Collaborative Class Podcast

In the next couple of weeks, I will be visiting a couple of humanities classes to help students take their written work and convert it into spoken language. Teachers are asking students to create a podcast episode to what will turn out to be a full class podcast. The 9th grade humanities teachers, Mrs. Devito, Mrs. McDermott, & Mrs. Kenney, want to be able to hear their students share their thoughts and tone. Another history teacher, Mrs. Gaudreau, wants to have her students interview a grandparent, or a friend of the family, to get their perspective of what life was like in a particular era. I am excited for the fact that for many of the students, this will be a new skill/task. They aren’t ‘just’ submitting another google doc or another slide presentation. They are learning how to share their knowledge or ideas in a different fashion.

THE TOOLS

In both of these scenarios, students will be using WeVideo to create their audio track (our school has the paid version of WeVideo). Students will have the ability to record right in WeVideo or upload a recording from their mobile devices into WeVideo. Once audio clips are stitched together, students will share their final recording on their own slide, in the class google slide. The gif below gives you an idea what it will eventually look like. Big shout out to Slides Mania for providing great templates to pull from. It truly is much appreciated. Click HERE to view in a different window.

Why WeVideo?

  • We needed a tool where students didn’t have to record all in one shot.
  • We wanted the ability for students to add sound bite/interludes.
  • We needed a tool that would allow for a range podcast length.
  • We also pay for the service.

Why Google Slides?

  • We wanted a space where students can provide a link for others to access.
  • We wanted a space for students to provide a photo and short description of the episode.
  • We wanted a space that easily allows for collaboration.

THE SUPPORT

In other to help support students, this resource has been created for students to help them throughout their podcast journey. Students are able to select the square they have questions on. The hope here is that students can quickly navigate to get the answers they need. There is a section on how to alter their own slides as well as how to use WeVideo to their advantage. (I like the look of the slide – got some inspiration from Amanda Sandoval).

I look forward to seeing how the class podcasts turn out. If you have any questions on how you can use this with your own students, you know where to find me.

And that is my Spiel…

Brochures in Google Slides

There are a couple of tools out there that help with creating brochures or infographics from pre-made templates. Sometimes, it might make sense to create a similar product in Google Slides. This could be because you might need the ease of collaboration. Sometimes it might be due to the fact that your district does not have a signed agreement with the edtech tool. Regardless of the issue, if you find yourself in a situation where you would like to use Google Slides, don’t assume students know how to use the tool beyond adding a slide, adding text in a textbox field, and grabbing pictures

Recently, our 9th grade humanities teachers wanted students to work collaboratively to create a brochure. Doesn’t really matter what the topic was as this could be adapted in any curriculum. What I wanted to focus on was helping make sure students knew how to be creative and manipulate their content to fit the brochure appropriately. Yes the information curated was important for the task at hand, but in my mind, it also needed to look visually appealing that someone would actually want to learn from.

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Communicating with Staff

Each year, Jess Gilcreast (librarian) and I get together to talk about how we are going to support our staff. We evaluate what we have done in the past and how we think we want to move forward. We know that each ‘student’ learns differently and keep that at the forefront when making decisions.

The first thing we wanted to tackle was how we were communication with staff this year. Staff receive too many emails. Staff don’t have a lot of time on their hands. Staff have too much information coming at them at once. So how do we get staff to want to learn/understand new things? It is one of the trickiest things for those of us in our positions.

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Have You Processed What You Have Accomplished This Year?

On the eve of the last day of school, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on the past year. I, just like most other educators, are ready for the break. It truly has been the most challenging year in my 18 years in education. And I know that I had it easier than administrators and teachers. We have accomplished A LOT over the past 15 months. We’ve all had stressful nights wondering how things were going to shape out. We’ve all had tough decisions that we had to make. We’ve all had to learn new skills.

Have you truly taken the opportunity to process what you have been able to accomplish? Whether you have the mental capacity to do it now or later, think about how you have grown as an educator and as a learner.

Here are some of my reflections:

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Rethinking a District PD Day

Nothing has been ‘normal’ this school year. Hosting our 5th Annual Future Ready Conference, back in March, in our district, was no different.

For the past four years, we have been hosting our own conference on one of our workshop days. We have had staff members as well as outside speakers partake in sharing out best practices sessions. We have managed to have about 100 different sessions offered throughout the day to help meet the needs of all of our staff.

Instead of following the traditional format of listening to a keynote session and then attending four different hour long sessions, the Bedford School District Tech Team wanted to come up with a way that staff could still grow professionally without having to be in the same space. We wanted to think differently. We wanted to think purposefully. We didn’t want staff to be in front of their screens necessarily the entire day. As a result, a menu idea was born.

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