Thursday, May 7, 2015

Making Observations With "Photo a Day" Projects

Last spring I shared the #mathphotoaday project started by Ms. Bettess's 3B Bees classroom. This morning Ms. Bettes was in the room for my keynote at Riding the Wave.  I gave her shout-out as a model of sharing school projects.

As I thought about the #mathphotoaday project the rest of the day I realized that the concept applies to other areas too. The idea of a photo a day project is to have students take and share one picture per day for a month about ideas related to a topic. The #mathphotoaday project asked kids to take pictures that demonstrated math concepts. You could do the same with topics in science, social studies, and language arts too. In science you might have them take pictures about phases of the moon or changes in seasons. In social studies you might ask students to take pictures about government in action. And in language arts students could take pictures representative of new vocabulary words they're learning.

Sharing the pictures in a photo a day project could be done in a variety of ways. Depending upon the age of your students and your school's policies you might have students use a hashtag and share pictures on Instagram or Twitter. You could also have them share pictures on a group blog. A moderated Padlet wall is another option for sharing images.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Three Helpful Updates to the Google Classroom iPad & Android Apps

Today, Google had some good news for teachers who use their GAFE accounts on their iPads, tablets, and phones. Google Classroom has become more mobile-friendly through three key updates. First, you can now grade assignments, including entering comments, from your phone or tablet. Second, you can now create and edit assignments on your Android or iOS device. And third, you can snap a picture and add it to an assignment through your phone or tablet.
Image courtesy of Google Classroom program management.

You can learn more about how these new features work in the Google Classroom Help Center. The help center also provides a comparison of the web and mobile interfaces of Google Classroom.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What2Learn - Create Your Own Review Games

This morning David Petrie reminded me about a post that I wrote five years ago on building your own review games. In doing so he pointed out that one of the resources was offline. I then took some time to revisit the other resources in that post. One of those was What2Learn.

What2Learn is a site offering lots of review games on topics in math, science, social studies, and language arts. Most of the games are of the question and answer variety. Students can play the games without registering on the site. While it is nice to have a place to find games, the reason I'm bringing up What2Learn is to point out the option for building your review games.

On the What2Learn Game Machine you can select from sixteen game templates to use as the framework for your game. You can play a sample game representative of each template before you begin building your game. Once you've chosen a template all that you have to do is input the questions or prompts you want to use and the correct responses. What2Learn does review each game for content before it is live on the site. The review process can take 24 hours. If you don't want to wait for your game to be reviewed you can purchase a premium What2Learn Game Machine account.

Applications for Education
If you already have a list of questions and answers, perhaps from an old quiz, then building a review game on What2Learn Game Machine won't take long at all. The advantage of creating your own game compared to relying on pre-made games is that you can customize the content of the game to directly match your curriculum.

Thousands of Elementary School Math Practice Activities Aligned to Common Core Standards sounds like it is just another website hosting math games for kids. Scroll down below the games and you will find dozens of practice exercises aligned to K-8 Common Core math standards. On each exercise page students will find a virtual scratch pad on which they can work out the answers to the problems presented to them. On some of the exercises students will be shown an explanation of the correct answer if they have answered incorrectly.

To access the practice activities on scroll past the games section and select a grade level. After choosing a grade you will be taken to a complete list of the Common Core math standards for that grade. Choose any of the standards and a set of ten practice problems for that standard will appear on your screen.

Applications for Education offers a teacher dashboard service through which you can view students' progress. You can register for a teacher account through Edmodo, with your Google account, or you can create an account with your email address.

Tips for Using the Site Operator in Google Search

When teaching search strategies to students I teach them how to limit search results to a specific top-level domain. From there we move on to using the site operator to search within a site. Thanks to a recent post by Daniel Russell I have a new resource to share with students when they are learning about using the site search operator. Google Tools for Media: Advanced Search Tips is all about how to use the site operator in conjunction with other search parameters. The video is embedded below.

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