Here’s the thing, teaching little learners does have some challenges, but there is nothing those kiddos can’t do. There is a common misconception that primary students are to too young to use Google Apps. We just have to put the correct tools in their hand and scaffold appropriately. The best way to introduce Google tools to your students is through the use of Google Classroom. You can use Google Classroom to teach about about various Google tools such as Google Docs, Google Drawings and Google Slides. This will give students the opportunity to create, collaborate, learn and explore.
I recently got the opportunity to do a lesson in a Kindergarten classroom with an Interactive Eno board. I decided to introduce Google Slides to the students and to change up their daily Calendar Routine. Google slides is easy for students to manipulate on tablets. Students are able to easily add shapes, enter text and use the drag and drop features. The kindergarten class had an interactive whiteboard and the classroom teacher wanted to know how she can make her classroom more engaging with the interactive whiteboard. I created a Google Slides template for calendar time for their daily routine. Students not only completed the activity with me concurrently but students also came up and interacted with the whiteboard explaining their thinking. This allowed all the students to participate and be highly engaged in all the calendar activities.
Below is an example of a Google Slides template you can use with your students for Calendar Time.
Need some inspiration?
Christine Pinto teaches kindy and previously taught four-year-olds in a transitional class. She uses Google Apps at very high levels with her little learners. Pinto is a great resource for primary teachers. She blogs (christinepinto.com) and tweets to the #GAFE4littles hashtag. (Her Twitter handle is @pintobeanz11.)
EdCamp Coachella is right around the corner. Register here. Details are below:
#4: Who Doesn't Like a Good Raffle?!
We have great swag to give away this year. We will be raffling off prizes right after lunch.
Kid Blog ( 1 year sub)
Science 4 Us ( 6 month sub)
iBallz (iPad and Chromebook case)
EdTechTeam ( 1 Free registration to Edtech Summit)
Cahuilla CUE ( 1 Free registration to Spring CUE)
Flip Grid (1 Year Sub and Gift Card)
And a couple of other Goodies
#3: Free Food
Breakfast is sponsored by CVTA and lunch is sponsored by PSTA. Great things happen when people come together. #bettertogether.
#2: All Three Local Districts Have Come Together
#1: The People and The Conversations
The most important reason is this, when teachers come together amazing things happen. I would not be here without the influence of my teachers. Warning! It is about to get sappy. I grew up in this valley and I would not be where I am at today without my teachers. I was a school-dependent child and I can attribute all of my academic successes to our local teachers. It give me great pride to host an even that can celebrate that through an organic event that is centered around my teachers. Can't wait to see you there!
Do you like to create video? Would you like to create videos with your students? Good news! PSUSD now has licenses available for teachers and students! Once you upload your raw footage and pictures, you can go in and add custom themes, music, sound effects, and voice overs to name a few of the perks! You can even record yourself on the fly. The program makes it easy to create professional looking videos with all the bells and whistles. To gain access and learn a little bit about the program, take a look at our tutorial here:
Why use video creation in your classroom? Well why not? But seriously, there are many reasons to use video creation as a tool for learning as well as a variety of ways you can integrate it into your curriculum. Having students create their own video engages them in new and creative ways. It allows them to have a more authentic audience, motivating them intrinsically to work a little harder for their peers. Video creation is also a creative way to allow students to explain their thinking. Students must have a greater understanding of the material in order to create a video than they would if being assessed using other types of formative assessments.
Let’s not create videos for the sake of creating videos, however. Why not have students create movie trailers to show evidence of their knowledge of story elements? You can also have students create newscasts of current events or weather forecasts. Using videos to create public service announcements is a great way to show evidence of their learning on certain unit themes. You can also have students create videos of idioms or even vocabulary. Students can write stories and allow you to evaluate their grammar and mechanics using Note Card projects! Historical documentaries or interviewing one another as historical characters can make the history class come alive. Students can create lessons for your class tutoring one another or “how to” videos on any topic. All this can be done using WeVideo!
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Imagine this scenario if you will (or perhaps you’ve been in this situation):
Yesterday, you just introduced a new topic to the class and gave the students instructions on their upcoming project. There were two students absent. Today, both of those students who were missing are feeling much better and want to know what they missed. You now have to take the time to update them and give them all the required information. When do you do this?! You don’t want them to fall behind! You need to teach today’s lesson and there is no time after school. What do you do?!?
Screencasting is the ability to record your computer screen with audio.
This ability opens up a world of possibilities!
Check out this example taken from http://digitalthinkalouds.weebly.com/:
Pretty cool, right?
