01.22.2017

3 Easy Ways to Incorporate Self-Paced Learning with Google Slides, even if you’re not “techy” (Instructional Technology)

 

I have recently been encouraged to integrate self-paced lessons into my classroom. Honestly, this stemmed from a class full of accommodations that really made it difficult for us to be successful in a whole-group lesson setting. My idea for self-paced note-taking was mostly focused on my inclusion classes, but it turns out that it’s successful for my honors/gifted classes as well, but for different reasons. I try to limit the amount of lecture and note taking in my class, BUT we all know it has to happen at some point or another! Google Slides has made my life a whole heck of a lot easier, especially with self-paced learning. If you need to differentiate between classes, you can EASILY use your Slides as task cards, printed practice, or a whole-group activity. 

Here are some options: 

  • Self-Paced Note-Taking or Vocabulary (DEVICE NEEDED FOR Ss): Index or Menu Slide with links to concepts for notes or vocabulary words; Ss can choose the words at random or by the list. Push to Ss through Google Classroom. 
    • Add your narration! While you can’t really add an “audio” file into the slide like you can on PowerPoint, you can still add a link to an audio file (online-voice-recorder.com will save the file directly to your Drive, giving you a “share link”). Another option to add narration is to turn your Slides into a screencast. 

 

  • Self-Paced Checking (NO DEVICE NEEDED FOR Ss): Feel like you’re losing your class when you’re checking a long assignment, like a study guide?? For me, this is when a lot of discipline issues arose in my classroom, but I needed them to have the correct answers in order to study.
    • Here’s How:
      • In Google Slides, use one slide per question/prompt. 
      • Print 6 slides per page in portrait view, staple, to give to Ss
      • “Make a Copy” of Slides and add in ANSWERS (still one per slide)
      • Print 1 slide per page and write the prompt number on the back — HINT: Write the number upside down so Ss can just flip it up; just check after your first few 
      • Hang around the room/hallway number facing out (answer against the wall) — Remember to check to make sure the answer isn’t upside down! 
      • As Ss finish, have them get “approved” by you to begin checking their work (to make sure they don’t just copy as they’re checking) — have them check with a highlighter or pen so you know they aren’t changing their answers. 
      • Ss check by finding the number and flipping the card up to view the correct answer. You can even have a score breakdown posted, so they can write their score. This way, you can record the grade during class and Ss can take home to study. 
    • Need a Word Bank?? No problem! Here’s How: 
      • Follow same steps as before, BUT when you’re making your answer key, you’ll need to type the word (in large font) in the top half and the correlating prompt in the bottom half. — See picture below! 
      • Instead of writing the prompt numbers, you’ll just fold the paper in half and tape with the vocabulary word facing outward. I recommend hanging all in your classroom, so Ss don’t have to move around until they’re checking. 

Things to consider:

  • Management- For this to be successful, it is important to keep Ss checking their work silent to respect that others are still working. 
  • Fast-Finishers- Because this is self-paced, you will have some finish before others. You’ll need to have a plan for this. I usually write a “To-Do List” on the board and tell Ss at the beginning of class that they’re on their own pace, but they have ____ time to complete. 
  • Survey your kids- Find out how they feel about self-paced learning and why! When we try something really new, I’ll usually give a short survey and, since they’re middle schoolers, they’re pretty honest. Why not ask? Here is a survey I’ve used with my students

In the documents above, there are links to samples and video tutorials!  

Happy Self-Paced Learning!

 

 

01.22.2017

Maximize your Workflow in Follow-Up Support (Coaching Advice)

 

 

I’m always a fan of time-savers, and this is a MAJOR time-saver! Providing IMMEDIATE follow-up support after coaching is key in ensuring your teachers know that you are on their side and that you are valuable to them. This can be pretty easy (time-wise) after one-on-one coaching, but a bit overwhelming after large group workshops or multi-session workshops. I recently hosted a workshop that consisted of eight different sessions throughout one day in which teachers were required to attend at least one session. Because of other meetings going on during the day (gotta love in-service days!), some teachers were only able to attend certain sessions. I wanted to provide ALL hand-outs and materials for EACH session to everyone, even if they did not attend. I put all of these up on our Google Classroom for PD, but knowing my teachers, I knew I needed to email them also. Here comes my MAJOR time-saver…drumroll, please…AUTOCRAT! 

