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Virtual Explorations and Field Trips with Google Tools Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 10:00:00 AM EDT
While Google is widely known for tools such as its search engine, Google Docs, Google Drive, and Gmail, many of its lesser known tools can be just as useful for teachers. This webinar will cover several of the street-view products that provide a unique, up-close view of everything from art museums to the Great Barrier Reef to the White House and more! Join Jerry Swiatek as he shares these tools and explores how they can be used in the classroom for almost any subject. Learn how to open your classroom and virtually travel to physical, historical, and cultural locations and landmarks with your students like never before!
10 Google Search Tips to Help You Find the Info You Need Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 11:00:00 AM EDT
With so much information on the Internet, it can be difficult to sift through search results to find just the information you need - unless you know some tricks to narrowing your searches. In this fast-paced, participatory webinar you will learn some Google search tips and tricks that will help you and your students search more effectively and efficiently. Join Paula Naugle a she shares how to be a better online researcher.
10 Techie Tools for Teachers Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 12:00:00 PM EDT
Are you ready to make grading and collecting information from your students a breeze? Would you like to have real-time collaboration and brainstorming with your students? This session covers ten of the most popular Web tools in the education community, and the best part is...they’re all free! Learn how easy it can be to create online bulletin boards, edit photos in just a few clicks, and develop engaging presentations. These ten tools are popular for a reason: they are must-have freebies that you shouldn’t teach without.
Tech Tools to Support Creativity in the Classroom Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 1:00:00 PM EDT
Would you like to challenge and inspire students to be more creative? Being creative doesn't just mean using a paint brush or pastels. In this webinar we will cover four aspects of Creativity that can be explored in the classroom: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. Most teachers are teaching creative skills without even knowing it. We will share some technology tools you can use to support, encourage, and stretch those Creativity skills!
Stay Organized and Remember Everything! Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 2:00:00 PM EDT
Do you find yourself juggling so many priorities that sometimes you have difficulty remembering everything you need to do and the items you want to follow up on? This webinar will explore Evernote, a free, cloud based note-taking platform that wants its users to "Remember Everything." As teachers, we are often asked to do just that. Join Nick Provenzano as he shows educators how to leverage Evernote to help them remember everything and share it with their students and staff. Evernote is a platform neutral tool, so Mac, PC, and many mobile device users can learn to use it to help keep their professional lives organized and on track.
How To Get The Most From the Teacher Learning Community Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 3:00:00 PM EDT
Whether you are just getting started, or have been with us since the beginning, learn how to get the most out of your Teacher Learning Community Membership. The Community has so much to offer educators... from live webinars, free resources, online courseware, collaboration, and much more. Come learn our secret tips on how to become a networked educator and unlock your full potential within The Community. Have a question about your membership? We'll answer all attendee questions in this casual webinar designed to help you get the most out of your Teacher Learning Community Membership. SPONSOR: This webinar is brought to you by Sprint . To learn more, please visit http://www.sprint.com/k12
No More Excuses: Teaching 21st-Century Skills in a Low-Tech SettingBy Jenna Barclay
Originally printed in EdWeek: Sept. 10, 2013
I had to share this insightful, humorous and honest account of teaching. Read to the end to find some ideas for teaching 21st century skills without technology.
After a long day of middle school melodrama, I was running late to a district-led teacher-leadership meeting. I found the last seat in the front of the room. My tattered satchel dropped to the floor with a thud as I took my seat opposite a colleague from another school. She laughed as she reached down to scoop up the 100 or so papers that had escaped my bag and littered the floor beneath our table.
“You’ve really gotta get your kids to email you their papers. It’s so much easier,” she said as she flipped through the first couple of crinkled sheets.
I scoffed in reply as I noticed a Dorito-stained fingerprint on one of the sheets and another so poorly handwritten I could barely make out the name in the top right corner. I shoved them back in my bag, suddenly feeling defensive.
“No, really,” she continued. “How are you going to teach them those 21st-century skills if you’re still letting them turn in wadded-up, hand-written essays? Emailing, texting, social networking—it’s what all the kids are doing these days anyway. You might as well tap into it.”
Sure, I wanted to reply, it’s what your kids are doing these days. But not mine.
The Resource Gap
When you teach at a school where most of the kids are on free and reduced lunch, access to home computers, expensive Internet services, and spendy smart phones is limited, to say the least. And, when you teach at a school where $100 makes for a successful PTA fundraiser, the computers are hand-me-downs, the budget for photocopies barely gets a teacher through the first quarter, and the front of the room still contains a whiteboard instead of a screen, using the technology that has become so prevalent at other schools in other districts just isn’t possible. So, to suggest my students email me their work is like suggesting teachers really do get their summers off.
Instead, I said nothing, and allowed my colleague to go on and explain to me how she was teaching 21st-century skills in her very affluent, very white, very tech-y school. Like me, she taught 8th grade language arts. And, like me, she was trying to get her students to write for authentic audiences and purposes. To do this, she had each student create a Google account and use Google Docs to write a book report. From there, her students invited other students from across the district and, eventually, across the country, to comment and collaborate on their work.
However, as she continued speaking, despite the obvious discrepancies between our schools, I became inspired. I vowed to give her idea a try in my own classroom. Besides, she was right: How would I teach 21st-century skills if I didn’t at least try to get my students on a computer?
Eager, I signed up for my school's computer lab the very next day. While I knew our computers were by no means cutting edge—most were missing keys and the monitors took up approximately the same amount of room as 30 microwaves—they had an Internet connection and that was all we needed. When we arrived to the lab the following day, I instructed my students to “use the address bar to go to Google and scroll down to click to create an account.” Some students started slowly tapping the keys with their index fingers. Some students asked me what an address bar was. Some told me they didn’t see a scroll. And most just blankly stared at me. We spent the remainder of the class period going over the basics of the Internet, as the harsh reality of the cuts my school made to the now non-existent computer science department sunk in. Sixty minutes were gone before we ever got to creating Google accounts.
The next day, the lab was booked for testing. And the entire week after that. Determined, I checked out the laptop cart that the school had recently purchased through a grant. The cart was locked in a secret room with a secret combination that I had to beg the secretary to share with me. It buzzed with the hum of 30 laptops as I awkwardly rolled the cart to my classroom, dodging corners and carpet, eager to show my students what I’d secured.
The laptops were glorious! Their keys were intact. Their screens were clean. And aside from a few inappropriate screen savers—a gift from the previous class that had used them—they worked great…until fourth period. At that point, the batteries were all dead. Frantic, I ran from classroom to classroom, mustering up as many power strips as I could, only to return with a measly handful. By the time I could get back to the lab or check out the cart again, the unit I was teaching was over.
A Shift in Focus
With each day that went by that I did not incorporate screens into my instruction, my students, I felt, fell further behind from their peers in richer districts where the resources were plentiful and the use of those resources was as intuitive as smiling or laughing (both of which I imagined those students and teachers were constantly doing as they basked in the light of their powered-on monitors). I found myself becoming more and more resentful of those teachers and those students who appeared to have the edge. How could we ever compete with them? How would my students compare to those drenched in technology? How would working in a school with limited resources reflect on my effectiveness as a teacher?
As I wallowed in the unfairness of it all and finger-pointed my way to believing all was lost, what I really lost was valuable days of instruction where, in fact, I could have been teaching my students the 21st-century skills they needed all along—without a computer in sight. I realized that it wasn’t technology that was coming between my students and those in wealthier schools, it was me. The injustice, the hypocrisy, the outrage I felt towards every person and situation I could blame for my school’s lack of technology couldn't compare to the guilt I felt when I realized that it was me, all along, holding my students back and contributing to the gap that already existed.
What snapped me out of my computer-less fog was an article from the National Education Association about the four critical elements for student learning in the 21st century: collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creative innovation. As I reflected on this article, I started to brainstorm all the lessons I was currently doing that had those elements. At first, I could think of a lot of lessons that touched on one or more of those elements: a classroom debate that required communication and critical thinking, a group activity that relied on collaboration, a project that utilized creative innovation. As I watched my list grow, I became encouraged by the fact that I was teaching 21st-century skills to my students. Maybe they weren't going to be as far behind as I previously thought!
