How to Create a Google My Maps Challenge

Social Media Challenge

During a session at ISTE17, Steven Anderson and I created an interactive, group challenge to kick it off. We had educators assemble into teams, pick a team name, and gave them a link to a Google My Maps. The link took the teams to a location where they learned about a social media platform, had a task to complete, submitted their answers, and then raced off to the next location.

It was engaging, collaborative, and a competition which helped to energize the educators on the last day of the conference. As promised, I created a template and step by step directions for all those wanting to recreate their own Google My Maps Challenge. I encourage you to use both resources and make a copy for yourself to use and share.

I was introduced to this concept at the Google Innovator Academy and fell in love with the idea of using this type of challenge with educators and students. I have created these types of interactive activities for many different learning objectives (cross-discipline literacy to learning Google Suite Tools). I also believe that modeling this activity provides other educators with inspiration to try something different in their own classroom and consider the use of technology to differentiate in the classroom meeting the needs of all students. 

Thanks to all that attending our session and loved this activity! Hope this post helps and reach out if you need more assistance! Steven and Shaelynn’s Session Resources found here: Snapping, Gramming, and Scoping Your Way to Engagement

Write. Create. Publish: 4 Student-Centered Writing Projects to do Before Summer Break

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At dinner, I was informed by my third and seventh grader that they had 23 days left of school. Wow – 23 days – the school year has flown by. As the weather turns warmer and classroom windows begin opening once again, it is important to maximize the small amount of time we have left with our students. When the weather is hot, installing an TintNWindows on the classroom can help in lowering the temperature so that students can study more productively. Writing and sharing their voice with the classroom and globe will foster engagement, relevance, and practice with essential skills all students need.

Below are 4 of my favorite Student-Centered Writing Projects to do before Summer Break:

  1. Future MeScreenshot 2017-04-25 at 9.52.30 PMFutureMe.org is a free website that allows students to send an email to their future self. Users get to select the date it will be delivered, whether the letter is private or can be posted on a public forum, and can attach images to the email. Students will love seeing an email pop up in their inbox that they had forgotten they wrote. While content can be a variety of things or left entirely up to the student, here are a few questions that my students loved to write about: What are you most proud of from this year? What is one new thing you want to try this summer?  What are you going to miss the most from ___ grade? Who did you get to know better this year? What are your goals for next year?
  2. Curated Google SiteScreenshot 2017-04-25 at 10.11.40 PMAt the end of each year, create a memory website full of pictures, videos, and student work samples. When I did this in my classroom, I had students share their favorite pieces with me so I could collect and curate them in one spot. This reflection can be coupled with writing where students are  The new Google Sites is perfect for this type of project. Living in the cloud, Google Sites is accessible for everyone and it integrates easily with Google Drive making curation easy! No Google Sites, don’t worry, Padlet would work too!  
  3. Flipgridflipgrid_all_devicesCatch the# FlipgridFever and have students create a Grid of Gratitude for support staff or retirees. Flipgrid is a collaborative video discussion platform that lets users create and respond to each other via video. Use Flipgrid to thank support staff in the building or a beloved teacher before they retire. Creating short videos is engaging and meaningful to students and allows them to use a contemporary mode to share their thoughts.  
  4. 6 Word MemoirClass of 2012 6 Word MemoirsCredited to Ernest Hemingway for writing the first, 6 Word Memoirs is a favorite writing activity to use at the end of the year with students. Having students share who they are at this moment in time using only 6 words requires reflection, analysis, and succinct writing. Adding an image or video to the project reinforces the multi-modality that can be used to share their work with a public audience. As a teacher, they were always my favorite writing projects to read. Here is an example from my former classroom  Student Examples Check out Smith Magazine for more publishing and sharing opportunities for students!

Soon, students and teachers alike will be leaving the doors for the last time to begin summer break. Make these last days together impactful, encouraging growth in self, and fostering relationships. And please share! If you try any of these ideas, tweet and share a picture to #MakeLitREAL

21 Inspiring EdTech Women You Should Know!

-music expresseswhat i simply cannot-Writing this third and final post in the EdTech Women Trailblazers series was bittersweet. Educators are often the most humble group of professionals one could meet and I was encouraged, inspired, and filled with joy as I read the thoughts and advice from all of the women I featured throughout March. (You can read Blog Post 1 & Post 2 to learn about other women in this series.) This series was my personal way to give back to the hundreds of educators I have connected with throughout my career. There are many inspiring educators doing what’s best for kids around the globe, this was just a small sampling of those I hold dear in my PLN. The resources, collaboration, and passion from these women often goes unnoticed; now is the time to celebrate! These trailblazers are helping to lead the way in creating a change in the field of education and I am truly honored to know all of them!

 

starrStarr Sackstein, Hybrid teach/teacher coach

  • “I’ve been a long-time advocate for every child/teacher to be an active participant in his/her learning experience, including their voices in everything from curriculum development to assessment.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Twitter, Voxer, GSuite
  • Advice: Develop relationships with your students and really listen when they tell you what they need. The more present you are for them, the more they will be for themselves.
  • Connect with Starr: Twitter @mssackstein or EdWeek Blog “Work in Progress”

 

franFran McVeigh, Literacy Consultant for Great Prairie AEA

  • “Being literate is the key to having the power to learn from text (books, stories, print, art, video, and nonverbal cues of people) and is within the realm of possibilities for EACH and EVERY student in school and for the rest of their lives.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Hyperdocs, Twitter, Voxer
  • Advice: Relationships, relationships, relationships! Treat everyone with the respect and dignity that you want to be treated with.
  • Connect with Fran: Twitter @franmcveigh    Blog, franmcveigh.wordpress.com

 

melissaDr. Melissa Nixon, Director of Title I

  • “Being an educator is committing to children and their families with a life of service and dedication for a better tomorrow.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Voxer
  • Advice: You make a difference to someone every day.  Be kind. Be generous. Don’t be afraid to care deeply.
  • Connect with Melissa: Twitter @mmnixon73  Email mmnixon73@gmail.com

 

katieKatie Siemer, Director of Curriculum and Technology Integration at Forward Edge. I serve districts in Ohio as an integration consultant and edtech coach!

  • “I face each new day in education with determination to make a small impact one teacher at a time, all while finding humor every step of the way!”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Tour Builder, Eric Curts’ Resources, ISTE EdTech Coaches PLN
  • Advice: Be passionate about something… your content area, using technology, an after school club with the kids… anything! Education is going to be really hard sometimes, so you need something you really care about to pull you through the not-so-glamorous times or you will burn out really quickly. Every kid needs a champion, and you can’t be a champion if you’re just going through the motions. Love what you do, do what you love, and don’t forget to laugh along the way!
  • Connect with Katie: Twitter @Katie_M_Ritter Blog http://talktechwithme.com Email ksiemer@forward-edge.net

 

KKharimaharima Richards, Education Consultant

  • My goal is to continue connecting with other educators & leaders as well as learn new and innovative ways to provide our students with 21st-century learning experiences.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Twitter, GSuite, Canva
  • Advice: Create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. ~unknown
  • Connect with Kharima: Twitter & Instagram  @Kharima4 Linkedin or Email ksrichards4@gmail.com

 

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Mandi Tolen, HS Math Teacher

  • “I want to make education better for students by making myself better and helping those around me be better.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Bitmoji, Desmos, GSuite
  • Advice: Learn something every day and be willing to share it with others.
  • Connect with Mandi: Twitter @TTmomTT Blog Infinitely Teaching   Instagram    Snapchat

 

 

erinErin Olson, Instructional Leader and Curriculum Director

  • “I do not want my students and my children to be the best in the world, I want my students and my children to be the best FOR the world. ”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Tweetdeck, Flipgrid, AdobeSpark
  • Advice: The learning experiences we design and the environment we create stays with students long after they leave our rooms…our students still learn from those experiences and that environment long after they leave our rooms. Bring love, compassion, and grace to the classroom.
  • Connect with Erin: Twitter@eolsonteacher Email mrseolsonteacher@gmail.com

 

AmberAmber Bridge, Digital Learning Consultant at Grant Wood AEA

  • “As an educator, I love to explore and create different learning structures and see the outcomes of risk-taking, creativity, and problem-solving in those structures.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Makerspace Movement, Green Screen by DoInk, Google Keep
  • Advice: Every individual in a classroom is a learner and a teacher if you chose to listen.
  • Connect with Amber: Twitter & Instagram  @abridgesmith

 

claraClara Galan, Community and Content Marketing Lead, Amazon Education K-12

  • “My passion is to help teachers and schools nurture students to become the next generation of independent creative problem solvers.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Remind, Kahoot, GAFE, OER Commons, Padlet. Buck Institute for Education, Common Sense Media and Edutopia
  • Advice: Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone – you never know where it will lead! Also, there isn’t one silver bullet (or tech tool) to solve the issues in education. Each group of learners (and each student) is unique in their needs and approaches.
  • Connect with Clara: Twitter @MsClaraGalan

 

amandaAmanda Dykes, Instructional Technology

  • “My goal is to help as many people as possible while keeping the focus on students and remembering school isn’t a place for adults to work but for students to learn.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: GSuite, YouTube Creator Studio, Adobe Spark
  • Advice: Don’t forget they are kids. They are not always going to sit still or stay quiet, they are not wired that way. Compliance isn’t what they are created to do. But they are created to make a difference and it takes understanding and love.
  • Connect with Amanda: Twitter h@amandacdykes

