Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tech Gift Ideas 2015

Lunch N' Learn provides multiple learning opportunities for our staff. From classroom teaching strategies and workflow to fun ideas, it's an opportunity for our staff to learn about technology.

Today, with the "shopping season" about to be upon us, I am providing ten technology tools, that for the most part are $60 or less, to our staff.  Two of these tools, The Tile App and Google Cardboard, will be experienced by the staff during Lunch N' Learn.

If providing a technology tool to one of your loved ones is on your horizon, consider these options.

Celebrating Christmas!  For me it's Christ's birth and providing gifts to loved ones and friends just as gifts were brought to Him after He was born.  These technology gifts may just be what brings a smile to someone on Christmas Eve or Morning!

Friday, November 20, 2015

SimpleMind and Notability to "Show What You Know" for Three Branches of Government

To allow students to "Show What They Know" in seventh grade, Mrs. Burch provided students with an introduction to the SimpleMind app and smashed it with Notability.  Google Drive and Canvas were used to finalize the workflow of product to instructor.

The SimpleMind app is a tremendous app that serves as a "graphic organizer" with multiple options for colors.  This was the best app for creating a web graphic so students could describe the Three Branches of Government.

We found that when we smashed the SimpleMind app into Notability the students were able to include images of topics described in the SimpleMind app.  Students were also able to add hand written annotations using tools in the Notability app.

As students took more than one day, we were able to export the Notability and SimpleMind creations to students' Google Drives via the app.  This allowed for students TO NOT need to same iPad each day of creation as the Notability app allows for importing of content from Google Drive.

As part of the assessment, Mrs. Burch chose the creativity portion of the four c's standards to assess along with the content.

From a tech coaching aspect, I (the tech coach) taught the the features of the app and the workflow needed completely to the first group of students.  During the second group of students, Mrs. Burch taught the features and workflow, while I was in the class for support.  It was a great interaction between Mrs. Burch as she was able to teach almost all aspects of the project while asking a few questions of me in front of the students if needed.  For the remaining two classes I was not in the room, but followed up with an email to see how the day progressed.

Overall, Mrs. Burch and myself believe the process worked well.

View the images of students working

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

iPad As A Research Tool

A teacher recently asked me, "How should I best use the iPad as a research tool with students?'

Some suggestions:

Effective Research:

Flipboard: Get The App

  • After understanding effective researching strategies, I would absolutely  download the Flipboard app and create an account.  Searching any topic in Flipboard will provide digital magazines for the students to follow.  I would also have the students create a magazine that they would "flip" potential resources into as students are researching.
Notability: Get The App
  • Once resources are found in Flipboard or using a "Google Search", Notability becomes the one stop shop for "housing" all of the information.
  • Full-featured handwriting
  • Advanced word processing
  • Media insertions of images, web resources, audio notes
  • Notability fully exports as a complete file or pdf to the Canvas app

Monday, November 9, 2015

Utilizing Canvas' Peer Review Option

In creative writing, Mr. Krause and Ms. Tubbs utilized the "peer review" feature in Canvas.
  • Automatically assigns a peer to review the paper
  • In Speedgrader, the instructor can see both the original paper, and the peer review

  • When using Google Docs, students must have viewing rights of their paper open so that the peer can review it.
  • The questions to guide the peer reviewer on not able to be placed in Canvas.  We wrote them on the board.

Witness the process:

LEARN MORE from Canvas

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Group Projects in the Flex Mod Schedule Using Thinglink

Our Civics teachers are formulating a plan to enable groups to gather information, interpreting of that information, and providing the information for other students enrolled in the course.

Prior to the flex mod schedule, students (about 280 of them) would be assigned the project, work in groups on consecutive days, and present those findings to  their classmates.  With the flex mod schedule (and unless a person is in it, it may not actually make sense) students are together on Monday in a lab, but the same group of students are NOT together until the following Monday.  Our workflow for this project provides an opportunity for students to complete the project outside of class via Google Documents and Canvas.  We have chosen Thinglink as our creation tool as it provides the same user experience on the iPad or on a computer.  Below is a tutorial to explain Thinglink.

While thinking through the project has required some time, we believe that the project has retained its integrity minus one element.  In the past, students have presented their information in person to their classmates.  We were unable to work that aspect into this particular project.  We will find another project to practice those skills.

Some forms that were used to facilitate the process.

