Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Small Group Leadership & Discussion In The Flex Mod Schedule

Almost all courses in the flex mod schedule have a small group connected with it that meets one to two times a week.  These small group discussions will include one instructor and 13-15 students.  Most small groups meet for one mod which is thirty minutes.

What should the learning environment look like in a small group setting?
Face to face conversation in a comfortable and safe atmosphere is first and foremost.  "Collaborative Learning Builds Deeper Understanding" is a documentary about a school that focuses on small group discussion as an integral aspect of learning.

Specifically, this part of the video demonstrates the Harkness-Style Roundtable Discussion.  As is shown in the video, the instructor describes the step by step process to developing a "great conversation" from day one.
To make the students feel as comfortable and safe as possible to be able to take risks that will create a good conversation, the instructor...
  • Asks, "What are the values implicit in sitting around this large, wooden, oval table?  Now, every classroom won't have that, but how can that type of environment be created in a classroom?  
    • Students respond with respect, listening to each other, and being courteous.
  • Creates the right geography in the classroom. She asks, "Can you all see each other? Can you make eye contact with your classmates?" If the students can't see each other, they adjust their chairs so that they can.
  • Always tells the students, "Check your ego at the door."  "Be willing to take risks, just have fun, and throw out ideas."  She adds, "if you throw something else out and it's not fully formed, that's great because somebody else can jump in and build on an idea."
  • Also starts with a reflective moment, a moment of silence, or a moment of writing.
While all educators may not feel comfortable with all of this at first, finding a comfortable, inviting atmosphere to conversation will create a tremendously, positive learning environment.

It is important to have a set of guidelines for the conversation. Watch how she describes one of the "discussion styles".  There are three roles students will fill during the discussion.
Finally, don't forget a key aspect to concluding the discussion.  Lastly, keep the conversation maps to see the progress of the small group.
Of course, all of this is NOT easy.  However, teachers have noticed that students will talk with them at the end of the small group session and say, "I didn't get to say everything I wanted to." That's where technology can continue the discussion.  Tools that can assist with this include

How does this look in other subject areas?

Harkness History

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Show What You Know - Spanish Guest Blogger

(Ms. Slusarek & Mrs. Titler) developed a unit for our Spanish III students where they were asked to identify and solve potential problems while traveling abroad.  Students were given the task of identifying a potential problem, brainstorming solutions/advice, and then asked to select a tech tool to share that information with other travelers.  Here are a few of the examples from my class in case you are interested.  (Mrs. Titler) was really happy with the results!

This group used a tool called Emaze that was really visually attractive. 

While all of these are in Spanish, they are incredible examples of students creating artifacts that "Show What They Know"

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Large Group Instruction Planning In The Flex Mod Schedule

Large Group Planning takes collaboration, preparation, and follow through to be an effective means of educating large groups of students.

Lesson Plans, Student Absent Documents, and Seating Charts are important resources for effectiveness.

Each template can be digitally copied or printed.  Choose digital or paper to meet the educator's needs.

Must be signed into Google Account for templates to work.
Large Group Lesson Plan Template

Student Absent? Email Them

LGI 1, 2, & SBS Seating Charts

Attend Lunch N' Learn to add input for improvement!

Outside of Pulaski Domain
Lesson Plan

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Google Form (Responses) Text Wrapping

A valuable discovery!

Flex Mod Digital Sign & Countdown Preparations

During certain times of the day, monitors in our building will have digital announcements.  We are planning to use Google Sign Builder.

The daily announcements will run using a Google Presentation that can be updated at any time.
Our example:

Once set up, the slide show will switch to a countdown clock (red) and black background which will run at our designated times.

Our designated times are currently set for this schedule.

Between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM, we will display some form of wallpaper such as below:


A HUGE thank you to Mr. Westphal for taking our ideas and making them happen.

Monday, April 20, 2015

SMART Notebook Express

Numerous SMART Notebook files, inter activities, review games, and presentations are created by teachers on a daily basis.  Some of these could be used by students during personal learning time (homework) for further understanding of concepts.

One option for students to view SMART Notebook information is via an exported PDF copy that teachers email or place on a digital management tool.  While the information from the SMART Notebook file is viewable no inter activity between movable objects or links to pages within the file will work.


The Workflow
  • SAVE SMART Notebook file to computer (if not previously completed)
  • CREATE Google Drive folder for organization
  • UPLOAD SMART Notebook file to Google Drive
  • SHARE Google Drive File with students via blog, Edmodo, email

The Final Steps
  • OPEN web browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE
  • TYPE http://express.smarttech.com/ into the omni bar (URL area)
  • OPEN existing Notebook file (blue button) 
  • FIND the SMART Notebook file the teacher shared with students in the steps above
  • CLICK on the file OPEN (it may take a few moments to process)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Newscast From The Past - World History

As we progress forward with the project, the Green Screen App by Do Ink will be used by some students.  Below is a basic instructional video followed by a complete tutorial.  Remember, each Do Ink creation can be produced to the iPad's camera roll.  Upon completion, combining multiple Green Screen creations into an iMovie project.  Produced together can be a completed project.

*Follow Up
After one week of three green screen set ups and 300 students experiencing the project with 30 iPads, some images, videos and final creations were completed.

French Newscast - Amazing Creativity and Production
Channel 7 News - Intro, Content, Commercials, and more
KTVU News - Amazing Production!



Exporting Options - MP4

Monday, April 13, 2015

SMART Notebook New & Review

SMART boards with SMART notebook is a technology tool that all of our teachers have in their educational setting.

Updates that could be helpful for teachers when planning and presenting educational lessons are below.

View The Converted SMART file to PowerPoint

Remember,any SMART Notebook file can be shared with others if uploaded as a SMART file to Google Drive.

Combine the downloaded file with the free Notebook Express tool will allow users to view and manipulate any part of the file from any computer.  This could be a tremendous help in allowing students to review classroom material.
As we move into the Flex Mod schedule in the fall of 2015, this may be beneficial in sharing important classroom content information.

Download SMART Notebook File of the updates.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Using Google Draw While Using Google Docs

Our sixth grade students in Mrs. Noble's class are writing creative stories that create "critters" that combine two different features of different animals into one "critter".  One of our teachers wanted their students to create an image of the "critter". Google Draw was the best tool for this on a computer.

View My Example

Student Example: Critter Story - Uniserpent

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