Digital Resources to Support English Language Educators and Students

"You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward." Conrad Hall

We are working on updating our web resources for different subject areas. This week the focus is on English Language Chrome and G Suite Resources for K-12 teachers and students. This is the working document.

If you have suggested resources or ideas can you share them with us using one or more of these options?


Fun Avatar Creation Tools - Who Will You Be?

Creativity - Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students will:
  • Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
  • Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
  • Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
  • Identify trends and forecast possibilities.


You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”― Maya Angelou


I started exploring different avatar creators about a year ago after I realized that my twin boys were using and modifying images of me they found online as their Chromebook backgrounds. This led to a conversation with my own children about being aware of what they post on the internet. Once you share something online, it will most likely be there forever. We decided that using avatars on some sites could be a fun way to creatively share who we are with the world. (Bonus: I also hope it reduces the number of awkward photos of me on the web.)

I decided to bring this to my classroom and I had my students create their own avatars at the start of the school year and in one of our Reboot the Noggin Activities to Start 2018

Here are a few avatar creators we explored. Remember that a good avatar is connected to you and who you want to be. It can be an actual picture taken with your phone or webcam or it can be created using an online avatar maker.

  • Wonderous Portrait Creator - Create a Be Kind Avatar based on the Wonder author Raquel Jaramillo
  • Google Drawings - Turn a selfie into a Google Drawing. Jeffery Heil has a great tutorial here or you can click here to watch a video. 
  • Scratch - Explore avatar projects on the Scratch coding site or code your own avatar creator.
  • Peanuts - Create a Peanuts Character Avatar. You can also become Snoopy!
  • Androidify - Creator your own Android avatar based on the famous green Android Mascot
  • BitMoji - Create an expressive cartoon avatar, choose from a growing library of moods and stickers.
  • South Park - Create your own South Park alter-ego or make one of your family and friends!
  • Avatar Maker - Create and customize a digital avatar.
  • picassohead - Create a Picasso work of art.
  • doppleme - Create your own mini-me.
  • Build Your Wild Self - Create a nature-themed avatar. 
  • Mii Avatar Maker - Create your Wii style avatar.

(A few of the avatar creators above may not be the best for all ages, so please explore any that you are considering using with students before sharing them.)

Can you guess my current favorite? If you have a favorite avatar I would love for you to share it with me? @WickedEdTech


Did I miss something? Please share your favorite avatar creation resources in the comments below. 

What will your digital alter ego look like?

3 - 2 - 1 Reflective Visible Thinking Activity for HyperDocs

Today at the EdTech Team Illinois Summit I was inspired by a great session on HyperDocs and Visible Thinking Routines

I've created a quick activity connected to a 3 - 2 - 1 Bridge Activity for my students to initially activate their knowledge about sustainable agriculture. They will then reflect on their knowledge after completing this HyperDoc connected to sustainable agriculture. Finally, students will reflect on the connections between their before and after ideas using a FlipGrid response. 


How could you adapt this for your students? How could I do this differently? 



Friday Afternoon Brainstorm - What Tips Do You Have for HyperDoc Creators?

This is not normally how I see my students, but I sometimes wonder if this is how they feel if I don't engage them in the learning?
I have been enjoying the HyperDoc Takeover of the Project Learn Facebook Group and this started me reflecting on some of the HyperDoc tips I've shared at conferences, on social media, and in this blog.

Here are some of my top HyperDoc tips. What more can you add?

Please add additional tips using the comment feature this Google Doc, by replying to this post below, or by sharing your voice in this Flipgrid. (I will add any additional suggestions to the doc and give anyone who submits full credit!)
  • Don’t let your students become keyboard monkeys. If you let them they will check the boxes to finish the HyperDoc without engaging in the learning. Engage them outside of the HyperDoc with face to face discussion and interactive formative assessments
  • HyperDocs do not need to be Google Docs. They can be Google Slides, Google Sites, Google Drawings, Google My Maps, Infographics, Recap Journeys, Deck Toys or something else? (If you dream it, you can build it.) 
  • The HyperDocs Website has some great free templates to help get you started. You can also build your own from scratch. I don't believe there is any one best way to create a HyperDoc. 
  • HyperDocs must be more than a digital worksheet or WebQuest. Active student engagement is essential if you want students to own their learning experiences. 
  • Don’t just use verbs like complete, answer, or submit. Instead look for action verbs like engage, explore, interact, analyze . . . (Bloom’s Taxonomy Verbs
  • Be sure to include student voice and choice when and where you can. The digital world is full of incredible student voice resources like Padlet and Flipgrid
  • The best HyperDocs often include activities that are connected to the 4Cs of learning: Collaboration, Communication, Critical thinking, and Creativity
  • HyperDocs should connect content objectives to the skills that students need. Many of these are included in the ISTE Standards For Students
  • Non-digital student collaboration and communication should be integrated into the HyperDoc process to avoid having students turn into screen zombies. Don’t just leave them checking the boxes to get it done. 
  • The best HyperDocs leave room for student creativity. It also helps to give students some options when asking them to create. If you get 30 copies of the same thing, your students are only following a recipe not creating something new. 
  • Visit the twitter hashtags #HyperDocs and/or #Give1Take1 for additional ideas and sample HyperDocs.
  • Visit the Mentor Samr HyperDoc, HyperDocs Facebook Group, or the Pinterest HyperDoc Digital Lesson Plans for even more ideas and sample HyperDocs.


How Do You Define HyperDocs?


I was inspired to create this quick post by the HyperDoc Takeover in the Project Learn Inspired by EdTechTeam Press Facebook Group

I use HyperDocs as learning frameworks that connect my students to digital resources. I do my best to use HyperDocs to engage students in the content and connect our learning to the 4 Cs of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. I play the role as facilitator or guide on the side as my students explore. I also try to be an active learner as my students engage in the resources. 


How do you define a HyperDoc? What are your essentials when creating a HyperDoc? Please share in the comments below.
Dive Deeper Into Hyperdocs Sarah Landis's Hyperdocs Defined Slide Deck

When I create a HyperDoc there are 5 essentials that I always try to keep in mind.  

Don’t just use Instructions that ask Students to complete, answer, or submit. Use action verbs like engage, explore, interact, apply, analyze . . .
There is no one right way to create a HyperDoc. Create what works for you and your students. Simple or fancy, the learning must be first. Revise and Recreate when needed to improve the experience for all learners.
The best HyperDocs include actions that get Students Communicating, Creating, Collaborating, and Thinking Critically.
The Best HyperDocs are more than Digital Worksheets. HyperDocs should include both Digital Resources and Real Face to Face Collaboration. If the students are just checking the boxes to get the work done, what is really being accomplished?
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know? - Formative Assessments are Essential for all HyperDocs! Find the right tools to help students understand how the HyperDoc is connected to the essential concepts and objectives.
If you are new to HyperDocs or just want to learn more about HyperDocs, visit our HyperDocs Mission Control Resources.

Web Resources to Enhance Engagement - Critical Thinking Challenges

Critical thinking - Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students will:
  • Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
  • Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  • Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  • Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.


A Google a Day - A Google A Day was an online puzzle game from Google which invites the player to solve a lateral thinking puzzle by using Google to find the answer. A new puzzle was added every day. The questions may be any of the following categories: Sport, Science, Pop Culture, History, Arts and Literature, or Geography.


Digital Breakout EDU
 
- Library of digital challenges and problem solving activities designed to engage students in content connected to the 4 Cs of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.



Google CS First 
- Students create computer science projects around different themes such as Sports, Art, and Fashion. Each theme contains 8 lessons of 60-90 minutes that can be tailored to fit your schedule.




Goose Chase
 - Blend together the tried-and-true fun of scavenger hunts with mobile technology and create a learning experience like no other.



TED-ED Riddles
 - Use engaging videos riddles to create customized lessons. You can use, tweak, or completely redo any lesson featured on TED-Ed, or create lessons from scratch.





How do you engage students in critical thinking? What resources do you use?









Awesome Updates to Pear Deck Add-on for Formative Assessment

Pear Deck recently announced a new update to their Google Slides Add-on. I've just begun to explore this but I wanted to share 3 quick sample self-paced lessons to demo the new options from a student perspective. The first 2 just use the unedited template slides from the Add-on, the third is an actual exit slip or reflection connected to the first two. We made these to demo all of the new slide templates, of course, a teacher would not need to use all of the slide templates in their own presentations at the same time like we did to model this. 

Take a look and let us know what you think? Feel free to share with your PLN if you think they might be interested, the more feedback the better?

The Pear Deck Orchard also has some nice Sample Interactive Google Slide Decks you can explore. 


Collaborative Video HyperDocs

Why Use YouTube in the Classroom?

