Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's on the Menu?

Learning Menus are something I keep hearing about on Twitter and in the blogosphere. 

In the most recent episode of the Digital Buzz Radio Show, Naomi Harm shares the basics of Learning Menus as one way to personalize learning for every student.

Let's take a look:

  • Learning menus are a way to give students choice and differentiate the activities for students.
  • Learning menus have 3 parts: the main course, the side dish and the dessert.
  • In a learning menu, all of the activities in the main dish are required and cover the content.  The side dishes are choices and allow for differentiation.  The the desserts are extensions of the content.

Here is an example:

Watch this video to learn more about learning menus:

Here is another example of a learning menu:

I decided to give learning menus a try for myself.  So here is Norton's Learning Menu for a Novel we are Reading called Jimmy Spoon.

My students are going to love having some voice and choice in their learning.  Learning menus remind me of the Tic-Tac-Toe boards that I used all the time with Gifted and Talented students back in the day.  I hope you give learning menus a try.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Book Trailers - A Chat with Deb

National Library Week is April 13 - 19.  How about having your students create:

Watch this episode of Chat with Deb to see how to help your students to prepare a storyboard and create a book trailer using iMovie.

iMovie Sample from Deb Norton on Vimeo.

Trailer (Theme Bollywood)

Alexia - Dork DIaries from Deb Norton on Vimeo.

Planning sheet
Drawing Pad
Trailer Planning sheets (these are awesome!)

Alternatives sites for creating Book Trailers:
YouTube Editor
Photo Story 3 (comes with Windows)

Thank you to Intel and Teachers Engage for sponsoring this episode of Chat with Deb.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

iPads are as Natural as a Notebook

A few months ago, our school set of iPads were finally allowed to be taken out of the Media Center.  Prior to this, the iPads had to be used while in the Media Center. 

Throughout the past few months, it had become the routine that I go down and pick up the iPads in the morning and without even planning to, they end up in our classroom most of the day.  

What is so incredible is that my students, on their own, pick up the iPads and use them as naturally as they would use a notebook from their desks.

I'm finding that I incorporate the iPads without even planning to. It is just natural, convenient, and simple.

Here are some of the ways we have been using the iPads, naturally:

  • We used the app Explain Everything to create videos about what we had read and researched during our literacy time.
Deanna's video from Deb Norton on Vimeo.

  • We used Kahoot to write and review a chapter from a novel we are reading.

  • We used Infuse Learning to write our math problems and display them for the class to view and analyze.

  • We wrote summary paragraphs using Google Docs and collaborated in real time.

  • We created Book Trailers using iMovie
  • We created book reviews with QR codes.

  • We take our spelling tests using the Spelling City app along with doing our weekly spelling activities.

  • We used Geddit to poll our class and see how well students were understanding the content of a math lesson.

And even with all of these uses, I feel as though we are not using the iPads to their fullest capacity.  I know that there are so many other amazing uses for this touch screen device.  

I have created lessons to incorporate Augmented Reality into our lessons using either the LAYAR app or Aurasma app. Unfortunately our filters are preventing us from using the apps and I need to request that our IT department work on a solution.  

In the meantime I plan to allow my students to use the iPads whenever they are available.  After all, my students are naturals at using them!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Vote for Your Favorite Bookmarking Site

Do you have a favorite bookmarking site?  Or are you like me, you have bookmarks all over the place?

I have bookmarks saved on Pinterest, Symbaloo, Listly, Delicious, Diigo, Etc.

Guess what, sometimes I have a hard time finding what I bookmarked.  :)

So I'm curious to know what you use and if you have a favorite.

Please take a minute to vote for your favorite bookmarking site on my Listly list or you can choose to vote through this Google Form if you do not want to sign up for Listly.  Let me know if I should add a site to my list that you use.  To vote you can simply click on the up arrow to vote a site up or on the down arrow to vote a site down.

Thank you for voting!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Google has Been Busy Updating Their Apps!!

Google has had many updates lately, in case you haven't heard. 

Let's take a look:

#1 Add - ons!  Click here to see how to get new add-ons for Google Docs and Google Sheets.  I've been trying some of these add-ons out and they are a great way to super charge your creations.  
Click here for a showcase of some of the add-ons.

#2 New Pricing - Click here to read about Google's new lower price for online storage.  In a time where everything is becoming more expensive, Google is actually lowering their price for cloud storage.

#3 Edit Images Right In Google Docs -Click here to see how images can now be edited right in Google Slides and Drawings.

#4 Add Voice Comments to Google Docs - Click here and here to read about adding voice comments into any Google Doc.

There are many other updates as well.  To keep up with all that is new and improved, follow the Google Drive Blog.   
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