Teachers on Pinterest

I don’t pin*, but some of my closest friends do (Bronwyn or JenGilpin). They guarantee me that this is a brilliant way to share ideas visually. These two ladies also happen to be kindergarten teachers.

I stumbled across this great board for teachers. There doesn’t seem to be a lot for high school aged students, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t adjust some of these fantastic ideas for their lessons. Heck, many of these ideas could be just as effective in a grade 3 room as they would in a grade 10 History room.

Here are some of my favourites and how I might use them.

1. Classroom management

This would be really great for 7 and 8s. They may be able to ‘earn back’ letters before they have to wait x minutes after the bell.

2. Building new groups. I have students line up in different orders and then count them off in smaller groups.

3. Oral Assessments/Questioning

4. Literacy and Communication using evidence

5. Literacy

Young historians or applied level students would love using a giant venn diagram on the ground to compare periods of time or experiences of different Canadians.

6. Building Relevance

Students often struggle making connections between History and their own lives. Sometimes, it’s easier for them to connect to non-personal things AND this still demonstrates their ability apply ideas. Consider tweaking this anchor chart for the history classroom.

* I’ll admit I started an account whilst researching this post. I’m pinning. *

iMovie on the iPad- Trailers

iMovie Trailer Activity instructions

Our school has 20 iPads in the library. I have been trying to figure out ways to use them in my classroom. Unfortunately, the way our current system works, there are few apps directly related to Canadian History. I turned my sights on iMovie.

My Grade 10 Academic History class served as pioneers in developing an activity (and avoiding some of the bugs) revolving around the $5 iMovie app.

Students were asked to select a variety of images around a topic, in this case, an introduction to Canada’s involvement in WW2. Then, using the basic-pre-made trailer option, students’ text and images were animated, set to music and packaged in a really slick format.

PLUSES:
– the students LOVED this creativity.
– they love the iPad and the simple image save functions
– the trailers look professional
– because they couldn’t obsess about music choices of storyboard setup, they were able to start and finish a 1 min trailer in a 75 minute period
– easy upload to Youtube or Vimeo

CONS:
– because the iPads are shared with the whole school, the students couldn’t save work they haven’t finished
– YouTube can take a long time to upload and if students don’t have their own account, you have to provide them with a password.
– Students need to remember (and learn) to sign out the account they use to share the finished product

Here’s an example of what they produced.

World War Two: Raid On Dieppe from HTrinity on Vimeo.

Bridging the Gap – Student Success as Student Servant (technology) Leadership

Replace-Fear-with-Curiosity

Bridge the Gap between teacher knowledge and student knowledge through a technology they’re interested in playing with.

Why Are you (sometimes) hesitant to use technology in the classroom?

(this will take you to a Google doc and you’ll be able to anonymously contribute).

Student success is consistently tied to their connectedness to the school and classroom. They

Easy Ways to Include Technology in your classroom:

Fakebook Discussion Threads

Fake Twitter Threads

Want to try real twitter? See this post.

Online Comics:

Bitstripsforschools.com –> I have set us up with a class and an activity comic so you can have some fun playing with this amazing program.

http://www.kerpoof.com — Better for a younger audience and creates .jpegs or can save if signed in
žhttp://www.xtranormal.com – Requires log in
Mind Mapping
text2mindmap.com – takes text broken down through tabs and creates a mind map with associated sister and child branches
bubbl.us — Tool allows students to determine the space and orientation of their map, colours, etc

JUST PLAY.

Here’s a great fun activity to help your students engage with the interactive white board. –> www.drawastickman.com

Newspaper Clip Generator (and other things)

Other Neat Stuff:

http://waterlife.nfb.ca/#/ — An interactive  multimedia presentation about Canada’s Waterways

http://flawed.nfb.ca/#/flawed — Body Image, Love and a beautiful multimedia story

PicMonkey.com

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Want further Inspiration? This is a great “catch all” site.

Google has created an interesting resource to help teach students how to “google” better. It’s American-centric, but you can adjust the concepts to make it more accessible in your classroom.

Where the Magic Happens

Every day, we ask our students to come into our classrooms and try new things. We ask them to stand in front of their peers and speak, or answer a question on freshly learned topics or throw them into new methods of instruction which are far from the safety of pencil and paper activities. Our classrooms house intimidation!

Magic

I once read about a 30+ year veteran teacher who started a new activity every September. She believed it was a way to remind herself about the challenges of being a student. She reasoned that risk taking is hard and learning something new, although exciting, is really intimidating.

I love the image of a grey-haired woman stepping over the chrome engine of a Harley on her first ride, banging away at a drum lesson or leaping into a jazz dance class. She is risk taking. She giving up control. She is experiencing. She lets her self leave her comfort zone and head “where the magic happens.”

Unfortunately, many teachers forget what it’s like to take risks. We become at ease with the topics we cover (our students always seem so shocked, “how do you know all this?” and the answer is often, “I’ve taught it  a lot”). We make excuses for why we won’t or can’t learn something new.

Teachers can be intimidated by technology. There are so many variables in selecting iPad, interactive whiteboard, web activity, collaboration, Google Apps etc. Then, we have to worry about managing those activities once we’ve created them.

