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Showing posts with label Technology Teacher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Technology Teacher. Show all posts
How to Use Choice Boards with Your Students

How to Use Choice Boards with Your Students


What are choice boards?  A choice board is a graphic organizer that allows students to choose from different ways to show their learning. Choice boards are set up in a grid, generally with 6-9 squares (although you can include more or fewer if desired).

What are choice boards?

A choice board is a graphic organizer that allows students to choose from different ways to show their learning. Choice boards are set up in a grid, generally with 6-9 squares (although you can include more or fewer if desired). 





Why use them?

  • Choice boards are easy ways for teachers to offer choices, and kids tend to respond very well to the freedom and respect that being offered choices gives them. It lets students have some agency in their own education.  

  • They are usually designed to be reused on multiple assignments within the same subject.  Vocab assignment planning done for the entire year?  Yes, please!

  • They provide a built-in mix of stability and variety to meet the needs of every personality.

  • The level of difficulty of the activities can vary or stay consistent.  

  • You can require that students complete items from the choice board in a specific way, such as choosing three choices in a row, pick one at a time with the goal of having completed every activity on the board once over the course of a quarter, or you can simply let students choose at random. 



What are choice boards?  A choice board is a graphic organizer that allows students to choose from different ways to show their learning. Choice boards are set up in a grid, generally with 6-9 squares (although you can include more or fewer if desired).
How to implement choice boards in your classroom

  • Choice boards are a great hub to host early finisher activities. Never scramble for an answer to the question “What can I do now?” again.

  • Choice boards can be great tools for learning as well as assessment. Load up the board with different research resources, experiments or broad guiding questions and use them when starting on a new subject to get students hooked.

  • Since choice boards offer so much variety, it is often good to pair them with learning tasks that students are doing over and over (such as vocab, spelling or math skill practice) to balance out the monotony.  It also saves you from doing planning that you don’t need to just to tweak tasks slightly so students stay interested.

  • For graded projects, make sure you have arranged things in such a way that students will truly just be showing their knowledge in a different way.  You don’t want one section of the board to need to be graded on a 15 point scale, while others only need a 10 point scale to fulfill.

    • On a related note, another variety of choice menus are based on just that - a point system.  Teachers assign each task on the board a point value, and every student has to do enough of them to add up to a total such as 10.  Some students will choose to do five 2 point activities, while others choose a 6 and a 4.  Once again, you just arrange activities so that doing enough of the small ones will result in the same amount of learning as doing larger ones.

  • Classes that have never seen a choice board before will need training and practice before this method becomes as effortlessly self-sustaining as it is intended to be.  Include clear written instructions right on the board whenever possible, and check their work often in the beginning to make sure they understand how to complete it properly.


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What are choice boards?  A choice board is a graphic organizer that allows students to choose from different ways to show their learning. Choice boards are set up in a grid, generally with 6-9 squares (although you can include more or fewer if desired).

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Brittany Washburn
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Top Teaching Tips for Tech Teachers

Top Teaching Tips for Tech Teachers


Top Teaching Tips for Tech Teachers

I interviewed two tech ed teachers, asking them to each give their top 3 tips for fellow tech ed teachers.


First up, Kathy Weir, who has been teaching for 20 years.  She was a former classroom teacher for grades 1,3,4,5, and a former K-8 specialist for PE and Technology. She also served as the technology integration specialist and tech coach for a K-8 school district. She is currently an Elementary Technology instructor but due to COVID, is also doing a lot of PD and tech coaching.  Here are her top 3 tips for fellow edtech teachers:

“1. Limit the number of online resources you have students accessing during distance learning. Make sure these websites and software are easy to navigate with little or no guidance. When possible, explore the ability of tools already familiar to students as well as native tools within your school’s choice of platforms. 

2. Whenever possible during live sessions, limit the number of resources students have to access during that live session. Fewer tabs open equals better Wi-Fi connect for students. Better connect for the student could lead to a higher level of engagement and lower level of stress and frustration.

3. If offering PD, reference the SAMR model. Teachers may be feeling overwhelmed in learning a lot of new tech tools. The SAMR model can celebrate the transition teachers are making with remote learning and highlight how teachers are elevating the learning experience for their students with the integration of technology.”


Next we have Beth Hamlin, a K-1 Remote specials facilitator and Middle School Technology Teacher.  She has been working in education for nearly 2 decades and loves presenting and sharing creative ways to utilize G Suite tools, Chromebooks, Computer Science, and other technologies such as 3D printers and Raspberry Pi. 

“1. Don’t try to do it all. There are an incredible amount of resources, tools, and ideas. It can get really overwhelming. Try having a goal or two for the year or part of the school year in what you want to improve or explore. 

2. Don’t try to know it all. We often think we have to know the tool before we share it with students. We need to make sure the site is safe and meets our requirements for compliance and privacy. I find students love the ability to play and explore with you. Celebrate their findings.  Be inquisitive with them and allow them to be part of the evaluation process. It gives students more buy in. 