There are several different tools out there on the market for screencasting. My two favorite apps with free options are Screencastify and Screen-cast-o-matic. Both are simple to use and install. If your students are on a Chromebook, Screencastify has an extension that can quickly be added to Chrome.
Are you ready to try?
Keep these things in mind before you start:
How do you plan to use screencasting? Share in the comments!
Students are bombarded by media outside of the classroom, why not integrate it into the school setting? The Common Core Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening state that students should be able to “integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively and orally” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2). If students are expected to integrate and evaluate digital information then we as teachers need to provide that multimedia content for students to access. I know technology can be overwhelming but it all starts with taking baby steps. When I was a classroom teacher, I wanted to ensure my students were able to access information presented in a variety of ways. It was important for me to include a variety of multimedia forms that include print/text, video, images, audio etc. I taught my students how to read and synthesize information from different forms of media. My first baby step? I was using diverse media when presenting instructional material. Along with using multimedia to present information, it was necessary to hold students accountable for the content being presented. I would start with analyzing an article in either print and digital format with the students. Students used the close reading strategy for the articles and took notes whether if I was leading it, they worked in partners or did it individually. Next, I would present information on the same topic in a different media format. For example, my students would create thinking maps to take notes and synthesize information presented in YouTube videos. Students were taught and expected to support a claim and "go back to the minute" when analyzing a video in the same way that they'd "go back to the paragraph" when analyzing text in articles.
Example of a flow map using Google Draw
As time progressed I looked at curating various resources for my students to use independently. One tool, I discovered and loved was Symbaloo. It was a bookmarking tool that I would use with my students. Students would explore and take notes from various multimedia sources that I curated for them. Next, students would synthesize information from both the article and videos. Lastly, I would let them choose their technology tool of choice to showcase their learning from all the various sources.
Symbaloo Sample Here
Show What You Know Bingo Template
Student Sample Here
This is just one strategy I used to create a purpose for viewing multimedia in the classroom. This was my first baby step towards creating engaging and enriching experiences for my students. I learned that presenting instructional content in diverse formats not only increased engagement but also exposed my students to various perspectives, helped build connections and developed deeper understanding of essential concepts.
I love Twitter! #FlipGridFever
When I need a new tool or a different way to approach a problem, I run to Twitter. Teachers are so amazing, and they are full of great ideas. The first person I saw tweeting about FlipGrid was Ann Kozma, @annkozma723, and down the rabbit hole I went. BTW, if you are not following Ann, I highly recommend it, #RisingStar. So what is Flip Grid you ask? In short, it's a game changer, and a great way to introduce your students to video blogging. Give it a try, and you will be hooked!!
Here is a quick tutorial from yours truly, walking through some of the basic aspects of this tool:
So I'll just leave you with a few questions:
How would you use this tool?
In what ways could your classroom benefit from this tool?
Are you now feeling the symptoms of FlipGrid Fever?
At the end of every semester, I would have my students study the same redundant way from year to year. I took the packet of questions that correlates to my benchmark, created a similar packet, and handed it to my students. We slowly went through all the questions until we got close to the end of the semester. We finish up just in time for their final semester exam. Last year I took a different approach. I did not reinvent the wheel. I just took what I was already doing and added some tech.
Use Google Slides for Review
Having students collaborate on Google Slides is a great way to engage students in studying for benchmark exams.
Google Slides and other Google drive apps allow for real time collaboration. My thought process here was to let us work as a large team to create a study guide instead of everyone studying individually. I took my trusty ol' packet of questions and created a slide for every single question. Once the questions were in their respective spots I shared the Slides presentation with my students and had them jump to their respective slide. Each team was responsible for creating one slide that taught the process for solving that given question. What was even better about this was that at the end of the activity we had a full fledged study guide which I posted on Edmodo. My students could now review as much as they liked.
Hangout with another Teacher
Why not try using a Google Hangout with another teacher in your subject content area. Have some questions prepared and advance. Try playing Jeopardy style and see which class can answer the most questions correctly.
I have written about this topic with my friend and colleague, John Stevens, here. This was a fun little project that we undertook that went really well. We created a college basketball type bracket with our students, take a look at the results here.
Essentially we used our iPads and several Google Hangouts to have students compete against each other. John's class was 8th grade Algebra, and my class was 9th grade Algebra. I felt my students were really motivated and eager to get to the competition. I was still using the questions from the Benchmark study guide but my students had a very motivating reason to finish: "not losing to an 8th grader". The more prepared they were, the better their chances were in the competition. Below you will find the end result of our little experiment.