 

stacyStacy Behmer, Coordinator of Digital Learning, GWAEA

  • “You can’t steal second with your foot on first, take risks and keep on learning to make a difference for students.“
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Expeditions/VR, Voxer, Google Keep
  • Advice: Relationships are essential, get to know your students, parents and other educators and what passions they have and what type of learners they are because it enables you to better support and also builds your PLN!
  • Connect with Stacy: Twitter  @sbehmer

 

meghanMeghan Zigmond, 1st Grade Teacher & ITS

  • “Create an environment where all learners are encouraged to share their passions and curiosities, then build and grow them as a community.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Koma Koma Koma, Student Skechnotes / Doodles for visible thinking, & SeeSaw
  • Advice: Find your own passions and interests outside the classroom, then share them with your learners. Your passion and excitement for lifelong learning breeds more excitement! I think it makes learning more authentic for you and them, no matter if they are 6 or 36.
  • Connect with Meghan: Twitter / Instagram / Snapchat at @MeghanZigmond Blog zigzagstech.com   

 

bethBeth Still, Innovative Teaching and Learning Specialist

  • “My passion is to help educators discover the amazing things that can happen when they allow their students to have a voice.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Tour Builder, Google Sites (new), and Google Keep
  • Advice: Be brave enough to follow your dreams.
  • Connect with Beth: Twitter@BethStill

 

andreaAndrea Townsley, Curriculum / PD Leader and Instructional Coach at Benton CSD

  • “Everyone has something valuable to share and bring to the table, so making connections with colleagues within and outside of the district, community members, and families is a passion to help me to continue to learn, grow, and recharge.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw – as a parent and as a coach, Podcasts – Cult of Pedagogy & HACK Learning, & Train Ugly
  • Advice: Dance with your fears; don’t be content with your comfort zone.  Be a Jungle Tiger
  • Connect with Andrea: Twitter@townsleyaj  Blog townsleyaj.blogspot.com  Instagram @ajtownsley  

 

wandaWanda Terral, District Technology Coordinator

  • “By empowering others, I empower myself.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: G Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, Twitter
  • Advice: Embrace your imperfections. Many of us are perfectionists and, while that quality often makes us great at what we do, it also fuels our stress and frustration. Continue to strive to do your best and push the envelope while also embracing your imperfections. Remember, your imperfections are the stepping stones on your growth journey. Without them, personal growth stagnates.
  • Connect with Wanda: Twitter @wterral Google+ (+WandaTerral) Blog ignitionEDU.com), and a variety of other spots which are detailed on about.me/edtech

 

ValerieValerie Brinkman, 1:1 Coordinator/Tech Specialist

  • “My passion as an educator is to spark a lifelong interest in a topic or issue for students.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Bloxels, Digital Breakouts, Socrative
  • Advice: Remember that each student in an individual and comes to you with their own story. Take time to learn their story and connect with them on a personal level to allow for great learning and better educational experience.
  • Connect with Valerie: Twitter @BrinkmanValerie

 

kristinKristin Ziemke, Teacher & Author

 

jenniferJennifer Williams, Professor, GlobalEd Program Developer, ILA Board of Directors

  • “To take action for social good and transformational teaching and learning through the sharing of stories, perspective, and experience in our global classrooms.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Nearpod, Participate, Global Oneness Project
  • Advice: Endeavor to be a teacher where all the children of the world are your students and all lands of the earth are your classrooms.
  • Connect with Jennifer: Twitter @JenWilliamsEdu Website: www.calliopeglobal.com  

 

JuliJuli-Anne Benjamin, Instructional Coach

  • “Dedicated servant to the successful trajectory of children Everywhere.“
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Kahoot. Global Goals/Teach SDG’s and all things Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.
  • Advice: Work to build and curate relationships with children. KNOW them when they are in your space and ground your pedagogical practice in student choice and student voice.
  • Connect with Juli-Anne: Twitter @JuliB224  Email edcampbrooklyn@gmail.com  

 

LauraLaura Gilchrist, HS Instructional Coach in Kansas City

  • “I am passionate about creating a citywide ecosystem to support learner innovation, agency, and opportunity access both in schools and in cities so that our kids can walk into their futures self-identifying as connected learners and leaders.“
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Keep, NYT VR app, Podcast app (subscribe & listen to podcasts)
  • Advice: Believe in yourself, think big, and connect with educators and ideas beyond your school. Your unique voice and energy make a difference in many lives–a bigger difference than you will ever know! Keep leading and lighting the way for our kids and for each other!
  • Connect with Laura: Twitter @LauraGilchrist4  Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/lauragilchrist4 Blog www.lauragilchrist4.com

 

mariaMaria (Galanis) Arfanakis, iCoach

 

 

annAnn Feldmann, District Instructional Technology Specialist, Bellevue Public Schools; Adjunct Professor, Peru State College and Doane University

  • “Once upon a time I was a young girl and had a dream of being a teacher.  I wanted to create a classroom that students would want to run to every day. I am happy to say, I am living my dream! I’m in a position to influence and foster a culture of teaching and learning that provides engaging, personalized, differentiated, and choice-driven learning for all students.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw Classkick Schoology Voxer and iPads
  • Advice: Being an educator is an awesome responsibility and a great privilege and honor. Never forget that our job as educators is to serve our students and staff. Embrace the opportunities that are presented each day. Use your strengths and talents to encourage one another. Be present and positive while you listen, learn, and lead. Inspire all the people in your path. It’s in the spirit of working together and celebrating successes that new ideas are generated and people have the courage to implement something new.  Anyone who works with me knows, that my philosophy is that we are better together and build a community strength on strength.  “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” -Helen  Keller
  • Connect with Ann: Twitter @annfeldmann1

 

When I started writing this series to celebrate Edtech Women Making an Impact I realized how fortunate I am to be connected (both virtually and in-person) to Trailblazers in the field of education. From Authors to Makers, Coaches to Advocates the passion exudes from these women who put kids first, share generously, and leaving their mark on the world!

3 Strategies to Support Student Interaction with Complex Text

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Upon graduation, we hope students leave school equipped with skills, strategies, and tools to support a lifetime of literacy encounters. Whether on the job, in college, or informing oneself on Presidential Candidates; students will be continuously encountering text that must be digested and understood independently.

As educators, we must not only place complex text in the hands of our students but also support their learning through modeling and scaffolding of strategies Good Readers use to make sense and solve problems when reading difficult text. Although student understanding content is important, it is a transfer of these skills and strategies we want students to utilize any time they encounter complex text on their own.

3 Strategies to Support Student Interaction with Complex Text

Good Readers…

 1.  Act on the text to support their understanding. Annotation, the practice of making notes for oneself, is one-way good readers interact with complex text to help them make sense of what they read.

Common Annotation Marks – Demonstrate, use, and teach students how Good Readers interact with and mark on text to aid in their understanding.

common-annotation-marks

Digital Annotation Tools to Explore and Share with Students

2.  Identify difficult words in complex text and use strategies to help them understand meaning. Good Readers work within the word. They identify morphemes to provide part of the definition. Good Readers also work outside the word. They ask themselves what resources can I use to support understanding. For words that are discipline specific, Good Readers use resources, such as “Discipline Dictionaries” to gain meaning of unknown terms which aid in comprehension of complex text.

3.  Finally, educators can model specific strategies during an Interactive Shared Reading. The text is delivered by the teacher while students read along silently. It is typically short and lively and promotes rereading as a way students can make sense of complex text. After the Interactive Shared Reading, the teacher may prompt discussion and support peer interaction about the text. Create a screencast for students to reference for additional support with specific strategies. It is important for students to see the text being read and hear the teacher’s thoughts as they model the specific strategy. Check out these screencasting options.

Resources – Rigorous Reading, Fisher and Frey

 

3 Alternatives for Generating Citations

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Just as one should always backup their pictures, documents, and videos in multiple places; so should educators always have a backup for their favorite digital resources, tools, and apps. In the blink of an eye, something that was accessible yesterday could vanish into the digital abyss just as the recent deletion of the Research Tool in Google Docs. Educators and students had grown accustomed to the search and citation options available with the “Research Tool” and many are now scrambling for alternatives…

Here are 3 Citation Generating Alternatives to Consider:

 

  1. logo-easybib-cheggEasyBib – A free citation generator that is available online, as an app, extension, and as a Google Doc Add-On. EasyBib is also offering a free EasyBibEdu account for all educators for the 2016-17 school year. Not only can you generate citations using MLA, APA, and Chicago styles, with EasyBib, you can also create notecards, outlines, and avoid plagiarism and check the reliability of websites.

 

  1.  citation-machine-logoCitation MachineA free tool that helps “students and research professionals properly credit the information that they use. Its primary goal is to make it so easy for student researchers to cite their information sources, that there is virtually no reason not to.” It allows users to choose from 4 styles – MLA, APA, Chicago, and Tribune. It is a web resource that is simple to use.

 

  1.  refme-logoRefMe – Also a free web tool that allows users to create citations and manage them by scanning the barcode. Choose from over 7,000 styles to fit requirements. RefMe also allows you to share your list of citations with others making it perfect for collaboration and group work. RefMe is a web resource and also an app. Cut and paste citations into documents or download the entire bibliography.

 

No one is happy when a widely used digital tool suddenly disappears.

As educators, we need to model to our students how to readjust and seek alternatives. And remember, most digital tools have feedback options so users can share their likes or needs with the creators. You can find Google’s feedback form here. Help to improve Google’s products for all user, let them know your thoughts.