Friday, January 31, 2020

6-12 EdTech Coach Weekly Update (Week of 1/31/20)


This week, I wrapped up this round of walkabout observations of Science classes and embarked on walkabout observations of English Language Arts classes at El Monte and Orosi High School. The Science walkabout concluded this week with a number of Fast and Curious Eduprotocol demonstrations and observations. This Eduprotocol is designed to help all students develop vocabulary and show growth in the vocab-heavy science classes. Fast and Curious was demonstrated and observed in 8th and 9th grade science classes this week. Some follow ups with science teachers included planning for further implementation of sketchnotes. I observed a number of sketchnoting lessons and provided feedback to enhance the sketchnoting process.

These 9th graders are doing the speed sketchnotes portion of Fast and Curious
During the initial stages of the ELA walkabout, some serendipitous and organic conversations occurred. ELA teachers inquired about further implementation of sketchnotes in addition to finding ways to help students become powerful communicators using edtech. One of these conversations germinated a culminating project in 7th grade history where kids will be given choices for representing knowledge of the 5 Pillars of Islam using Google Sites, Screencasting or cellphone video cameras.

It was a pleasure to have been invited the OHS ELA PLC. Mrs. Giannandrea used Thin Slides to have PLC members reflect on a professional reading and share thoughts. This activity was born out of a successful Thin Slides activity I helped coordinate during last Monday's PBIS extended PD.

These OHS teachers are deeply engaged in conversation as they participate in Thin Slides during extended PD
Teacher Workflow Tip

Academic Conversations has been a big initiative in this district for a few years now. It's a great strategy, but easier said than done. An issue with facilitating academic conversations is time. It can take too long to have kids "conversate" or "present" one group or pair at a time. Having groups converse academically at the same time can be chaotic and difficult for a teacher to monitor.

Here is a way edtech can help ease these pain points. Using a combination of sketchnotes (digital or paper) and the Screencastify Chrome Extension, pairs or groups can record their conversations and submit a video to Google Classroom for the teacher to review later. This ensures all students participate in one class period. It also gives the teacher ample time to review all conversations without taking up class time or being distracted by the class.

This idea came from a lesson I co-taught with Mrs. Dana Jobe 2 years ago. In this lesson, 9th grade science, Mrs. Jobe had students reflect on a topic they'd finished recently. They had completed sketchnotes on this topic which were curated in the Sketchnotes Gallery on Students were placed in pairs and told to go the gallery and choose a sketchnote that wasn't theirs. Partner A explained the processes portrayed in the sketchnotes while parter B listened actively and asked clarifying questions to ensure partner A talked for at least two minutes. When partner A began the conversation, he or she started Screencastify to record the conversation and the subsequent video was submitted to Mrs. Jobe for review. When partner A finished, the roles reversed.

Digital Timers are a great tool for classroom management. This trick will turn your Google Chrome browser into an instant digital timer.

1. Click the three dots in top right corner of Google Chrome
2. Scroll down and click Manage Search Engines
Displaying Photo note
3. Click Add
4. In box for Search Engine type Eggtimer
5. In box for Keyword type eg
6. In box for URL type
7. Click Add

8. Open new tab in Chrome
9. Type eg then hit spacebar
10. Type out the time you want for a countdown (ex: 4 minutes)

Whenever you need a quick countdown timer, simply open a new tab, type eg, hit spacebar and type in the time you'd like. Click here to watch a video showing this process.

Support English Learners with EdTech

Teaching SDAIE history classes, all of my students are English learners. Helping them better access the content is one of my main goals. One of my go-to strategies involves an appsmash of Google Sites, Google Translate, and YouTube. 

Google Sites requires absolute zero coding or web development experience. If you can copy, paste, drag and drop, you can create a Google Site. Sites is a great tool for curating content for students. What I do is create a Site for a lesson. I curate the necessary text in English on one side and use Google Translate to put the Spanish version on the other. This way, the two languages are side by side and not in isolation. I add images and short YouTube videos as well. The YouTube videos play right on the site and can have Spanish subtitles. Click here to see a video of what this type of Site looks like.

Flipgrid is another simple tool for giving English learners opportunities for listening and speaking. When EL's provide a video response of Flipgrid, it requires them to review their response and listen to it before submitting. In addition, if you enable student-to-student video replies, EL's have the opportunity to listen to their peers' ideas and respond in English in a non-threatening, private manner.