MiddSouth Innovates

Issue #2

Innovation (noun): a new method, idea, product, etc.

Innovation does not mean creating something the world has never seen. It means doing something (anything!) in a lesson that you have never tried before. All the time, I get stopped in the hallway by a colleague telling me of something new they are trying and they almost always say "but this isn't innovative." If it is new for you, it IS innovative! Be proud of taking the risk and daring to fail.

Oh, and don't forget to come find me when you do so you can featured in the next #middsouthinnovates!

Helping Students Dive Deeper With Physical Modeling

One of the concepts that Chemistry students typically struggle with is Electronegativity (the idea that certain atoms will want to gain an electron more than others). In the following video, Dr. Resnick demonstrates what happens when 2 atoms bond together and transfer an electron between them.
The benefit of using physical models is it allows students to see and hold concepts that they normally need to visualize in their minds. After demonstrating this in class, Dr. Resnick can hand the canisters to the students and let them test it out for themselves. Since the materials are cheap, she can also create a bunch of sets so students can use them in small groups.

As you can see, this video was done on a cell phone so it is not polished (this was actually Take 6 and it still has mistakes!). This type of method makes for a great intro video if you are thinking of Flipping Your Classroom. Dr. Resnick can post this video to her Google Classroom for the students to watch for HW. It is very short (30 seconds!), but it will allow her students to start generating questions before coming to class. 'What is in the canisters?', 'Why are they not the same?', 'What is the star made out of?', 'Does this work for other elements as well?', 'What could we change about what's in the canister to model other elements?'. Now students have the chance to process what they have seen and come to class ready to go deeper which makes class time more meaningful. Flipped lessons don't have to involve PowerPoints and notes; they can just be simple lessons to make the students think deeper.

Get Smore Out Of Your Newsletters

This newsletter was created using a website called Smore. The goal of the website is to help you create beautiful, interactive flyers within a simple interface. There are a number of different pre-formatted designs available (writing a newsletter? Just click newsletter!) so all you need to worry about is your content. Add pictures, videos, web links, audio recordings, Google Calendar links, even YouTube videos. Smores can be shared through various forms of Social Media or embed them directly into an email so there is no need for your readers to click links that send them to external sites.

Our favorite part is the Educator Hive. Educators from all over the world share their work to this space and you can find inspiration (or use theirs as your template!) when you are starting your own. When you enter the Hive, you will find Educators using Smore for club announcements of meetings and fundraisers, weekly Classroom Highlights for parents, public service announcement assignments in Health, as an presentation alternative to PowerPoint/Google Slides, and even as a way to share what they learned from a professional development conference with their colleagues. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Have you used Smore? Share yours with us and we will feature you in our next issue!

Tech Help At Your Fingertips

Did you know you can text someone from inside Gmail? Go to Settings (that's the gear icon), click on the CHAT tab, and turn Chat ON. And don't forget to hit SAVE! After that you will be able to send chat messages from inside Gmail to anyone on your list. Can't find your friendly, neighborhood Tech Specialist? Have a quick question you need help with? Text him using Gmail Chat!

Of course, you can also schedule a time to meet with him using Google Calendar.

Marc Seigel's Technology Training Calendar