Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Google Keep Can Keep You Organized

Have you ever needed to take notes or create a list quickly?  If the answer is YES!, then Google Keep is the tool for you and your Student  Google Keep allows you to take notes on the fly from any device with the app or internet access.  Haha, did you get the pun “fly?” It is supported on every platform, IOS, MAC, Android, Chromebooks, and Windows.  Keep is integrated into the sidebar and Tools menu of Docs, Sheet, and Slides. Notes you create on your cell phone can be accessed on your computer or any other device that has the Keep app. You can even create a note by recording your voice.  Also, you can color-code notes, create categories for your notes, add an image, take pictures, create a drawing, create a checklist, assign a reminder date and the best is you can share them with others, brilliant!

Google Keep is an excellent AVID organization tool for your students as well.  Students can keep vocabulary and spelling lists handy for review on cellular devices.  By clicking the Keep icon in the sidebar of Docs, Sheets, and Slides, students can create Keep notes that contain links to items you shared with them in class in Google Keep.  This provides easy access to these resources from a cell phone. So while they are on the activity bus to a game or downtime at practice, they can be reviewing classwork or studying for a test.  Students can snap a picture of one of your slides, annotate with the draw feature of Keep right on the picture. Students can take notes for class and color code notes by subject and even share notes with a student that might have been absent of for peer review. A group of students collaborating on a project can manage a project checklist. Keep notes can be shared with others so when one student completes a task on the list the other students see that the task has been checked as complete. Keep is a great place for students to store journals.  When they are out and see something that inspires them they can snap a picture and journal about it. Google Keep facilitates good organizational habits for students on the go.

Give it a try, it is worth the time to learn Google Keep and introduce your students to this tool that can help them stay organized. Click on this link to learn more bit.ly/GooKEEP.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Voices in Tech: How edtech coaches aid classroom instruction

We are excited to share an article from District Administration featuring our very own Nichole Allmann.  See the excerpt below and be sure to head to the full article to read about all of Nikki's experiences and wisdom. 

"A well-trained team of coaches helps teachers manage the potentially overwhelming integration of new technology"
By: Emily Ann Brown | August 8, 2019

...Technology never takes center stage In the coach-teacher partnership. Instead, coaches help teachers examine standards and curriculum, and identify learning goals. They then recommend tools that will facilitate desired outcomes, says Nichole Allmann, a technology integration specialist who oversees coaches at 10 schools...

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Getting parents up to date with technology

Social Justice, Media Literacy

What is your school doing to inform parents of internet safety, media balance, and learning with technology? What are you doing, as an educator, to provide ongoing information so parents are learning how to “monitor” their child(ren)’s technology use at home? Just as we did not grow up in the digital age, the parental community in each of our schools did not either. They are just as unequipped and unaware as we are when it comes to digital citizenship.

As an educator, it is imperative we are knowledgeable and stay up to date with how to develop our students to be responsible online users. Much of what we do with our students is online and can be overwhelming, ensuring they make the right choices and be informed users of the internet. Many of our students are currently developing an online reputation that will impact their future. Just as we are learning how to teach this to our students, parents need to learn what steps they can take to keep their child(ren) safe and responsible when they are at home. Common Sense Media has many resources to help us teach and reach our parents in a variety of ways. The beginning of the school year creates many opportunities for parents to be in our schools; whether it is “meet the teacher”, “parent orientation” or parent university events that tend to be centered around various topics or curriculum. Here are some simple ways to inform parents at these events.

      • talk about tools
      • talk about expectations
      • talk about privacy
      • talk about parent-teacher communication
      Icon, Polaroid, Blogger, Rss, App
    • Another way to reach our parents is through newsletters, school/teacher websites or blogs. Create a section that gives parents a tip a week to keep their child(ren) safe online. If a lesson you are doing that week requires students to communicate online, share a couple of tips about appropriate ways to communicate online.
    • October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This is another perfect opportunity to share those online tips for parents to learn what cyberbullying is, the effects of cyberbullying and how to deal with their child if they are either being bullied or are bullying another child. Common Sense Media provides a toolkit already prepared for you whether it is through your newsletter, handouts or an event at your school. https://www.commonsense.org/education/toolkit/audience/family-engagement-cyberbullying
    Some of these events may have already come and gone at your school, but don’t let that deter you from starting today. Start including tips on your website or newsletters. Your parents will thank you.

    Thursday, September 5, 2019

    The 5 steps of Focused Note-taking (with Google Slides!)

    For years, the AVID instructional framework recommended a specific note-taking strategy, called Cornell Notes, to support students in processing the information they learn in class.  Recently, however, AVID revised the note-taking recommendations to be more broad rather than solely focusing on Cornell Notes. The new recommendation is that educators teach students to use a focused note-taking strategy.  This is fantastic because it allows for student choice and voice in how they process their learning and can incorporate technology in powerful ways.  This blog post will overview the 5 steps of focused note-taking along with some digital strategies that align with each step.

    Step 1: Taking the notes

    This is an obvious first step!  In this phase, students are capturing information using a method they feel most comfortable.  If students are new to taking notes, very young, or have instructional accommodations, teachers can just share the notes and skip step 1.  Plenty of learning, as you’ll see, happens in Steps 2 - 5.

    Obviously, there are many ways to support students with a focused note taking strategy. This example, using Google slides, just offers a support that can be highly visual and very powerful with sharing, linking, and commenting capabilities. Share your favorite focused note taking strategy in the comments!

    Step 2: Processing notes
    Notes are meaningless if you don’t do something with them!  In this phase, students are asked to review, reflect, and manipulate the information in their notes.  

    In Google slides, students can adjust text formatting adding highlights, underlines, or colored fonts using the toolbar, but they can also easily add headings via their slide format and paste in images from the toolbar to highlight key information.

    Step 3: Connecting Thinking
    In this step, we ask students to think deeply about the information they are learning and connect it to other content knowledge.  

    Technology adds a great value to this step because students can share their notes with a peer to see if they generated the same connections and key concepts as another student.  They can also easily hyperlink to additional content (their previous notes or other media) within their digital notes.  Using Google slides, arrows and lines can be drawn to visually represent connections.  Commenting features can also be used for students to track questions they have as they process their notes.

    Step 4: Summarizing and Reflecting on Learning
    For step four, students create summaries of their learning.  Technology adds value because students can easily share and compare their summaries.  In the example using Google Slides, students can use the presenter notes section to write a summary of their learning.

    Step 5: Applying Learning The final step of focused note taking takes place outside of Google slides. This is where the student is able to use the notes to apply the learning in an authentic context. By now the notes have been reviewed by the student multiple times with additional layers of learning and understanding being added in each step. In this example, students could use the notes to create their own models of different cell types or use the notes during a lab activity where they classify organisms seen under the microscope.

    Obviously, there are many ways to support students with a focused note taking strategy. This example, using Google slides, just offers a support that can be highly visual and very powerful with sharing, linking, and commenting capabilities. Share your favorite focused note taking strategy in the comments!

    The Influential Parent - Episode 9

      The Influential Parent - Episode 9, Summer Care Tips   With devices going home for the summer in our district, we wanted to take some ti...