Thursday, October 24, 2013

Legitimate Resources for the Classroom

Lately, it seems like a hot topic again in Education blogs and Google Circles to look at finding good resources for student research in the classroom. As a former English teacher, it seems as though I've never left the conversation about finding good articles for the classroom. Whether it is sourcing information or just finding legitimate information for your classroom, it is going to be a never-ending topic as our resources are ever-changing. Although, who doesn't love a good article about a Tree Octopus?

The resource I want to share with you is a tutorial that was adapted out of the University of Wyoming and it is one of the best I've seen for students doing research. The students can go through each piece on their own or you could project it on the board and have them discuss as you show them the tutorial's slides.

Now, not only are "good" resources hard to find, so is making sure that students reference all of their work properly and are not plagiarizing.  In our school system, we have been using EasyBib for years for students to cite their work, but it's important that students do not just auto-cite all of the resources. Instead, they have to make sure that they are putting in all of the relevant information that they can find from the website. And, if you can't find all of the information, maybe you need to re-evaluate the website for it's legitimacy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mathematics Resources

I have been researching different Mathematics resources and found some great resources that I wanted to share. At Illustrative Mathematics you can find PDF illustrations, drop down/ color coded illustrations and also videos of standards K-12. I think that the best part is the example problems, especially as I am a non-math teacher, it is important for me to get a chance to see how the math standards are layered.

Khan Academy has changed and developed a lot over the past few years. So, instead of just thinking, "oh, yeah... I've heard of Khan Academy." I'd suggest giving it another try. You can now create your own learning account or coach students through a program and see how they are working through their problems and moving from level to level. The coaching aspect that Khan Academy has now is much more exciting than just the videos. So, you have to go back and revisit Khan Academy... you can teach yourself coding, all levels of mathematics, chemistry, biology, organic chemistry even world history and finance! It is definitely a way that you can personalize your teaching/ learning for students as you can see where the student is struggling or advancing.

Desmos is another web app that I think has developed a lot as well. Make your graphs dynamic with interactive sliders, data tables and even challenge your students to replicate or create their own student art! You can do a lot with graphing calculators, plat circles and quadratic formulas, but how do you have them explain what they just did? Here's how: 1) Have students install Chrome Extension "Awesome Screenshot" to take a screen shot of their graphing, 2) Students can save the screenshot on their Google Drive, 3) Import the image they took of their drawing on a Google Doc, and 4) Have students explain on the doc the steps that it took for each of them to work through their problem and solve it with the graph. Students can go back to their Desmos problems to change them if they are incorrect, but it is a good way to have them do the explanation of their work and also integrate writing into the classroom.

Geogebra and it's supplementary video site, Geogebratube, are both great resources. Geogrebra is a construction piece to create three-dimensional or plane shapes. Geogebratube has tutorial videos that could be used just to be a bell-ringer activity, flipped classroom activity or even more!

Socrative is something I have used before, but I recently read a new way to use it in your classroom. First off, create your Socrative account and start creating your quizzes. The quizzes are self-graded and you can use this with iPads or Chromebooks. I have read some teachers use Socrative and have students log in with their device, choose about 5 different problems and have students just answer the problems with their final answer. Socrative self-grades and then you have just a good "check" on how students are progressing. I could see this being used easily for vocab quizzes, quick "check" for reading quizzes or even surveys. It will work well for exit tickets or there is even a feature for "space rocket races" where you could project the results on the board as the students are randomly put in groups and race to the finish.

Here are just a few ideas... for the math classroom. Hope you get a chance to try them out!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Publishing Student Content

I have a couple of teachers that are interested in publishing student content on the web in a magazine or newspaper-type format. So, I have been looking at options for the students. I'm quite excited about some of the items that I've found.

The first resource... Zeen (which I believe is short for MagaZEEN) is an online content creator and publisher. I have only explored this slightly, but it looks to have good reviews despite still being in the beta version. The layouts the authors/ designers can choose from are very professional in format and theme. Overall, it looks easy enough for even upper elementary students to use.

