Sometimes, the most frightening situations greet us every day, not just once a year as Halloween approaches! I have heard ghoulish rumors of teachers' rising blood pressure, of chaos, of disorganization. I am here to offer a bit of relief. Your Gmail inbox does not need to be a daily source of anxiety and frustration!
Now, don't stop reading because you just don't know where to begin! I have three suggestions for improving your quality of life and diminishing the stress caused by opening your Gmail account.
After opening an email, there are really only four options:
My first suggestions is CREATE LABELS. The first two labels you should create are "01.Follow-Up" and "02.Hold"
You might wonder why I have added numbers in front of the written labels; This is to ensure their place at the very top of your Label list in the left-hand column of your email window. You may decide to create other labels for saving emails. For example, you might have "Paychecks," "Technology," or "PLCs." These labels will serve several purposes. If you don't have time to respond right away, you might label an email as "01.Follow-Up." If you are waiting for another party to take action or respond, place the email in "02.Hold." If you would like to save an email for future reference, label it with the name of the corresponding subject folder. Delete any email you no longer want to see right away, so it does not clutter your Inbox. Every email requires one of the four previously-mentioned actions. After a while, choosing one of the four options listed above should become automatic. With a little practice, you might even have times when your Inbox is empty!
To create a label:
Reading email takes time, and we know that is at a premium, so try to resist the temptation to make your "Follow-Up" label a to do list. Opening each email to remember what you have to do will require you to spend more time than necessary. Instead, create a separate to do list not associated with your email.
My second suggestion is to use the MULTIPLE INBOX LAB. This will create multiple inboxes on your main Gmail window. You might want to have frames specifically for your "Follow-Up" mail and your "On-Hold" mail. Creating multiple inboxes will save you the time of finding your Label in the left-hand column and opening it. With multiple inboxes, important messages will be right there for your viewing pleasure! Here's how to do it:
Whew! We've made it this far. I have one last suggestion before I put you on total brain overload. My third method for organizing your Gmail is to use FILTERS. Filters are easily set-up from the "Settings" menu, and can save you time by reorganizing your Inbox for you! For example, here in the tech department, we get numerous reports when network glitches occur. Since we have people for that (wonderful, amazing people who have way more expertise in that area than some of us who get the same alerts), I created a filter to have those messages sent directly to my trash. You might use filters to place VIP emails....you know, the ones from the principal or your mother, in a certain Labeled Folder. You might subscribe to a blog, such as this one, and have handy tech tips sent directly to your Technology Labeled Folder. Anyway, you get this point. Here's how it's done:
In writing this post, I became a success story. My original Inbox had 589 emails. In one evening I was able to take action on every piece of mail I had in my Inbox AND complete this blog post by my Halloween deadline...the bewitching hour.
As the saying goes, we need to "Take time to make time." Start giving yourself the "treat" of time, and use any or all of the three suggestions (labels, multiple inboxes, and filters) for making your Gmail Inbox a little LESS scary.
Reposted from Tech and Learning October 14, 2012 by administrator, Rob Glass
For anyone who’s never heard the term "tool" used in a positive context, you might find what follows refreshing—even liberating.
Educators everywhere seem plagued with initiative fatigue. So much activity is wedged into the school day that time for one more thing seems impossible. Yet, the importance of infusing technology tools into our practice to boost student engagement, collaboration and critical thinking has never been greater.
Thus, we have the educator’s classic internal struggle between willingness to innovate and scarcity of time. From my experience, time usually wins, creating a persistent, subliminal frustration that insidiously siphons energy. “When will I find time to learn and implement this new technology amidst all I’m expected to do? Will I be trained? What if it doesn’t work? Why do they keep adding?”
All good questions, but the tension is not relieved.
I’d like to suggest that a change in perspective can shift the energy. Who wants to take on the burden of a large externally imposed abstraction? Not me. But if you ask me whether I’d be willing to let a colleague teach me just one practical tech tool that, with a little practice, makes my classroom a better place to learn… I’d be all over it.
Like great coaches, savvy administrators know that optimal performance is achieved by giving their professionals the right mindset to accompany the playbook. A "one tool at a time" approach may not seem overly ambitions, but maybe that’s the point. Soon, the toolshed will be overflowing.
Reposted from Tracy Watanabe at this link. (Tracy is a Tech Integration Specialist in Arizona, and she was one of the panel presenters for Peer Coaching at ISTE this summer. I had the honor of sharing dinner with Tracy and several other members of the Peer Coaching Panel.
Although Tracy specifically mentions the Arizona Dept. of Educ. increasing the rigor and text complexity of their state standardized exam, Illinois is making similar changes that affect the ISAT exams students will complete in March. The following post contains valuable information for teachers about helping students prepare for the changes they will face.
The Internet is a key resource for text complexity. We are in a day and age where information and resources are at our fingertips.
I frequently see people use the Internet to look up recipes, movie listings, and news; however, I still don't see it as a natural source for engaging rigorous learning in the classroom. Why? Maybe it's a matter of understanding what text complexity is really asking us, or how to create rigorous and deeper engaging tasks associated with the text.
