Faculty Spotlight: Karen Flanagan & Mike Grant

Teacher(s) name(s):Karen Flanagan and Mike Grant

Subject: 6th Grade Math

Specific topic being taught:  Decimal Math

Learning Goal: Students should learn the basic concepts of decimal arithmetic before coming to class.

Technology used: edpuzzle.com website

Description: We worked on an action research project investigating the use of the Flipped Classroom model. One aspect of the Flipped Classroom model is the use of videos for homework to introduce topics to students so they are ready to get right to work in the classroom. We used edpuzzle.com for this purpose. Edpuzzle allowed us to use pre-existing videos from YouTube, trim the start and stop times, and add questions throughout the video to make sure the students were paying attention. The software has a class management aspect that allowed us to see if students watched the videos, how many times they watched them, and how they answered the questions.

Pros: Can Check homework status before the students even get to class and see what questions they got wrong.

Frontloading students with basic instruction helped the class time go smoothly with less repeated instruction.

Cons: It does take some time find quality videos or make your own.

It can be tough to manage when students don’t do their homework and aren’t as well prepared. They may have to watch the videos during class and miss out on in-class work.

Would you use this technology tool again? Yes, maybe weekly rather than every night.

Is there anything you would do differently next time?

Make more time to find the videos and formulate the assessment questions.

Flipgrid.com

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Are you looking for a new way to assess your students, allow them to express themselves, and generate discussion? Take a look at flipgrid.com. It allows you to use simple video recordings to ask questions and collect answers. It is very popular among foreign language teachers.
Here is a quick video introducing Flipgrid! Let Mike and Molly know if you want to try it out!

Think like a computer?

It’s not new, but lately Computational Thinking (CT) is cropping up in every education publication and on ed blogs all over. This New York Times article from today looks at where the movement started and where it is today.

In thinking about how to teach computational thinking, it’s important to go beyond “approaching problems the way a programmer would” as described in the article. For a better understanding, please check out this  practical definition of computational thinking created by the team at Harvard University that brought us Scratch programming (the language used by our fourth graders with Mr. Grant).

Below are some examples of lessons teachers in all disciplines are using to incorporate computational thinking into their classrooms:

  1. Sample lesson on drawing monsters from code.org
  2. Sample lesson including “decomposing steps,” abstraction and algorithms from code.org
  3. International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) maintains a project page with their own definition and presentations for teachers of all grade levels to add computational thinking to their lessons.
  4. Another ISTE blog post on 3 easy lessons

Are you still with me? Feel free to start a conversation by answering any of these questions in the comments section.

Where do you see computational thinking at work in our current curriculum? (i.e. the steps in a shop project)

Did you see any lessons or ideas that would be easy to incorporate into an existing project?

 

Listenwise: Harness the Power of Listening

Wish there was an easy way to search for short NPR segments to use in class? It turns out, there is a program for that – Listenwise! The founder of Listenwise is Monica Brady-Myeroff (25-year public radio journalist at WBUR) and she started this company to help make it easy for teachers to use NPR materials in middle and high school classrooms.

I will be talking to a sales representative regarding the cost of the premium version. It would be very helpful for me to hear your impressions of the resource and whether or not you might use it in the future.

Here is just a teaser of some of the segments available:

Calculating a carbon footprint

Fidel Castro’s long legacy

Lessons from Hadrian

How sugar changes the brain

“Listenwise is an award-winning listening skills platform. We harness the power of listening to advance literacy and learning in all students. Our collection of podcasts and public radio keeps teaching connected to the real world and builds student listening skills at the same time.”

Why try this?

  • Good listeners become good readers. Improve listening comprehension skills.
  • The power of current events to start discussions about topics being studied
  • Real voices for real issues
  • In addition to larger collection, daily current events and questions

How does it work?

    Free version

  • Visit the site using any common browser (Chrome, Safari or Firefox)
  • Search for topics & choose a segment.
  • Subject streams for browsing include social studies, science & ELA
  • Stream the audio in class or use the link to assign it for homework
  • Each segment includes listening comprehension questions and listening organizers that can be printed and turned in.

   Premium version

The premium version is where some nice bells and whistles come in, especially for differentiating instruction and ELL support. Some features include interactive transcripts, auto-corrected comprehension quizzes and ELL supports.

Watch the tour via the link below to learn more.

