Category Archives: Teaching Tools

Global “Heart” Warming

One of the presentations I gave at TCEA was called, “Global ‘Heart’ Warming,” – a title that one of my friends later told me should be changed because it didn’t really describe the presentation very well.  (I’ll take new name suggestions in the comments below.) However, I thought I would share the presentation here for those of you unable to attend.  There are tons of links (especially in the “Project-ing” section) to different ways that you can collaborate globally.

Global _Heart_warming quote
Aaron Sorkin

Of course, some slides would make more sense during an oral presentation.  If you are ever interested in having me present to your school or at an event, please contact me at engagetheirminds@gmail.com.  You can see other available presentations on the top right side-bar of this site.

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Things I Learned about Presenting while at TCEA

Despite my natural introverted-ness, I enjoy presenting.  Attending conferences like TCEA allows me to learn from some of the best presenters out there.  Here are some lessons I gleaned from TCEA 2018:

  • Always show up.  This may seem to be a no-brainer, but both of my sessions happened to be timed at inopportune moments this year.  I was pretty pessimistic about the chance of having anyone in the audience for either one.  However, people did attend.  I found out what it feels like when your presenter does not show up late on Thursday afternoon – and I don’t ever want to be the person who makes people feel betrayed for planning their day around a no-show.
  • It’s helpful to put the shortcut to your presentation on every slide.  I used to just put the bit.ly/goo.gl/tinyurl on the first and last slides, but people who come in late and/or leave early miss out.
  • Teachers like door prizes.  I don’t know about other professional conferences, but all of the educational ones I attend seem to have a lot of presentations that offer door prizes – codes for premium subscriptions, t-shirts, random items from the Exhibit Hall.  This is something I always forget about when I’m presenting.  Vendors are often happy to give you a couple of things to publicize their products, especially if you are using them during the presentation.
  • Include great infographics and step aside so people can take pictures.  Most presenters know that we should be using more images than text on our slides.  I’m envious, though, of the slides that prompt audience members to take out their devices and start snapping pictures like the one from Garland ISD below.

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from Garland ISD PD Roadmap presentation at TCEA 2018

  • Offer a backchannel or other digital way for the audience to ask questions.  As you can also see in the above slide from Garland ISD, they posted a link to a Todays Meet site for us to post questions that you could address throughout the presentation.  This is a good idea (especially if you have a partner who can monitor the backchannel) as it can help you personalize your presentation on the fly and give participants the opportunity to anonymously ask questions.  Pear Deck, which I posted about last week, is another way to invite audience participation.
  • Don’t forget to turn in your handout ahead of time for interested parties to access later.  Yep, I forgot.  But, you can access all of the TCEA 2018 handouts of those who did remember here.  This is helpful for those who missed out on sessions for various reasons or couldn’t access the handouts during the presentation.

If you need more advice, you can always take a look at this presentation, crowd-sourced by Alice Keeler and others a couple of years ago, about what not to do when you present!

More News from TCEA 2018

I don’t want to overwhelm you with all of my take-aways from TCEA 2018 so far, so I thought I would give you a few new tools I’ve learned about with brief summaries and links to the presentations.   I am really cherry-picking from the plethora of resources I took notes on, so definitely click on any of the presentation links if you want to learn more.

I have a few more things to share in the near future, but I don’t want to be a “dumper” as Jennifer Gonzalez would say.

If you are still at TCEA tomorrow (Friday), I would love for you to join me at my session at 9:15 am in Room 12B.  We will be talking about making global connections, and I could use a few extra audience members to drown out the heckling I will have to listen to from my colleague, Angelique Lackey.  Also, I will be using Pear Deck so you can see it in action!

storymaker
TextingStory Chat Story Maker App

 

Pear Deck

Hello everyone – reporting to you from TCEA 2018 in Austin, Texas!  My partner in crime, Angelique Lackey, and I arrived yesterday just in time to attend a session on Pear Deck in the morning.  JP Hale was the presenter, and he did a great job showing us the multiple uses of this tool as well as how to get started with it.  After we saw his presentation, we decided that it would behoove us to try Pear Deck out on our own presentation – which were giving at 2 yesterday afternoon.

Well, I say “we” decided, but Angelique tweeted this:

The good news is that everything went smoothly and the only regret that I had afterward was that we hadn’t added even more interactive options to our presentation.

What is Pear Deck?  It’s a tool that you can use to invite audience participation as you present.  Anyone with a device and your join code can interact by drawing, adding text, moving icons, etc…  (Some of these options are only included in the Premium version.  Two download a trial copy of the Premium version that will last you the rest of this school year, go here.)  Pear Deck has template slides that you can use, but the great thing is that you don’t have to create your presentation on the Pear Deck platform.  You can import Powerpoint, Slides, and PDF’s into Pear Deck, or you can do what we did- use the Pear Deck Add-On in Slides.

If you have a Google Slides presentation all ready to go, you can just go to “Add-Ons” in the top menu and choose to Get Add-Ons.  This will take you to a site where you can search for and download the free Pear Deck Add-On.  Once it is installed, you can access it through the Add-Ons menu to open a side bar as you work on your presentation.  The side bar gives you buttons to quickly add interactivity anywhere you like in your slides.

As you can see in the image below, we added a Pear Deck feature to the slide that would allow participants to drag an icon to any part of the slide.  During our presentation, we could ask the audience what the hardest part of teaching Design Thinking might be, or what they thought the students would enjoy the most.  We could get instant feedback from over 60 people as each of their icons appeared on our slide. (This picture shows how things looked as we prepared the presentation, not as we gathered responses.)

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Once you are ready to present, you can choose to “Present with Pear Deck.”  Pear Deck will take a moment to process everything, and then provide a slide that prompts the audience to go to joinpd.com and enter the special code to participate.