Colonies to Constitution Timeline Project 2015 
  • Learning Target
  • Task
  • Directions
  • Content
  • Work Time Schedule
  • Reminders for Students
  • References (Websites Used)
  • Planning Common PLT (Personal Learning Times)
  • Sketch of Thinglink
  • Daily Participation Log
  • Evaluation
  • Suggested Resources
  • Some Guidance
  • Listing of Teachers
  • Listing of Class Meeting Day
  • Listing of Class Meeting Mod
Mr. Pirman and Mr. Nickerson Timeline (Only One Example
  • Student Thinglink final products
  • Order of Major Events
Some Examples of Student Work (they are in progress until November 9)
  • Scroll over the image to reveal additional information that students are discovering and sharing about the image.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Explain Everything in Spanish II Class

In Spanish II, students created a postcard in Spanish that pertained to a place that they visited.  With Explain Everything's features
  • Easily crop images
  • Layering
  • Multiple text font and size options
  • Exportable as a PDF to Google Drive
the students were able to create their two slide PDF, export it to Google Drive, and share it on Canvas.  All within a 55 minute mod.

The students who were prepared simply copied their paragraph from their Google Doc app into the Explain Everything text boxes.

As a technology integration coach, I presented the features to Explain Everything for about 5-6 minutes using AirServer.  Since this learning opportunity was multiple sessions, I taught the first Explain Everything tutorial and stayed in the classroom for the entire 55 minutes.  The second time I taught the tutorial, but then left the classroom.  The third and subsequent times after that the content teacher Ms. Slusarek taught the entire lesson.  This will be the case when I am in Mrs. Van Gheem-Rottier's room tomorrow.  As the first slide of the video displays, while the instructor is focusing on the content, we have instilled an expectation of creativity which aligns with the four c's.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Flex Mod Visit From Lake Forest (Illinois) High School

Four members of the Lake Forest High School staff joined us today to discover and ask questions as they determine if the flex mod schedule is right for them.

Our schedule was filled with different professionals from our school answering questions.  Everyone who participated in the different panels was open and honest with our visitors about positives and challenges of the flex mod schedule.  Teachers truly stated more positives than challenges.

If you are interested in how the flex mod schedule works, please contact Pulaski High School.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

From Subject Line To Signature: Emailing Correctly in a Professional Educational Setting

As we are in our second full month of the flex mod schedule, students continue to communicate with teachers on a variety of topics.  From missing assignments to acquiring resources, students must provide proper, professional emails.

On Thursday, our homeroom will focus on teaching students the proper way to email teachers to get fast, productive results.

The presentation provides a great video from Forbes magazine on proper business emailing techniques and a specific example of an email conversation between a student and a teacher.  Combined with discussion questions and after participating in this educational setting, students will know the correct aspects of properly writing an email to their teacher.

The motivation for this presentation can be found here.
The presentation template can be found at Slides Carnival.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Flex Mod Small Group Discussion with the Harkness Style of Discussion

For the first time, Mr. Krause, Mr. Rodal, and Ms. Krause (Mrs. Schartner) implemented aspects of the Harkness Style of discussion.  While we didn't have a large wooden table, we were able to have comfortable dialogue among a group of students ranging in number from 10 to 16.

Students focused their discussion on the interactions of the American Government with Native Americans.  Students needed to complete the discussion questions prior to small group.  The students utilized their Google Doc on their personal mobile device or on a class provided iPad.  In addition, main points of the discussion were written down by the students on a paper version.

The discussion questions completed during the conversation.  The TOR is the "Teacher of Record" and this completed sheet is turned into that teacher.

Our classroom set up.  Students used personal mobile devices or classroom iPads to access their Google Document prepared prior to the discussion time.

I was responsible for drawing the conversation path.  Each line represents a speaking opportunity from a student.  The lines are connected from person to person as they spoke.  We created a template that was created for each class.  Once students sat in a specific spot, students wrote their name prior to class.

To be fair, this was the first attempt by the teacher.  The teacher is in the top right corner with all of the lines. 

The very next mod, after reviewing the above discussion diagram, students in the next mod conducted this conversation.  The only change in this discussion would have been more teacher directed dialogue for question number 3.

Overall, having the flex mod "small group" classes provides a tremendous opportunity for a small number of students to discuss topics in an in-depth and engaging way.

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