While my lessons certainly had traces of “the four C’s,” however, they weren't intentionally created with those elements in mind. To say these lessons taught 21st-century skills was like saying a lesson is standards-based when it just happens to touch on a part of a standard. Motivated by my new understanding, I took the next day’s lesson plan and redesigned it to focus on communication. My previous lesson consisted of a class discussion; the new lesson used a “table-top blog” (see box). And, after seeing the results from my students (more writing than some had ever done in their life and more participation from students I usually had to bribe with candy to speak), I stopped focusing on the technology and started focusing on the skills.
The next week, students sat back to back, passing a piece of paper back and forth using a series of written “tweets” to summarize an article we were reading. The following week, we created a class wiki using butcher paper and colored pencils to show how we built background knowledge before reading The Call of the Wild. Once in a while, we got into the computer lab or had the laptops, but these tools were just that: tools. They didn't drive my instruction. They didn't hinder me or get in the way of my teaching. When they were available, great! When they weren't, it wasn't a big deal. I continued teaching my students the skills they needed for the 21st century; I taught the thinking they’d need to do to compete with their peers. I didn't focus on teaching the tools. Besides, who’s to say these tools would even be in existence in 10 years? (Remember pagers?) But the skills needed to use them, I’m confident, will remain vital.
When I made the shift in my instruction from tools to skills, my students made a shift, too. They wrote more. They collaborated more. They thought more. And, as one would suspect, they learned more. They went from having a surface-level understanding of a tool, like an online discussion board, to a deep conceptual understanding of the skills that hide behind such a tool. Their understanding about purposes for communication evolved from “because my teacher said to write this” to “because I have something important to say and others should hear me out.” By teaching these skills, my students found value in a voice they didn't know they had and an audience in each other that they didn't know existed.
At the end of the day, I still taught at a school with limited resources and students who lacked access to the digital tools often taken for granted in other schools. However, I refused to let this be the excuse for why my students could fall behind those students. And, when the state assessment results came back that year, it was obvious that my students refused to let that be their excuse either.
Jenna Barclay is a curriculum coordinator and former instructional coach and 8th grade language arts teacher from Edwards, Colo. She holds a degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Denver and has worked with the Common Core State Standards as a district curriculum writer and English/language arts content specialist.
Ideas for Teaching 21st-Century Skills Without Technology:
Table-Top Blog: Start by having each student write his or her ideas about a topic (like they would on an online blog) on a piece of notebook paper at their desk. Have students leave their piece of paper at their desk and find a new seat. At their new seat, students read the original thought on the piece of paper and then respond by commenting, asking questions, or adding to their peer’s idea. Have students rotate around until each student has multiple points of view to consider. Once students go back to their original seats, they should have many perspectives to use to refine or reinforce their original idea.
Synthesis Summary: Students read the same text and summarize the text in writing in their own words. Students are then put in groups where they read each other’s summaries out loud. Together, they write a summary of the text using the collective ideas of the group.
Socratic Questioning: Foster students’ critical thinking by responding to all student answers with further questions. Treat all student thinking as thinking in need of further development. Stimulate student thinking—through thoughtful questioning—to make connections to other thoughts, contexts, and situations. Probe—ask students to explain their thinking, connect to experiences, and provide background for their thoughts. Allow students the time needed to follow through with a thought and develop it deeply. Resist the temptation to give the answer in order to “move on” to the next topic, concept, or activity.
Brainstorm Improvements: Have students start by brainstorming improvements to something concrete and tangible, such as their desks. They might brainstorm things like seat cushions, arm rests, foot stools, drink dispensers, etc. Ideas can be fanciful but must also be practical. Next, have students brainstorm improvements to places, such as school. They might brainstorm things like longer lunch periods, looser rules, shorter classes, etc. Finally, once students have the hang of it, have them brainstorm improvements to something intangible, like an idea presented by an author or philosopher. Connect this intangible to a skill or concept you’re teaching. Ask probing questions (see above) about these improvements and have students apply their improvements to their own work when possible.
Do you hate entering multiple emails to send a message to the same group over and over? Have you found it hard to know how to create groups in Gmail? Here are a few easy ways to create groups to make your life more efficient.
Remember...if you ever want to find these tutorials at a later date, bookmark my website Tech Resources page. This tutorial can be found at Creating Contact Groups in Gmail under "Google">"Gmail."
Posted by Richard Byrne 5/8/13
When the end of school year arrives there will be teachers and administrators who leave one school to go to another. Especially at the administrative level this can lead to a lot of transferring of files from the outgoing person to his or her replacement. For those school districts using Google Apps for Education there is a quick way for the domain administrator(s) to transfer ownership of Google Drive files from one person to another.
To transfer ownership from one person to another a Google Apps for Education domain administrator just needs to sign into the domain management dashboard, select "settings," choose "Drive," and select "tools." Then the administrator simply has to enter the email addresses of the person the files are transferring from and the person the files are transferring to. A screenshot of the process is included below.
Honestly, where do I begin?
First of all, we are a Google Apps district; therefore, our email, calendar, drive, Google+, etc. all work seamlessly together to create a rich Internet experience customized for the individual user. With Chrome, this experience gets even better. Because users log into Chrome with email addresses, all bookmarks, themes, settings, and apps travel with users no matter what computer they use to sign into Chrome. Additionally, Chrome allows multiple users, so individuals who use the same computer have their own personalized versions of Chrome. Keep in mind that all of these functions are accessible to you right now through the Chrome browser on your laptop or home computer.
Secondly, Google Chrome offers web-based apps through the Chrome Web Store.
Third, Google Chrome offers web extensions that personalize Google Chrome with extra features and functionality.
Here are a couple of my favorite apps and extensions. Please add any of your favorites in the comments section!
Notes from presentation:Collaboratively Raising Expectations and Achievement: Collaboratively Raising Expectations and Achievement Steve Barkley 2013
PowerPoint Presentation: Stephen G. Barkley Executive Vice President Performance Learning Systems 800-757-3878 firstname.lastname@example.org www.plsweb.com blogs.plsweb.com email@example.com
Big Idea #3 A Focus on Results: Big Idea #3 A Focus on Results Professional Learning Communities judge their effectiveness on a basis of results. Working together to improve student achievement becomes the routine work of everyone in the school. Every teacher-team participates in an ongoing process of identifying the current level of student achievement, establishing a goal to improve the current level, working together to achieve that goal, and providing periodic evidence of progress. ( DuFour )
School Change: School Change Source: Model developed by Stephen Barkley 4 Change in Leadership Behavior Change in PLC and Peer Coaching Change in Teaching Behavior Change in Student Behavior Student Achievement
Defining Student Achievement: Defining Student Achievement End of P rogram Standards ____ 4 Advanced ____ 3 Proficient ____ 2 Basic ____ 1 Intensive
Initial Program Assessment: Initial Program Assessment Pre Program Standards Assessment 6 4 Advanced 30 3 Proficient 10 2 Basic 2 1 Intensive End of Program Standards ____ 4 Advanced ____ 3 Proficient ____ 2 Basic ____ 1 Intensive
Initial Program Assessment: Initial Program Assessment Pre Program Standards Assessment 6 4 Advanced 30 3 Proficient 10 2 Basic 2 1 Intensive End of Program Standards 15 4 Advanced 30 3 Proficient 3 2 Basic 0 1 Intensive
What Assessments Along the Way?: What Assessments Along the Way? October February April
Looking at Assessments: Looking at Assessments How did the assessment inform your students? How did the assessment inform you? What questions did the assessment raise for you? What are you going to be doing because of the assessment results?
Big Idea #1 Ensuring That Students Learn : Big Idea #1 Ensuring That Students Learn The professional learning community model flows from the assumption that the core mission of formal education is not simply to ensure that students are taught but to ensure that they learn. This simple shift– from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning– has profound implications for schools. ( DuFour )
Student Behaviors: Student Behaviors What student behaviors need to be initiated or increased to gain the desired student achievement?
PowerPoint Presentation: 12 Teacher Behaviors What teacher behaviors are most likely to generate the desired student behaviors?
