Wednesday, March 18, 2020

6-12 EdTech Coach Weekly Update (Week of 3/13/20)



On Monday and Tuesday, I had the privilege of co-teaching a lesson on the Persian Wars with Diana Robinson's sixth graders at El Monte. Ms. Robinson wanted students to collaboratively read, mark text, identify key concepts while including some peer teaching. Students were placed into groups of 2-3. They were assigned a slide with an image of "Persian Wars" text.

Their task was to identify the main ideas. Once they identified the main idea, and got feedback from the teacher, they inserted a text box to state the main idea on the slide. From there, they used the Google Slides scribble tool to circle evidence of the main ideas. After that, they inserted 1-3 images or emojis to support their evidence. Their last task was to use the Screencastify Chrome extension to record a one minute maximum video explaining their assigned text and "teach" the main idea. All videos were submitted to Google Classroom and curated so kids could watch each other's videos, learn from them and take notes. This activity was an extension on the skills Ms. Robinson's students have developed this year doing Booksnaps and using Google Slides often.

Google Certified Student

For the past 6 weeks, I have been co-teaching a semester-long Google Certified Student program with Mr. Wells and Mr. Ermie at Orosi High School. Students are trained on and show mastery of Google Docs, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Slides, Google Sites and YouTube.

To show mastery, students follow three steps. The first step is for students to take notes from a live demonstration by me in the Cardinal Innovation Center. Students may also take notes independently from screencasts I created and posted in Google Classroom. The second step is for students to use their notes to screencast record a video of them practicing the skills they learned. From there, they turn in the video to Google Classroom for the teachers to review. Once the teacher approves it, they "test" their skills with me. The test is one on one and they are able to retake. During the test, I call out the skills and they perform those app skills under my supervision. When they have passed the test for all seven apps, they're given a certificate of completion, digital badge and a monthly pizza lunch.


The Cardinal Innovation Center Sketchnotes Gallery has been updated. Mr. Roldan's 10th Grade World History students submitted some great Atomic Bomb sketchnotes. Click here to see all of them. Ms. Barton's sixth graders submitted some great sketchnotes on the Persian Wars in Ancient Greece. Click here to see all of them.


Teacher Tips

Flipgrid for Teachers

Flipgrid is a great tool to give students opportunities for academic listening and speaking. It's also a a great tool for teachers to record quick tidbits, "info-bites" or, tips, nuggets of wisdom and announcements. Create a grid separate from the ones you use with students. Record 30-60 second tips, etc. for kids and parents. Once submitted, the video files are easily downloaded and can be shared via Google Classroom or Remind in addition to be uploaded to YouTube. The example below was recorded with Flipgrid.


DocHub was the foundation of my Ditch That Copier movement. We all have a horror story involving the copier. Stories likely include waiting in line for the copier, jammed copiers, out of toner as well as running out of paper. Years ago, when I was a full-time history teacher, we started using DBQs. Each DBQ packet was at least 10 pages front and back. As a tech coach, I have sought ways to lessen to angst of having to make large amounts of copies and packets.

With Google Classroom and DocHub, most, if not all, of the things you would have kids do with a packet and or article, can be done without making tons of copies. If you're able to get your packet and or article as a PDF file, attach it to an assignment in Google Classroom. Students only need view permission. Students click the file and "Open with" DocHub. From there, they can mark the text however you see fit. When finished, students can submit to Google Classroom from a button in DocHub. See the video below to learn how.

Support English Learners with EdTech

Speak Before Writing

To help English learners improve writing, have them speak about what they know before writing it. For example, if you want them to write a summary or a paragraph, have them talk about it first. Two edtech tools that are quick and easy ways of accomplishing this are Flipgrid and the Screencastify Chrome extension.

For a quick "talk before writing", give them a prompt in Flipgrid and share the link via Google Classroom. For a little more in depth "talk before writing", have kids create a slide with images and or emojis then use Screencastify to explain via video.

Another way to incorporate Screencastify is to have students record themselves reading. Once they've recorded, they are able to hear themselves reading. This can lead to collaboration where partners listen to each others' reading videos and give feedback. These are just a few of the myriad of ways Screencastify and Flipgrid can support English learners.


Friday, March 6, 2020

6-12 EdTech Coach Weekly Update (Week of 3/6/20)



This week I began a walkabout in electives classes. I visited a few Spanish classes so far and was impressed by what I saw. From what I've seen so far, I noticed some opportunities to implement the Thin Slides eduprotocol to get students more opportunities to practice speaking and listening in Spanish while giving the teacher a chance to formatively assess. As this walkabout continues, I look forward to seeing some art classes and speech and debate.


