We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty visual folks over here. So here are some of the most important aspects we’ve learned about 21st century teaching over the past year of blogging, condensed into infographic form! Enjoy!
A Wii remote taped to a ceiling projector. A teacher standing on desks. Twenty-five 11 year-olds offering enthusiastic technical support. This unlikely combination would become one of my greatest “aha” moments as an educator.
Have you ever played with Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button? Well, you should–and so should your students who are looking for inspiration or a challenge (especially if they feel they are always “done”).
If you’re a teacher, chances are, you’ve experienced parents upset over both too much and too little assigned homework. Have you ever wondered why opinions on the issue tend to be emphatic, polarized, and emotional? So did we. We decided to do some serious digging, and we were shocked at what we found… Continue reading “6 Reasons the Homework Debate is a Mess”
Google Earth Starter Kit for Teachers is our new 11-page guide to take you and your class on virtual field trips, starting today! We designed this guide for teachers wanting to find some quality examples of Google Earth trips, to create their own, or to give students new and engaging ways to share learning. If this sounds like you, sign up on the left-hand side of our page (we promise to never ever spam or share your info–you’ll just receive occasional email updates from us)! We also list the best of HGU printables and how-to’s on the confirmation page as an extra thank-you for joining our learning community!
Our new kit is packed with practical how-to tips, links to rich virtual field trips, and ways for students to harness Google Earth’s potential for discovery and sharing.
Leave the Classroom Behind with Google Earth
Landforms Virtual Field Trip (using subfolders of placemarks)
Amazon Rainforest Virtual Field Trip (using the tour-guided feature)
Ancient Civilizations (using outlines)
Make Your Virtual Field Trip Today
9 tips for making your own trip
Descriptions of the different tools to try in Google Earth
How to use simple codes for clean, neat description boxes
How to save & share your trip
Suggestions for Student Creations
10 fun ideas for student creations in Google Earth
We were impressed by one school’s use of Twitter for a teacher-led professional development chat. We’ve written on Twitter’s potential for professional development before, so we thought it would be a great idea to share what that looks like in action! We interviewed Principal Matt Webster (@MWebster158) and teacher Laura Komos (@LauraKomos) at Martin Elementary School to find out how they did it and how you can get started, too!
Q1: What’s one new (tech or non-tech) tool or idea you’ve tried with your kids recently?
Q2: What is a tool or technique you’d like to learn more about?
Q3: How are you utilizing the Collaboration Rooms in the Husky Hub?
Q4: What are your other students doing while you meet with small groups?
Q5: What does your Target/RtI time look like?
How often does your school’s staff have PD Twitter chats?
Matt: The #martin158 chat that you saw was a specific PD session at Martin today. We have a PD Menu at our school (new this year) that is driven and created by the teachers wants and needs. One of the October sessions happened to be Twitter as Resource. Part II of this PD session was a mock twitter chat for new users to experience and learn the ins and outs of a chat on Twitter. Other PD sessions offered over the next 2 months include:
40 Book Challenge
Picture Books to reinforce Figurative Language and Comprehension Strategies
Independent Practice Time – Differentiating
How does the Twitter chat support other PD at your school?
Matt: What we plan on doing is turning the #martin158 practice chat into a monthly chat where we can post questions and discussion on PD topics that have already happened or are upcoming.
How did you initially approach PD Twitter chats with the staff?
Matt: We introduced Twitter to the whole staff last year at a staff meeting (phones were required J). Followed that up with this PD Menu session and will continue it with monthly chats using #martin158
Tell us about some of the logistics of a staff Twitter chat.
Matt: For the PD, it was all staff interested staying after school experiencing it and asking questions together. We have 100 staff (1,025 kids 3rd-5th) so not all are interested. But the interest is growing. We ask a lot of questions as admin and try really hard to follow up. So if a teacher or group of teachers say they are interested in learning, in this case, how to use Twitter as a tool, then we make sure to offer it to them. I feel very fortunate to work with a lot of great people in this profession at this school. It’s not hard to find an “expert” to lead the way on a particular topic. Those interested step up and make it happen.
What are some of the effects of the chat on your staff?
Matt: As a result of today, people left excited–a number of them stayed and asked questions based on the tweets they read. I imagine by next week a few new ideas will have been tried in classrooms because of the chat today. Martin went 1:1 in 2012 and with that came a number of changes including a new reading curriculum, new technology of course, but also a new approach to PD and teacher support. I was the assistant principal that year and became the principal the following year (2013-2014). I see my primary role as an administrator at Martin, to one of support for our teachers so they can do what they do best which is to positively impact our students.
Laura: Since the chat, I have noticed several of the participants using Twitter to connect with colleagues from other schools in our district as well as teachers from other places. I’m excited to see what the future of #martin158 brings to our professional learning!
What have been some challenges of PD Twitter chats?
Matt: We haven’t encountered any thus far that have been problematic. We have a very passionate staff that want to do what’s best for their students and utilize new resources to do so. What is comfortable for some right now is using resources and relationships on twitter to grow their practice of teaching.
What advice would you have for other school administrators and teachers to get their schools started on PD Twitter chats?
Matt: As with anything else in education the first question should always be student focused… what do we want our students to learn? And then follow that up with, what will we do when they do/don’t learn it? For us, Twitter is just another tool or resource to help us design plans and lessons in an attempt to help our students learn. For other administrators I would simply say that if there is a desire to connect to other professionals, be inspired by other ideas, and connect to other people doing great things, then give it a try. A collaborative culture is present in every highly functioning school. Twitter allows you to take that one step further and collaborate with educators all over the world.
Looking for some lively discussion among passionate educators? Or professional development that applies to your personal goals? Or some inspiration for one of your current classroom challenges? Or even just to broaden your PLN? Then join in on one or all of these favorite Twitter Chats!
A Few Handy TwitterChat tips:
Introduce yourself when you join in.
Use the chat hashtag in every comment you make so others in the discussion can see it!
Download a platform like TweetDeck to more easily see all the incoming Tweets (they come fast during a lively discussion).
Questions are listed by the moderator as Q1, Q2, etc. Start your tweets with A1, A2, etc. to correspond with the question at hand, and try to stay on topic! If you get inspired to begin an offshoot discussion, you can always DM (direct message) an individual!
What: PYP stands for the Primary Years Programme for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, but you don’t have to be a PYP teacher to join in! We’re all about inquiry, passionate learning, and honest reflection.