Tour of the premium benefits

  • Interactive transcripts
  • Auto-corrected comprehension quizzes
  • ELL supports (speed, vocabulary, transcripts, etc.)

Thank you!

Molly

Lucidpress

mr-teddys-picnicGoogle Docs is a wonderful, collaborative tool for creating text documents. There are ways to add images and other graphic design elements, but it remains limited for creating really attractive visual images. If you have a project you want to take to the next level of design, you may want to try Lucidpress.

This user-friendly desktop publishing software is great for making posters, fliers, newsletters, and social media posts. It has a wealth of templates, even a whole section dedicated to educators (reading logs, exit tickets, KWL chart templates).

Using your Applewild Google ID, you have free access to a full-featured version of this program. Check it out at Lucidpress.com.

The Teddy Bear Picnic postcard was quick and easy to create. Lucidpress was also used to create the 6th Grade Art Exhibit brochure. If you want to see that or other examples, just reach out to Mike or Molly.

Teacher Tech Spotlight – Jenny Coeur

We promise every spotlight won’t be on using Google Slides – but what a wonderful way to see the same technology used in two different grades. Our next Tech Tip will be some great resources for Google Slide Templates that help teach effective presentation design (and look great too.) Thank you, Jenny!

Teacher(s) name(s):  Jenny Coeur

Subject: Third Grade

Specific topic being taught: Myths of the First Thanksgiving – Plymouth Colony’s Harvest Feast (Social Studies)

Learning Goal: To synthesize information learned from our unit about the first harvest feast in Plymouth Colony, focusing on common myths or assumptions about what took place in 1621.  To become familiar with Google Slides and basic functions (typing a title, typing in a text box, changing text color and background, inserting/resizing/moving a photo found from the search feature).  To practice clear writing and oral presentation skills with the intent of sharing the slides during the K-3 Thanksgiving Common Time.

Technology used: Google Slides and Google accounts in the Marshall computer lab; digital projector for the Common Time presentation.  Classwork with plimoth.org’s Thanksgiving Interactive activity preceded the Slideshow work.  https://www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids/thanksgiving-interactive-you-are-historian

Description: I set up a blank Google Slide show (in my Drive) with 11 slides, one for a title page and one slide for each student in my class.  I set up the Slides as editable, and put a shareable link on my class website so that my kids could get to it easily.  Each student suggested a myth/fact about the first harvest feast remembered from our earlier work and was assigned a slide number, and over the course of a few periods in the Marshall lab, created a slide for it.  They were asked to create a title, to write a small paragraph with full sentences explaining the myth/fact with clear detail, and then were shown how to change the text color and background if desired.  The final step was inserting a picture from the search feature.  I did the final tweaks/editing as well as the title page.  Each student read his/her slide aloud at the Common Time before Thanksgiving break.

Pros: The kids were very excited about using Google Slides, which was new to them.  They were excited to type, to pick colors and pictures, and to know that we would project this slideshow as a presentation instead of making paper posters.  The project really nicely tied together our typing, technology, and social studies work, and it helped make the presentation prep easier, too!

Cons: Because you can’t remove the slide thumbnails from the left side of the page, because this was a shared file, and because third graders are still gaining coordination on the computer, some slides did get deleted accidently.  However, the handy history feature allowed us to go “back in time” and find the missing pieces, though it did require the kids to re-do a few things.

Would you use this technology tool again?  Definitely! It was a great addition to the curriculum and a good use of time.  I’m happy to add this to my kids’ list of tech tools.

Is there anything you would do differently next time? I may consider having the kids make a slide in their own accounts and then share the slides with me to be compiled.  However, I do like the ease of having them all work in one document, and I think it was a cool introduction to the collaborative features of the Google suite.

You can find the finished Slideshow HERE, or in the Social Studies section: http://mrscoeur.weebly.com/web-resources.html

 

Hour of Code

This week is Computer Science Education Whourofcodeeek! The “Hour of Code” project is leading the celebration again. If you have time this week and you want to give your students a sampling of what it is like to program, then this is for you. We have done this for the last few years and the kids seem to enjoy it. Here is a link to this year’s tutorials.

They have the classic Angry Birds and Frozen tutorials and added more including one from Moana, the new Disney movie, and Make Music with Scratch.
If you want help trying this in your classroom, let us know. Also, these tutorials are available all year so you can try them any time you want, not just this week.