10 Attention Grabbers To Try when using Tech

10 Attention Grabbers To Try when using Tech

10 Attention Grabbers To Try when using Tech

10 Attention Grabbers

When our students are using devices it can be really challenging to get their attention. Sometimes they have headphones on, sometimes they are just really engaged in the lesson. These 10 attention grabbers are something to try with your students. Some will stick with your group and you can add them to your regular rotation of classroom management strategies.

These attention grabbers are split up into 2 categories

Call and Response

The teacher says a phrase and the children respond to it with a specific response (usually also requires a physical response from students like putting their hands up, etc.)

  1. Hands Up – Buttercup (students raise their hands from their devices and look at the teacher)
  2. Mac – Cheese, Children – Freeze (this one is two parts to give students a moment to prepare to stop)
  3. Hands on Top – That means stop (hands on head)
  4. Floppy – Disk (fun tech themed one)
  5. Light Show – Time to go (teacher flashes lights and then says the phrase. This one is great for when they are wearing headphones)10 Attention Grabbers To Try when using Tech

Teacher Phrases

This set of attention grabbers doesn’t require a verbal student response, but rather a physical one.

6. Clap it and Lap it (to get your students to remove their hands from the keyboard)

7. Flip the Flap (for use with iPad covers, “Close the lid” would work well for laptops)

8. T-Rex Arms (again, to get your students to remove their hands from the keyboard)

9. Horn signal

10. Chime or music with specific patterns or songs for different effects

10 Attention Grabbers To Try when using Tech

Give these a try and let me know how they go for you. Do you have another suggestion? Leave it in the comments so we can all learn from each other.

This list was compiled by dozens of Tech Teachers and Media Specialists in the Facebook Group Technology Teacher Tribe.  Request to join today!

4 fun Ways to integrate math skills using Wonder Dash Robots and Ozobots

This year we were gifted 2  wonder Dash Robots and 2 Ozobots so you can imagine my excitement and yet at the same time slight worry about  how we could use just 2 of each with a class of 24 kids…. The answer was stations! While some of the students used the desktop computers or tablets I had a small group and  was able to focus on one group at a time working through the lesson. So if you have the same problem at your school here are a few quick and easy lessons do reinforce math skills being taught in the classroom!

Ozobots: ShapesOzobots Shapes

The first lesson was using Ozobots.  In the classroom, kindergarten students were working on learning shapes so to reinforce the classroom curriculum. I created shapes pages using Google Slides numbered and laminated them. I then created a paper for them to record which shape they had used.  Ozobots will move around each shape the students then match up the number and make that shape on their paper.  Quick and Easy lesson, but a great way to build student engagement and reinforce the lesson. This would also be a great math station in the regular classroom as well!

Get a copy of the items used for the lesson using the link below.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1B6DyppA4hGbGHphZT2rcTvtZhubz3Gers5j5JQ7zbVE/copy

Dash- Recognizing Numbers, Adding, or Subtracting

Don’t you just love it when you create a lesson and can use it for multiple grades just by tweaking a few small details! For this activity I created a grid using a piece of poster board. Inside the space I placed numbers. In K-2 we used this lesson to reinforce a few different skills. At the beginning of k- we used it for number recognition. I then pulled it back out for k-2 to use when we they were working on Addition and subtraction in the classroom. So here is how it works, you will need a large piece of poster board, create a grid that matches that of the Path App for Dash. I think mine was 7 inches down by 12 inches across. After creating the grid you can then add your numbers, math problems, shapes, etc. Install the Wonder Dash Path App on you tablet. With k-1 I had them “drive” to a path and then tell me the number or math equation and answer that Dash “landed” on. With the older ones, I would give them a math problem and then they would have to figure out how far over and down they would have to go as well as the answer to the math problem. As you can see you can differentiate the lesson for the age group you have. This would be a great activity to use with numbers, shapes, letters, sight words, or equations. Once you teach your students how to use the Path App you could set this up in a small group math or reading station.

Dash Math Numbers Pathwonder path app

Dash Challenge: How Far does Dash Travel?

Using Wonder Dash Robot students were given a challenge to see how far Dash would travel using the Blocky App. Students then marked the distance and measured using a ruler or yard stick.  Students could even change the variables by selecting a speed. This lesson reinforces measuring used in the classroom.

