Why I Use Remind to Connect with My Students

As I sit at my kitchen table, writing to you the night before yet another snow day, I feel like I need to gush about an amazing tool.

Remind!

I haven’t written about Remind for quite some time, and that’s because I honestly haven’t needed to use it that much.

When I need to communicate with my students, I typically just send them an email. If we are at school, most of my students have a tab for their school email open on their Chromebooks at all times. This is just one of the many perks of being a 1:1 Google school :)

However, I’ve recently found that many of my students do not check their school email accounts over the weekend, during school breaks, and especially not when we have snow days. Big surprise, right?

So,  in order to make sure my students receive information I need them to have, I sent a text message using Remind (formally Remind 101).

Students receive this text message from me without seeing my cell phone number :) Which is great!

What did I share with my students?

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Creating and Using Groups in Schoology

As teachers in the 21st century, you know that sharing resources and ideas with fellow educators is extremely important.

That’s probably why you stumbled upon my blog :) Thanks for that, by the way!

You also realize, however, that teachers are extraordinarily overwhelmed during the school day with our vitally important, yet daunting task of educating the future.

This is kind of a big deal!

So, how do we find the time to share and discuss ideas and resources with our fellow teachers?

We Tweet, Pin, Facebook, and share everything we can, whenever we can.

I also use features already available through my wonderful Learning Management System, Schoology.

I’ve written about the amazing tool that is Schoology on a number of occasions, and you no doubt know howI feel about its effectiveness and benefits to my students … both inside and outside of the classroom walls.

Schoology can provide wonderful resources for teachers as well, and acts like a social media platform that is accessible through most school filters.

Schoology’s “Groups” feature allows teachers to join communities that discuss a variety of topics, including Professional Development, Blended Learning, Flipped Learning, Social Studies, and so much more.

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Pictionary in a Technology Based Classroom

I have missed  A LOT of time in my classroom in the last two weeks. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend METC for three days…which was awesome. Then, my youngest daughter was sick and needed her mommy. Next, a round of winter weather slammed our area and we had a weeklong snow-cation.

As happy as I was to have the break, my students desperately needed some review.

The unit we are discussing now in American Government is vocabulary intensive. We’re learning about the ins and outs of the Legislative Branch, which includes terms many of my students have never encountered such as Logrolling, Pork Barrel Spending, Pigeonholing, Gerrymandering, and the like.

How do I review these concepts with my students?

I could give them a matching worksheet…ick.

I could have them create flashcards for review using Flippity…which I will most likely use for an end of the unit activity before their test.

Then I thought about how I could “techify” the old fashioned game of Pictionary…my students love to make fun of my artistic ability. Or, lack thereof.

I believe there is educational value in playing Pictionary. The students have to create visual or non-linguistic representations of their vocabulary terms, which requires them to not only understand the term, but to create an image describing the term!

Since I use an iPad for instructional purposes in my classroom, I decided to use my Educreations whiteboard app for this activity.

The result?

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Share Resources with Your Students with Start Me

I’m still sifting through the wonderful resources I learned about at METC this year. Such an awesome conference!

In Glenn Wiebe’s session about Social Studies tech, I learned about Start Me, a great tool to use to create a class “landing page” or a place to share resources with your students.

Not only does Start Me allow users to create a, for lack of a better phrase, “starting” page for virtually anything, it also provides awesome widgets that can be added to each page.

Adding widgets to your Start Me gives you the opportunity to direct readers to important links, events available via Google Calendar, and…something that I am most excited about…widgets that connect readers to CURRENT EVENTS sites!

Awesome, right?

Previously, I wrote about a great tool, paper.li, which is a content curating tool, providing an experience similar to the current events widgets of Start Me. The only issue with paper.li, you ask? (Check out my post on paper.li here)

It was blocked at school.

think I’ll be back to work tomorrow after a week long “snow-cation,” and will test this site with my students. Hopefully, they can access my Start Me page!

I’ll let you know how it goes :)

If you’re interested in using Start Me and would like to view my page, please click here. Imagine all of the wonderful conversations that can arise from these curated articles from reputable sources!

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Thanks for reading

Awesome Supplemental Government Videos!

Finally! A Crash Course US Government and Politics channel!

I am so excited!!

I  briefly introduced a video from this channel to my students last week as a background video for one of our Kahoot review games (if you haven’t checked out Kahoot, seriously do that!).

While this channel is new and not full of videos just yet, I think Crash Course US Government and Politics will be an outstanding addition to my classroom!

