Thursday, August 24, 2017

Classroom Library

Since having a baby in the middle of June and using my summer break as my maternity leave, I have not been as eager to jump back into my classroom to set things up. However, I had to attend the leadership retreat Tuesday and Wednesday this week so I sent the kids off to daycare (cue the crying) and dragged myself to work. Honestly, since it was baby #2 it wasn't as bad as I thought and once I walked in the front door of school I knew I was ready.

I got a little bit of time to go into my room yesterday and set up my classroom library.  Last year I was in a new (and AMAZING) room that actually has built in shelving. I didn't realize how amazing this built in shelving was until the end of last year when I was told, don't take anything off the shelf, just cover it up! You don't have to tell me that twice. Flash forward 10 weeks... and for the first time ever in my 8 years of teaching, I set my classroom library up in 10 minutes! Take down the paper, put up the bins and books for the top of the shelf and voila! It's done!

Last year I decided to use a chalkboard theme, which means I made new labels for my book bins. I also went with the emoji theme as well. Click on the picture below to get my book labels for FREE!

Stay tuned for my classroom reveal!

Technology Spotlight: Adobe Spark Video

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Adobe Spark Video

A few weeks ago I did a spotlight on Adobe Spark Page where students (and adults) can easily create a web story with images, words, etc.

This week the focus is on Adobe Spark Video, which I found to be a great tool for younger students or students who struggle with writing. My students were able to choose this web tool as a way to publish their final drafts of their biographies. In my fifth grade class this past year I had a few students who struggled with writing, so their biographies may not have been as well developed as I would have hoped. However, when they realized that they could use the video option to publish their final drafts and could actually speak rather than type or write they did awesome!  A few of them even added additional information that they hadn't written down, but remembered from doing their research!

Once I learned about this tool in January, I had our technology person add the app to the iPads for the school right away. This tool is so quick and easy to use that I started encouraging all of the teachers to include it as a choice, from Kindergarten through 5th grade.

When the students use the app or web version, they build their video one slide at a time, almost like a presentation. They can add images, text, and their voices to the slide. Then once they are finished editing they can preview their video and even add music if they want.

*side note - unfortunately I do not have permission to share the two student's work that chose Adobe Spark Video this past year in my class, but I plan on incorporating this as a choice a lot more this year so stay tuned for some student examples!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Google Infused Classroom

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If you teach in a school that has access to Google Apps then this book is a must-have!!  This book is all about infusion, which means how you can use two or more of the tools together at one time.

I absolutely love the way this book is organized. It is a resource rather than a read from cover to cover, which is awesome. The beginning of the book is all about pedagogy and the hows and whys of educational technology. The middle to end of the book is all of the tools that can be used in the classroom. Each tool is broken down into what it is, why its great, how easy it is to use, what the students do with the tool, and how they share the information. The tools are broken into different categories: assessment tools, tools for differentiation, tools for demonstrating learning, tools for reflecting, and a section on digital portfolios.

I was planning to try out portfolios with my students this year and after reading this book we will be setting them up the first week of school using Google Sites.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Technology Spotlight: Google Drive Offline

So last week's post is almost a week late, which is why I am focusing on Google Drive offline.  We changed TV providers two weeks ago so we also changed internet providers. However, I wasn't thinking and canceled our internet before I had our new internet set up. Of course I still had work to do for my admin courses so being able to work in Google Drive offline was a life saver. I would just use my hotspot on my phone for me to upload my assignments.

The Google Drive applications that you can access offline are Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings. To access them when you do not have internet access you will need to download the Google Chrome extension. (you will need to download this extension while you have internet access) To open your files log into Google Chrome, then go to Google Drive and open Settings. (settings can be found by clicking on the gear icon near the top right of the screen. Once in your settings, make sure the box is checked where it says Offline "Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline". To begin editing, find your doc and start working!

If you are on a PC or Mac you can also edit your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings by downloading the Backup and Sync app. For more information click here.

I definitely made sure this extension was on each of my students' Google accounts this past year for those few times when we lost power so the kids could keep right on working on their chromebooks and not worry about losing their work.