K-5 Curriculum Newsletter
February 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 5
New and Improved
This month, I am testing out a new platform for the K-5 Curriculum Newsletter. The new site I'm using allows me to seamlessly integrate photos, videos, and surveys in addition to articles. I would like to showcase some of the great work our students are doing in future newsletters. If your class is working on something exciting, please forward me any pictures and/or videos you have collected.
I recently had the privilege of attending the Techspo conference organized by NJ Association of School Administrators (NJASA). Over the course of two days, I had the opportunity to see educators - administrators, teachers, and tech coordinators - from throughout the state present on how they are infusing technology into their daily routines. It was an extremely informative and inspiring conference; by far the best professional development I’ve experienced myself as an educator. I learned about an endless array of free resources out there, and I want to share a few with you.
eduCanon - Do you use Khan Academy or any other similar online instructional videos? Do you get frustrated having to run back and forth from behind your desk to keep pausing the video for discussion? eduCanon allows you to take videos from Youtube, and build in automatic pauses in the video. At each pause, the video automatically stops, and you also have the ability to insert questions at these points in which students are required to answer before the video continues to play. This can be done whole group using a SMART board, as well as having students independently watch the video and answer questions on a Chromebook. Oh yeah, you can also track student responses!
https://www.educanon.com/ (you can login with your Barnegat Google account)
Google Classroom - Many of you may already be using this resource. It’s a great tool to give students a direct route to an assignment or link to a specific website after signing into their Chromebook. The capabilities of Google Classroom are truly endless; infinitely more than I can explain in a little blurb. Here are some ideas to get you started:
I’ve seen exit tickets assigned to students through Google Classroom. How about creating this exit ticket as a Google Form and embedding that into your Google Classroom? The best part… the results are automatically tabulated and presented to you in a neat, colorful graph in real time!
For the next lesson, take your instantaneous feedback, and create an eduCanon video (referenced above) and embed that into the classroom. Now when your students login, there will be a specific interactive video based off of their own feedback from the previous day.
https://classroom.google.com (you login with your Barnegat Google account)
http://www.alicekeeler.com/teachertech/ (Alice Keeler is a blogger on everything Google. Take a trip to her website, and find an answer to virtually any Google question you have)
Awesome Screenshot - This is actually a built-in app for the Google Chrome web browser. This app gives you the ability to take a screenshot of anything on the page you're viewing. You can choose to capture the entire page, just selected part of the page, etc. The best part - once you take your screenshot, you can insert text, draw arrows, draw boxes or ellipses, highlight, and there's even a blur feature.
(You have to add it into your Chrome browser)
GoNoodle - Ever come in on a Monday morning and feel like your students have been replaced by zombies? Teaching 8th grade math, I experienced this pretty much on any day ending in Y. GoNoodle is a website with short video clips that are aimed at getting students out of their seats, getting the blood flowing, and getting the brain churning. There are a plethora of 3 minute-ish videos that can be used in a variety of ways. One option is a quick brain break during a long lesson, or when transitioning from one subject to another.
https://www.gonoodle.com/ (you have to sign up, but it’s free)
I understand we might not have access to all of the technology resources that are required to utilize these sites on a daily basis. Some of these might pertain to your grade level, and some may not. That being said, it’s my hope that I’ve at least sparked some interest, and provided a resource or two that might benefit your students. I’m looking forward to hearing about any and all experiences; please keep me updated.
Lone Nut or First Follower
Below is a short video that is often shown at leadership workshops. The focus is on the importance of the "first follower." The integration of technology into our classrooms is exploding right now, creating a 2nd order change for many of us. While listening to a Superintendent speak at the Techspo conference, another administrator in the audience asked, "From an evaluation standpoint, what do you do when a teacher implements some of this new technology and it fails to be successful?" The speaker replied, "At our district, we encourage failure; if you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough." Don't underestimate the value of "lone nuts" and "first followers" taking risks; we all learn, and the entire district improves because of your efforts.
Harness the Power of Twitter
I want to preface this article with a little background information on myself. I am a self-diagnosed social media phobic. I have never had a Facebook page, and I never will. If asked, I may even break into a rant on how social media is the ruination of our society. Ironically enough, I’m writing this month on the potential of Twitter to be the most powerful professional development resource in which you are engaged. Since taking on my new administrative role, I have signed up for Twitter and have just begun skimming the surface of the numerous available resources. As of this publication, I have yet to send my first Tweet. However, the courage is building quickly, and I have a feeling it won’t be long!
All kidding aside, I do encourage you (if you haven’t already) to sign up for Twitter. Your first step as a newly annointed member of the Twitterverse, is to begin following inspiring members in the field of education. A few good recommendations include:
@KarenWoodEDU - Superintendent at Barnegat Township Schools
@JBond_EDU - K-5 District Supervisor at Barnegat Township Schools (I’m a little wary of this guy, but worth a shot)
I started following a few people. From there, I looked at who the people I was following were following, and followed the ones I thought looked intriguing… did you follow that?
The next step in harnessing the power of Twitter is participating in chats. There are many out there, and they all take place during different times throughout the course of a week. These chats are possible using hashtags (short abbreviations or acronyms preceded by the # sign). Every tweet sent out that includes the specific hashtag will be tied together in a chronological stream. A moderator presents a list of questions ahead of time. Here are some options:
#Nt2t - New Teacher to Teacher: Saturdays @ 9:00AM
#pblchat - Project Based Learning: Tuesdays @ 8:00PM
- #edchat - General Education: Tuesdays @ 7:00PM
- Here's a link to every education Twitter chat imaginable https://sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/education-chat-official-list
Below, where it says goo.gl, is a link to a brief Google Forms survey. If you've got 45 seconds to spare, please answer the few questions. Thank you!!
Here is a link to a newly created shared professional development folder in Google Drive. The first publication I've included is the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) journal. This months topic is STEAM. Feel free to contribute.
Notes from Mr. Scotto
The newly-revised SGO Mid Year Check Form is a great tool to categorize student progress. Take a few extra moments to review student work when completing this form. In addition, think about what extra steps are needed to help struggling students. Remember to share your concerns with your SGO administrator.
A link to the form is below.