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A Stress Free Plan for Closing Out Your Classroom

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 17 May, 2017 - 21:09

A conversation with Angela Watson on episode 78 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Angela Watson @angela_watson teaches us a stress-free plan for closing out your classroom. See also her 5 Summer Secrets for a Stress free Fall video series.

Check out the 40-hour Teacher Workweek Club

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In today’s show, Angela Watson talks about the best way to close down your classroom at the end of the school year:

  • Why taking things down too soon can cause behavior problems
  • How to have students help without chaos
  • A simple system for getting the work done
  • Ending the school year with less stress
  • What you should have students do

I hope you enjoy this episode with Angela Watson!

Want to hear another episode on how to thrive at the end of the school year? Listen to me talk about How to make it to the end of the school year.

Selected Links from this Episode

Some of the links are affiliate links.  Full Bio As Submitted Angela Watson

Angela Watson is National Board Certified Teacher currently working as an instructional coach and educational consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She has published four books for teachers and has maintained The Cornerstone For Teachers blog since 2003.

Angela is the creator of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club an online professional development program that has supported teachers with productivity in over 10,000 schools. Her Sunday podcast called Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers is entering its 6th season, providing motivation and encouragement to teachers on a weekly basis.

Transcript for this episode


Click to download the PDF copy

[Recording starts 0:00:00]

To celebrate the end of the first season of the Ten Minute Teacher Podcast on June 16th, we’re running a giveaway. http://www.coolcatteacher.com/help-kids-learn-code-dash-dot-wonder-workshop/  The Dash and Dot robot wonder pack from Wonder Workshop Stay tuned at the end of the show for how to enter.

Today’s guest is Angela Watson. Check out her free video series, Five Summer Secrets for a Stress-Free Fall. Just go to cctea.ch/40hw-summer and enter your email to get this spring series. While you’re there, take a look at the 40-hour work week club. This club has personally helped me a better teacher while working less hours. Yes, it is possible. Now, onto episode 78; A Stress-Free Plan for Closing out Your Classroom with Angela Watson.

The Ten-minute Teacher podcast with Vicki Davis. Every week day you’ll learn powerful practical ways to be a more remarkable teacher today.

VICKI:   Happy wonderful classroom Wednesday. Today we’re talking to one of my favorite productivity teaching – just expert at everything, Angela Watson. @angela_watson

And we’re going to talk about a stress-free plan for closing out our classroom. Now, Angela, I have to admit, I’m not very good at this, I end up with a complete disaster in my room and sometimes even during pre-planning I’m cleaning out the mess that I left at the end of the year. Help me please.

ANGELA:     I think a lot of teachers can relate to that. It’s really a struggle and a lot of teachers haven’t been taught a system for it. So, I’m looking forward to kind of breaking that down with you today.

VICKI:          Let’s do it.

ANGELA:     Okay. So, the first thing that I want you to understand is that there’s a difference between deconstructing the room and closing out your classroom. So taking things off the walls and storing these materials away in boxes or covering your shelves make a huge difference visually in your classroom.


                    And it makes it feel like you’ve made a lot progress towards closing things out for the end of the year. But really, it’s the easiest thing to do. And it’s not really moving you forward. It’s so quick that I actually recommend that you don’t even start it until the second to last day of school. So, hear me out on this because I know a lot of people listening are going to be like, “No, way, I could never wait that long.” Here’s the thing, I’ve seen teachers close up their classroom libraries, their centers and pull all these materials away like a full month in advance.

VICKI:          Oh, my goodness.

ANGELA:     Because they don’t want to feel overwhelmed, right? They don’t want to leave all that cleaning and organization and packing up for that last week of school. But what happens is – and you probably know what happens. What happens to the kids when you do that?

VICKI:          Yeah. They misbehave, don’t do it, like you’re asking for trouble. Never, never. I never take my stuff down until school is out, I just can’t.

