Are you looking for new blogs to follow in 2019? Check out my Wakelet collection of Ed Tech blogs to find new ideas for supporting your students and curriculum with digital tools! Although it’s impossible for me to read every post from every blog the way I would like to, there are some blogs that I follow very regularly because they fit my professional needs. Start with 2 or 3 and move on if you find that you are looking for something different! Speaking of Wakelet if you haven’t tried this super-easy curation tool, then now is the time! Wakelet allows you to curate boards of all-things digital: links, images, videos, PDFs, FlipGrid videos, etc! If YOU have an Ed tech blog and would like to add it to my collection you can do that as well! Just follow the simple directions below and use code: d5bead
Are you a fan of choice boards? I love using choice boards with students because they love them but I’ve recently realized that adults love them too! Who doesn’t love the opportunity to choose tasks to help them learn or show what they know?? Choice boards give us options but they also give us multiple ways of thinking about the same content and/or skills. Teachers often ask me for copies of the choice boards I have used with students and adults.
Like this one, that I use to help my Art Foundation students practice responding to works of art:
And this one that I created for teachers to try some alternative PD throughout the school year:
For those of you who might want to try choice boards with your students or colleagues, I’ve created 19 Choice Board Templates that you can customize with your own choices and challenges. I’ve also added the templates to my public Shared Resources Folder which is an ever-growing set of resources organized by content area…you can find these and lots of other templates in the Cross-Curricular Resources folder. (All resources that have been shared by others and added to the folders are so labeled.)
Speaking of my Shared Resources Folder, you are not only welcome to create a copy of anything you find there, you are free to add your own resources to grow the community. If you want to add something to the folder feel free to do so here.
Have you ever been a part of a conversation like this one that has taken place in my house more than once:
14-year-old: “Mom, do we have any tissues I can bring to school?”
Me: “Why, are you getting a cold?”
14-year-old: “No, if I bring a box of tissues today I will get 10 points added to my test so I can get two wrong and still get a hundred.”
Cue that emoji with the really big eyes, exhibiting shock and horror. Don’t get me wrong…I believe in contributing to the community as a whole by sharing boxes of tissues and bottles of hand soap but that is not what makes this conversation so alarming. My own children are not the only ones who have alerted me to this type of assessment scoring…Students often ask to borrow a pencil so they don’t lose points on a quiz or run in to our classroom, breathless and begging to print out an essay so they aren’t docked a letter grade for turning it in late. The question remains: How does this type of scoring system tell us about a student’s progress toward learning standards??
Educators are abuzz about all of the Google Classroom changes taking place over the last month two months, with a wide range of feelings and acceptance. Collectively, we have been so vocal on social media sites and with feedback directly to G Suite for Education that Google made another round of updates shortly after the first. One of the features I get asked most about is how to add the Classwork tab to Classrooms that were created before the August 2018 updates took effect. It’s a bit tricky to find where to do that so I made a short video that illustrates the steps:
One thing to keep in mind…you must have been the creator (not just one of the teachers) of the Google Classroom to have access to the option to add the Classwork tab!
Back-to-school season has all of us thinking about how we can maximize our resources for the school year! I have worn out likely hundreds of dry erase markers in my career as a teacher. Listing objectives and agendas, drawing charts and graphs, and recording whole-class brainstorming takes a toll on those felt tips over time…not to mention my writing arm! Some years I had a dedicated classroom in which I could prepare the chalkboard or whiteboard before school or at the end of the day for the next morning but other years I was tasked with traveling between classrooms and trying to beat the students to the room so I could frantically write on the minimal, available whiteboard space before they arrived so as not to waste any instructional time. I am happy to say that after 20 years I have found a better way!! Most people agree that Google Slides is a priceless tool because of its versatility…Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning often refers to it as the Swiss Army Knife of G Suite. I have recently started using a SINGLE SLIDE to replace all of that whiteboard writing altogether! I created one slide to simply resemble the arrangement of information on my whiteboard. (Get your template here and go to File>Make a Copy.)
Once I had my template in Slides, I copied and pasted it until I had one for each class period. Continue reading
In a workshop that I was leading this week, one teacher was so excited about the work we were doing she blurted out, “I am more excited about planning for next year than I am for summer vacation!” While we all need our summer vacation to recharge and have fun, most of you can probably relate to this. All teachers reflect throughout the school year, but especially when a new year is in sight and we have some downtime to really consider how we want to make the changes that will have the most positive impact on our students. If you’re like me, you love your thoughtful and meaningful lesson planning to look great as well. I am not ashamed to admit that I have been known to order a new lesson plan book (and sticky notes and colored sharpies and…) in the spring prior to a new school year. But my pretty, color-coded planner is not where all the hard work gets done. In fact, my planning is anything but pretty because I am usually surrounded by piles of resources such as state standards, district curriculum maps, books, journals, and past years lesson planners. BUT as so many of these resources are now going digital, so too is my curriculum planning.
For me, the best things about planning digitally are:
Flexibility…being able to edit endlessly and save copies of multiple versions with the click of a button!
Efficiency: Linking the resources you plan to use all in one document and cutting/pasting from a variety of sources is a huge time-saver! Continue reading
We can’t all afford the time or money it takes to attend a professional conference every summer, but we can maximize the opportunities that are available to us, whether through our school, district, or online sources. Summer professional development does not have to be a traditional, passive session with teachers sitting around a large table in a conference room (or on benches in a sweaty school cafeteria)! Rather, PD can and should be whatever targets the growth you have been craving. Alternative PD structures aim to meet the needs of all teachers, Continue reading
When you are new to the world of #GoogleForEdu, Twitter posts, blogs, podcasts, and even Pinterest pages can seem like an overwhelming plethora of resources to engage your students and, if you’re like me, you want to try them all at once which is not only impossible but also ineffective. The key to finding and using great resources isn’t a secret…in fact it’s right in front of you…your STUDENTS! Ed Tech doesn’t replace good teaching, it enhances it. Access to ed tech resources will not change what your students need from you..they will just give you more ways