Category Archives: Web 2.0

#gmttc

#gmttc is the official hashtag for the Global Math Task Twitter Challenge.  Classrooms around the world are invited to participate by solving the problems that are tweeted and/or tweeting out their own.  You can formally sign on to be a #gmttc tweeter on this spreadsheet, but this is not a requirement.  It is easy enough to find recently tweeted tasks for your grade level by doing a search for #gmttc with your grade level number at the end.  For example, #gmttc4 will provide you with recent 4th grade challenges.

I enjoy seeing the variety of images students use to present the math problems, and your students will begin to make connections between what they are learning compared to students in other parts of the world.  This is a quick, no fuss way to “flatten the classroom.”  As a whole-class, center, or extension activity, #gmttc is a fun idea to help students get excited about math!

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#NEISDPLN – Internet Memes in Edu

Testing week.

Ugh.

Stressful.

Depressing.

NOT fun.

So, why not join us in a light-hearted Twitter chat using memes to discuss education?

Everyone is invited!

It’s tonight (Tuesday, April 21st, 2015) at 8 PM CST.  #NEISDPLN

picardmeme

Here are the questions:

1. Haters gonna hate – what’s something you hear educators complain about too often?

2. Grumpy Cat – How do you deal with the grumpy cats you encounter in your job?

3. Facepalm or Epic Fail – What is a teaching mistake you made that you’ve since corrected?

4.  Like a Boss – What are the ideal features of an administrator?

5.  1st World Problems – What are “problems” in our education system that other countries might find silly?

6. Charlie Bit Me – What’s the funniest thing a student has said in your class (and you wish you had video of it)?

I know you were testing today, and it’s exhausting.  But, look on the bright side – you don’t have any papers to grade tonight!

It’s going to be fun.  It’s going to be EPIC.  Do you want to be this guy:

grumpycat

or these guys:

epic

The choice is yours!

Please Allow Me to Reiterate

I was feeling pretty clever.

As most of you know, that is never a good sign.

My creative, engaging activity for the day turned out to be one of those lessons that makes a teacher ask the dreaded question, “Should I continue this fiasco or give up and find a video?”

The concept was simple: I wanted to use the idea of Hexagonal Learning with my 3rd graders so they could synthesize what they had learned from our systems thinking book, Billibonk and the Big Itch.  One of the online tools for hexagonal thinking is called Think Link.  This reminded me, of course, of ThingLink.  And I thought, “They can make ThingLinks of their Think Links!”

Technically, the students didn’t use Think Link, though.  Instead I used the Hexagons Generator from ClassTools to print out the hexagons with words that related to the book. The students worked in groups to connect their hexagons in deep and meaningful ways that they could explain in detail using an interactive ThingLink.

Well, that was the plan.

The students quickly arranged their hexagons.  Then they took pictures of the groups and started making their ThingLinks.  They liked the idea of using video to explain each node that connected 2 or 3 hexagons, and started to get creative – using newscaster and professor voices.

Then they started to get a bit silly.

Plus I realized that their connections weren’t exactly deep and meaningful.  And some of them didn’t make any sense at all.

And then 2 groups accidentally lost 45 minutes of work on their iPads.

And the third group finished theirs, but ThingLink stubbornly refused to save it – grimly offering that I could “retry” or “delete” each time I attempted to upload it, but making absolutely no effort to offer the preferred third option, “Start this day over with a little less smugness and a little more planning.”

I looked at my giggly group of grade schoolers and took a deep breath.  Despite having to start their projects over, they were all quite cheerful.  And, the truth was that I had learned a lot from listening to their recordings – a lot that I needed to discuss with them to ensure they understood the text better.

We gathered in a circle and reflected on the day.  We clarified lessons learned.

And we decided to try it all again next week.

Earlier in the day, I had talked about “iterative”  with some of the teachers in the lounge.  We  agreed that it seemed to be quite the education buzzword these days, and I looked it up to make sure I was using it correctly.

