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Ian Byrd: Workshop Region 13

I attended a workshop hosted by Region 13 with guest speaker Ian Byrd. It was an excellent workshop. Below you will find some of my favorite takeaways.


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Life in Music - Lesson Plan/Idea

One of my high school English teachers needed an idea for a unit. I worked up A Life in Music. It allows students to focus on their life events that have shaped them to this point and then select a song that represents that moment. When they are finished, they write a poem/story using the titles of the songs. If you are looking for a song that is a perfect example of this form of writing, check out Kyle Parks’ Fit for the King. Background for those of you who are not from Texas, Mr. Park used the titles or lyrics of all of his favorite George Strait (The King of Country) songs to write his song.
The lesson outline:Brainstorm up to 10 major events in your life: Can be done as whole class or small group For each event write a short description or related keywords. Narrow the list to 5 events (optional) Pick 5 songs that are related in some way to your event. The songs must be appropriate: No inappropriate language or derogatory remarks about any group of people. Write a poem or story using th…

Talking About Content: Flipgrid

Getting our students to use content vocabulary and talk about what they have been learning not only improves their verbal skills but it also creates engagement and increases retention of knowledge. It is difficult in 45 minutes for all of our students to have the opportunity to express themselves. Once again, technology is coming to the rescue.
One of the resources I have been introduced to is Flipgrid.
https://info.flipgrid.com/ This is an easy to use tool, so easy to use, you could launch it tomorrow in your classroom.
A few suggestions for how to use follow:
EnglishStudents complete the required reading for their chapter and then answer questions.What do you think will happen next?What would happen if...?Why is ________ important to the story? How would the story change if the character was removed?What do you think a good solution to the problem in the story would be?MathHow did you solve problem #...?What would happen if you changed ____ to ____?Tell me how you.... or Explain h…

Gradecam.com

I was looking through my blog posts and was surprised to find that I had not shared my favorite tool. Using this tool can revolutionize your classroom. How many of you would love to know if what students were supposed to learn today was actually learned? How many of you would love to know if students actually read the assigned reading the night before? How many of you would love to know if students are actually listening while you are talking? Well, I have a way for you to gather that information. Gradecam.com is an excellent resource for the classroom teacher. The free version allows teachers up to 10 question choices. This video from Gradecam gives you an overview of how the product works. Below the video, you will find suggestions and ideas for ways to use Gradecam in your classroom.

Teachers Have the Power with GradeCam from GradeCam on Vimeo.
Gradecam Suggestions: Exit TicketsAt the end of class, have prepared questions for students based on what was supposed to be learned du…

Google Slides: Slides Q&A

While at TCEA 2017, I discovered Google Slides has begun to offer a Q&A feature. This is an interesting tool for presentations. By using Slides Q&A, a presenter has the ability to collect real time feedback from audience members. Audience members can post questions or comments and other members can like the question or post letting the presenter know what audience members would be interested in hearing more about.  
**An important point for teachers, there is the ability to check anonymous when posting. Teachers will want to be sure they have a protocol set for their students.



Google Add-ons, Apps & Extensions

February 2017
I have created a resource that includes Google Add-ons, Extensions, & Apps that are beneficial to you and/or your students.

Click here: https://www.smore.com/w80p4

Included in the resource are the following tools:

g(Math)Easybib (Google Doc add-on)Speech to Text (Google Doc add-on)CloudConvertText to Speech (Google extension - reads highlighted text)

Cell Phones & the Classroom

Cell phones in the classroom can be an extremely useful engagement tool for your students. However, they can be a distraction if not managed properly.

I was working with one of my teachers at the high school and she pulled up this really cool idea  that she had found on Pinterest for cell phone management. I have included a link here to the original blogger. The teacher behind the idea, Brit Bingold, is a high school English teacher and had several suggestions for the classroom. The first drawer of the tower is for cellphones. The rest can be used for school supplies or books.

If you are looking for new ideas for your room, I highly recommend her blog. Get inspired for the upcoming school year.  
The first drawer of the tower is for cell phones and the other drawers are for supplies and items needed for class. Learn more by reading Brit's blog.  Click here to read her blog. 
Bingold, Brittany. Desk Towers. Digital image. The Bits of Brit. N.p., 11 Aug. 2015. Web. 23 June 2016. <…