Creative Image Editing in Slide

Use the following trick to find images for your presentation that are free to use. In addition, learn to make your images look "different". This is a great way to add some "spice" to your presentations. 

Neat tip for Google Sheets

Here is a step-by-step video that demonstrates how you can use the "Text Wrap" option in Google Sheets to better be able to read or analyse your data. 

Exploring Google Classroom

So now that I have had some time to explore Google Classroom, here are some of my reflections and thoughts:

  • Parent access - need code for parents to access their child's work and get notifications of assignments assigned and assessed
  • You have to log out of all your other Gmail accounts and only log in with the one you used to sign up for Google Classroom 
  • You cannot share YouTube or Docs from any other account, just the one you used to sign up for Google Classroom 
  • Classroom App makes it easy to access assignments
  • Need a record of student activities to share with parents and to use for reporting period as part of Learning Skills assessment / comments.
  • Need the option for two or more teachers to have ownership of one classroom
  • Need to be able to direct a conversation to a particular student. For example, on Twitter I can use the @ sign and on Google+ I can use the + sign but nothing seems to be in place in Google Classroom (yet).
For teachers new to technology and already using Google Apps for Education, this is a great start. Additional Information on Google Classroom: Other Classroom Managment platforms to use:

Assessment with Google Forms

Here is a step by step video instruction I created that will demonstrate how you can set up a rubric that can be used for observational assessment with any grade of students in any subject you may be teaching. 

The best part of this Google Forms assessment is that you can access it on any device and anytime. 

Let me know what you think and share how you are harnessing the power of Google Apps for Education in your district. 

Capturing Student Learning K-12

Documenting student learning is a major aspect of the Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) program. Even though the focus of this instruction is FDK, the same method can be applied to create portfolio for students in any grade level and subject. 

There are many tools available to support teachers in capturing student learning. However, due to privacy issues, teachers need to be careful of the tool they have decided to use. As always, open communication with parents and school administrator is key.

Many of the school board in Ontario have started to use Google Apps for Education which makes it a great FREE tool to use.

To harness the power of Google Apps any device can be used (e.g. phone, any tablet, iPads, etc). However, you must download the following free apps for your device.

Apps Needed:

Once downloaded, click on Google Drive to sign into your Google Apps for Education account.

Here are the steps to follow to capture learning in your classroom: 

Click on "+" sign to create folders for each student in your class.

               On tablet                                       

This can also be done on your computer by clicking on the following: 
On your computer you will click on "drive" and select "folder". Once you click on "folder" a   window will open where you can input student's name. 

On your tablet, click on the student "folder" you have created. 

This is also a great way for you to organize your student's work in any grade level or use to create an ePortfolio for each student.

What is your collaboration style?

As educators, we strive to create an environment where our students can work collaboratively. This got me thinking ... how often do we really practice what we preach. I think in many cases collaboration among educators is still a working progress. However, thanks to social media tools like Twitter this is starting to shift. In my own experience, I have to say Twitter taught me to be better at sharing and collaborating with others. 

So, what is your collaboration style?

Source: Creative Commons 

Health Lesson for all Ages

It's one thing to teach and discuss healthy eating with kids, but it's more powerful when kids can see a visual representation of what is being discussed / taught. And it's even more powerful when they have to create their own visual representation.

Here is an example:

Source: By: Carolyn McDowell

  • Create the following or share the image with the students
  • Engage class in a discussion of "What do you see?" and "what does it mean"
  • Record student thinking
  • Discuss "Why is this important?"
  • In groups, have students create a similar model based on an unhealthy eating practice (depending on age group, you may have to brainstorm some examples).  
  • After, have each group engage class in discussion based on their particular visual model. 
It is very powerful to see what the students come up with :)

Also, read the following blog post by @dougpete about our health lesson.

The Modern Classroom

I can't get over how busy the Apple store seems to be all the time, everyday. The store seems like an adult wonderland and no matter what your tech-level may be, you can always find something "cool" and feel like you are part of something big. 

This got me thinking ... why can't we set up our classrooms like an Apple Store?  Huge tables, stools, tons of collaboration going on.  To me it seems like the perfect learning environment.  Isn't the Genius bar really the "guided instruction"? Can you imagine the student engagement? Can you imagine the rich-learning that would go on?

The Friends

Linux (Ubuntu), WindowsOS, iOS

Providing students with the option of choosing the operating system (or tool) that will support them best in their learning is becoming more important than ever before. It is no longer important to know how to use a particular system or tool, it is more important to know why it works and how it works. Learning to code and being exposed to variety of systems are essential in the era of Web 3.0. It is exciting to learn alongside of students and be witness to our python codes coming alive, creating games and Android apps. 

Our journey continues... 

Twitter in the elementary classroom

Often times I hear, why use Twitter? or How do I use Twitter? 

It's true that Twitter is only as valuable as the people you follow. I am so furniture to have connected with some remarkable educators and innovators. I have learned a lot from my PLN and continue to learn.

During my teaching years in the classroom, I used twitter with my Grade 6 students. 

I knew that asking students to discuss in a very public forum could raise concerns for some parents. I decided to send a letter home describing the use of twitter in our classroom and encouraged parents to ask questions, follow us on twitter and respond to what we would post. 

First week of school, I had all my students sign up on twitter. Next, students created their own twitter accounts. Students had to use the same passwords as they use to log into the school computers. My big focus for the year was to teach my students digital responsibility. We discussed online RESPECT (what it means and how it looks like), we talked about the fact that when something is posted on twitter, it is permanent, and how to block unwanted followers. To get the students comfortable with twitter, I have them tweet about current events and events that were taking place in our school. 

The students ended up using their twitter account for: 

• Sharing of current events
• Book discussions
• Collaboration (groups used #hashtag to work on projects together)
• Summarizing the day's events
• Questioning
• Sending reminders

Here is a great site that provides other ideas for using Twitter in the classroom.

If you have used twitter with your students and have other suggestions please comment.