Thursday, July 12, 2018

Survey your class - beyond Socrative and Kahoot

Many of you already know about Socrative and Kahoot and, if you are like me, you love them. 
Sometimes I wonder if I'm using Kahoot too much that it's going to lose it's impact.  I found some other websites that you might be interested in using in your classroom.

The first one I am loving is called Acquainted.  Each poll is called a conversation.  The student interface looks like a text message and it's very easy for the teacher to set.  You choose a welcome message, ask the questions and write a goodbye message.  All of the questions are multiple choice and you can choose to put in a response for each answer choice.  So if you are asking students questions about the lesson you can give them feedback as to if they choose the right answer or why their answer is wrong.  You can see the results as a bar graph, but won't be able to identify which student choose which answer.  I still think it's a valuable tool particularly with the feedback that you are able to provide.

Swift is a polling platform that can be used via web and/or text.  It also allowed open ended responses.  You are limited with the free plan and can only have 50 responses per 30 days.  What is nice about it is that you can embed a poll (like I did below) on a website or in a PowerPoint.  The option to send students to a new page after submitting a text response could help you keep your students on task. The option to instantly show poll results could be helpful in starting discussions in your classroom.

Can't see this? Click here

Last up is Poll Everywhere.  This was one of the first surveying/polling website I remember.  What I liked about it was the your students could respond via text messaging.  This was great when students had phone that could only text and not get online.  You can still have student respond via text, but there is also a website that students can use which is ideal if you have laptops or ipads that your students are using.
Poll Everywhere has a lot of different choices and I'm sure you will find one that suits you.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Make the most of your data

Using Conditional Formatting with your classroom data

You probably collect so much data in your classroom and you don't even realize it.  It could simply be assignments grades or surveys that you have students fill out or something more complex.  If you do any of this electronically you will most likely have an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet.  When you have data in this file type there is so much you can do with it!  I think that Excel is one of the least understood program out there and it can really do so much (I'm trying to convince my students of this now!).

One of the great things you can do with a spreadsheet is to use conditional formatting.  This allows you to change the look (formatting) of a cell based on its content.  One easy way to use this is to color code your gradebook.  I set up conditional formatting in my gradebook so that all kids who were failing would show up in red, those one the boarder line (which I determined to be 65-75) show up in yellow and those doing fine (over 75) to show up in green.  There are so many different ways to use conditional formatting.  What's one way you think you can use it in your classroom?

If you want see more details on how to do this, check out this blog post by Alice Keeler.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Opportunities for NYS Teachers

I often get opportunities for technology pilots for New York State teachers.  If you are a teacher in NYS and would like to be notified of these pilots, please click this link to join an e-mail list I am forming to share these opportunities.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an e-mail.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Quickly Summarize a Passage of Text

SummarizeThis is a website that will summarize the main point(s) of articles and passages.  All you need to do is to paste in a block of text and a summary will be generated.  This can be helpful when students are doing a research paper and want to know if a specific article will be relevant.  It can be a great time saver so that you don't have to read a long passage only to find that it's not relevant to what you need.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Getting Started with OneNote

For the past year I have been at a Microsoft School.  One of my jobs is teaching students and teachers how to use OneNote.  OneNote is the digital binder system that we use.  It can be difficult when you have many teachers who are at different technology levels.  I always like to provide something for the teachers to do on their own after they leave the pd.  I found this post by a fellow tech coach named Stephanie Elliot with 8 tasks to help you use OneNote.

Click on the image below to be brought to Stephanie's post.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Online planning just got easier

I have talked before about different websites that have online planbooks, but I just came across another site and I love it!  The first reason I love it is the it's FREE!  Plus, it's very simple to use, looks appealing and makes it very easy to adjust plans and move them in case of events like snow days or sick days and lastly allows you to copy over plans from previous years.  Did I mention that it's free?!?  To me, it reminds me of PlanbookEdu, but the premium features you have to pay for with them are free with this site.  What is this site you ask?  It's called Planboard.

Honestly, the best thing that you can do is to play around with it yourself, but just so you know a few things about it let me share some for you. 

  • Set your rotation schedule from daily up to six day cycles
  • Create a timetable (that is color coded) for the various classes that you teach and the sections of each
  • Lesson templates can be set up so that every time you go to type in a lesson a template is already there for you to fill out
  • You can easily collaborate with colleagues to share plans
  • It is easy to add in off days for school holidays and vacations
  • You can easily shift plans forward a day for things like snow days.  Nothing gets lost, everything just moves a day forward
  • Attach documents from your computer or Google Drive
  • Copy some or all of your plans over to the following year
  • Attach standards
What do you like to use for your planning?  Do you think you'll check out Planboard?