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!
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!
When families come in for Back to School Night, we quickly try to figure out those who may lend a hand throughout the year. Whether it be fore parties, field trips, celebrations, we need volunteers! One set of volunteers I never thought of until I attended a conference this summer are the DIGITAL VOLUNTEERS.
What is a digital volunteer? It is someone who signs on to contribute to your students online work. If you are planning to post work of students on Twitter, Instagram, blogs, or other platforms, digital volunteers go on and comment on their work.
This may seem silly, but think about how much kids love getting feedback. They thrive off of comments and positives. The quote below came from Rushton Hurley, who has changed my thinking on educational technology. Sharing student work globally makes it meaningful.
Have parents, family members, community members (*cough cough* board members, principals, superintendents, business owners) sign up to comment on work. Students will think it is SO exciting! Let me know if you want to do this and I will set you up with an easy way to manage it.
One thing I would like educators to look at for next year is Genius Hour, or the 20% Initiative. I know, I know, how are you going to fit another thing into your day? I get it, we are busy. Good news, you only have to commit to 1 hour a week. A WEEK!
What is Genius Hour? Think about something you are passionate about or want to know more about. Then imagine that you get time set aside in your week to learn more about it, create a presentation, and share it. That's Genius Hour.
I have seen this project modified for lower grades, even as low as 1st or 2nd. This project is also great for high school. We had a teacher work on this in her ELA class this year, and it went over great!
Check out my Pinterest board for more about Genius Hour. Interested in getting started? I will send out more information at the beginning of the year to see who is interested so we can have a support group!
There were some great projects I saw throughout the year. Teachers would have students submit their information to a Google Form, including a link to their blog where they would put their proposals and updates. This allowed for their teacher to send the link out via Twitter to get outside feedback. It was so awesome to see teachers from around the world comment and give feedback. It made their projects even more important and relevant to the students.
Great resources to start
Genius Hour website
20% Time in Education
Engage Their Minds
2014 Genius Hour Projects - cool video on projects students are doing
Goals for 2015-2016? Yep, I have some of those. 2015 will mark my 10th year in education, 2nd year as a Technology Integration Specialist. In those 10 years, I have taught 3rd grade, 5th grade, 4th grade, and 2nd grade technology. I have been in two different districts, had 3 different administrators, and taught around 250 students. Wow.
Closing out my first year as Technology Integration Specialist, I am excited to think about what I have in my future plans. We have come a long way this year, Google Apps, Skyping with different states and countries, Kahoot, making videos, and so much more! I am lucky to have teachers that support my crazy ideas and students that are along for the ride!
Next year's goals are being written down now. A few of them include:
This week I was taking part in the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Twitter chat (#gafechat). The whole subject had to do with creating videos in the classroom. We discussed how this added to engagement, critical thinking skills, and collaboration.
A lot of people think that having students create videos is just an easy time-filler, but I am here to tell you that with proper planning, this can turn into an activity that boosts learning and really makes students think.
I like to think of video creation as the publishing part of a writing piece. Script writing is another genre of writing that needs instruction and modeling to ensure it is done correctly.
ReadWriteThink has a great unit for 6-8 on Filmmaking. It is important to teach students the vocabulary of making films. There are a lot of terms specific to filming.
Have students plan what their idea is and plan the story. Many films are adapted from great books. They have to write a story to know what direction their film is going. Then they can adapt their stories to scripts, and finally into storyboards. The storyboards are like comic books. You want the students to put their actors where they should stand, give ideas for how long they should be on camera, and what lines should be said, During this time, the actors should be learning their lines, people in charge of the cameras should be learning how to get the best camera shots, different angles, zooming in and out, etc.
After students go through and create their storyboards, they should start filming. They may want to do a walk-through before filming to make sure bodies are turned correctly at the camera, their voices are heard, and any other parts they need to include. Then the filming starts. A good filmmaker is always editing and revising their storyboard and scripts, even as the camera is rolling.
When the filming is done, the fun of editing comes into play. Students can then piece together their film, manipulate sound, video quality, and transitions. Again, this is a lesson on vocabulary, critical thinking, collaboration, and patience. It can take a lot of patience to learn video editing software.
At the end, students can debute their video masterpiece. Let them have a wonderful movie premier, making a big deal out of it. Roll out the red carpet, get the popcorn, and sit back to enjoy!
Check out the ReadWriteThink unit here!
Connecting with classrooms around the country? Who would have thought this was possible even five years ago? Well, it is, and we have a 5th grade class that made it reality for this Technology Integration Specialist.
What is Mystery Skype?
I had heard about Mystery Skype on various blogs and from some teachers in a neighboring city. It is a way to play 20 questions with another school that isn't in your area. You can go to the Mystery Skype page and search for teachers that are interested in Skyping with your class. The teachers connect and find a common day and time (keeping time zones in mind!). Then you call each other via Skype and ask yes/no questions about each schools' location.
