Nov 5, 2018

Read it to me! Help me write and Annotate it!

When you have students who struggle with reading and writing, it is important to have tools which support them.  We are very lucky in Unit 5 with our Assistive Technology and to have Ms. Nora Bardi.  She is amazing and works with teachers and students all over our district to ensure all our students have access to these amazing tools.


Read it to me! Snap and Read is an assistive technology software.  The one-button interface reads text aloud from any internet browser, Word, PDF files and other documents and programs.  Snap and Read can be loaded via our Unit 5 webstore and is available to ALL students and staff in our district.  We have also tested the program inside of Discovery Education and Amplify.  Both have reading capabilities, but with Snap and Read, students can slow down the pace of the reading.  Students can also go into their options and customize to personalize their experience.  Download now to create the ultimate reading experience.  You can also watch the following video to see how easy it is to use!



Did you also know that Snap and Read has a PDF editor within it?  This allows students to receive a PDF from the teacher and then annotate right on it.  Students will then be able to save it right back to their own Google Drive.  Here is a  video which shows you how to use it.




Help me write it! Co-Writer is an assistive technology software for writing.  This floating window predicts words, aides in phonetic spelling, grammar, and topic related vocabulary.  It can be used within Google Docs, Discovery Ed, Amplify and many more to help students construct meaningful sentences.  Co-Writer can be loaded via our Unit 5 webstore and is available to ALL students and staff in our district. Students have the availability to personalize their options to develop their best writing.





Sep 27, 2018

Takin Social Studies - Ideas, Lessons and strategies for the 21st Century Classroom,

If you have never heard of Takin Social Studies, now is the time to take notice.  This blog houses podcasts ranging from Music in the classroom, sticky current events, to primary sources.  After listening to it for a couple of days, I am hooked.

The four hosts each have their own witty personalities and provide tons of resources they use with their students. Listen to Episode 17 Got Rhythm.  Also take a look at the notes from the episode as well, they link some student work which is really good and hopefully will generate some ideas for your own classes!

Sep 26, 2018

Rubric Grading in Google Classroom: New for Fall 2018

Problem
I have many assignments that I deliver via Google Classroom that need to be graded by using a rubric.  I will have even more of these as we continue to move towards Standards-Based Grading.  I've heard people talk about Orange Slice or Goobric/Doctopus, but it sounds like a lot of technical up front work that I am not comfortable with.  I need something simple, quick, and efficient.
Solution
Attaching a Google Doc version of your rubric to an assignment and choosing to Make a Copy for each student will enable a form of rubric grading that is flexible, fast, and powerful.

Sep 10, 2018

Flipgrid Frenzy!


Flipgrid LogoThis summer, Flipgrid was bought out by Microsoft and has since given the pro version to teachers for FREE!  YES!  FREE!!!  Which means, you can make as many Grids as you want!!  
Last year the free version only allowed for one grid with multiple topics.  This year you can create as many grids as you would like with as many topics as you want under those grids. 




If you have never used Flipgrid, it is a video discussion platform where student's can video booktalks, reflections, practice speaking in a foreign language,and much more. Student's can access via their computer or the app on their phones.  Take a look at this video to get started.


Aug 31, 2018

It's the little things....

Here are several videos which will help when starting a new school year.  Many of these things we all know, but have "forgotten" about or don't remember how to do because we only do them once a year.  Take a look at the "little things" which can make life a little easier!

Downloads Nightmare!



Google Contacts 


YouTube Restrictive Mode

Apr 30, 2018

WHAT? Goo.gl Shortener is going away!


With Google no longer supporting the goo.gl extension, we needed to come up with some alternatives. “Starting March 30, 2018, we will be turning down support for goo.gl URL shortener. From April 13, 2018 only existing users will be able to create short links on the goo.gl console.”  - Via Google.  

Well, there are several out there, but the one that I have been using a lot is Yellkey.  It is an alternative to the goo.gl URL shortener. Simply, copy and paste the URL into the text box which indicates URL’s, select how long you want the link to be available…..  up to 24 hours. This is great to get items out to people quickly, but not something you want to use if you are going to keep the presentation/link available for an extended time. I really like this one because it gives real words, not just letters and numbers mixed together.
Since we are a Google For Education School, and we use Google Classroom as one of our Learning Management Systems, the Share to Classroom extension is great to share out a link to students quickly within your Google classroom.  Send the link, or create an announcement, question, or assignment and post it directly to classroom from the extension. Try it out, I bet you love it. Bit.ly is another great URL shortener.  Simply copy and paste the URL into shortener and copy the shortened like to send out or put on a presentation for access. TinyURL.com is another one that you can customize.  If the word(s), numbers, etc… are available then it makes it really easy to create a shortened URL.  If not, or you don’t care, it will generate a URL for you.


Apr 12, 2018

MERGE CUBE MANIA IN MIDDLE SCHOOL

Merge Cubes in middle school classrooms is hot right now and we have several teachers who are using them and having the kids explore with them.  There are many apps out there which you can review from the previous post I wrote on Augmented Reality

If you are new to Merge Cubes you need to take a look at this post by Cool Cat Teacher by Vicki Davis.    Karen Bosh explains why Merge Cubes are so hot right now.  You can subscribe to Vicki via iTunes as well for her 10 minute teacher segments.

@MergeVR is offering educators a special discount on their MERGE Goggles! For a limited time, they're available for $16.99 each (plus applicable taxes and shipping). Fill out the below at this link to get your discount code docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAI…  I bought 3 pairs and they ended up being 20.00 per pair after shipping and taxes. 

Apr 11, 2018

April = Poetry Month


Image result for open book jpegTake a  look at the post below on Richard Byrne's blog.  He writes some amazing post, so if you haven't started to follow him, I would do so.   

This is National Poetry Month. "What is a poem?" might be the first question that students ask after, "why is it National Poetry Month?" Read the full post here

Apr 9, 2018

The Black Hole of Downloads

It seems like I have worked with a lot of teachers lately who have expressed an concern about their black hole of downloadable files.  Files which are in downloads but not part of your Google Drive.   So here is a short video on how to change those settings on a windows machine in Google Chrome. You can do this on any MAC as well as long as you have Google Sync installed.

Apr 4, 2018

PDF Candy




Well it is not real candy, but oh what fun it is to know you can convert a PDF to a Word doc then convert to a Google Doc. I learned about this site from Leslie Fisher, so a huge shout out to her! Using this PDF Candy you will take a PDF convert it so it is a usable within Google Docs. Once in Google Docs, you can push it out through Google Classroom and have your students highlight, insert comments, discuss the purpose of the article. Think of the possibilities.

Remember the post on extensions? Take this document one step further and publish it to the web, then use the Extension Insert Learning to make the once STATIC document into an INTERACTIVE document for students.

Now on the main page there are many tools to manipulate PDF’s, but if you click on Convert From, To, and other tools, there are way more. Take a look at the video below to see just how easy this is, then start playing with all the tools....