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Category Archives: Differentiated Practices

Get Techy w/Projects, Edits, Notes, NASA and Prompts

Below are five different ways to engage students in an online environment with any grade level and almost any subject area.

Not sure what kind of projects to start on? Check out this curated list to get some great ideas for your yearly plans.

  • Daily editing builds students’ skills! With Every-Day Edit exercises, challenge students to find and fix errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or grammar.

I like the challenge that this presents to students. Easy and fun yet relevant to literacy skill development.

Who doesn’t like to use a crayon? Note taking is a skill that is developed over time. This is just one way to try it out. If you want to delve further into the phenomenon of Sketchnoting, I suggest to check out Kathy Schrock’s page.

Science teachers rejoice! NASA has always provided some spectacular photos and video and now they are also sharing content and lesson plans. Your Science classes will be astounding.

A variety of writing prompts help students to get started. I also show students, especially from grades 3-12 that they can write in four different ways based on the access to technology in our schools. We have a divisional license for RW4GC and use it extensively. So the four ways are: using a pen/pencil, typing on a keyboard, RW4GC Talk&Type (or GDocs > Tools > Voice Typing) and RW4GC Voice Note. It is amazing what students can “write” about when they are shown the different ways that they can demonstrate their learning through their writing.

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Google in the Classroom: Holiday drawings, Whisper and Choice Boards

No matter what season, content area or grade level, Google Suite Apps for Education have a variety of supports and resources for students to use in the learning environment.

  • Whisper is a free Chrome extension that lets teachers message their class as whole or individual students without interrupting the work. Notifications show up on the student machine as a browser notification that can be viewed in the moment or any time later.

                                          OR

 

Spotlight on Strategy: Make It Concrete

SOS: Make It Concrete is a teaching strategy that uses concrete, or shape, poems to allow students to demonstrate understanding. Students reflect on their learning and create a visual to represent something they have learned from a media resource.

NOTE: the link above is available for any Discovery Ed account users.

 

Ideas for your own classroom:

If you do not have access, you can have students create a list of keywords/expressions that tie in with a video, audio or an image that you have presented to them. Students may create this list individually or in small groups.

Students then take their keywords and input it into a word cloud curator. There are several available online such as:

  • Using a Google Doc, the keywords are typed or dictated onto the document. Install the Word Cloud Generator add-on and run it. Drag or screenshot the word cloud and insert into the Google Doc. Students may want to either do a Gallery Walk to check each other’s word clouds OR all word clouds could be put onto the same Google Doc or even Google Slide.
  • Tagxedo where word clouds can be put into specific shapes. Students would type their generated list of words right into the Tagxedo text box.
  • Wordle is one of the original word cloud generators and works similar to Tagxedo except with no specific shape choices.
  • Wordclouds, Word It OutABCYa! Word Clouds are all great generators

For fun, these word clouds could be printed off and then students could draw images around their word clouds. As well, they could either create a short video or audio explaining their word cloud. This video/audio would then be linked to the original word cloud via a QR code and hung up on a hallway bulletin board for others to view and scan.

Samples for you to check out:

Social Studies examples

125 Ways to use Wordle in the Classroom

Above all, let students have fun collecting content knowledge and giving it an artistic spin!
 

Google in the Classroom: Science, Menus and Videos

 

Photo Credit: Exile on Ontario St Flickr via Compfight cc
These items below are not only time-savers for teachers, they are also offer students different ways to engage with content and each other.

Opportunities for teachers to learn more about GSuite for Edu. The Computer Science hub has a variety of programs such as Made with Code, Science Fair, Student volunteers, CS opportunities for students. They also have teacher training and prep programs such as Applied CS skills curriculum, Applied Digital Skills, CS First, and grants.

Google is constantly updating features for any of the GDrive apps.

Incorporate student choice, variety of content, etc. to differentiate student learning experiences. Created by Kasey Bell.

There are many ways to incorporate media within a Google Doc. Although not an actual feature, that of adding video directly into a GDoc (one can hope is a future item), this is an easy work around with a few options to choose from. Shared via Eric Curts

Who doesn’t want to check out templates? It’s always great when teachers share their formats and ideas. Well, Christine Pinto has the early years teachers excited about these templates.

 

 

Spotlight on Strategy: Instagram-on

   Image result for image

SOS: Instagram-in is a teaching strategy that leverages a popular social media tool that focuses on imagery and prompts summarization and generalization through short comments and hashtags. Using this strategy, students think critically about what images best represent their understanding and then create accompanying statements to communicate that understanding.

NOTE: You will need a Discovery Education license in order to access the above resource.

 

Other resources include:

  • Five Card Flickr – one of my posts speaking about visual storytelling, however one can use it to summarize as well!
  • Google Photos Album – create an album on a specific topic and share it with students via Google Classroom or Google Drive. Have them either individually or in a small group choose up to 5 photos to add to a Google document whereby they can add short comments and hashtags under each image. The Google document then is shared with the teacher or within Google classroom.
  • Also check out my post on Invest on Inferencing with Students, especially the Explain an Image activity.

 

Images: one, two, three from various sources

 

Design Challenge: Create an Inclusive Playground/Theme Park

Overview

“Children with disabilities are often excluded from, or restrained in, play activities because of the physical barriers of play structures and the surrounding environment” (Ripat & Becker, 2012).  According to the United Nations, 10% of the world’s population has a disability.  Canada and the United States report the rate of disability closer to 20%.  It was reported that only 17 parks and playgrounds in British Columbia were identified as being fully accessible (Accessible Playgrounds, 2014).

 

Design Rationale

Canada is often described as being a civil society.  We pride ourselves in our inclusion of others and our respect of diversity.  However, 1 in 7 Canadians are excluded from enjoying our playgrounds and municipal parks.  We need to revisit the notion of accessibility and ensure our play areas are inclusive for all users, including the disabled and the elderly.  

 

Problem Scenario

Your team has been selected to develop a prototype of a structural element or component of a playground that is inclusive, safe, fun, and engaging.  It needs to foster fitness, flexibility, and a joy of play.  Your team needs to consider issues of mobility, access, sensory challenges, etc.

 

Your playground structure must be a small-scaled prototype of a structural element or component that could be found in a playground or theme park. It must satisfy two of the following identified concerns:

  • Be accessible for someone with mobility issues
  • Be accessible for users of variable heights / sizes
  • Be accessible for someone with sensory issues
  • Be accessible for someone with cognitive challenges
  • Enjoyable for users of all ages

Success will be determined by

  • Uniqueness
  • Alignment of the prototype with the design sketch
  • Ability of your item to help the user enjoy play
  • Ergonomic design
  • Colorfulness to match environment and attract users
  • Intriguing enough to hold users’ attention
  • Degree to which it Is intuitive to all users
  • Functionality
  • Ease of long term maintenance
  • Alignment to design motto: “Make it smaller, stronger, do more, be easier to use, be cheaper, be clean, be greener”

Parameters

  • You must use some of all the items in tool kit in some way  
  • You must consider how to make your prototype colourful, intriguing and ergonomic.
  • You must prepare a group display which includes your design notes, your design thinking sketches and your prototype.

For teacher’s please read through the Facilitator Guide.

And here is the Napkin handout, the Placemat handout. (These resources were accessed from Innovative Learning Centre’s Taking Making into Classrooms.)

BELOW is an ingenious theme park, this video may be shown before the challenge or after. Is this theme park inclusive?

 

Google in the Classroom: Tasks, Tracking and Grading

Photo via Blue Diamond Gallery

I usually don’t share as many GSuite resources at one time, but they all had a similar theme!

There are many great ways to create tasks, track progress and offer viable assessments with these resources.