Friday, April 20, 2018

"Eye" See Your Point of View Activity

I was looking for Boston Tea Party resources when I came across an  adorable picture where events of the Tea Party where drawn in a giant eye. That picture led to a blog post that led me to another blog post that led me to yet another post and I absolutely loved all the ideas!

As far as I can tell the original idea stemmed from the drawing above. Apparently someone posted it on Pinterest and noted that it could be used for a point of view activity. Instead of the clouds and sun in the eye the student would draw what a character in the story or in history might see from their perspective. Brilliant!!!!

So for the Boston Tea Party the eye would be that of a British solider or supporter of the King. What a great way to teach that there is always two sides to every story. I think I would want students to explain what they were "seeing" on the back.

In my Boston Tea Party lesson plan I would have students write a letter home on the back as if they were a British citizen, solider, or sympathizer and explain their drawing in a creative way. For example I might write:

I can't wait to try it . It could be used in a notebook as well with the eye on one side and the explanation on the other. If I get some good responses I will post them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Copyright Free Music (associated problems) and Podcasts

Richard Byrne recently posted about three free music sites that teachers can use to find music and sound effects for podcasts and projects. It was super helpful and I bookmarked it for future reference.

He didn't mention Free Play Music, which is my "go to" music site so I would add that to any list you have going. I worked with students making Lion King trailers and in this site I was able to type in "African" and found some fun royalty music that worked with the trailers students were making.

Here is MY problem. I don't know what music to choose! I get overwhelmed with too many choices which is why I appreciate it when people cite their music in the video credits (Richard Byrne goes over that in his post). One teacher (art) who does that well is Tricia Fuglestad. I follow her for her outstanding use of green screen videos. She has a Vimeo channel and she gave credit to Kevin McCloud in one video where I liked the music. This took me on a fun internet search where I came across another free music site which features music by Kevin McCloud...the search also took me to YouTube where I could listen to Kevin McCloud's "best of" video to get ideas of some of his music I might want to use. 

Some of my go to music that I use for projects include:

- Daily Beetle by Kevin McCloud
- Building Blocks in Free Play Music
- The Story in Free Play Music (for an intro to a morning news show)

Our district has a subscription to Discovery Education and I generally use that for sound effects if needed. If they don't have something I need then I download it from another site.

One thing I want to try with students is making a podcast (with music and sound effects). I ran across a graphic organizer in a course I am taking online for a debatable podcast that would make a short podcast but might be easy for my first time out. It is definitely on my list to try before the school year is over.

Do you have any "go to" royalty free music please add it to the comments (so I can grow my list). Thank you!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Google Classroom and Emojis

I am taking an online course called Classy Graphics with Tony Vincent. This is the first time I have taken an online course for fun. I heard about the course by following Tony Vincent on Twitter. When he tweeted about the course I didn't allow myself to think about it and just jumped in.  It is a six week course and cost $100. I am only in my first week, as of this writing, but I have already learned so much and my hesitation over spending $100 of my own money is a thing of the past! The class is worth it...I am looking at it as in depth instruction on how to practically use the Google Drawings tool. Professionally it will help me with future questions and training ideas and personally it might help motivate me to start making pretty things to share with teachers.

Probably my biggest takeaway this week in the course is Tony's use of bullets in Google Classroom. I had read his post about it awhile ago but didn't really think anything of it until I saw it in action and now I am OBSESSED. It really does make assignments more fun. The screen shot below is me putting it in action in my sample class I use for training purposes.

It is super easy. Per Tony I used to find the emojis I want and then I simple copy and paste it in the text of the assignment and topic. The emojis are limited so you do have to use your imagination, or at least different keywords, to find something you want.

Why use emojis? I think this graphic from Tony's website sums it up nicely.

I definitely want to try some of the other ideas mentioned in his blog post like using it in my Google Drive to identify folders. I also like the idea of emoji story generating. Definitely start with adding emojis into Google Classroom first. Once you see how easy it is it might motivate you to try adding emojis elsewhere.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Flow Chart Notes - Graphic Organizer

Flow Chart Notes are a fun way to take notes particularly in a Social Studies class where many of events are told as a story.

I read about Flow Chart Notes here and decided to make a graphic organizer to support the format in my Classy Graphics Class with Tony Vincent. (our first assignment was to make a graphic organizer in Google Drawings using the align and distribution features). CLICK HERE for a copy of this graphic organizer. It was made in Google Drawings so you can go to "file" and "make a copy" to have your own editable version. To download it as a PDF simply click "file", "download as", and then "pdf".


I liked how it turned out and I decided to download it as a PDF and use Kami to fill it out as a test run (see first picture). Kami and DocHub are free add ons to Google Classroom that allow students to write or draw on a PDF on a tablet (not an iPad). I could have printed it out and filled it in with pencil but we are trying to go paperless in many of our schools. In my opinion Kami is the better of the two (easier to use). Our district bought a license for it recently so that is our go to. The free version is adequate for this particular graphic organizer.

