With the newly adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the supporting program resource, McGraw-Hill Inspire Science, science is taking on a new look and feel in our classrooms. Inspire Science was selected for its ease of use by the classroom teacher and its design specific to NGSS. Now that every classroom teacher has had opportunity to review the print and digital materials through content training, here are a few tips and/or reminders for navigating the online digital resources.
With these supports in place, teaching science will take on a new dimension that should engage students and help guide teachers, along with the teacher’s edition. It simplifies modeling for students and facilitates instruction. For additional support, be sure to reach out to your instructional coach or instructional technology coach.
Happy New School Year! As the 2019-2020 school year begins, I want to recap and highlight a few (okay, maybe more than a few!) items to help you transition into the new year.
Here’s wishing you much success as you embrace the new school year and the students entrusted to your care and teaching! Be sure to check in with your instructional or tech coach for any questions or needs you may have. We are happy to support!
Breakout EDU is a fun and engaging avenue for supporting problem solving, creativity, collaboration and content in the classroom. While Breakout EDU lessons are appealing, the setup can be intimidating and time-consuming. However, because of the high engagement, GFPS has purchased six Breakout boxes for checkout from the Curriculum Library, and our fabulous Curriculum Library Coordinator, Lori Rhodes, tackled the overwhelming task of creating sets of lesson materials ready for checkout.
Teachers now have the ability to check out the following Breakout EDU lesson materials and boxes, and Lori will kindly set up the materials, locks, and boxes ready for your pickup! To check out, simply call or email Lori with your request (the same process as ordering a set of books from the curriculum library) and plan for picking up the prepared Breakout EDU boxes. When your Breakout EDU lesson is complete, put the materials, locks, and boxes back to the same state you received them and return to the Curriculum Library.
The following titles and descriptions are categorized by grade level, but feel free to consider above and below your grade level to see what will best work for your lesson objectives.
MATH: NUMBER NINJAS (NUMBERS 1-100)
MATH: OPEN THIS ZOO! (ADDITION / SUBTRACTION)
MATH: KING TENFRAME'S TREASURE TROUBLE (FACT STRATEGIES)
MATH: LUCY'S LEMONADE STAND (MULTIPLICATION)
MATH: ANIMAL SHELTER SHENANIGANS (DIVISION)
MATH: BRENDA'S BAKERY BONANZA (FRACTIONS)
MATH: A CASE OF THE MONDAYS
All Grade Levels
MATH: CUSTODIAN GAMES
As the 2018-2019 school year is quickly coming to a close and next school year seems still a distant thought, the IT department wants to make sure you have information to consider in your planning over the summer and for the upcoming year. We will send this information out again when we return in August, but thought it might benefit everyone to be informed ahead of time.
Have a fabulous summer, take some time to relax and enjoy, and then revisit this list when you’re ready to make plans for next year!
As many of you may now know, the District leadership has determined that SuccessMaker is no longer a viable program to maintain for a variety of reasons, but primarily because of funding and functionality. The District has relied on SuccessMaker for many years to provide a differentiated opportunity for student learning on a daily basis, but next school year, SuccessMaker will not be available. As a result, classroom teachers and building administrators need to begin thinking of ways to purposefully and strategically use the time and space previously allotted to SuccessMaker.
Let’s first think about the amount of instructional time gained. One of the main struggles of most classroom teachers is the demand for time. With 120 minutes of ELA (includes intervention), 90 minutes of math (includes intervention), 20 minutes of social studies, 30 minutes of science, 15 minutes of handwriting (K-4), keyboarding (2-6), along with specials of gym, library, music, and art, not to mention the all important and necessary recess times, it’s not a surprise that time is in high demand!
So what if we had more instructional time? I’m so glad you asked, because you may have just gained anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes of additional instructional time. Guided reading groups, where intentional, differentiated instruction happens, can benefit from additional time to reach every student every day. How about the writing process? Or with the implementation of the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the INSPIRE Science program, teachers can appreciate the time to dedicate towards the scientific inquiry process of claims, evidence, and reasoning. Or perhaps you may have time to implement the Daily 3 structure in math by using the 10-10-10 leveled instruction guide.
And then what do we do with our computer labs? How do we continue to meet our technology standards, particularly with K-1 students? With computer lab schedules essentially wide open, teachers could schedule lab time when needed rather than forcing or rushing their use of the lab. Now teachers could set up lessons in Seesaw through a collaborative effort in the classroom, and then when students are ready to demonstrate independence in their final products, the computer lab provides opportunity for students to do so.
As we restructure how we spend this time and use of the computer lab space, we want to avoid simply filling time and space with drill and kill programs. Instead, let’s aim for quality, meaningful use and take advantage of this new opportunity to structure learning for our students.
Quick and easy access through Google Classroom allows both teachers and students to assign and share documents in a manageable process. This also extends to the use of PDF documents, if they are uploaded to a teacher’s Google Drive. And even better, these PDFs can become interactive documents when using an app called DocHub.
When opening a PDF from Google Drive and/or Classroom, a user has the option to Open with… at the top of the screen. DocHub is one of the apps that can be connected to a PDF file type, and once connected, it will always be in this menu., and once connected, it will always be in this menu.
DocHub then offers a few tools that will enhance the ability of both teacher and student to interact with the document, such as highlighting and commenting in order to code the text. They can also insert text boxes to type right on the PDF, essentially creating a fillable PDF.
The challenging part is collecting an annotated PDF from students, as the edited PDF is stored on DocHub.com. However, the sharing permissions are similar in nature to Google Drive apps. Click the Share option in the top right corner of the DocHub view.
Then click the Get Shareable Link and click the copy icon.
When students return to Classroom, they will View assignment in order to use the Add button and paste the copied link. The Classroom assignment will now have two attachments. However, once this step is complete, students can continue to access the DocHub link to the PDF and continue working as needed without having to update the link. In addition, the teacher also has access to the student’s edited PDF in DocHub to view and track work.
DocHub offers a more purposeful use of PDFs through Google Classroom. If you need additional support, please reach out to your instructional coach or tech coach in order to learn more about how to create these interactive opportunities to support student learning.
Good Habits, Great Readers has decodable student readers available for printing. Past access to these PDFs for print center orders has been through the network Drop. However, with most curriculum resources available in Google Drive, it makes sense that we move all resources into this unlimited storage space for quick and easy access. We have recently relocated these resources into Google Drive in two different formats.
Remember that your grade level KUD documents, resource documents and implementation guides are located in the Elementary Curriculum folder. In each primary grade ELA folder, there is a folder marked for GHGR Readers. In each folder, you will find two different formats. The folder labeled “BOOKLETS ready for Print Center” are the ones which were previously located in the network drop, and the pages are in order to create the booklet format when sent to Print Center (printed front to back, folded in half and stapled in the middle). The folder labeled “PDFs in Sequential Page Order” are a new option, so that the pages are in order to print front and back sequentially. These could be bound or hole-punched to put into notebooks or stapled in the top left corner as a packet.
This second option does open up digital access for second and third grade classrooms, as the PDFs could be posted in Google Classroom and edited or interacted with using an app called Doc Hub. Be watching for another blog regarding this app to learn how to use it with students.
Google Classroom makes life easier for students and teachers alike with its easy access to student work, resources and links to websites. A recently pushed extension called “Share to Classroom” with the Classroom icon now shows up on the Chrome browser in the top right corner when a student or teacher logs in to a Chromebook.* Now with a click or two, the teacher can share a website with students almost instantaneously. Students can share their work/websites via this extension with the teacher’s device, who in turn, can decide if the work and/or website should be pushed to all students’ devices. Or maybe a teacher has found the perfect website for students to gather information and wants to create an assignment while on that webpage. Using the extension, the teacher now has quick and ready access to the Classroom.
