My Summer with Edmodo

For those that don’t know Edmodo is a Learning Management System (LMS) that looks like Facebook. In my opinion Edmodo is a LMS that is geared more towards a K-12 audience than a higher education audience. In a lot of aspects Edmodo seems more like a social media tool than a Learning Management System due to its interactive setup and visual appearance. Make no mistake though, Edmodo is one powerful educational tool.

Prior to 2014 I had periodically played around with Edmodo, using it sporadically inside my classroom. Then, EdmodoCon 2014 happened and I grew more and more involved with Edmodo after hearing about all the wonderful things students and teachers can do with Edmodo.

Then I received an e-mail earlier this year asking me to become an ambassador for Edmodo. I agreed and have been very happy with my decision. I am now actively helping my peers within the Edmodo community with any questions they may have and vice versa. I’m providing resources to my peers and offering feedback to those resources my peers post within the Spotlight section of Edmodo. My involvement with helping out on Edmodo has also made me a Luminary, which according to information at EdmodoCon 2015 will result in me receiving a cape [to show off my Super Edmodo Skills I’m sure].

Additionally, this opportunity has allowed me to connect with even more of my peers on Edmodo through the various challenges Edmodo has for its ambassadors to complete, through its Teacher Leader Network. We can connect on Facebook, Twitter, etc. due to setting up our Edmodo accounts to link to our social media.

I can’t wait to turn my enjoyable summer with Edmodo into continued and prolonged usage of the amazing Learning Management System and encourage you to do so as well.


Back to School Basics: Gooooooaaaaaaaallllllll!

With the gusto of soccer announcer Andrés Cantor, you need to celebrate your goals. Well, maybe before we start dancing in the streets, let’s back up a second and think about your goals. Sure, you can come up with all sorts of lofty goals as to why you’re a teacher: I want to impact the future. I want to be the reason a child becomes great. I want to create lifelong learners. That fluff-stuff is for your Philosophy of Education that you have to submit with your resume to get the job. But, now you’re hired, here, and ready to start off a new school year that may include new faces or new places.

In Teach, Reflect, Learn, Hall and Simeral (2015, ASCD) argue, “With so many professional responsibilities determined for us in education […], it is essential to our continued growth – not to mention our sanity – to have some semblance of ownership over our own development.” Do you even know what you want to do beyond pure survival? Setting goals outside of curriculum maps and mastery levels can keep you focused on your mission to, as Ghandi so eloquently put it, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” or whatever quote you pulled into your philosophy statement back in college.

Set one attainable goal in each of these areas outside of academics: student social-emotional well-being, professional practice, and personal balance. Here are some reflection questions to get you through goal setting:

Student Social-Emotional Well-Being

  • How will I make time to get to know my students?
  • How will I establish my room as a safe place for students both physically and emotionally?
  • What can I do to show students that I care?
  • What normative beliefs can I promote for respect, integrity, and kindness?
  • Research shows that one caring adult makes a big difference in the success of a child. How will I be that adult for a child who needs me?

Professional Practice

  • What topics do I want to attend training on?
  • Do I want to further my education and seek another degree or certification?
  • What new skill do I want to try? How will I learn the skill, observe the skill, or try the skill?
  • What professional books do I want to read?
  • Can I access a peer coach, instructional partner, or mentoring teacher?
  • What Professional Learning Communities do I have access to within my school or district?
  • How can I connect with other education professionals on social media?

Personal Balance

  • What projects around the house do I want to complete?
  • Do I have any fitness goals that I can work towards?
  • Is there a vacation that I am longing for?
  • How will I make time for my family and friends?
  • What limits will I set to not overwhelm myself with work while I am at home?

Remember, set goals that you can reach. They can small goals, such as, “Paint the bathroom over Fall Break” or tall goals, “Enroll in a Master’s program at a local university.”  Either way, you have to have a plan for reaching them. You can download many goal templates (I’m a fan of the SMART plan: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) or simply write your goal on a sticky note. Choose what you are working for, and then go out there and get it. Pick a reward that you will celebrate with – even if it’s just jumping up and down in your classroom and screaming at the top of your lungs, “GOOOOOoooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!”

Back to School Basics: Don’t Recreate the Wheel

I can’t tell you how many times I recreated the wheel as a teacher. I’d spend hours developing a worksheet, or labor over making sure I had all of the information for a form and then a colleague would say, “Oh I could have sent you one that I use!” or I see a teacher-friend on social media post a link to an online resource that was exactly what I needed. It’s frustrating to be sure. So, before you take your precious time to create a resource that already exists… check with the teacher next door, ask your friends, or look online. Make a pledge to yourself that this is the year you become more efficient and make use of your amazing colleagues who have blazed the trails before you.

If you school doesn’t already provide you with tracking forms, lessson plan templates, or conference planners, I’m sharing with you here some amazing, FREE options that are available online. The best part – these are forms that you can type directly into.

  • Student Tracking Forms: With daily, weekly, or class period options in addition to a completely blank form for you to customize, you can easily track everything from attendance to homework to lunch orders.
  • Lesson Plan Templates: Includes 6 format options: Snapshot Lesson Plan, Weekly Lesson Plan, Traditional Lesson Plan, Self-Contained Classroom Daily Plan, Thematic Planner, Unit Planner
  • Parent Conference Planners: Six different planning templates to help prepare for parent-teacher conferences: Traditional Parent Teacher Conference,  Referral for Student Services Conference, Portfolio Review Conference, Student-led Conference (teacher planner), Student-led Conference (student planner), and Parent Planner

Looking for something more specific? There are thousands of amazing teacher-created materials out there online – and many of them are free! Here are some excellent sources that I check when looking for resources:

P.S. While you’re browsing those resources, you may start thinking to yourself, “Hey, I have great lessons of my own!” Why not take some time to format the lessons and create your own shop on one or more of these sites. Don’t be intimidated – you don’t need hundreds of lessons (although you certainly go that route if you’re inclined).  Personally, with 21 products in shops on Syllabuy and Teachers Pay Teachers, I earned about $500 last year. That was enough to take the family on a weekend getaway – just by sharing things I had already created for my own use! So, while you’re looking to avoid recreating the wheel in your classroom and saving yourself some time – why not get your ideas out there and do the same for someone else… and make a little cash too.

Back to School Basics: Proceed to Create Procedures

Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting some basic tips for getting your new school year off to a great start. We’ll get this party started with talking about procedures.

A colleague of mine once told me the first two weeks of school in my classroom was like attending bootcamp. I drilled my class on the proper procedures on everything from entering the classroom to throwing away garbage. There was a procedure for clean-up and a very specific procedure for morning meeting. However, after these first few intense weeks of learning routine, my classroom was a well-oiled machine. My substitute teacher plans did not have to be so detailed because even my 4 year old students could run the day on their own. It was only content and thematic elements that the sub needed to plug in. The First Days of School by Harry Wong, a text revered by many teachers, extols the glories of well-thought out procedures as does many other great texts on classroom management.

For those of you who aren’t a drill sergeant or a severe type-A control freak naturally graced by the ability to carefully plan every anticipated outcome and construct a seamless flow of behaviors, here’s a quick series of questions you can ask yourself to establish effective procedures in your classroom.

  1. What day-to-do routine behaviors are carried out in my classroom?
  2. What is the ideal outcome of each behavior?
  3. What are the particular steps to achieve this outcome?
  4. What do I need to do to prepare or have available?
  5. What are the specific expectations of the students?

Once you have determined what procedures you want to put in place, take the time to thoroughly explain the expectations to your students. Model the proper procedure, and don’t forget to give the students a practice run! Repeat the expectations aloud as they are practicing. The more they hear, see, and do, the sooner it will become second nature. In time, your classroom will be more efficient and your students will be more responsible as they master procedures and meet expectations.

Recommended books which address setting up procedures:

  • The First Days of School by: Harry Wong
  • Tools for Teaching by: Fred Jones
  • Skills Streaming Series by: Ellen McGinnis and Arnold P. Goldstein
  • What Great Teachers Do Differently: 14 Things That Matter Most by: Todd Whitaker

Should Grammarly Be Used to Grade English Assignments?

