete performance tasks.  You can provide students with practice for online reading and online writing, as these technology skills may hinder success, especially in early grades like 3-6.

For this example "Garden of Learning 6th Grade Performance Task, a student will be provided with resources, two articles and a video.

Then they are to answer a few questions followed by writing an essay or article, may it be argumentative or informative.  When the students are finished, they click "Turn In".

Students will be able to toggle between "Assignment Details" and "My assignment" to go between resources and their work, allowing them to re-read articles or re-watch videos as often as they need.

The teacher can set up this entirely digital task and allow students to work independently until they've completed the assignment. 

I've created Performance Task Kits available for teachers to use inside their Google Classroom.  Click open the folder to find the files, make your own copies, and embed them into a Google Classroom online environment.

More kits are coming, as I've started with the three Smarter Balance example performance tasks.