Monday, October 23, 2017

Fun With Formative Assessments

Gauging your students' understanding of the topics you teach is a process that involves discussion, a bit of intuition, and some formative assessment activities. Next Monday afternoon I'm hosting a webinar to introduce you to some fun ways and fun tools to use to conduct formative assessment activities.

In this webinar you will learn how to use free tech tools to create and conduct fun, engaging, and informative formative assessments. Whether you teach elementary school, middle school, or high school, you will come away from this webinar with fun formative assessment activities that you can do the next day.

Fun Formative Assessments addresses the needs of teachers who don't have computers or tablets for every student. And teachers who do have laptops, Chromebooks, or tablets for every student will learn some new ways to have students use those too. Register here.

Five Things You Can Learn In This Webinar:

1. What makes a formative assessment valuable to you while also fun for students.

2. How to create fun formative assessments for classrooms that aren't 1:1.

3. Why you should leverage students' picture-taking habits for formative assessment.

4. Development of engaging formative assessment activities that use a variety of question formats.

5. How to include students in the creation of formative assessments.


The cost of this webinar is $20.

Can't make it to the live webinar? Don't worry because, as long as you register in advance, you can access the recording on-demand the next day.

A note about fees for webinars:
Whenever I advertise a Practical Ed Tech webinar I am asked why they aren't free. There are two reasons. One, hosting professional development events is one of the ways that I am able to keep the lights on at Free Technology for Teachers. Two, while all of the tools featured in my webinars are free to use, my time for teaching about them is not free.

National Mole Day

Mole Day was first celebrated in 1991 by a group of chemistry teachers who wanted to encourage students to see that chemistry is interesting and fun and possibly even consider a career in this field. Mole Day is celebrated from 6:02am to 6:02pm on October 23 to commemorate Avogadro's Number, a basic measuring unit in chemistry.

Here are some resources to help students celebrate Mole Day, which is part of National Chemistry Week.
Check out a couple of additional resources for Mole Day on this previous post.

Play Ball: Teaching Lessons Through Baseball


The World Series begins this week between the Houston Astros and LA Dodgers. This is an exciting time for all baseball fans and there are many different ways to tap into this enthusiasm in your classroom. Baseball can be used to teach different concepts in math and science as well as Language Arts and history. This collection of resources and lesson plans will help you find ways to incorporate America's favorite pastime.

Enjoy this oldie but goodie from Abbot and Costello.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Project Ideas for Primary Students


A primary teacher recently contacted Free Technology For Teachers to get ideas for how to incorporate technology into an activity where her students are learning the different characteristics of mammals. She wants them to be able to create a sort of virtual animal park.

I have several ideas for how this can work. While these options will discuss animals, they can be modified for any subject and grade level. All three of these options make student learning visible and provide students with the opportunity to show what they know.

Option 1: Have students use Adobe Spark Video to create a narrated description of the animals they have selected. Adobe Spark Video is incredibly easy for students to narrate.

Option 2: Students could use a combination of Google Slides and an extension called Talk and Comment. A single slide presentation could be used to house all of the slides and students could record a narration to go along with their slide or slides. The narrations could be added as comments or they could be added on top of the image of the animal.

Option 3: Each student could have their own Google Drawing and upload one or more images to it. They could record their narration using the Talk and Comment extension, then link the recording to the images of their animals.

Three Options for Adding Voice Comments in Google Docs

Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on student learning. In order for feedback to have a positive impact it should be provided in a timely manner, focus on process, and provide ideas for taking action. You can achieve all of these things using typed comments in Google, but why not make even more of an impact by leaving voice comments? This can be a powerful way to motivate and engage students.

  • Kaizena- Easy way to provide high quality voice feedback for students.
  • Read&Write for Google Chrome- Leave voice comments for students inside of Google Docs. Make sure you register for a free teacher account to have this functionality.
  • Talk and Comment- This extension makes it possible to create voice recordings and use them anywhere you can share a URL. To use this extension in Google Docs, simply place the link to your recorded feedback in a comment box and save it. 

Applications for Education 
These tools can be used by students to provide feedback to their peers or to reflect on their own learning. This would be a great way to have students explain items they have included in a digital portfolio.