Tuesday, November 28, 2017

'Tis the Season ~ TCEA Hosting Live Chat with Santa

The Christmas season is upon us!  I wanted to share a live virtual chat with Santa hosted by TCEA.  You don't have to be a member to join in the fun.  It will take place December 12th, from 2:00 to 2:30 pm Central time.  Find out more information on the TCEA TechNotes Blog HERE

Monday, November 13, 2017

Weekly TNT ~ Science, Math, Checkmate

I have always been an advocate of chess in the classroom.  The game teaches students to think critically, to problem-solve, to plan ahead, to process opponent thinking, to win, and to lose.  We kept chess-boards up year-round in the classroom and used tournament play as indoor recess during bad weather.  Beginning on the first day of school, all of my students were required to learn to play.  Years ago I found a book called Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving by Alexey W. Root.  The author made connections to curriculum in the core subject areas, and I loved the idea.  While I didn't love every activity, I used the ideas a spring board to create other lessons around the game.  Probability, data collections, graphing, fractions, decimals, percentages...get the idea?  The reason I bring this up today is because of a great share from Eric Curts - the game of chess via Google drawings.  Last week I shared a link to his site.  This happens to be one of many great things you will find there.  Make your own copy to play!




In searching for a chess quote to include with this post, I came across this poster.  What more could you say about the impact you leave on your students, and the world, as a teacher?


Are you using Google drawings in your classroom?  Share your ideas with us!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Weekly TNT ~ Visit Control Alt Archive for Great Tech Ideas!

This week I wanted to share an amazing resource with you for technology integration.  Eric Curts over at Control Alt Archive is always sharing great ideas, tech tools, templates, and webinars.  If you are not familiar with his site, it is definitely worth the visit!  Yesterday he shared Google Slide turkey templates for creative writing activities.  Ok, so I didn't do the creative writing, but I did use the slides to design my turkey...


You could easily have students create slides like these where they add the parts and have others use the slides to tell a story!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Flattening Your Classroom ~ Virtual Field Trips

I am always on the lookout for tools you can use in your classroom.  I look for quality, content-relevant tools and sites that don't require excessive learning curves for teachers.  I know that curve varies for each of us, but I try to think about the time you would need to invest to get the technology smoothly integrated into your classroom. 

In the Connected Classrooms Workshop G+ Community, a recent share interested me.  The website is called Learn Around the World.  They offer both free and paid virtual field trips for K-5 classrooms.  The information does state teachers of older students can register for field trips, but you would not have a camera presence.  I am interested to see what the free trips have to offer.

I read through the information and will be "attending" a field trip to find out more.  If you decide to try out one of the free trips scheduled in November, please share with us the results.  Check back for updates on these trips as we find out more.  Remember, there's power in collaboration!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

WriMo Wednesday ~ NaNoWriMo is Here!

Did you class hit the ground running today?  I hope so, but if you haven't committed to the challenge of NaNoWriMo, yet, it's not too late.  If you are new here and not familiar with National Novel Writing month, read my POST from earlier in the year.  I did a quick Twitter search this morning to take in the excitement of November 1st in the NaNo world.  I came across a great quote.


“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.”
― Beatrix Potter
Are your students feeling the excitement? Your students will rise to the expectations you set for them. We know that. Where's the expectation bar set in your classroom? What if your students aren't writing fiction? That's ok! Have them write a collective non-fiction book about whatever content you are covering. Let them design the graphics, the charts, photograph the images, interview the experts...get the idea?

There are many tools your students can use for writing. One of my favorites, aside from Google Slides, is Book Creator. I normally like to talk about free tools here because I spent many years spending my own money in the classroom, and I feel your pain. I thought Book Creator was worth the money for iPads, and now they offer a version for Chrome! The best part about it is that it's free for a 40 book library. You will find it HERE. I said all this to say, you can have your students write individual chapters, essays, how-tos, etc. Then you can combine those into one book using the Book Creator tools. Here's a quick screencast on where the "Combine Books" tool is located.



You will have to do some editing of the combined book, but give that job to your students, too! I do think the paid Chrome version is too expensive, so I would figure out the logistics of using the free version if I still had a classroom of students. I love the tools, and I hope Book Creator will realize the yearly subscription is pricey for teachers.

Share your classroom NaNo adventures in the comments below. The Cafe is full of teachers waiting to hear from you!