LMS Tiger Times

October 2015

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Kid Snippets: "Math Class" (Imagined by Kids)


Congratulations to Aja Kessler for winning a set of Plickers cards for her entry (actually the only entry) in the September Challenge.

Featured Tool: Padlet

Padlet, an online bulletin board, is a great communication and collaboration tool that teachers can use with students. It is easy to use and students can sign in with their Google account, so no email is needed.

Each post is limited 150 characters, so keep this in mind. If you have never used Padlet, here is a quick tutorial that will get you started.

While I feel integration ideas are endless, here are few suggestions to get your brain thinking:

  • Brainstorming Ideas - students can brainstorm writing topics, project topics, etc.
  • KWL chart - students can make their post title either Know, Want to Know, Learned and then give the information that pertains to each of the post titles.
  • E-portfolio - students can use this to add attachments showcasing their learning.
  • Exit Tickets - students can post what they learned in class that day.
  • Number of the Day - teacher can create the board to represent a number and the students can include all the ways you can make that number.
  • Story Analysis - students can analyze the various parts of a story/book.
  • Essential Questions - teachers can pose an essential question and students can give their thoughts.
  • Observations - teachers can embed an image and students can state what they see and what they wonder about the image.
  • Art Critique - teacher can post an image of a piece of artwork and students can give their critique.
  • Review - students can post the information they feel was the most important on a particular topic. This can help get a discussion going on relevant/irrelevant information.

Have a great time with Padlet. I am sure you will find so many uses for this easy to use tool.

Challenge - WIN a Jean Pass!

Fill out this quick form, to let us know how you used Padlet in your class. One lucky winner will win a jean pass.
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Google Corner: New Features

Google Drive

Google Voice is now available on Google documents. Here is a quick video showing you to to use this new feature.

You can now easily 'See New Changes' since you last opened up a shared document. Here is a quick video showing you how to utilize this feature.

Check out the new templates available for documents, sheets (spreadsheets), and slides (presentations)

Google Classroom

Google Calendar is now integrated with Google Classroom. Here is a quick video showing you how to activate this new feature.

Christine's Corner

Two AVID project managers visited our campus this week. They were (as I knew they would be) ecstatic about the work we do at Leander Middle School. The debrief comments included phrases such as, “All students were engaged in each class we visited.” “The questioning techniques were outstanding.” “The level of caring for students is evident.” And my personal favorite, “I would send my own children to LMS because they would thrive here!” I agree. Our student focused approach to culture and academics at Leander Middle School clearly sets us apart from so many other schools. With our latest learning geared toward integrating technology in a meaningful way, I feel that descriptors such as “engaged” and “thriving,” will be even stronger. Thank you for embracing learning for yourselves as well as our students!

Chris' Corner

We're all familiar with the push to have effective professional learning communities. The pressure comes from multiple sources: campus administration, district coordinators and facilitators, state and national initiatives, etc. And if you've been in the profession for some time, then you know that the amount of pressure shifts in intensity but never seems to go away. We can blame this on one simple truth: we're stronger together than we are when we are apart.

But what are we stronger at? Does the power in our collaborative communities benefit the students because we can align our calendars and share the same worksheets? We need to plan, but those of us who've been through any PLC training know that the planning comes after we've analyzed our students' progress and learned from each other what worked or didn't. We then know to replicate, modify, or dismiss the strategy in future lessons. Our feedback loop can then be coupled with a strategy for which another teacher found success. A shared calendar and a living G-doc can fulfill much of what seems to most frequently occur in meetings that are really designed to facilitate hard talk.

I know that few of us, if any, truly believe that our students would benefit from each of us working in our own independent silos. This is why the concept of teaching as a public act has gained traction; although we may at times feel the anxiety of having others in our rooms, we know that any feedback that we receive that helps us to be even faintly better at our craft has the potential to positively affect another life. Nobody is getting rich here, or at least not with money. We all became teachers because we believe in the power of education, which means we believe in the power of our influence on others. So that shift that we employ based upon another's insight just may be the last key to the last lock that we talked about at the beginning of the year. Perhaps it's only the first lock that we barely pry open, but we need to start somewhere, don't we? Simply put, the PLC can be the locksmith.

The DuFour's gave the educational community four questions to help direct our PLCs:

  1. Are the children learning?
  2. How do you know?
  3. What are the plans for those who are not learning?
  4. What are the plans for those who already know it?

It's time to bust open some locks.

Which Websites are Blocked for Students?

Here are the steps to see if a website is open or blocked for students:

  1. Copy the URL of the website in question
  2. Go to http://filter1.leanderisd.org:7080/swg/urlLookup.html
  3. Paste URL in URL field
  4. Keep selection as Default (this shows student view)
  5. Click Lookup
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Kelly Wants to Help!

Kelly is at LMS every Monday and Wednesday and wants to help with technology integration. Reach her via email kelly.fitzgerald@leanderisd.org, stop her in the hall or drop by in the Library Classroom.

Here are some ways to use Kelly:

  • share resources/ideas during department/team meetings
  • come into your class to document the great things happening (I come with my phone to take pictures)
  • training on an edtech tool
  • co-teach technology infused lessons