Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Schedule Individual Online Office Hours Meetings via Google Classroom

A lot of us are hosting online office hours for our students these days. Based on what I've seen from my colleagues as well as folks posting on social media, a lot of people are scheduling an hour of time and just hanging out in a Google Meet or Zoom meeting waiting for students to drop-in to ask questions. There's nothing inherently wrong with doing that unless you have students who want to ask questions that shouldn't be discussed in front of other students. You may also find that when you schedule students for specific, individual meetings they are more likely to appear. That's been the case for me with two of my students.

One way to schedule individual online meetings with students is to use a combination of Google Calendar, Google Classroom, and Zoom. In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate how that works. In short, you create recurring meetings in Zoom then insert the links to those meetings into the details for appointment slots in Google Calendar. Then when students sign-up for a meeting through your Google Calendar appointment page they will have the link and the meeting time available in their own Google Calendars.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Month in Review - What a March It Was!

Good morning from Maine where I'm sitting in my home office waiting for students to join into a Google Hangouts Meet for virtual office hours. It's hard to believe that at the beginning of the month COVID-19 was something that was affecting people "somewhere else" and now has nearly all of us working and teaching remotely. Only twice in the last three weeks have I been beyond the property of lines of my home.

I hope that all of you and your students are adjusting well to teaching and learning remotely. If I can help in anyway, please feel free to reach out to me. And on related note, Rushton Hurley at Next Vista for Learning has some great resources including recorded webinars that have been helpful to many people this month.

These were the most popular posts of the month:
1. The Cincinnati Zoo Launches Daily Virtual Zoo Visits
2. Cisco Makes Webex Free and Publishes Guides for Teachers and Students
3. Three Ways to Share Docs in Google Classroom - When to Use Each
4. 5 Google Classroom Tips for Teachers - Things You Might Have Overlooked or Forgotten
5. Tips and Tools for Teaching Remotely
6. Learn How to Use These 5 Time-saving Gmail Features in 2020
7. How to Schedule and Host Google Hangouts Meet Events - Video
8. How to Create Video Lessons Without Making Your Own Recordings
9. An Option for Making Sure Students Know They Have Google Classroom Assignments
10. Ten Fun and Challenging Geography Games for Students of All Ages

Online PD With Me!
I've been hosting professional development webinars for a decade. My most popular webinars are available on-demand right here. If you prefer live webinars, I am planning to host some in April so stay tuned for more information about those soon. And I'm always available to schedule custom, online PD for your school.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

A Map Coloring Challenge

Last week Maps Mania shared a collection of online and printable map activities for kids and adults. At the bottom of that collection was a link to Mathigon's map coloring challenge. The challenge is to use as few colors as possible to color in all 50 U.S. states without the same color touching two states at the same time. For example, if I color New Hampshire purple, I can't use purple on Vermont, Maine, New York, or Massachusetts but I could use purple on Pennsylvania.

Mathigon's map coloring challenge can be completed online where they offer the same challenge for coloring maps of South America, England, and Germany. But if you send your students to that page they'll be able to quickly click to see the solution to the challenge. So what I'd do instead is print a blank map from a site like Printable World Map then have students try the challenge. Another option would be to upload an outline map to a service like Google's Jamboard to color the map online. Watch my video below to learn how that process works.

C-SPAN Classroom Offers New Lessons on the Economic Impact of COVID-19

C-SPAN Classroom is a free resource that anyone who teaches U.S. History or civics should have bookmarked. I've written about many of their great resources and programs over the years including their annual student video contest and annual summer workshops for teachers.

C-SPAN Classroom recently published a new lesson plan that includes a set of resources for helping students explore and learn about the current and possible future economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources include eight video clips, an analysis template, and a brainstorming activity for students to complete individually or in online groups.

Application in Online Classrooms
The lesson features eighteen vocabulary words that high school students have probably heard but will need to review in the context of the lesson and the current COVID-19 pandemic. I might use Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams to create a discussion forum in which students go beyond basic definitions and discuss the terms in current context. After that discussion takes place then I'd have students join me in an online meeting (Hangouts, Zoom, Teams would all be fine) to talk about the videos and or the brainstorming they did in the discussion forum.

Create Video-based Lessons a Little Faster With This Chrome Extension

A couple of weeks ago when I got the notice that my school would be closing I made a video about how to use EDpuzzle to create video-based lessons without having to create your own recordings. I first shared it with my colleagues and then included it in my Practical Ed Tech newsletter. One thing that I didn't mention in the video because I forgot about it, was the existence of an EDpuzzle Chrome extension.

EDpuzzle's Chrome extension lets you quickly jump from watching a video on YouTube to creating and editing a lesson in your EDpuzzle account. It even works if you use a different Google account for Chrome than you do for Google Classroom or EDpuzzle. With the EDpuzzle Chrome extension installed you will see a little "edit with edpuzzle" button appear next to the title of any video that you watch on YouTube. As soon as you click that button you'll be taken into the lesson editor in your EDpuzzle account. It's not a game-changing feature, but it is a convenient one. Watch my short video below for a demonstration of how the EDpuzzle Chrome extension works.

And here's my complete overview of how to use EDpuzzle.