Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Turn any video into an assignment

Edpuzzle is a website that you can use to take any video and turn it into an assignment.  This is especially useful if you are using the flipped classroom model.  In a nutshell, Edpuzzle lets you embed questions, audio and notes into the video.  You then assign the video to your class and you get a ton of analytics such as who watched the video and who struggled or did well.  Students can re-watch the video as many times as they need at their own pace, while you can easily check their progress from your account.

Edpuzzle offers free online courses to not only help you understand how to best use Edpuzzle in your classroom, but also includes topics such as the flipped classroom, gamification, project based learning, twenty-first century learning and much more.  What's even better is that they are offered on the Edpuzzle platform so you can experience what your students will. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How to play Quizlet Live

Quizlet Live launched several years ago, but it's still one of my favorite games to play with my students.  Basically it takes a Quizlet set and turns it into a collaborative game.  Once you open the set that you want to use and select the live option a website and code are presented to students.  Students are assigned to teams and then they they need to work together to answer the questions.  Each student will have a possible response on his/her device, but only one person on the team will have the correct answer.  This means that students need to talk with one another to make sure that the wrong answer isn't selected.  If it is, the team's score resets itself.

When I really want to challenge my students, I don't let them sit with their teams.  This means they really need to know their stuff as they won't be able to talk with their team.  Students run the risk of having the correct answer, but not knowing it or thinking they know the answer when it's actually wrong.

What are some of your favorite review games?

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Ozobot - the cutest robots that your kids will love

I was so excited when Ozobot reached out to me asking if I wanted to receive one of their little robots to review.  I immediately said yes and was so excited when it came.  If you aren't familiar with Ozobot, it is a small robot that either be programmed with a block based code or can read colored codes on paper to direct the robot.

I work with ninth graders so I figured that we would use the the block based coding program as that would be more of a challenge for them.  The program has a teacher section with lesson plans so I picked one that I thought would be a good one for my students.  It was called Slot Car Race and directed students to code the bot to go around a track 5 times with the light on the top being a different color each time.  It seems easy, but students needed to add in some logic and repeat blocks.  The first time I did this, it went well but it's a challenge when I only had one bot.  My students and I loved the Ozobot so much that I immediately started looking for a way to get a classroom set.  As luck would have it my local utilities company offered a STEM grant.  I applied and was one of the recipients.  I was able to get a classroom set of 12!

Now that it's a new school year I can't wait to expand the use of these bots in my classroom.  I have seen so many things on Instagram on how to use them and I just need to find the time to look through it all (story of a teacher's life right?).  I also started a robotics club this year and I hope that this will be a great introduction for my students and get them interested in joining the club to expand their knowledge of robots.

What type of robots do you use in your classroom or what would you like to get? 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Customize your textbook

I have not found a textbook that includes all of the information that I want and leaves out the information that I don't.  I started using CK12 Flexbooks a while ago and love it because I can make the textbook my own.  Plus there are videos that can be added in,  Take a look at the video below on how to customize these online textbooks.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Asteroid Blasting Review Game

Kupiter is a study website that looks like fun for your students.  It's great to review vocabulary and other content.  Students shoot at letter to spell the word to complete the sentence or match the definition. Students get points based on how accurately and quickly questions are answered.  One of the things I like most is that it works on all devices, so students don't need to download an app.  You can create a class so that there is a leaderboard.  This, along with the explosions and powerups, can really be a motivator for students.

You can create your own game on Kupiter by writing questions from scratch or by importing them from Quizlet or an Excel spreadsheet. Game links can be shared via social media and Google Classroom.

Watch the short video below for a demonstration of how the game is played.

What review games do you use in your classroom? 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

My favorite free online test, quiz and worksheet generator

Take a look at this walk through of Problem - Attic and how to use it.  You will find banks of questions from many state assessments as well as national tests. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Free Online Textbooks for College level and AP classes

OpenStax is a nonprofit educational initiative based at Rice University, and its mission is to give every student the tools they need to be successful in the classroom.  In short, it's free online textbooks for the college and AP level.  Many colleges have already started using these resources as a way to help students save money.  Now high schools have starting catching on and have begun using them as well.  You may be familiar with CK12 for high school level textbooks; this is just the next step up. 

OpenStax gives instructor resources such as PowerPoint slides, solution manual, sample syllabus, and assessment banks.  In addition, it also offers connections to various technology resources.  There are a few options to read these books.  You can read them online, download them as a PDF or even send them to your Kindle.  They also offer an option to order print copies from Amazon or buy them in bulk if you want.

Topics include:

  • Prealgebra
  • Algebra (Elementary, Intermediate and College)
  • Trigonometry
  • Precalculus
  • Calculus
  • Statistics

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Concepts of Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Social studies
  • American Government
  • Economics (principles, macro and micro)
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • US History

  • Intro to Business
  • Business Ethics
  • Principles of Accounting

  • Biology
  • College Physics
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles for Microeconomics

Saturday, June 22, 2019

How to Split Text into Columns in Google Docs

The Google Suite is great for its ease of use, but sometimes it's missing features that you are used to from the desktop programs that you are used to.  One of these things is taking text that is in one column and splitting it into many.  The classic example of this is when you have first and last names in one column and you want to split it into two.  Take note that anything in the columns to the right could get written over if the text goes into those columns.

To split text what you need to do is: highlight the column with the the text to split, click on the Data menu and then split text to columns.  You will now be prompted to choose the separator.  This is the trigger that Google Sheets will use to know when to split the text. Choose the one that applies to your data and your data will be split.  How easy is that?!

If you are more of a visual person, take a look at the video below.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Create informal assessments and homework aligned to your standards

update: OpenEd is now ACT Academy 

OpenEd is a free website that contains educational videos, games and digital tools for classroom use.  You can search by topic, grade level, standard or keyword.  Once you find a resource you like you can favorite it, assign it to your students, add it to your Google Classroom or clone it so you can edit it.  If you want to assign it your students both you and your students will need accounts.  If you are a Google school there is Google single sign on, otherwise students will need to go through the process of creating an account.  The advantage to using the OpenEd platform to assign the activity is that there are premade questions that go along with the resources.

I tend to be a control freak and like to make my own questions (or at least edit the ones there).  I would probably create my own form where I embed the resource and then ask the questions that I want.  The advantage to this is that now I can distribute the form in the same method I share other resources with my students and they don't need to create an account on a new website.  While it is nice that OpenEd can keep track of who has mastered the assignments you give, you can also just do that yourself in the spreadsheet that you get as a result of the form.

For me I like it better as a place to search for resources and then put them on my own platform.  What would your preference be? 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Free Math and Science Online Textbooks

“I can’t find my textbook!” “I don’t remember getting a textbook.” Does this sound familiar to you? That is what I kept hearing at the end of every year. Then I would have to go through a big hassle of collecting money from student to repurchase the outdated textbooks that I had. I hated having to worry about students losing textbooks or that I was always replacing textbooks that I didn’t even want that included too much information or not enough information. Enter FlexBooks. FlexBooks are online textbooks from a company called CK12. I instantly liked them for many reasons, but the two big ones were that I could customize the book and that it could be posted on my website and downloaded by the students. This video does a great job of explaining how they work. While not every subject has a FlexBook they have a large list of books that include math and science books for elementary, middle and high school along with some other areas such as Writing, Astronomy, History and Engineering.

So, this sounds good you say, but how can I really use it in my classroom? I picked out a textbook that I wanted to use and then went through it to delete the things that don’t apply to my curriculum. I also added in some information that wasn’t there that I wanted to make sure my students had in their book. You can also include links to worksheets (CK12 has a workbook that goes along with most of their textbooks). Once it’s created you can save it as a PDF and post it on a web page or e-mail it to students. Even better, students can put the PDF on their computers, phones, Kindles, IPads, Nooks or other eReader. If you don’t want to customize your book you can find select FlexBooks already in Kindle or Nook/IPad/Android format.

Am I convincing you yet? Maybe you want to make sure you have a teacher’s edition to refer to or a book or worksheets or labs. Well, you got it! The workbooks that are available can also be customized so can you make them fit your classroom. I usually post them on my website and the students can have access to them all the time (no more “I lost it.”)

Looking for more? CK12 has a more interactive way of presenting information that allows you pull short concepts along with chapters into an online interactive “book” Many of the concepts include video clips and interactive quizzes.

Do you use textbooks in your classroom? 

crossposted on by Science Blog - SavvySecondaryScience

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The easiest, free test and worksheet generator

I haven't mentioned Problem-Attic in several years, but I thought that I'd bring it up again.  Since I mentioned it last the number of questions available has more than doubled.  It is so easy to search through the question bank and create tests and quizzes.  For me, it's the only test generator I use.  With all of the questions available, why would I pay for something else?

Take a look at the video below to see what Problem-Attic is like and how easy it is to use.

If you want to see my previous posts you can find them here and here.

What do you use to create tests and quizzes?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Turning Google Docs Footnotes into Endnotes

In my schoolwe don't ask the students to use footnotes.  Rather we have students do a works cited page at the end of their document.  If you are school that uses Google then you might be familiar with the autocitation feature of Google Docs.  This is really helpful for students, but the problem is that it creates footnotes, not endnotes.  In the past, I have had my students copy the footnotes and paste them at the end of their paper.  While not terrible, students often forget or don't capture the whole citation.  I recently came across a Google Doc add-in called Endnote Generator and I think it's just what my students need.  Is this something that you think you would use with your students?  Do you know of something similar?