Monday, September 14, 2020

How to Create and Use a Digital Sign-out Sheet in Google Classroom

In the past, I've always been fortunate that I didn't have "wanderers" who signed-out for the bathroom and never re-appeared. That's largely due to the fact that my classes are electives that kids choose to attend to begin with. So I never kept great records of when kids signed-out and signed-in from trips to the bathroom. But this year, for contact-tracing purposes, I have to keep much better records of when students leave my classroom than I have in the past. Rather than keeping a paper sign-out/ sign-in sheet, I'm using a Google Form that I have posted as a material in Google Classroom.

In the following video I demonstrate how I created a sign-out/sign-in sheet in Google Forms, how I post it in Google Classroom, and how students utilize it. In the video I also provide a possible modification of the Form.

Three Video Lessons That Are Full of Poop

SciShow Kids has long been one my favorite YouTube channels for elementary school science videos. It went on hiatus for a while then it came roaring back a few weeks ago. One of the new releases on SciShow Kids is all about dung beetles. That, of course, brought out the ten-year-old in me and I had to watch it. This seems to be a pattern with me because I have previously featured a couple of other lessons about animals and their poop.

The new SciShow Kids video about dung beetles explains why dung beetles eat dung, how they get nutrition from it, and why people should never eat it.



Why Do Some Animals Eat Poop? explains why and how some animals get nutrients from eating the excrement of other animals. The video also mentions why the feces of some animals has more nutrients than that of other animals. Like all MinuteEarth videos, the description notes on YouTube for this video include a list of the references used in producing the video. Watch the video on YouTube or as embedded below.



Why Isn't the World Covered In Poop? is really a lesson about dung beetles and the role that they play in the ecosystem. In the lesson students learn how many types of dung beetles exist in the world, where they exist, and how dung beetles help reduce greenhouse gasses. And as a bonus, you can pick up a cheesy middle school-appropriate joke from watching the video.



You can find all three of these videos through the search built into EDpuzzle where you could then add in questions and clarifying comments. Here's an overview of how to use EDpuzzle.

Three Good Resources for Teaching Fact vs. Opinion

This afternoon I was talking with a few of my students about TikTok and its new relationship with Oracle. The course of that conversation brought up a lot of "I've heard X" and "I've read X" statements from my students regarding news about TikTok. As you might imagine would happen with teenagers talking about their favorite app, the conversation got animated. I spent a lot of time helping discern fact from rumors and opinions. All that to say, this afternoon reminded me to review facts vs. opinions with students. I used this Common Craft video, but there are some other good resources you might want explore. Those are outlined below.

Factitious
Factitious is a game that is designed to help students practice identifying real and fake news stories. The 2020 version of the game features stories about COVID-19.

To play Factitious simply go to the site and select start. You'll then see an article appear on the screen. Read through the article, click the source listed at the bottom, and then select either the green check mark or red X to indicate whether or not you think the article is a real news story. After you make your selection you'll get instant feedback and an explanation of how you can tell if the article was a real or fake news story.

Points are awarded in Factitious based on accuracy, speed, and whether or not you viewed the source link before making a guess at the legitimacy of the story. The 2020 version of Factitious contains three rounds with five stories in each round.

Bad News
Bad News is a website that offers simulations that show visitors how misinformation is spread through social media. Bad News is available in two versions. The regular version is intended for those who are high school age or older. Bad News Junior is appropriate for middle school and older elementary school students. The difference between the two versions is found in the news topics that are used in the simulations.

In both versions of Bad News players work through a simulation in which they attempt to build a Twitter following by spreading misleading news stories. (I must emphasis that there are no real Tweets sent and you don't have to even have a Twitter account to play Bad News). Through the simulation players learn how headlines, memes, and Tweets are designed to manipulate people and prompt reactions from them. The simulation also shows players how Twitter bots are used.

There are six distinct sections of Bad News. At the end of each section players are awarded a badge signifying that they have learned about the manipulation techniques associated with trolling, impersonation, discrediting, polarizing, emotional manipulation, and conspiracy theories.

Checkology
Checkology is a service that is designed to help students develop those skills. Checkology offers interactive modules for students to complete. Each of the modules is comprised of between twenty and forty-seven instructional video clips and interactive comprehension checks. The four of the modules are titled Info Zones, Democracy's Watchdog, Practicing Quality Journalism, and Misinformation. As you might expect, the contents of the modules gets progressively more difficult as each section is completed.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where it is a crisp 31F outside as I await the sunrise while compiling this week's list of the most popular posts.

I had a super busy week with students back in my classroom for the first time since March 13th. I also hosted two webinars and was interviewed for a podcast. The webinars were Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know (recording available here) and Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff (recording available here).

After a busy week, I need a little mental break so I'm going fishing this morning. I hope that you also get time to rest and recharge this weekend.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Google Adds More Teacher Controls for Google Meet - Yay!
2. Movies on Map - Discover the World Through a Map & Video Combination
3. Whiteboard Chat - Online Whiteboards You Can Share and Monitor
4. TeacherMade - Quickly Create & Share a Variety of Online Activities
5. Add Science & Math Simulations to Google Sites
6. An Easy Way to Make a Stop Motion Video
7. Video Puppet is Now Narakeet - Still Turns Slides Into Narrated Videos

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
Besides FreeTech4Teachers.com and the daily email digest, there are other ways to keep up with what I'm publishing. 
  • Practical Ed Tech Newsletter - This comes out once per week (Sunday night/ Monday morning) and it includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from FreeTech4Teachers.com.
  • My YouTube Channel - more than 28,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 400 Google tools tutorials.  
  • Facebook - The FreeTech4Teachers.com Facebook page has more than 460,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last thirteen years at twitter.com/rmbyrne
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.

ICYMI - Episode 18 of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff

Every Thursday afternoon Rushton Hurley and I answer questions from readers like you during Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff. We do that at 4pm ET which might not be the best timing for our friends who are not in the Eastern Time zone. That's why we record it!

You can watch the recording of latest episode right here or as embedded below. But if you head to the webinars page on Next Vista for Learning you can also find recordings of another great series that Rushton hosts. That series is Activities Across Grade Levels. Check it out!