Elem Sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Elem Sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Elem Sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

GAFE, Google Classroom Assignments and Movenote

Two great resources that work great together!

A lot of teachers are using Google Classroom to build classroom community, assign work, give feedback and manage files. If you aren’t using Google Classroom yet, learn more here.Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 9.16.08 AM Your district or organization must have Google Apps for Education (GAFE).

To the right is a great graphic of the assignment flow. Read all about it here.

One thing that can create an issue for the teacher is that when they assign an assignment, the teacher is not able to see the options the students see when they click on the assignment.  After working with multiple classrooms and seeing this issue recur, I put together a Slides presentation with text tips for teachers. Depending on the type of deliverable to be submitted by the student, the teacher can copy the text from a slide in the presentation and paste it right into the assignment, along with the assignment details. Here is a direct link to the Slides presentation so you can make a copy for yourself!

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 9.02.34 AMAnother great resource that works wonderfully with Google Apps for Education is Movenote. I used Movenote to narrate my Slides presentation. To get started, using the Chrome browser you simply add movenote to gmail.

Then you can initiate a Movenote screencast from within gmail or by clicking the Movenote extension icon on the toolbar of the browser. You can choose to include an inset video of yourself along with the narrated slides – or turn the video off. Movenote also includes annotation tools! To screencast with Movenote, you must have slides or images prepared in advance. Once the video is complete, you can send by gmail or click the gear icon to share other ways, including embedding, as I did below.


Frontline: Generation Like

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 9.20.00 AMGeneration Like aired last night on Frontline and, in my opinion, is required viewing for every teacher (and parent) for a variety of reasons. In my role as an educator, I was very interested in the technology piece, but it also speaks to how our students are “working” online for themselves and for big companies.

Honestly, there was much that I didn’t realize was going on and I feel like I am “in the know” on a lot of things.  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/

The episode shows a real shift in business models and a widening of the digital generation gap in some cases. The videos on the PBS Frontline page would be great conversations starters in many types of classrooms!

Did you watch? What did you think?

Engaging Classroom 2

Last week, I wrote about Engaging Tasks for an engaging classroom. As a former elementary teacher, I would love to have an overall engaging scenario for my classroom if I were to end up there again. Imagine entering the class/course and being given scenario about the entire year, semester, or trimester complete with a role and task.

Some theme ideas I have for this are:

  • Detectives
  • Inventors/Innovators
  • Humanities explorers
  • Cultural Investigators
  • Time Travelers
  • Anthropologists

This thinking may be a result of the fact that I became an educator during a time of thematic teaching and whole language. I make no apologies for that:) I think a theme based classroom provides a great framework for an entire school year as a way to keep a sense of “we are in this together” for students and families. I would love to hear other theme based classroom ideas!

Elem Sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Engaging Classroom

Light bulb

During a presentation/discussion with Mike Muir at an Eduspire Summer Institute, we discussed Engaging Tasks. With each slide of the presentation we reviewed scenarios for activities that introduced a task for students. My initial reaction was, “This seems so obvious!  I can’t believe teachers aren’t already doing this.”

Then we looked back at the Webquest framework! We had webquest creation as a whole school district activity for teachers back in 2003. So, what happened? If this idea was a good one that makes school better for students, why aren’t we all doing it? I agreed with Mike, that our webquest implementation became an internet scavenger hunt for students. The scenario/task might have been good, but then we simply asked students to answer questions about a topic. An online search to complete a worksheet.

So, where do we go from here? Why can’t we take every “unit” we have and create an engaging task that students have to research, think about, discuss and defend. Mike’s suggestions for good tasks:

  • Relate to curriculum
  • Have compelling scenario, role and task (3 components)
  • Story form without teacher talk or procedural steps
  • Focus on higher order thinking (apply, analyze, evaluate, create)
  • Authentic and believable
  • Interesting or significant

Visit the What Makes for a Great Engaging Task  page to really dig deep on this idea. With regard to higher order thinking, consider the idea of flipping Bloom’s Taxonomy and letting students create something first. Then the task becomes a rubric of sorts to lead them through building foundational knowledge on their own with guided instruction. Their initial creation improves with time, effort and feedback.


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