Big Idea #2 A Culture of Collaboration: Big Idea #2 A Culture of Collaboration Educators who are building a professional learning community recognize that they must work together to achieve their collective purpose of learning for all. Therefore, they create structures to promote a collaborative culture. ( DuFour )
PowerPoint Presentation: My Work My Time Design together Implement individually Shared responsibility for student achievement Helping each other Modify Individual Behavior, Consensus on implementation ACTION Individual Franchise Team Vulnerability Trust
Instructional Coaching: Instructional Coaching EVALUATION Outside Criteria MENTORING PEER COACHING Teacher’s Choice SUPERVISION
Article by Sarah W. Caron, EducationWorld Associate Editor
The term “professional development” conjures up thoughts of travel, conference fees, arranging substitutes, and loss of precious instructional time. But does it have to entail all that? Actually, no. A growing number of educators are using Twitter—yes, the microblogging platform Twitter—as a quick, easy, low-cost alternative.
If you aren’t yet familiar with Twitter, it’s a social networking platform where users share everything from what they had for breakfast to professional dilemmas – all in 140 characters or less. It attracts a wide spectrum of users, including a vast and growing contingent of educators.
Educators on Twitter often discuss what’s working in their classrooms and how they’ve addressed important issues – much like you might with your peers.
The Virtual Watercooler
Colleagues are a greatly underutilized professional development resource within the school building, and staff often remark about the benefits of setting aside time for collaboration with co-workers. What if the concept of “colleague” was expanded to include the wider community of educators nationally, and even internationally?
Making professional connections via social networking can not only result in a lot of great sharing of ideas and resources, but also combat the sense of isolation that many teachers experience.
It’s like having a professional development seminar at your fingertips 24/7, ready to discuss the educational issues that matter to you the most.
Hesitant to get started? Hear what proponents of social media-powered professional development have to say. Then explore Education World’s tips for easing into the process.
In a November 2011 post from “Finding Common Ground,” his Education Week blog, Dr. Peter DeWitt wrote:
“On days when I am trying to figure out how to help my students, whether they're in elementary school or the graduate course I teach, I turn to the experts. I'm not referring to the people who we see at conferences where we pay a conference fee to be inspired for an hour. I am referring to our colleagues who are only a password away on Twitter.
If you can set aside an hour or so (be careful because time flies on Twitter), go to Twitter and you will be met by colleagues from all over the world who are not only willing to help you find great resources, they will set you up with groups who can expand your content knowledge. These interactive chat sessions can be very beneficial to us as practitioners."
DeWitt offered the following example: “When I want to learn more about social and emotional learning, technology or media literacy in the classroom, I read blogs and posts by Sean Slade, Lyn Hilt and Shawn Blankenship. Or I join the #elemchat session on Saturdays at 5 p.m. EST and talk with Judy Brunner.”
Here are some additional benefits of professional development via Twitter, as expressed by participants in a November 2011 Education Week discussion forum titled “Is the Best PD Happening on Twitter?”
“Although it will not replace strong PD, it is a phenomenal source of information highlighting best practices and innovative thinking about instruction. It has become the professional learning community I use as a mirror, window, and sounding board for my daily practice as a teacher and instructional coach,” said user "MrsMendelis."
Participant John Bennett added, “With a search of hash tags, the notation of Twitter accounts in Internet pieces of personal interest, and general searches, one can identify [information] of personal interest. In most cases, the [information to be gained from] tweets is expanded beyond the 140-character limit, as most often those 140 characters include a link to another interesting posting.”
Said participant "parkerr," “After more than 20 years working on facilitating communication and language in individuals with autism spectrum disorders and teaching others about it, I am happy to say that Twitter has provided the most and easiest-to-access opportunities for personal development.”
School administrator and blogger Brian Paul Hill offers additional insights:
"I think it’s important for anyone working in education to have a Twitter account. We have to be consumers of information. Constant consumers of information. Information that is current and important. If we aren’t doing this, then we become stagnant in our work and complacent in our profession."
Hill mentions a helpful tool for managing the constant flow of information on Twitter. "Instapaper is great because it allows you to save links to articles straight from your Twitter timeline. And it works with Twitter apps as well. So now, as I’m scrolling through a cluttered timeline at some point during the day, if I see a link to an article that sounds interesting, I just save it to my Instapaper account. Then, when I get home, I have a whole list of links to articles that I wanted to read, that were posted by people I follow on Twitter."
Here are some tips to help you get started with Twitter as a professional resource.
You must be a faculty member in Batavia School District 101 in order to register.
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