Sunday, March 31, 2019

Quizizz - Review Mode Study Flashcards


Quizizz is definitely a favorite formative assessment tool in my classroom. I love that my students and I can complete a quiz together in class and then turn on the same quiz as a "homework game" to allow my students to retake a quiz multiple times.

Today I wanted to share a new feature that I absolutely love, Review Mode/Flashcards. I don't know exactly when this feature was released, but my students and I discovered it last week. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Pear Deck - The Swiss Army Knife of Lesson Design


Are the best student activities created for a single student or a single class or even a single moment in time?
or
Are the best student activities designed to be flexible enough to engage every student at any moment in time? 

I am not ashamed to admit that I don't know the answer to this conundrum. I am always looking to find a balance between these two ends of the spectrum when I am designing activities for my students, although I am guessing that the "One Size Does Not Fit All" image might give away my personal bias towards flexible designs.

Knowing my students helps me design and redesign activities to support the student learning experience for each of my students. Frequent formative assessment allows my students and me to shift our focus on the fly. The most difficult part of all of this is finding the time to create activities that are flexible enough to meet the needs at any given moment. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Professional Development Resources for Science Educators

(Image Created with Adobe Spark)

I typically look for professional development opportunities that are not just focused on a particular content area, but I know there is value in engaging in learning opportunities connected to the subject one is teaching. That's why I wanted to share a few resources I've explored recently connected to science instruction in this blog post.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Happy Birthday To The World Wide Web - Exploring Resources Connected to the Evolution of the Web


Did You Know That The Internet and the World Wide Web Are Not the Same Things?

Internet - a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols. (Google)
World Wide Web - an information system on the Internet which allows documents to be connected to other documents by hypertext links, enabling the user to search for information by moving from one document to another. (Google)

Did you know that the World Wide Web (WWW) turned 3o years old on March 12?

I think most of us take for granted how easy it is to access just about anything we want to learn about on the Web, The Internet and the World Wide Web have impacted almost every aspect of our daily lives. We all know that the growth and evolution of the Web have impacted and will continue to impact how we teach and learn. I have a hard time remembering my first few years of teaching without the Web as a resource for teaching and learning. 

The birthday of the World Wide Web inspired me to start thinking about the history of the Web and my exploration began. The rest of this post is dedicated to some of the resources I explored. 



Curious about the history of the World Wide Web and how it has changed since the beginning?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

EdTech Tip - Using Google Slides to Create Stunning PNG and JPEG Images

I am always looking for quick and easy ways to create visuals for teaching, learning, and sharing. I love Adobe Spark and Google Drawings. I also believe that Google Slides can be a great tool to create visuals.


Did you know that you can create a graphic using Google Slides and then download it as a high-quality image? 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Making the Most of Any Educational Conference Experience

“Think and wonder, wonder and think.” - Dr. Seuss
I have a few confessions to share before I talk about making the most of any educational conference experience. I am not shy, I don't think I am too socially awkward, but I am an introvert. Don't get me wrong, I love to collaborate and make new connections with educators. The problem can be that these social interactions are exhausting for me. I enjoy the moments of collaboration and connection, but sometimes by the end of a busy day at a conference, I feel completely drained and desperately need some downtime. 

During my first 10 years as an educator, I rarely felt the need to attend educational conferences. I never really felt the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. When I was asked to attend a conference, I was the guy who found a seat in the back of the room and kept to myself. I took notes and answered questions, but this was mostly done in isolation. I enjoyed the learning experience but I mostly kept the learning to myself.  

I learned a few years ago that the best conference experiences are best when not done in isolation. I have attended quite a few conferences as both an attendee and presenter and I am writing this post to share some of my tips about making the most of the experience. Take it from me, you don't be the teacher sitting in the back of the room disengaged from a greater learning experience. 
Plan Your Day in Advance
This seems like a no brainer, but I am always amazed by the number of teachers frantically flipping through a paper program each morning or between sessions at a conference. Planning in advance is more than just picking sessions based on titles or presenters. 
  1. Start with your why. Knowing your why before exploring the sessions is a great way to set the stage for an awesome learning experience. I always start with the mindset that everything I do starts with students in mind. 
  2. It is always good to have a backup plan. Pick 2 or 3 sessions during each session time frame that connect to your why. You might arrive and find a session full, or maybe a session just isn't meeting your needs. It is ok to switch sessions, really it is. 
  3. If you are attending with other educators from your school or district, have a plan before the conference. Attending sessions together is a great way to collaborate, but sometimes a bit of divide and conquer can lead to some great reflective sharing after the sessions. 
  4. Know how you are going to take notes and have a plan to share those notes. If I know that someone else will be seeing my notes it helps keeps me accountable and I am less impacted by other digital distractions. I personally love Google Docs for notes. If you are curious about what my notes look like, here is a sample from the upcoming 2019 ASCD Empower19 conference. 
  5. Dive into the conference website and explore other opportunities at the conference outside of the schedule of sessions. If available, find and explore the exhibitors list and the presenter resources before attending the conference. 
  6. If one is available, download the Conference's App. 
  7. Have a plan to bring something back to your school or district. The more you share the more you learn!

Monday, March 11, 2019

New Book For Your Reading List? Happy Teachers Change the World: A Guide for Cultivating Mindfulness in Education

What Are Your Reading to Learn and Grow as an Educator?

I believe the best educators are not content to do the same old thing year after year.  Whether you call it innovation, curiosity, or something else the best educators are always trying to push their thinking by engaging in social media, exploring blogs, attending conferences, and exploring the newest generation of educational books.

We've created a Recommended Educational Book Site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning. I am always curious about what will be next on my reading list.

Up today is a book that I stumbled on when looking for some ideas connected to a post I was reading about Diffusion of Innovation. I was curious to learn more and while exploring stumbled on this book.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Design Thinking, Inquiry, and the Launch Cycle - Learner Centered Engagement


Have you ever explored the Design Thinking Process connected to Teaching and Learning?
"Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem solving that begins with developing empathy for those facing a particular challenge. It serves as a framework that helps to define problems, empathize with others, develop prototypes of possible solutions, and hone those prototypes through multiple iterations until they have generated a viable solution to the challenge at hand. Design thinking encourages a bias toward action and, because of its reliance on rapid prototyping, frees practitioners to embrace the notion of failing forward because it's OK to make mistakes -- that's where breakthrough ideas are born." Edutopia
If you are a regular reader of my blog or follow me on social media you probably already know that I have been on a journey to create learning activities that are more learner-centered and less teacher-centric. HyperDocs have become a big part of what I do with my Environmental Science students. Some of my students really love the activities that provide opportunities for student choice and student voice, others not so much. Some of my students struggle with not being directed what do learn and would prefer more of a teacher-centric class. My challenge has become to create activities that support all of my students, while still challenging them to take ownership of their learning own experiences.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Book of the Month - Learning and Leading Through Habits of the Mind

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.

We've created a Recommended Educational Book Site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Connecting Curiosity and the Inquiry Mindset to Teaching and Learning

Resources to Support Curious Lifelong Learners in Today's Classrooms

Curiosity is a powerful motivator for learning. Curious students ask questions, engage in learning experiences, and actively search for answers that often lead to more and better questions. I believe curiosity is an essential skill for all lifelong learners. The best classrooms encourage learners to be curious. 

Donald Latumahina's, "4 Reasons Why Curiosity is Important" is a great place to start exploring the importance of curiosity in the classroom. The Atlantic also has a great post connected to curiosity in schools: "Schools Are Missing What Matters About Learning".

We've also organized this website to support teachers who are curious about student-centered inquiry-based learning.


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