I have blogged about Common Sense Media before, but I wanted to focus on one section of it that is great for students as they are going back to school. I say students, but I think I mean teachers, too. There is a section called the Digital Passport on their website underneath of Digital Citizenship.
Here are some great things:
I love this site because you can tailor it to what you want, choosing the lessons for your students. There are great training videos to make you feel comfortable with digital citizenship. And one thing I truly like is that the teacher can preview the activities as students, right in their own view! Pretty neat!
Why search for lessons on digital citizenship, when you have FREE resources at your fingertips with Common Sense Media's Digital Passport?
A few of my teachers have been curious about how to control all the calendars that appear under their calendar list.
If you are anything like me, you have access to a bunch of calendars, but only need to work with one or two. This is a super easy fix, and you will appreciate how easy it is!
This is what my calendar looks like with ALL my calendars selected. No good.
This is what it looks like when I select the 2 I use. Much better! Now I only see those appointments I made instead of the +14 options on the calendar above.
How do you do this, you may wonder? Next to the calendars there are boxes filled with color. If they are filled with color, they are not muted and you will see them on your calendar view, usually in that color unless you assigned it a different color when creating the event.
When you click on the box filled with color, it goes blank and the events from that calendar vanish. You didn't delete that calendar or events, you only muted them. You can click it again to make the events show back up.
Hope this helps to make your calendar life a little less busy!
There are different levels of Google Certification, all of which are beneficial to different people.
If you are a teacher, I highly recommend getting the Certified Educator Level 1. This amounts to a few lessons and a $10 test. You can read more about it on their Training Center page. This is a great way to make sure you understand how, as an educator, you can be using Google Apps.
There is a great FAQ area to learn more about what the test entails. You can also choose between the Level 1 or Level 2, you don't have to accomplish the first to complete the second.
If you choose to get certified, let me know! I plan to begin my plight this year now that my Masters is done. My plan is to get through all of them.
Also, if you thrive off of badges and things you can add to your resume, you can even us their badge on your website, resume, presentations, anything, to show you are certified. *Quick note* check the timelines to refresh your certification. Because Google is changing all the time, certificates have to be refreshed to ensure you are getting the most out of your hard work!
A feature in Gmail that is super neat is Google Chat, GChat for short. Usually people just send a conversation through email, back and forth, back and forth. With GChat, you IM (Instant Message) instead. For those of us that remember, it's like AIM or MSN Messenger. Lol!
GChat has some features you need to know about:
Be careful you don't spend your day chatting instead of working. Sometimes it is easy to get sucked into chatting. I find it helpful for asking a quick question of a co-worker, communicating with the office (ask if your secretary has it enabled and wants you to use it - they may prefer email), and it is a good way to reach me as well!
DOGO News has received many recognitions for being a great current event website. Edmodo, Association for Library Service to Children, District Administration, Great Websites for Kids, and School Media have all recognized DOGO News for having quality information and being a wonderful web tool for students and teachers.
Students can narrow by topic, including sports, social studies, entertainment, and amazing articles. They can also narrow by grade span. All students can benefit from the site, Kinders all the way through middle school (and probably many high school!).
Teachers can sign up for FREE. Yep, free. You can create lesson plans with the news articles, make reading lists (through the DOGO Books area of the site), create a class calendar online, and make learning collaborative.
Students create their own avatar, earn badges and points, bookmark favorites, and leave reviews for books and movies. Pretty awesome!
Even better, you can link to DOGO News through the Chrome Web Store, Apple Store, Edmodo, Edublogs, and others! No reason to not sign up for this great resource!
Art teachers, even you can get in on the fun of technology integration! This is a great idea I took from a conference I attended this summer.
We all love Instagram; students, teachers, parents, everyone. Why not put the love of art and Instagram together? The problem is, students under 13 aren't supposed to be on Instagram, so we have to have a way to share out their work as well. We also want to make sure the right content is being pushed out to the public.
Art teachers can create an Instagram account for their classroom and post on behalf of students. This is great because the teacher can monitor comments and users, while still showing a digital art gallery! For example, we could have an account called "Hallsville Primary Art Gallery" and display Primary art. What a great way to show all that art AS it is created!
As with all social media, please fill out the correct Social Media forms with Marci (they can be found on our website!). And be mindful if you post student photos, we have some students who should not be photographed. Again, check with Marci or administration on this!
There is even an Instagram hashtag, search for #highschoolart, and you will see all kinds of great ideas!
Here's an example from an independent school, More House Art, and how they use Instagram!
I was reminded about this site through a Tweet this week, and I thought this would be a GREAT opportunity to share it seeing as though it could be a tool teachers can use for back to school time.
FutureMe.org is a simple website where students can write their future selves a letter. They plug in their email address, put in a subject line, write the email, tell it what date to send it on, and there is an option to add a photo.
A couple of ways this can be used...
This tool can be used at any grade level. Just remember, if a student leaves the district and they send it to their school email, they will not be able to access it anymore. I would also put guidelines for their letters so they are meaningful. In the "public letters" sections, the emails are kind of lackluster, but I know they could be really great! This is also a great opportunity to teach how to send an email. There is a snapshot of the template below.
Does this sound familiar? You are on a website and remember you need to make a Google Document of some sort, so you have to go to your waffle, click on Drive, and make the document. It seems ridiculous, but the steps it took to get there can be shorter. Yes, shorter!
If you add the Chrome extension, Google Docs Quick Create, you can just click on the Google Drive icon that comes up on your Chrome browser bar, get a menu, and create from there. YES! I added this extension as soon as I saw it. Ready to make my life easier with just one click.
See how awesome that is?! Love it!
Bored with "Find Someone Who"? Tired of "2 Truths, 1 lie"? Yawning over "Get to Know You Surveys"? Chance are, your students are, too. Let's see how to revamp these ice breakers for the 21st century learners in your classroom!
There will be mixed ideas, some for lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, high school, GAFE schools, etc. Find what applies to you or modify it to make it still work for you!
This is only a sampling of what you can do. If you have some other go-to ice breakers you love, let's hear about them below!
How many students raise their hand in your class everyday? Picture the students you have heard from in class vs. those you have NOT heard from in class. I imagine the second number is larger than the first. Just because kids are not raising their hands, does not mean they don't have something to say.
Introduce TodaysMeet, a site where students can put their thinking out to the whole class. You may have heard it called backchanneling. This is the conversations that are going on behind the activity going on in the classroom or meeting.
TodaysMeet creates a chat room, you share the link, students go to the link (NO SIGN UP REQUIRED!), put in a display name, and then get started. You can type questions or comments, up to 140 characters. Kind of like Twitter in the classroom, in a safe environment!
How can YOU use this in YOUR classroom, you ask? Here are some quick, easy ways:
Another awesome feature, you can have these rooms delete themselves after a given amount of time. These are not permanent rooms. You can keep them up and going for one hour to one year! Pretty cool, right? Check out a quick video below on creating your room!
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom