Sunday, August 21, 2016

6 Reasons I Love ClassFlow

It's official....summer is over for students and teachers in East Texas!  We are headed back to school tomorrow with new friends to meet and fresh opportunities to make a lasting difference.  In preparation for the new year, I have hit the Target Dollar Spot more than one should, bought my Heidi Swapp light box, and taken a deep dive into Promethean's ClassFlow.

For me, ClassFlow is a keeper (and not just because I saw my favorite teacher, Ron Clark, using it at ISTE 2016)!  It is truly an all-in-one solution.  From presentation station to interactive student response cards, ClassFlow has it all.  I've practiced using it this summer alongside a few of my teacher besties and we all agree...we have a serious case of #ClassFlowLuv!!!

Here are a few of the things that I love most:
1.  It is possible to have both teacher AND student cards.  So, one card can be displayed on the board and another card can be sent directly to the student device.  This allows students to refer to the image displayed by the teacher while interacting with information unique to the device that they are using.  So, in my STEM Nametag Challenge lesson, I was able to explain the engineering design process while students thought through how they would complete the design process template.


2.  And when I say unique, I mean that you can literally differentiate student assignments using ClassFlow.  Groups can be pre-set and when student cards are distributed during the presentation of the lesson, assignments that have been selected based upon student needs are sent directly to participants.  Since it is digital, you have electronic documentation of differentiation for all students.

3. ClassFlow makes it easy to consistently monitor the quality of student participation and performance with real time polling options available.  Simply with a click of a button you can ask students different types of questions like true/false, Likert scale, text or number answers, and even creative response allowing students to draw or capture an image!!!!


4.  Whether using a poll on the fly or integrating planned assessments within the web tool, ClassFlow allows you to systematically gather input from students to monitor comprehension and adjust instruction as needed.  No more going 50+ places to provided varied student assessments. With ClassFlow, it is all available in one spot!

5.  Since ClassFlow is web-based, teachers and students can be anywhere and still access instruction. Just this morning, I sat in a McDonald's in Louisiana and tutored a student in Texas using ClassFlow!!! We saw the same images.  I got real-time feedback.  I was able to help as needed and guide him through tough concepts...while working 212 miles away.  I love this, because I have struggled for years with being able to teach multiple students who were out with prolonged absences due to medical issues.  I could figure out how to present one sided lessons, but other than utilizing the speaker on my phone or a service for which I had to pay, I couldn't figure out how to get real-time feedback from my students.  With ClassFlow...problem solved!


6.  Finally, I like that ClassFlow has a Marketplace with a plethora of awesome lessons searchable by topic or standard making it unnecessary to reinvent the wheel as we give ClassFlow a try!

Friday, August 5, 2016

STEM Quick Challenge: Design a Nametag

What a summer! The past few months have been packed with conferences and presentations focused on STEM in Elementary, STEM in Middle School, and now, STEM is for Everyone.  I have definitely stayed busy, but it has been so much fun prepping, planning, and sharing my passion with others!
When I present, I like to start off with some type of introduction and a name tent so that everyone can get to know one another...so, with the many days of STEM trainings, I thought that it would be fun to include a quick challenge to get everyone comfortable and creating from the very beginning.  I developed 2 versions of a STEM Quick Challenge: Design a Nametag...one for STEM teachers and one for teachers new to STEM.
Needless to say, we had so much fun collaborating and thinking through how we would accomplish the task and with a roomful of teachers, we had no shortage of creativity!
I used resources which were readily available: white and colored copy paper, markers, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, pom poms, glue sticks, tape, paper brads, and markers.  For the "new to STEM" challenge, I added conductive tape (left over from my paper circuitry project), LED lights, and watch batteries to the more advanced version.
Here is the printable version of both challenges!  Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Augmented Reality App Giveaway at ISTE 2016

I am so excited to be part of the Creativity Playground (ToDaY from 3 - 4PM...Concourse E!!!) at #ISTE2016. I am sharing how I use some of my favorite augmented reality tools like Quiver, BlippAR, AugThat, AR Circuits, AR Flashcards, and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.  From writing prompts to science applications, you can do it all with #AR.  Whether you are at #ISTE2016 or #NotatISTE16, you can still enter to win 1 of 20 promo codes for these awesome apps to use in your classroom!!! Then, join in the #AR4Learning Chat on Twitter...the talk is all about augmented reality every Thursday night:)


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Melted Snowman

I was recently asked about the recipe for slime I made while studying non-Newtonian fluids and chemical engineering (more on that later).  I thought it might be easier to show you how we made it rather than attempt to explain it.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

How Do Your Students Know What They Know and When Do They Know It?