This was the first definition I found. (Google’s version)

iterativeNot exactly helpful.

So, without any sense of irony, I looked it up again. (Wikipedia’s verson this time)

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Next week, we will attempt iteration #2 of the Hexagonal Learning Lesson.

Hopefully, we will get some things right and all of the mistakes we make will be new ones 😉

District Twitter Chats

A couple of weeks ago some of the librarians in our district sent out an idea for a district Twitter chat for our students.  They included a great form that we could use for the students to fill out. I had just participated in a professional chat a few days before, hosted by Todd Nesloney, about creating a positive school culture.  In fact, Todd’s recent #EduLS challenge was to celebrate someone. So, the third prompt on the Twitter sheet appealed to me, “Give a Shout Out to a Teacher!”

As the GT teacher, I have students from all grade levels, so I thought this would be a great opportunity for my classes to perform a random act of kindness for potentially every staff member in the school.

My younger students dictated their Tweets to me, while older students wrote their own and then tweeted them from our class account once I approved them.

Knowing that not many teachers follow our class account, I’ve been collecting the Tweets in Storify each day, and mailing the link to the teachers included in that day’s accolades.  All of the students were allowed to choose who got the shout outs, and most of them chose to recognize two or three staff members each.

Twitter Shoutout

I am trying to encourage the students to name something specific they remember about the person, rather than just saying, “You’re nice.”  It’s been gratifying to see that they are happy to include all staff members – not just classroom teachers.

I want to thank Irene Kistler(@IreneKistler) and Sara Romine (@laffinglibrary) for spreading this idea.  I believe Irene is the author of Twitter Paper.  When I asked her if I could share the idea, she pointed me to a very cool website that inspired her.  It is called KidsEdChatNZ, and has fabulous prompts for their New Zealand student participants each week.

It appears that the New Zealand chat happens at a weekly scheduled time.  However, I think that doing this as a “slow chat” was great so that we could get more participants.

If you are interested, you might also want to check out the “S.C.A.M.P.E.R.” Twitter Chat with students that we did in February.

 

Reflections on our GT Twitter Chat

A few weeks ago, a few of the teachers in our district participated in a Twitter Chat.  The topic was to S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Education.  You can read more about the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. chat here.

After the chat, a few of the GT teachers suggested that it might be fun to try doing the same chat with our students.  So, last week, we decided to try it.

I’m not sure how many schools ended up participating in the chat, but I believe there were around 13 classes.  Some of us had the students respond to the teacher who then tweeted out the answers, and some of us allowed our students to group up and use various devices.  It was not smooth-sailing.  Here were some of the glitches:

  • Twitter and Tweetdeck are blocked under student sign-in in our district.
  • Tweetdeck kept refreshing and losing columns at the beginning of the chat in my classroom (maybe for other people, too).  We surmised that this might be b/c more than one device was using the same account.  However, after we refreshed the page on the 6 laptops it seemed fine.
  • Some of us couldn’t see each other’s tweets because some of our accounts are private.  We made sure we were all following each other beforehand, but that still didn’t seem to help everyone.  Fortunately, everyone knew the questions ahead of time, so even though they couldn’t all see them, they could guess by the responses which question had been asked.

Overall, it was an eye-opening experience for the teachers and the students.  Most of my students (5th graders on that day) had never used Twitter and finally understood the use of hashtags.  Many of them saw ideas that were new to them and got different perspectives on the topics.

For example when we went over the questions before the chat, one of my students was adamant that we should eliminate art from the curriculum.  I told him that he would probably find that many people would disagree and that he would have to be able to support his viewpoint.  Sure enough, others strongly argued that art is vital. This exchange turned out to be an excellent lesson on multiple perspectives as well as social media etiquette.

A student from another school suggested getting rid of free time – which caused a public outcry in my classroom.  However, a few minutes later the writer explained that he or she disliked all of the time wasted when students finish work early and are just “told to read a book.”  Again, another lesson on how important it is to ask people to explain themselves instead of just immediately condemning their opinions – also a lesson that the brevity used in social media can sometimes distort the message you are trying to communicate.