Autocrat is a mail-merge-type of Google Sheets add-on that allows you to send customized (with data based on Google Form submissions) document IMMEDIATELY after the user submits the form! There are so many uses for this…workshop summaries, certificates, PLC agendas, giving students automatic feedback (if they have email access), sending bulk letters of any kind, and I’m sure you can think of a hundred more! 

The first time I used Autocrat, I used it to send a summary of my teachers’ recent technology workshop sessions. This summary was important because teachers were required to attend at least one session, so this gave them a sense of “evidence” of attending. I customized and sent out 47 documents in less than 10 minutes. Say whaaaat??!! When I say customized, I mean you can not only customize the data in the document, but you can also customize the name of the document (<<Name>>’s Summary), the email that will be sent out, and it even saves all of the documents to a folder in YOUR Google Drive. Told you, it’s a major time-saver! 

The document above is a How-To-Guide for Autocrat with links to screencasts and other tutorials. Enjoy!

Happy Merging! 

 

01.04.2017

Google FAQs and Keyboard Shortcuts (Instructional Technology)

I created this resource based on common questions/issues from both teachers and students while using Google products. All links go to either a step-by-step page or a screencast. Additionally, I added some of my favorite keyboard shortcuts. Feel free to share with teachers or students 🙂 Enjoy!

Happy Googling! 

01.03.2017

HyperDocs in the Classroom (Instructional Technology)

 

What is a HyperDoc?

HyperDocs are a way to house multimedia sources in one place for your students. Typically, HyperDocs contain links, images, or videos, or a combination. My favorite aspect of HyperDocs is that we can allow our students to have more CHOICE and COLLABORATION in their assignments in a much easier way than we could have before HyperDocs. 

HyperDoc “Must-Haves”

HyperDocs MUST have a few key elements to avoid being a glorified worksheet your students complete on a Chromebook. An easy way to guide your development of a HyperDoc is to consider the {4Cs}: Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity, and Collaboration. I would like to add a 5th “C” to our list: Choice. While it’s ideal to have all 5Cs in your HyperDoc, that may not be realistic in every case.  I recommend starting small for your first HyperDoc, and building from there.

For your first HyperDoc, maybe you could focus on “Choice” and “Communication” or “Choice” and “Critical Thinking”.  

Here are suggestions for meeting 5Cs: 

1. Communication: Include a link to a site like {Padlet} or a “shared” Google Doc to allow Ss to communicate with each other about their learning. 

2. Critical Thinking: Ask questions or guide students to apply the information they have just learned by using higher DOK leveled questions. 

3. Creativity: This aspect can be focused more on the “product” your students are creating to demonstrate mastery, not necessarily in your HyperDoc. However, you can use your creative skills by ensuring the HyperDoc is appealing and engaging for your students! 

4. Collaboration: To extend your assignment, you could include a link of a “Partner’s List” for your students to collaborate in their assignment. You could also give Ss the opportunity to work together to demonstrate content mastery. Similarly to the “Creativity” step, this aspect can be focused more on the product your students are creating. 

5. Choice: My favorite “C”! Choice can be provided in the way in which your Ss gain knowledge and in the way in which they demonstrate mastery of the content. A great tool to use with choice in content delivery is {OneTab}. You can provide a link to your OneTab on the HyperDoc and allow the Ss to choose from the list. To provide choice to Ss to demonstrate mastery of the content, you could provide a link to a BINGO-type choice board. 

Refer back to the HyperDoc Checklist in the beginning of this post 🙂 

Tips

1. Type your HyperDoc in a “table” format. Put links in one column, questions/prompts in one column, and a place for S answers in another column.  Providing a BOX for student responses has been the easiest way for my students to use. 

2.Don’t reinvent the wheel! Use a template that’s already been created. Click {here} for templates. 

3. Start small to avoid being overwhelmed. 

4. Test your HyperDoc links! Sounds silly, but be sure ALL of your links work properly before pushing out to your Ss. Also, if your school uses a filter for videos, be sure to get approval before pushing out to your students. 

5. Give Student Surveys. Use Google Forms to survey the effectiveness of your HyperDoc from your S’s perspective- see what Ss liked or disliked; ask if your Ss thought it was “easy-to-use”. 

Other Resources for HyperDocs

Click the links below to access additional resources. 

