Group Playlist Concept

Our Wellness II teachers wanted to give their Mental Health unit a ‘refresh’ look and feel. In the past, students were lectured about the topic as well as participated in class discussions. Recently, I had heard Amanda Sandoval’s keynote at the Spring CUE conference where she talked about how she has designed activities for students based off of Catlin Tucker’s playlist concept. Hence, where Group playlist comes from. 

Inspiration…

In the keynote, Amanda talks about how she loved station rotations, pre-COVID times, where students would participate in different activities at the same time. Then when the timer goes off, students moved from one station to the next. This was an approach that we used pre-covid times as well (In fact, I wrote a blog post about this in Feb 2020). Amanda shared how she feels Group Playlist works a bit better because:

  • Not all stations use up the same amount of time based on the activity.
  • Groups can complete tasks in any order that they want to complete them in.
  • Teacher is able to assess work as students complete tasks. Groups let the teacher know when they are done to do the ‘assessing’. This saves time on the teacher not having to look at the work after hours and it also gives students immediate feedback. Win for both parties!
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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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Jamboard: Teacher Pro-Tips

This past week, I had the pleasure of participating in a recorded Google Meet roundtable with two colleagues, Jon Greiner (mathematics teacher) and Steph Nichols (humanities teacher). The purpose of the conversation was to talk about how they have been using Jamboard with their students during remote and in-person teaching. From the conversation, one can easily discover that teachers are truly trying to create learning experiences that mimic in person learning as best as possible. From the examples shared, students are encouraged to collaborate with one another remotely. Jamboard has been a great platform to help with this task.

Below are some pro-teacher tips when using Jamboard with your lessons.

Pro-Tip #1

Jon Greiner was asking students to determine if triangles could be formed based on the three side lengths given. Students would drag an example in the chart, followed by dragging the answer. When Jon creates his activities, he always make sure that there are more choices to choose from.

The pro-tip? Create the table in a Google Doc first. Then take the screen shot of that graph and insert the screenshot into the Jamboard with the insert image feature. Jon also customizes the height of each cell to fit the hight of each sticky so that the stickies fit the table.

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