 Dash Challenge: Maze Creation

My 4th Grade students were given a challenge to work in teams to sketch out a design maze, construct the maze, create a code that Dash would move through the maze, and record their code. This lessons focuses on team building, measuring skills, sequencing, and problem solving.  The catch students had 45 minutes to complete the project and make it function.  You will notice that each teams maze is just a little different.

So here are just a few quick and easy ways to use technology while reinforcing math skills being taught in the classroom!

Tips for Successful Technology Sub Plans

Tips for Successful Technology Sub Plans

Tips for Successful Sub Plans (1)

We’ve all been there – you have to be out for a day, but its nerve-wracking. What to leave for a sub?  How to make sure it goes smoothly?  You don’t want to waste a day of class, and you don’t want to come back to chaos the next day.

Here are my suggestions (granted I have mostly taught secondary, but I think these suggestions would work even with upper elementary as well).

You can’t always guarantee who you will get as a sub, or how your students will react, so here are a few suggestions to minimize the stress.

Leave the directions directly for your students

Students are used to receiving direction from you.  They are more likely to give a sub a hard time, or the have confusion. Give the directions to the kids.  If you use a learning management system such as Google Classroom, Schoology, Edmodo etc this is very easy. they are already used to logging in, and can look for their work there.

If not, I have left the kids a very quick and simple set of directions of what they are to do for the class period, and what is to be handed in at the end of class.   I sometimes leave the kids direction in the form of an official looking ‘memo’ with the assignment for the day, when it is due, and what to do if they have extra time.  I photocopy either for each student (even a half sheet is plenty), either as a separate handout, or as a cover page with today’s work that explains their directions for the day.

This leaves the sub free to either tell students to login and read the directions, or the pass out directions, as well as take attendance, monitor behavior, and deal with questions and problems, rather than try to teach/lead a lesson that he or she may not be comfortable with. It also takes out the middle man.  I don’t know about you, but I have heard some strange stories such as “the sub told us not to hand that in” or the “sub never passed that out, etc”

Leave the sub prepared

Make sure the sub is prepared to do the things that you really need him or her to do. Here are some tips:

  • leave attendance rosters
  • leave a class schedule
  • leave a seating chart, if you use one
  • leave directions and contact information for another teacher to ask in case of questions
  • leave directions or a phone number to call for the main office/security in case of a problem
  • clear directions of what work should be handed in
  • leave some type of feedback form, this helps ensure that you will get feedback on how the day way.   There are numerous free versions available by searching for substitute feedback form.  Here is a good resource from the National Substitute Teachers Alliance.

Have a back up plan

As has already been mentioned in earlier posts (5 Computer Sub Plans Must Haves and Technology Tools for Foolproof Sub Plans) it is important to have a back up plan.

My go to backup plan is either a news article summary or a vocabulary activity.  I keep vocabulary lists, and a vocabulary menu of choice activities for students to practice key vocabulary. I also keep a bunch of news articles printed out, with a generic news article response template (I just use the first page).  Even if you don’t keep articles, you may be able to get a few copies of the newspaper or of magazines from the school library.  Again, there are numerous current events summaries available with a quick search, so I would recommend that you find one appropriate to your students.

These are assignments that students can do for extra credit or early finisher activities but they are also great for emergency sub plans, or if the technology isn’t working.  Sometimes there is a sub who isn’t comfortable with the technology or has an issue getting kids logged in. These are a perfect temporary solution.

Tips for Successful Sub Plans

5 Computer Sub Plans Must Haves

Sub Plans — no one ever enjoys writing them! In my district, you never know whether your substitute will know how to use technology much less not break it themselves! This year, my school hired full time a teacher who had been a sub for the past 5 years. So I asked her, what are 5 things that sub plans must have?

Schedule of Classes schedule
Sometimes feel like my classroom is a revolving door — I get a class in and then it’s time to leave. For substitutes, they don’t know your schedule. When I’m writing my plans, I always try to include some buffer time at the end to make sure the class gets out on time to their teacher.

Slide1 (17)Directions on How to Use the Required Technology
Just because we use our projector on a daily basis, doesn’t mean the sub knows how it. Thankfully, directions to technology are easy to write up in master plans and not have to change it till you get new technology. I also try to take pictures of how desks, computer carts, etc. should look so they can make sure my room is left in good condition for the next day.

Usernames and Passwords ….to Everything!
How many times have we walked into our rooms and all the computers have restarted overnight? Can you imagine how it would be to walk in there as a sub and not know how to sign in. In my sub plans, I always put master student username/password to the computers. If you are planning on having the students getting on a specific website, I always make an extra username and password for any new students that are there or in case someone can’t get logged in.

Contact Information
When I taught 3rd grade, it was easy to leave sub plans for the day knowing someone on my team would go over and check to make sure they understood. If the sub didn’t understand, they’d fill in the gaps or help them. Now being a computer teacher, I don’t have the luxury of someone on my team going to check. I always try to leave multiple people’s contact information in my sub plans in case they have problems. Think about the people who are “tech savvy” in your building or whose schedule can be more flexible if something goes wrong.

Unplugged Lesson IdeasSlide1 (16)
The most important part of my sub plans is including something that’s tech-free or “unplugged”. What if the internet goes down while they are all trying to get on the website? Or you are like me last week and they changed my substitute to be on a cart all day — there go my plans! One of my favorites are the Crack the Binary Code worksheets. I usually have enough copies made for a day’s worth of classes. The great thing about them is all you need is a pencil and you have about 20 minutes worth of lessons!

What are some other things sub plans should include?Leave your suggestions in the comments!

Slide1 (18)

 

4 Inexpensive Technology Device Storage Solutions

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Finding inexpensive ways to store the devices in your classroom can be a challenge. Here

are a few ideas from my classroom and some of my colleagues in my school. I’ve listed them from least expensive to most.

 

 

1. A Simple Dish Rack

This one is all over Pinterest, but I was skeptical whether the cords could be organized and if the slots would be large enought for ipads with covers. It works perfectly and not just for tablets, it’s great for Chromebooks too. These are the three tech storage stations in my classroom. As you can see, the dishrack easily holds all three types of devices I have. Even the iPads with the large cases. One caution here is that the racks that I have the ipads and Chromebooks in have a larger slot on the bottom. So, the Kindle’s fell through easily. I found another rack that had smaller slots in the bottom and it worked just right.

For the cords, I used zip ties. I wrapped them in a circle and zip tied them onto the side.

You can see it there on the left in the first picture and what appears to be a mess on the right. It works out great if students can manage to pull the cord closest to the device in the rack, but for some reason they like to pull from all spots. It still keeps them from getting tangled.

2. A Charging Station

This simple charging station with 10 ports I picked up on Amazon. I’ve seen it at prices between $20 and $40 with it usually sitting around $35. If you watch the price you can definitely get it lower though. I love this because you don’t need all the plugs. You can use the usb cords and plug directly into the unit. If you havet the budget, I’d definitly recommend investing in shorter cords to avoid the tangle. Again, I zip tied here and it does keep the cords from getting tangled, but they do look a mess still.

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3. Modified Shelf

This one comes from my colleages classroom. She took a simple Ikea shelf and drilled some holes in the back. She threaded the cords through the back so they lay through the shelf and her Chromebooks fit nicely in each cubby created by the shelves. I’m not sure this is much more expensive than the charging station. If you don’t have an Ikea close, Check out your local big box store or storage shelving solutions at your local Lowes, Home Depot or similar store.  Yard sales might be great places to look as well. Spring yard sale season is coming up!

She numbered each Chromebook according to the slot in which they belong and it fits nicely under her table so it opens up her working space.

4. Ultimate Charge Station

This last one is a solution our Special Education teacher uses. I didn’t get a picture of it in use in her classroom, but here’s some stock photos from Amazon. I love this one because it hides the cords. But, that does come at a price. This is the most expensive of the solutions I’ve mentioned at around $170. This is the Belkin Storage and Charge Station. All the cords store in the bottom and are contained within the unit. So the cords stay short and neat. It works for Chromebook cords as well, which the simple station I mentioned in number 2 would not work for.

 

I hope that one of these ideas could be useful to you as is or sparked an idea for you. I love having devices in my room at the ready. From having enough for small group use, to my now 1:1 classroom, these solutions have worked well for me. What solutions do you use to keep your devices charged and accessible to students?

 

3 technology tools for Data Storage to Try as a Teacher

Onlinе data ѕtоrаgе iѕ a virtual storage whеrе users саn ѕtоrе infоrmаtiоn in an оnlinе dаtаbаѕе to minimizeе the chances of lоѕing or dаtа being damaged. Thiѕ online dаtа ѕtоrаgе tool iѕ usually a сlоud service.

Online filе storage service has gained еxtrеmе рорulаritу tоdау and hаѕ become one оf thе most common аnd affordable mеаnѕ оf storing dаtа fоr bасkuр. All ѕоrtѕ оf imроrtаnt dосumеntѕ such аѕ рhоtоѕ, muѕiс, videos and dосumеnt filеѕ саn easily bе ѕtоrеd with these Onlinе Stоrаgе tооlѕ.

Onlinе storage can also bе perfect filе-ѕhаring tools that can be a solution to ѕеnding filеѕ thаt аrе tоо lаrgе tо ѕеnd by mаil. It is a rеliаblе dаtа ѕtоrаgе thаt саn bе accessed frоm аnуwhеrе and a simple wау to ѕhаrе filеѕ with parents, ѕtudеntѕ, аnd colleagues.

Althоugh thеrе are mаnу оnlinе dаtа storage tools hеrе аrе 3 оf thе most commonly uѕеd оnlinе tools fоr data storage thаt саn bе uѕеful fоr tеасhеrѕ.

  1. Drорbоx

Drорbоx iѕ оnе of thе mоѕt рорulаr оnlinе ѕtоrаgе tооlѕ аvаilаblе tоdау. Yоu саn store, ѕhаrе and ѕуnсhrоnizеѕ dаtа across аll dеviсеѕ uѕing thе Drорbоx арр оr on the Drорbоx wеbѕitе. You саn ассеѕѕ your filеѕ аnуwhеrе, frоm desktop соmрutеrѕ, lарtорѕ, tаblеtѕ аnd еvеn smartphones. With enhanced ѕесuritу, management tооlѕ, and priority еmаil аnd рhоnе ѕuрроrt.Drорbоx can be a vеrу uѕеful tооl fоr tеасhеrѕ for reach оut tо their ѕtudеntѕ and thеir colleagues.

Drорbоx enables filе sharing tо ѕtudеntѕ, assignment ѕubmiѕѕiоn bу students аnd lots mоrе. And at timеѕ tеасhеrѕ may wаnt tо ассеѕѕ ѕоmе filеѕ from different location еithеr аt home, at school or оn mobile dеviсеѕ.

Hеrе аrе some of thе uѕеѕ оf Drорbоx for Teachers

  • Students соllаbоrаtiоn: Dropbox can bе uѕеd as a соmmоn filing cabinet through whiсh tеасhеrѕ can рrоvidе dосumеntѕ, such аѕ аѕѕignmеntѕ, hаndоutѕ, рrоjесtѕ аnd mеdiа filеѕ for ѕtudеntѕ. But another uѕе gоеѕ in thе opposite direction, from ѕtudеntѕ tо teachers, whеrе ѕtudеntѕ саn submit their аѕѕignmеntѕ thrоugh Dropbox so the tеасhеr саn thеn rеаd thе filе, review аnd lеаvе соmmеntѕ on it, fоr thе ѕtudеnt tо rеаd lаtеr withоut thе need tо ѕее the tеасhеr.
  • Cоllаbоrаtе with Colleagues: Teachers саn collaborate with thеir tеасhing соllеаguеѕ bу uѕing Drорbоx tо share lеѕѕоn рlаnѕ, assessments, and оthеr сlаѕѕrооm mаtеriаlѕ.
  • Storing оf ѕtudеntѕ Dаtа: Drорbоx саn be used to ѕtоrе student projects and dаtа.
  • Tо present ѕtudеntѕ Portfolio: Drорbоx саn bе аn еаѕу wау fоr ѕtudеntѕ to present роrtfоliоѕ оf thеir work to their teachers.

“A teacher once said thаt Drорbоx iѕ like hаving a “digital locker.”

2. Gооglе Drivе

Gооglе drivе is аnоthеr ѕаfе оnlinе dаtа ѕtоrаgе tools сrеаtеd bу Google thаt users саn uѕе to store and ѕhаrе filеѕ in thе cloud. Thiѕ tool саn ѕtоrе аll types of filеѕ including, photos, vidеоѕ dосumеnt, media аnd оthеr digital filеѕ. It hаѕ itѕ оwn ѕеt оf tооlѕ knоwn as Gооglе Dосѕ (Docs, Sрrеаdѕhееtѕ, Prеѕеntаtiоnѕ and Drаwing) whiсh hеlрѕ tо сrеаtе, mоdifу аnd ѕtоrе dаtа. Gооglе Docs рrоvidеѕ еvеn mоrе capabilities tо tеасhеrѕ. Gооglе Drivе is a grеаt tооl thаt teachers саn uѕе tо ѕtоrе аnd share documents and other types оf filеѕ аnd collections.

Some uses of Gооglе Drivе for teachers

  • Tеасhеrѕ uѕе Google drivе to соllаbоrаtе with thеir students оn projects, assignments, papers, оr рrеѕеntаtiоnѕ.
  • Tеасhеrѕ саn in сlаѕѕ ѕhаrе wоrkѕhееtѕ with thеir students to wоrk оn and ѕubmit fоr grаding.
  • Teachers can соllаbоrаtе with their tеасhing соllеаguеѕ tо ѕhаrе worksheets.

An еxаmрlе оf thiѕ iѕ thе challenge оf a ѕtudеnt whо could not рrint their hоmеwоrk оr аѕ a tеасhеr thаt you wоrk on ѕоmеthing аt hоmе уоu can email tо уоurѕеlf at school thrоugh аn online drivе. Nоt only dоеѕ оnlinе storage drive ѕоlvеѕ thiѕ, but it also ореnѕ роѕѕibilitiеѕ fоr соllаbоrаtiоn and feedback with others. Gооglе Drive storage is nоt just fоr ѕtоring filеѕ it’s аlѕо a great tооl fоr collaboration.

  1. IDrive (not free)

Anоthеr оnlinе tool fоr dаtа storage iѕ DRIVE, not оnlу саn this tool bасk uр уоur data it also has еxtеnѕivе filе-ѕhаring аnd syncing сараbilitiеѕ. It’ѕ features inсludе thе аbilitу to ѕhаrе filеѕ and fоldеrѕ with other реорlе likе ѕtudеntѕ аnd соllеаguеѕ. It саn аlѕо back uр multiple dеviсеѕ аnd filеѕ. Thе ѕеrviсе iѕ highlу ѕесurе аѕ it transfers аnd stores filеѕ. It аlѕо gives users ѕоmе easy wауѕ tо uрlоаd аnd access filеѕ, оvеr thе Wеb оr frоm mоbilе phones. Tеасhеrѕ саn uѕе IDrive tо ѕеnd аnd ѕtоrе virtuаllу any lаrgе filеѕ.

This fоrm of storage ѕhоuld not bе viewed аѕ a rерlасеmеnt for соmрutеr drivеѕ, but it саn ѕаfеguаrd data from hасkеrѕ, viruѕеѕ, ѕруwаrе оr shareware, diѕk iѕѕuеѕ аnd other wауѕ оf lоѕing data.

3-technology-tools-for-data-storage-to-try-as-a-teacher-pin

Have you tried these tools? Which one do you prefer?

Brittany

Tips and strategies for organizing your Google Drive to easily find the files you needa

5 Easy Organizational Tips for your Google Drive

How Can I Find My Files in Google Drive??!

Organizing your Google Drive (1).png
Paper image from Attendee lists flickr photo by quinn.anya shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

It is very easy to lose track of files in your Google Drive, or to feel that it is disorganized. A colleague of mine recently expressed that she wished she could just ‘start over.’  While my Drive doesn’t always look organized either, I am going to outline for your 5 tips to help you keep track of what you have in there, so that you don’t waste time searching, and can readily find your files.

These are beyond (or in addition) to the folder organization tools in Google Drive. Google Drive has built-in folder organization that you can use to organize your files. You can do this from “My Drive” by either dragging the files into the folders (on the left), by right clicking on the file and then choosing ‘move to.’  You can also do this within each folder by clicking on the folder icon at the top next to the title of the document.  This is similar to how you would use folders on a desktop computer.  But let’s be honest, we aren’t always so good at putting our documents into the right folders right away. And in Google Drive our folders get filled up even more quickly with documents we create, those we upload, those shared with us. So how do we find the things we are looking for??

Here are a few strategies that I use to keep track of my work inside Google Drive.

Star tool

This is probably my favorite!  I have certain Drive files that I use almost every day – team documents, phone logs, etc.  For frequently used things that you want to keep available, star them!  You can do this while you have the document open by clicking on the star next to the document, or by right clicking and then choosing “add star”

star

add-star

Then, to find these files again, simply click on ‘starred’ and you will get only those files. This is the fastest way I’ve found to go to files that you know you will be using a lot.

star3

Add to Drive

Some people like to just leave files that are shared with them in their “Shared with Me,” but if you want to be able to organize the files that people share with you, you will need to add them to your own drive.

The “Add to My Drive” icon looks like this add-to-drive .

Once you add something to your drive, you can organize it in a folder, color code it (we will talk more about this below), star it or do anything else.  However, the owner is still the original owner.  You will still be able to see changes. This is NOT the same as making yourself a copy (in which case you are copying the file or folder as it is now, and won’t see future changes).

You can organize the files within your drive by drag and drop, or by using the organize menu, shown below.

add-to-drive-folder-organization

Color Code

Did you know you can color code items within your drive?!

I just learned this recently. You could color code by class periods, but subject, by whatever other system would help you.  A few screen shots are shown below. You can right-click and change the color of a folder.

The colors make it very easy to pick out the items you are looking for.

color-code-tool

color-code-folders

Search Tool (file name, person name)

Google is, originally and primarily a search tool, and it’s still really good for searching. I know people who don’t even try to organize their Drive, and just use the search tool.

You can, of course, search for files by name, or by keywords within the file. Did you know you can also search by file type?  By the person who shared with you?  You can also use that little arrow on the right hand side can give you many more filtering and searching options

searchsearch-name

search filters in google drive

Sorting

Just like in your desktop folders, you can sort your google drive by size, date modified, owner and a few other things.  This can make it easier to find what you are looking for.

sort.pngBonus – Set tabs to open

If you really have a document or two that you use almost every day, you do NOT have to go and re-open it every day. You can go to your google chrome settings (shown below)

settings

Then find the setting that says “on startup — open a specific set of pages”

startup-pages

You can choose to open any pages you want when you open Chrome. This includes specific documents.  The easiest way is probably to have them open, and then when you ‘set pages’ you can choose the current pages.   You can also cut and paste the URL.

pages2Here is a further resource on organizing your google drive or check this one out.

What tips and tricks do you use to keep track of your files? Please share them in the comments below.

 

 

Changing the Way we Teach using Google Classroom

Ever wonder how you can make learning more meaningful for your students while still differentiating your lessons to meet the needs of the ever growing educational gap? Well, today we are going to take a look at how to set up and organize your own Google Classroom. I have been using Google Classroom with my third and fourth grade students for a few years. I was over the moon when I recently heard that Google has released a new feature on Google Classroom that now allows teachers to select students or groups who will receive specific assignments. So take a look at the steps below on how to set up and organize your classes!

how-to-set-up-google-classroom-1               Step 1: First, click on the the icon that says create classroom.

how-to-set-up-google-classroom-2

Step 2: Then name your class ( if you teach multiple section of the same grade  like I do; I usually name the class the teachers name on section I put the grade for that class and for the subject I will add computer lab)

how-to-set-up-google-classroom-3

Step 2: Now you are ready to invite your students by adding them to your classroom. Again if you are like me I teach 400 students so I prefer to have each student join their correct class by using the code for that class. I put the class code on the SmartBoard and then as students login to their Google Classroom accounts they will enter the code.

how-to-set-up-google-classroom-4

 Step 3: After all students have joined your class you are ready to create your first assignment! ( Hooray,  You are on your way to having a paperless classroom!) You will need to click on the little circle + sign and the other options will appear. Click on the create assignment icon.

how-to-set-up-google-classroom-5

Step 4: Now you will name your assignment. Then comes by favorite part by far! (Teachers have been asking for awhile if there was a  way that we could assign assignments to a individual students or a group of students, but not the whole class. Well Google finally listened and has created this AMAZING feature that allows you to do just that! ) 

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Step 5: So after you have create the name of the assignment you can click on the name of the students in your class that you want to receive this assignment. The best part ONLY the students who have been assigned that specific assignment will receive it!

 

  So here is how I am using it in my class. I teach K-4 Computer lab. I see 400 students during the course of a week.  160 of those students are my third and fourth graders. They  are using Google Classroom. I create 3 variations of the same assignment for my students. The assignment appears the same in each assignment heading, but now I am able to select who gets which assignment. My challenging assignment goes to my students who I know have a good grasp on using technology and need to have more rigor and critical thinking activities/ lessons their assignment may have more reading and will be self guided and higher order of thinking.  My 2nd lesson may have some foundational skills, possible some vocabulary at the beginning and several examples before they get started on their lesson. The 3rd lesson would  include a video tutorial of the lesson or activity. It will go at a much slower pace with vocabulary built in as well as repeated practice of the same task. So, as you see my students are all working on the same unit, but because of their unique learning abilities I am to create assignments that are differentiated and build of their strengths!  

If you would like an example here is a presidential Google Research Project that I am doing with my students. There are 3 different Levels. You can click on the on the picture for the link or click on the link down below. Each of these will ask you to make a copy!

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Group 1: 

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/17zON1BWDfPR9y_sVu-56zxmTQWKggPm6fGK5A6GEO-E/copy

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Group 2

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1oy1odbtQf2iiP-59F1lgmQWtjG6xODjcmrYS5HLjCZw/copy

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Group 3

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1xIlkTtYUQZBKYleiQRIOn84lN-yul1Po3aZ2QzfvlB0/copy

 

Organizing Student Sites and Passwords

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This year, I needed a solution to help my second graders find and use all of the websites I wanted them to use.

I knew that they were coming from little to no exposure to technology in the classroom and would need a lot of support to use all the sites I had in mind.  There are a few options for this organization that I considered.

Symbaloo – This is the education specific version (there’s one for the regular people too) This is a very easy way to gather and bookmark or save websites. They save as buttons within a larger grid. Once you’re on that main grid, you can click on the site you want and be directed there immediately. I used this for my fifth grade student weekly word lists on SpellingCity. You can see how I embedded the spelling Symbaloo here.  This is on a simple Google Site. The possibilities for organization and uses of Symbaloo are endless. The trick is just getting students to that symbaloo.  You can embed it as I did or you can go directly to the Symbaloo on the web. A quick scan of a linked QR code is a great way to quickly direct students. The only problem here is that students still need a place to remember their passwords for the sites you’ve linked to.symbaloo
Password Saver Websites – There are several websites where you or students can input their passwords for each site they visit. You set up an account, enter in the information for each website and then protect all of this information with one main password you use for this third party rememberer. I haven’t used this type of a system with my students. I didn’t like the idea for my young students, but those with older students might really like this option. On a simple Google search, I found this one, Speedy Password, but I know nothing about it so I’d encourage you to do some research into what’s available before choosing one for your students.

password-pageGood Old Paper, The Option I Chose – Ultimately, I decided a reference sheet for my second graders would be the best option. I created a template in PowerPoint and a slide for each student. It took just a little bit of time up front to input the passwords for each student, but that bit of time up front has saved me hours of time helping students and reminding students of their passwords. I printed the pages on bright yellow paper and inserted into a page protector and put that into a three prong folder. I didn’t laminate them so I could add to or make changes as needed. I created QR code cards for each of the websites or make sure apps were loaded on their tablets. (Need help with QR codes? Click here.) Next year, I plan to just put the QR code for each of the sites right there on the page with their information. I LOVE these reference sheets. I’m happy to share the template with you. You can find it here and make a copy for yourself. Of course adjust it to fit the needs of your school and students.

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Headphone and Earbud Storage Solutions for the Classroom

Anyone who works with technology knows what a pain it can be to keep everything organized. Particularly anything with wires. This post is all about headphones and earbuds storage in the classroom.

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I’ve scoured Pinterest for the best, most creative, and simple solutions for headphone storage and here are the results. Just click on any of the pinterest pins below to learn how to make your own.

How do you keep your headphones organized? I would love to see more ideas!

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-Brittany