During my MeD program at Bowling Green State University there were a number of courses that placed emphasis on grading in the same manner that an English professor or teacher would on writing assignments. Since none of these individuals were actually qualified to do so with the same eye an English professor or teacher would they turned to Grammarly, a paid tool for reviewing writing. I once asked why they use Grammarly and the response was simply that “everyone else does.”

In my experiences with these professors using Grammarly, the review Grammarly provided DID NOT match that of a trained English teacher on any occurrence. Grammarly seemed to be a tool used as a quick solution to those with limited proofreading and reviewing skills. It was like TurnItIn, which is an easy and quick way to check for plagiarism.

So the assumption is that Grammarly may be used by some graduate professors, but should it be used to grade English assignments?

Based on seeing the product in action I think it should only be used as a supplemental tool when grading English assignments. For example, you may miss something simple if you are grading late at night and Grammarly may catch it for you. This is solely based on my experience that the review Grammarly provided didn’t match the review of a skilled English professor or teacher.

With that said Grammarly can also be used as a supplemental tool for all educators, but bear in mind if you’re grading for punctuation, grammar, etc. to only use Grammarly’s findings as part of your grading. Feel free to try Grammarly today and be your own judge.


Free & Quick Proofreading from Grammarly!

Bring Augmented Reality to Your Class with the Help of PledgeCents….

Bring Augmented Reality to Your Class with the Help of PledgeCents….

I’ve been sharing with teachers from all over how the power of augmented reality can transform learning.  In order to help teachers seize this power I set out on a quest to find ways I could help them obtain augmented content/curriculum for their classroom and my search led me to PledgeCents.  Similar to DonorsChoose, PledgeCents is a type of crowdfunding that has come up with an innovated solution to help teachers obtain the needed funds to bring tools, supplies, & resources such as augmented reality content/curriculum to their students.  They can even help with obtaining funds to send teachers to conferences such as ISTE.

Harnessing the power of social media PledgeCents is connecting teachers’ causes with global supporters. Their only goal is to provide better education for children all over the world. PledgeCents is focused on providing an alternative means of school fundraising that goes beyond the limitations of conventional fundraising methods, and is investing in teachers and schools.  They are made up of a team of advocates who have a passion for making a difference in a life of a student.

The need of teachers come in all sizes such as obtaining augmented content, iPads, school supplies, and etc… They will help teachers with their causes through matching opportunities, helping find global supporters, and sharing via social media. One of the matching opportunities is through Facebook Likes and sharing. For example for every Facebook like pledges a $1 towards the cause. They will help you with your cause to make it a successful one. What I really like about PledgeCents is that even if the teacher doesn’t reach their goal for their cause the teacher will still receive what the cause raised. They get to keep what they raised no matter what! There is no list of approved items the teacher has to pick from for their cause, they receive the funds to get what they need. PledgeCents believes that teachers know best on the items that they need and where best to get what they need.

When it comes to setting up your cause they do have some very helpful tips, visit their 7 Steps to Success page.  Make sure you include pictures and video clips on your cause page.  This really does help make your cause real to supporters. Be creative, give lots of details about your cause, and come up with a very catchy name for your cause.  If you need a 360° trigger for your cause page feel free to contact me and I can set you up with one. Show supporters how you are bringing learning to life as well as bringing the world to your students through augmented reality.  I can envision causes with titles such as Bringing Learning to Life, Seeing a Different Kind of Reality, iOpen the World, and etc…

Augmented Reality Causes Ideas:

  • 4 iPad Minis, 4 iPad Mini Cases, & AugThat’s 360° Environment Triggers, AugThat’s 3D Triggers, & Your Class Level of Animated Lessons
  • 2 iPad Minis, 2 iPad Minis Cases, & AugThat’s Interactive Kindergarten Flashcards by Katie Ann, & AugThat’s Virtual Field Trips
  • A School Site Lessons for all of AugThat’s Content & a Teach Connect account for all Teachers

What ever your Augmented Reality Cause by PledgeCents may be AugThat’s sales team would love to help put Augmented Reality Curriculum together to fit your students’ needs.

