BY GUEST BLOGGER Christopher Brannon Church
Brannon Church is a technology teacher at Carmody Middle School. He has been a teacher in Jeffco for 19 Years. For the first 18 years, Mr. Church taught 6th Grade and this year has joined the Carmody team as their Robotics Teacher. Here he shares how he is making impacts in student lives through the development of Jeffco Generations. Mr. Church provides some great examples of how students learn with technology and ways teachers can access resources to begin integrating technology that engages students in creative learning opportunities.
I have always felt the need to incorporate technology into my day. I realized early in my career that very few things can improve student engagement like introducing a new tool or program. However, this usually only works if the teacher is as excited to explore new opportunities with their students. Fortunately, opportunities are much easier to come by nowadays because of the availability of chromebooks and free software. 95% of the curriculum we are exploring at our middle school comes from free programs that coexist with student Google logins. The Jeffco Ed Tech team is extremely supportive, and has equipment/resources for teachers to borrow to show their administration how important purposeful play can be in learning.
With all the free resources out there that appeal to the STEAM driven teacher, there is no excuse for not trying to implement computer science into some aspect of their day. Most educational apps use the Google Identity Platform which eliminates the burden of student login problems. I feel that Jeffco is headed in the right direction when it comes to preparing students for a successful future.
Demonstrating how to use Makey Makey & Scratch:
An Exit Ticket Using Makey Makey. Students were given the opportunity to create a project using Makey Makey and Scratch. I wanted them to see that they are limited only by their imagination. One on my administrators came to me looking for ways to make exit tickets more engaging and relevant. With student input, we created our interactive exit ticket using Makey Makey and Scratch. It was a huge success, and students immediately tried to jump on the “aluminum foil switch” idea for their own projects.
Jeffco Generations Skills:
These are examples of using technology as a tool to develop Self Direction and Personal Responsibility as well as Communication skills from Jeffco Generations. As an initial activity with Makey Makey, students were to research their favorite childhood song, find the sheet music, create a piano in Scratch, and use the controller from Makey Makey to recreate their song. The most amazing part of this activity is that students completed this project with very little guidance. Students relied on each other to figure out how to fix bugs in their program to make their music selection work.
How do I get access? - I am extremely fortunate to have 1:1 chromebooks in all of my Robotics classes, and nowadays there are hundreds of reputable websites that are available at no cost. Many of the hands on materials that I rely on have come from my own pocket, or were funded through the Donors Choose website. Any student can learn to code!
Funding is out there - After borrowing Makey Makey kits from Jeffco Ed Tech I decided that I had to have a set for my class to take our scratch lessons to the next level. Believe it or not, it was fairly simple to acquire the funds needed for a Makey Makey kit. Donors Choose and Google’s CS First are practically giving away money to teachers that complete a few simple activities with their class.
Skill Application Across Content Areas:
One of the favorite parts of my job is giving students an opportunity to show off what they have learned in Robotics/Coding and using those skills in other content areas. An example this year is a 6th grader who decided to retell the entire story of Maniac Magee using Scratch by taking her character on a journey through the story. It was amazing! This clearly demonstrates proficiency in computer science as well as a deep meaningful comprehension of a novel in literacy.
Below are just a few activities where application of the following Jeffco Generations Skills were imperative to complete the activity. As students completed these activities, they developed these Jeffco Generations Skills:
Sphero Bridge Build: Students were to demonstrate Critical and Creative Thinking along with Communication skills as they used the Engineer Design Process to research, design and build a bridge with drinking straws. Bridges needed to support the weight of a Sphero and span over 50 centimeters.
Friday Fly Day: During this activity, students were to research ramp design and create their own ramp to support the weight and acceleration of Sphero. This activity supports Collaboration and Leading by Influence.
Sphero Battle Tanks (captured with a 360 Camera): Students demonstrate Agility and Adaptability during their Sphero Battle Bots competition. Students used the Engineer Design Process to create “tanks” for their Spheros.
Merge Opportunities: During our introduction to 3D design, students were able to use Merge Cubes and AR/VR Goggles to check their 3D Prints. Instead of wasting printer filament, we are able to upload our designs to Object Loader and see if there are any flaws to our design. Students demonstrate Self Direction and Personal Responsibility as they create their own designs using Tinkercad, view their design in Augmented Reality, and print a clean final project.
In conclusion, I would urge all educators who are interested in integrating tech into the classroom to join Twitter. I have found so many creative educators on Twitter that share an endless number of incredible projects or ideas. Feel free to follow me @MrChurch (shameless plug) and make some connections with teachers all over the world that are passionate about integrating technology into their classrooms.
New: CLOSED CAPTIONING IN GOOGLE SLIDES
Presenters can now opt to show real-time automated closed captioning while presenting in Google Slides. Google uses your computer's microphone to detect your spoken presentation, much like using the voice-to-text option that is available within many G Suite tools. This feature can help make your presentation more effective for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, non-native speakers, visual learners, and in loud learning environments.
Need to make a recording of your entire mini lesson or direct instruction while teaching? Enable the closed captioning feature and use a screencasting tool, wuch as Screencast-o-matic or Screencastify, to record the progression and pacing of the slides WITH the words you are speaking. This video can be distributed to students via Google Classroom or embedded on a website so that students who missed instruction or need reteaching can watch the video on an as-needed basis.
For directions on using automated captions visit the Google Help Center
How should you treat others online? How can you handle cyberbullying? How can you preserve your online reputation or “digital footprint” on both social media and elsewhere on the Internet? How should you handle unwanted attention or strangers online? These questions and more are at the center of the Kids Safe Online MS-ISAC Poster Contest. Students from kindergarten through twelfth grade can demonstrate their understanding of these complicated issues for a national audience through the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analytics Center.
Updated Curriculum resources
Going Deeper- Recognition
As students wade deeper into the learning around digital citizenship, and have access to technology in schools, teachers and schools can guide students towards making safe choices in the digital age. Teachers and schools can become Common Sense Educators . As defined by Common Sense, “[These] educators are committed to helping kids and schools thrive in the digital age. Anyone who is an educator -- whether a classroom teacher, administrator, tech coach, librarian...-- can become a Common Sense Educator.” The process includes a personalized roadmap for professional growth in three steps: LEARN, DO, REFLECT. Criteria and resources can be found here and take between four and six hours. This honor is granted for a year at a time and can be submitted anytime before June 30, 2019. Schools can follow a similar process and become Common Sense Schools (resources here). Schools can then promote how they are preparing students with the skills to navigate the digital world.
Using their learning from the Common Sense Media, Be Internet Awesome and other digital resources, students have an opportunity to create landscape posters illustrating the safe use of Internet and/or mobile devices for MS-ISAC, the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center. Students can create hand-drawn and electronic art in either a single full page or a 4-panel comic. Winners from each age group (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) will be chosen and will have their artwork displayed in a calendar which is distributed throughout United States. The artwork is used in campaigns to raise awareness among children of all ages about internet safety and computer safety. The top four entries will also be produced as posters promoting cybersecurity practices. The contest is open now and runs through January 25th.
- Website: https://www.cisecurity.org/ms-isac/ms-isac-toolkit/
- Guidelines and Entry Form
- Please direct any questions to email@example.com, and they provide more information on the contest. All submissions and forms can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org as a scanned image, or can be mailed to the address below:
Tour Creator Now available
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Google's Tour Creator lets students make their own virtual reality (VR) tours, similar to those experienced in Google Expeditions. Students can add 360 degree images from Google Street View or from their own 360 degree photos. Photos can be created by students using Google Street View or a 360 degree camera.
Visit Tour Creator
Article: Google's New Tour Creator Lets Students Make their Own VR Tours
Jamboard Access on the Web
Google's Jamboard is "a collaborative, digital whiteboard [that] makes it easy to create without boundaries and share ideas in real time. Jamboard moves the whiteboard to the cloud." Until recently, Jamboard files were only viewable on the web, and could only be created using Google's Jamboard hardware. Google has recently released the ability for users to create, collaborate and share "Jams" on the web.
Visit Jamboard on the Web
google's Applied digital Skills Curriculum
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Google has created a free, online curriculum that teaches students and educators practical digital skills. Through this curriculum, teachers have access to captivating and ready-to-use video lessons. While engaging in curriculum, students can gain invaluable skills that prepare them for problem solving in a digital world and success in the workforce. Currently, these lessons are designed for middle school, high school, and adult learners.
- Managing a Project with Digital Tools
- Research and Develop a A topic
- Technology, Ethics, and Security
- Build an Online Business
- Technology's Role in Current Events
- Plan and Budget
- Digital Tools for Everyday Tasks
- Creating a Resume & Use Google to Get a New Job
Visit the Applied Digital Skills website
Google Sites: Layout + Add Button
Students and teachers can make professional-looking websites with ease using the new layout feature in Google Sites (new). Google launched 6 pre-built layout options; these can be found in the right-hand Insert menu. Just drag over the layout of your choice, and populate it with desired content!
Sites Help: How to add, edit and delete buttons
Quick Access Toolbar
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Have you ever been typing in a Google Doc or Slide and needed to capture thinking on your Google Keep? Well, now you can do that without having to leave your Doc or without having to open a new tab! Google has placed the new quick-access toolbar on the right-hand side in Docs, Slides and Sheets! From that toolbar you can quickly pull up your Google Calendar, Google Keep or Google Task manager! You can also find this same toolbar when working in Google Calendar.
Read their blog: theglobalreadaloud.com/blog/
The Global Read Aloud for Students
Global collaboration is necessary to show students that they are part of something bigger than them. That the world needs to be protected and that we need to care for all people. You can show them pictures of kids in other countries but why not have them speak to each other? Then the caring can begin.
K-1 Students at Peiffer
Once teachers have learned all about The Global Read Aloud, they can access this website to get matched up: https://theglobalreadaloud.com/ The Global Read Aloud will be accepting groups starting in January. From the Web-page you can access the Google form. Note: the sign-up will open in January, 2019.
Digital Tools used in the Peiffer Global Read Alouds
Transforming the Task in the Global Read-Alouds
Ms. Ligrani’s and Ms. McCormick’s 5th grade classes as students create their proposals in hopes to be selected for the final design.
This unique PBL (project based learning) asks the students to apply math, economics, technology and reading skills in an authentic way in order to create a flexible learning space for their school.
When asked how they felt about being entrusted with the library redesign, 5th graders Lilly and Cameron smiled. “I think it was pretty cool! Since this is our last year at the school, we would like to use some of the furniture that we’ve wanted and to help everyone else get a new library.”
The Design Process
Ben and Jack were amazed by one site on their visit. "It was hard to believe that mindSpark was an old library and had no windows!" In their own design, the boys are interested in understanding how the wall colors might help learners in the library.
Surveys created in Google Forms allow students to collect and analyze data and share the results across groups. "We're working on a survey to the teachers right now. The teachers still use [the library], so they still have a voice in it," commented Austin and Ben H.
Instructional Coach, Amy Ellerman, a collaborator in the PBL remarked, "This project has provided such an authentic opportunity for collaboration between students, Maple Grove staff members, and our community. It is expanding our understanding of where and how learning happens."
Ms. Stahura plans to reveal the renovation and invite all the partners who have supported the project. The celebration will not only be of the new space, but of the contribution of the fifth grade students to this authentic need in their school.
Read the review for The Space: A guide for educators
By Guest Blogger Felicia Frantz
We were nervous but excited over the opportunities and possibilities this grant afforded our students, and, although each of us had experience with one or multiple STEM focus subjects, we were not sure what exactly a “STEM” program would look like at Alameda International. There were so many options and we felt truly overwhelmed.
Despite our decision on how to spend the grant, we felt like we were still missing some key elements to drive the idea of STEM at Alameda. As a team and as individuals we tried attending trainings and workshops over the summer, but could not find what we were looking for. We brought back great ideas that would definitely contribute to the enhancement of our program, such as industry contacts, ideas for authentic assessment panels, and the desire to build our own R.A.F.T., but we still felt like something was missing.
When we returned to school we were excited about the new journey we were about to embark upon. We were a newly minted department, in IB language we became the Design Department. Our course offerings had tripled and we had numerous sections being offered from 7-12 grade, including computer science, pre-engineering, imagination by design, to 9-12th grade robotics, computer graphics, and audio/visual production. Despite these wonderful offerings, we were still unsure how to bring STEM and the IB Design cycle into non-STEM classes. This concern plagued me more as I had been the author of our proposal and the IDEA Lab was under my care.
Our DTL brought in our subject group leaders in for an all day training with mindSpark Learning. They spent the morning learning about different educational technologies and resources available and then the afternoon was spent working with members of the Design Department to create a lesson utilizing a new resource or technology. The department leaders left excited and invigorated to share their new knowledge with their team members and students.
Setting the stage
This is exactly how I felt when I saw the transformative learning in my classroom this past week. I have been using HyperDocs for two years now, first learning of HyperDocs while attending the Google Summit in Denver 2016. My DTL picked up the book “The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps” by Kelly Hilton, Lisa Highfill, and Sarah Landis. Let’s go back to 2016...I POURED over this book.
I sat in the HyperDoc session (and honestly the others I attended) going through my current lesson plans in Google Drive, trying to figure out which ‘activities and lessons’ I can turn into a HyperDoc… I mean, it's just a glorified webquest right? Throw in my digital link for my note catcher, attach the same news article for kids to read.. And boom ‘HyperDoc!’... Right? I was so wrong.
The past year or so I have been reinventing my so called ‘HyperDocs’. I have been very pleased with my latest HyperDoc - The Bill of Rights Restaurant, A Learning Menu.
As we know, menus are all about choices. And with a variety of choices comes a variety of prices. The ‘price list’ on my learning menu indicates the level of activity students can expect if they choose the menu item. $ = not there yet, $$ = ready and waiting, $$$ = yes and I’m off! Presenting level indicators allows students to self-reflect on their own current ability, yet provide opportunity for students to challenge themselves with the next activity or text set.
Next on the menu, drinks. Here I provided three different articles with three different content topics related to individual rights. My students love to read about real world examples. They also love to see what their peers think about these real world examples. After reading the articles, student used Padlet to answer a form of an analysis question. Students can also read/comment on each other's posts, creating a dialogue that goes beyond the classroom walls. A student from my period 1 class can read the same article as a student from period 5 and they are dialoguing about how our rights as citizens are protected or bent in order to provide security in America. That is powerful.
If you are like me, I am constantly trying to reinvent my teaching. I do not think the old saying ‘why reinvent the wheel?’ applies in education…..we’re not even using wheels anymore. We are provided with an almost infinite amount of resources for our students to transform their learning into something deeper and long sustaining. When we teach students to use the technology as a tool, not a toy, they tap into their creativity and ingenuity.
The possibilities become unlimited.
Define the Problem:
What's a passion project?
I began to wonder how I might make this time purposeful in integrating technology skills with classroom learning. I had always been interested in Passion Projects, but had never been able to fully wrap my head around the process. However, as I looked at my schedule once again, a rush of excitement came over me. Implementing Passion Projects could mean I would finally be able to have the time to embed technology skills, with an emphasis on student choice, while also making intentional connections to what students were learning in the classroom.
- 10 Ways to Provide Feedback During Genius Hour
- Using Peer Feedback to Improve the Quality of Passion Projects
One thing I would advise is to have a way to track where students are in their projects because once you get this started they work at different speeds and it is hard to keep up with all of them. Some ideas and tools for how to manage many different projects at once include:
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- Google Forms: this Google tool was a way for me to get an idea of what students wanted to study and what tools they wanted to use for their projects.
- Fellow peers: sometimes our students can teach each other better than we can. Let them talk and support each other.
Want More Passion Project Info?
- Article: Bring Joy to the Classroom with Passion Projects
- Article: Passion Projects and Classroom Learning
- Article: The Complete Guide to Genius Hour and 20% Time in the Classroom
- Book: The Genius Hour Guide Book
- Book: The 20 Time Project
- Book: Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning
- Book: Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry
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