Saturday, November 30, 2013

I'm going to the Google Teacher Academy!

Last month I found out that I was accepted to participate in the Google Teacher Academy in Stockholm, Sweden in December.  

I have started a separate blog to chronicle my experiences in becoming a Google Certified Teacher.

Please check it out. :)

Here's a link to my GTASWE Blog.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Using iMovie iPad Trailers to Demonstrate Student Learning

When I was in high school, doing video projects were always such a big production.  They took lots of time, required lots of different equipment, and most projects required students to meet and work with their groups after school and off campus.  And the videos were poorly edited, if at all.

With advances in technology, most students now have amazing video cameras and editing software on their cell phones.  With the iMovie iOS app, students can quickly and easily make high quality videos to show what they know.  They can film people acting things out or can find images online to include into their videos.  

iMovie is easy to use, and when I first introduce it to my classes, they can create a high quality video in about five 50 minute class periods.  After learning how to use iMovie, they can do this in a much shorter amount of time.

Here is a set of instructions that I have written up for my students to use.  It includes instructions on how to storyboard their project (with templates), directions on how to find creative commons images, create the video, include a voice over, and properly cite their sources, including adding credits.  Feel free to make a copy of it and share it with your students.

*I created this slideshow before iMovie updated with iOS 7.  There are a few new features in the app, but everything is pretty much the same.  Soon, I will update the presentation to match the new iMovie.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tech Tools to Help Improve Student Engagement

Last week at our All-Staff meeting, we heard the results of the DAIT walkthrough.  Most observed classrooms had engaging teachers, who were talking at their students, acting as a sage on the stage.  However, the students were just passively taking in the information.  They may have been really interested in the content, but we may not be reaching ALL of our students.

Our administration encouraged our staff to add some more active engagement strategies to our lessons.  Here are a few tech tools that can help us easily incorporate more of the Direct Interactive Instruction (DII) strategies into our courses.
  • Equity Cards
    • Teachers Pick - iOS app
      • you can import in your class lists to make "popsicle sticks" for each of your students.
      • call on student's randomly, or just choose the next student.
    • Stick Pick - iOS app
      • this app allows you to add in questions prompts for each student based on ELL levels or Bloom's 
      • you can't import student lists, you have to type in each student individually
  • Clickers & Exit Tickets
    • Plickers - iOS or Android app
      • students hold up cards based on multiple choice or true false questions
      • the teacher is the only person who needs a mobile device
    • Poll Everywhere - texting or internet
      • Sign up for K-12 Basic Acct for free
      • 40 responses per poll.  (So you would need to set up the poll separately for each class, or clear them between class periods.)
      • Integrates into Powerpoint
      • Multiple Choice or Short Answer
    • Socrative - iOS, Android, or Internet
      • You can set up questions ahead of time, or ask questions on the fly
      • Export the answers at the end of the poll
      • Multiple Choice or Short Answer
      • Games 
      • Easy to Use
      • Free
    • Infuse Learning - internet based
      • Similar to Socrative, but students can also draw answers
  • Students Voice
    • Google Voice
      • Students can call your google voice number to leave audio responses to share what they have learned
    • AudibooiOS App or internet
      • Students can create 2 minute podcasts to share what they have learned
  • Students Rate Their Own Understanding
    • Geddit - internet based
      • Allow students to self-evaluate their learning as you are teaching
      • Check for understanding throughout your lesson

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Using The Differentiator to Write Objectives

Two weeks ago I was able to attend the Fall CUE conference. It was a great experience where I presented, met twitter friends face to face, and learned about new resources.  I also received an email letting me know I was selected to the next Google Teacher Academy in Stockholm!!!!

I plan to write about these two days in more detail soon, but today, I am going to share a tool that I learned about from Robert Fishtrom, my district's Director of Instructional Technology, who was at CUE as well.  (I'm not sure which workshop he was at when he learned about it.)

Background - Writing Objectives
For the past few years, our district has been working on writing and using measurable objectives daily with our students.  We have to post them on the board or on the SMART Board for students to see, and refer back to them throughout the class period.  The objectives must include the what, why, and how.  

  • What:  what we are learning based on the language of the standards
  • Why:  why we are learning it - basically, how it relates to other concepts or the world
  • How: how the objective will be measured, what outcome will be be working towards
The format of the objectives have changed through the last few years.  We can now write them in one sentence, and don't have to add in the why.  I have found that by having the objectives, it really helps me plan out my lessons to ensure that students are engaged and practicing higher order thinking skills.  It also provides the students with some guides about what they are expected to learn and accomplish.  However, sometimes it is hard to really word the objectives the way I want.  

The Tech Tool
That's where the Differentiator tool, by Ian Byrd, comes into play.  The Differentiator allows me to write detailed objectives, and it helps me include higher level's of Bloom's in my objectives.  And, it's really fun to use.  :)

Here is an example of an objective I am using tomorrow:

Students will illustrate how the circulatory and respiratory system work together to pick up and deliver materials to all cells in the body using Cornell Notes and create a screencast in groups of two.

I was able to put this together using the Differentiator.  There are 5 tabs for the 5 different parts of the objective:  
  • thinking skill - Bloom's
  • content
  • resources - where the information or content knowledge comes from
  • products - what you want your students to create 
  • groups - will students work individually or in groups
You go through each tab and choose what you want to include in your objective.  You can edit the objective as well.  For example, there was not the choice of making a screencast in the products page, but I changed that to fit my lesson.

I think that this tool will help teachers write good, detailed objectives.  The Differentiator tool also allows you to really think about what level of Bloom's you want students to be at that day.  And, if you want to create differentiated lessons for your students, this will help you write objectives at differing levels.