I Write Words

We tend to do what we value, working ever more on things that are meaningful to us as individuals. But, it is also true that we tend to value what we do, ensuring that our work is prized and known to others. Is this a virtuous cycle? I’m not sure…

A Project-Based Learning Spectrum: 25 Questions To Guide Your PBL Planning

A question is always a great place to start learning. I really like how these questions are placed on a spectrum from simple to complex too.

How to Ungrade

A thought provocative piece on how we might look at grading and assessing student work differently. Definitely one to consider as we are in the season of testing.

Students Learn More When THEY Do the Work

It is often asked, ‘Who is doing more of the work in the classroom?’ The idea is that whomever is doing more of the work is doing more of the learning and thinking. Let’s hope and plan for it to be the kids!

Engaged

OMG Becky. PD is Getting So Much Better!!

Professional Development can be better. Actually, it must be better. We deserve it as educators, and our kids deserve highly developed teachers and leaders in our schools. Here are some amazing examples of how PD can change for the better.

Learn what you can do #withClassroom

Google Classroom is a great tool for Personalized Learning on its own, but it can work even better when combined with other tools. Check out a few of them which are highlighted on the Google blog: The Keyword.

Disrupt Implicit Bias by Personalizing Your District

Equity conversations are everyone’s job. In this well researched article, Keara Duggan discusses how we can take specific actions to support more equitable classrooms, schools, and districts.

Making Things Work

Very often we are given tools that don’t do exactly what we want them to. So, we modify those tools for our given purpose. I sometimes use a cordless drill as a hammer. I sometimes use a spreadsheet to send personalized emails. What have you repurposed?

Code that book – in VR

Technology initially allows us to do old things in new ways, but occasionally it allows us to do truly new things in new ways. The creation of virtual literacy experiences is one. Check it out!

Revision History (Hidden) – New Google Sites

As it turns out, there is a hidden feature in the New Google Sites that lets you find deleted pages and see all of the revisions made to a given page. It may be a little nerdy, but it is super useful!

How to manage Google Classroom like a boss with notifications

The notifications from Google Classroom can be rather intense sometimes. Here are some guidelines for managing them all.

Unsubscribe!

I am thankful for all of the amazing feedback we have received for this newsletter. We will be improving this resource as a result. One piece of feedback we received was that folks couldn’t find the unsubscribe link. It is at the bottom of this email. 😉

Voice

Padlet has added so many amazing features recently. The newest is the ability to record your voice as a contribution. The best part is that works across all platforms (Chromebooks, iPads, etc.). Hooray for student voice!

10 add-ons to Google Classroom you MUST try

Alice Keeler has made so many great Google Classroom add-ons to help teachers to be more efficient and effective in their work. I highly recommend you take a look at a few and try them for yourself!

The Case for the ‘Self-Driven Child’

Agency is not limited to just the learning experience at school. Children can (and some would say should) be agents of their own lives. In this new book, a couple of researchers take a look at the scientific basis for agency and efficacy for children.

Specific

Be specific whenever you can. It helps in telling stories. It helps in giving feedback. It helps in giving directions. It helps in framing change. Be specific.

Backchannels

Backchannel conversations are an amazing tool for listening to unheard voices in your classroom all the while increasing cognitive engagement. Padlet has launched this capability into an already amazing platform. Check it out!

‘The other PBL’ is not fluff, it is well researched and effective. Playing to learn is a huge component of many of our most dynamic and successful classrooms. See some of these results here.
We need to understand teachers fully and see them complexly. It is a hard job, and it requires a lot of support, from all of us.

Experience

I cannot give you my experience.

Rather, I can only be with you in your experiences, letting my past inform your future.

Pop Up Classroom – Classroom Design that Fosters Creativity and Agency

When students have ownership over their learning spaces, they’re much more likely to own the learning that happens there. This protocol, which has numerous examples from different grade levels, can help create new learning opportunities in our classrooms.

Oh yeah? Your face is Digital Citizenship! – Noah Geisel

In a current example of ‘giving away your privacy’, Noah Geisel explores the ways in which we trade our private information for something we want, whether frivolity or product access. It is a great lesson for both us and our students.

Stop Using the Label ‘Struggling Reader,’ Author Jacqueline Woodson Advises

I really appreciate this approach to the ever-changing nature of our skillsets. Struggle is not a constant state for our readers, writers, and promising mathematicians and scientists. It is a part of the process, on our way to becoming successful.

What are you reading?

There is no question that I find to be more telling about someone’s learning life than ‘What are you reading?’ If the answer is anything other than ‘nothing’, you have a recommendation. If the answer is ‘nothing’, you can make one of your own.

New ways to comment on Microsoft files (and more) in Google Drive

Some great news for folks who really like Microsoft Office files and/or PDFs, but would like to use Google Drive cloud storage. Commenting and collaboration for all!

10 Characteristics of Professional Learning that Inspires Learner-Centered Innovation

Teachers must experience personalized learning in their professional growth in order to support students with Personalization. Here are some amazing suggestions for how to make that happen in our PD.

‘Library Extension’ Helps You Find Books At Your Local Library While You Shop for Books Online

What if you could browse amazon and instantly find out if the book you are about to buy is available from your local library? What if you could use Amazon’s awesome recommendation engine to help kids find engaging ebooks from their library? You can.

The Crust

I often cut off the crust of my youngest son’s PB&J. I don’t do this for my two older children, though. At some point, they just got used to the rough edges and the more difficult texture, even coming to like the hard crust surrounding their meal.

How to Use YouTube Video Essays in the Classroom

Video essays provide for some of the most engaging content available, and they make for amazing multimedia assignments if you ask students to create their own. Check them out.

Three Ways to Add Audio to Google Slides

There are lots of reasons that you (or your students) might want to add audio to a slideshow. Check out three new ways of doing so with Google Slides!

An American Chromebook Crisis: new report shows sad trends of how students are using the devices

Chromebooks are now a pervasive technology in many of our classrooms. And yet, their use is not altogether transformative or particularly engaging in many cases. How do we ensure that low level math practice is not the full extent for using these tools?

Processing Time

We all need processing time, just some more than others. It is easy to move forward believing that everyone has had the processing time they need because you have had yours. But, it pays to provide more. It pays to listen to what others need.

Picademy North America

Become a Raspberry Pi certified educator right here in Denver! For the first time, these training opportunities are available outside the UK. Apply to be a part of the first US cohort for free!

Ben Forta | Blog

What wonderful news! Adobe Spark has always been a great resource for our kids (and for us) to create high quality visuals, especially those involving text and persuasion. The premium features will now be free and students can login with Google.

What’s Your Priority? Passion or Proficiency

Clearly it is not one or the other, but I do think it is worth considering your priorities for Passion and Proficiency within your classroom or school.

Render

There is a time between when you are done with a project and when it sees the light of day. For video, the last step is for the video to be ‘rendered’ so that it can be shared and played. Too often, we get stuck editing and rendering, and never sharing.

HyperDrawings: Creating AMAZING Flipped and Blended Learning Activities for Math Class.

Google drawings is finally starting to get the respect it deserves as a power tool for student engagement and content creation. Check out this activity structure to see more!

You and that Darn Flip-A-Grid Thing!!!

I love the authenticity of this teacher’s voice as she is describing the ways in which Flipgrid (and tools like it) can lead to more student voice in the classroom.

Please stop delivering content (and stop saying ‘AI’ while you are at it)

A rather raw reflection on the notion that we must use our classrooms for delivering content to students or that technology is/should be helping us to deliver content better, faster, or more efficiently.