     How do you know what your students know?  When do you know it? What do you do once you realize that there are gaps in the learning? During my first few years of teaching I would be so disappointed on the day of the test, because I thought that my kiddos had a good grasp on the content only to see assessments roll in with incorrect answers or worse...no answers at all on some of the questions.  I knew that I needed to change something and so did my students.
     15 years later after much growth in my profession, my burning questions have grown to include 'How do my students know what they know and when do they know it?'.  I feel strongly that students must be given the opportunity to evaluate their own knowledge in a non-punitive assessment, so that they can discover where their gaps are prior to the day of the test.
     Attached is my presentation on ways to Check for Understanding presented at Marshall ISD's Destination Success Conference.  The ideas go beyond the 3 question quiz, the use of Socrative, Plickers, Google Forms, and Kahoot, all of which are wonderful tools; here I share quick and easy activites that can be incorporated into your classroom tomorrow.  I have blogged about many of these strategies over the years and have included the tag "check for understanding" on all of the posts related to the presentation.  So, if you are looking to add a little twist to your daily warm-ups or exit tickets, you are in the right place!

Have Students Show What They Know with Educreations

     Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time, knows that I love my iPads due to the creativity that the devices allow students to show.  I am passionate about students creating content rather than just consuming it and the more innovative that they can be while demonstrating their knowledge, the more I love it!  Educreations allows for just that...it is like a blank sheet of paper just waiting for the artist to begin.
     In this project, students show what they know and help others in the process.  The details below include a task, a tutorial, and a rubric for the creation of math videos using the screen recorder.  In this activity, students will assume the role of an online course developer and create a screencast using Educreations, an app that is easy to use and 100% reliable in uploading and sharing work.
   


Overview: "For the past nine years the Sloan Consortium and the Babson Survey Research Group have taken a look at the state of online learning in the United States. The 2011 survey reveals that the number of students learning online has now surpassed six million, with nearly one-third of all students in higher education taking at least one online course.  Last year’s annual survey revealed the largest ever year-to-year increase in online enrollment since the study began eight years ago." - Going the Distance  

 "Online learning has numerous benefits, including expanding course offerings, customizing and personalizing learning, giving struggling students a second chance to master a subject through online credit recovery when they fall behind, and providing a rigorous, interactive learning model. Online learning is providing the content and integration of digital tools for portable and mobile learning opportunities." - iNACOL 

Your task is to assume the role of an online course developer and create a screencast using the Educreations app for our online course resources.  The Screencast Tutorial that follows details your task and provides information on how to use the app.  You will upload your completed project via the submission form posted.  


Tutorial:
















Rubric:

Rubric











Feel free to borrow, edit, and use with your students:)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Quick and Easy Way to Learn Students' Names

I am terrible with names and before I stumbled upon the idea of name tents, I found that with a seating chart or no seating chart, invariably there was still that awkward pause when addressing the student on the third row with the red jacket and yellow shoes on the 4th day of school.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't seem to come up with their name and by then, it seemed rude to just point and say, "What do you think?"  This odd exchange always seemed to disrupt the flow of the class and did nothing to foster the culture and climate I had hoped to establish.  Finally, problem solved!
Now, I start every new year by having students create name tents.  It helps me learn my high school students' names quickly and easily by keeping their names in front of me at all times.  The only supplies I supply is a pack of markers.  The students provide the paper.

Here is how to make them:
1.  Have students get a sheet of paper from their notebook.
2.  Make a fold about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the sheet.

I demonstrate the folds using 2 sheets of paper (one colored, one white) layered on top of one another. This helps the students see how far down to make the fold.
3.  Make a second fold about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the sheet.  This creates a triangle of sorts when you try to stand it on the table.
It ends up looking like a rectangle from the front
and a triangle when you look at it from the side.
4.  Have each student use a marker to write their first name in the center section of the paper.

5.  Have students stand their name tent on their desk.

6.  At the end of the class period, direct students to place their name tent inside their notebook for use over the next few days.

Now, no more awkward moments.  Use the name tents until you and the students learn everyone's name.