ANGELA:     Good for you. So, you’re kind of the opposite then. That’s exactly right, it will throw up all your daily routines if they’re put away. And it just ramps kid’s excitement levels up and it just create behavioral issues. So, I’ve experimented with a lot of difference approaches and I can tell you without a doubt that it’s best to have kids help deconstruct the classroom starting from that second to last day.

So, in the weeks leading up to the last day, that’s when you’re going to complete your end-of-year paper work – all those closing out tasks. So you can return materials, you can start de-cluttering, those sorts of things. You do want to get that stuff done in advance but you want to keep the classroom looking exactly the same for as long as possible so that you can keep your regular routines in place. And then on that second to last day of school you can turn your full attention to overseeing the classroom deconstruction. If you try to do it sooner or you try to spread out the task over a week or two it will be very difficult for the kids to concentrate on the academic work because the room is screaming, “we’re done here.”

VICKI:              I do have to admit, I may be biased because I have been doing your 40-hour work week https://40htw.com/join/club/ref/coolcat/

and I know you cover that in there. So this is just important advice for closing out right and not being done till you’re done, you know.

ANGELA:     Yes.

VICKI:          Okay, what’s next?


ANGELA:     So, here’s what you’re going to do when you’re ready to deconstruct. You could just wait until school is over and the kids are gone and just do it on your own like you’ve been doing. But the thing with that is that then you’re doing all the work. So if you can involve students in it, there’s a way to do that that is not too chaotic. So, here’s what I recommend. I recommend you keep the class engaged in meaningful tasks while a handful of students help deconstruct. So problems with end-of-year close out tasks arrives when the teacher has things to do but the kids don’t have anything to do because kids are really perceptive, they know when we give them busy work, they know when we’re just trying to get them out of hair until we end up spending the whole day trying to keep them on task and then we don’t get out own stuff done.

So what you do instead is keep the class engaged in a really worthwhile learning activity. Something that they enjoy, something that’s going to be fun for them, something that they’re going to stay engaged with naturally. And then while the kids work, you can periodically circulate throughout the room to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and spend the rest of your time overseeing the students who are sustained with your end-of-year task. So your full attention is with the kids, you’re watching the ones who are at work, you’re watching the ones who are deconstructing you’re not off trying to do your own thing because that’s when it gets chaotic, when they know that you are not present there with them.

VICKI:          Yeah. Because you can be in the room and not really there.

ANGELA:     Exactly. So you’re going to make a list of all the jobs that you can assign to your students, do that in advance. They can take down bulletin boards, pack up books, record text book numbers, label things with your name, make a list of all those things that you need done. I usually had a list about 40 things and I found that my 3rd graders were able to complete every task on the list usually in less than two hours using this process I’m about to explain.

We would start around 10am, we’d be done by noon. Just a handful of things may be done in the afternoon. So, once you know what needs to be done you have this pass listed out, now you’re going to do the final step which is to create an efficient system in which you assign task to pairs of students so you’re going to pair your kids up. I like to think about it in advance, some people just kind of do it just pair the moment and you’re just thinking about student’s personalities, right?


                    Because you want to match up kids who get along well so they can get the task done and they’re not going to be interrupting you constantly to settle arguments between them. So, pair up kids who have similar strengths, maybe your most organized students can do the task like filing and library organization. Pair up the kids who are really active so that they can move the furniture and they can run errands around the school.

If you are the secondary level of you see multiple classes each day, break down the jobs into tasks that can be completed within a single class period. So you may want to consider chunking the job so that each class participates to some degree and the classes with your more responsible students get the most important tasks. So figure out how you’re going to pair your kids up, get the whole class working on that meaningful engaging independent activity. And then you’re just going to call a pair of students over to your desk and you’re going to explain the task that you want them to do. Remember, this is on the second to last day of school now.

So you’re going to explain it to them, make sure they’re confident, they understand what to do, they know what to do, they know now to be successful and then call over another pair of students and assign the next task on your list.

So I usually have about two to five pairs of students deconstructing the classroom at any given time, maybe a third of the class, the other two-thirds are working. And I things start to feel chaotic or they get difficult to manage then you just don’t call any more pairs until another pair has finished.

And then whenever they’re done this is what you need to train them to do, have them go automatically back to completing the whole class assignment until you need them again.

VICKI:          Awesome. That just sounds like a dream, it’s like, “I guess it works.”

ANGELA:     They love it, that’s the whole thing – when you tell them “this is the day.” Because they’re going to see all the other teachers have already started, like, “When are we taking down this room?” We’re doing it today and we’re going to have a system for it. But if it gets crazy in here then you’re not going to be able to help, right?

VICKI:          Yeah.

ANGELA:     So you having them go back to their seats when they’re done and if they’re not able to do the task well, if they can’t stay on task, if they can’t do it quietly, then you just don’t call them to help with anymore – that’s all. And then you just keep rotating through each pair of students as many times as needed until all the jobs are finished and that’s how it works.

VICKI:          That sounds much better than how I’ve done it which is like, write the list of everything that needs to be done on the dry erase board and kids pick tasks.


And you invariably have some kids who picked the task of supervising everybody else which doesn’t work very well. Okay so what is your last piece of this that when teachers are done and the last day of school is done, where will they be with this process?

ANGELA:     So, you should be able to get the deconstruction done on that second to last day of school. And you can adapt this process in any way that makes sense for you. This is just a way that I did it and I recommend other teachers do it, but you can do it however you want it. Just keep those for core elements in place because that’s what makes it so effective. You want to have everything but your room deconstruction done in advance. So to speak to your exact question on the last day of school, almost all the tasks are done, only your last day things are left because you’ve been doing the closeout task for weeks and then that second to last day you have the entire room taken down.

So follow that format, have all your jobs listed out in advance, assign your pairs of students to do each job and get the whole class engaged in a meaningful activity and call pairs of students over to do the task. I teach the members of the 40-hour teacher work week club https://40htw.com/join/club/ref/coolcat/

to do it this way, I’ve had teachers in every grade level K-12 use this system and they love it, they swear by it now. So I promise it can work in your classroom too. It really does work.

VICKI:          So teachers, we’ll have also a link to Angela’s video series Five Summer Secrets for a Stress Free Fall. http://cctea.ch/40HW-summer

She has so many resources. And if you’re thinking, “Oh my goodness, I really want to hear more about this 40-hour work week club” I know she’s going to have open cart in June and I’ll have links to all this in the show notes.

And we’re also going to have another episode in June where we talk more. So, I highly recommend following all that Angela does. I just learned so much from her on a daily basis. And Angela, I just appreciate all you do for all of us teachers because I learn a lot from you.

ANGELA:     Thank you, Vicki. I appreciate that so much.

On June 16th we’ll finish up Season 1 of the 10 Minute Teacher. So, celebrate, we’ve partnered with one of my favorite robots for teaching coding, Dash and Dot form Wonder Workshop. Go to coolcat.com/wonder and enter to win your very own Wonder pack from Wonder workshop and to learn more about how you can use Dash and Dot to teach programming to kids, age kindergarten and up.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at coolcatteacher.com/podcast. Never stop learning.


[End of Audio 0:10:38]


[Transcription created by tranzify.com. Some additional editing has been done to add grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Every attempt has been made to correct spelling. For permissions, please email lisa@coolcatteacher.com]


The post A Stress Free Plan for Closing Out Your Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Great Non-Education Books That Might Change Your Thinking on Teaching and Learning

The Principal of Change George Couros - 17 May, 2017 - 07:16

I love Twitter.

If you are looking for some good books to read over the summer break, take a look at this thread:

What is a book that had a significant impact on your views and practices on education, but is NOT an education book?

— George Couros (@gcouros) May 15, 2017

Lots of interesting suggestions there. Books I have read, books I haven’t heard of, and books that I have heard of that I have never read. These books are listed as ones that are beyond “good”, but have changed the mentality of many towards education.

