#EduBook MasterClass
Jun19

#EduBook MasterClass

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SeeSaw – The Making Thinking Visible Machine!
Jun18

SeeSaw – The Making Thinking Visible Machine!

As we get more and more devices in our classrooms, it is important that we realize how we can use them to do amazing things – like making student thinking visible and allowing us to amplify student voice by hearing from all of our students. This way we can know where they are in the learning process! One of the amazing things we can do is use SeeSaw to better understand what our students know and what they don’t – and then adjust our instruction to better meet their needs. AND its available on ANY device (Even student phones)! Many people use SeeSaw, and rightfully so,  as a learning journal – and it is a great tool for this! However, I want it to become the making thinking visible journal. Used in a way that students explain their learning  and give us insights into what they understand, and where they are in the growth process. Here are ten ways teachers can do that pretty easily in the K-12 classroom. First start with these seven ways SeeSaw lets your get at student thinking:   1. Record Math Thinking: Use the drawing feature along with the record feature to have student narrate themselves solving a math problem.   2. Tell Me About… Angles:  Use the camera, pen and record tool FTW! Use the camera and pen tool to have students show you their learning, and make their thinking visible by having them find a photo that represents something in this case a right, acute and obtuse angle. Have students take a picture, use the pen tool to identify and label the right angle and then the record button to explain, in their own words, what a right angle is, and why its important to understand. 1985 Warning: I was recently in a classroom that had a worksheet that did this exact same thing – so not cool when we have such a better way of  assesment. Remember that having students pick from multiple choice answers does not give us rich information about student learning and growth – but SeeSaw can and does! How cool are these examples!?! What you can’t hear is the recording where they explain these angles in their own words. 3. Sketchnote a Story: Have students use the drawing feature to sketchnote as you read a story. Then have them use the record feature to explain their ideas and how it relates to the story. Make sure you share this in the class feed so they can all learn from each other. 4. SnapChat Meet SeeSaw: Do your  kids have phones? Have them download SeeSaw app and use snapchat to answer a question, then save to camera roll and upload into...

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How to Add Backgrounds in Google Docs: A Workaround
Jun18

How to Add Backgrounds in Google Docs: A Workaround

This is a guest post by Bethany Petty. You can visit her blog here I’ve been using Google Docs for quite a while. I love Google Docs. It’s easy to use. I can collaborate with any other “Googler” without being in the same room. I can create and share grocery lists with my husband. (Ok, this may not be vital, but it is great for me!) One complaint I have about Google Docs is that it is somewhat dull. Let me explain. If you want to create a colorful and vibrant flyer or poster using Microsoft Word, then you simply insert a background image and adjust the object transparency. It’s also easy to manipulate the size and position of the image on the page. This is not the case if you’re using Google Docs. Here’s my workaround for adding backgrounds in Google Docs…complete with screenshots! Here’s the trick…USE GOOGLE SLIDES! Open a Google Slides presentation. Access “File” then “Page Setup.” Next, select the “Custom” option, and set the size to 8.5 x 11. Your presentation screen should now look a little different… Right click on the slide in the slide pane, choose “Apply Layout,” and select “Blank.”   Next, select “Background” and choose “Image.” Drag your image to fill the page, or to fit the desired area. Next, I added an rectangle shape and changed the shape color to white. This allows space for text while still preserving the “pretty” background. Finally, choose to add a text box or paste text from a different source! By using this method, I can still collaborate with others just as I would do by using a Google Doc. I can also download the presentation as a PDF for printing purposes. Teachers can use this method to assign presentations to their students via Google Classroom! If you’re looking for more cool things you can do with Google Slides, check out this video from Google Guru! AND…if you’d like to learn how to create a watermark on your Google Slide presentation, then check out this post from the awesome Alice Keeler! Thanks for reading 🙂 Share...

