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.
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.