Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May Flowers - A Writing Lesson

Disclousure: BoomWriter is an advertiser on this blog. 

Every month BoomWriter publishes a new writing lesson plan related to the season. This month's lesson plan is about plants. The lesson plan includes a botany vocabulary sheet, a list of standards, and steps for conducting the lesson through BoomWriter. This lesson is appropriate for students in grades four through eight.

The idea behind using BoomWriter for this lesson is to have students practice using vocabulary terms in context. Through BoomWriter you can assign word lists to students then monitor their progress as they work toward using each word correctly. You can provide feedback to students through your teacher dashboard on BoomWriter.

If you haven't tried BoomWriter or WordWriter before, check out my demonstration videos embedded below. The first video shows just the perspective of the teacher. The second video shows the perspective of a student receiving an assignment.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Six Styles of Classroom Video Projects - A Handout

The process of creating and publishing videos can be a great way to get students excited about researching, storytelling, and sharing their work with an audience. For teachers who have never facilitated video creation projects in their classrooms, choosing the right style of video and the right tools can be a bit confusing at first. To help bring clarity to the styles and tools, I have a rather simple outline that I use in my video creation workshops. That outline with suggested tools for creating videos in each style is included in the PDF embedded below. You can download the PDF here.



Wanted! Guest Bloggers

Once a year I put out a call for guest bloggers and share those posts for a week. This year, I'm going to run those posts during the week of June 1st. Over the last six years I've had some awesome guest bloggers share their knowledge and experience with us. If you would like to be a guest blogger please read on and complete the form below.

I'm looking for guest bloggers who can share current (2014/2015) experiences of using technology in their schools. Guest bloggers should be current classroom teachers, teacher-librarians, technology integration coaches, or school-level administrators. I would like to share stories of trying new things (apps, websites, strategies) and what you and your students learned from the experience. If you can tell the story in 600 words or less, that's a bonus. While I cannot pay you for your post, I will include links to your blog or website as well as a short bio about you. Past guest bloggers have reported still getting traffic to their blogs more than a year after their posts appeared.

Please note that the last time I put out a call for guest bloggers, more than 100 people responded in 48 hours. I wish that I could publish all of the posts, but I simply cannot do that. I'll select 25 to 30 posts at the most. I will send notifications to accepted guest bloggers by May 25th.


How to Adjust the Chat Settings in Remind

Last week Remind turned on the chat feature for all teachers who use their free text messaging service to communicate with students and parents. Using the chat feature is optional. You can turn it on or off for specific classes within your account. You can also set times for when you will or will not be available to chat. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to adjust the chat settings.

Smells Like Rain - A Science Lesson

Last week Why Are There Clouds? was one of the most popular posts on the Free Tech for Teachers Facebook page. A good follow-up to that lesson is found in Where Does the Smell of Rain Come From? Produced by It's Okay to Be Smart, Where Does the Smell of Rain Come From? explains why we sometimes think we smell rain before a thunderstorm. Through the video we also learn about the role of petrichor in the lives of some animals.


It's Okay to Be Smart includes a list of references with each video. Open the description below the video on YouTube to find links to the references.

Applications for Education
At this time of year in the northern hemisphere we start to have more thunderstorms and large rain storms. This lesson is one that students can share with friends and family when they say, "it smells like rain."

To use this video as part of a flipped lesson, try one of these six good tools for creating flipped video lessons.