Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Real Value of Google Forms, Sheets, and Add-ons

The first time that I figured out how to make a quiz in Google Forms, I was hooked. Then Kern Kelley showed me how to use a spreadsheet to automatically grade those quizzes (this was long before Flubaroo or even the idea of Add-ons) and I was in love. Those tools made it much quicker to score formative assessments, but more importantly it gave me more time to talk with my students and more time to spend on developing creative lesson ideas. 

In the years since I first used Google Forms and Sheets the tools have been refined and more options have been added. Along the way it has become easier to streamline other routine teacher tasks like emailing updates to parents, providing feedback on summative assessments, and even keeping track of classroom materials. Tutorials for many of those things can be found in the short videos on my YouTube channel. But if you desire more direct instruction with the opportunity to ask me questions directly, join me tomorrow for Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners

Discovery Education Announces New Virtual Events for Students

This winter Discovery Education will be hosting a series of virtual events for students. The content of the events range from the Inauguration of a President to the Super Bowl to a Pi Day celebration. The event titles, dates, and classroom registration links are listed below.

MLK Jr. Day Virtual Viewing Party January 13th at 1pm ET

Inauguration Virtual Experience January 19th at 1pm ET

NFL Live Experience at Super Bowl LI January 31st at 1pm ET

President's Day Virtual Viewing Party February 17th at 1pm ET

Young Scientist Virtual Field Trip Inside 3M February 23rd at 1pm ET

Pi Day Virtual Experience March 14th at 1pm ET

Disclosure: Discovery Education is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Student Videos Celebrating Service - Cool Projects

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley, the founder of Next Vista for Learning.

Teachers have a love-hate relationship with cool projects. They often find the extra time one requires a burden, but love seeing what the students do when given room to see that they're capable of taking their talents to another level.

This semester, if taking something on to help your students tap their talents in new ways, you might consider having them participate in NextVista.org's Service via Video 2017 contest. The contest challenges them to tell the story of a service effort in their community in two minutes or less.

Here are the finalists from last year.
You might assign or show your students the set and ask them which ones they thought were most compelling and why.

Here's one of the winners from 2015, about the Palo Alto Humane Society:

At core, the goal is to have students learn that when their work can be powerfully helpful for others, they are capable of more quality than they might have thought. And learning that their talents can make a difference in their communities can strengthen their confidence, too!

Learn more at: http://www.nextvista.org/projects/serviceviavideo/info.phtml

WriteReader Offers Suggestions for Post-break Writing Activities

The holiday break is over and a lot of students have stories to tell about what they did in their two weeks away from school. Hearing students tell these stories after a break is one of my favorite things. The folks at WriteReader feel the same way and published a blog post featuring ideas for having elementary students write and record their holiday break stories. Some highlights of their blog post include suggestions for students to write about holiday decorations, family traditions/activities, and favorite holiday food and gifts.

For those who are not familiar with WriteReader, it is a neat multimedia writing platform for elementary school teachers and students. The appeal of WriteReader is found in the collaboration between students and teachers. Students can create multimedia books that teachers log into to correct. As is seen the video below, each page of a book has a space for students to write in and a space for teachers to write in. Teachers use the space on the page to correct spelling errors and or make editing suggestions. WriteReader books can include text, pictures, and voice recordings. Completed WriteReader books can be shared online and can be downloaded as PDFs to print.

Disclosure: WriteReader is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

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