When a teacher wants to share a website with students:
Students will receive a notification in the bottom right corner, and the webpage instantly opens on student devices.
When a student wants to share a website:
The teacher receives a notification in the bottom right corner with the option to open in a new tab. Student-pushed websites do NOT automatically load on the teacher device. If the notification disappears, then the teacher opens the extension and selects “Received from Students.” The teacher can then review pushed websites received from students and can determine which, if any, sites could then be pushed to other students.
In addition, a teacher can create an assignment immediately from the website itself by using the extension. When the extension is open, use the dropdown menu next to “Push to Students” and select “Create an assignment.” It opens a Google Classroom assignment template in the extension and allows the teacher to create the assignment within minutes.
This extension is incredibly useful for quick sharing of any webpage a teacher may want to display on student devices, whether it is a sample student document (such as a Google Form survey question, slideshow, or a Google Doc) or a website with useful information. For additional support using this extension, check out Google Support. Your instructional and tech coaches are also available to model the use of this extension as part of a lesson. Happy sharing!
*Teachers, if you want the “Share to Classroom” extension to show up on your desktop computer, you will need to go to the Chrome Web Store and add it to Chrome.
It’s coming! Code.org’s Hour of Code week is December 3-9, 2018.
Don’t miss out on this week of emphasizing Computer Science in Education, and join a worldwide effort to promote a highly relevant and in-demand discipline in our ever changing world. If you have not heard of this event, take some time to check out this video highlighting the excitement and benefits of participating. It is a worldwide event designed to engage and promote computer science by asking teachers and students to commit to one hour at any point in the week to do computer programming with any of the Hour of Code activities or courses available on their site. There is also a How-to page available to guide you, along with a chance to win robotic or circuit kits when you sign up. Be sure to get parent permission before logging students on to Code.org.
Did you know…
"Promote Computer Science | Code.org." https://code.org/promote. Accessed 27 Nov. 2018.
The world around us reflects a need for educators to consider new options for students. We can begin with a small venture into this discipline called “computer science” by participating in Hour of Code next week. Your instructional and technology coaches are ready to support you in this exciting global movement!
Many teachers are taking advantage of technology to streamline their homework assignments for students by using Google Classroom and Drive. This can certainly help to eliminate the age-old excuse that “my dog ate my homework,” although it may create some other challenges as well. Here are a few tips to make the experience a successful one for students, parents, and teachers.
Determine what type of device students will use at home. While Google Drive and Classroom are accessible from home via the Internet, tablets and smartphones require apps. In turn, this means parents/guardians will need to know which apps are required in order for their student to successfully complete the assignment.
Teach students how to navigate and use the tools expected to complete homework. Navigating to Google Drive and Classroom on a Chromebook looks different on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone when a student is at home. This can cause frustration for all parties involved, so it is worth the instructional time during the school day to explicitly teach students what it looks like on a specific device.
Communicate with parents/guardian about expectations and tools needed. Feel free to make a copy of this parent/guardian note to communicate how students will access Google Classroom and/or Drive from home, what apps may be required, etc. It is also beneficial to consider and communicate if it will be a blended learning experience, in which you may assign paper and pencil homework assignments occasionally and online homework assignments occasionally.
Ensure that everyone has fair and equal access. As hard as it may be to imagine, there are still some students who do not have devices of any sort or have limited access after school hours. Consider different options for those students, such as a before/after school homework club at school or paper and pencil alternatives.
Technology can certainly enhance a student’s homework experience, in much the same way it can enhance the learning experience in the classroom. Communicating well with both students and parents can make it a successful experience, but digital homework also needs to be supported with ensuring the right tools are in place. If you need further support, connect with your instructional or technology coach.
I am a technology integration coach for a school district supporting one preschool, fifteen elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools. Check here for the latest updates on instructional technology.