Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Weekly TNT ~ Lock an iPad into One App for Students

I am all about teaching students how to access and use technology in the classroom without me needing to drive, but there are often circumstances where we need to do some of the driving to help students get to their destinations.  Some examples include young students who have difficulties finding and using the correct apps, emerging readers who don't need to try to search or spell specific apps, students who need assistance in focusing on one app at a time, etc.  I am sure you can think of other times you wished you could lock your iPad into one app.

You can!  
This week's tutorial shows you how to use a setting under Accessibility that will allow you to drive!

What technology integration needs do you have?  I am always looking for new ideas for our Weekly TNT videos.  Left a comment below to suggest future videos.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WriMo Wednesday ~ Get Your Classroom Ready for NaNoWriMo!

Almost Wednesday, anyway... I wanted to get these links out to you a day early in case you wanted to join the webcast on Friday. 

We are almost ready for Blastoff!  This year's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is just around the corner, and I have some more great resources for you from the Young Writer's Program.  This Friday, October 20th, 2017, Newbery Award-winning author Jack Gantos is teaming up with NaNoWriMo to share his new writing guide, WRITING RADAR.

Scroll down the NaNo Resources page to RSVP for Jack's NaNo Prep Webcast and send in some questions your class has for him.  He might just answer them on air!

Would you like to hear more from Jack Gantos?

I hope you are building excitement in your classroom in preparation for NaNo Blastoff!  

Share what you're doing in the comments below.  If you're struggling with ideas, post that, too.  We are a teaching community, and we can lift each other with a helping hand!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Google 101 Quick Tip #3 ~ Add Images in Google Forms

We are back for another quick tip for our new Google users.  This tutorial will show you how to add images as answer choices in Google Forms!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

WriMo Wednesday ~ Have a Write-in for NaNoWriMo!

I checked in with Vanessa Hartel, manager of the Young Adults Department for the Stephens Central Library in San Angelo. I am excited to pass on what she said about NaNoWriMo at the library!

The Teen Republic will be hosting “Wednesday Write-ins.” On these days, we’ll encourage our teens to work on NaNoWriMo projects, including writing, workshopping, proofing, reading etc. While we hope the kiddos will work on their project throughout the month (and they’d need to in order to meet that word count!), on these Wednesdays it’s our goal that the teens will come together, work on their projects, and share with their peers, to create a network of young writers. The Teen Republic is for patrons in grades 6-12, and homeschoolers age 11-18. We are located on the second floor of the library.

What kind of write-ins are you planning? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!

Still unsure what this looks like in your classroom? Check out 5 Tips for Educators Using NaNoWriMo in the Classroom,

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Weekly TNT~ Peer Evaluations with Google Forms

This week's TNT combines Google Forms and a Sheets add-on called Autocrat.  I apologize for the video length, but there are multiple steps on the setup.
Here's a synopsis, so you can decide if this is something that would benefit you.

  • Teacher creates a Google Doc Template that will be used for all of the evaluations and a Form containing the evaluation rubric.
  • Students use the Form to evaluate a peer's work/project/writing/etc.
  • Teacher can review critiques before sending if he/she chooses.
  • Add-on runs on the spreadsheet, and the Form data merges with the template and emails out individual evaluation sheets to each student.
  • Teacher can read all critiques in the spreadsheet or on each individual Doc housed in teacher's Google Drive.

Even without merging data into individual reports, Google Forms is a great way to have students evaluate each other's work!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

WriMo Wednesday ~ Helpful Resources for NaNoWriMo

Last week, we kicked off 2017 prep for NaNoWriMo.  If you missed the post, read it HERE.  I hope you visited the Young Writer's Program, and you got your account set up.  If not, it will only take you a few minutes.  Go ahead...get it done!

Here are three great resources to get you underway to a successful NaNoWriMo.

  • YWP Forums - Connect with other educators who are accepting the NaNo Challenge
  • The NaNoWriMo Classroom -  I found this website this year, and I am impressed.  It's packed full of practical information.  Be sure to read the sections on Daily Agenda and Issues.
  • Teacher Resources - Planning guides from the YWP;  Note:  While the guides list Common Core Standards, they use basic writing strategies that address our TEKS.  I spoke with our own Jody Waters of SAISD about how she connected the planning/writing guides to her curriculum and the TEKS.  She said it was a great fit.  Listen to what her kids had to say!

How are you planning to build the NaNo excitement?
Leave us a comment below to share your ideas!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Google 101 Quick Tip #2 - Sharing Options in Google Apps

Welcome back for another Google 101 Quick Tip!  
We are going to be looking at sharing setting in Google apps.  

How do you share and collaborate with others on a single document?  How do you change the settings, so others can see the document but not change it?  Watch the quick tip video to find out more.

A little sad news from YouTube...the YouTube editor is gone.  If you or your students have been piecing together video parts with the free editor, you will no longer be able to do so.  No worries, though.  I will find new options for you!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Flattening Those Walls ~ Virtual Field Trips

It's Friday, and it's time to flatten those classroom walls!  Use the tools you have available to connect with experts without leaving the school.  Did you know Skype in the Classroom offers virtual field trips?  Take a minute or two to watch the video about one of the interviews underwater.

If you are new to Skype in the Classroom, browse the Getting Started Guide.  Don't let the fear of the unknown stop you from using these amazing tools!

A note to Region 15 teachers:  If you would like to try out a Skype with me before tackling one with a stranger, just email me.  I am more than happy to walk you through the process and test your classroom setup.  I can also help you find partner teachers/classes and experts.

Fill out the Google Form to sign up for more information.

What virtual adventure are you considering for your classroom?
Leave a comment below and share with us!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Meet the New Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Classroom is gone.  No worries, though!  It has been replaced by Microsoft Teams.  This is what Microsoft has to say about the new Teams:
Microsoft Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, content, and apps together in one place. Educators can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with school staff all from a single experience in Office 365 for Education.

For our O365 districts, I want to give you comparable tools to those our Google districts are using.  The Microsoft Innovative Educator Program offers great tutorials and a supportive community.  If you would like to know more about Microsoft Teams, the Intro to Teams Course is a great place to start!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WriMo Wednesday ~ NaNoWriMo is Coming!

     I challenge (in fact, I triple-dog dare) you to take on NaNoWriMo!

For those new to the word, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it will be here again this November.

     What we know:
  • Reading and writing are priorities in every grade level and every content area.
  • We need authentic experiences for our students.
  • Students need to be challenged.
  • We need to crawl outside the box once in awhile!

What do kids have to say about it?

It's not just for middle and high school, though...

Just incredible!  It makes my heart sing.  

Now you're asking-
Where do I start, though?  How does it all work?
I know you asked that, right, because surely you can't walk away from a triple-dog dare!

The NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Program has done the setup for you.  I am spreading the word now, so you will have time to set up a free account, to plan, and to get your free Teacher Kit.

Leave a comment below if you accept the NaNoWriMo Challenge!  For those of you in Region 15, I would love to create a Virtual Word-Count Wall for all of our participating classes/schools/districts.  

Check back next Wednesday for more WriMo goodies, too.