1. Topics in Google Classroom-Recently a teacher asked me if there was a way to filter or sort posts in Google Classroom. For example, could students pull up just the posts from each of the nine weeks? Or perhaps, could they pull up Ancient Greece or Ancient China? At the time of the question, I was not aware of any way of tagging posts. I was wrong.
Toward the end of last summer Google added a feature to Classroom that I have not had an opportunity to explore until now: Google Topics. When you are creating a post or assignment in Google Classroom you can give it a topic. Then every post that falls under that same topic gets tagged with that topic. Google then creates a "Table of Contents" that remains on the left side of your Classroom Stream page. Really cool feature, Google!
2. Google Keep is my go-to app for writing short notes and setting reminders for myself. I've also used it as a mindmapping tool from time to time. If you have Google Keep on your phone you can even draw notes in the app.
To draw a note just open the app and tap the pen icon to start drawing. You can also add a drawing to a text, image, or voice note. To add drawings to an existing note tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the screen and select "add drawing."
3. Math is Fun is a free website that offers math games, puzzles, and tutorials. One of the tutorial resources that they offer is an illustrated mathematics dictionary. The Math is Fun dictionary offers more than 700 definitions of mathematics terms. All of the definitions include an illustration. Nearly 200 of the definitions include an animation. Some of the animations are interactive tutorials.
For some students one of the obstacles to understanding how to solve a mathematics problem is understanding the vocabulary used in the problem. Once they understand the meaning of terms they have an easier time understanding and solving the problems. Having a glossary of terms often helps students get to the heart of a mathematics problem.
If you are a math teacher, this would be a great link to add to your website!
4. Histography is an impressive interactive timeline spanning today through the beginning of recorded history. The timeline is divided into fifteen categories including war, politics, discoveries, inventions, and art. To explore the timeline select one of the categories listed on the Histography website then adjust the timeline slider to see events from the range of dates that you've selected. After choosing a category and date range you can click on dots in the timeline to see pop-up boxes containing event titles, representative pictures, and a link to a Wikipedia page about the event.
All points on the Histography timeline are based on Wikipedia entries, but don't let that discourage you from using it. I think viewing and manipulating the Histography timeline could be a good way for students to discover events and topics that they otherwise might not find in a typical history textbook. That process of exploring the timeline could lead students to further investigate an event or topic outside of the Wikipedia entry.
5. Friday at the Movies- Check out the first video below. Is this what you think of when you hear this nursery rhyme?
Most people do. However, earlier this week I was chatting with a friend (about politics cause who doesn't talk politics these days) and we somehow got on the topic of nursery rhymes. That prompted us to Google search for an explanation of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme. We stumbled on a YouTube channel called Nursery Rhyme History that I have now fallen in love with! The channel offers sixteen short videos explaining the origins of common nursery rhymes including one of my childhood favorites, Jack and Jill. Being a lover of history and literature, I just HAD to share this site with you!
If I were teaching history I would definitely use these videos in class to share how news was passed around in older times when the common people didn't read.
1. Muting email conversations in Gmail. Have you ever been added on to an email conversation that you really don't want to be a part of? Maybe originally your input was needed or you were just being kept in the loop concerning something but the discussion went on and on. You can mute that conversation so that future messages don't come to your inbox. Or perhaps you have muted a conversation by mistake and you need to know what is going on. Click here for more help: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/47787?hl=en
2. Name Picker Ninja is free tool for quickly choosing names at random. Using Name Picker Ninja is a simple matter of pasting or typing a list of names into the "add names" field in Name Picker Ninja and then clicking "go!" The names in your list will scroll and stop on a randomly selected name. Once a name has been selected you can remove it from the list or keep it in the rotation.
3. Did you know that the ACPS site has been revamped for efficiency? If you click on Academics, located on the top toolbar of the home page, you will find links to all the departments. Each department head is starting to share not on only the pacing guides for their department but also links and resources. Check it out! http://www.amherst.k12.va.us/academics
4. Bandwidth News. I know that many of you are frustrated with the slowness of our network these days. Internet traffic jams can make you feel like you want to pull your hair out! Promises of better bandwidth seem to be no more than mere pipe dreams but not so! The projected deadline has been pushed to the end of November which seems forever away but we will get there. Please know that we have all our ducks in a row on our end. We are just waiting for Shentel to get permission to cross the bridge from Lynchburg to Amherst. Hold tight! Help in on the way!