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5 Ways to Kick Start Reflection in Your Classroom
Jun04

5 Ways to Kick Start Reflection in Your Classroom

The Why As educators, our job is to help students make meaning of concepts and ideas. We want our students to construct knowledge, to be creators of their learning, not just consumers that parrot information. In the end, we want the experiences in our classroom to inspire curiosity and a love of learning that will last a lifetime. A reflective practice, is an important shift that should be a top goal in a learner – centered classroom.  It is not an easy process, so it often gets overlooked as teachers rush to cover content in an already overcrowded curriculum. The truth is, this step is probably left out  for two reasons. First, it is not easy to get students who have never been asked to reflect on their learning, to do it well. Second, most teachers have not been taught to academically reflect and thus don’t know where to begin teaching the process with to their own students. How to Get Started We have all been there, unsure of how to start a new teaching strategy correctly, but this is what makes if fun!  It’s a new skill and it will take some learning, but think of it as an educational adventure because when you see how much this helps your students understand the content, who they are as learners, and how they can apply that knowledge to future learning – you will be hooked. It is an adventure that is like owning a puppy – you can’t believe how much work it is, but when it matures it becomes your best friend. We have to teach students how to reflect. They need to understand that there is a specific time in all learning, where we stop and look back at the journey and how we arrived at true academic knowledge. This happens when students comment on , connect with and reassess the process. This is assessment AS learning, and it is often as important to student learning and growth as the content itself. What Reflection Can Look Like A reflective classroom includes both oral and text-based reflections. It is based in questions and routines. You might have specific questions students learn to ask – or you might use a scaffolded approach that starts out easy and moves its way to much deeper internal reflections. The end goal is to have students develop their own reflective practice. After all, the skill of reflection is a transformational life skill. Think of a world where people critically reflected on the decisions they made – looking for ways they might do better next time. With that scenario in mind, which seems like a more important skill to teach students – reflection? or the date of the Civil War? Here are 5 easy ways to...

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HyperDocs are Awesome
Jun04

HyperDocs are Awesome

Guest Post from Bethany Petty  – you can visit her blog here HyperDocs are AWESOME! Over the summer, I purchased the HyperDoc Handbook with the intention of reading and digesting it before the beginning of this school year. Am I the only one that sets huge goals for summer and then accomplishes little to none of it?! That, my friends, was the case with the HyperDoc Handbook. Last semester, I finally had time to actually read the HyperDoc Handbook, and IT WAS AWESOME! A HyperDoc is so much more than just an electronic worksheet. HyperDocs allow teachers to design lessons that promote more of a student-centered approach. There are MANY templates that teachers can follow when creating HyperDocs such as, “Explore, Explain, Apply,” “5 E’s,” and the “Basic HyperDoc Lesson.” Part of the beauty of HyperDocs is that teachers are free to use one of these templates, a variation or combination of templates, or create their own! Just like with BreakoutEDU, when I learned about HyperDocs, I immediately began formulating game plans for using them in my classroom. It was almost an obsession because HyperDocs are actually FUN to create! Teachers can use a variety of tools when creating HyperDocs, and many of these tools are probably already familiar to you and your students – YouTube, ThingLink, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Sites, etc. HyperDocs allow teachers to package content in such a way that allows their students to explore content material and apply their knowledge while working in a more individualized setting. The first HyperDoc I made was for my American Government class dealing with the Bill to Law process. I was working on my laptop while I was creating this activity for my students and pulled up my copy of the HyperDoc Handbook on my iPad. (The HyperDoc Handbook provides fabulous information AND examples/templates for teachers to use in their classrooms! It’s spectacular!) The “Engage” step of my HyperDoc takes students to a podcast called, “60 Second Civics,” in which they were to listen to 5 podcasts about the Bill to Law process. As they were listening to the information, they were to type their thoughts in the corresponding box. The “Explore” step directed students to three websites, all concerning an aspect of the legislative process – Vetoes, Pocket Vetoes, Overridden Vetoes, Bills Presented to Congress, and an article about the repeal of Obamacare. I wanted students to view “real life” applications of the content they were learning in this section. The “Explain” step required students to actively view an instructional video I had created about the Bill to Law process via EDpuzzle. They were also required to...

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