You Joined Slack. Now What?

First, A Thank You

I appreciate each of you so much for trusting this cause and learning yet another tool in the hopes of better communication. By committing to this, we can streamline our communication leaving us less frustrated as we search for some schedule from two weeks ago. This also is a chance for us to actually share about teaching ideas, apps and create a collegial space to grow together. So, thank you. I am so excited!

Download the App….Everywhere

If you haven’t already, download the app on your phone, iPad and computer. This will take away the problem of remembering to check your slack inbox. The will alert you via a notification (which you can silence and customize via settings >notifications >Slack) to let you know someone has posted.

To silence a particular channel or set your Do Not Disturb to a time frame that works for you, click on Settings within Slack. I have our workspace set to not disturb between 6pm and 7am. However, you can change that default for your personal needs.

Follow channels!

I have set up some channels that I think will be most used by us. The best part is, you don’t have to join any channel that doesn’t apply to you. Click on channels on the tool bar on the left. If you are on the computer, actually click on the word “channels.” If you are on an iOS device, click on the plus sign. Choose each channel one-at-a-time that you would like to join. Make sure to click “Join Channel” on the bottom of the page for each channel. Feel free to add a channel that you think might be valuable. If you would like to set up a private channel with just your team, choose “private channel” and add one!

Use the Directory to Direct Message People

Click on the three dots on the top right corner. Then click directory. Here you will see everyone who is on the workspace. You can direct message them and even look at files shared between just the two or you.

Utilize Search and Stars

Within each individual chat, channel or workspace you can search for files and messages. This is an unbelievably easy way to access old schedules or documents shared. In addition, if you like a message or want to quickly access important documents you can star them. In the same menu, you can click on starred messages and re-access them with ease. How amazing is that?! See what I mean about it being like Schoology but even better?

There is more to learn. If you don’t want to wait until I post again, see me and I would be happy to share tidbits with you! Next step topics could include: how to post a gif, integrate Google Drive, tag people, posting to multiple channels, etc.

Close that Laptop and Go Mobile

I am probably not the only one whose school iPad was, until recently, collecting dust on the bottom of my office shelf. I believed that my computer was a better tool to complete my tasks. Even as a history teacher, laptops tended to be my tool of choice for student work. This belief in the superiority of the computer changed after I met with our school’s Apple rep.

He was not surprised that a lot of the teachers don’t use their iPad during instruction. He attributes it, not to iOS’ limitations, but to our discomfort with the unknown. Finding the buttons on our favorite apps on the iPad takes some learning and it is often easy to just rely on what we know. He explained that by design, computers inherently limit successful tech integration because of their lack of mobility. Computers are portable devices and require a lap or desk to be used. This means the user must revisit a fixed location to utilize it during instruction. The iPad, on the other hand, is a mobile device that enables the teacher to move and engage with students while still connected to the necessary instructional tools. And, he argues, the iPads are more robust than we give them credit for. Apple Classroom and the large amount of creativity apps have only gotten cooler with the iOS11 update. I wasn’t convinced yet, but I was willing to give it a try.

Beginning the very next day, I took the pledge to rely on my iPad as much as possible. Most of you know me as the one you see running around the school going from meeting to meeting with my pink MacBook Air. This change was really hard for me at first. During the first few days, every time I began a project on my iPad I would normally do on the computer, I felt this confusion. The simplest task, like writing an email, was difficult. What do I click? How do I add a picture? A link? Fix a mistake? I borrowed a keyboard, which helped with the typing but it still took time and patience to feel as comfortable on this tool. I am now going on week 6 in this challenge and there is no going back. I am convinced that the iPad offers better tools for teachers than a computer. This blog post will focus on two of the benefits: productivity and mobility.

Be More Productive

With iOS 11, you can actually have dual apps on a screen at the same time. I love this for many reasons. For one, I can organize my screens based on productivity. In one screen, I have my calendar app next to the mail app. In another, I have Evernote, my note-taking app next to my to-do list app, Google Keep. On the other hand, I like that this dual view is only limited to two apps at a time. It actually helps me concentrate and be more productive on the task I am working on. If I need to see my other screens, I just double click the home screen. When using the dual screen, you can easily drag images and text from a website or photos into your document. Watch this 40-second video I made below to see how seamless it is to use two apps at the same time to add things to a class newsletter on Pages.