I used the California Gold Rush as my "event". If I was doing this as a teacher I would probably teach the lesson the first day with all the bells and whistles (videos). Then I might assign them the Duckster's article on the Gold Rush to read and highlight the nine main parts, once that was done I would have them fill out the graphic organizer (text first) and then draw pictures to go with it (to read the article and fill out the graphic organizer I would give it two day of class time based on a 45-50 minute class).

If I wanted something similar in a Social Studies notebook I had to modify the graphic organizer so there was eight panels instead of nine (which changed the flow of the arrows - see below). You could print it out (and cut down the middle with each side being glued in the notebook) or just have students draw the eight panels (which would use less paper). CLICK HERE for a copy of this graphic organizer.

If you use this with students I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Favorite YouTube Channel (K-2 Teachers)

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Kidtastic TV. The channel has a ton of Disney (and other) storybooks read out loud with the words highlighted on the screen as it is being read.

If you have a "Listen to Reading" center this would be a great resource for you. You should pay attention to the length of each video when considering using them.

Our district does not block YouTube videos for students (they are filtered through a clean video search filter) so they can be easily incorporated into a listening center with a QR code (we use this extension in Chrome to generate quick QR Codes).

If students don't have access to YouTube you can use a YouTube Downloader (click here for instructions on a quick and easy way to download videos from YouTube). Downloaded videos can then be uploaded to a Google Drive account where you can create a QR code or get a link for students. This is definitely more time consuming, downloading and uploading speeds can vary depending on the length of the video, but if you want students to watch a particular video independently (and YouTube is blocked) this is viable option. NOTE: Up until recently (April 2018) our district has been using the Google URL shortener extension in Chrome but unfortunately Google announced that they will be closing their services effect mid-April 2018). We liked this extension because we got a shortened URL and a QR code. We have been unable to find a replacement that will do both so we have been using the chrome extension to make shortened URL's and The QR Code Extension to make QR codes. 

If you just want to show the video whole group I HIGHLY recommend the View Pure site. It allows you to add a button to your bookmarks bar to filter YouTube videos. How does it work? As soon as you have pulled up the video you want to show the class on YouTube you click the "purify" button you add to your bookmarks bar (see all screen shots below). The video is moved to the viewpure site where ads are removed (starting ads and popup ads). You also don't see distracting side bar video recommendations and there is no automatic playing of the next recommended video. It is really the best way to show a YouTube video whole group. 

I am always on the search for good YouTube channels, and tips and tricks, so if you have any suggestions please feel free to leave a comment!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

TextingStory App (FREE)

I recently got tagged in a funny Facebook post about a cat texting his owner. While the post made me laugh (I am a cat owner) I really liked the idea of showing texts back and forth in a non-traditional manner (i.e. cat and human owner). After a quick Google search I found the app TextingStories. It is free (there are some in app purchases if one wanted to upgrade but I did just fine with the free version).

I thought it could be used in a middle or high school class to show dialogue or understanding of the plot and characterization in a story. Here is my attempt at create a texting story between Romeo and Juliet:

It was pretty easy to use and the video of your text gets saved to your camera roll. My camera roll is linked to my Google Drive so I was able to easily transfer it to my laptop (students or teachers could also use a free wifi transfer app). My only complaint is that there isn't a Windows version of the app. It has to be used on an iOS device. 

The iOS limitation is why I was suggesting a middle or high school application. Students would need to download the app to their personal phones if you don't use Apple devices in your school. I was thinking that this could be part of a choice board of activities that students could use to demonstrate understanding of a topic in a creative way. 

If you decide to try it with your students I would love to see a project or find out how you used it! Please post in the comments. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Easter Sale and ELA Idea

I saw this cute Easter display at a school this week (the week before Easter). The Media Specialist was also running a ‘Reading with my Peeps’ challenge leading up to Good Friday. 

She started the challenge nine days prior. She and her awesome assistant pulled groups of nine books for each grade level (it is a small school with only two classrooms per grade level). They numbered the books and gave each classroom a basket with nine plastic Easter eggs. Inside each egg was a folded piece of paper with a number on it (1-9). The idea is that teachers would randomly let a student pull an egg and whatever number they got in the egg the teacher read the corresponding numbered book out loud to the class. They had the day before Good Friday to finish the challenge. Each class that completed it got marshmallow Peeps for the class (1 each).

I thought it was a fun idea. The intent was to encourage read aloud time with classes. 

While I saw it too late to really duplicate in a school I thought I would still share the idea for use next year with the supplies being purchased on sale this year. 

If you wind up running a similar challenge please let me know in the comments.