  1. YouTube Tutorials 
  2. Templates
  3. Video/Podcast
  4. How to Upgrade your Worksheet to Include the 4Cs

 

Happy Creating! 

01.03.2017

Padlet as Step-by-Step List or Formative Assessment (Instructional Technology)

My most common uses for Padlet with my 7th graders is as a To-Do list for a self-paced activity and as a formative assessment. Above is an embedded How-to-Guide on setting up both of these. You may also click {here} for a digital copy 🙂 

Padlet as a To-Do List

Because we do a lot of self-paced learning, I ask my students to follow a specific “to-do list”. Before Padlet, I was writing this to-do list on the board, but sometimes I would have a different to-do list for different classes, and having both on the board would cause major confusion. Now, I use Padlet for my to-do lists! [Click {here} to view one of my to-do lists for a self-paced lesson} 

Here is a short list of my favorite perks: 

  1. Easy-to-Read format (step one is on the top, step two is under, etc.)
  2.  Add videos or images to aid in your instruction 
  3.  Add links to sites students need to visit to complete their assignment. 

 

Padlet as a Formative Assessment

Padlet is SUCH an easy way to gather a quick formative assessment. Students just click and begin typing! Click {here} to see an example from my class. 

Here is a short list of my favorite perks: 

  1. All student responses are in ONE window –> HUGE grading time-saver! 
  2. Print or Export feature for easy grading –> Another HUGE grading time-saver!
  3. Student engagement (for some, it’s quicker than writing their assessment on paper and turning in). 
  4. Collaboration- If you give Ss choices in their responses, other Ss are able to read the different responses after approval. 
  5. Moderation Mode- As the “moderator,” you have the ability to leave a comment (by editing directly in their response- I use all caps, so they know what to delete) on the S’s response for them to correct BEFORE “approving” it for all Ss to read. 

Tips: 

  1. I recommend setting your Padlet to “Moderate” mode. This way, you, the teacher, has control over what other Ss see. Only “approved” posts will be displayed on everyone’s screen. 
  2. For the “layout”, I recommend the GRID setting. From experience, FREEFORM gets way too crazy and disorganized for my taste- especially for grading. 
  3. If you have multiple classes, you may want to create a separate Padlet for each class so it doesn’t get too crowded. 
  4. Add the link to Google Classroom for Ss to have easy access. 
  5. You may also customize the url for your Padlet. 

Happy Posting! 

Padlet How To Guide

12.18.2016

Needs Assessment (Coaching Advice)

When beginning your journey as an Instructional Technology Coach (or anytime you are coaching a new group of people), it is imperative to assess your colleague’s needs. One thing we, as educators, can agree on is that not all Professional Development (PD) is relevant to our immediate needs. A couple surveys before your first workshop can greatly influence the receptiveness of your colleagues to your ideas. In my experience, I began coaching my fellow teachers (of three years). While I knew my fellow teachers very well (we’re a small faculty of about 45) and had developed a relationship with most, I still felt the need to reach out with a survey, not only to get a peek into their minds, but also to let them know that I care about their wants and their needs. 

I (along with some of my colleagues) developed two surveys that I think will help you gain a vast amount of insight.

Survey One: Adopter Level Survey- This survey will give you insight to the openness of your colleagues to new tools and to technology integration into their classroom. 

Adopter Level Survey

Survey Two: LoTi Level Survey- This survey will give you insight to the levels of technology use in your colleagues classroom.

LoTi Level Survey

**HOW TO MAKE A COPY OF THESE SURVEYS: Clicking the images will bring you to a Google Sheets of an empty responses (once you sign-in and click “Make a Copy”). To edit or view the Google Form from the Sheets, you will need to click “Form” (top banner), then click either “Edit Form” or “Go to Live Form”. Your Form will be ready to use!

**BE SURE TO: Make your colleagues aware that these surveys are NOT a “gotcha”, rather a tool to help you, their coach, plan your workshops to best fit their needs. Having a “Partnership” approach with your colleagues is key to your success. 

Both surveys reflect concepts based on Jim Knight’s “Partnership Approach” outlined in his book, Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction. 

Happy Surveying! 

