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Showing posts from September, 2016

MSDSC Communities

The Power of Choice There has been a movement in education over the power of choice. Some call it "Genius Hour" or "twenty percent time" depending on which book/article you have read on the subject. It all came from a concept Google implemented with their employees. They have a block of time where they can explore and create freely on a project. It is powerful to give people choice. 
I was a firm believer in the power of choice in the mid to late 2000s when I was still teaching fourth grade. Many teachers in my school were implementing the workshop model. It always amazed me when I would get a new student from another school district that looked at me in shock when I told them they could read or write about whatever they wanted. I just wanted evidence of their growth as I conferred with them or read their blog. Suddenly reading and writing became more meaningful to the student. Instead of me dictating what they had to do, I was delivering content and strategies in…

Chrome App Builder

Streamlined... The Metropolitan School District of Steuben County is a full 1:1 Chromebook program. It has been quite a transition this year as kindergarten through second-grade students had iPads the previous year. The main difficulty of the process has been the streamlined user experience with the iPad. As far as availability of content for young learners is concerned, the iPad still reigns supreme. So one of my tasks has been thinking of ways that I can streamline the experience on a Chromebook as much as possible for my k-2 folks via the Google Admin Console. 
One idea I have tried is utilizing Symbaloo as a starting page for each grade level. I do this by adding a startup page in the Device Management settings. I also turned on the "home button" so that students can get back to the page at any time by tapping on it. (Believe it or not, the home button is off by default.) I add items to the Symbaloo pages items per teacher request, but I am noticing that this also cause…

Hyperdoc Slides

The Cart Before the Horse... Ever get a few steps ahead of yourself? Sure, teachers do it all the time. We often jump into a new activity and miss a few steps here an there that were essential to the learning experience. We backtrack and learn from those experiences and adjust accordingly the next time we try the activity. Well, I did just that. 
When I think of things to post or create for my teachers, it usually comes from training or mere conversations in the hallway. I then write the idea as a draft on my blog so that I can remember to work on it later. Earlier in the summer I held some training sessions on the topic of hyperdocs. While planning for those training sessions, I had created a resource on different ways to create hyperdocs in Google Slides. Of course, I wrote it as a draft and it has sat in my list of drafts since June. Whoops! I recently posted about "The Indestructible Hyperdoc" using Google Slides and Google Drawings. That's when I realized that I ha…

Comic Slips Revisited!

What's a Comic Slip? It is a comic, it is an exit slip, it is a comic slip! I created a post earlier in 2016 about the idea behind the comic slip. I love the idea of gathering data at the end of a lesson. It allows you to measure student learning and comfort level on a topic or skill. This allows the teacher to create differentiated/personalized learning experiences for students and also provides valuable data for teacher reflection. What better way to find out how well a lesson went than to have students fill out a quick thought about the learning experience?

I've had the opportunity to present the concept of Comic Slips to teachers numerous times both within my district and at area conferences. Usually when presenting to teachers, I spend more time focusing on Google Drawings than on the comic portion as I want teachers to know all the functions and features of Google Drawings so that it can be used for much more than just a quick comic builder. However, when I visit a clas…

Digital Citizenship Week

What is Digital Citizenship? Digital citizenship, in a nutshell, is character education for the digital realm. It is imperative that we make an effort to educate students on digital safety. Ultimately, responsible use of technology in the early years will translate to a better Internet for tomorrow. Will problems still exist? Yes, people will still make mistakes. But imagine what the Internet will be like if we don't make an honest effort to educate students on the best uses of technology?

This year one of my focuses will be on how digital citizenship should be intertwined in the everyday experience of the student. Looking for these teachable moments will provide great opportunities to fit digital citizenship into a natural part of the school day. To get things kicked off and rolling, next week is offically digital citizenship week! 
Digital Citizenship Week The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has declared that next week is #digcit (digital citizenship) week. They have kin…