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.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Flashcards and Jeopardy Board from Google Spreadsheets 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. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Great New Features on Google Classroom!

Those of you that have started using Google Classroom need to check out the new features!  These are things that often came up in trainings this Fall as "wishes" for easier classroom management... the first being the ability to control who can and can't post to the stream!

Options include:  Students can post and comment, Students can only comment, or only teacher can post and comment.  This action can be done for individual students by checking the box next to their name or choosing the whole class. 

The second added feature is the ability for a student to choose to turn in an assignment without having an actual file to upload by choosing "Mark as Done".    This means, no more "late" assignments for items such as "read pages 120 - 130 in the text and be ready to discuss tomorrow in class".  Once done, they can mark that they have finished that item.  During earlier fall trainings before this was possible, we suggested posting these kind of assignments as an announcement.  The downfall of that is that it wouldn't show up in their list of upcoming assignments, but the benefit was they wouldn't end up with a list of "late" assignments since their was nothing to digitally turn in! This resolves that.  Awesome!

Other features added - the ability to go back and look at comments that were deleted.  Also being able to download a csv for all assignments at once, not just one and the ability to sort their list of students by first or last name.   These added features make this tool even more powerful in the classroom.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Youtube in the Classroom!

What is the value of Youtube in the classroom?

What Can Youtube Do?
  • View and Subscribe to Channels
    • Task:  Subscribe to Two Channels you would find useful.  
  • Upload (Private, Public, Unlisted)
    • Task:  Upload a Video (if you have one available or take a quick on 
and upload on your iPad)
  • Edit in Video Manager or Capture App
    • Task:  Play with the Editing Features
  • Create Playlists and Share Playlists 

Want a Clean Video Viewing Experience Without All the Ads?

What to Use Youtube for Beyond Watching as a Whole Class
  • Upload Student Projects (Private or Unlisted)
  • Upload your own “Khan” Videos for students   
  • Post short videos to class sites like Edmodo or a classroom blog for 
those students who were absent, need a refresher, or a video that expands on 
what was done in class. Post from Our Blog from a Middle School Teacher
  • Use Teachem or to create questions and note taking with video clips 
  • you capture from Youtube - students interact with the video!  

Want to “Chop Up” a Youtube Video for a Smaller Video to Post?

Alternatives to Youtube to Find Video Content

Monday, September 8, 2014

Google Classroom - Yes it's up and going!

Google Classroom rolled out a few weeks ago, creating a mad rush to check it out before students walked through the doors.  All schools in our region have it under their Google Apps for Education domain.  

A few things to remember as you explore and or look to roll it out with students.  The teacher and student must BOTH use their school google domain.  If you are unsure of what your school google is or would like to set up a time to have one of us go over it with you, please contact us!  We are available to help. 

For our schools in the region rolling out chromebooks, this is an invaluable tool.  It takes the time of setting up numerous shared folder systems with all the students and makes it a one stop place!  The best part?  Automatic folder creation and organizing.  Even better?  Automatic file naming! 

Not sure how you might use this is your classroom?  Check out this blog post from Alice Keeler on Teacher Tech "20 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom".