Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's In My iPhone?

So my students have turned me on to these YouTube celebrities that talk about hair and makeup and the maddening idea of what is in their purses or what their room looks like.  I really do find it absolutely amazing that 4 million people would care what is in the purse of a YouTube celebrity... but I get it.  I have to admit that I absolutely loooove Nerdy Nummies with Rosanna Pansino and listen to her talk about nothing.
All of this gave me an idea, though.  Every day I leave school with about 20% juice left in my battery because I use my phone constantly... seriously, I abuse my phone.  The kids and I both know that my phone enables us to have the class they enjoy.  So, what's in my phone?
Photos - Photos are obvious.  I take pictures all the time for my blog and our schools website.  But how do I use it to truly engage learners?  I use it like a document camera.  In my school district they are fabulous and give each teacher a MacBook Pro.  Because of this, when I take a picture on my phone, it shows up in my photo album about 1 minute later.  I can quickly take a picture of amazing work and project it quickly.  The kids loooove seeing their work projected!!!

YouTube - I worship at that altar of Youtube in class and have figured out how to get around my distict's filter.  I recently received an Apple TV for my class (AMEN!!!!) and now I can quickly project any video I'm watching.



Twitter - So, no, I don't use Twitter in the classroom but Twitter has truly helped me to become a better teacher.  Over the last three years I have taken part in #edchat, #sschat, #tlap, and #sstlap.  I have sat through a lot of PD in my 16 years.  I have learned how to write across the curriculum, manage my classroom, and collaborate with other disciplines.  I have never heard, "Hey!  We're getting this amazing social studies person in to talk to you guys."  Twitter allows me to have relevant PD every week and learn from amazing teachers.  And, to be honest..... PD is so much better in pajamas with a glass of wine:)

 Google Drive - As most of you know, I'm a google fanatic.  Not only can I access Drive easily, I've turned it into a mobile gradebook.  I've set up a spreadsheet with all my classes and it allows me to walk around the classroom easily gathering grades from kids.  I don't have to be anchored to a desk and I don't need to double enter from a paper and clipboard.

Quizlet - I've blogged about Quizlet before.  The kids love it and my phone becomes a study station.  It makes me smile!

Class Dojo - I absolutely loooove that I can walk around my class and award points.  I project up the full screen so the kids can see who is earning what.  I don't use Class dojo everyday, but whenever I feel like I need the kids back on track, I can pull my phone out of my pocket and start the rewards.

Plickers - Plickers is my new favorite toy.  I use it about 3 times a week in class and the toy hasn't lost its lustre.  The kids love it and I adore the data I receive.  The other teachers in my cluster were so excited when they saw it!


Remind101 - In my district, I can not rely on internet access at home but many of my families have cell phones.  Remind101 allows me the ability to reach out whenever.  The kids love the text from Mrs. Wilkins and I love the communication.

Podcasts - I looooove listening to educational podcasts.  I'm a total ed geek but I love listening to a good discussion or debate about trends in ed.  my favorite station is Bam! Radio Network.  It offers a little something for everyone and I adore listening to it in my car on my commute.

So, now that I've shown you my iPhone, is there something amazing in your iPhone that you would like to share?

Come Create Some PD With Me!

My fearless #sstlap leader is taking a break tomorrow night so I'll be hosting. Join an amazing group of educators tomorrow night at 9 pm eastern to discuss how to stay piratey when the end of the year is near.
If you haven't tried a Twitter chat, this is a great one to wet your toes with.  It is the best hour of professional development every week and it has made me strive to be a better teacher. Join us for the fun!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Workshop anyone?

One of my favorite things is working with adults. I have been blessed with a fabulous sixteen year career with a ton of exposure to all types of classrooms. I am constantly told by educators that they would love to have 5 hours with me to just pick my brain. I have given workshops on technology both inside my own district and outside. I loooooove to share and get so jazzed when you guys contact me and let me know that something you borrowed from me worked in your classroom. What I would really like to do now, is to get into workshops. Right now I would only be able to travel in New England so if you are interested in engaging them all in your school, fill out the form below and I'll get back to you!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beginning the Flip

It's been another great week in my neck of the woods. One of my favorite lessons was one I threw together in ten minutes. Don't you love when those work out? We had been text mapping an introduction to Ancient Greece and I wanted to bring everyone back together to discuss it. I had a plan but when I got to school early I decided to tune it up a bit. I played around on YouTube and found this guy:

Literally, he said everything I would have but he was muuuuuch more interesting that Mrs. Wilkins. T have the kids focus, I quickly created this activity.

I stopped the video half way through and had the kids turn to a classmate and discuss what was going to go in their backpack. They absolutely loved it and rocked this assignment. I walked out of that period all jazzed because it worked so well and I actually came up with it 20 minutes before the kids walked in the room!

 

I did the same sort of activity with my 8th graders to discuss the difference between the north and south.

 

As I have mentioned before, I have a very high population of ELL students. My kids are amazing and hardworking, but reading long texts is so difficult for them. As my district gets more technology, I've been flirting with the idea of flipping my class. A natural practice for me, is to create videos to accompany complex text, much like a book on tape. One of my favorites is still the Explain Everything app. With a little learning curve, I was able to make this to go along with a text on the Industrial revolution.

I also found a great quick website that doesn't have as many bells and whistles as Explain Everything but does work seamlessly with Google Drvie. It's called MoveNote and it is an app that connects with your Drive account.

 

It's super easy to use and you can either share it by link, embed and download.

As a social studies teacher, are you stressing about teaching content and skills? No worries!!! I've organized all my best selling CCSS activities for the social studies teacher into one big bundle that saves you 30%! What a bargain!!

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So, as I enter the big world of flipping, what advice do you all have? What apps are amazing and you just have to share? I would love to hear from you!!!!