Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Summer Time, and (Google) Forms are Easy

(Sung to the tune of Summer Time and the Livin’ is Easy)
So… this is our last post for the 2015-16 school year.  How quickly it went!
Last week, Theresa wrote about Online Professional Development, and included a link to some brand new, specific-to-Warrior-Run content.  The first available and complete module is on Google Forms.
Forms can be used to collect information (i.e. surveys, polls, RSVPs, voting), to assess student knowledge (i.e. quizzes, short essays, exit tickets), and more!  So let’s turn our thoughts toward summer and take a just-for-fun survey here.  The survey is embedded below, but feel free to share this link with your students too:
We hope you enjoyed our posts this year.  We’ll be back in August with even more content related to educational technology and our libraries.  Have a salubrious summer!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Online Professional Development

Now that our flex days for the 2016-2017 are official, some people may be considering how best to use this time.  If you are looking for some fresh ideas regarding ed tech, here are some places to start:

This is a free online summer webinar series by Corwin Connect.  The topics include QR codes, web quests, transforming your classroom, OERs, blended learning, mobile tech, personalized learning, etc.

Discovery Education does great online professional development that mostly instruct you on how to implement their tools into the classroom, but really starts with the basics when instructing.  I did one a few years ago and that’s how I learned about BoardBuilder, which is their version of Glogster.

These virtual sessions cover more topics than just technology integration.  I already found one that sounds interesting on using ThingLink!  There are others, though, on vocabulary strategies, etc.

These will cover topics that Liz and I teach regularly when co-teaching with teachers in the district.  These have a beginner, intermediate and advanced level and you can also contact us about doing the training in person.  More will be added throughout the summer and during the school year.

If you have any questions, ideas or suggestions, please contact us!  Have a great rest of your school year.  The end is in sight.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

English Language Arts and Educational Technology

This week, we’ll wrap up our theme of edtech in specific content areas.  We will continue sharing exciting, content-related tools, resources, and ideas -- of course!  In recent weeks, we’ve highlighted math, science, elementary classrooms, and social studies.  This week, we focus on ENGLISH and LANGUAGE ARTS.  In the post below, you’ll find TOOLS, RESOURCES, and IDEAS related to ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS and EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY*.  



Student research platform with MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian bibliographies, notecards, outlining.  Students in the middle school use the express version, which allows them to create citations, while students in the high school use the paid subscription, which helps them through every step of the research process, including collaboration with teachers and classmates.

Steve Wick shares a thorough list of resources that “cross over multiple categories of curricular skills.”  His list includes Chrome extensions, Google Drive Add-Ons, and Drive Apps.

Zaption provides free interactive video tools and ready-to-use video lessons to engage learners.  Teachers can search in the gallery, customize videos to meet specific needs, share lesson with others, and track learner data.  EDpuzzle is a similar tool.  Both web tools offer teachers and students access with a Google single sign-on.


Shmoop’s Learning Guides are like a new-school Cliff’s Notes.  For English Language Arts, students can access learning guides in Literature, Grammar, Poetry, Shakespeare, and more.  Students and teachers can prepare for AP English tests too!  Shmoop offers accounts for teachers and students through Google single sign on.

Unlimited access to hundreds of leveled news articles and Common Core–aligned quizzes, with new articles every day.  Every article at five (!) levels: Newsela makes it easy for an entire class to read the same content, but at a level that’s just right for each student.

There are many apps and web tools available for digital storytelling -- peruse Kathy Schrock’s page above, or view Christopher Pappas’s list here.  Digital storytelling allows students and teachers to be more interactive in their storytelling.  We know students learn best when they have a combination of words, pictures, and sound, plus many enjoy hands-on activities; it follows that students would be able to SHOW their learning with a combination of these things as well.  Give digital storytelling a try!


For their third independent reading project this year, students in English 9 classes created digital book talks using Sound Cloud.  Students worked independently to write a script, record a book talk podcast to share with everyone, then listen to and comment on their peers’.

After learning about propaganda in Miss Allen’s and Mrs. Cooper’s 8th grade ELA classes, students put those concepts to work.  They developed new apps for electronic devices and advertised them using the persuasive techniques they learned in class.

In English 10, students read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  Afterwards, they created comic strips online, incorporating the themes of friendship and betrayal, set in Ancient Rome, and including Shakespearean English.  Students used Shmoop to unpack literary themes and “translate” into Shakespeare, and shared their storyboards with their peers, who then critiqued.  Mrs. Berry, Mrs. Dalrymple, and Mrs. Travelpiece collaborated in planning and implementing the project.  View student examples here, here, here, and here.

* Please note, just because technology is new, doesn’t mean it’s always better.  If traditional flashcards work for you and your students, keep using them!  But if StudyBlue could work for you, ask some of your kids to give it a whirl.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Useful tech tips to save time

Based on some recent interactions I’ve had with students and teachers this week, I thought everyone might enjoy learning a few tips that helped someone out.

A student’s browsing history

While working on a research project, I suspected that a student was more off-task than on-task.  I checked his browsing history in chrome and it showed me that he had been opening other assignments for other classes and had not even opened what he was supposed to be working on during that time.  I used this opportunity to re-direct him and get him on task.

To view his browser history, I used the 3 horizontal lines in chrome (aka the hamburger menu) and selected, “History.”  From there I could see all the recently closed tabs and click again for further information.  It will also show from the past few days or sites that are accessed on other pages.  Students are not able to clear their browser history because this option is turned off for student accounts. This can also be helpful if you closed a tab that you need back.

Finding something in Drive/Gmail

Need a file but can’t remember the name?  In the search bar at the end on the right, there is a small triangle with the point facing down.  Click this and it will allow you to choose more options to further filter your search results.  These can include who the item was from, what type of file it is, or if it contained attachments.  This can save you the headache of trying to locate it in your folders (especially if you don’t bother with folders, like me).

Gmail advanced search

Google Drive advanced search

We hope these tips can help save you time or sanity as the end of the year really picks up pace!