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Showing posts from February, 2015

Graphic Organizers using Google Drawings

A lot of curriculum and instructional strategies include the use of graphic organizers.  These offer a great way to help students organize thoughts, content, and make connections.  However, many teachers struggle with how merge their love of graphic organizers with having students use technology and going paperless.  Google Drawings makes this possible.

Matt Miller posted a blog article, “15 FREE Google Drawings graphic organizers — and how to make your own” on his site, Ditch That Textbook.   There are several Google Drawing templates that can easily be modified for your classes or could be used to inspire your own creations.  Matt Miller also includes directions on how to share the Google Drawing Graphic Organizers with students. Character maps, timelines, fishbone planner, and many other graphic organizers are featured.  
Extend the use of graphic organizers in Google Drawings further by having students create their own.  After showing students several different types of graphic orga…

MLA Comes to Google Docs

Google Docs released a new update allowing for different headers and footers on the first page of documents, helping students to conform to MLA standards for their cover pages.
There’s also a new Insert > Page Number menu that lets you customize how and where you start your page numbers―
Top of page Bottom of page Top of page (except title page) Bottom of page (except title page)

5 Apps for the ELL Classroom

Continuing our series of subject-based apps, here are five tools that can enhance the ELL classroom, or assist ELL students in other subjects:
1. Read&Write for Google
Download it from the Chrome Store
This is the all-in-one support tool for Google Chrome that allows you to hear words, passages, or whole documents read aloud with color highlighting; see the meaning of words explained with text and picture dictionaries; hear text translated into other languages; turn words into text as you speak; highlight text in documents or the web; and simplify and summarize text on web pages.  The only drawback is that many features are premium, and will vanish after 30 days if you don't pay.  The next four apps will replicate many of its features for free, but in separate apps.

2. Voice Recognition
Download it from the Chrome Store
Talk to type with this Chrome app.  It works in its own browser window, so will need to be copy-pasted later, or use the "Export" tool to create a Google…

Piktochart: Creative Online Tool for Displaying Information

Teachers are always looking for new and creative options for their students to be able to demonstrate and share their learning.  Why not have students create an infographic to explain a topic through images, graphs, and text?
Piktochart is available as a ChromeApp or simply visit the website directly.  Students can create an infographic and publish the link to share their content with others or download an image file (see example below). Classroom Connection: Requiring students to write for a variety of purposes and audiences is spelled out within the Common Core State Standards.  A Piktochart can work for a variety of content areas.  Check out some of the ideas below:
English:  Author Study, Book Report/Review, Genre Study, Literature or Book Club Newsletter Social Studies:  Newspaper,  Country Report/Statistics, Biography, Comparing Time Periods Math:  Formulas or Procedures, Real World Applications, Math in Your Daily Life, Statistics Science:  Inventions, Scientific Method, Famous Sci…

Prodigy Math - Gamify Maths Practice for K-7

Drill and practice sites for maths are nothing new, and the boredom students experience with them is completely understandable.  A solution to the problem of how to get students to practice maths, and how to make it engaging comes in the form of Prodigy Math.

Prodigy sets students in a fantasy role-playing world, complete with wizards, pirates, dinosaurs, and magical creatures.  In order to progress through the game, students must take part in magic battles with other characters (much like the early Final Fantasy games).  In order to cast spells, however, the player must answer a maths problem.

These problems are far from arbitrary -- they are aligned to Common Core standards, relevant to grade level.  The problem screen also give students an on-screen whiteboard to work through their problems, and manipulable tools (e.g. 10s and 100s blocks) to aid in visualisation.

Teachers can set up their students with accounts, and then monitor their progress against the various maths standards.

Google Classroom, Slides, and YouTube can change your classroom.

Knowing about Google Apps for Education (GAfE) and Google Docs is one thing, but how do you use the tools to enrich learning?  Check out these ideas from Matt Miller’s blog, Ditch that Textbook.“10 Google Slides activities to add awesome to classes” provides several ideas for activities that can easily be adapted into a variety of grade levels or content areas.  Google Slides is similar to PowerPoint, but it is much easier to collaborate on projects because multiple people can be working on the presentation at the same time.“10 ways YouTube can engage your classes now”  provides some unique ideas on how to incorporate YouTube into lesson beyond simply pulling up and watching a video.  YouTube videos are also the only videos that Google Slides enables to be uploaded directly into a presentation.“The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide + tips and tricks!”  and “12 great ways to start using Google Classroom now” provide an overview of Google Classroom from creating a class to ways it can …

Beyond Google Apps

Don't get me wrong, I love Google Apps for Education.  Seriously, this is me and Google Apps:
However, sometimes they don't quite go far enough and lack features that modern, connected educators demand.

Coggle Note-taking on a Google Doc is just fine, but does not go very far beyond writing notes with paper and pen.  Some students find it easier to organise their notes in a more non-linear form, which is where mind-mapping comes in.

Students can sign-up to Coggle using their Edmonds Google account and get started with a more engaging form of note-taking and planning.  Some may struggle with the concept initially, which is where a lesson on how (and why) to mind map may come in handy.  There is a great guide here from Tony Buzan.

Classroom Example:  English students can plan essays using a mind map to connect their ideas about different concepts (theme, character, imagery, etc.), and organise textual evidence.  Science students can use a mind map of the scientific method to compl…