Speed Dating – Technology Style

About a month ago Tami Lenker, Blythewood HS Technology & Learning Coach (and former colleague), asked me to be part of their Speed Dating. Um…really?! Then she explained it was Technology Style. OHHHH!

Tami had her entire staff split into 4 large groups. These groups were then divided further into 6 small groups. They rotated to 6 different presenters who wowed them in 4 minutes. That’s a total of 20 different presentations going on at the same time! Genius! [Richland 2 blog recap]

I participated via a Google Hangout. It worked incredibly well and was a lot of fun!

my screenAfterwards I recorded my session and gave them some additional info I couldn’t get into 4 minutes. Enjoy!

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Advice needed for Technology Coaches

In February, my husband and I were hired as Technology Coaches at an international school going 1:1 this fall with iPads. This position was a brand new position and we were told we were hired because of our experiences working in 1:1 environments and giving PD. We found out a couple months later that they had hired a 3rd coach to work with us (no longer would we be working as a husband-wife team, but with another person whom we had never met). Upon arrival in August, we found out that the three of us would be working as a K-12 team (our school has about 1800 students and is divided into divisions – elementary, middle, high). We are excited about this new venture, but are in need of all the help we can get in order to be successful. As a team, the three of us came up with the following job description….

The primary role of the technology coach is to collaborate with teachers in order to
integrate technology in a meaningful and effective way in their classrooms. Responsibilities may include:
– assisting teachers in lesson planning regarding the integration of technology in ways
that support teacher goals and further student achievement.
– facilitating school-based high-quality professional development across all grade levels
(prek-12) and subject areas.
– meeting and working with teachers in teams or individually on an ongoing basis to refine
 their knowledge and skills. Examples include in-class coaching, peer observing,
and/or modeling of instructional strategies.

It is up to the three of us to make the K-12 vision of the admin a successful reality. If you have experience as a Technology Integration Coach (or a similar title), working as a K-12 team of teachers…or any other relevant expertise, please share below!

MANY MANY MANY THANKS!

Super Quick Tip – #Chromebooks

My senior grades are due tomorrow so I’m rushing to get everything done since I’m a professional procrastinator 🙂

BUT we’ve been using our Chromebooks in class a lot and I’ve been using a classroom management technique from my instructional technology specialist. It’s a no-brainer and when I heard about it I said…duh! But I wanted to share anyways!

We’ve been watching Imparfait (imperfect) tutorials made by the students with our class set of iPods. I have students grab their Chromebook, open the google form that I emailed them and close their Chromebooks. When their Chromebooks are closed, we watch a video. After the short tutorial, they open their books back up (takes seconds!!) and fill out the survey. And we do it all over again.

The classroom management key to so many of my lesson plans lately has been the opening and closing of the Chromebook lid. I know for a fact that students aren’t doing anything they shouldn’t be doing. And they can signal to me when they are ready to move on. This strategy might also work with laptops but the speed of the Chromebooks is phenomenal for it.

How I used #Chromebooks in the classroom today

In my next life I’ll be better at planning my lessons ahead of time (also at blogging regularly). I’ve found that in my teaching life I think on my feet way better than I think in advance. Today was a perfect example!

I was planning on having my French 2 year long class rewrite a present tense story using the imperfect tense (imparfait). Then we’d put the new verbs on the board and talk about what was happening in the story. I was also planning on introducing how/when to use imparfait in a new way & show some videos from my previous classes.

HOWEVER, as my students were working on their bellwork, I realized how long it was taking them and how difficult it was proving to be for them.

Text of story…
C’est une nuit de décembre. Il fait froid. Il neige. Nous sommes deux dans la voiture – ma sœur Lucienne et moi. Mais la voiture ne marche pas. Nous n’avons plus d’essence (gas). Au bord de la route, il y a une vielle femme. Elle a les cheveux blancs et son cou est très long. Elle promène un chien et elle chante très fort. Ma sœur et moi la trouvons un peu bizarre.]

On the spot I made a google form (while they were finishing).

I had students grab their Chromebooks. First I needed them to download a new Chrome extension that my ITS found. It’s genius for math or world language teachers! (I took this picture after I wrote the directions for my block classes – I do this often…write something on the whiteboard, snap a picture with my iPod touch and use it later or share it with students!).

I then had students check their email (I almost always email forms to students so that it shows up right in their email instead of giving them the link…saves steps and is much easier to explain!). As you can see in the form above, I broke the paragraph down into sentences so they could more easily find the 12 verbs to conjugate. I also chose to automatically collect students’ email addresses so that they would receive their responses. (Note: I realized today that students have no idea how to find verbs in sentences. My English teacher next-door neighbor assured me this is the case in English too!)

After all the students submitted their answers, I downloaded the Flubaroo script, ran it and graded the assignment (see website for tutorial & video…super easy!). I opted to have Flubaroo send the students their grades. Tonight’s homework is to use their responses & and their grade to correct their answers.

Tomorrow in class I will share the results of the form with students so that everyone can see on their personal Chromebook (I created gmail groups for each class so that it is easy to share & email gdocs). This is what students will see…

Obviously I don’t want students to see who submitted the responses. So I have hidden the columns with student info (right click on column heading, select ‘hide column’). I also hid the Flubaroo spreadsheet. I didn’t want to delete this information because I still need it! Tomorrow I want students to quickly be able to see which answers are completely correct, which ones would have received partial credit (had this been a formal assessment) and which ones were completely wrong. In order to do this, I used conditional formatting to identify the correct answers in pink. I did have to go through by hand and change the almost correct answers to blue. Anything in black is wrong. Depressing huh?

It wasn’t until today that I realized the power of having students use google forms to submit responses and then share the spreadsheet with them so that they could see others’ responses and we could talk about them. I’m excited for the possibilities!

#RVKony Day 2 w/ @Invisible Roadies @ICDeepSouth #KONY2012

Whew! Day 1 was a great success (in my humble opinion)! My students stayed on task and made some great comments on their articles. They loved being able to annotate a document at the same time and thought it was the coolest thing that they could see what their partner was doing to the document in real time. One of my biggest challenges for Day 2 was finding an online platform for my students to discuss what they read and #Kony2012. This proved to be quite difficult! Chatzy is blocked with no hope of becoming unblocked. I didn’t want anything complicated that students had to “learn” (left out edmodo, Campfire, etc.). I also needed something that identified them and that I could moderate (left out TodaysMeet, etc). One of the ITS at another high school in my district suggested Google Groups. Since we are a Google Apps for Education district, I took this idea and ran with it!

1. When students walked into the classroom on Friday I had these instructions on the board…

2. Students in the outside circle had these directions waiting in their email…

3. In addition, if students in the outside circle expressed an interest (on their survey) of tweeting, they also had these instructions…

4. Students on the inside circle discussed the Kony 2012 video, Invisible Children, the articles they read and their thoughts & opinions on those issues out loud. I moderated this discussion if needed (although one of my classes did so well I barely said a word :)).

5. Students on the outside circle weren’t allowed to say anything out loud…they expressed all of their opinions on the discussion board and Twitter while listening to the inside circle. I embedded both the discussion board and the #RVKony TweetChat into a google site, however the students were having trouble viewing them. That’s when I added the link at the bottom of the page so that students could go independently to the google group.

6. While all students were discussing in both circles (out loud and online), I had the TweetChat on the board so all students could see what was being said on Twitter.

The day went incredibly well and I was extremely proud of my students! One discussion got quite heated while another one went so smoothly I barely had to say a word. A couple highlights from the day..
*my 3d period only participated in the online discussion because we were watching the Kony 2012 video in the gym with the Invisible Children Roadies (Deep South team).
*we were lucky enough to have Laura (from IC) come spend time with my 5th period class. She sat in the inner circle and joined the discussion. It was an amazing asset to have her there with us! (and she was impressed by how well read the students were!) In the future, it would be great to have a Roadie with each class, if possible.
*a couple other teachers/classes in the school participated in the online discussion. I tried to get the word out (sent an email about FREE lesson plans!) but it didn’t catch on quite as well as I would have liked. But this project could definitely become a larger school project with time.
*one of my students chose to come back to my class for the last period of the day and help us tweet out what students were saying (on discussion board and in class). He struggles in French, however something about this issue connected with him. He was planning on skipping and going home, however I convinced him to come to my class and help out with Twitter.

I encouraged my students to create their own opinions from the information. I didn’t care if they agreed or disagreed with Invisible Children & Kony 2012, I just wanted them to have an educated reason for what they thought. If you want more information, here are some of the resources I gathered.

This week was one of those weeks were I love being a teacher. Educating students about current events, encouraging them to think and create their own opinions, getting them involved in a REAL discussion and seeing how much they care…priceless. 🙂

#RVKony Day 1 lesson plans…simplified

1. I found articles and information pertaining to Invisible Children and Kony 2012.

2. I converted each article to a pdf using online-convert (thanks to Richard Byrne!). I uploaded each document to Crocodoc (thanks to Jeff Layman!) so that my pairs could analyze the article together.

3. Students took this survey before class.

4. I paired students and assigned them articles based on who they did (or did not) want to work with, how much they knew about the issues and their strengths and weaknesses as students. Each pair received a different article.

5. I created a google doc with the instructions for day 1. I made a copy for each pair and shared it with only those 2 students. The only thing that changed between each document was the link to their article (HERE).

6. I gave students one 45 minute period to work with their partner and get ready for the discussion that will take place tomorrow. More info on those details coming soon!

Participate in the discussion tomorrow! #RVKony

#KONY2012 is coming to us! #RVKony

Today is a day I love being a teacher! I’m so excited and have so many ideas in my head right now I just need to get them out there. Hopefully this will also help get people involved so that these ideas turn into something real for my students and everyone involved! Update: Thanks to everyone who has read my ramblings! I have a pretty good plan laid out now…check below!

This Friday (only 2 days away!) is the last day before Spring Break and the 5th annual visit from Invisible Children. I first learned about IC when the “Roadies” came during my 1st year teaching (spring 2010). This encounter inspired my husband and I to donate on a monthly basis to the Legacy Scholarship Fund. I’ve kept up with IC but our donation is directly debited and I don’t have to “do” a whole lot. When I watched the Kony 2012 video that has created so much controversy throughout the last month, my passion was reignited. I want to help my students get educated, care about something and DO something about it. This Friday, I know my students hearts and brains aren’t going to be into learning French (Spring Break!!!), so I want to get them educated about what’s going on in the world and help them form opinions concerning a real-world topic (whether they agree with me or not). Here’s my plan:

*Thursday I will be pairing up my students (update: here is the survey I gave them today). I will then be giving each pair an article to read and discuss (links to come). The articles will range from very positive to very negative to neutral to purely informational (on my way to finding & sharing lots of info). Since I’m teaching in a 1:1 classroom, I want the students to be able to collaborate together online (and not print off hundreds of articles). Update: Right now I’m planning on either using google docs (document for each article, share w/ students, they collaborate) or crocodoc. Still playing around! I am still figuring out exactly how to have my students do this in part while using our Chromebooks. Ideas welcome!!!

*On Friday most of my classes will be “discussing” what they’ve read. Each pair will be split up into two groups. One group will be the inside circle and will be discussing their opinions out loud. I want to allow them to share what they read/learned and the opinions they formed but I also want to have guiding questions in case the discussion stalls. The second group will be the outside circle. These students will be using Chromebooks to converse through a back channel. Because Twitter is not reliable at my school (https is blocked), I am experimenting with different websites. Right now I’m probably going to be using a premium room on Chatzy.com (update: no I won’t! It is blocked at our school and won’t be unblocked). I love the simplicity & look of TodaysMeet, but don’t want my students to have so much freedom and anonymity. I don’t want them to have to learn a whole new platform, it needs to be simple and fast! I will be moderating both the spoken and online discussion. Any other ideas for discussion rooms that can be moderated? Update: Adobe Connect doesn’t work with Chromebooks. Tweetchat is blocked too. Campfire is currently looking like the best alternative but I’m not the biggest fan. Even newer update: Thanks to some wonderful people in my district, I created a google group. This group has a discussion board (not a chat room). Students will be able to create topics and reply to each other. I then created a google site (only viewable if logged into the district domain) and embedded the discussion group. Right now I’m working on finding a way to embed the Twitter discussion into the site (#RVKony). Things I’ve tried – direct from Twitter, Hootsuite, FeedBurner.

*ONE of the things I’m really excited about is my 3rd period. The IC Roadies will be with us the entire period so we won’t have time for the normal discussion. However, my class has been given permission to bring our Chromebooks to the presentation. Which means they’ll be able to have a live online discussion while they are watching the Kony 2012 video for the first time (!!!!).

*Where I get even more excited is all the possibilities!! Here are just a couple of things I’ve thought of…
-other classes in the school can join our back channel chat room and discuss the issue in real time…even though they are in different classrooms (now if I can just get some other teachers on board. Update: I have at least 1 other teacher who is willing to try and sent an email to our entire staff.).
-while each class is discussing (aloud and online), I’d like to designate a couple students to use their phones to tweet out using #RVKony. This way what is happening in our classroom will also be a discussion with other people around the world. However I need a way for my students to see the Twitter discussion without using Twitter. Any ideas for how to search & view hashtags (w/out Twitter)? Update: Thanks to a friend on Facebook… hashtags.org and tweetchat.com (tweetchat is blocked for our school, hashtags is not). Newer update: Still figuring out how to embed into my google site (hosted by my district). See above for details.
-I want to get the word out NOW, not after the fact. I want my students to participate in a discussion with their peers and people around the world (#RVKony). I want them to realize that the world is bigger than them, bigger than our school, bigger than our city. Please share with anyone and everyone! The more people that participate in the #RVKony discussion on Friday (9am-3:30pm), the more meaningful it becomes.

These are my rough ideas and I don’t have much time to throw it all together. But it’s not the morning of and I’m confident that everything will come together!