Tech Tips

November 2015: Volume 3- Number 19

Feeling Thankful!

You'll find a wide variety of apps, articles, and websites in this issue.

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." William Arthur Ward

Students! Treat Your Chromebook with Respect!
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How I Used Socrative for Writing Instruction

Literacy, Technology, Policy, Etc...A Blog by Jen Roberts

"I've hit upon an interesting and effective writing pedagogy using Socrative. This worked well multiple times last year and I'm now confident about it enough to write about it.

Socrative is an app and a website for getting questions out to students. The students need devices to respond, but Socrative is really flexible. It works on smart phones, iPads, laptops and even iPods that have wifi connections. Basically, if a student can access the internet, they can respond to a Socrative question.

My favorite way to use Socrative is the single question mode that lets me send out a question whenever I need to see student answers. (You can also pre-plan quizzes that are either teacher paced or self-paced.) The single questions can be multiple choice, true false or short answer. It's the short answer questions that help me with writing instruction."
Password Protect a Google Form

Picasso Head

Create your own Picasso head!
Chat Stations for Class Discussion
ISTE 2013 Closing Keynote, Adam Bellow: You're Invited to Change the World

Supporting Teachers. Empowering Students. Engaging Parents. - See more at:

Back to Basics: A Review of Mike Schmoker's "Focus"

Back to Basics: A Review of Mike Schmoker's "Focus"

"Currently, the drive is for college and career readiness, and the argument here is that we are also preparing kids to be citizens. The best way to prepare students for all three of these, Schmoker argues, is to refocus on literacy in every single class. Students need to be able to read, write, speak, and think critically in order to function as contributing members of society."

How We Teach

In this section Schmoker provides specific ways to teach in order to effectively improve student literacy. I personally love the clarity of his guide to effective lessons. A teacher leading an effective lesson needs to:

Have clear objectives: What are kids supposed to gain from this lesson or unit?

Create purpose and interest: This doesn’t mean put on a dog and pony show. It simply means we should find a way to make the day’s lesson relevant. No one, including you and I, enjoys reading or discussing topics we are not interested in.

Provide background knowledge: Make sure students are equipped to understand what you’re about to guide them through.

Model: There are many ways this can be done, and sometimes it happens in the form of lecture or direct teaching (gasp!). Keep in mind the 5 minute limit: Every few minutes take a break and have students DO something—pair and share, write what they know, ask questions, etc.

Guide student practice: Lecture and direct teaching are not inherently bad, but they will not be successful without this particular step. Students absolutely MUST practice with the help or guidance of the teacher or fellow classmates.

Allow time for independent practice and formative assessment: Create activities that allow students to show what they know from the lesson. Schmoker gives examples of these such as discussion and debate, and writing, both formal and informal.

Once again, seems extremely simple, right? Thankfully, it’s also effective and doable in every subject. The best part, as Schmoker says, is that “perfect execution of these processes is not required. The real power of this simple, multipurpose template is in its being done regularly and frequently.”

Making an Animated GIF on a Chromebook

SCS Instructional Technology Information

Contact me if you have any questions or would like help using these tools.

The Turner Time Daily