Monday, May 18, 2015

Kindness Matters

Fakebook Biography Projects with some A-has!

About five years ago I started using for their Random Namepicker template. I have used it for picking names, topics, characters, really anything that needs random selection. My students (even secondary) love to use the interactive board and "spin the wheel" for their topics. Much better than the teacher assigning it or drawing from a bag.

This six weeks, I decided to use the Fakebook template for their book project. They had to  read a biography and create a Fakebook profile for their person. I created a rubric for assessing the project and gave it to them ahead of time. I used Google Classroom for the assignment and link turn-in location.

The goal was for the students to really think about their people and imagine being them. Who would their friends be? How would they interact?

Here are a couple of the finished projects:

Nikolai Romanov

Nelson Mandela

Some project surprises;

1. Save often - Since we are a GAFE district, the students are spoiled to the autosave. I remember many times as a student when I lost work from lack of saving or a brief power blip. I too have become less of a saver since I started using Google. With the Fakebook template, you have to save and remember the link and password to edit it later. Many students were frustrated by lost work.

2. Old School Facebook - Many of my students did not know how Facebook worked. They use Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat stories as Social Media. Facebook is for old people, like their parents.

Will I do this project again? Probably. I like the "outside of the box" thinking that is required more than just read and regurgitate information on a poster or slide show. I may rethink my rubric and teach a bit more about expectations. Always room for tweaking!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Plickers with Pics!

I love using Plickers in my classroom! It is a quick way to get the pulse of the group without having them get out any technology. I just use the app from my iPhone to scan their cards and the results are viewable on the screen.

Here is a link to a blog post of how it works:

Now Plickers has added the ability to upload images as part of the question. Great addition for Math, Social Studies, Art, Science, etc.

We are currently reading The Diary of Anne Frank in my ELAR classes. Since it is a true story, I can use images of the actual people for my questions. Like this:

Great additional feature with possibilities for any grade level and subject.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Look for the shoes...

Working with 8th graders can be a challenge. I am reminded every day how self-absorbed they can be. It is something about that age, I think. Being the force that I am, I purposely  try to make them think outside of themselves. Many of our journal topics have been about helping others. They complain, as most junior high students do, about my journal topics, but I hope that I am planting seeds that will germinate and grow into kind and compassionate adults.

Today we watched this TED Talk from Mark Bezos. I challenged them to "get the shoes...."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An Inoculation after Standardized Testing

Today I administered the 8th Grade STAAR Reading test to a room of students. Four hours of trying to keep 13 & 14 year olds quiet while their classmates finished their tests was quite a difficult task. Trying to keep students quiet and on task any day is a challenge!

I started reflecting on why I became a teacher in the first place. I think most teachers become teachers in hopes of changing the world. With the day to day task of managing students and the accountability of high-stakes testing, I think we forget that.

Here is a little shot of inspiration from Adam Bellow:

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tools for Embedded Librarianship - TLA District 1

The wonders of technology!!! So tomorrow morning I am going to sit in my living room at my home on the Texas coast, probably in my pjs, and speak to the TLA District 1 Fall Meeting in San Angelo, TX eight hours away.

Here is my presentation:

And here is a link to The Complete Guide to Twitter Hashtags for Education.

A question was asked about royalty-free pictures. Here is a link to a collection of resources from a training I did a few years ago: