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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

5 Topics to Cover Early This Year On Your Classroom Blog

The new school year is here and you might be trying to get a new classroom blog rolling or get your old one going again. Either way, one of the best ways to get parents to read your classroom blog early and often is to give them the information they need at the beginning of the school year. I'm not talking about things like "who do I call for early dismissal?" but the kind of information they might not even know they want. Here are five topics that fit that description.

1. How to supervise your child's web use at home.

2. Privacy settings on school-provided laptops/ Chromebooks/ iPads/ tablets. Consider adding screenshots or a screencast video illustrating those settings. Screencast-o-matic.com and Nimbus Screenshot are great tools for making screencast videos.

3. Tasty and healthy snacks to send to school with your child (Pinterest is a great source for ideas, just make sure you give proper attribution).

4. How to talk to kids about bullying. You might consider linking to some of these resources from Common Sense Media.

5. A glossary of Tween/ teen slang vocabulary. Consider posting this as a Google Doc that automatically updates as you update it throughout the school year (we all know how quickly Tween/teen slang evolves).

Need help developing more blog post topics? Take a look at my secret method for developing blog post topics. 

Making Connections - Free Webinar Next Monday

Too often our students look at the subjects they study in school as isolated sets of facts to be learned. This is due in part to the traditional formatting of textbooks. It's partly due to the nature of all print resources. That's why tools like Kids Discover Online's Discover Maps were created.

Next Monday at 4pm EST I am hosting a free webinar during which we will look at using Kids Discover Online and sound research strategies to help students see the connections between topics across multiple subject areas. The webinar is designed with elementary and middle school students in mind.

Register for the webinar here

The webinar will be recorded for those who cannot attend the live session. 

Free Webinar - Telling Stories & Illustrating Concepts With Storyboards

This Thursday afternoon at 4pm EST I am hosting a free webinar all about using storyboards to tell stories and illustrate concepts. In this webinar sponsored by Storyboard That you will learn how students can use storyboards to:
  1. Create comic strips. 
  2. Design presentations. 
  3. Illustrate processes and concepts. 
  4. Analyze literature. 
  5. Tell their personal stories in a safe environment.

The webinar will be recorded for those who cannot attend the live session.

You can familiarize yourself with some of what Storyboard That offers by watching my tutorial videos that are available here.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Reminder - Real World Problems = Problems That Matter to Students

As the new school year gets rolling many of us will be considering using problem-based learning to engage our students in learning experiences. Some of us will try to incorporate "real world problems." When we do so we have to remember that what we think of as "real world problems" are always "real world problems" to our students. I was reminded of this as I went through my notes from a workshop that I ran earlier this year. In that workshop we brainstormed some of the problems that matter to our students. Here are five of the problems that were mentioned during that workshop (I wrote these notes in the voice of a student):

  • Make/ save money for tuition. 
  • How can I get more people to notice my YouTube channel?
  • Keep toes warm while waiting for the school bus. 
  • What's for lunch (and healthy)?
  • Review apps or site that makes sense to me. 

5 Things You Can Learn in Tomorrow's Practical Ed Tech Webinar

Last week on Practical Ed Tech I hosted Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners. The webinar sold out and many people have since asked if I was going to host it again. So by popular demand I'm hosting it again tomorrow at 4pm EST. There are five main items that will be addressed during the webinar.
  • Two ways to create self-grading quizzes. 
  • How to create self-paced guided video review activities. 
  • Simple methods to streamline emailing personalized updates to parents and students. 
  • How to easily keep track of classroom materials through the use of Forms and Sheets. 
  • Methods for creating and managing activity registration forms.



Yes, this will be recorded and distributed to those who register but cannot attend during the live session.