JooMag is my second find, which does have premium/ paid options for subscription, but I think for the purposes that we need for the classroom will work okay. I am normally leery of recommending any resource that may have additional, in-site or in-app purchases, but this may work. You can create the magazine from a template or by just uploading a pre-created pdf. I like both options and some of the templates are quite fun. Also, as you get started, there are tutorials that pop up to help you move along through your magazine creation. The publication options are also very similar to that of Google with private, anyone with the link, and simply public on the web. The publication can also be embedded in a site or downloaded as a pdf. I also like everything and anything that can be MOBILE READY! That is very important for me and my teachers as well.

I am still in pursuit of others, so if you have good ideas, please share!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Google Updates for October

Tomorrow for Professional Development, I will be updating the Middle School and High School on some of the Google updates that are coming down the line for us. We are on a "scheduled release" not "rapid release" so we will have time to update staff prior to changes coming out. If you can think of some others that I haven't mentioned, please let me know by commenting below!

Log in Updates:
  • Still Red Sign in Box still in upper right hand corner

  • Before Sign in:

  • After Sign in:
  • Google Plus (Google’s Social Media Equivalent)
  • Gmail - This will take you to your Deuel GMail account
  • Images - This will take you to a Google Image Search
  • App Launcher icon (similar to what the students see on their chromebooks in lower left hand side- similar to windows start menu)
    • Here is where the main apps are located and you can go to “more” to find the others
    • You can also put shortcuts on your Chrome bookmarks bar to make this work as well
  • Notifications
  • “Share” (works with Google Plus) and Your Profile Image

A new place for Settings and Advanced Search in the lower right hand side of your screen.

  • Search Settings can help you with filtering, voice search (the microphone icon in the search bar on the right side of box), and results opening in a new window, if you prefer.
  • You can also save your search history, if you prefer.

  • Advanced Search will allow you to add in search parameters, if desired.
  • Search History will help refine your searching- Think of it like personalized searching… for example, the suggested results you see on Amazon.

Google Drive Updates:

  • Docs/ Sheets/ Slides/ Drawing/ Forms all changed the document header to make more compact and with a new icon in the upper left hand corner
  • Icon also is an active link that takes you back to Google Drive in a new window

Other Updates:
  • If you are a mobile device user, you can see that the new login interface is very much positioned to be for the mobile device user.
    • The new update to the Google Search Algorithm (now called Hummingbird) is more question-driven and mobile based. They are really pushing the ability for voice integration. Social integration, location and previous search activity will help to build your search query now, instead of just key words, like previously.
    • This will make it all the more important to choose a search engine, stick with it and be signed in at all times. For example, my searches probably have a lot about technology, google, curriculum, geography, babies… and Google will start to anticipate exactly what I may be looking for.
    • Previously, the more words that you add into the search bar, the more difficult it was to get what you really wanted, now, they are moving away from that.
    • Learn more about the Search Changes in the video below

  • When in Chrome, right click on an image on the web and search the image.
    • For Chrome 30 users, update this by opening chrome, going to the three lines in upper right hand corner of browser, selecting “About Google Chrome” and updating to Chrome 30.

    • How can I use this?
      • For finding what website the image was taken from if embedded into a project/ document.
      • Finding the image in another size/ color
      • Finding similar images

    • These updates slowly roll out to students.

Monday, September 30, 2013

"Into the Outdoors" Series for Science

A friend of mine forwarded me this site, and I thought that I'd share. Especially as a South Dakota country girl, I love it when we can integrate some "home grown" topics into our science curriculum. Into the Outdoors is a collection of videos and supplemental materials that teaches everything from Farm Science to Biology. Check out this video about Soybean Farming:

To me, seeing the the John Deeres out is common place in my morning drive, but to many non-farm kids, tractors are foreign machinery. I think it is incredibly important to learn about where our food comes from and how important agriculture is to our economy in America and this site seems to have a few good items to help that pursuit. There are also some great learning tools associated with the beef industry as well.

I hope you get a chance to check it out and use it in your classroom!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Making and Embedding a Google Form

Tomorrow I also get to work with the middle school and high school students to do a couple of different projects. We are going to combine Google Forms, Running a Script (flubaroo) and also embedding on a website! It's going to be a good day!