Thursday, February 15, 2018

One of the great features of using Google Chrome is the ability to add extensions to your browser. Extensions are small software programs that can modify and enhance the functionality of the Chrome browser. Below is a list of some of my favorite extensions and a brief description of how the extension can be used.
  • Tab Resize - this extension allows the user to split their screen to allow multiple browsing windows to be visible at the same time. You can make a 1x2, 2x1 or a 2x2 with up to four different screens split at one time. The most recent update has even created keyboard shortcuts to open the desired browsing set up immediately. Here is a link to the webstore.
  • Screencastify - Screencastify is a great video screen capture program. You can record all screen activity inside a tab or on the desktop, including audio. This allows you to easily create a screencast for video tutorials, record presentations, or model instruction. Here is a link to the webstore
  • Make Gif - Make Gif is a fun and simple tool to create gifs. You can use any html 5 video to create a gif and it even has a button added to Youtube for simple gif creation. Here is a a link to the webstore.
  • Awesome Screenshot - Awesome Screenshot is a user friendly tool you can use to capture all or part of a webpage or screenshot. You can add comments, annotations, blur parts you don't want to be seen and share it with other people.  Here is a link to the webstore.
  • Kami - Kami is a great tool that allows you to annotate over a pdf. You can share and collaborate with other users. This is a great tool to share out with students and have them annotate over a pdf - highlight vocabulary, identify context clues, etc. Here is a link to the webstore.
  • Boomerang - If you are like me, you use e-mail to send yourself reminders of tasks you need to complete. However, I hate to have unread e-mails in my mail, so I use Boomerang to schedule a later time I want an e-mail to show up in my mailbox. I also use it when I think of an e-mail that needs sent at a specific time to schedule that e-mail to go out at the desired moment. I can set the e-mail to be sent in a matter of hours, days, weeks, or a specific time. Here is a link to the webstore.
  • Easy Auto Refresh - This extension allows you to set a refresh timer for any tab you have open. It's great when coupled with the interact feature in Hapara. If you are trying to monitor your students set Easy Auto Refresh to the time your desire and the screen will automatically refresh on it's own. There are several other options under the advanced feature as well. Here is a link to the webstore.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Unlock the full potential of formative assessment in your classroom! Check out these tips for how to use formative assessment apps and games such as Kahoot, Socrative, Plickers, and
Poll Everywhere to check for understanding and encourage student self-assessment.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What does this mean? Let us look at a recent Science lesson that took place in Mrs. Bowen’s class.

As the new Chromebooks rolled into the 3rd Grade classroom, teachers of High Plain and their students were eager to get sign on. The excitement of getting onto the Chromebooks was almost overwhelming and the teachers could not wait to get their student’s logged on!

After getting used to how the Chromebook work; logging in, charging, trying some of the tablet features, and of course changing the backgrounds, it was time to get down to business!

Third graders are now fully immersed in Google Classroom, an online environment where teachers can add assignments, announcements, communicate with students on individual or group work, and see real time progress on work being done.

First, students log into Google Classroom. On the front page, they look at the “Stream” for the science lesson of the day. Mrs. Bowen explains the assignment using the Epson Board at the front of the room to give details about what the students need to do.

Mrs. Bowen has linked an online science textbook from the FOSS website to her assignment. Students will be reading the interactive textbook and answering the review questions.

How will they answer the review questions?

Students have a Chrome Extension called Screencastify of course! Screencastify can capture video and audio using the camera and microphone built into the chromebook. Students will use this tool to talk about and reflect on the reading. Once the video and audio is captured they can submit it to Mrs. Bowen through Google Classroom because it automatically saves to the students’ Andover Google Drive Account!  (Is your head spinning yet? You’d be surprised how well the students can do this!)

As you walk around the room you see some students helping other students navigate the textbook, some are recording answers, other students are clicking on some of the interactive features of the textbook to find out more information, and one student leaves Mrs. Bowen a message on google classroom asking about the assignment. Mrs. Bowen walks around the room and is giving guidance and extra help to students who need it (also the occasional high five).

Finally, Mrs. Bowen sees on the whiteboard that students are submitting their reflections in real time!  She asks if anyone would like to share their answer and hands shoot up!  With one click, the students are able to watch a video together of a reflection that one of their classmates just submitted.

This is just one example of some of the ways the 3rd Grade Team uses google classroom. Other members of the 3rd Grade Teaching Team are using it in conjunction with BrainPop, Prodigy, and Google Slides; creating a true Blended Learning Environment. Students can navigate the material at their own pace although never lose touch with the teacher in the room who can reinforce the new concepts being learned and also help facilitate the material so that it is attainable for all students.  

It looks like these 3rd Grade students are off to great start and it will be interesting to see how else they can keep utilizing new technology this school year!