Thursday, September 24, 2015

Class Symbaloo - New Year, New Website!

Hey-lo everybody. If you have been following me for a while you will know about my Class Symbaloo from last year that was filled with educational games. This year, I decided to make a Class Symbaloo again but I wanted to change up the purpose of my Class Symbaloo. Whereas last year it was devoted mostly to educational games, this year I use it as a repository for educational things for my students to do during Down Time.

They can choose from various educational Youtube channels, such as How Stuff Works, reading material, such as Wattpad, enrichment resources, such as Hour of Code, and book hunting resources, such as Goodreads! (Don't get me wrong, I still like the educational games but I have those linked to relevant material we are covering on their Online Textbook <--check out my last blog post about this!)

Include a Request link

One thing I recently added to my Symbaloo was a link to a Google Form I created where students can request other educational sites they are aware of that would fit in well with our Class Symbaloo. I receive daily notifications if students have added anything to that form & then I can decide whether to add or not. I didn't really introduce this to my students because I knew that if I did, I would be bombarded with requests for game after game! Instead, as some of them continue to use it day-to-day, they have started to spot the new link there & explore it! So far, I have received legitimate requests & I am enjoying this greatly.

Interested in setting one up?

Shoot me an email asking for help & I shall help you out in any way I can! If you would like to use mine as a template & go from there, go for it!

As usual, my cyberbuds, email me your comments & requests for future topics! I would also love any more suggestions for my Symbaloo, especially the Enrichment section! Subscribe here, like me on Facebook, and follow me on YouTube.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Building an Online Textbook using Google Sheets!

Sorry I haven't posted lately but with the new position, it has been so so crazy! Things are finally starting to slow down & I just couldn't hold back from sharing this with you!

This year, I really wanted to have a digital textbook, can't stand having students  lug those giant books around when they can instead use their school device for it! The problem? Well, our curriculum for Lit & LA is 10 years outdated, therefore, the subscription is expired & I can't get access to it. My solution? I sliced up that book & scanned it in to my email!

After this I still had to wonder about how to get said PDF's to my students. I could email, but that would be redundant! So what I did was create a Google Sheet & link to any stories or resources that we would be working on. I then published this Google Sheet & shared the published link with my students on our Google Classroom & Class Symbaloo (email me about either of these if you are interested in learning more!). They then bookmarked this link! My online textbook has anything they need to access while we are working on a concept: diagrams, notes, interactive games, the stories we are reading together, etc.

Why Google Sheets?

What I love about Google Sheets over a class website is that I can put various links on my Online Textbook as soon as I have created & "hide" certain ones from the student view until I am ready for them to access said files.


Check out my step-by-step video tutorial on how to set one up! As always, email me your comments, tips, or requests for future topics! Subscribe to this blog, like me on Facebook, & follow me on YouTube. Stay tuned; I'll try to start posting weekly again here soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Setting up Students Blogs

This is just a really quick post for you guys, what with school starting I will be a tad busy in the upcoming weeks!

This week in class we have been setting up our classroom blogs. They will be using these blogs to tell others about what they are reading. To do this, I sent students a view only copy of this Google Slide presentation, where there are step by step directions that make setting up a blog through Blogger easy-peasy. Included in this presentation is a link to a Google Form for them to send me their URL's plus a Google Doc with the directions for their actual posts! Feel free to make a copy of the presentation & revamp it for your room! I'm all about sharing!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Lists: Part Two

As stated in last week's post, two ways to help student's generate a book list are to provide them with multiple examples (book talks) and have them take an Interest Survey. The next step is to have them personally examine their survey results to see patterns of things they are interested in. For this, I use the Google Sheets AddOn, AutoCrat, that automatically generates a document or PDF based on the form.

A few days after students take the survey, I have them pull up the generated document, and begin to analyze their responses for patterns. After some time looking through their results, students are then introduced to multiple online resources to help find reading material relevant to these interests. Please check out my list of resources on the provided book list template. (Keep in mind this document is currently being revised for this year!) My personal favorite is Goodreads; I'm obsessed with this one! What's great about this is that you can type in a book, author, genre, anything you're interested in and be directed to lists relevant to whatever you typed in. Some of these lists have thousands of books!

As always ladies & gents, please like this post, share it on social media, & email me your quandaries and/or future post requests!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Lists: Part One

As a literacy teacher, what is the most common thing that I hear day-to-day in my classroom? "There's no book out there that would interest me." My response is always, "oh yeah, you like movies? video games? have hobbies? then, in the expanse of literary materials there's something out there for you." To which they usually stare blankly at me trying to figure out what "expanse of literary materials" means. After defining said terms, I explain that the biggest obstacle to any reader is finding that genre of text that grabs you & emphasizing that novels are not the only source for reading.

So what do I do to change this ideology in my classroom? Students make book lists. They use their interests to research & find options of possible future reads. Well, that sounds all fine & dandy but in reality, children, (and usually adults) have a very hard time actually pinpointing their interests and transferring these interests to literary sources. Don't know what it is, but, for some reason, when confronted with "what am I interested in", we humans, tend to blank.

To combat this issue, we spend time at the beginning of the school year doing two things: interest surveys & book talks. If you would like to see the interest survey that I use for my classroom, here is a link to it! (I would love suggestions on how to simplify this; it's way longer than ideal!) Every day for the first couple of weeks, I modeled a different book I had read over the summer using my reading blog (see my blog here.) We used these to help accumulate possible reads for their future book lists.

Look forward to next week's installment where I will go more in-depth into how to have students make easy book lists and some resources for students to easily find things to read! As always ladies & gents, please like this post, share it on social media, & email me your quandaries and/or future post requests!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Check Plus System

The check plus system is a grading system I started using last year for quick checking of student material. What is this system? This is a system I learned from one of my professors while in college & it really resonated well with me! When students turn in work, they either receive a check-mark (which indicates the assignment is turned in but not complete) or a check-mark & a plus sign  (which indicates the assignment is both turned in & complete) Once a student received a check-plus, the assignment would be entered in the gradebook, for full credit. The student would receive full credit unless the assignment was turned in late. Why do I use this system? When given a percentage, students tend to get very emotionally attached to the value & do not, usually, see the point in making improvements. This system encourages them to make improvements! Be aware, I only use this system with assignments that are okay for students to receive full credit for completing (I do not do this for all assignments).

I need your help!

While this system worked great this past year, I have a conundrum that I would like some advice on! A majority of other teachers in my building use check-marks to denote an incorrect answer. Therefore, I run into the issue of students being confused and, at times, depressed, that I gave them a check-mark on the assignment. What can I use instead of a check-mark? I have thought about using a star, but the star & plus-sign combination looks a tad strange!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Copying mass Google Drive files outside of your domain

Okay, so I spoke too soon about posting over the weekend, but hey, at least it's only Monday!

So how often do I use Google Drive? Literally all day, every day! How many files have I created or collaborated on in my two years in my current district? I've lost count! So how much would it suck if I eventually left my current district & lost all those files? So much!

Chances are: you are in the same boat. Well, I'm here to tell you, you don't need to lose those files, you just need to transfer them from your district/work account to your personal account! It's a pretty simple process, just takes a couple steps. This method I am going to teach you will not only transfer all the files that are currently in your district/work account, but it will make it easy to put your future items in the same place, accessible on either your personal or district/work account! This is something you should do now, before your Drive becomes any larger, and you have to spend hours upon hours fixing.

How to: Copy mass Google Drive files outside your domain

Please be aware that this particular method works solely for Chromebooks, not Mac or Windows PCs; for similar steps on these types of PCs, please email me! Please watch my YouTube tutorial for a visual of the following steps. (steps 8-10 not included in video) 
  1. Login to your district/work account.
  2. Create a folder & drag all files into this one folder. (this will make it extremely easy if all things to be copied are in one central folder)
  3. Share this folder with your personal account.
  4. Switch over to your personal account.
  5. Find the folder that you shared from your district/work account.
  6. Open your Files app on Chromebook and find folder shared from district/work account. (may take a few minutes for shared folder to appear)
  7. Select shared folder, then copy (ctrl+c) & paste (ctrl+v).  Copying process will begin & may take significant time to complete. (you can check on the process in your drive at any time)
  8. Once you are positive everything has been copied over, go back over to your district/work account & delete the original folder. (WARNING: this will delete all files from your district account, so don't delete until you are POSITIVE your personal account has them all!)
  9. Switch back to your personal account & share your newly copied folder with all your work files to your district/work account. (Why this step? You will want to personally own anything you create, but still be able to work on it on either account.)
  10. Save all future files to this shared file, all files will be accessible on both accounts! (Keep in mind, however, that if you create any of the new files in your district/work account that you'll have to later duplicate the file to your personal account again <--my suggestion? always create new in your personal account!)

Remember, as always, email me your questions, requests, or advice! My email can be found here!