Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Remote Learning: Two Minute Drill--Mange People in Google Classroom

In this Two Minute Drill, you will learn how to disable or reset the class code in your Google Classroom settings, remove parents who have enrolled with a personal Gmail account, and invite guardians to receive automatic email summaries of your class activity.

Two Minute Drill: Manage People in Google Classroom

Remote Learning: Two Minute Drill--Google Classroom Notification Settings

In this Two Minute Drill, you will learn how to manage your Google Classroom Notification Settings to have better control over the email notifications you receive for activity in your virtual classes.

Two Minute Drill: Google Classroom Notification Settings

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Remote Learning: Two Minute Drill--Classwork Notifications on the Google Classroom Stream

Welcome to the Two Minute Drill, a video series that will help you learn an instructional technology tool or strategy in two minutes or less. In this premiere episode, you will learn how to change the default setting in Google Classroom for Classwork Notifications on the Google Classroom Stream.

Two Minute Drill: Classwork Notifications on the Google Classroom Stream

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Remote Learning: Ten Tips for Remote Teaching

Full disclosure, I'm a sucker for a list. The list below includes some strategies you can implement to make remote teaching and learning a success for EVERYONE. Feel free to download a copy for yourself or print it out and put it prominently near your work station in your "home office."

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Remote Teaching: FFT

When I took the Positivity Project's character survey, the trait that was assigned to me was "Perspective." Truth be told, I took the survey a few times just to test its validity--Perspective every time! As most of us are going through something new for the first time, I thought I'd share something I saw on 60 Minutes last Sunday as it offers a bit of perspective given our current situation. One of the featured stories was about an author and academic named Bren√© Brown (you can watch the full segment here). I had never heard of her, but apparently, she has a pretty popular TED Talk about the power of vulnerability with nearly 47 million views! I decided to subscribe to her podcast, which she discussed in the interview. It's called Unlocking Us. I just listened to the first episode and in it, she shares her thoughts about FFTs--"Fu@#$%^ First Times" ("Terrible First Times" if you are having conversations with kids). She acknowledges that doing something new is hard, but the first step in opening ourselves up to growth is to name the "FFT" to normalize it, put it in perspective, and reality check out expectations. I'm sure many of you are growing frustrated with the dramatic changes to our routines over the past few weeks. If you can tolerate some good-natured cussing, I would encourage you to give the first episode of Unlocking Us (linked above) a listen.

"In this episode I talk about my strategy for staying in tough first times versus tapping out and shutting down. When we get to the point that we only do things that we’re already good at doing, we stop growing. And truly living."
--Bren√©  Brown 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Remote Learning--Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Note: I wrote this blog post and had it ready to share on March 3rd. It was going to be another post about the utility of HyperDocs, the theme I have adopted for the year. Then, the coronavirus pandemic found its way to our corner of the globe so I buckled down to support "alternative instruction" as we are all working from home. But in reality, HyperDocs are the perfect tool to support remote teaching and learning. Like the subject of the post below, we are all without a classroom to call home at the moment and are stuck "teaching on a cart." I hope you'll take a moment to read below to see not only what she did and how she did it, but also know that you can do it too!

During February Break, I attended an EdCamp at Phoenix Central Schools. During a session on HyperDocs, a Health teacher from East Syracuse Minoa High School shared her approach to instructional delivery. As a newer teacher, she does not have a classroom to call home, but rather has a mobile cart to carry her materials from classroom to classroom. Because of the logistics of her teaching day, she has prepared unit-long HyperDocs as a means to "package" all of her instruction in a single document, in this case Google Slides. See a sample unit below:

How'd She Do That?

  • This particular HyperDoc was created using Google Slides. 
    • In Google Drive, click on "New" and select "Google Slides."
  • The teacher changed the page setup to mimic an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper to accommodate students who chose to print their notebooks. 
    • In Google Slides, select "File" and click on "Page Setup." From there, change the setting to "custom" and change the dimensions to 8.5 x 11 inches.
  • She changed the look of her Slides by inserting a background image.
    • From the Google Slides menu, click "Background" and upload or search for a background image.
    • Right-click on the slide preview (the small list of slides on the left of the screen) and select "Duplicate Slide."
    • Do this several times until you have as many slides as you will need for your HyperDoc.
    • You can also change the background en masse at any time by selecting all slides (click the first one, hold down the shift key and click on the last one) and then change the background per the directions above.
  • Her first slide has a space for students to enter their name and block (period). 
    • Rather than using an "underscore" or line like we would traditionally do on a printed document, the teacher inserted a text box for the students to enter their names. She changed the border color from black to teal. If she used an underscore as she might have done on a paper document that would traditionally be printed and copied for students, the characters would move as the students type.
    • To insert a textbox, click Insert and select Text Box. There is also an icon on the menu that will accomplish the same task. It looks like an editable box with a capital T in it.
    • To change the border color of the text box, click on the text box and select the border icon from the menu (it looks like a pencil with the selected color under it). You can also adjust the border thickness with the adjacent border weight icon (it looks like a stack of lines of varying thickness).
    • Use this technique whenever you want students to respond to a prompt--offer them a dedicated space to type their answers.
    • Pro-Tip: You can use the paint bucket icon to fill the text boxes with color to make them stand out.
  • The first slide also includes a table of contents that links to lesson-specific content within the unit.
    • This step should be one of the last things you do before sharing your Hyperdoc with students (once all of your slides are done).
    • Type a list of lessons.
    • Highlight the text of a specific string of text and insert a link (click the chain link icon or select "Insert" and "Link" from the menu.
    • Rather than linking to a website, select "Slides in this presentation" and click on the specific slide you to which you would like to link.
  • Insert images and create assignments
    • This teacher added relevant images to communicate content. She also added links to digital content and more HyperDocs for students to demonstrate learning.
    • Interestingly, the teacher created "fill in the blank" activities in which students can drag-and-drop vocabulary into a lined space to match words to their respective contextual definitions (See Lesson 4).
  • Share with students
    • This HyperDoc unit was shared with students via Google Classroom
    •  In Classroom, click on the Classwork page and create an Assignment. 
    • Attach the HyperDoc (Google Slide) and select "make a copy for each student."
    • This way, your template will remain intact and every student can have their own copy of the HyperDoc.
    • Students should NOT turn in their work right away--if they do so, they will no longer have the ability to edit their file. 
    • The teacher is always an editor on Google Classroom Assignments and can offer timely meaningful feedback by opening a student's work and inserting comments synchronously or asynchronously.
  • Check out the full HyperDoc unit here.

You Can Do It, Too!

You, too can create a HyperDoc like this...the skills you will need:
  • Create a Google Slides presentation
  • Change the background image on a Slide
  • Insert text, images, links
  • Create an Assignment in Google Classroom and make a copy for every student
That's it! With a little time and creativity, you will have a lesson or unit that embraces 21st century pedagogies and supports self-paced, personalized learning for all students.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Remote Learning: Collecting and Sharing Students' Digital Projects

When I taught Global History, I would, like most of you, task students to work individually or in groups to create some kind of presentation that synthesized their learning and deliver it in front of the class. I can't tell you how many PowerPoint presentations I sat through in which students would read bulleted lists of information to the class! Since that time, I have come across a variety of tips to help students better prepare their presentations and delivery, the best of which is Guy Kawasaki's 10 - 20 - 30 rule for "pitching" ideas.

Instructional Technology has come a long way since PowerPoint was one of the only tools of the trade. Check out my Creation Tools Cheat Sheet that offers students "voice and choice" in selecting from a variety of multimedia tools they can use to demonstrate learning. You are welcome to share this document with your students--it includes links to each tool's website as well as video tutorials to explain how each tool works. Teachers, of course, should design specific rubrics to help students design digital projects that meet expectations.

Collecting and Sharing Digital Learning Projects

So how should teachers collect and share student work now that the audience is no longer face-to-face? The answer is to leverage Google Forms to collect links to student work and Google Sheets to share the links with the class. Check out the video example to see how it can be done.

Split Rock 5th Grade: PowToons Projects