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Showing posts with label classroom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classroom. Show all posts
7 New Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

7 New Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom


 

Skype is a communication tool that allows you to video chat with people all over the world. In the classroom it can be put to many uses, such as practicing foreign language skills, touring a different part of the world, seeing animals you wouldn't normally see, interviewing notable figures, watching presentations and experiments, teaching on-the-go and more.

Skype is a communication tool that allows you to video chat with people all over the world. In the classroom it can be put to many uses, such as practicing foreign language skills, touring a different part of the world, seeing animals you wouldn't normally see, interviewing notable figures, watching presentations and experiments, teaching on-the-go and more.  


Practicing Foreign Language Skills

Help your students get hooked up with a pen pal who is a native speaker of the language they are learning.   Students of the World is designed specifically for connecting students, and there are also websites like Conversation Exchange, Language Exchange Community, PenPal World, or Speaky which focus on connecting people who speak different languages.


Touring a Different Part of the World

Video chat with someone from another place lets your students see sights and animals they wouldn't normally see.  Another fun idea is the “mystery call”, where you link up to a classroom in another region then have them offer up hints as to their true location, challenging students to guess where in the world their new friends live.  Virtual field trips are easily enabled using Skype too.


Interviewing Notable Figures

Find an industry expert through a website like Nepris or the Digital Human Library.  If you already have a subject matter expert in mind, you can just go ahead and contact them to set up a meeting!  


Watching Presentations and Experiments

You can use Skype to have your class tag along to any demonstration it isn't practical to take them to in person.  You can also plug into standard local presentations, like story hour at the library.  Skype in the Classroom is a free community that connects teachers with other educators and guest speakers from around the world.  Teachers have already created thousands of lessons on Skype in the classroom. Taking part in one of these is a nice way to start using Skype as part of your lesson plan.  Once you’ve found a lesson you like, simply click the ‘Register for this lesson’ button.  The community will notify the person running the lesson and you should hear from them soon.  


Collaborate

Hold a debate, build a band comprised of musicians who play and practice together over video, host a book club either as part of a classroom project or organized as an extracurricular, or even encourage your older students to use Skype for study groups.  


Teaching On-the-Go

Use Skype to teach from wherever you are.  Professional development through Skype lets educators themselves keep their career skills sharpened and broadened from anywhere too.


Parent-Teacher Conferences

Save time and energy by holding parent teacher conferences via video chat instead of in person.  This can be useful both at the regularly scheduled events and for issues that arise at other times.  You can also set up tutoring and office hours to help students who need help with their assignments. Special education classrooms might find this particularly valuable.


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Skype is a communication tool that allows you to video chat with people all over the world. In the classroom it can be put to many uses, such as practicing foreign language skills, touring a different part of the world, seeing animals you wouldn't normally see, interviewing notable figures, watching presentations and experiments, teaching on-the-go and more.



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Brittany Washburn
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Using Podcasts to Generate Deep Discussions in the Classroom

Using Podcasts to Generate Deep Discussions in the Classroom


Listening to, dissecting, and responding to topics via podcasts can be a great way to get kids to engage in important discussions.  As an audio-only medium, podcasts also foster listening skills.

Listening to, dissecting, and responding to topics via podcasts can be a great way to get kids to engage in important discussions.  As an audio-only medium, podcasts also foster listening skills.  You can have a class-wide discussion about the selection, and/or whip up some reflection sheets to help focus your students and get them thinking critically about what they heard.  In addition to listening to podcasts whole-class, they can also be added in as an independent choice station.  


You can find podcasts on just about any subject!  A quick Google search for podcasts to use in the classroom will provide dozens of curated lists to get you started.  Alternatively, search for something specific by using wording such as “[subject] podcast for [age range]”.  Kids Listen is also easy to navigate, hosts podcasts all in one spot and if you click “Find Podcasts” it will categorize them into the age levels.  You can look for guidance on a podcast review website to get a feel for whether or not a podcast will be appropriate for your classroom.  If you’re unable to get good information about a podcast, you can always preview it for suitability by having it on the background while you grade, have lunch, or even on the drive home.  


Here are some of our favorite podcasts, loosely organized by topic and accompanied by a suggested age range:

  

Storytelling 

Primary - What If World, Circle Round, Story Pirates  

Middle/Upper Elementary - Storynory, The Story Seeds Podcast 

Middle School/Early High School - Eleanor Amplified, Flyest Fables, Book Club for Kids, StoryCorps

High School - This American Life, Welcome to Night Vale, Serial 


Science/Discovery 

Primary - But Why

Middle/Upper Elementary - Brains On, Tumble, Wow in the World, Flash Forward    

Middle School/Early High School - StarTalk, Science Friday 

High School - Freakonomics, Stuff You Should Know, Radiolab 


History 

Middle/Upper Elementary - The Radio Adventures Of Dr. Floyd, The Past and The Curious 

Middle School/Early High School - Stuff You Missed in History Class 

High School - 1619, Code Switch  


Current Events 

Middle/Upper Elementary - KidNuz, Short & Curly  

Middle School/Early High School - Listenwise, This I Believe, The Way I Heard It

High School - Youth Radio, Criminal 


Other Notable Podcasts

Primary

  • Pants On Fire seeks to help young students how to sort out truth from “fake news” using a fun game show format. 

Middle/Upper Elementary

  • Smash Boom Best is a kid-friendly debate podcast you can use in your speech class, or any class in which you want to teach your students how to defend their arguments.

  • Fate and the Fablemaidens or Dungeons & Dragons & Daughters are family friendly podcasts following Dungeons & Dragons games, which not only provide imaginative storytelling but also highlight ingenuity and creative thinking on the part of the players as they seek to meet challenges that arise in the game.  You may find one of them to be a great addition to your language arts or drama class.

Middle School/Early High School 

  • The Allusionist explores the roots of words and phrases that we use every day in a fun, humorous way.


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Listening to, dissecting, and responding to topics via podcasts can be a great way to get kids to engage in important discussions.  As an audio-only medium, podcasts also foster listening skills.




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Brittany Washburn
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Classroom Management Basics for First Year Teachers

Classroom Management Basics for First Year Teachers


"Don't smile until Christmas."  Whether that classic adage appeals to you or not, we have some better advice to offer.  Here are some tips for new teachers on how to manage the classroom!
"Don't smile until Christmas."  Whether that classic adage appeals to you or not, we have some better advice to offer.  Here are some tips for new teachers on how to manage the classroom!


Have Clear Expectations

The biggest single thing you can do to manage your classroom effectively is set clear expectations for both students and parents.  If you have a class website of any kind, consider making a page for classroom policies and rules.  Your school or grade level team may have some policies in place already to corroborate, and then you can fill in any holes you need to.  Writing things out like this will keep others informed, you consistent, and it will also help you think through your stance on various issues (such as late homework, missed tests or consistently incomplete class work) so you don’t have to try to decide how you will respond in the moment. 


Establish Routines

Everyone feels more comfortable when they know what comes next.  Students and teachers alike benefit from having less instructions required, because they already know exactly what to do every time they need to transition from paper work to computer work, or how to turn completed work in.  Routines also help minimize the lag time between activities, which creates opportunities for students to come up with their own unfortunate methods of entertaining themselves.  If you’re looking for a place to start, try establishing routines for how class begins or ends.  When putting a new routine in place, consider:

  • Writing instructions for how to complete it on a slide you can display the first few times you go through the routine.  

  • Pairing a visual or auditory cue with the routine so it’s very clear when that routine is to be carried out.


Minimize and Deal with Distractions/Disruptions

Make your behavioral expectations clear for things like what kind of classroom volume and wiggles are okay in your class.  Think about how this will look different between test-taking versus things like group work as well.  As much as possible, you’ll obviously want to decide on and discuss these parameters with your students in advance, rather than deciding on a case-by-case basis what is disruptive enough to merit consequences.  Students testing where boundaries are (and other students watching to see how you’ll react) can waste a lot of time.


Foster a Sense of Community in the Classroom

Countries are founded on agreed upon sets of restrictions and freedoms.  Students should feel like they’re all dwelling together in the peace loving, knowledge-rich land that is their classroom.  As in any good realm, they should also feel like their benevolent ruler (you) is subject to their own checks and balances.  Let your students know what your commitments to them are, as well as what rewards they might earn for being good citizens.


Build Relationships with Students and their Parents

People try harder for the people who care about them.  Let parents know you are just as interested in their child’s well-being and growth as they are.  Show students you see the effort they put in today.  Strike up conversations with your kids too… who loves grapes, who can’t wait for the next Star Wars movie, who has three dogs?


As a first year teacher, know that you’ll make mistakes.  You’ll probably try several different things before you find a classroom management style that works for you.  


Pin this post to get back to later:
"Don't smile until Christmas."  Whether that classic adage appeals to you or not, we have some better advice to offer.  Here are some tips for new teachers on how to manage the classroom!


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Brittany Washburn
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12 Must Have Mobile Apps for Classroom Management

12 Must Have Mobile Apps for Classroom Management


There are so many apps out there for school and technology integration, but what is best for your classroom?


There are so many apps out there for school and technology integration, but what is best for your classroom? There are applications for organizing your classroom, lessons, and presentations. There are applications for student portfolios, parent engagement, and school community integration. And there are TONS of apps for polling, studying and quizzing.

My top three applications for the classroom are Classdojo, Peardeck, and Kahoot. Each of these applications does something a little different for my classroom, but all are essential for learning, assessing, and communication. Below is a list of some of the essential apps for your classroom.

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Brittany Washburn
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