To model an answer to what I have asked, I wanted to share five books that I have read that have shaped my philosophy, why I liked them, and some powerful quotes.

1. Drive – Daniel Pink

If you don’t think a book on the “science of motivation” applies to education, you are missing a huge opportunity in education. This book did not reaffirm a lot of my thinking; it changed it. As many, I thought grades and awards were an excellent motivator for people and students, but this debunks this notion in a world that needs creative thinkers. Think about it…how many kindergarten kids are worried about their grades? Schools condition them to that.

This led me to write a post on “The Impact of Awards“, which I receive emails on weekly with educators or parents, who are trying to convince their school of moving from a system of awards that may be detrimental to their students. I used to think that a lack of awards was about being “soft” on kids, but in reality, it is much harder to help children develop intrinsic motivation than to use “carrots and sticks” to learn. Although it is harder, it is increasingly beneficial long term.

Quotes from the book:

“When the reward is the activity itself–deepening learning, delighting customers, doing one’s best–there are no shortcuts.”

“For artists, scientists, inventors, schoolchildren, and the rest of us, intrinsic motivation—the drive do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing—is essential for high levels of creativity.”

“People use rewards expecting to gain the benefit of increasing another person’s motivation and behavior, but in so doing, they often incur the unintentional and hidden cost of undermining that person’s intrinsic motivation toward the activity.”

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

This book taught me that you can say something simple and profound at the same time.  The lessons here seem like common sense but are not necessarily that common.

Here are the “7 Habits”:

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

These lessons are not only beneficial to adults, but children as well. The spinoff book, “The Leader in Me“, helped me reshape my thinking to look for the strengths in both kids and adults, and move backward from there.

Quotes from the book:

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and
he will become as he can and should be.”

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it.”


3. Humanize – Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant

This book made me look at the Internet and social media in a totally different way.  While many focus on the negative aspects of social media, this made me look for the positives and how we have this powerful opportunity to connect as human beings more now than ever.  It also helped me to focus on the importance of what this new era of transparency means for leadership.  When you can see other organizations so openly, it can easily shine a light on the weaknesses of leadership in your own organization.

Quotes from the book:

“One of the reasons social media has grown so fast is that it taps into what we, as human beings, naturally love and need and want to do—create, share, connect, relate.”

“As the Internet has become more central in our lives, we have begun to witness a revival of the importance of being human.”

“Creating human organizations requires more than social media. It requires new leadership.”

4. Mindset – Carol Dweck

This book was a springboard and influence for my own book (as were the others), “The Innovator’s Mindset“.  Carol Dweck’s work has made a significant impact on how we look at students and their potential, and how they learn, as well as how we look at our own learning as adults. If someone changes their mindset, their potential is limitless. We are often the biggest barrier to our own success.

Quotes from the book:

“We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.”

“Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”

“What on earth would make someone a non-learner? Everyone is born with an intense drive to learn. Infants stretch their skills daily. Not just ordinary skills, but the most difficult tasks of a lifetime, like learning to walk and talk. They never decide it’s too hard or not worth the effort. Babies don’t worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves. They walk, they fall, they get up.”


5. The Paradox of Choice – Barry Schwartz

We often talk about “choice” as being crucial to students, and I agree, that there are many options for our children today.  That being said, too much choice can be crushing to people. As an administrator, it influenced my thinking on how I would at one time bombard my own staff with too many options on their use of technology when it only led them to be overwhelmed and unsure if they went the right direction (See – Conference session on “100 Tools To Use in the Classroom”).  Not only is this important to understand in schools that are drowning in initiatives, we have to recognize this for ourselves.  Do we inundate ourselves with too much?  In a world with so many options, “choice” can be a benefit or detriment depending on how we see it.

Quotes from the book:

“Focus on what makes you happy, and do what gives meaning to your life”

“Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.”