Teachers who use instructional video report that their students retain more information, understand concepts more rapidly and are more enthusiastic about what they are learning. With video as one component in a thoughtful lesson plan, students often make new connections between curriculum topics, and discover links between these topics and the world outside the classroom. - NTTI
When available, YouTube is an incredible learning resource for teachers and students. I use video in many of our AP Environmental Science Activites. When used well, I believe: 
  • Videos connect students to people and places outside of our classroom.
  • Videos help students connect concepts from our textbook. They often serve as great examples of key vocabulary in the real world. 
  • Videos make great hooks for lessons and activities. They are often great discussion starters. 
  • Videos can be inspirational and motivational for students and teachers. 
  • Videos support learner-centered activities. Students don't need to wait for me to tell them something. 
  • Videos can be used to support differentiated learning. Let students have some choice of which videos they will use to engage in the learning experience. 
  • Videos can lead to exploration of additional key concepts. Who hasn't fallen down the YouTube Rabbit Hole?
I frequently embed videos and video links in my HyperDocs, but recently I decided to do something a little different. I've created two HyperDocs that focus on students collaboratively exploring a set of videos connected to a particular theme. Students watch each video, discuss, and collaborate on a shared slide deck. 



We've only completed the Water Resources Activity, but I believe it was a positive experience for my students. While many of them initially wanted to divide and conquer, most felt it was a better experience when they each watched a video (small group or individually) and then discussed and recapped what they learned before moving to the next video. I am looking forward to engaging in the Sustainable Agriculture Activity next. 

Take a look and let me know what you think?

"Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can - there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did." Sarah Caldwell

2018 Book Recommendations for Innovative Educators

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” – Thomas Henry Huxley

The best educators are not content to do the same old thing year after year. Innovative educators push their thinking by engaging in social media, exploring blogs, attending conferences, and exploring the newest generation of educational books. These resources connect educators to the incredible books my PLN explores to learn and grow as educators. We will do our best to update these resources as new books are recommended.

We've created a site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning. The site connects teachers to recommended books in the categories below. We placed each recommended book in 1 category, but we realize that many of the books stretch across multiple categories.


  • EdTech - Popular books connected to best practices in instructional technology. 
  • G Suite for Education - Popular books connected to Google for Education. 
  • Mindsets & Innovation - Popular books exploring innovative teaching practices and mindsets.
  • Inquiry Learning - Popular books connected to inquiry and curiosity in the classroom.
  • Leadership - Popular books connected to educational leadership for administrators and teachers.
  • Learning Spaces - Popular books connected to classroom design and Makerspaces.
  • Learning - Popular books connected to everything else in education including Assessment, Engagement, Learning, School Culture, Digital Citizenship, and Teaching.
If you have a favorite educational book that we've missed, please consider adding it to this Padlet or in the comments below.



Wicked EdTech Top 5 Posts from 2017 - The More You Share The More You Learn

"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious."
Albert Einstein


Happy 2018


2017 was an awesome year for me as an educator and a learner. I hope everyone is looking forward to another year of growth as teachers and learners, I know I am!

Tis the season for everyone who anyone to share their top posts of 2017. (Not sure I fully qualify for this, but I'm going to follow the trend anyway.)

I've organized my top posts, not by the number of hits, but instead by their impact on me as a teacher and learner. I created this blog to share my learning experiences.

These are the top 5 posts that impacted me the most as a leaner in 2017.

This is one of those posts that caught someone's interest on Twitter and led to a rather lengthy debate about the validity of the Growth Mindset. The discussion kept me on my toes and forced me to explore more about the Growth Mindset than I ever have in the past. 

The Power of Collaboration - Google + HyperDocs Community
I've been using HyperDocs for more than a year with my students, This post connected me to many incredible educators who are sharing their HyperDocs with the world. I continue to be inspired and motivated by the incredible educators in the HyperDoc communities. 

The ISTE Standards and the 4 Cs of Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity.
I've long been a fan of connecting the 4 Cs to our classroom activities. I enjoyed exploring and refining the collection of digital resources, but the best part of creating this post was the time I spent reflecting on how I use the resources with students. 

What is Your One Small Thing - Join the Movement
Such a simple concept with so much power. We've used this concept with staff and students this year. Whenever I need a few moments of inspiration, I can quickly find it using the hashtag on Twitter. 

25 Innovative Educators to Follow on Twitter
This post ate up more time than I ever thought it would. I started with the idea of sharing 5 educators who have impacted me as an educator and ended at 25. Even this was not enough and I left many incredible educators off of this list. When I shared this post with my PLN, several educators were very critical of this list for a variety of reasons. I struggled a bit with the criticism, but in the end, I think this post helped me reflect on the power of a PLN. 

Honorable Mention - This post was the most popular with my PLN.


Have some time and want to dive deeper into my 2017 journey as an educator? Click on the 2017 archive on the right of the screen to explore 2017. There are some great posts and some that just didn't hit the mark with me or my PLN. Hopefully, there is something that can help you grow as a learner?

Thanks everyone for an incredible 2017! Hoping for an even better 2018!

If you have a moment, I would love for you to share any of my posts in 2017 that had an impact on you?




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