Saturday, September 15, 2018

Making Sense of Spelling - A TED-Ed Lesson

The Vox video about why we say "OK" raises the question of whether you should write "OK," "okay," or "O.K." That's just one of many tricky aspects of spelling in English. The TED-Ed video Making Sense of Spelling explains why some words are spelled the way they are and why some words have multiple spellings. The video is embedded below.

Why We Say "OK" - And Other Lessons on the Origins of Words

A few days ago Vox published a short video that explains the origins of "OK" and how it came to be something that we say, read, and click everyday. By watching the video you can learn where OK originated and the roles of a presidential campaign, the telegraph, and railroads in spreading the use of "OK" until it became commonplace to say it. The video also teaches viewers why some businesses use "K" to replace "C" in product names.


Vox's video about "OK" reminded me Words of the WorldWords of the World is a collection of videos featuring historians and linguists explaining the origins of and history of the use of words in the English language. The videos attempt to put the words into a somewhat modern context. For example this video about the word "guerrilla" makes reference to Che Guevara. The video I've embedded below explains the word "coup."



Applications for Education
Words of the World could be an instructive model for your own lesson combining history and language arts. Have your students pick a word or two that they think is common and research it. Then have them create their own short videos in which they explain the history of those words. You might even have them research the dialect of the areas in which they live. For example, where I live we have a Range Pond. Most people would pronounce that as range, like "home on the range" yet everyone around here pronounces it as rang as in "the bell rang."  I'm not sure why that is the case, but I would love to find out.

H/T to Open Culture for the Vox video. 

Math, Instagram, and Civics - The Week in Review

Good afternoon from Maine where it is a beautiful late summer day. We just got back from a great morning at the Oxford County Fair where my girls enjoyed seeing pigs, goats, sheep, cows, horses, and even an emu! While my daughters nap I am working on some new blog posts.

This week nearly 500 people joined the webinar that I hosted about making handouts through Storyboard That templates. If you missed the webinar, you can view the recording right here on my YouTube channel. Next week I'm hosting a Practical Ed Tech webinar about the new features of Google Classroom and how you can use them in your classroom this year. Click here for more information about that webinar.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Share Math Playground Activities to Google Classroom
2. A Parent's Guide to Instagram - Including a Glossary and Discussion Questions
3. Two New Google Classroom Features That Everyone Has Been Asking For!
4. A Good Site for Vocabulary Lists and Practice Activities
5. The Online Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States
6. Two Interactive Copies of the Constitution for Constitution Day
7. Video Resources for Constitution Day

I'll Come to Your School This Year!
If you would like to have me lead a professional development day at your school during this school year, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com - or click here for more information about my professional development services.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Book Creator is a great tool for creating multimedia books.
Kami is a great tool for annotating and collaborating on PDFs. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Two Ways to Use Google Sheets to Create Reading Logs

Google Forms and Google Sheets are my go-to tools when I need to collect and organize data. One of the things that I often help teachers do with data in Google Forms and Sheets is create progress trackers or reading logs. There are two ways that you can do this. The first method outlined below is the easier method as it simply requires following a template. The second method outlined below is a little more difficult but the benefit is that you can have students or a teacher's aide enter data to record progress toward a stated numerical goal like "read 1,000 pages this month."

Method #1 - Use Flippity's Progress Tracker Template
Flippity offers eighteen templates that you can use in Google Sheets. One of those templates is a progress tracker template. This template will create a sheet into which you enter student names, goals, and the units that you're tracking (pages, minutes, steps, etc). After you enter that data into the template you can publish the sheet and Flippity will provide you with a simple webpage that displays progress as a colored bar graph. Watch my video for step-by-step directions on using Flippity's progress tracker template.




Method #2 - Google Form + Pivot Table in Google Sheets
The benefit of using this method is that you can have students or a teacher's aide enter information into a Google Form and then you will see the the data in a spreadsheet that you can manipulate to see the data in terms of tracking progress toward a goal. The downside to this method is that unless you're willing to share the spreadsheet with students or set your Google Form to "Respondents Can See summary charts and text responses" they won't see their progress unless they ask you for the information. Take a look at my screenshots below for an outline of the steps needed to duplicate my reading log made by using Google Forms and Sheets.

Step 1 - Create a Google Form in which you ask for name, goal, and pages read that day (or week if that's how you'd prefer to track).


Step 2 - Create a Google Sheet of responses.


Step 3 - From the "Data" drop-down menu in Google Sheets select "Pivot Table."


Step 4 - In the right hand menu that appears on the Pivot Table sheet click "Add" next to "Rows"  then select "Your name," "Your goal," and "Number of pages read."

Step 5 - In the right hand menu of the Pivot Table sheet click "Add" next to "values" then choose "number of pages read."

Step 6 - Admire your summarized data.

51 More Constitution Day Resources

Earlier this week I shared some videos and a couple of interactive resources for teaching lessons about the U.S. Constitution on Constitution Day. Constitution Day is this coming Monday and by law all schools receiving federal funds have to offer some kind of instruction on the U.S. Constitution. If you're still looking for some resources to use on Monday, take a look at what Docs Teach has to offer.

DocsTeach has sixteen pre-made Constitution Day activities that you can use today. An additional 35 documents and artifacts about the Constitution can be found through a quick search on DocsTeach.

About DocsTeach
DocsTeach provides you with tools to create online history lessons that are based on primary source documents, images, and videos. There are thirteen templates that you can use to create lessons on the DocsTeach platform. My favorite template is the analysis template that you can use to create lessons that help students learn to analyze documents and images.

The lessons that you create on DocsTeach can be shared with your students through the DocsTeach online environment. You can also share your lessons with colleagues by publishing your lesson to the DocsTeach library.