ALL Government/Politics/Civics teachers, flipped and traditional, will find this channel so helpful. Since these videos are fast-paced, they would be wonderful additions for students who need a challenge or simply want to dive deeper into the wonderful world of US Government and Politics! Assign videos to students using EDpuzzle and embed questions within the video to help students review for unit exams or standardized tests.

I’m so glad Crash Course finally has a channel devoted to American Government!

Thanks for reading :)

Crash Course

Teaching with Technology Gets a Makeover!

Hello!

Teaching with Technology has a new look! All of the posts and pages are still here! Browse around and share this blog!

Do you have any questions EdTech related questions I could (attempt) to answer?

Let me know in the comments!

As always, thank you for reading :)Teaching with Technology has a new look!

Flipping the Classroom…Update

I am SO glad I decided to flip this year. I’ve freed up more class time for application activities, questions about content, and more individualized instruction.

 

My classroom is more student centered than ever before, and I LOVE IT!
I’ve made one major change this semester in my classroom, and I think this change has been a huge benefit for my students.
What’s the major change you ask??
I’ve moved from the so-called “traditional” flip to the “in-class” flip!
What’s the difference?
The “traditional” flip requires students to complete instructional videos outside of the classroom, while the “in-class” flip has students completing instructional videos in the classroom.
Mind-blowing definitions, right? ;)
Why have I made this change?
I think it’s a better situation for my students.
While the vast majority of my students have Internet access, some students simply don’t have Internet access. Since I’ve chosen to use the AH-MAZING EDpuzzle as a tool in my classroom, Internet (reliable Internet) is an absolute must.
Yes, students can watch EDpuzzle videos on their smartphone or tablet, but the note-taking requirement of my activities proved too difficult to complete on a phone.
How does my flipped classroom look now?
Students still have 2-3 videos per week. Instead of viewing the videos on their own time, we take about 15 minutes at the beginning of class to watch an instructional video that pertains to one, two, and sometimes three days of activities and assignments. Students have reliable Internet (most of the time!) and are able to complete notes on their Chromebook as they’re watching their video. It’s great!
Opponents of the “in-class” flip may argue that this method doesn’t free up any class time, and therefore is not as beneficial as the “traditional” flip.
My response…I RESPECTFULLY AND COMPLETELY DISAGREE!
My students still receive direct instruction. They still pause, rewind, and stop the video to review content. We still use class time to complete assignments that force students to apply knowledge. Students still evaluate information, create presentations, collaborate with each other and take part in activities that access the higher level of Bloom’s.
The “in-class” flip works wonderfully for my classes right now. However, it may not work for you, and it may not work for my students next year.
That’s part of what makes the flipped classroom method absolutely wonderful. FLEXIBILITY is ours!!!
Check out some posts related to this concept!
Thanks for reading :)

Embracing the Backchannel in my Flipped Classroom with Padlet

I absolutely love attending conferences where I learn so much incredible information and make great connections with other educators! Don’t you?!

However, these same wonderful conferences nearly make my head explode! I feel like I’m on information overload, and after three days at the METC conference, I feel like I need to take the rest of the week off to let my brain sort everything out!
What a wonderful “problem” to have :)
As I’m sitting here at Starbucks (life is rough today…whew!), I’m sifting through all of my notes from these great sessions…and trying to avoid catching up on grading ;)
The first idea I have to share is about a tool I love and have used at least twice weekly since I stumbled upon it.
Padlet.
If you’ve read my posts before, you know how much I love this tool. Students can use it to brainstorm ideas, to post answers to Bellringers, to communicate their opinion on an article I share with them. They use Padlet to become more engaged in the content of historical films, and hopefully keep their minds from drifting while they’re watching.
As I was sitting in Glenn Wiebe’s Tech and Social Studies integration session, a participant shared how he uses Padlet in his class.
As he lectures, his students use Padlet as a backchanneling tool. They post questions, comments, insert videos, links, articles, etc that are relevant to the content being discussed. It’s awesome!
As he was sharing this idea, I thought to myself…I flip my classroom, I don’t run a typical lecture classroom…how can I make this work for me?
Then, the lightbulb came on!
Since I’ve modified my flipped classroom to an “in-class” vs “traditional” flip, my students have the benefit of direct instruction that is characteristic of the flip, but they also have the luxury of me sitting in the room with them. They can pause the video and ask me questions as they go. It’s worked pretty well.
The only issue I’ve come across with this set up so far is that a student will ask a question, and then a few seconds later, another student will ask the same question. This forces be make into the hated and outdated routine of answering the same question over and over again. NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Enter Padlet.
Here’s my plan.
I will create a Padlet wall for every class period for each unit that we cover. For example…1st Hour Padlet for the Executive Branch. On this wall, students can post questions/comments about the content as they view their instructional videos for the unit.
Hopefully, this will allow students to work together to answer questions they have about the content, and allow me to answer content questions only once…on the Padlet wall. This will also create an additional resource for them to use unit and EOC review.
I’ll keep you updated on this activity!
If you’re interested in using Padlet, check out these posts. If you haven’t used Padlet yet, seriously check it out!
Thanks for reading :)

