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.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Flattening Those Walls ~ Reach Out Beyond Your Classroom

Those of you who follow this blog know how I feel about using technology to connect your students to the world.  You have so many tools at your fingertips with Skype in the Classroom, Google Hangouts, collaborative documents, Flipgrid...and the list goes on!  What connections are you making this year?  Why not bring in an author to ignite the reading and writing fire in your students?  There are so many authors willing to Skype/Hangout with your students for free, it is crazy not to take advantage of their kindness.

Kim Ventrella is one author I have recently had the pleasure of contacting.  Her new book, Skeleton Tree, will be released on September 26th, 2017, by Scholastic Press.  It is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

You might be wondering why I chose to feature Kim this week.  The answer is her generosity.  I contacted her to Skype with a group of our teachers for this year's upcoming NaNoWriMo on inspiring our students to read and write.  She was willing to take time to Skype with us for free, and she will do the same with your students.  Sadly, we could not make our workshop work in September, but I still wanted you to know about her!  You can find out more on her Scholastic PAGE HERE.

So how are you connecting with the world?  Leave us a comment below.  I get daily requests from teachers in the Connected Classrooms Workshop G+ Community who are looking for partner classes.  If you are interested in connecting with another class, or even think you might want to give it a try,  leave me a comment or send me an email.  I would love to help you flatten those walls!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Weekly TNT ~ Build a Tardy Tracker in Google Forms

If you have only been using Google Forms for student input, you need to know Forms are great organizational tools for teacher documentation, too!

I've been talking to some teachers who would like to use Google Forms to track tardies.  While we haven't come up with the perfect solution (there are paid programs that do everything), here are some options on keeping track.

If you have ideas on how to improve them Form, please share in the comments below.  We would love your collaboration!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekly TNT ~ Adding a Passcode to a Google Form

I have shared ways to create data trackers using Google Forms, which I love.  Any time teachers can simplify documentation, it's a win!  As a teacher, I had data trackers on my phone that I could access anywhere in the class.  Students occasionally used the camera on my phone to document something, too.  In cases like this, we need extra security on those Forms.  It is easy to add a passcode to a Form in just a few steps!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Google 101 Quick Tip #1 - Uploading Word Documents into Drive

We have the school year underway, and I have had several requests for some basic Google tutorials.  We have several new districts who have chosen to go Google, and I want to share some quick basics throughout the fall semester.  These videos will be three minutes or less and will focus on one basic skill.

We all have things we've created in Word or PowerPoint that we want to use in Google, right?  Here's

Quick Tip #1 - How to Upload a Word Document as a Google Doc

I will still be posting other tutorials in addition to the Quick Tips!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Welcome Back to School!

Welcome back to a brand new school year!  
I am so excited for all of you!  
We have the chance to change lives, to inspire and release genius in our students, and to build relationships our students need!

We have new districts joining our Google tribe, so I am planning a series of Google Three-Minute Jam tutorials.  If you need to know how to do something specific in the Google tools, please use the form over there on your right to let me know.

On the Microsoft front, Microsoft Classroom has been replaced with Microsoft Teams!  I'm hoping for user-friendly interface and usage.  For those of you who aren't using Google, I will be bringing tutorials for Microsoft in the new year.  

That brings us to Skype in the Classroom.  If you have never used Skype or Google Hangouts to bring speakers into your classroom or to partner with other classrooms, you are missing out!  

There are hundreds of authors who will Skype with your students for free!  You can take virtual field trips, and your students can tackle PBL with other classrooms in the world.  I DARE you to flatten those walls this year!  You might want to start with a Mystery Skype.  I am a part of a group of connected educators, and I have teachers from other states looking for partner teachers/classrooms.  If you are interested in connecting your kids with another classroom, fill out this QUICK FORM, and I will send you more information.

You are Rock Stars!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Creator for Chrome

I am excited to announce Book Creator for Chrome!  It has been in beta this summer, and I received the message that it is ready for your classroom!  For those of you unfamiliar with Book Creator, for iOS, it is an open-ended book creation tool students can use to create books on any subject.  Students can create comics, science journals, non-fiction books, collaborative works, class books, and even books created from classroom collaboration around the world (see #TWIMA to find out more).

Book Creator for Chrome is now available, and it has some amazing features.

Dan from Book Creator says,
Google Image search

"When you tap the + button and select Import, you can now search for images on Google. Rest assured that safe-search is enabled, and all the images have full permission to be used in your books. You can also disable the feature altogether in a library's settings if you prefer students to only use their own images."
It is a free/paid tool.  Teachers can create a library of 40 books for free.  That's ok, though, because you can export finished books to other places and remove them from Book Creator.  HERE is the price list, but you know I always try to use free tools when I can!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

New Updates for Google Classroom!!

I am excited about the new updates to Google Classroom!  Google listened to the things teachers have been saying.  Read the full article to know exactly what new features you have in Classroom.  Gone are the days of not being able to reorder your class cards, and now you can see a list of assignments for an individual student.  Click HERE for the full article!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Apple Swift Playgrounds

#ISTE17 has been amazing!  I am gathering so many new ideas to share with you, so I thought I'd better start now before I forget something.  I have enjoyed the Apple team this week and have gained some great insight into Swift Playgrounds.  I have played with the app and have recommended to teachers, but I had no idea about the huge amount of resources Apple provides for teachers who want to use the app!  Wow!

Where do I start?  Or, rather, where do you start?
     Start with becoming an Apple Teacher HERE!  I can't even tell you how many resources are available through this site.  On the site, you will find Everyone Can Code with links to teacher guides, the Swift Playgrounds app, and other great resources!

Apple has coding material for elementary, middle, and high school - something for all of us.  Besides that, helping Byte with his challenges in the Swift Playgrounds app is a blast!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Use Google Classroom Writing Tools for Mobile Devices

We had a question at the STEM Expo about students being able to show the actual work they did to solve a problem in Google Classroom.  Students can always add a photo attachment to an assignment, but it would be nice if there were a built-in feature that would allow students to write with a stylus or their finger.  Google thought so, too!