On the sketchnoting front, sketchnotes done by students here in Cutler-Orosi continue to inspire across the world. Last week, students and teachers in Singapore were inspired by our sketchnotes. This week, teachers and students in Beijing, China learned to sketchnote from sketchnoting expert Sylvia Duckworth. Sylvia used Mr. Ely's students' sketchnotes on King Lear as examples. Congratulations to Mr. Ely and his students.


In a few weeks, I will be attending and presenting at the 2020 CUE National Conference. I'll be presenting sessions on using Google Sites and EdTech Coaching for Hesitant Teachers. For three days at CUE, I'll be surrounded by experts and vendors. If there is an app, strategy or product you are interested in learning more about, please let me know so I can attend a session or meet the vendors to bring back information for you. 

Teacher Workflow Tips

Custom Sticky Notes

Feedback is such an important part of what we do as educators. Feedback helps develop rapport and relationships with students. When we make the feedback personal, it becomes more meaningful. Feedback can be as simple as writing on a sticky note. Now you can write on a generic, plain sticky note, but what if you jazzed it up a bit? What if you could create a custom sticky note with your Bitmoji? Create your own custom sticky note to add a personal touch to your feedback. Something this simple goes a long way showing kids you really care.

Click here to access a Google Slides template to create your own custom sticky notes. Once created, screenshot the image and send to Vistaprint. For around $15, you can get a half dozen sticky note pads with 50 notes per pad. Click here to start designing on Vistaprint.

Fact Check with Sketchnotes

The Cardinal Innovation Center Sketchnotes Gallery is evolving weekly. Thank you to all who send me sketchnotes to scan and curate. One way you can use the Sketchnotes Gallery is to review concepts in a fact check activity.

Give students a rubric or list of criteria. Send them to the accompanying topic page in the Sketchnotes Gallery. Have them evaluate some sketchnotes and judge them to see if they are conveying all of the main ideas or concepts listed in the rubric or list of criteria. This is great for spiral review or assessment prep. Integrate some edtech by having them use the Screencastify Chrome Extension to record their critique of the sketchnotes. If interested in trying this activity, contact me and we can set up a demonstration.

Support English Learners with EdTech

Change Language on Chromebook

On Chromebooks, it is very easy to change the operating system language to that of a student's home language. This will better help students access content. Use the steps below to change the language on a Chromebook.

- Bottom right corner, click on the "time" to open the menu
- Click the Settings button
- In Settings, go to Advanced
- Where it says Languages and Input, find Spanish and click the three dots on the right
- Check the box that says Display Chrome OS in this language
- Have the student logout and login again. This should switch the language.

Image result for change language on chromebook

Collaborative Sketchnotes and Screencasted Academic Conversation

Collaborative sketchnotes are a great way to foster collaboration and visual representation of concepts for English learners. Get started by assigning some text and have students look for main concepts and key points. In a pair, the students will take turns sketching a "rough draft" on a whiteboard while their partner guides them on what and how to sketch. When they think they're done, have them elicit feedback and approval from the teacher before moving on to the next concept. Once teacher approval is given and feedback has been acted upon, the pair writes down their whiteboard draft onto their paper and the roles switch for next concept.

Sketchnotes that get curated on the Cardinal Innovation Center Sketchnotes Gallery can be used to facilitate some beginning level academic conversations. This idea came from former Orosi High School science teacher Dana Jobe. Have the student pairs access the Gallery and choose a sketchnote. Each partner must choose a different sketchnote. In a partner A, partner B setting, A will use Screencastify to record themself explaining the chosen sketchnote for 2 minutes. Partner B will listen intently and ask clarifying questions to ensure partner A explains for at least 2 minutes. When the 2 minutes is up, the recording ends and you have a record of the conversation to turn in. At this point, the roles reverse.

This is helpful for English learners because it takes place in a small setting, they get to hear the recording of themselves speaking in English and they can re-record if they think they an improve it. This is a simple way to get them iterating and building resiliency as they develop with English.

For more information on anything in this blog post, please contact me via email or Google Hangouts  at Text or call me at 559-355-4593. Learn more tips from me and my extensive Professional Learning Network (PLN) by following #cvtechtalk on Twitter and or joining the CVTechTalk Facebook group.