AugThat would also like to help you reach your goal and get AR in your classroom, so any cause that includes augmented content from AugThat your school will receive a Free Pipeline account.  The Pipeline is when you add augmented content to your school’s logo or mascot.  The augmented content can be the school’s website, calendar, an intro video about the school, a message from the principal and etc… The school can change the augmented content monthly if needed.  AugThat would also like to give 100 3D augmented objects as well to help grow your augmented content library.  If you tell AugThat I sent you as well you will also receive a DISCOUNT! I am also working on getting teachers other types of augmented content, so stay tuned I hope I can help grow your augmented library even more.

Here are some examples of causes by PledgeCents:

For back to school PledgeCents is having a competition a #SchoolSupplied competition. The top 3 schools that participate in this competition will receive school supplies.  The winners will pick from a listed of basic school supplies and PledgeCents will deliver them.  This is a win … win situation.  Teachers submit a cause share it out via social media and earn points towards the #SchoolSupplied Competition. The school then could win up to $1000 worth of much needed school supplies. Below are more details about the competition and how to earn points.

When you set up your account for PledgeCents please enter my referral code kwilson328 so that they know I sent you.  The competition ends Sept. 30th so get busy and start creating a cause.  When you share your cause make sure you use the hashtag #SchoolSupplied then tag me @katieann_76 so I can help promote your cause and get it funded as well as getting you points for the competition.  The more we all share the better your cause will reach its goal.  Oh and I almost forgot if your cause goes beyond your goal you get all you raised.  Together we can make a difference and because every cent does counts!

#SchoolSupplied Competition:

Top 3 schools with the most points between Aug 3rd – Sept 30th will win #SchoolSupplied Prizes.

  • 1st Place = $1,000 worth of school supplies
  • 2nd Place = $750 worth of school supplies
  • 3rd Place = $500 worth school supplies

The winning schools will get to choose their school supplies upon completion of the contest.

You earn points by:

  • Dollar Raised: 5 points
  • Facebook Share: 10 points
  • Cause Created: 20 points
  • Every $500 Raised by your school (BONUS): 200 points
  • Reach Your Goal: 100 points

More details/FAQ about the competition please visit – https//www.pledgecents.com/schoolsupplied

WHY USE AR CHALLENGES …. THE SERIES …. PART 3

Why Use Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Why Use Augmented Reality in the Classroom

I get asked a lot why should teachers use augmented reality in their classroom.  Augmented reality is not a new concept, in fact it has been in use in a wide range of industries for over 10 years. It took a dreamer who developed interactive coloring sheets and flashcards that popped out 3 dimensional objects geared towards kids before teachers even thought this tool was even useful.  Some professionals still even think it is just a toy. Crayons, Legos, Tinker Toys, Candyland, and dice are all toys and you can find them in most elementary classrooms. Kids learn best when they play, it is a proven fact.  Which is why teachers and parents turn toys into engaging tools.  When you are actively engaged you are learning.

 

Using augmented items in the classroom engages students beyond a worksheet, textbook, or even a video, and opens the door to endless possibilities.  Boeing even announced during the AWE 2015 conference that augmented reality improved training for its employees.  The employees did the task 30% faster with a 90% accuracy over the employees that only were allowed to read a PDF.  Augmented reality is even being used in operating rooms to monitor patients. Workers on oil rigs even use augmented reality to help service the rigs.  The military uses augmented goggles to receive important information in the field.

So when I am asked why should augmented reality be used in classrooms the answer is clear.  The use of augmented reality in classrooms prepares our children for their future today.

There are many companies that have seen the impact augmented reality has and are developing their own tool to stake claim in the land of AR so to speak.  Everyone has different needs so the tool or tools you decide to equip yourself with will depend on your needs.  Quiver, Color Alive, and Chromville have some pretty cool interactive augmented coloring. I use the pages as writing prompts with my students. I also use these pages to help teach students how to revise their writing.  If you are new to using augmented contented the coloring pages would be the avenue I would take to get started. There is also the tortoise and hare coloring pages from Arloon.

Daqri has also developed a few augmented tools such as their 4D Elements blocks and their 4D anatomy both are great if that is the content you teach.  Kids love holding the gold block and watching compounds come together.  I even used the 4D anatomy to show how a heart valve works.

