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Showing posts from December, 2015

Make Comic Style Instruction Sheets with Google Slides

Make comic book style instructions using Google Slides.

Our first day back will be a full day of teacher in-service and I am tasked with training staff on our new mass email process. To help them remember the steps, I developed a process chart using Google Slides.
I like Slides because it allows items to float anywhere on the page, but there are a couple tricks. First the page layout needs adjusted. I choose a custom size (8.5 x 11 inches) so that the slide is the same size as letter paper.
By placing everything onto a single slide, a one page document can easily be produced. Multiple pages are easily added through additional slides. 
Using the built in clip art image search, shapes and Word art, elements are layered into the final product. Layering and grouping can be tricky but with a little practice it becomes easier. I also used print screen and Microsoft Paint to capture images from RenWeb, our web based communication system.
While I could have spent more time improving the carto…

Understanding the Value of Grades

Transparency in grading means clearly communicating the values behind the scores. Grades reveal two things: the value a teacher places on particular components of learning and how well the student has interpreted and adapted to that value system.

While today was the last day of school before the Christmas break, it is also the end of another grading period. Teachers will be compiling all the last scores, entering everything into the grade book, and sending report cards home.

I have students who rejoice over a "B" while others weep for the same grade. In the final weeks, some students will do vast amounts of work to raise their letter grade, usually at the prompting of parents. But for me, the grade is more than the volume of work competed.

I believe grades should reflect a student's mastery of the content. Some students understand but decide not to demonstrate their knowledge by turning in halfhearted work. This usually results in the frantic attempt to turn in missing a…

Tues Tech Tip: Integrating Pop Culture

​Santa Tracker is Back ​Looking for something to entertain the kids over break? Explore Google's Santa Tracker! The Village is full of games and activities to do in the days leading up to Christmas Eve. Then follow Santa across the globe with videos and a wealth of geographic information.
Star Wars in the Classroom ​​You may not be a big fan of the cult sci-fi classic, but there is no escaping the Star Wars frenzy this holiday season. While Books A Million has Star Wars workbooks, you might want something more engaging for your students. Visit Star Wars in the Classroom, a compendium of educational resources organized by content area that other teachers have used. The home page features posts about calculating speed of TIE fighters, exploring themes in literature and programming with Princess Leia.

Use Lego Bricks to Teach Math ​​As you know, I really like the brightly colored plastic bricks and find lots of unusual ways to incorporate them into the curriculum. We Are Teachers ha…

The Iniquity of Inequality

When everybody is special, nobody is.

Not every child is capable of above average work, but each can work hard to achieve more. The only limitations is time. We cannot expect every student to hit the same benchmarks on the same day each week.

Some children will be left behind. Some will win, some will lose. But our objective must remain the same: to give every child the opportunity to grow. And when we impose limits on children in an attempt to equalize them, we are doing a grave disservice.

I am currently attempting to gamify course curriculum as a means of increasing student engagement and allow for differentiation. Plus it plays upon their natural competitiveness. Despite successes with the new method, I continue to encounter if not opposition, at least a dark foreboding sense that the system is not fair. It's as if our culture expects a version of equality that separates effort from results, where everyone achieves equally despite their background, ability, nature or circum…

No Fear of New

Excited to see our Response to Intervention (RTI) teachers use new technology "out of the box."

Through a local, public school partnership, students who receive additional academic help have access to a new resources: a ClearTouch Interactive panel.

Within a couple hours of wheeling it into their room, these teachers had mastered its basic operations. (We found the large screen and excellent speakers worked well for Christmas song fireplace videos!) And then without any hesitancy, those teachers sat a group of kids in front and began using it for connecting word skill practice.

The biggest selling point to this device is its multi-touch capability and how it can convert to a table top so that kids can gather around it. My challenge is to find educational software content that will successfully use those features in ways that meet our students' needs!