I connected with a teacher in another state for Mrs. Thompson's fifth grade class. The teachers know where each other is from, but the students do not. Through a series of questions, we narrowed down the states we were from. They figured out we were in Missouri and we figured out they were in Vermont. We then tried to track down each others' city...we got theirs and they got close to ours! Within 30 minutes, we had connected with another school, used research skills, inference skills, collaboration, geography, and communication to work together to find this school.
The process was very well-done. We had done a mock-Skype session within our building to ensure they all knew their jobs. We had a group on Google Maps trying to find their location, another group with atlases trying to figure out what questions to ask next, another group with a Missouri map in front of them, answering questions, students talking to Vermont telling them answers or asking questions, students recording the questions being asked and those asked of us, students photographing the experience, and probably more! It seemed chaotic, but they were doing SUCH an excellent job working together.
This was one of the most fun things I have been a part of this year! We even have a class set up to do a Mystery Hangout (same as Skype, but with Google Hangouts) with another COUNTRY and another class doing a different state...but it's a mystery...so I can't tell! Check out my Twitter account as I live tweet the country hangout on April 8th!
Honestly, I had tried to start a Twitter account a couple of years ago, but did not really "get it". Then when I took this job I saw many of the people in my position were on Twitter. Fast forward 5 months and here I am, loving Twitter! I follow 152 people and 132 follow me. Craziness!
Why use Twitter as an educator? Well, this is what I have found. The best PD I have had takes place within a 1 hour session, on my couch, in my PJs, and with a # (hashtag). Yes, PD on your couch! Hashtags break things into categories. You click on one and it filters all tweets that are using that same #. I take place in GAFE (pronounced like "safe", stands for Google Apps for Educators) chat every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. I connect with other educators, get ideas for what to do with certain Google Apps, and get to share my own ideas. Then I come back and share those ideas with teachers. In one hour...twice a month...can't beat that.
I also follow educational publications and get some great articles. Then I follow programs we use and get to see updates that are being made. When I find out about Google Classroom updates, it is because of people I follow on Twitter.
Twitter can be used by teachers to have PLN (Personal Learning Networks) that can connect all over the world. If you connect with an educator on the other side of the world, possibilities are endless. You may even get to have a Skype or Google Hangout with a classroom in Australia! People are using Twitter to connect like this all the time!
Twitter is great for classrooms. Columbia Public Schools use them all the time to share out to their parents about upcoming events, what is going on in the classroom, photos (and now, video!), and reminders. It is a wonderful tool to connect with the community.
My goal is for at least one person per grade level to have a Twitter next year. Then maybe we can start getting the word out about how great it is! Who's in? Look for more information on Twitter in the coming school year. If you have a classroom Twitter, let me know so our school can follow you and so I can follow you!
Follow me at @HallsvilleTech.
Scenario: Student in your classroom watches you introduce a new theory. You ask the student to demo the concept. They say, "I can't do it. I've never been good at this." You sigh. Frustration grows. "Well, try it anyway. You will never be good at it unless you try."
How many times has this happened to you? Students say they can't do something, but they don't try. They go ahead and count themselves out before they even get started.
This situation applies to technology. I hear these same phrases when I talk about integrating technology. So many educators get hung up on learning something new and feeling they can't do it. Here's a secret, you can do it! How did you learn that new math program? How did you learn to help Timmy not fidget in his seat during a math test? How did you learn that new grading system? We had to learn.
I never want you to do more than you are comfortable with doing, but I want you to challenge yourself to do one thing outside the box every once in awhile. You'd be surprised. Honestly, you really just need to learn enough to get started. Students pick up on things quickly from there. Many of them will troubleshoot it for you, and they SHOULD! They should be the ones that are teaching you and others. We are teaching them teamwork, collaboration, that they are valued, and that they are capable.
Also, you are going to gain students that want to learn. They are going to be excited for the technology, for the new website, the new Thinglink, Plickers, Google Classroom, whatever it is that you choose.
On Google Classroom's ad there is a woman named Rosemarie DeLauro that has been teaching for more than SIXTY years and she has a great quote, "You cannot stay in teaching and keep going to the old ways." Her first experience with computers was Google Classroom, which just came out in 2014.
It is possible. You can do it, and I am right here to make it easier. Good luck!
ABCya has a great variety of resources for K-5. I am going to focus on one that I really like to use with kids, and that is Word Clouds.
Student can create word clouds, like the ones pictured below.
All you have to do is type or copy and paste text into the text box. The more times that a word appears, the larger it will be compared to the other words. So if I typed in "computers, computers, computers, computers, tech, tech tech", "computers" would be bigger than "tech". The more words you use, the more intricate your cloud.
After they create the word cloud it will appear on an editing screen. Here, they can change the color theme, font, and layout of the words just by using the toolbar on the top of the Word Cloud screen.
**If they want to make changes to the words, they DO NOT hit the back button. Go to the three lines on the left and click edit!**
In the classroom, what can you do with it?
Kids pick up on it quickly and LOVE word clouds! You can also try some other websites as they get better and better. Tagxedo is good and so is Wordle, but be careful of the gallery on Wordle because sometimes there are clouds that are not appropriate.
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom