Filed under: FacMtgs,Ideas,MS — Lord Shutters at 3:27 pm on Friday, November 15, 2013
The Global Education Conference is a free, online conference that happens all next week (November 18-22). This is a great professional development opportunity. Most of the sessions are geared toward activities you can do with your students that help them gain a more global perspective. Here is a sample of session titles just to pique your interest:
Fostering Global Citizenship in the English Classroom: Monday 7pm
Anime as a Catalyst for Global Collaboration: Monday 8pm
Walking a Mile in Another’s Moccasins: Purposefully Developing Empathy: Wednesday 2pm
Think Globally, Look Locally (presenter is a fellow LMAIS teacher of 5th grade): Thursday 10am
Click here for a link to the schedule of all sessions in our time zone (Central). ALL of the sessions are archived, so if you can’t listen when they’re live, you can always go back and listen later. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help if you’d like to participate.
Filed under: FacMtgs,Ideas — Lord Shutters at 2:56 pm on Friday, November 15, 2013
I’ve been showing ThingLink to teachers at my school at our faculty meetings. ThingLink is a neat tool that allows you to tag images with a variety of other media. This can include text, links, videos, or even other images. The other media pops up when you hover over little icons in the original image. Click here for an example. Hover over the dots in the picture to see what I mean.
When sharing ThingLink with faculty, I start by showing the main website, then I show a few examples, then how easy it is to create a ThingLink themselves. To help with showing examples, I use this ThingLink of ThingLink examples! My favorites to show are:
Filed under: FacMtgs,Google,MS — Lord Shutters at 2:19 pm on Friday, November 15, 2013
I’m going to do several short blog posts today, about resources I’ve recently been sharing with my faculty. Here’s the first!
Have you ever wanted to visit a museum in another city? Another country? Somewhere the field trip bus just can’t get to? Are you studying a historical event or world wonder with your class? The Google Cultural Institute can be your virtual field trip. You can search museum collections, exhibits, and archives from around the world. Start by searching any artwork, museum, historical event, or world heritage site. Or just browse around. This page has more detail about what the Google Cultural Institute is. And here’s a video on how teachers can integrate the Google Cultural Institute into their classroom.
Filed under: FacMtgs,iPads — Lord Shutters at 9:20 am on Friday, October 25, 2013
I share resources and links with colleagues at our weekly faculty meetings. Here are some thing I’ve been sharing lately with our Lower School teachers:
I saw this on Twitter and thought some of you might be interested. It is a world-wide project to share classroom weather data. It would involve posting a little information (temperature, etc.) and photos (if you want) on a wiki – which is really easy to use. Then you get to see what other classes post about their weather. Follow this link and click “Sign Up Here!” if you are interested.
“Pause & Think Online” poster: I plan to hang this in our computer lab. Consider discussing what it says with your students sometime when you are in there. It is very good for young kids.
Here are a few new apps on our iPads I encourage you to check out:
Word Mover: It’s like virtual fridge magnet poetry. This might be useful for creating sentences, learning parts of speech, or just for fun.
Google Translate: I installed Google Translate to help with some of our younger students who are learning English. But it is also a great app for whenever you need to translate anything. Perhaps when you are studying a different country, you might translate a few key phrases – for many languages, the app will speak the words back to you. You can even handwrite a word and it will translate it.
Teachley: Addimal Adventure: Teaches single-digit addition for grades K-2. This app doesn’t just rely on flashcard-like practice drills; it uses visual models to help students learn strategies for adding (count all, count on, number lines, etc.).
Filed under: FacMtgs,Google,howto — Lord Shutters at 10:04 am on Tuesday, September 17, 2013
A few weeks ago, during our opening teacher meetings for the school year, I conducted a “Your Google Toolbox” session to help teachers stay aware of the Google Apps tools that are available to them. We have been a Google Apps for Education school for three years now, but many of our staff are not aware of all they can do with it.
I had required only 8 or so teachers to attend this session. The rest could choose from this one or two others. Imagine my surprise when 19 people showed up – almost 50% of our staff! It just shows how eager we are to use our Google tools, and set a nice tone for great technology staff development throughout this school year.
Here is the email I sent to the attendees recently, to follow up on the session:
Thank you for attending the Your Google Toolbox Session during our opening teacher meetings! I hope you learned many useful things, and have had a chance to try them out. Now that we are back in the swing of things with the school year, I’d like you to choose at least one of the following options to continue your learning. Please send me a reply to let me know what you choose. I am more than happy to help in any way I can!
Learn more about Google Mail (GMail/Roycemail): Try something from the list below. The link will take you to a help page and/or video explaining how to do it.
Become a Google Ninja and learn more about ALL of the above: Check out this free educators training program called the “Ninja Program”. You will have to sign up for an account, but then will be able to go through the training program at your own pace. The program covers Mail, Drive, Calendar, Sites, and Google+. Each module includes videos, activities, and a test to make sure you learned from it. When you pass a test, you earn a ninja belt!
Create a Google Form. You might use a Form as a survey for your students or parents (see this video). You might even use it as a quiz (search for “self-grading quiz” on YouTube). Bonus: the quiz grades itself!
Try something new with Google’s original tool: searching the web! Here are a few fun things to try:
From google.com, type “set timer for 5 minutes” into the search field.
Type “time in Sydney” (or whatever your favorite city is).
Filed under: FacMtgs,iPads — Lord Shutters at 2:59 pm on Monday, September 16, 2013
A few note about the iPads.
I have re-numbered the iPad cart, so that the iPads can be a little more spaced out. Please use the new numbers. I have also tucked away cords we’re not using.
Please be sure to put the iPads back in the correct slots. This helps me when I am doing updates on them. To help make this easier, I have put numbers on the front and back of each iPad, and in more places in the cart.
I subscribed to News-O-Matic (the kids’ news app I mentioned at the faculty meeting) via email. To access it, open the Mail app, go to the Fourth Grade email account, and open the most recent email from News-O-Matic. It will open today’s news in Safari.
Speaking of Safari, if you are using TenMarks, or another web shortcut that opens with Safari, please have the kids close the tab when they are done. They should click the little gray x on the tab they were using.
You should not have to “kill” apps by double-clicking the home button and using the red minus sign. Only certain types of apps (like GPS and music apps) keep running in the background when you are done with them (see this article for more information). However, if you notice that the iPad seems slow, or something isn’t working right, it may help to go ahead and kill some apps. Let me know if you need a demonstration.
I’m happy to help with the iPads when your class is using them; just let me know if you want me to stop by – I have a little more time to do this this year. I could, for example, show students how to close the tabs on Safari, or help them “kill” apps
Last but not least, I’d like to highlight a couple of apps I have recently installed. I will plan to do this once in awhile, so you know what’s available on the iPads. Hopefully, I will eventually have a nice, complete list of all our apps.
Toca Builders: Sort of like a primary level Minecraft without the zombies and fighting. This app lets you build any item you like with simple colored blocks. You build on a grid with different character builders. It would be a nice app for reinforcing 2D and 3D shapes, spatial intelligence, area and perimeter, and multiplication. You can read more about it here.
Fix the Factory (from Lego Mindstorms): With this puzzle game, you can learn very basic programming concepts. Playing the game involves giving the robot a set of instructions to follow (move forward, rotate, pick up a block, etc.). According to its iTunes description, Fix the Factory is “guaranteed to challenge your logic thinking, your spatial intelligence, and your robot commanding skills.”
We recently purchased a cart of 20 iPads for the Lower School. During our faculty meetings, I have been sharing various resources with teachers to help them integrate the iPads into their curriculum. Here is what I have shared lately:
Edshelf is a good website for reviews and recommendations for tech resources for your classroom, especially apps. If you want to write reviews, you can sign up for an account. But you don’t have to have an account to search and read about the resources.
iEar is another place where teachers write reviews for one another about apps.
iTools is a free program that you install on your computer that allows you to do various things with your iPad, including mirroring it onto your computer so it can be projected.
You can search for apps that you’d like me to pre-install on the iPads by going to the iTunes store from any computer with iTunes. Or you can search here.
To see which paid apps are available in the Volume Purchase Program (which means we can get them at a discount), look them up at here. You don’t need to log in. For now, we are sticking with only free apps, but next year we should be able to spend a little of our budget on paid apps.
I install new apps every few days – anything I think teachers will find useful, or that they specifically request. I am working on creating an interactive list of the apps we have installed, but so far haven’t found a quick way to do this.
Filed under: MS — Lord Shutters at 3:17 pm on Monday, June 3, 2013
I have the unique opportunity to teach a couple of twice-a-week electives to middle schoolers each year. We call these courses Creative Arts (CA). I get to choose topics that I’d like to teach, and that I think kids will be interested in. In the past, I’ve done scrapbooking, digital storytelling, “Geek Squad,” and Scratch as CA courses. This year, I am quite proud of the two courses I planned and taught, and of the students I worked with. I’ll talk about my most recent one – “Ideas Worth Spreading” here. My next post will be about the “Reduce Your Carbon Footprint” CA course I did a few months ago.
I’ve been listening to – and inspired by – a lot of TED talks lately, usually in my car on my drive in to school. (If you’re not sure what TED is, check out their About page.) I attended a conference where two of the presenters had had their students give their own TED style talks after researching a topic of their choice. Then I came across a few websites listing TED talks suitable for kids (see my Diigo links tagged ted). Click – a new CA idea is born!
For the latter half of the course, students researched and wrote a talk about a topic of their choice. I was able to co-teach this CA with one of our English teachers, so the kids had plenty of help with the writing part. As with actual TED talks, there was quite a variety of topic choice in our little group! But the neat thing was that each student was completely passionate about his or her topic. On the last day of class, we held our unofficial “TEDx Roycemore” event. Other CA classes came to watch our talks. Even though we didn’t have much time for practicing our speeches (next time, we’ll watch one less talk online and practice more!), the students did a very nice job. Here are their talks:
Filed under: FacMtgs,Ideas — Lord Shutters at 5:09 pm on Friday, May 31, 2013
Apologies for not updating this blog lately. Here are some resources I have recently shared with my colleagues at our faculty meetings:
edWeb is a wonderful website for teachers. You can connect with other educators, participate in webinars, and find resources there. The webinars are not just about ed tech stuff; they’re on everything from games in the classroom to brain development in kids.
Mystery Skype is an activity where you connect with another classroom somewhere around the world and the students try to guess where the other class is located, using geography clues. I thought this was a really neat idea. You can read instructions here, and find links to where you can sign up and find other classes.
ThingLink: Lets you “make your images interactive” by adding video, notes, music, and links to any picture. Check out their examples and/or create your own! I think this would be a neat assessment or bibliography tool – check out this one and this one. ThingLink has just recently developed an app for iPhone and iPad too!
Though I recommend that all educators create a Twitter account for themselves (see this post), Twubs allows you to follow Twitter hashtags without a Twitter account. (If you’re not sure what a hashtag is, read about it here.) What’s great about hashtags for teachers is that there are many regular chats about various educational topics. Go to Twubs and type in some of my favorite chat names: #edtechchat, #edchat, #mathchat, #mschat, #4thchat. Or check out this AMAZING document for a list of weekly educational chats, organized by day!
Last month, I distributed copies of this matrix. It is a lesson planning matrix that positions Bloom’s Taxonomy against the nine Multiple Intelligences, then suggests projects/assignments in each category. What a wonderful resource for differentiation!
At our last faculty meetings of the school year, I passed out a copy of our technology vision statement, written four years ago this summer. I would like to meet with a few teachers again this summer to discuss whether our vision statement still holds true, and where we need to go from here.
In LS and MS, I also asked teachers to read an article from the January 2013 ICE Newsletter (scroll down to page 11). The article, by ICE Conference Spotlight speaker Jennie Magiera, asks us to think about redefining some of our instructional practices when we use technology. Which leads me to the last point…
Something to think about over the summer: I give suggestions to teachers all the time about how they might use technology in the classroom. Many times when I suggest changing a project (e.g. have kids make a video instead of a poster), I sense a fear from teachers. I believe that the fear is that the content won’t come across in its entirety. That I am asking teachers to change what they’ve been teaching for years – some of them for decades – not just asking them to change how it’s presented. Here’s what I’ll be thinking about this summer, and I ask you to do the same:
Can we change HOW we’re teaching, without changing WHAT we’re teaching?
Don’t worry – I’m not done blogging for the summer. In fact, I have several more posts on the way soon. But this will be the last faculty meeting update for the school year!
Filed under: iPads,LS — Lord Shutters at 12:28 pm on Saturday, May 4, 2013
Here is some general information I gave out to the LS teachers when we first got the iPad cart.
FIRST USE: If possible, I’d like to be present for your class’s first use of the iPad cart. I will help with telling the kids how to take the iPads in and out of the cart, how to carry them, how to use the stand, and basic use. I would then let the kids “explore” for a little while. Let me know when you’d first like to use the iPad cart, and I will arrange to be there. I’ll even deliver the cart to you!
CART CHECKOUT: The cart will be housed in Room G09. I have created a Google Calendar for checking it out; you should have received a separate email with a link to the calendar. Use that link to reserve the cart. I demonstrated this further at our meeting – let me know if you need help.
APPS: I have installed all the free apps that were requested, plus a few more that I think will be useful. I have not installed any paid apps yet. We will probably not be able to purchase all the apps that have been requested at this time, though we can get some. When you get a chance, please send me an email noting which apps are the most important. As we go forward, whenever you find an app that you’d like (paid or free), please send me an email and I will install it.
PRINTING: AirPrint is the tool that allows documents to be printed directly from the iPad and other iOS devices. At this point, unfortunately, none of our printers are “AirPrint-enabled.” I am working on finding an alternative, but for now, we can’t print directly from the iPads. You could, however, email a document to yourself, open it on a computer, and print from there (see below for email info).
EMAIL: I have created an email address for each K-4 class. This email address will be used by the kids for sending documents to you (such as a screen shot of their work). Students can use the app called “Mail” to compose a message and send attachments to you. I will explain and show this at tomorrow’s meeting. I can also make this part of the introductory session with the kids.
SAVING: Please let me know if/when there are times when you have work you want students to save on the iPads, and I will try to find a solution. Since they are devices shared by multiple kids, it will be tricky when kids need to save or access certain files. I’m researching to find the best option for us, and I’m open to suggestions!
I am sure there will be many other questions and kinks to work out as we start using these great, new learning tools. I appreciate your patience as we get things going! I hope you enjoy using them – I know your students will!