3. Simplicity/ Consistency-  Especially this year, when our learners are not in consistent environments, it’s important we not introduce too many different places or logins. If you have multiple places students need to log in- try to make the login the same. Single sign ons are helpful. Families are at various stages of stress, trauma, and ability. The more consistent and clear you make things, the more manageable they can be. If you give 3 sites with different logins to students- it can be muddling. Making videos to explain how to log in (no matter the age level) are very helpful. Even better if you can involve your students and community in creating these help tutorials to help others.  Post these tutorials in one place and also link to them each time students need to use them. Less clicks makes for a better user experience and saves you more time in the long run.” 


I also asked technology education teachers from a variety of different backgrounds to give their top tips to fellow tech ed teachers.  Here is what they said!


  • “Make technology fun! Something the kids look forward to!”

  • “Don’t reinvent the wheel-don’t make it too complicated-it’s ok if it’s not quiet, the best learning isn’t quiet.”

  • “Start a “Done Early” list of extension activities for students that finish early.”

  • “Make a class website! Make sure to pick a platform that allows for a password protected page for sharing files with students.”

  • “Go slow”

  • “Find a few favorite tech tools that can be used for different things and use those. Teach your kids to use them in multiple ways. Don’t feel obligated to use everything. It’s too much for you and the kids.”

  • “Remember that you are a teacher first.”

  • “Use humor and make connections. Tech is a journey not a destination.”

  • “Keep those non tech kids at the forefront of your lesson planning. Start simple to avoid frustration but always have extensions for those ready to fly.”

  • “Remember Developmentally Appropriate, even though students have tech at home, it’s not always used the way you think.”

  • “Reteach reteach reteach”

  • “Let the students explore new tools and see what they can discover on their own. Give general guidelines for projects so students can surprise you with their creativity!”

  • “Create a website that has common educational links on it making it easier for students and yourself."

  • "Don’t get hung up on everything being perfect, allow flexibility. When technology doesn’t work give it grace, I constantly say “I love you air server!” While I say it, I’m doing what it takes to make it work but I'm teaching my students that patience is better than showing anxiety when things don’t work."

  • “Always have a plan B!”

Top Teaching Tips for Tech Teachers


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Brittany Washburn
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Elementary Software Lessons Spiral Review

Elementary Software Lessons Spiral Review


We use spiral review in other content areas to make sure students remember important information, so why not do the same with technology skills? These software lessons are done in sets of 4 for each program and then we come back to the same skill 2 more times throughout the school year. Keep reading to learn all about these technology lessons and get a coupon to save on the bundle.
We use spiral review in other content areas to make sure students remember important information, so why not do the same with technology skills? These software lessons are done in sets of 4 for each program and then we come back to the same skill 2 more times throughout the school year. Keep reading to learn all about these technology lessons and get a coupon to save on the bundle. 

What is included in each set of 12 lessons:

4 weeks of lessons for each type of software 

  • Word / Docs / Pages
  • PowerPoint / Slides / Keynote
  • Excel / Sheets / Numbers

These lessons are customizable for whatever software version you have, for a total of 36 weeks of lessons per grade level! 

Editable Lesson Plans:

We use spiral review in other content areas to make sure students remember important information, so why not do the same with technology skills? These software lessons are done in sets of 4 for each program and then we come back to the same skill 2 more times throughout the school year. Keep reading to learn all about these technology lessons and get a coupon to save on the bundle.

•Mini lesson

•Vocabulary

•Materials

•I Can Statements

•Lesson components

•Assessments

•Space for reflection

These lesson plans are provided in BOTH PowerPoint and Google Slides for your convenience. Since the text is all editable, you can adjust it to meet your needs. 

Editable Daily Messages:

We use spiral review in other content areas to make sure students remember important information, so why not do the same with technology skills? These software lessons are done in sets of 4 for each program and then we come back to the same skill 2 more times throughout the school year. Keep reading to learn all about these technology lessons and get a coupon to save on the bundle.

•Lesson Title

•Vocabulary

•Materials

•I Can Statements

•Lesson Question

•Space for you to add screenshots of your software program

Use the daily messages as part of your mini lesson for each activity. The text is editable and there is room for you to add your own images to go with the lesson. 

Student Templates Provided


•Templates are provided in BOTH Google Apps and Office 365 for your convenience.

*If you’re using Apple Software then the Office 365 will convert to it.

You get ALL of the student files! This is probably my favorite part of these software lessons. I am letting go of control ;-) and giving you everything you need in order to facilitate these lessons. You can put the files into your learning management system or onto a password protected page of your class websites to be able to share them with students. 

Student Assessments:

We use spiral review in other content areas to make sure students remember important information, so why not do the same with technology skills? These software lessons are done in sets of 4 for each program and then we come back to the same skill 2 more times throughout the school year. Keep reading to learn all about these technology lessons and get a coupon to save on the bundle.