Why Teachers Should Use Twitter

I was talking with a colleague earlier this week…ok, more like gushing to my colleague about the amazing resource that is Twitter.

Seriously. As a 21st century educator, you really need to embrace Twitter.
Why do I (and so many others in the education world) love Twitter so much as a teacher, you ask?
Connections. Networking. Idea exchange. Information. Professional development. Questions. Answers. 
The list of characteristics that make Twitter great are seriously endless.
I follow outstanding educators on Twitter and soak up their knowledge and experience. I follow EdTechies to learn and explore new (sometimes just new to me) tools that I can use to enhance the learning environment that is my classroom. I share my experiences as an EdTech nerd and flipped learning teacher with people all over the country and throughout the world. 
I follow EdTech companies that like the fantastic EDpuzzle, and if I have a question about their tool, I simply tweet them. The best part? THEY RESPOND! Almost immediately!  For example, we had a wonderful “conversation” via Twitter this morning about a new feature I would love to see on their site.
I must confess, when I receive a notification from Twitter that tells me that someone new, or a person from another country now follows me, I squeal. I really do. 
Or, when I receive a notification from Twitter that none other than EdTech genius, Richard Byrne, now follows me on Twitter, I squeal, screenshot the notification, and text it to my friends. :)
Why should you be on Twitter as a teacher? 
Twitter allows us to decrease the miles that separate us from amazing people and resources. 
It’s seriously great. Join. The teacher/nerd in you won’t regret it!

If you’re looking for hashtags to search, check out Cybraryman’s awesome list.

I’ll be learning more about how teachers can use Twitter tomorrow at the wonderful METC!
Thanks for reading…and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Bethany_Petty :)

6 Tech Based Review Activities to Try with Your Students

I’m beginning to wind down my first unit of second semester, and am looking for various ways to encourage students to review the material for their quiz.

The first part of the Legislative Branch unit is very vocabulary intensive…vocabulary with which students are largely unfamiliar. 
I’ve been searching for different techy review games to play with my students. Review games that will hopefully engage them and encourage them to interact with course content.
I’ve compiled a list of games/resources…old favorites you’ve read about here before as well as some new tools I’ve stumbled upon. I hope you find these beneficial and use them with your students!!
  • Kahoot! This is seriously an amazing tool that allows teachers to formatively assess students in a fun and engaging manner. 
  • Flippity Another awesome tool with added features, Flippity allows users to create flash cards, quizzes, and “game show” style review activities by simply modifying a Google Sheet. As is the case with Google Drive, your modified template is automatically saved (remember to rename it!) and can be recalled anytime. 
  • Heads Up! Wow! Definitely try this with your students. This app is .99 and while I don’t typically purchase tools for my classroom, this was definitely worth it! Heads Up offers in-app purchases that allow teachers (or creators) to build their own deck with vocabulary terms. Awesome!
  • QR Code Scavenger Hunt Do your students have access to electronic devices, personal or school-furnished? Then give this game a try. Simply type questions and answers into the simple QR Code scavenger hunt tool, save, print, and you’re done! Place QR Codes from this game around your room or throughout the school to get your students moving around and learning in different locations.
  • Dustbin I literally just discovered this tool about a week ago on Class Tools, and it is really neat! Creating a Dustbin game is extremely easy as well…simply title each bin and include terms or phrases that correspond to the bin in the space below it. You can create a password to access and edit the game later, choose to embed the game into a blog or website, share by email, and more! Click here for an example…I may have been watching Harry Potter when I created it :)
  • Jeopardy Labs Online Sometimes, old favorites work well. I haven’t played a Jeopardy game with my students since I’ve discovered Kahoot, but I still believe the game has merit. Instead of using the Power Point template, I use Jeopardy Labs Online. This allows me to create and share the game I create via the web…much easier than locating, saving, editing, and resaving a Power Point template!
I hope you find these resources useful, and that your semester is going well!
If you’re interested in learning more about these awesome tools, please access the posts below!
Thanks for reading :)