5. Friday at the Movies- This was not the movie I planned to share today but when Carmen Sitton from MHES sent this out I thought it would be a great one to share. Of course, this is preaching to the choir.
October 17- National Mulligan Day! If you play golf you know that this means you get a "do-over". This day was set aside to remind us all that no one is perfect. We are usually our own worst critic so let' all cut ourselves some slack today!
October 18 - The Seneca Falls Convention began in 1848. The announcement in the newspaper read, A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women will be held in the Wesleyan Chapel, at Seneca Falls, N.Y., on Wednesday and Thursday, the 19th and 20th of July current; commencing at 10 o’clock A.M. During the first day the meeting will be exclusively for women, who are earnestly invited to attend. The public generally are invited to be present on the second day, when Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, and other ladies and gentlemen, will address the Convention.”
October 19 - National Hagfish Day! Yep! These fish get their very own holiday. Hagfish Day is observed annually on the third Wednesday in October. Yall feel free to celebrate this one without me.
October 20 - international Sloth Day was created in 2010 by the AIUNAU Foundation, a non-profit conservation and wildlife organization based in Colombia. The unofficial holiday raises awareness about the life cycle and natural habitat of the Sloth. The day also calls on people to learn more about these native South and Central American animals.
October 21 - Reptile Awareness Day is here, Yippee!! (Gulp!) Each year on October 21, people across the nation celebrate National Reptile Awareness Day. This day was created not only for reptile lovers to celebrate, but also to promote education, conservation and appreciation for reptiles. It is a day to learn about their natural habitats and the ecological threats that they are facing.
1. I would like to remind you of the email addresses of our school board members. The are available off of our ACPS website. if you remember back to the beginning of the school year, there was a memo that explained the amount needed to give the 2% raise to all ACPS employees was $378,106. $199,619 provided to the county by the state of VA and $178,487 of LOCAL Amherst county tax payers dollars. The $178,487 is already in the budget and allocated for employee salaries. That local money is already there! It already exists!
Please, please, please email ALL the school board members BEFORE Wednesday!! (Wednesday is the all-day retreat where this matter will be discussed and the superintendent will propose how he plans to spend those funds) Ask them to please ensure that the $178,487 of local money is used for employee compensation ONLY!!!!! Maybe that means a .75 raise or a one-time bonus but something is better than nothing!
That $178,487 will be used on something. We need to be sure it is used for employee compensation.
2. SciShow Kids is a YouTube channel produced by the same folks behind the massively popular SciShow. SciShow Kids offers short video lessons on a variety of topics from animals, to space, to fun science experiments that could be done with a parent or teacher.
Recently, SciShow Kids organized a playlist of videos covering topics that are frequently connected to symbols of Halloween. Those topics are bats, spiders, skeletons, and the changing colors of leaves.
3. TinyTap is an excellent tool for creating your own educational games that your students can play on their iPads, Android tablets, or in the web browser on their laptops. I have been demonstrating the platform in workshops for elementary schools for a few years. It has been a hit every time I show it off.
This week TinyTap introduced a new feature called TinyTap Courses. TinyTap Courses lets you organize your games into thematically-aligned units. You can also include games made by other TinyTap users who have publicly shared their games.
You can create TinyTap games by importing or taking pictures then highlighting parts of the images to serve as answer choices. Another way to create games is to include text that students have to correct or complete in a fill-in-the-blank and or multiple choice fashion.
4. CS First is an initiative from Google to promote computer science classes and clubs in schools. CS First features computer science lesson plans based on nine themes. Within each theme you will find up to ten hours of activities to conduct with your students. The themes in CS First are storytelling, friends, fashion & design, art, social media, sports, game design, music, and animation,
The activities in CS First are based on the Scratch programming interface. The lesson plans are intended for use with elementary school and middle school students.
The lesson plans on CS First are quite detailed. In fact, they might be too detailed at times as they even include instructions like telling students to sit down. Beyond the lesson plans CS First offers a thorough set of training materials for teachers who have not previously taught computer science and or previously used Scratch.
Browse through these lessons. They may make great enrichment activities or anchor activities. You may even want to have your own kids play on it at home. I plan to browse them myself more as I get time.
5. Friday at the Movies - No matter who you are voting for, please be nice to those who will be voting opposite. After all, this is the basis for democracy.
10-11 is the International Day of the Girl! "On International Day of the Girl, we recognize our obligation to lift up women and girls at home and abroad and to build a world where all girls feel safe and empowered in their classrooms, their communities, and their homes." President Obama
10-12 National Fossil Day!!! This nationwide celebration was first held on October 13, 2010, during Earth Science Week.
10-13 Let's celebrate World Sight Day! World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. World Sight Day 2016 is on 13 October 2016.
10-14 On this date in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1. Google Apps for Education got a new name this week. Google Apps for Education is now called G Suite for Education. This changes absolutely nothing about the way that your Google Apps err, ahh, umm G Suite tools work.
In that same announcement regarding the name change, Google shared that the Explore feature for Slides, Docs, and Sheets that was rolled-out last week should be appearing in your G Suite account soon.
2. Some of you have asked about the special "google url" that some of my links have. Well you can have a special google url too! Goo.gl is Google's free URL shortening service. Goo.gl can be a good tool to help you get all of your students on the same webpage at the same time. By shortening a long URL to something manageable, students can more easily type in the address for themselves. If you are thinking about going BYOD, Goo.gl also lets you create a QR code for any web link. Print or project that QR code and let your students scan it to get to the webpage you want them to see or post it on your website for parents to use.. Finally, Goo.gl includes an analytics feature that will show you how many times your shortened URL has been used.
3. The Trading Card Creator is one of my favorite tools offered by Read Write Think. The Trading Card Creator allows students to create trading cards about people, places, and events both real and fictional. It is also available as an iPad app, and as an Android app. Plus Read, Write, Think provides all types of lesson plan ideas to go along with your trading cards.
4. This next tip is designed for teachers of primary students, PK-2. It is called Teach Your Monster to Read. Teach Your Monster to Read is a fun game designed to help students improve the speed and accuracy with which they recognize letters and sounds. The game has eight levels (or islands as they're called in the game) each containing four activities. Students play the game as a friendly monster avatar. On each island students can earn prizes for their monsters and customize the look of their monsters. Creating Teach Your Monster to Read accounts for all of your students is a simple process. Just register yourself as a teacher then enter your students' names (first names only) or upload a CSV file of your students' names. Teach Your Monster to Read will automatically generate a password for each student. As the teacher you can log-in anytime to see your students' progress.
5. Friday at the Movies- The Secret Lives of Baby Fish is a cute and informative TED-Ed video. The video explains how coral reef fish reproduce, grow, and survive. Through the video viewers can also learn about how new research is changing marine scientists' understanding of some aspects of the geographical distribution of coral reef fish.
If you liked the video you really need to check out the page containing the accompanying questions found on the TED-Ed site. Instead of just asking "did you pay attention?" types of questions, the first three questions ask students to think and use the information they just heard. Don't forget to keep Ted-Ed in mind as you are building your flipped and blended lessons. Although research says most recordings you do for students should be you-their familiar teacher-it does not hurt every once in a while to pull in a "guest video!"
9-3 Today is World Blue Shirt Day. to remind everyone to stand up against bullying. Bullying is ongoing and purposeful behavior that is intended to make another person hurt, embarrassed, angry or shunned by others. Although 49 out of 50 states have laws against bullying there is not yet a federal law against bullying. I would insert a "snarkly" comment about our legislators here but it mey get perceived as bullying so I will remain quiet. In the meantime, at least we can bring awareness to our students.
9-4 is World Animal Day! World Animal Day is a social movement charged with the Mission of raising the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe.
9-5 Let's celebrate teachers! Today is World Teachers' Day. World Teachers' Day, held annually on October 5 since 1994, commemorates teacher organizations worldwide. Its aim is to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers
9-6 is Mad Hatter's Day! In 1986 some computer-folk in Boulder, CO celebrated a general day of silliness, inspired by the drawings of the Mad Hatter by John Tenniel in Alice In Wonderland. It was announced that year on computer networks, becoming more popular as people realized its value. n 1988 it was first recognized as an official holiday and received its first national press coverage.
9-7 is World Smile Day. What a great way to end the work week. World Smile Day is celebrated on the first Friday in the month of October every year. The idea of World Smile Day was coined and initiated by Harvey Ball.
Hi, my name is Melanie Lewis. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Amherst County Public Schools, located in the beautiful state of Virginia. I LOVE my job! I get to work on my hobby, anything that has to do with computers. I get to work with teachers and students, and I am definitely a people person. Plus, I DO NOT have to give grades. Wonderful, huh? Let me know how I can help you better integrate technology into your classroom.
ACPS' 1st computers
I know only one thing about the technology that awaits us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with it. ~Jason Ohler