Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Week In Review - Riding the Wave

The beach in Gimli, Manitoba
Good morning from Maine where I am home after spending a few days in Gimli, Manitoba at the Riding the Wave of Change conference. A big thank you to the conference organizers for inviting me and to everyone that came to my presentations. It was a pleasure to connect with people I have known online for years and to meet new people. It's making connections that make conferences fun.

Traveling to Manitoba took a bit more out of me than I anticipated so the posting here was a little slower this week. I'll be back on regular posting schedule next week.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 20 Good Map Creation Tools for Students
2. What2Learn - Create Your Own Review Games
3. Thousands of Elementary School Math Practice Activities Aligned to Common Core Standards
4. How to Eliminate Choices as They're Used on Google Forms
5. 12 Good Tools for Creating End-of-Year Review Activities
6. A Short Summary of Best Practices for Using Images in Blog Posts
7. Three Helpful Updates to the Google Classroom iPad & Android Apps

PD Opportunities With Me
Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Seven Steps for Creating Videos In Your Classroom

On page 76 of Invent To Learn Stager and Martinez write, "The movie can be done without a storyboard or script, the 3D object may not be the most precisely planned out, but the point is to create something that can be shared and talked about." Later in the same chapter they advise avoiding overteaching planning as it can stifle stifle creativity in some students.  

For years my outline for student video projects was outline, gather, construct, revise, and share. In fact, just yesterday I shared that outline in a presentation. After reading and reflecting on Stager and Martinez's advice I'm changing my outline. We're well aware that most students when given some time will figure out how to use a video editing tool. We don't need to spend lots of time teaching that as most of our kids will be biting their tongues as we fumble with things they already know how do or at least feel confident that they can do. Therefore, my new process is as outlined below. (Bear in mind, this is a process for videos that will have a finished length of five minutes or less).

1. Create - let the kids have a crack at making their videos. If some students have a nature inclined to planning first, let them. If others want to jump into the process right away, that's great too. When I make screencast videos I don't always plan them first, I just make them. If the first attempt doesn't result in a polished work, that's okay because now I know what I need to change for the next attempt.

2. Reflect - take a look at what was made. What is good about it? What needs to be changed?

3. Outline - create that outline or storyboard now that you know what to keep and what to change.

4. Create - this is the second attempt at the video.

5. Revise - take a look at what the second attempt at creation yielded. Revise the outline again for the next round of editing or re-shooting.

6. Create - this is the second round of editing or it could be a complete re-shoot of a video.

7. Share - when you're happy with your video (it may take many more rounds of steps 5 and 6) share it with the world. Share it on Next Vista for Learning, YouTube, your classroom blog, or anywhere else that there is a potential audience for your work.

CK-12 Brainflex - A Summer Program for Math and Science Practice

The CK-12 Foundation recently announced the creation of the CK-12 Brainflex Summer Challenge. The challenge, which will begin in about a month, is a free program that students can use to practice math and science skill reviews. Students' progress on their chosen skill reviews is recorded for them in their CK-12 accounts. The CK-12 Summer Challenge is self-paced and students choose the subjects that they want to review.

Applications for Education
Teachers can send invitations to students to participate in the CK-12 Summer Challenge. With those invitations teachers can include suggestions for subjects to review. CK-12 also provides a template for a letter to send home to parents with suggestions on subjects for their children to review over the summer. That letter could be sent to the parents of the students moving on from your classroom this summer or to the parents of the students you're expecting to see in the fall.

12 Good Tools for Creating End-of-Year Review Activities

As the weather warms the end of the school year is on many of our brains. This is the time of year that we think about activities that we can do to help students review the school year. At this time of the year I start to get a lot of requests for suggestions for tools to create review activities. The tools presented in the slides below can be used to create online games, iPad games, video quizzes, and interactive classroom exercises that engage students in reviewing the year's lessons.

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.