Monday, June 8, 2015

Student Character Word Cloud

It's the end of the year.  Students creating a collection of works as a scrapbook reminding them of their journey.

One elementary teacher had students create character trait word clouds for their covers.

The students began by brainstorming a list of positive character traits.  From this list they could choose one trait that represented each student.

To automate this process a Google form was created.  This way we could copy/paste in results from the Google form into Wordle to create a quick cover.  To get the name larger we simply typed it in enough times to create desire look.


Now if only there was a Google Add-On that created a "word cloud" from results provided by a form submission.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

KidKam - Videos for Kids

I hear this debated topic often, do we allow students access to Youtube?  Some say sure, as it's a great opportunity to discuss many digital citizenship topics while the other side of the coin prefers to regulate what is available for students to view.

KidKam is a free online website that allows students to search through videos without the worry of accidentally coming across the inappropriate.  The videos will be tailored to elementary aged students from Pre-k through 6th grade.

The first step is for the teacher or parent to create an account. Once logged in videos can be searched for under a variety of categories, or tagged by specific age groups.

While searching you won't run across any comments by Youtube viewers.  Just instructionally appropriate comments by peer teachers recommending the video.

As a teacher you can create playlists of similar videos for students to quickly retrieve and watch.

As a parent or teacher you can go into parental controls and tighten restrictions to the website, like only allow the website to be viewed for a specific amount of time during the day or only allow videos in a particular grade level.

Basically, this is Youtube for kids, Youtube for the Elementary Classrooms.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Classroom Updates - it just keeps coming!

A few new features rolled out in Google Classroom to make this tool even more teacher friendly!   As this tool has developed over this year, the features added continue to make Google a key tool in today's classroom.

Save an assignment for later posting...  Not much explaining on this as to how this will save teacher time! Add your links, documents, instructions and choose to save as draft.  This allows you to post it when needed.    

Multiple Teachers.... These still have to be from teachers in the same Google domain but it allows for team teachers and student teachers to all post and take care of assignments, all the same tasks as the teacher who created the class except delete the class.   Perfect opportunity to set up book studies or projects with buddy classrooms in your district! 


Friday, February 13, 2015

Umatilla Feb 13, 2015


Objective:  Participants will discuss about different foundation elements found necessary to be successful with next generation assessments, and explore resources that may assist them in preparing students with next generation assessments.


Grit/Growth Mindset

Resource Exploration
  • Edcite - Create or use assessments modeling SBAC style questions and interface
  • Better Lessons - Lesson plans sorted by CCSS that have been taught in classrooms  by master teachers
  • Teaching Channel - Videos supporting growth for teachers including tips, lessons, professional development, and more

Key Learning / Muddiest Point

Friday, January 9, 2015

Effective Strategies for Next Generation Assessments



Getting Started

  • Table Group Introductions
  • Four Things About My Journey

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.  


"The average child asks 100 questions a day.  By the time the is 11 or 12 he or she has figured out that it's much more important to get right answers than to keep asking thoughtful questions" - Tony Wagner from the book Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World


  • DOK Padlet 
  • DOK Quick Check   
  • What level of DOK is this question?

Smarter Balance Assessment Environment

After Lunch Exploration ... more coming later


Part 1:
 Explore resources below or others that are shared in your table groups
and find 3 or 4 resources/lessons/performance tasks/assessments that
you can implement with students.

Part 2:  Fill in your plan while looking through the resources.

Resource Links:

Additional Resources:

Final Reflections and Take Aways

PDU and Evaluation

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Using Pen Names as Online Student Identifiers

Many teachers have embraced the digital age and have begun to share stories that happen in their classroom with the world.  Maybe they are posting photos to instagram, writing posts on a blog, or inviting conversation on facebook.  Wherever the sharing takes place, the question asked often is “should I post names of my students”?

For the most part teachers are sensitive to information posted online.  They won’t put names with photos.  They won’t use full names.  Some teachers use a first initial only instead of any name.  

One idea is to provide a student identifier for each child.  Sort of like a students pen name.  What if you provided student identifiers using fictional characters for each student?  For example, students could be referenced as Olaf, Cinderella, or Schreck.

When referencing work posted by the student, the byline simply reads “by Olaf”.  When posting a name referencing an image, use “Olaf and Eeyore enjoying the snow”.

One classroom has students author posts on her blog.  Each post is signed by the student identifier.  Then the post is labeled by the student identifier.  Using this label enables parents, or the teacher, to click on the label and bring up all the posts written by a particular student.

Everyone in class knows who wrote it.  Whoever is Winnie The Pooh, their parents also know it.  Yet it’s a safe a secure way of not posting personal information about students online.

Maybe in high school students want to establish a positive digital footprint, therefore they want to have their names associated with school activities.  For elementary school and middle school, using a creative student identifier can be a positive safe method of sharing stories with the world.

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.