After all was said and done, I asked my 18 students to complete a reflection about the experience.  (Yes, we did old-school handwriting b/c some of their typing can be painfully slow!)  When I surveyed them, most of them gave the chat a 2 or 3 (3 was the highest).  However, there were a couple of 1’s.  Understandably, those students found the whole procedure to be too chaotic and fast.

Would we do it again? Yes, I think seeing different points-of-view is really helpful for my students. I’m still debating the importance of keeping our account private.  I also am considering giving students the option of participating or not.  Those who opt out can consider the topic in an alternative way.

If you are interested in doing the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. chat in your district, here is a link to the document Kimberly Ball (gttechguru) made for us to use to prepare the students for the chat.  And, if you’re not ready to do Twitter, check out this great Google Tweeter Template from Tammy Tang that will help you to simulate the process!

 

 

Google Recipe Filters

This week (except for Wednesday) I am dedicating my posts to sharing resources I learned about at TCEA in Austin last week.  I think packing too much info into a blog post is overwhelming, so if you are craving more, feel free to check out my notes (which are not finished yet!) here.

So it turns out that finding a Phun Phriday post based on your notes from a conference about technology in education is a little bit harder than I anticipated.  Because…  education.  And Phun Phriday posts are supposed to be (according to the rules I established for such posts) decidedly not educational.

I did find a note from the very first TCEA session I attended this year that could qualify as not really educational – unless you happen to teach at Le Cordon Bleu.  Unfortunately, since I don’t really like to cook, it doesn’t quite qualify as Phun, either.  But maybe you would disagree.

I learned from Richard Lombardo (@Rich_Lombardo) and Jerrad Barczyszyn (@rpdpjerrad) that the Google Search Tools aren’t always the same.  I usually use them when I’m looking for an image to determine copyright.  But I had no idea they would be helpful on the nights my husband works late and I’m stuck cooking dinner.

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For example, go to Google and do a search for fried chicken.  Then click on the Search Tools underneath.  Now, you can filter the recipe results by anything from calories to cook time!  By choosing “under 15 minutes” and “under 100 calories” I changed the number of results from over 50 million to just 1 recipe.

I’ll be only slightly more impressed when I can type in, “Make me some fried chicken,” and Google completes the task for me.  But then I’ll probably just complain about how Google always leaves the kitchen so messy…

Goo in the Loo and Stuff You Wish You Gnu

This week I am going to dedicate my posts to sharing resources I learned about at TCEA in Austin last week.  I think packing too much info into a blog post is overwhelming, so if you are craving more, feel free to check out my notes (which are not finished yet!) here.

I was chatting with one of my colleagues, Kim Ball (@gttechguru) during TCEA last week, and she mentioned a cool activity she had done on her campus called, “Goo in the Loo.”  This is not as disgusting as it might sound.  Basically, she posted Google tips in the adult bathrooms so teachers could learn more about ways to take advantage of all of Google’s cool features.  Awesome!

Goo in the Loo is an idea that was originally proposed by Jessica Johnston (@edtechchic) as a Google Teacher Academy Action Plan.  You can read more about Jessica’s project here.  She also provides pre-made Goo in the Loo posters on her site.  So, you can easily put this plan into place on your own campus by just printing out Jessica’s awesome, crowd-sourced posters.

I plan to utilize Jessica’s posters, but I also wanted to make some of my own.  Not all of them are going to be Google tips, so I needed a title that was a bit more generic.  In the interest of making a rhyming blog post as well as using a cute graphic that has been declared free to use, I’m going with “Stuff You Wish You Gnu.” (It turns out GNU is a free operating system, but that’s not really where I was going with that.)

Here is a link to my “Stuff You Wish You Gnu”  folder.  I will be adding to it as I create new posters.  Feel free to use and distribute as you see fit!

Tech Stuff 1