One thing that I should note is that any special animations or transitions that you may have added in Slides will not transfer when you Present with Pear Deck.  However, that was not a crucial issue for us.

The Pear Deck creator can choose to make the presentation student-paced, allowing everyone to move through slides on their own,  or only allow the audience to see on their devices what you have on the screen.  As you project, you can also decide if you want to show the responses on the screen in real-time by toggling an icon on the bottom right of your screen.  Responses are anonymous, but the teacher can access the names through a teacher dashboard.

We had great fun during a brainstorming activity in our presentation as we scrolled through drawings and text responses. Pear Deck was also an excellent way to give the audience a chance to ask specific questions anonymously at the end so we could respond immediately.

When you are finished presenting, Pear Deck gives you the option to send the entire presentation and responses as a Google Doc to all participants.  This is not only great in situations like ours, but could be wonderful for test reviews in the classroom.

If you want more specifics on Pear Deck, I highly recommend this article by Eric Curts of Control Alt Achieve.  You can learn more about the 21 Pear Deck templates included in the Google Slides Add–On in this post.

Thanks to JP Hale for introducing us to this great tool, and to our patient audience as we tested it out!

 

TCEA 2018

I am excited to attend TCEA 2018 next week in Austin.  I will be co-presenting with my partner in crime, Angelique Lackey, who is our awesome librarian.  The session is on Tuesday, February 6, at 2 PM.  It is called, “Design Thinking – 10 Supercharged TEKS Based Lessons.”  I will also be doing a presentation of my own, “Global ‘Heart’ Warming,“on Friday at 9:15 am.

We hope to see you there!  If you want to meet up, give us a shout-out on Twitter – @lackeyangie and/or @terrieichholz.

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image from iamKat on Flickr

Parallelogram

I learned to love math later in my school career (high school).  I was one of those people who thought I just wasn’t born with the “math gene.”  With the help of great high school mathematics teachers, math became one of my favorite subjects even though it still didn’t come easily to me.  I found that I enjoyed the logic, the challenge, and the satisfaction of solving difficult problems.  In addition (no pun intended), I love teaching math precisely because it doesn’t come easily to me; I think I can communicate the interim steps to the solution in simpler language than someone who has a brain that quickly jumps to answers.

You may have seen my post on 15 Math Sites that Won’t Make You Fall Asleep, which links to many “fun” math pages online.  One of the aspects that I like about many of these sites is that they encourage conversation.  “Parallelogram” is a new one that I need to add to my post.  It is a weekly set of math challenges by Dr. Simon Singh that will be sent to your students for free.  The questions are designed for 11-13 year olds, but I plan to try it with my 4th and 5th grade classes.  Teachers can sign up, and have students join through a class code to be added to a teacher dashboard.  You can get a preview of the program here.  Keep in mind that the match challenges do include video clips, and I always recommend that you preview any videos before showing them to your students.

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Click here to learn more.

thinkLaw

thinkLaw is a curriculum that aims to teach critical thinking skills through the use of real legal cases.  The program’s founder, Colin Seale, won the “Shark Tank One Day Challenge” in 2016.  thinkLaw is aligned with US standards for grades 5-12, but some of the lessons can be used with younger students.  To purchase the full curriculum, you will need to contact the company.  However, you can download a free sample and purchase other segments on the Teachers Pay Teachers website.

When looking at the free sample that is offered, “The Chair,” I realized that it fit in beautifully with an ethics discussion my students and I conducted last week about Tuck Everlasting.  In the story, one of the main characters (spoiler alert!) hits another character over the head with a shotgun.  At the time, we talked about whether it was ever okay to hit someone and, if so, under what circumstances is it acceptable?  “The Chair” walks students through a real legal case from the 1950’s, in which the aunt sued her 5-year-old nephew for pulling a chair out from underneath her.  Students learn legal terms such as: plaintiff, defendant, liable, and battery.  They find out the four criteria for the legal definition of battery, and weigh the evidence to determine if the nephew should be held liable.

When it comes to Depth and Complexity, this thinkLaw lesson incorporates many of the icons: Multiple Perspectives, Big Idea, Details, Ethics, and Trends, to name a few.  Students are polled a few times throughout the lesson to see how their thinking changes as they get more information.  After learning the outcome of the case, they are given a similar case to analyze using their new skills.

At first, I couldn’t quite gauge the interest of the students.  The conversation was hesitant, but everyone seemed to be absorbed in learning more. (There are 7 students in this class.)  It wasn’t until recess time that I learned the impact of the lesson…

Me:  “Okay everyone.  It’s recess time.  We are going to have indoor recess because of the weather.  You can play foosball, Osmo, or one of the other games.”

They moved toward foosball, and then one student said, “Let’s have court!”

Suddenly, furniture was being moved, parts were being assigned (judge, attorneys, plaintiff, defendant, witness), and a new scenario was proposed.  For the entire recess time, with no input from me, the students applied everything they had just learned to their imagined court case.

Voluntarily.

Instead of playing foosball.

Kind of funny when you think about it.  Holding court during a recess.  (very bad legal pun – sorry)

Experienced teachers know that we often don’t know what has made a real impression on our students.  If we do find out, it may be years later when a student visits and says, “Remember when…?”  This time, however, I received immediate proof that this lesson is likely to stick.

Want to find out who won the real legal case?  Download the free sample for yourself here!  Also, check out some of their other lessons (not free, and I haven’t reviewed them) that could be great for this time of year, including an MLK Jr. one, Valentine’s lessons, Superbowl, and Winter Olympics.  (I’ll be doing, “Always Watching” with my 5th graders next week because it ties in so well with The Giver.)

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image from Pixabay