Must

There are 2 types of ‘must’ experiences. The first is where you are forced by someone else to do something (i.e., ‘You must’). The second is where you feel compelled to do it for your own reasons (i.e., ‘I must’). How many ‘I must’ moments are you having?

Using Picture Books in the Middle School Classroom

Picture books are an content incredible resource that isn’t just for elementary classrooms. Find out more from one of our favorite educators who blogs about her practice regularly.

Storify Bites the Dust. If You Have WordPress, You Don’t Need Another Third Party Clown Service

Many folks have used Storify to capture tweets and other social media for professional learning and working with content in classrooms. Now that Storify is going away, here is a good alternative and discussion of how to choose tools wisely.

Using Google Keep for Grading Comments in Docs

Google Keep is one of the most under utilized apps in the G Suite, but this is a great way to start incorporating it into your student feedback workflow!

Twice

When I taught in a middle school with only 7th and 8th graders, I realized that doing something one year made it an experiment and doing something two years in a row made it a tradition. What are your 2 year traditions?

Educational Leadership:Getting Personalization Right:Student Engagement: Key to Personalized Learning

ELL students needs personalization as much (if not more) than all of our other students. Here is a great set of resources for doing just that!

11 Great EdTech Podcasts

There are so many amazing educator podcasts out there, and these are just a few. If you haven’t gotten into listening to podcasts just yet, this might be your chance.

Google Document URL Tricks

Sometimes you need a Google Document to act like a PDF, or you need to make a copy for a bunch of people in a PD session, or you need to use it as a template. Well, with a few modifications to the link, you can!

Courage

We must share our courage with others, in our schools and in our lives. The stories of when we stand up for what we believe and start (and continue) to build the things our kids deserve. How can we best wear our courage on our sleeves?

The Art of Reflection

Student Portfolios (particularly those aided by digital spaces for collecting work) are an essential part of our modern classrooms because of their emphasis on Reflection and self-assessing progress. That doesn’t mean they are easy… Here are some tips.

Micro-credentials Symposium

Making sure Professional Learning is more about outcomes than seat time is a huge part of how we embrace Personalization for adults. This symposium brought together resources and people to help make that a reality!

How A Deregulated Internet Could Hurt America’s Classrooms

Today, the FCC voted to end Net Neutrality. Here is how it might impact our classrooms and schools.

Surprise

You can tell a lot about someone by how they deal with surprise. Do they fear it, hoping for a return to ‘normal.’ Or, do they embrace it and see the wonder in what new opportunities lay ahead?

When was the last time you were truly surprised?

Why Student Data Should Be Students’ Data

When kids track their own data and understand where they are in their learning, two things happen. First, the culture changes to be more student-centered. Second, assessments become useful to kids and teachers alike.

Ten Creative Alternatives to Showing Movies Before the Break

There are so many amazing ways to learn in the days between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. Here are just a few from one of my favorite educators.

Google Chrome’s remote desktop tool is now available on the web in beta

 If you have ever wanted to remotely use another computer or Chromebook, including from your phone/tablet, you can use this Google tool. It has now been updated to be even simpler to use because it is now on the web!

Decisions

Some decisions bring us closer to our goals and some take us further away from them. Reflection and time are the only two ways I know to know which is which.

Professional Development: Focusing on Student Choice

Great illustration of the differences between differentiation, personalization, and empowered learning. And, it all is in an effort to answer this single compelling question: ‘What decisions am I making for students that they could make for themselves?’

Embed HTML and JavaScript in the new Google Sites

In a huge update to the New Google Sites, you can now include dynamic information from other sources (including Twitter, iFrame websites, and data dashboards).

Leading News Outlets Establish Transparency Standards to Help Readers Identify Trustworthy News Sources

 In order for our students to become true digital citizens, we must seek out resources to support them in knowing how to determine trustworthy information online. This is one extremely compelling project that helps in this effort.

Next

It is our job to prepare kids for what comes next. The unfortunate part is most of us can’t tell the future. Fortunately, though, the skill of thinking will never go out of style or be outmoded. Think for yourself, and model your thinking for/with kids.

Hour of Code

Create your own Google logo WITH CODE! This is a great Hour of Code project that you can do easily with kids, in any classroom.

Meet Remote for Google Slides, a new way to control your presentation slides

This is a great new resource for both student and teacher presentation in the classroom. Use your phone to view slide notes and advance slides!

Paper Signals by Isaac Blankensmith & Smooth Technology – Voice Experiments

Just click on ‘Launch Experiment’ to see how easy it is to make physical objects that can react to voice and triggers on the web. This is a great way to show the potential impact of coding in the real world!

Underneath

We don’t always know what is hiding underneath a question from our students (or from our colleagues, for that matter). We can’t always see the motive for inquiry, but we can support that inquiry no matter what. We can count all questions as genuine.

Tackling the ‘homework gap’ with the National AfterSchool Association

I really like thinking through how after school programs can be an integral part of our learning ecosystem, especially when it comes to digital skills and engagement.

PD, Planning and Tech Investment Are Integral to Blended Learning Success

Some of the conclusions in this report seem obvious (I.e., teachers need support!), but the advice for creating change is in our classrooms is more than welcome.

Easily add a site-wide footer in the new Google Sites

While it may be a minor update to some, the ability to have a consistent header on a Google Site is going to make things a lot easier for those using the tool for portfolios and classroom websites.

Do

There is a great deal of power in what you choose to do. Your actions show priorities and they show promises you are making to yourself and others. Our actions also tend to beg us to ask the highly reflective question, “What am I doing?”

Product vs. Process?

A short meditation on what approach we should take to prepare students for the “real world”.

Time for a refresh: meet the new Google Calendar for web

A most beautiful and super useful update has arrived for Google Calendar and it is available to all aurorak12.org accounts! Just click “Use New Calendar” and enjoy!

A ‘Roadmap’ to Implementing Micro-credentials

Strong advice for how to move forward with a professional Learning model based upon demonstrating skills rather than seat time.

Thanks

Giving thanks is not a measure of someone else’s worth. It is a measure of our own. The more that we give thanks, the more that we understand just how much others have done for us and how others have supported us in getting to where we are. Do it, always.

How to Force a Docs Copy WITH Pre-Loaded Comments to Help your Students

This is an amazing feature that can be used to support students with important links and resources to further learner opportunities.

Shouldn’t PD be more like kindergarten too? – Home

I really love the metaphor of PD as kindergarten. With all the choices, the collaboration, and the learning! Adult learners deserve all of these too.

Better tests don’t lead to better teaching, study finds

Some interesting findings on the value of teaching vs. test preparation. Great news for those who love impactful instruction and student engagement!

Braille

Sometimes you can feel the raised bumps of a message through the day. Telling you to move forward, to move faster. The divots and tiny mountains of understanding that we must listen to from others and from ourselves. They spread across our daily routines.

The Most Common Mistakes Teachers Make Trying to Manage Cellphones

What should we do about cell phones in the classroom? Ban them or use them? Hide them or let them stay on the tables? In this piece of advice, an educator talks through many different things that he has tried and exposes what has worked for him/others.

Collaborative Computing vs One to One

It is always good to look at alternative models to 1 device per student. This quick blog post has great resources for how to make instructional decisions about using devices in your classrooms and schools.

SeeSaw – The Making Thinking Visible Machine!

Having a go-to tool for making thinking visible in the classroom is incredibly helpful, both for setting up routines in you classroom/school as well as for empowering students to know something deeply rather than hopscotching from one thing to the next.