“Most good decisions will involve these steps: Figure out your goal or goals. Evaluate the importance of each goal. Array the options. Evaluate how likely each of the options is to meet your goals. Pick the winning option. Later use the consequences of your choice to modify your goals, the importance you assign them, and the way you evaluate future possibilities.”


When I look at this list, I realize how many of these books have had an impact on me not only as an educator but as a writer. For those “aspiring” authors out there, my best advice if you want to write, read other books.  Reference ideas you get from them, but also think of the different styles of writing and what you enjoy reading yourself.

As people are preparing their own summer reading lists, any books you can suggest in the comments would be of great value.

Categories: Planet

Breakout EDU Digital is Awesome (and Free) #breakoutedu

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 16 May, 2017 - 21:14

A conversation with Mari Venturino on episode 77 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Mari Venturino @MsVenturino talks about breakout edu digital for edtech tool Tuesday. These challenges are free! (And perfect activities for team building at the end of the school year.) Learn about the challenges and advantages of breakout edu digital. Have fun!


Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Click the button for iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to this show

In today’s show, Mari Venturino talks about Breakout EDU digital:

  • Explaining what breakout edu digital is
  • What it teaches
  • The challenges teachers have with it
  • How to use it in the classroom
  • Some examples of the most popular breakout edu games

I hope you enjoy this episode with Mari Venturino!

Want to hear another episode on Breakout EDU? Listen to Adam Bellow talk about the #BreakoutEDU Box: The Teaching Experience that Has Everyone Talking.

Selected Links from this Episode

Full Bio As Submitted Mari Venturino

Mari Venturino is a 7th-grade science and AVID teacher and Blended Learning Specialist at Mar Vista Academy in San Diego, CA. She is a Google For Education Certified Trainer and Innovator, a Google Certified Educator Levels 1 & 2, and is Leading Edge Certified in Online and Blended Instruction.

Mari was awarded the CUE Outstanding Emerging Teacher of the Year in 2017. She is the co-founder of Breakout EDU Digital.

Transcript for this episode

To be posted as soon as it is available. Check back soon!

The post Breakout EDU Digital is Awesome (and Free) #breakoutedu appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Help Kids Learn to Code with Dash and Dot from Wonder Workshop

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 16 May, 2017 - 07:48

How kids can explore and create in STEM with ease

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

This week has been genius week in eighth-grade keyboarding! We’ve finished our portfolios and it is time to celebrate. We have 3d printing, robot making, and all kinds of building going on. But today, I’m writing about one of my favorite tools for teaching coding quickly, Dash and Dot. Scroll down to enter the giveaway contest!

These Wonder Workshop robots make it easy to learn to code in my STEM lab.

This is a sponsored blog post by Wonder Workshop. I only recommend products or services that I use and like. See full disclosures at the bottom of this post. 

Learn more about Dash and Dot

Out of the Box Coding with Kids

So, out of all of the items I had available, Dash and Dot from Wonder Workshop were the ONLY ones which I didn’t have to help my students figure out. I literally took the Wonder Pack and handed it to my students to open and start using. I said,

“Here are two robots, Dash and Dot, there are apps on the store you can use and there are a lot of attachments and cool things, go for it. Show me what you can do.”

In moments they were driving the robots, adding attachments and playing the xylophone. I’ve used Dash and Dot before but they have something new, the catapult.

I was fascinated by the catapult and they struggled a little. I didn’t intervene, I just said,

“I wonder if you all are hard working enough to figure out the catapult.”

It took longer, but soon they were throwing things across the room. (In a good, non-hurtful way, of course.)

Cool Lesson Plans to Help Kids Learn to Code

I’ve been using Dash and Dot for over two years now with kids of all ages. I often point them to the Dash and Dot curriculum page to figure out what they can do with them.

I have the Dash and Dot Wonder Pack in my classroom. It comes with lots of accessories and attachments. (Even some Lego extensions.) We’re hosting a giveaway contest! Scroll down to enter!


For example, it was rainy one day and a student asked what Dot could do. He found out how to program Dot to play Hot Potato. Then, as they played, he enjoyed changing the speed and timing to make the game different each time. We ended up with ten kids at break programming and playing their own “high tech” version of the low tech hot potato game. So much fun!

Get Lesson Plans. So, while I often like to approach learning from a genius hour/ maker space / tinkering approach, there are some awesome lessons https://teachers.makewonder.com/lessons you can do in the classroom. 

Why Do We Help Kids Learn to Code?

As I’ve shared before, coding is an important skill for students to learn. We want our students to think computationally. I don’t want students playing games – I want them to MAKE games. I don’t want students using apps, I want them MAKING apps. Likewise, I want student making, creating, and melding their environment. While I use dash and dot with older students and they love them, these cute toy robots are targeted to K-5 students.

I believe these robots make an excellent addition to:

  • Classroom maker space
  • Summer camps and robotics experiences
  • Summer enrichment
  • STEM labs, STEAM labs, and FAB labs
  • Any elementary classroom

During innovation week (the first week of school), I had students figuring out and teaching everything they could learn about Dash and Dot. I’ve been using these robots to introduce coding to all ages for the last two years. They are simple to use out of the box.

Apps for Dash and Dot from Wonder Workshop

There are many apps you can use to program the Dash and Dot which include:

  • Wonder App –  This is the basic app to control Dash and Dot.  Students can program, drive, and do other things with the wonder app. This is usually the first app they get.One of the favorite things my students do is take a phone and put it on the smartphone app and Facetime with it. They used another phone to drive Dash. We hook up the phone that is Facetiming with Dash back on my big board. So, the students can literally drive Dash around the school and say hello to people and talk via Facetime. It was their own virtual presence! We had lots of conversations after they hit on this. And they were just tinkering. They go much deeper into programming with this basic app.
  • Blockly – If students have used Scratch, Blockly will be very simple. This is our favorite coding app. You can do simple things with it, but you’d be surprised at the advanced things older kids will figure out.
  • Xylo – This app lets Dash play the xylophone. Musically inclined students enjoy this.
  • Path – This app is a little more advanced but students learn about sensors and events by using this tool. For example, you can have students teach the robot to follow a path, but to move and go around obstacles. We talk about “self-driving” cars when using this app. You can get into some pretty advanced concepts in a simple way. While you might not want to use the “big words” like control flow and algorithm design, students don’t need to know the words to do these things.
  • Go – This app help students get started with Dash and Dot and teaches them how to play. While my older students start with the Wonder App, when using these with younger kids, you’d probably want to start with Go.
Dash and Dot Wonder Pack Giveaway Contest

Dash and Dot Wonderpack Giveaway Contest

So, if you want to make coding a dash, get the robots Dash and Dot from Wonder Workshop. Here’s the link to their teacher portal to learn more.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This blog is a sponsored blog post. The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)

The post Help Kids Learn to Code with Dash and Dot from Wonder Workshop appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Gridding up

Chris Betcher - 9 May, 2017 - 18:26

I was turned onto this rather cool new tool that I think has a ton of great potential in the classroom. It’s called Flipgrid. It’s a way to collect short video responses to a prompt. As well as looking great, it works on mobile (with the Flipgrid app), doesn’t require a login, and is super simple to use!

I’ve embedded a link to an example. Just click the container below and it will take you to a topic page. Then just click the big green plus button to start recording (and you’ll probably also need to click “allow” to give permission to your camera). Then just record your message, add your name and a poster frame, then submit it. As more people submit theirs you can revisit the site to see what they add. Give it a go!