Many of us choose Word or Google Docs for our word-processing needs. Because the students have iPads, we should be modeling use Apple-based products. Often, Apple products work better and more efficiently on the iPad and with iOS 11, you can save documents in the Cloud and collaborate with others the same way Google Drive allows you to. For instance, the Numbers app is very simple and has a lot of features that make it so much more than just a spreadsheet app. It is also more user friendly than Excel. It would be a great tool for teaching the research and writing process. Each sheet can be a different step in the process: one sheet for obtaining sources. One for organizing research, another for the outline, etc. Teachers can design the template and share it through Apple Classroom or choose the “Collaborate with Others” option to have the whole class work on the same document. One thing that is always tricky about Google is sharing a document you created and having students have their own version. This usually takes extra steps by you or the students to make this work. With the sharing options on Apple products, we can share copies to each other seamlessly. Word is not even available for students so we should not be posting assignments as Word documents. Students are forced to convert before they even open it.

Be Mobile

Any document or PDF on your iPad can be shared with your students via Classroom. Imagine instead of posting the worksheet on OnCampus, you just opened the document and sent it to everyone’s iPad? It would certainly save some login time and allow you to adjust your lesson on the fly. And, with Apple Classroom on your iPad, you can see what everyone is doing in the room while you walk around and work one-on-one with students.

Use the iPad as your white board! Use a drawing app like Paper 53, Notes, Evernote or Notability and a stylus to solve math problem or model outlining for a couple examples. Project it on your Apple TV or use the app, Reflector, and suddenly everyone has a ‘smart board.’ iOS 11 actually allows you to screencast and record what you are doing on your iPad with or without sound. Imagine just pressing record as you teach a lesson and then sharing the video through Apple Classroom with the homework. What if you did that for a year and collected your lessons? The following year, you could use the flipped classroom model and support them as they do their homework in class, having got the lesson at home via YouTube. #mindblown

Your iPad has a way longer battery life than your computer. For someone like me who was consistently carrying a charging cord with an almost dead computer, I feel really free having just my iPad. And, iOS apps use way less battery than third party apps. Think about running Google Maps on your phone- kills your battery right? Well, Maps does not!

Mobility in Practice

I have been challenging myself to have students use the iPads as much as possible in real-world ways. “Real World” refers to ways people would use technology as a tool to be more productive, to communicate and to collaborate. For instance, in my 7th grade Idea Lab class, students used whatever app they wanted to brainstorm for the design thinking project. The only requirement was that it had to be an app that allowed you to draw and write/type. I gave them each a stylus, which they loved. It was interesting to see which app students chose. A lot of them chose Notes, and by the end, they had all switched to Paper 53. They had to get all of their brainstorms onto one iPad for the presentation, so they air dropped them to one student who connected to AirPlay to present.

After this assignment I realized that the kids are not as comfortable with iPads as we assume they are. I asked the kids: how many of you know how to use the dual screen and use it to drag pictures from one app to another? They all attempted to convince me that they knew: “Oh yeah, I do that all the time…..” But when I asked them to use the dual screen, many didn’t know how or claimed it wouldn’t work. Upon further investigation, it was clear many hadn’t even upgraded to iOS 11. In addition, giving kids stylus’ was like giving them a brand new iPad all over again. They were mesmerized by them. Some even used it to type letters. This was not the most efficient way. 🙂 Finally, when the first group presented, I had to remind them to connect through AirPlay. They tried to just hold up their iPad.

I want to get my students to a point where the tools on the iPad are not foreign or novel but just part of every day use, so they are better equipped to decide which app or tool works best for them. In order to accomplish this, we must constantly be modeling best practices ourselves.

Take the Challenge: #GoMobile

Have I convinced you yet? If so, I challenge you to join me in this movement and close your computer for an hour, a day, a week, a month or whatever time frame you choose and rely solely on your iPad.

Winter and Spring PD Offerings

Here is a huge compilation of conferences to choose from in the second semester!

January

10-11: Alhambra, CA  Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works: Classroom-Ready Techniques for Increasing Student Achievement  

12-15 Dallas, TX, Kagan Brain Friendly Teaching, Win-Win Discipline, Cooperative Learning or Structures for Little Ones

20-21 Agoura Hills, CA, CUE Rock Star Teacher

29-31 Palm Springs, CA, EdTech Teacher Summit

February

 9-10: Pasadena, SoCal Kindergarten and 1st Grade Conference ,

15-17 San Francisco, Learning and the Brain, The Science of Innovation: Teaching Students to Think, Create, Innovate and Inspire