Those of us who are transitioning to Common Core standards know that text complexity will affect the rigor in our classrooms. The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) issued a letter informing us they will increase the text complexity as well as higher Lexile levels on the current AIMS test this year to help transition to the PARCC assessment. This means we need to understand what text complexity is and how to address it right now, regardless of what grade/subject we teach.
What is Text Complexity?
Text complexity reminds me of a s'more. It contains three main parts, and while you can talk about each ingredient separately, it's not really a s'more until you put them all together.
Understanding the Quantitative Ingredients
Understanding the quantitative ingredients are important, especially when thinking about selecting text for independent reading and guided reading.
Teachers and librarians who use Accelerated Reader (AR) in their schools need to take into consideration that the AR levels (ATOS) are changing to adapt to the higher reading levels in Common Core. Here are the new AR scores also in comparison to the Lexile scores:
However, it's not the be-all and end-all for selecting independent reading. Teachers and librarians shouldn't tell students not to read a book if it's above their reading level because the student might be highly motivated to read that text regardless of it being "above" their reading level and therefore might be highly successful with reading it.
Furthermore, teachers can't shy away from exposing text that is much higher than their independent reading levels because students need to grapple with rigorous text. This is where teachers get to "teach" by providing guidance and scaffolding for the students.
Here are some websites that can help teachers determine the Lexiles and ATOS of other websites, their own documents, and books:
Understanding the Qualitative Ingredients
It is so important to understand that a book can not be measured quantitatively alone. Qualitative ingredients must be considered. For example, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is given an ATOS score of 5.5, however I do not believe it is appropriate for a 5th grader (by the old measure, and a 4th grader by the stretch ATOS score). I read that book in college!
Another example is The Hunger Games, which is given an ATOS score of 5.3, however the qualitative measure puts it more at a 7th grade level.
Understanding the Powerful Ingredients of Reader and Task
This is where we tap into student interests, which will push students to read rigorous text and more non-fiction text. Knowing our students, and their interests is key for this ingredient. It's the graham cracker in the s'more because it's what holds the qualitative (marshmallow) and the quantitative (chocolate) together.
One way to harness their motivation is through an engaging task. No longer are we asking students to just answer knowledge and comprehension type questions one at a time or to fill in their worksheet, but instead to engage them with a meaningful task.
How are we Boosting Text Complexity?
Many educators in our district are turning to poetry, as a way to boost text complexity. This makes sense, plus it's one of the listed types of text complex exemplars in the CCSS Appendix B. The caveat to this is Appendix B is not a shopping list for what your grade level needs to run out and buy. It's merely an example of how to use the text, which includes example performance tasks.
It's more than just changing the material educators are teaching with, they also need to change the behavior of how they use the text. They need to create 21st century, student centered learning, which is partially done by creating rigorous and engaging tasks.
Expose them to a variety to types of text, and tap into their interests to create student centered learning. Take Depth of Knowledge and the Hess Matrix to create deeper thinking and engaging tasks. This is where I see the Internet as a key resource for text complexity!
Harnessing the Internet to Boost Text Complexity
We have a plethora of rigorous text online to tap into. We can use one of the sites listed in the quantitative section above to determine the ATOS or Lexile measure of the site (you might need to copy and paste the text into a document).
However, if we ask our students lower level questions, then don't expect a lot to change with their engagement in the text. One of my colleagues suggested that students just Google the answers, which is why teachers shy away from the Internet. So, why are we still asking questions they can Google?!
Why aren't we asking questions that require them to compare a variety of sources and perspectives that has them to dig into multiple texts? Below are a few examples for comparing text and perspectives.
While you are bringing in other resources to address text complexity such as poetry and the enrichment parts of our reading anthologies, consider the Internet as an amazing resource to tap into. Point them towards rich sources of text complexity. Give them choices that tap into their interests. Engage them in valuable tasks that are meaningful outside the four walls of the classroom.
INFORMATIVE............INTERESTING..............EASY TO NAVIGATE
These are all qualities of an effective website!
One way to address all three of these qualities is to include players for audio and video directly in your site instead of just including links to these files. Viewers can then play the audio or video without having to leave your page to access an external player. This improves navigation, and it allows you to add pertinent information in interesting formats!
Google Sites permits you to embed these players with a few, simple steps. I must warn you...the directions I have included here look much more difficult than they are in reality. Don't give up before trying it!
For Google Sites, audio files in .mp3 format and video files in .mov format work best. Your files can be easily converted into these formats using Zamzar at http://www.zamzar.com/. This is a free site, and there is no need to download any software or sign up to use their services. I have included directions for use of the site, but the site itself is very self-explanatory: (This resource is also available on "Help Resources" page under "Tech Resources")
Direct Link: How to Use Zamzar to Convert Files to Other Formats
Once your files have been converted to these formats, you can embed them directly on pages within your site.
Please use the following document to help you embed video or audio in your site. (You may also be interested in how to download a YouTube video for use in your website. To access directions for how to download a YouTube video, using Zamzar, click here.)
The following resource is also available on the "Google Sites" page under "Tech Resources."
Direct Link: How to Embed Audio and Video Players in a Google Site
What are some ways you use or plan to use video or audio to enhance your site?
Please share in the comment section below!
Subscribe to my Blog Here: