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Category Archives: Differentiated Practices

UDL series: Social Studies

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This post is the fourth of a six-part series dedicated to the educational technology resources available for teachers and students to use to offer the best universally designed learning environment possible. There will be resources to provide multiple means of engagement, representation, action & expression.

For more information on universally designed learning environments (UDL) please check out the UDL guidelines site.

ENGAGEMENT – the goal is to have purposeful learning and motivated students.

  • BreakoutEDU is an immersive learning experience like an Escape Room experience but set up for the classroom. The experience can be hands-on or digitally interactive whereby groups of students must solve various riddles and find clues to complete or “breakout” of the experience. Teachers can buy Breakout EDU kits and the platform of lessons. There is also a great template for teachers to create their own learning experiences (and students can even create ones too!) Great for any age, any subject area and even for staff. If you really like this type of learning I highly recommend joining the BreakoutEDU Facebook communities as well.
  • Chrome extensions 
    • 1-click-timer
    • Bitmoji – create your own avatar! Drag those images into GDocs as part of your comments on student work. Use them on top of other images/text in a Google Slide. Make a visual story, spruce up an email or grab attention in a newsletter.
    • National Geographic Photo of the Day – have some powerful conversations and or writing prompts with this!
  • Comparisons 
    • Dollar Street: TED Talk, Website – Gapminder visited 264 families in 50 countries and collected 30,000 photos. One can sort the homes by income, from left to right. Watch the TED talk for the introduction.
    • If It Were My Home – use the country comparison tool to compare living conditions in your own country to those of another.
  • RW4GC – Read&Write for Google Chrome has a variety of tools – text to speech, talk&type, dictionaries, highlighters, PDF reader, website reader, vocabulary list builder, etc. A subscription is required.
  • Rubrics
  • YouTube Playlists – curate a collection of YouTube video clips for students to watch and replay whenever they need.

REPRESENTATION – resourceful and knowledgeable students.

 

  • Book Creator – this infamous book creation tool for iOS is available in Chrome. Free teacher account has 40 books in the library that can be used. Students can add text, images, audio, and video. A fantastic way to showcase student learning.
  • Google MyMaps – Examples
  • Online Reference Centre (Alberta access only)

ACTION & EXPRESSION – strategic and goal-oriented students.

  • Big Huge Labs – create motivational posters, magazine covers, pop art, etc.
  • Civic Mirror simulation – great to have students see the results of their actions in an economy. Also nice for CALM for financial literacy.
  • GSuite – opportunities to use a Science template for experiments, writing prompts, collaborations, data collection via Google Docs, Sheets, Slides.
  • Historical Fakebook Template
  • Videoconferencing – opportunities to connect with other schools, experts, and events.
    • Mystery Skype – become a member of the Microsoft community for free and then have access to Skype programs.
    • Global Encounters is an international student video conference program, offered through a partnership between the Centre for Global Education (CGE) and TakingITGlobal (TIG). We’ve hosted dozens of events on critical global issues such as child soldiers and armed conflict, women’s rights, mental health, climate change and many more.
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UDL series: the Sciences

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This post is the third of a six-part series dedicated to the educational technology resources available for teachers and students to use to offer the best universally designed learning environment possible. There will be resources to provide multiple means of engagement, representation, action & expression.

For more information on universally designed learning environments (UDL) please check out the UDL guidelines site.

ENGAGEMENT – the goal is to have purposeful learning and motivated students.

  • Chrome extensions 
    • 1-click-timer – quick and easy to use.
    • GIF creation with Animated GIF capture or GIFit!. Here’s where making a 3 – 10-second rotating clip from a video or screen can capture a student’s attention.
    • Bitmoji – create your own avatar! Drag those images into GDocs as part of your comments on student work. Use them on top of other images/text in a Google Slide. Make a visual story, spruce up an email or grab attention in a newsletter.
    • RW4GC – Read&Write for Google Chrome has a variety of tools – text to speech, talk&type, dictionaries, highlighters, PDF reader, website reader, vocabulary list builder, etc. A subscription is required.
  • YouTube Playlists

REPRESENTATION – resourceful and knowledgeable students.

  • BioInteractive – multimedia resources, including apps, animations, videos, interactives, and virtual labs, to bring the excitement of scientific discovery into your classroom.
  • Book Creator – this infamous book creation tool for iOS is available in Chrome. Free teacher account has 40 books in the library that can be used. Students can add text, images, audio, and video. A fantastic way to showcase student learning.
  • NASA Live stream of Earth seen from space powered by NASA HDEV cameras aboard the International Space Station.
  • Online Reference Centre (Alberta access only)
  • Periodic Videos – Tables charting the chemical elements have been around since the 19th century – but this modern version has a short video about each one.
  • PhET Simulations – interactive simulations available for any device.
  • Sciencium 
  • The Concord ConsortiumSTEM repository for K-12+.
  • The Physics Classroom – includes a large collection of HTML5 interactive physics applications.

ACTION & EXPRESSION – strategic and goal-oriented students.

  • Big Huge Labscreate motivational posters, magazine covers, pop art, etc.
  • Google Science Fair
  • GSuite – opportunities to use a Science template for experiments, writing prompts, collaborations, data collection via Google Docs, Sheets, Slides.
 

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UDL series: English Language Arts

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This post is the first of a six-part series dedicated to the educational technology resources available for teachers and students to use to offer the best universally designed learning environment possible. There will be resources to provide multiple means of engagement, representation, action & expression.

For more information on universally designed learning environments (UDL) please check out the UDL guidelines site.

ENGAGEMENT – the goal is to have purposeful learning and motivated students.

  • BreakoutEDU – an immersive learning experience like an Escape Room experience but set up for the classroom. The experience can be hands-on or digitally interactive whereby groups of students must solve various riddles and find clues to complete or “breakout” of the experience. Teachers can buy Breakout EDU kits and the platform of lessons. There is also a great template for teachers to create their own learning experiences (and students can even create ones too!) Great for any age, any subject area and even for staff. If you really like this type of learning I highly recommend joining the BreakoutEDU Facebook communities as well.
  • Chrome extensions such as
    • Bitmoji – create your own avatar! Drag those images into GDocs as part of your comments on student work. Use them on top of other images/text in a Google Slide. Make a visual story, spruce up an email or grab attention in a newsletter.
    • Grammarly for Chrome – the free version auto-checks for spelling and punctuation.
    • Power Thesaurus – a nice option when building vocabulary skills and searching for different words to use in writing.
    • RW4GC – Read&Write for Google Chrome has a variety of tools – text to speech, talk&type, dictionaries, highlighters, PDF reader, website reader, vocabulary list builder, etc. A subscription is required.
  • Rubrics – a great rubric allows students the opportunity to strive for a target. Co-creation with students helps them take ownership of their work as well.
  • YouTube Playlists such as TED-Ed. Creating Playlists and sharing them on a classroom blog/website/GClassroom gives students the opportunity to rewatch key concepts whenever they like. TED-Ed has a fantastic set of video clips that teachers can utilize and also embed questions for student responses.

REPRESENTATION – resourceful and knowledgeable students.

  • Book Creator for Chrome – this infamous book creation tool for iOS is available in Chrome. Free teacher account has 40 books in the library that can be used. Students can add text, images, audio, and video. A fantastic way to showcase student learning.
  • Differentiated Reading Sources such as
    • Newsela – differentiated reading articles in a variety of subject areas. Ability to change the reading level automatically (5 different levels). A great way to have ALL students reading the same information but at their level. Grades 3-12. Teachers create a free account and students sign up with a code.
    • Tweentribune is much like Newsela, however, its interface is a little busier and does have a few more articles in Grades K-2 (not many but it does have some).
  • Summarizers like
    • Litcharts – online literature guides with a summary, themes, chapter reviews, character information. A solid backgrounder for students. Mainly for middle and high school years.
    • Sparknotes is similar to litcharts. Advertising is a little annoying but the information is good.
    • 60 Second recap is the brainchild of a quirky librarian that recaps middle and high school years books in video clip format. Teachers can use this to introduce, to recap, to review.
    • Thug Notes YouTube Playlist – a raw version of how novels could be reviewed. Does contain inappropriate language yet the explanations are brilliant at the high school level. Highly recommend teacher preview.
  • Online Reference Centre (Alberta access only)
  • ReadWriteThink.org – supported by the National Council of the Teachers of English this site has a wealth of lessons, resources, student interactives, etc.

ACTION & EXPRESSION – strategic and goal-oriented students.

  • Booksnaps with Google Slides, images, Bitmoji chrome extension. Take a text and showcase important information, facts and/or gems.
  • Google Suite apps for education allow school divisions to provide a safe, collaborative, engaging and personalized environment.
  • Hemingway Editor is a desktop app that allows students to see how their writing can be analyzed in order to improve. The free version gives an overview.
  • National Novel Writing Month
    • In the month of November, students can work on their writing via nanowrimo.org. The goal is to write 50,000 words (or a novel) in 30 days.
  • New York Times Learning Network has an amazing array of resources from writing and image prompts to discussions to graphs to comments and even contests.
  • Screencastify chrome extension provides the opportunity for videoing content on display. Easy to use and it save directly into GDrive (and even YouTube).

Just try ONE of these resources in your next ELA class. It WILL make a difference to your students engagement.

 

 

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Behind the Music Video: Math

Image result for OK GO band image

OK Go is an American rock band based in Los Angeles, California. The band is composed of Damian Kulash (lead vocals, guitar), Tim Nordwind (bass guitar and vocals), Dan Konopka (drums and percussion) and Andy Ross (guitar, keyboards and vocals), who joined them in 2005, replacing Andy Duncan. The band is known for its often quirky and elaborate one-take music videos. And now that have taken the time to explain how their music videos are created, what kind of things going into making them especially the mathematics behind the scenes.

Further to this, they created the explanations specifically for teachers to use them in their classrooms!

Check their website out at OKGOSandbox. Feel free to share how you have used OK Go’s video clips as either resources or creative ideas for student videos.

 

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.

 

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!