17-20 Columbus, OH,  Reading Recovery and K-6 Literacy Conference

27-28 Colorado, Marzano: The New Art and Science of Teaching

March

2-3 San Diego CA Association for the Gifted Annual Conference

3: Los Angeles, Kagan: Brain Friendly Teaching

7-9 Atlanta Annual NAIS (Nat’l Association of Independent Schools) Conference

9-10 Nashville, TN: “Teach Your Heart Out” Conference

14-17 Palm Springs, CA Annual CUE Conference- Tech & Innovation

17-21 Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, FL Music Teachers National Association Annual Conference

15-18 Atlanta, GA Annual National Science Teachers Association Conference “Science on My Mind”

20-24 Nashville, TN, SHAPE America-Health and P.E.

22-24 Seattle, WA National Art Education Annual Conference

22-24 Atlanta, GA Music Research and Teacher Education Conference

21-24 Atlanta, GA Learning Disabilities of America Annual Conference

23-25 Orlando, FL Stop Girl Bullying

24-26 Boston, MA Annual ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) Conference

28-30 San Diego, CA Deeper Learning Conference HTH

April

 3-4 Cincinnati, OH Annual NCEA (National Catholic Education Association) Conference

15-17 Palm Springs, CA Leading from the Middle: Developing Leadership Skills

19-21 New York, NY Learning and the Brain: Educating Mindful Minds: Using the Science of Stress to Raise Resilience, Behavior, and Achievement

19-21 San Antonio, TX National Council for History Education Annual Conference

25-28 Washington, DC Annual National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference 

May

 8-9 Colorado Marzano: The New Art and Science of Teaching

17-19 Whistler, B.C., Canada National Physical and Health Education Conference

21-23 New York, NY Columbia Teacher’s College Digital and Media Literacy Institute

June

6-9 San Antonio, TX Teaching with the Brain in Mind- Jensen Learning

12-13 San Diego, CA SPARK After School Institute

18-22 New York, NY Columbia Teachers College Writing Institute

25-29 New York, NY Columbia Teachers College Reading Institute

19-22 Wilmington, DE Hands-on Advisory: Curriculum, Themes, and Activities

20-23 Atlanta, GA Stop Girl Bullying

21-22 San Diego, CA SPARK Technology in PE Institute

24-27 Chicago, IL Annual ISTE Conference (Int’l Society for Technology in Education)

 

 

 

Virtual Reality is Here and We’re Not Ready

***This article is a summary of the incredible presentation by EdTech teacher, Greg Kuloweic who has done extensive research on VR in education. Here is a link to the presentation and his resources. I highly recommend looking at the current research from Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.

The EdTech Teacher Summit 2017 created a more realistic picture of where the world is going in technology and how quickly education must change to keep up. From virtual and augmented reality to wearables that measure emotion, modern technology brings exciting and moral implications to our world. These tools open major opportunities for bringing learning to life but they also pose serious threats to our understanding of truth and intellectual property.

The Answer for Teaching Empathy

Current research is quickly discovering that the immersion of people in a virtual world is an unbelievable tool to teach empathy. Imagine giving a middle schooler a headset that brings them to a Syrian refugee camp. They can see and hear things as if they were there. As they turn, so does the camera: up, down and side-to-side. Now imagine that while they are wearing the headset, they also are wearing a suit that hits more senses like feel, or smell to make the experience more realistic. You actually don’t have to imagine because these tools are already available.

Moral Implications

But with this great tool comes a lot of ethical questions. Imagine how scary or haunting an experience like this could be for someone because of how real it feels. The research has shown that people who have VR experiences actually remember the moments as if they were really there. And, the memories trigger from the emotional response. Think about the biases of the creators and how this might impact reality. Should textbook companies be creating these? News companies? Religious institutions?

Why should we care? In the age of ‘fake news’ our obligation to teach students to critically analyze the bias and intent of a media source is about to get a lot harder. Think about it. If consumers of VR actually remember experiences as if they were actually there, VR creators have the power to shape memories and therefore perceived truth.

Next Steps for Teachers

What should we do about it? Well, waiting for VR headsets to be as ubiquitous as iPhones to address this issue is definitely not the responsible response. We did that with social media and look where it has gotten us. Instead, expose your students to VR and while doing so, have open discussions about the pros and cons. Give them opportunities to critically examine these technologies by asking the right questions and taking the novelty away early. This could have an important impact on its growth and regulation in the future.