.errordiv { padding:10px; margin:10px; border: 1px solid #555555;color: #000000;background-color: #f8f8f8; width:500px; }#advanced_iframe {visibility:visible;opacity:1;}#ai-layer-div-advanced_iframe p {height:100%;margin:0;padding:0} var ai_iframe_width_advanced_iframe = 0; var ai_iframe_height_advanced_iframe = 0;var aiIsIe8=false; if (typeof aiReadyCallbacks === 'undefined') { var aiReadyCallbacks = []; } else if (!(aiReadyCallbacks instanceof Array)) { var aiReadyCallbacks = []; }var onloadFiredadvanced_iframe = false; function aiShowIframe() { jQuery("#advanced_iframe").css("visibility", "visible"); } function aiShowIframeId(id_iframe) { jQuery("#"+id_iframe).css("visibility", "visible"); } function aiResizeIframeHeight(height) { aiResizeIframeHeight(height,advanced_iframe); } function aiResizeIframeHeightId(height,width,id) {aiResizeIframeHeightById(id,height);} var ifrm_advanced_iframe = document.getElementById("advanced_iframe");var hiddenTabsDoneadvanced_iframe = false; function resizeCallbackadvanced_iframe() {}function aiChangeUrl(loc) {}

After you click the button, say who you are, where you’re from, what you teach, and how you might use this with your students. You have 60 seconds! Go!

The direct link to the topic page is https://flipgrid.com/2a35ea

The administrator of the grid has a lot of control over things like moderation and approval of comments before they go live, whether replies are allowed, whether likes and plays are shown, whether auto transcription happens, and more. This tool is well designed for classroom use!

I see this as a great way to collect feedback from students, allow them to share their learning with the rest of the class, reflect on an activity, brainstorm ideas, and so much more. What suggestions can you come up with?

PS: If you’re on mobile, grab the Flipgrid app for Android or iOS. I love that it works so well on mobile as well as the web. Well done, Flipgrid!

Header image: Sprites by Thomas Quine via Flickr CC BY


Categories: Planet

Announcing the 2017 Sydney Google Innovator Academy

Chris Betcher - 9 May, 2017 - 10:23

Back in April 2011 I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Google Teacher Academy held in Sydney, Australia.  As part of this first Australian cohort, I was so excited to be part of this amazing team of educators from around the world and we spent two days deeply immersed in all sorts of Google nerdiness mixed with teaching inspiration. It was at this event that I saw a Chromebook for the first time, played with Android for the first time, learned about a bunch of new Google tools that I wasn’t really aware of, and most importantly, met an astoundingly talented group of educators who shared brilliant ideas about pushing education forward. To say that this event had an impact on my life would be a huge understatement. Becoming a Google Certified Teacher (now know as a Google Certified Innovator) was not only highly relevant to my work at school, it also opened up opportunities to do work with EdTechTeam, travel the world presenting at Summits and workshops, and eventually lead to my current role as their Director of Professional Learning.  So when I say that the Google Teacher Academy changed my life, I’m not exaggerating at all.

So I’m excited to let you know that the Google Innovator Academy (what was previously called the Google Teacher Academy) has just been announced again for Sydney!  The program has morphed and changed over the years, becoming far less about just the tools and much more about developing moonshot thinking about some of education’s biggest challenges. The program asks you to consider ways in which you can truly impact your own educational context, to think big about it, and to work on a project to make a 10x difference. In the process, you get connected to a simply amazing group of innovative educators that can, and probably will, change your life too.

If you love what you do, if you want to push education forward, if you think you can make a difference, if you want to be challenged and inspired, if you want to connect some powerful tools with some powerful pedagogy, then you should think about applying for the Google Innovator Academy.

It’s an application process and there is some work to do in applying.  You need to fill out an application, make a video and do some work. There are limited places. Many apply, and only some are selected. But if that’s you, trust me, it can change your life.

Find out more, and apply, at https://edutrainingcenter.withgoogle.com/certification_innovator

  • May 9 – Applications open
  • June 26 – Application Deadline
  • August 16, 17, 18 – Innovator Academy held at Google Sydney

And good luck! Be awesome!

Categories: Planet
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