Tuesday, November 1, 2016

3 Short Lessons About Daylight Saving Time

Where I live there are two clear reminders that winter is coming soon. First, we've had a little bit of snow twice in the last five days. Second, this weekend we're setting our clocks back by one hour. If your state or province practices Daylight Saving Time, you'll be rolling back your clocks before bed and gaining back that hour of sleep you lost in the spring. Students may be wondering about the reasons for Daylight Saving Time. The following videos offer concise explanations of Daylight Saving Time.

A Schedule of Twitter Chats

Participating in a Twitter chat or simply following a specific hashtag can be a good way to connect with other educators for a great exchange of ideas. The challenge for teachers who are new to Twitter is finding Twitter chats and hashtags. Jerry Blumengarten has the solution to that challenge. On Jerry's site you can find a schedule of education Twitter chats. The schedule is written in Google Calendar with times for each chat.

If you would rather just follow a hashtag, Jerry has a list of more than 300 hashtags used by educators on Twitter.

Keeping up with the speed of a Twitter chat can be a challenge for many of us. Tchat.io was created to address that challenge. Tchat.io allows you to enter any hashtag that you want to follow. Through Tchat.io you can follow all of the Tweets associated with a hashtag in real-time or you can hit the pause button if things are going too quickly for you. You can also tell Tchat.io to ignore reTweets for a given hashtag.

Avalon Project + Google Docs = Guided Introduction to Primary Sources

Last night in the #SSChat on Twitter I shared one of my go-to methods for introducing students to reading and analyzing primary source documents. That Tweet received a bunch of likes and other responses. What I shared was, "I use the Avalon Project + Google Docs with high school US history students for primary source guided reading." Twitter isn't always conducive to full explanations of an idea. I've shared the explanation before and I've copied it below too.

Here’s the process for hosting an online discussion about a primary source.
1. Find a digital copy, preferably in the Public Domain, of the primary source document that I want all of my students to read. The Avalon Project is a great place to find primary source documents.

2. Copy and paste the primary source document into a Google Document.

3. Share the document with my students and allow them to comment on the document. I usually use the sharing setting of “anyone with the link” and then post the link on my blog. Alternatively, you could share by entering your students’ email addresses or by posting it in your Google Classroom.

4. I will highlight sections of the primary source document and insert a comment directly attached to the highlighted section. In my comments I will enter discussion prompts for students. They can then reply directly to my comments and each others' comments.

Using this process in a classroom that is not 1:1
If you teach in a classroom that is not 1:1 you can still take advantage of some of this process. Consider having one or two students play the role of note-taker in the Google Document while you are hosting your classroom discussion with all of your students reading the printed version of the article. Have your note-takers tie comments to specific parts of the article. When the activity is over, posted the final set of notes on your classroom blog by selecting “public on the web” in the sharing setting of the Google Document and then post the link on your classroom blog.

Student Stories - ClassDojo Portfolios on Chromebooks, Desktops, and Mobile Devices

A few months ago ClassDojo introduced a new portfolio feature called Student Stories. At the time of its launch Student Stories was only available to use on mobile devices. This morning, ClassDojo announced that Student Stories can now be created on Chromebooks, MacBooks, and Windows computers. Basically, if it has a camera, your students can use it to create digital portfolios in ClassDojo's Student Stories feature.

Student Stories puts students in charge of assembling their portfolios. Their portfolios can include digital work as well as physical work that they take pictures of with a camera on a mobile device or on a laptop. You moderate your students' submissions before anyone can see them. To submit work students simply scan a class QR code then add their submissions. Watch the video embedded below to see how it works. Click here for a PDF of directions on how to use Student Stories.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Month in Review - October's Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where I'm getting ready to fly to the Georgia Educational Technology Conference tomorrow. I'll be speaking there on Wednesday and Thursday. If you're going too, please say hello. Next week I'll be speaking at an event near my hometown in Connecticut.

At the end of every month I post a list of the most frequently read posts of the previous 30 days. This gives me a chance to see what you're interested in and you a chance to see what's trending.

Here are this month's most popular posts:
1. Great Google Drive Add-ons for Teachers - An Updated Handout
2. 10 Important Google Search Strategies for Students - A PDF Handout
3. 10 Ideas for Using Comics In Your Classroom
4. Zing! - Thousands of Free eBooks for Students
5. How to Create Flashcards from a Google Spreadsheet
6. Goo.gl - Save Time, Shorten URLs, and Track Interactions
7. WriteReader - Collaborative Book Creation for Elementary School Classrooms
8. How JoeZoo Express Can Save You Tons of Time Grading in Google Documents
9. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
10. A Cute Video About Email Etiquette for Students

In November I'll be trying out a new way of offering professional development webinars. For the last few years I've offered them as three to five week courses. A lot of people have suggested offering each section of the courses as stand-alone webinars. So this month I'll be offering two one hour webinars. One on formative assessment and one on video creation. Registration will be available on Wednesday.

Need a keynote for your conference? 
Click here to learn about my keynotes and workshops.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Pixton provides a great way to create comics. 
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
SeeSaw is the best platform for creating digital portfolios with K-8 students. 
Math Playground offers hundreds of math games and tutorial videos. 
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.
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.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.