Let Students Consume VR

VR can be consumed or produced. The easiest way to immerse the students in your subject area and experience VR in a meaningful way is through the Google Expeditions app. The virtual tours allow students to travel around the world, outer space and even inside the human body. You guide the tour by giving them directions for where to turn. When they hit certain places, you can read information provided or guide them with your own information. This is basically PowerPoint on steroids. They can use iPads or they can use Google Cardboard headsets with their phones. Best of all, it’s free!

Give Opportunities to Produce VR

There are a ton of amazing ways you or your kids can produce VR. You don’t even need to take a 360 degree photo. Use one that already exists to create VR tours of famous places and museums. Open source 360 degree photos are available on 360cities.net and Flickr. In Flickr, you can search ‘The Commons’ for open source pictures and then ‘equirectangular’ to get a curation of 360 degree photos that are available for personal use. For 360 videos, go to YouTube and type “360 degrees” in the search.

Take 360 degree photos yourself! With the Google Streetview app, you can take them anywhere, and it’s free! This app does not seem to exist on the iPad. There are other apps that do a better job for a low cost.

After you have the picture, you can create a virtual reality tour for others to experience being in ‘your’ shoes. There are rumors that Google Expeditions will soon be allowing others to create their own Expeditions. This could be amazing for teachers especially if there is a library of non-Google created content for others to use. This will be an awesome way to make projects for a real purpose.

Google Tourbuilder, Roundme and Story Spheres are all programs that allow you to build your own tours although all are limited in what you can add. while one allows audio, the others only allow added texts. Tourbuilder is not available through an iPad. I encourage you to look through these as there are amazing examples on each of the websites.

CoSpace Edu seems by far the most expansive. You can add your own picture, one you downloaded from the above sources or you can choose from their library. Some environments are fictional and cartoon-like. You can add 3D models created on Tinkercad to your virtual world and you can access Google Poly library for open source 3D .stl files. Finally, there is a coding component you can add using block coding like Scratch to make the 3D objects move. It is fantastic and second graders can use it.

Ideas for Producing VR in your class:

  • Create a VR scene to a poetry reading
  • Create a scene in history or from a story
  • Take 360 photos in students’ favorite spaces on field trips. Kids can bring them back and curate a virtual fieldtrip
  • Find pictures of rooms in museums around the world and students can create their own virtual field trip.

Lead Discussions with Your Students

Discussion questions that can be adapted for all ages:

  • What is cool about VR?
  • How did it feel to be in another person’s shoes? How did it change your perception of that person or place?
  • If you could immerse yourself in another environment which would you choose? Where would you go? What environment would you not choose?
  • How could we use VR to help people?
  • How could we use VR to scare people?
  • Think about the creators of the VR environments. Do you think there is potential for bias? How could this become a problem?How could we solve that problem?
  • What rules should be in place to protect people?
  • Is it actually a benefit to empathize with people we disagree with? How so?
  • What about VR games? How cool would Minecraft be as VR!? How would it change the way you play the game? Is it possible to make a VR game too realistic? How could a violent video game like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty be too realistic in VR. If so, how can we protect people?

I encourage all of you to follow @gregkuloweic and @arvrinedu to stay up on this technology and how it is impacting education.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series: Wearable Technology Taps into our Emotions

The Simplest and Most Awesome App Ever: Post-it Plus

Most of us, staff included, have led a workshop or class where participants walk around and add Post-its with thoughts to a large piece of paper. Each piece of paper usually has a different topic or question written at the top. Afterwards, ideas written on the post-its are shared by the instructor or via gallery walk by the participants. The extent of use usually ends there, because, at the end of the workshop, you must decide what to do with those large pieces of paper. You don’t want to throw them out because you may want to reference them later. But, they are large and awkward to store and the Post-its usually lose their stickiness and get all mixed up shortly after.

With Post-It Plus, not only do these problems disappear, but, there are also so many more cool things you can do with these same posters later on. Let me explain. Post-It Plus takes a picture of your large papers and scans each Post-It note separately. Therefore, your external poster has now becomes a digital platform to interact with the post-its as if they were still paper. You can reorganize them, categorize them and even combine Post-its across topics.  Therefore, an entire room of people can be using the same sheet of post-its on their iPads or iPhones and be reorganizing and grouping based on their own perspectives.

See It In Action

Here are some screenshots from the Post-it Website that shows some of the cool things you can do with it.

 

 

Not only can you name your boards and subcategories, you can then reorganize the Post-its based on these changes.  You can add new notes with many colors to choose from and you can draw or type. You can also pull notes from other boards and add them to new boards. Finally, you can save it as a .pdf or as an image to save for later or turn in!

Here is a screencast of me playing with the app. I don’t have a poster of Post-its to take a picture of so I did the demo version where it pretended to upload a picture.

Ideas for Use

I have a ton of ideas for taking the old lessons we have all done and taking them a step further with the app:

  • Make words or sentences using mixed up Post-its. Mix them up on the board. The students scan the board and go back and sort at their desks.
  • Write equations and number sentences. Students could make a number sentence, mix it up and then trade iPads and solve each other’s problems.
  • Annotate a book with post-its. On each post it, put the page number and the quote, thought or question.  Students can leave them inside the book and at the end they can curate their thoughts by scanning the post-its and categorizing them. Keep the notes for future writing assignments and to study for tests!
  • Trace the routes of a famous explorer, traveler/ human migration patterns. Students can use Post its to mark their path and then scan the post-its to see the shape.
  • Create a timeline using a Post-it for each event. Students organize in order.
  • Re-sort Post-its based on new categories they come up with or you give them.
  • Students can add two more Post-its/Take away ones that don’t ‘fit’.
  • Organize them (example: from least to greatest importance.)
  • Respond to one post-it in a reflection, speech, or persuasive essay.
  • Save as .pdf and submit to teacher/presenter to serve as a formative assessment.
  •  Tie it to one of Harvard Project Zero’s thinking routines! See below for ideas for a few of the routines. Click on the link to be directed to the Project Zero website and see the routine explained in full.
    1. What Makes You Say That? -students could choose one or two post-its on the sheet to question. Students find the author of the two Post-its and asks “What Makes You Say That?” This will further the conversation and get students to think deeper about their ideas and opinions.
    2. Circle of Viewpoints -after writing down various viewpoints of a topic on different post-its, students can scan them, sort the viewpoints into categories and create questions they have for the various perspectives. This would be amazing for a pre-persuasive essay activity or speech/debate prep.
    3. I Used To Think….,But Now I Think -This could be done as a culminating activity. Pull out the KWL  post-it chart from the beginning of the unit; students can scan it (or scan it at the beginning of the unit and save for later) and analyze how their thinking has changed.  Likewise, it could be about hot-button current event discussion. They could start with their preconceived opinions and after research and a structured class discussion like socratic seminar, students can revisit their early opinions and reflect.
    4. Compass Points -This would be great as an introduction to a self-driven project, Genius Hour, or even as an introduction to the class service-learning project.  Students could make their own virtual poster filled with Post-its containing ideas for projects. They can organize their ideas into categories. Then, do the Compass Points thinking routine to narrow down ideas.

The Nuts and Bolts

  • Travis has added this to Self Service for the 7th, 8th and faculty iPads. He has sent the app to Library, the Hayden cart, and 3rd and 4th grade class iPads. So they should be there when you need them! #thankstravis
  • It is recommended that you use a dark colored marker or felt-tipped pen when writing on the Post-its so they are most likely to show up when scanned.
  • This app works best with regularly-sized square Post-its.
  • Make sure the Post-its are not overlapping and are about 1/8inch apart from each other. This will make scanning much more seamless.
  • You can take numerous pictures of the same board if the board is too big. After you have captured one “board” you can hit the plus sign to add another photo to the same board.
  • Unfortunately it doesn’t let you collaborate with others within the app. But, you can export it to another device. What I mean is, you can send it via email and open it on someone else’s Post-it app for further organizing. When you export it, just save it this way. (see below)  So, this way numerous people can edit the same file as long as it is one-at-a-time.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 3.40.13 PM

Happy Post-it-ing!

How Will You ‘Make’ This Year?

We are ready to start our second year with our amazing D-Lab! Many of us already have ideas about how to integrate making, creating and design-thinking into their curriculum this year. Just in case you need some inspiration, here is a collection of of some cool ideas I found on Pinterest and other sites. If any of these piques your interest let me know and I will get you more information and start planning with you. Many of these projects can be altered to fit any curriculum!

 

 

 

 

 

Some Light Summer Reading

Below is a curation of interesting articles for us to ponder or dive deeper in over the summer! I will continue to add to this, so please send me any you would like to add to this list!

Edutopia: Flexible Seating Assignments in Middle School

While free seating seems to have a lot of potential to grow voice and choice and help our more fidgety students stay focused, at times assigned seating is necessary to improve social interactions and formal instruction. This teacher found a way to have both!

Mindshift: How Turning Math Into a Maker Workshop Can Bring Calculations to Life

Makey Makey is for all ages!  Use this fun tool to practice programming and math skills.  (See Adrienne to use them) They also talk about using sewing to teach pixels and curves along a grid. A lot of good concrete ideas here.

Education Week Opinion: Why Don’t Educators Want to Be Coached?

Peter DeWitt, Ed.D., has done his research on education leadership and summarizes some of the reasons teachers might not be as open to coaching as other professions. Where do you fit in?

Goals From a New School Year: #observeme

For those of you who read the last article and are thinking, “I would love some coaching,” here is a blog post from a teacher who is joining the #observeme movement. Hope Teague-Bowing, the author of this post explains, “Math teacher, Robert Kaplinsky, is challenging educators to rethink the way we pursue feedback by making it easy and immediately obtainable.” #observeme is something you probably will see next year at MJS, so it is worth a closer look!

After Seeing These +15 Maps You’ll Never Look At The World The Same

and

The True Size

As a history teacher, I find that one amazing way to get kids excited about almost any topic is through maps. And, there are maps about EVERYTHING! From the most popular baby names in each state to world hunger statistics around the world, there is a map for your class. This two websites shows how the Mercator Projection used for navigating has warped our understanding of how big countries and continents are in relation to others. A greater potential for empathy can start with understanding our place in the world!

Students Email Their Parents About Missing Work

So this is a genius way of holding kids accountable. The article explains how students are required to send formal emails to their parents explaining why they didn’t do their work. This would work so great with 7th and 8th graders with the iPads. They must CC you!

Mindshift: What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About Making Fractions Stick

This article delves into specific strategies for teaching fractions and what the brain needs to actually learn them. From visualizing strategies to conceptual understanding, researchers have discovered that fractions can only be learned through multiple approaches utilizing multiple senses.

Mindshift: Taking Notes: Is The Pen Still Mightier Than the Keyboard?

Typing skills are important. People can type at a much faster rate than they can write; therefore, it would appear that typing is the better option for taking notes. Researchers argue differently.

Print Custom Sticky Notes with Google Slides

So three different people shared this link with me. Something tells me people know I like school supplies. Katie was the first to show me how to do this so see her for tips! But, this is an awesome way to make short rubrics to stick on rough drafts and to make cute personalized notes for kids.

What Do We Mean By Cheating?

This is a blog post that poses an interesting thought: “If our students are successfully cheating in how they go about finding correct answers, perhaps the real problem is that we are asking them the wrong questions.”

9 Great Young Adult Novels For Politically Engaged Readers

This is a curation of novels specifically focused on creating empathy on social justice issues that are current and relevant to people in our country.  They focus on lack of equity among adolescents of different upbringings,  gender, culture and sexual-orientation.

Teachers Going Gradeless

This is a blog post that focuses on current research debunking the myth that grades motivate students. An interesting and relevant read!

Teaching in Beta: What We Can Learn From Software Developers

This blog, “Cult of Pedagogy,” is by far the best education blog out there, from my perspective. I highly recommend following it on Facebook, Twitter or directly through email. Jennifer Gonzalez was a middle school English teacher who is now a full-time blogger. In this article, she talks about how teachers feel this need to be perfect the first time at all attempts to try something new. She argues, if we look at every attempt to try something new as the “beta test” we will be more apt to try new things and be ok when it doesn’t work out perfectly the first time.

Choosing Your Own Learning Adventure: Enrichment Menu For Writer’s Workshop

A school librarian designed a ‘March Madness’ menu of choice for students during writer’s workshop or when they finish early. There are some great ideas in here to keep students on task while giving them voice and choice!

Teaching Students To Write About Contraptions

Yes, we know, skills are becoming increasingly more important than content knowledge for our future students. They need to be creative problem solvers who can converse and work with others. BUT, they also need to write. Computer coders and innovators who can’t write are less marketable than ones that can! Nobody will ever be able to duplicate what they have created if they can’t write an instruction manual that is readable for a broad audience.  This article talks about how to blend these skills of problem solving with the ability to write.

Muslim Kids as Heroes

As Islamophobia is on a rise, it is important that we give students an opportunity to see Muslims as humans and as heroes that many are. Here is a compilation of children’s stories that attempt to do just that!

How Kids Benefit From Learning To Explain Their Math Thinking

Is the ultimate end the right answer?  Or, is it an ability to explain why it is the right answer? Watch this video from MindShift that argues the latter.

View story at Medium.com