My challenge to you: pick something. If it fails? Try again. Do something differently. You’ll get another crack at it in the future. What is there to lose?

MOST IMPORTANTLY:  Let your students guide you. Let the students who know their way around reddit or tumblr show you how to find .gifs or embed videos. Enjoy being a student. Use the classtime to develop a skill or learn a new web too.

The Digital Native

Teaching students in a digital age is taming a very different beast than it was 20 years ago. Some of us might remember the early days of the Icon computer, Commodore 64, early Nintendo, our first “surfing the net” experience and then an ability to — *gasp* — view images on the web without waiting 10 minutes.

This is not the reality for our current students. Many were born after the mass marketing of the internet, were conceived in the DotCom bubble and have grown up with computers, the internet and cell phones in their lives, everyday.

We assume young people born after 1995 have solid computer skills. However, these students were not required to take ‘typing.’ They are unsure of how/where to insert a tab, how to use their word processor to double space their documents and changing file extensions can pose real problems. They can access Google or Facebook, send images and attachments on their emails or smartphones, but few think about how these tasks are achieved by the computer. They are simply ‘done.’

This can pose some significant challenges to educators when students encounter digital-related problems. I’ve seen students go white with panic when their .docx file won’t open on the school computers or burst into tears when You Tube is uncooperative during their presentation and they have no ‘back up’ plan.

The digital native is NOT a digital expert.

The perception of the Digital Native and Digital immigrant isn’t only a trope, but it also creates an unhelpful binary (Bayne and Ross, 2007) of “us” and “them:” those who can feel good about using technology and those who feel less comfortable. A study by White and LeCornu (2011) suggest the best way to see the differences in people’s comfort in using technology can be summed up as “visitor” and “resident;” the former is less likely to have a large online presence and ‘dabbles’ in interwebs connections, whereas the latter has a large footprint in social and content-based online media.

Part of our role as teacher, even if we’re Visitors, is to help them to learn more about the systems which will be forever tied to their lives: computers. We can help them build resilience. We must console and encourage baby steps for those pupils who claim, ‘computers hate me!’ We can show them how to problem solve using a web search.

CBC’s Spark has an excellent segment on this very topic. Check it out.

This study (March 2012) looks at the Millennial habits for online searches. How can we improve this for our students?

Teaching Better Web Searching

The Ontario curriculum has a lot of “stuff” to cover. Facts, terms, concepts and theories are important and valid. Unfortunately, teachers often obsess over ensuring they ‘taught everything’ and there’s little time to teach skills.  This is the exact opposite of where we need to be heading to make our students productive, engaged adults of the future.

Dr. Sugata Mitra argues the future of education will require three core elements.

1) reading comprehension – students must be able to understand what they are reading and be critical about it

2) Search and retrieval skills (see below)

3) believe – thoughts and ideas have no limits. Create, inquire, challenge. Believe.

So, where do you start? Work these sorts of activities into your classes. Recognize your students will always go to Google first. Also remember, they have a lot of trouble finding things online. They aren’t necessarily the DIGITAL NATIVES they’re cracked up to be.

GoogleTipsAndTricksPres –> this is a great resource (thank you to Gabriel Massicotte for this document)!

My students often hear me say, “To the Google!” It’s their cue to pull out their smartphones and look for an answer.

As educators or parents, we also have to understand some of the more challenging aspects of googling. This fantastic TEDtalk addresses some issues we need to think about. Most importantly: how have my former choices on Google impacted the results I’m currently getting and how can I change that?

Graphic Organizers

I love graphic organizers like nothing else.  Many students are intimidated by the blank page. It’s amazing how adding some blocks or circles on a page to “fill out” make the work of writing or researching so much more manageable.

Students can be given graphic organizers to help outline “how many” concepts or ideas they should research. Further, an organizer can help ensure they extend their thinking beyond ‘gathering facts’ to ‘evaluate’ or ‘examine’ given teacher-directed language.

I found this AMAZING fill-in .pdf webpage a little while ago. I have gone back to using it again and again. There’s a webpage for so many topics and needs. Teaching students about these resources may help them to remember these as a starting point in their writing or organizing process.

Here is one of my Favourites: The Alphabet Organizer

alphabet exemplar – 3 Little Pigs

Wikipedia by Another Name

Our students love and rely on Wikipedia. I constantly remind them it’s a great resource for ‘general knowledge’ but they should not use it as a source on papers. I teach them to ‘mine’ the footnotes at the end of the documents to access more reputable sources.
There are many students who struggle with the vocabulary and heavy text of the original Wikipedia. Luckily, there’s been some pretty genius online sources which use the data from Wikipedia to make more accessible options.
Other Ways to Search Wikipedia
10 Word Wiki (gives you summary in 10 words exactly)
  – this might be inspiration for neat writing activity too!
Simple English Wikipedia (for kids, English Language Learners or for those who need a simpler version)
Wiki Mind Maps – connects ideas within Wikipedia links for word association
The Wiki Game (use the links to connect unrelated ideas – the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon for the web)