•Formative assessment questions provided as editable Google Forms

Use the google forms to make sure your students are learning the skills. These are brief and meant to be used to inform your instruction. You may still choose to do longer unit assessments if you give grades. 

TEACHING TIPS

1. These lessons are the main activity for a class. I recommend planning a warm up activity (like 10 minutes of typing) and early finisher activities (here are sites you can use). You’re likely going to have some students complete the lesson in 5-10 minutes and others that will still be working when you say time is up.

2. In the lesson plans you’ll see me talk about screencasts you could make. You'll either need to demonstrate the activities live or make a screencast of instructions for each lesson. If you’ve never made them before, check out this blog post to learn more about it. Screencasts are a game changer!

3. You may upload the student templates to a learning management system or password protected page of your own website. As long as the files aren’t available publicly on the web then you’re following the terms of use. If you need ideas for how to share files with students, read this blog post.

4. The assessments are optional but will be helpful if technology is a graded subject. If you’re new to teaching technology and curious about grading these skills, read this blog post.

Next up are some FAQs about these lessons - 

WHO NEEDS THESE TECHNOLOGY LESSONS?

These software lessons are perfect for technology teachers, classroom teachers, media specialists, STEM teachers, or homeschool parents who want their students to know how to use technology to create content. By mastering these software programs, students will feel comfortable doing anything you ask them to do with it.

HOW ARE THESE DIFFERENT FROM YOUR TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM?

The k5tech.net curriculum has warm ups and early finisher activities plus it is all housed on my website. These software lessons are just the main activity and assessments and I'm providing you with all of the files to put into your learning management system. The content in these software lessons does not overlap with the k5tech.net curriculum at all so you can use both.


The k5tech.net curriculum has warm ups and early finisher activities plus it is all housed on my website. These software lessons are just the main activity and assessments and I'm providing you with all of the files to put into your learning management system.

Still have questions? Please ask them before purchasing!


Click on this picture to buy the Bundle, which is already discounted 20%, and save an additional 10% with the coupon code SOFTWARE10. 


Some feedback on the Bundle:

1. These lessons are amazing! Easy to use, ready to go with excellent directions and guidance. My Tech students are doing and learning soo much! I have never gone wrong when I use any of her lessons! Thank you!

2. Great resource! Cannot wait to use from the beginning of the school year with all grade levels.

3. I used one of the first lessons with my K/1 class through distance learning. I also did a screencast so that they could see how to do the assignment. This is an excellent resource that will keep my younger students busy while learning a lot in the process.

We use spiral review in other content areas to make sure students remember important information, so why not do the same with technology skills? These software lessons are done in sets of 4 for each program and then we come back to the same skill 2 more times throughout the school year. Keep reading to learn all about these technology lessons and get a coupon to save on the bundle.

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Brittany Washburn
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6 Student Options for Making a Digital Avatar Character

6 Student Options for Making a Digital Avatar Character


So your students want to make a Bitmoji or Facebook Avatar but they're too young or it isn't school appropriate? This list of alternative options for building digital characters is the solution, and some of them are even educational!
So your students want to make a Bitmoji or Facebook Avatar but they're too young or it isn't school appropriate? This list of alternative options for building digital characters is the solution, and some of them are even educational!

In no particular order, here are the digital character builders you can use to have students make their own avatar:

Portrait Avatar Maker

The portrait avatar maker is so simple yet gets the job done. Students will love seeing how theirs turns out!

Avatar Builder Digital Glyph

This option combines digital literacy and the fun of making a character. Students have to copy and paste across slides (In Google Slides or PowerPoint) and then resize the pieces to layer together to build the Avatar. They can make as many variations as they want!

Build a Character Digital Glyph

The build a character digital glyph is perfect for primary grades students and it is educational! Students build their tech skills by needing to copy and paste across slides and resize the pieces to fit.

Students love to create their Star Wars themed Avatars and there are tons of options to make them unique. 
This avatar maker website is limited in choices but is very easy to use and the final image can be downloaded. 
If you have students who love superheroes then they'll love this avatar builder. The navigation is a bit tricky so I recommend this one if you're on desktop computers with a medium to large screen. 
This one is a digital animation project in which students create a GIF or .mp4 of their avatar character and background. Great for upper elementary or middle school students.

How are you using these digital characters in the classroom? Students love to have an avatar that looks like them as their profile picture and it is a safer alternative to a real photo. I think it is important to have a conversation with students about their digital reputations before they make their avatars so that they can think through which private information about their physical appearance they want to share. We also chat about how when we are looking at a profile picture online, we have no way of knowing if that is really the way the person looks. All important topics of discussion! 

There you have it! 6 Alternatives to Bitmojis and Facebook Avatars for Students to use to build their own characters. Pin this post to get back to later and share it with your teacher and parent friends! 
So your students want to make a Bitmoji or Facebook Avatar but they're too young or it isn't school appropriate? This list of alternative options for building digital characters is the solution, and some of them are even educational!



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Brittany Washburn
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