For me it is about creating my own augmented content. There are a few companies that allow you to create such as Layar, Blippar, Daqri, Aurasuma, and Aug That. Each ones has their own platform and what they specialize in. When you are picking out a pair of shoes, you are going to with a pair you feel comfortable with. Same idea when picking out a company you want to use to create augmented content.  I suggest you try them all out and get a feel for them.  Then use the company that best fits your needs. Each one of use has different needs and different comfort levels.

Daqri’s platform as well as Layar and Blipper will allow you to copy, paste, and insert digital content.  Unless you blog or share your creation in some way no one is going to know what you have created.  For me I love to share and create content for others. I find it a challenge and a reward at the same time, so I needed a platform that would allow me to do just that.

Adam Newman the Founder of Aug That also had the same idea. Teachers make the most amazing and engaging activities and they need a place to share with one another, so he developed the Teach Connect. Teachers can send the trigger image to Aug That along with the augmented elements and his staff will do their magic and create the augmented experience.  The reason for his staff creating the augmented experiences is one to make sure the content is safe for kids. The other reason is to make sure each and every time your trigger gets scanned your intended content is what is received.  They also want to make sure your trigger is a scannable trigger. Nothing is more frustrating than putting all your time into something and it doesn’t work.

What I love best about Teach Connect is the sharing.  It is a community built for teachers and soon there will also be one for students. If you are needing an engaging activity on DNA to either enhance a lesson or as a introduction you can go to the Teach Connect and download it.  It is already for you and your students to use.  The community is constantly growing so I am sure there is an augmented lesson or activity just waiting for you.

Aug That not only has the Teach Connect they also have tons of augmented animated lessons already made along with tons of 360 degree environments and 3D models. They are expanding their augmented curriculum and services, I can’t wait to see where they go.  I love how they have really built their company with the focus of education at all levels.  They are not in the field of marketing or making toys, they are solely in it for education.

 

Why use augmented reality in the classroom, because we are preparing our students for their future today.

~ Katie Ann Wilson

What are You Doing with the Last 5?

What are you doing with the last five? What I mean is – what are you doing with the last five minutes of class? Have you ever thought about the consequences of wasting five minutes a day? You lose 25 minutes of instruction per week, two class periods a month, and eighteen class periods a year.

This is the perfect time to utilize formative assessment tools to gauge student understanding and help make decisions about tomorrow’s instruction. Here are three ways you can better utilize the last five minutes of class:

#1: Correcting: Where am I?

In other words, this is the perfect time to gather feedback, correct mistakes and address misconceptions. Knowing what students understand and do not understand is extremely important in preparing the next day’s lesson. Here are some ideas on how you can use assessment tools to see where students are in their understanding:

Socrative is an excellent formative assessment tool to gather student feedback to correct mistakes and address misconceptions. Students can participate on any device, which makes it extremely flexible for 1:1 environments. Not only are you able to create pre-made quizzes, but Socrative has an Exit Ticket feature that requires very little effort on your part. The best part is that all data from Socrative is saved and accessible in web, Excel, or PDF formats.

What if students do not have access to devices? If you are like many teachers, you probably have access to a Smartphone. Why not use Plickers? Plickers stands for “paper clickers.” Teachers simply download the App to their Smart device and print out QR code cards for students to use to answer multiple choice questions. Students position their cards according to their answer, while the teacher scans the room with their mobile device.

#2: Summarizing: Where Have I Been?

Students need to be able to share the main ideas and key points of what they learned; however, we often forget to have our students take a few moments to summarize what they have learned. According to Reif (1993), students remember 70% of what they say and 90% of what they do. The last five minutes of class is a perfect time to get students saying and talking about what they learned.

Think about the power of technology and how it allows students to demonstrate their understanding in various ways. Several months ago, I was inspired by Fox’s new television station called Fox Sports 1, which is very similar to ESPN. At the bottom of the station’s screen are your typical news briefs in the sports world; however, I was drawn to one of the briefs titled “3 Things You Should Know.” I thought this was the perfect idea to use in class.

I had my students use Movenote to create presentations on “3 Things You Should Know From Class Today.” If you are not familiar with this tool, it is an interactive presentation tool. You can upload pictures as visuals, while you explain it through video from your webcam. It can be easily shared and provides students with a way to share what they understand. Students can create and share their Movenotes, which could be posted and shared with other classmates via a class website, blog, or LMS.

#3: Reflecting: Where am I Going?

Reflection is an essential element of learning; however, we often forget about having our students reflect on their learning because there is never enough time. Investing just five minutes at the end of class is an important chance for students to connect the dots and see where their learning is headed.

We must keep in mind that the way students learn and reflect is as different as their fingerprint; therefore, providing students with options to reflect is important. Here are some of my favorite reflection tools:

  • Penzu is a web-based journal, where students can write their reflections and thoughts. It can be password protected and easily shared.
  • AudioBoom is a free podcasting platform, where users can create free mini-podcasts called “boo’s.” This is perfect for the student who may struggle with getting their thoughts to paper.
  • See Saw is an excellent digital portfolio tool for students to share their thoughts through writing, recording, and images. This tool provides students with the flexibility to be creative, while still reflecting on their learning.

Conclusion:

In order to better utilize the last five minutes of class, it is essential that we connect today’s learning with tomorrow’s lesson through formative assessments. We can help students understand where they are at, where they have been, and where they are going. Formative assessments provide students with the roadmap to successful learning. Not only are students better prepared for learning, but teachers gain more class time and cover more content. The best part is that it takes only five minutes a day.

About Matt:

Matt Bergman is a former classroom teacher with over twelve years of experience working in public and private schools. He is currently a technology integration coach at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA. Matt shares his ideas on technology integration and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) through his blog called Learn-Lead-Grow.

Why Use AR Challenge …. Part 2…

Why Use AR Challenge … Part 2…

Using augmented triggers that are already made not only saves you time but adds enhancement to your lesson without changing the learning objective. For part two of the Why use AR series we will use two pre-made augmented triggers.

Describe the Photo

Look at the pictures below and answer the following questions:

  • As you are describing what is happening in the photo use where it is happen. For example – on the left, in the middle, behind and etc….
  • Use present conditions – What are they doing? and etc…
  • What is the weather like?
  • Is the location inside or outside?
  • Use adjectives to explain the mood of the setting?
  • How does this image make you feel?
  • Would you like to be there? Why or Why not?
Now take a look at the second photo and answer the same questions.

Comparing:
Looking at the two photographs what do you see that is similar and what is different. Use the following vocabulary to to describe the similarities and the differences.

Similar: all, most, both, also, as well, & too
Different: but, however, whereas, on the other hand, & although

Speculate:
Speculate the situation and use words to describe such as: use may, might, must, can’t be, seems to, & appears to be.

Your Reaction:
Give your reaction to the photographs and use words such as: I’d love, hate to do that, It looks great, it appears to be dangerous, It makes me want to try, & It wouldn’t suit me.

Adding AR:

You are going to ask the same questions but this time instead of just looking at the two images you are going to explore them. The app you will need is (STAR by Aug That) Supreme Tutoring Augmented Reality.

Steps to Explore:

  • Launch the app
  • Click Start Lesson
  • Click 360° – Panorama
  • Scan the 1st image with you device
  • Once the AR experience is loaded walk around the room.
  • Using your device to look up, look down, and look all around.
  • Describe the Experience
Explore the 360° environment and answer the following questions:

  • As you are describing what is happening in the around you? For example – on the left, in the middle, behind and etc….
  • Use present conditions – What are they doing? and etc…
  • What is the weather like?
  • Is the location inside or outside?
  • Use adjectives to explain the mood of the setting?
  • How does this image make you feel?
  • Would you like to be there? Why or Why not?

Now experience the 2nd image and answer the same questions.

Comparing:
Now that you experienced the two environments what do you see that is similar and what is different. Use the following vocabulary to to describe the similarities and the differences.

Similar: all, most, both, also, as well, & too
Different: but, however, whereas, on the other hand, & although

Speculate:
Speculate the situation and use words to describe such as: use may, might, must, can’t be, seems to, & appears to be.

Your Reaction:
Give your reaction to the photographs and use words such as: I’d love, hate to do that, It looks great, it appears to be dangerous, It makes me want to try, & It wouldn’t suit me.

Share your your experience via social media. Use the hashtags #TechieEdu and #AR4Learning.

Resources: