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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Share to Classroom - Get Your Students on the Same Webpage With Ease

One of the most frustrating experiences you can have in a classroom is trying to get twenty-seven kids to land on the same webpage at the same time. Nothing can kill the momentum of a lesson like having to spend five minutes saying, "click here" or "you mistyped the address" to a bunch of students while the rest of the class is ready to move forward. Over the years I've put shortened URLs on my whiteboard for kids to copy, posted links on my blog and told students to go there to click a link, and I've used QR codes to direct students to webpages. While all three methods have been helpful, none has been perfect. Now there is a new method that I'm excited to try.

Share to Classroom is a new Google Chrome extension designed to make easy for teachers to direct students to specific webpages. With the Share to Classroom extension installed you will be able to push webpages to your students' devices by simply opening the extension and specifying which of your Google Classroom classes you want to receive the page. Students do not need to do anything because the page will automatically load in their web browsers. You can also have students push pages to you. 

For Share to Classroom to work both the teacher and students need to have the extension installed. And, of course, both teachers and students will have be signed into their Google Accounts associated with Google Classroom.

GAFE domain administrators can install the extension for all users in their domains by following the directions outlined here.

Take a Virtual Tour of the National Constitution Center on Constitution Day

September 17th is Constitution Day in the United States. If you're looking for an activity to do with your students on that day, consider joining Discovery Education for two live virtual events. The first event is a town hall meeting with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Justice Breyer will answer questions from students at 12pm Eastern Time during the virtual event.

The second Constitution Day virtual event that Discovery is hosting is a virtual tour of the National Constitution Center. The virtual tour will be include a conversation with Judge Marjorie O. Rendell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. This virtual event will start at 1:30pm Eastern Time on September 17th.

You can register for both events here

Disclosure: Discovery is an advertiser on this blog.

The Physics of Guitars

Back in May TED -Ed published a lesson about how sound is produced through brass instruments. Recently, they released a similar lesson about the physics of playing a guitar. The high notes of the lesson are focused on how notes and chords are produced and how the sound travels from acoustic and electric guitars. The lesson also explains the significance of guitar frets and how those make a guitar different from other stringed instruments like the violin. The lesson's video is embedded below.


I've added The Physics of Playing Guitar to my list of my favorite TED-Ed science lessons.

25 Ideas for Using ClassDojo This Year

If you're a ClassDojo user, you probably received the same email I did this morning in which they shared the ClassDojo Idea Board. In case you missed it, the ClassDojo Idea Board small site featuring 25 ways to use ClassDojo. The Idea Board has four sections; getting started, connect parents, engage students, and tips. Many of the items on the Idea Board have been featured in other ClassDojo promotions, but now they're consolidated into one place.

I think the best use of ClassDojo is to promote and recognize the good things that students do. That idea is featured in the video embedded below.

Plickers Adds New Features to Help You Organize Your Classes and Questions

Plickers is one of my favorite tools for quickly gathering feedback from students. Students hold up QR codes (I have mine laminated) to respond to your prompts. You use your iOS or Android device to scan the students' cards and see their answers on your screen. This method allows you to have all students respond to your questions without their classmates knowing their answers because all they see are their classmates holding cards that look nearly identical. Since it launched eighteen months ago, Plickers has become quite popular in schools.

Recently, Plickers added a couple of helpful new features for teachers. You can now create folders inside your Plickers account. Creating folders will allow you to organize your saved questions. The other update is a new questions queue that you can utilize for each of the classes you've created in your Plickers account. The questions queue will allow you to arrange questions into the sequence in which you plan to use them during a class meeting or over the course of multiple class meetings.

Applications for Education
These updates to Plickers don't change anything about how students will use Plickers. However, the enhanced organization features could help your class run a little more smoothly when you do decide to use Plickers to gather responses from students.