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Showing posts from July, 2016

Checking out the NEW Sites

In Elmbrook, we just got access to the new Google Sites BETA.

I have been using Google Sites for student portfolios for the last 5 years.  The navigation has always been cumbersome and not intuitive like the other Google Apps in the GAFE Suite.  Well, that will no longer be the case.

The video below will show you how the new Sites is a ground up redesign in-line with the apps we know and love in the GAFE Suite.  Students will be able to make new web sites that look great without getting lost in multiple clicks to do a simple task. (If you find any errors in the video, please let me know.  I depend on my PLN to proofread sometimes.)








If you don't have access yet in your district, do what I did and contact your Google Administrator.  A big thanks to our Google Admin Austin Nader for getting the turnaround done on this in less than a week!

Google will continue to update the BETA version so it may not have everything you want now, but it'll be coming for sure.


Now, if only they …

From Type X to Type i

I finished the audiobook of Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us yesterday.  Today, I had to go to the library to pick up a physical copy to reread some sections.  This book is definitely a read - steep - reread.  There is a lot to digest and act upon. 

The ideas Dan Pink brings out are deeply tied into the movement towards personalizing learning in our classrooms.  Rather than recap the entire book, I would recommend you take the time to listen to his powerful TED talk where he lays out the fundamentals of his argument.  Seriously, if you haven’t watched it or read his book, you owe it to yourself to watch it (also, read the book). The focus of the talk is from a business perspective.  But, I imagine you can think of how it relates to your classroom as you watch.





What Pink puts forth with a slew of evidence is that

There is a gap between what science knows and what institutions do.  

These institutions may be businesses in many of his examples, but they are a…

Feedback Is Not About the Points

I had the opportunity to read a wonderful and super rich book about grading practices by Cathy Vatterott called Rethinking Grading: Meaningful Assessment for Standards-Based Learning.


The book is not only for those thinking bout implementing standards based grading.  It has important, research based strategies that we should all be using in our classroom from crafting learning objectives, forms of assessment, and the power of feedback.

I put together some of my takeaways from the book in a single diagram.  This image can't do justice to the depth of the book. My highlights covered over 10 pages in a Google Doc.  So, search it out and dig in.

If you find errors in the doc, I'm always looking for help proofreading!
Thank you

Reflect to Assess to Progress

Over the weekend, I read Teaching Students to Self-Assess by Starr Sackstein.  It was a fantastic read.  The book focuses on the importance of reflection in the learning progress. This post only provides a few highlights. Her book has great student examples of reflections and discusses tracking progress over time using reflection.  I highly recommend reading and reflecting on what her book sets out.

Why is reflection so important? If we want students to become more independent, life-long learners, they need to understand how they learn.Reflection involves analysis and evaluation which are higher order skills in Bloom’s Taxonomy.The results of reflection will help students make informed choices about how they personalize learning. The results of student reflections will help instructors modify their instruction to reach all learners.


How does reflection fit into the learning cycle?

The graphic below is one I made last month after reading John Hattie's Learning Made Visible.



I’ve create…

Authentic Products

I am starting a new graduate course this week on multimedia in the classroom.  Our first unit is dealing with design principles for multimedia.

As students are allowed to express their understanding in new ways, multimedia products have increased exponentially.  As a teacher of content, it's easy to overlook the importance of implementing design principles. But, this is just another form of literacy.  In fact, multimedia literacy is becoming more relevant as access to multimedia tools increases. In this first unit, I was able to familiarize myself with the following design principles:



As students, we were given a wide variety of ways to access this information, including videos.  This meant that I could choose the method that was easiest for me to comprehend.  And, I could compare information for multiple sources to get a different explanations of the same information.  I need to start doing more of this. Just because a source explains "A" best for me doesn't mean i…

Leveling up my GAFE App-titude

I took the exam for and gained my Google Level 2 Certification today.


The training made me realize that I knew the basics of Drive, Docs, and Sildes really well.  But I extended my knowledge of Sheets and Forms.  In addition, I learned about a whole world of Google apps that I either had barely scratched the surface of (like YouTube) or was clueless about (like Expeditions).  The training was so worth it!

Google Certification may not be something you're interested in.  But, I recommend you at least find out more about the Google tools that are out there to help personalize the way students access information, engage with information, and express understanding.  Just learning about one more tool, could help empower more students.

Here are some of the great things I leaned about.
My Maps in the Classroom Users create personal maps and add media to locations to tell a story.






Google Earth Tour Builder: Virtual field trips created by educators or STUDENTS! A great tool for creation.  Te…