12.12.2016

Embedded Table of Contents (Teacher Websites)

An embedded Table of Contents has been a game-changer in my Interactive Notebook World. This may sound dramatic, but GONE are the days of me printing and re-printing (and, then, re-printing again) mounds of copies of random IN pages and sitting with students during my planning to catch up their missing pages. Absolutely gone! Now, my students go to my website and print missing pages off themselves on their own time. #Accountability 

I chose to embed my Table of Contents rather than making it directly into my website portal because of the simplicity of Google Slides. I made my ToC in Google Slides because it’s much easier to edit, and I don’t have to do as much clicking to get to it. Ain’t nobody got time for extra clicking around!

To keep my ToC up-to-date, I type my entries and then hyperlink the assignment name to the document (image, pdf, answer key, etc.). Hyperlinks are key to making this your game-changer. This may sound like more work than you want to do upfront, but it’s a lot less time than re-printing and copying those random pages and guiding students through their INs. I use the Scannable App to quickly upload a picture (which it converts to pdf) to my Google Drive, which gives me the link to add to my Table of Contents. This definitely increases my workflow with adding links! {Another tip to linking is a keyboard shortcut: in Drive, click on the file (until it’s blue) and press the “period” key to open your Share Settings.}

The link above will lead you to a tutorial video I made for my fellow teachers that will take you step-by-step in embedding your Table of Contents. 

Happy Embedding! 

11.30.2016

Sending anything Google through Remind App (Instructional Technology)

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I cannot explain my enthusiasm for this discovery. Seriously, I felt like I found a loophole- and who doesn’t love a loophole?! Here’s how this came about…

I gave a test and it went terribly. Basically, technology failed me, and the test I gave didn’t update (I may or may not have pressed “save”). It was awful- the test was invalid. <insert panic-mode here> We needed a retest right away. Because I have lots of supportive parents, I needed to get this information out to them as soon as possible– like… before the kids had a chance to text them that they failed the test!

As you probably know, Remind notifications have a text limit because it arrives as a text message. For this instance, I needed to send more of a “letter” with hyperlinked resources than a short “text”. I went to my go-to: Google Slides (BTW- I’m addicted to Slides). There, I wrote my letter, added hyperlinks for resources, and made it pretty. Then I used the Google Share Settings to add the link to my Remind text! It worked! Voila! Parents (and students) received my message about the retest before the buses left the middle school! #Success 

The link above is a step-by-step guide displaying how to send your Google product through the Remind App 🙂

Happy Reminding!

11.30.2016

OneTab Chrome Extension (Instructional Technology)

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My new FAVORITE Chrome Extension is…drumroll, please…OneTab!
Here’s what it does: OneTab converts all of your open tabs to a list. You can, then, name the list and share the list. You can have multiple lists going in your OneTab list to keep it separate and organized.

How I use it: I know you can think of a million reasons this is useful for your own personal organization, so I’ll just share how I use it with my students. Basically, I share groups of website links with OneTab through Google Classroom.

For example, if I need my students to do research, but want to limit the websites they’re using, I’ll share the list I’ve created with OneTab. Another example is to give my students a list of YouTube videos to choose from to gain the information. You know our students love to make their own choices! The third way that I’ve used OneTab with my students is when we had a project that had multiple links they needed to visit (padlet, wiki, etc.). It’s just an easy (and organized) way to share a list of links with your students!

The How-to-Guide takes you step-by-step through using OneTab to share links with your students through Google Classroom.

Happy Sharing!

11.29.2016

Gaining Efficiency with Gmail Groups (Instructional Technology)

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Organize your contacts into groups you use often in Gmail. My technology workshops are geared towards all content teachers, but I also had to schedule workshops for our SpEd teachers. My inclusion SpEd teachers and my self-contained SpEd teachers had different planning periods, making scheduling our workshops challenging. I was able to maximize efficiency when I discovered Gmail Contact Groups!
I made separate groups for my teachers. Contacts can be added to multiple groups, so I’m able to have all sorts of groups! I have one for all teachers, separate teams of teachers, SpEd Inclusion, SpEd Self-Contained, etc.

These groups also carry over to Google Calendar…YAY! Major time-saver. I can create events and add guests by groups. Gmail will also allow me to send them notifications if I make changes to the events.

The How-to-Guide is something I made for our SpEd teachers, who have to schedule IEP Meetings, our counselor, who schedules 504 and Attendance Meetings, our secretary, and our para who helps us with ISS, who gathers work for ISS students. The links go to screencasts which can help give you a visual 🙂

 

Happy Grouping!