“You can’t solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level.” – Albert Einstein
I am very excited to share my new favorite gadget/toy with you! I first learned about Rocketbook on Shark Tank where it was rejected! I was shocked as I thought it was so innovative. On Shark Tank they introduced Rocketbook The Wave, a reusable notebook that you can erase by putting it in the microwave after scanning the pages and saving them into the cloud. The notebook provides a pen and paper experience, yet is built for the digital age; how cool is that! So I have been watching the company as they tested out more ideas and products and moved them from beta to market even though my husband thought I was crazy!
I did not get The Wave because you can only reuse it so many times and I wanted to use this notebook all the time! I purchased the Rocketbook Everlast Notebook on Amazon, as it is endlessly reusable! The Everlast feels like a traditional notebook and connects to all of my favorite cloud services such as Google Drive and Evernote. When you write using any pen from the Pilot Frixion line (which also work on regular paper too), your writing sticks to Everlast pages. When you are ready to send your notes to the cloud notebook of your choice, click on one of the symbols at the bottom of the page that you have created a destination for via the Rocketbook App, then all you have to do is scan and it will send your notes to the right place. After you fill up your pages, take a wet paper towel and wipe it away as the notebook erases like magic!
I wasn’t sure if I would be able to connect to all my different Google Drives as I have multiple accounts for school, work and business but you can using the different symbols. The only thing I would suggest for this as a way to make it even better is I wish it had lines verse the dot grid but I am assuming that is how the magic happens so I am okay with it.
I have been using my notebook for a few days and it has been awesome. No more scrap paper needed for my many to-do lists, no more filling up regular notebooks and putting them some where in case I need to go back to those notes and no more wasting paper as everything I need to access is in the cloud! Read more about Rocketbook and how educators are using them:
How Rocketbook’s EdTech Solutions Help Students and Teachers Connect
Math Teacher Uses Rocketbook Wave to Bring a New Magic to Learning with the Traditional Pen and Paper
“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” By Carol Welch
I love many chrome apps but a new favorite is called Move It! Move It integrates brain breaks through reminders that pop up on your screen. You get to set how often you want to be reminded to move and then a random brain break or exercise pops up for you to complete. Here is an example below:
Once you complete it, click done and you will return to your screen. If you are in a groove and don’t want to stop you can just click done to go back to your original screen. When introducing this extension to your students. Set up rules and expectations of how this is used in your classroom. It is easy to keep active with the Move It extension for your chrome browser!
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun” By Mary Lou Cook
Below are sites I like using in the classroom that you won’t find on a typical education best apps/website, article or blog post; as these sites are hidden gems!
White Noise: I like to have different areas in my classroom such as a collaboration zone and a quiet zone. (See previous blog post on Classroom Zones if you want to learn more) Background white noise drowns out the excess classroom noise around allowing them to better concentrate. There are apps you can buy such as iOS White Noise but I like using the free You Tube white noise channel, a soft murmur or Noisli.
Icons and Photos: Noun project has millions of curated icons, created by a global community that are free! This is great for not only teachers but students too when they are creating projects that need images. The site helps teach digital citizenship skills as the images, when downloaded cite the creator of the image! See below for an example. Another site Photos for Class also does the same thing for images.
Content Resources: I recently stumbled upon DKFindout, a secure site for students to find, explore, and learn about anything. I like providing this site to students for PBL’s and/or Genius Hour as it gives students a place to start exploring different ideas/topics. You do not need to create an account to use it!
Creation: Beatbox academy is lets you create beats using the drum icons they display on their homepage. While you unfortunately can’t record, save, or export any of the rhythms you create on their site; my work around is I have students create their beat and record it using the voice memo on an iPhone or iPad. This is of course after their create the rap/song lyrics about the content they are showing mastery of. Then in iMovie audio they record the lyrics over the beat. Creatubbles is a safe global community for creators of all ages. Students can share any type of art, music, video or craft with the world!
I would love to hear what hidden gem websites you have found that work for the classroom!
“Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator.” Michael Fullan
Podcasts are a series of audio recordings that you can listen to at anytime. Podcasts are great in the classroom because students can show what they know in a different format and other students can listen to them and learn too. Here are five ways you can use podcasting in the classroom:
- Book Talk: When students finish a great book they want to share, they can create a podcast highlighting the book for the book talk series. Other students can listen to the podcasts to see what book they might want to read next.
- How To: This podcast series can be subject based on open to all areas. Students post “how to’s” to show what they know and help other students. For example: How to annotate text or how to apply properties of operations as strategies to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients.
- Student Spotlight: Spotlight a student each week. Students share about themselves to help build classroom culture and climate.
- Untold Stories: Students choose a different perspective of a historical event, book etc.
- Current Events: Students chose a current event, summarize the event and why it is important.
It is important to plan, produce and the publish! Before the students record their script, they must have it written out and get it approved by me. Then the students produce the podcast using the voice memos app that is on the iPad. Below are the directions that are posted, which I have previously modeled for them. I also have a podcast helper if a student gets stuck.
- Press the record (red button) and start your podcast.
- When you are finished click on the record button again to stop the recording.
- Then click done and it will ask you to save your voice memo, click save.
- Label it with your last name and episode number. Example: Thompson E1.
- Click on your recording again and it will open up and give you three options share, edit or delete. Click on the share button and email it to me (the teacher).
Once they send it to me, I edit the files using iMovie to add the theme music and take out any pauses etc. You can also use Garageband to edit as well. Depending on the age level students can do this process too. Finally you publish; I chose to use my website as the host for the podcasts. This way the students always know where to find them.
Here are a few other tools that have helped with podcasting in my classroom:
Podcasting tips: Use this resource before writing your script to get ideas.
Script Timer: Use this web tool to help determine the length based on your script.
Benefits of Podcasting:
- Students are practicing reading, writing and listening based on multiple content standards.
- Students are using high order thinking skills to create and critically think.
- Students are being assessed in a different way.
- Podcasts don’t have to be individual but students can collaborate too!
Please share ideas you have done in your classroom using podcasting!
“Love the process and you’ll love what the process produces.” Jon Gordon
Personalized Learning (PL) is a great philosophy to reach the diverse range of learners in educators classrooms. I often get asked, “Am I doing PL right?” when I visit classrooms and other districts. There is no right way to “do” PL if you are focusing on the students taking more ownership in the classroom. There is also no right tool or program to make this happen. PL comes down to what the teacher does in the classroom; here are three ways to gauge yourself to see if you are on the path to personalizing instruction for your students:
- Your students understand WHY they are learning. It is important for students to understand that learning is a process. Students need to have time to be able to set learning goals and reflect on these goals. Having student data trackers allows them to see their growth overtime no matter where they start on the learning continuum for that objective to help guide their learning goals.
- Your students are learning in DIFFERENT ways: No one person learns content in the same way and a “one size fits all” approach has been proven not to work. Learning is ‘messy’ and not linear. We learn from failures just as much (if not more) as we do from successes. Allowing students to have choice and learn in different ways helps personalize it based on each students needs.
- Your students are connecting to their interests and/or passions: Learning is always more fun when we are learning about things we are interested in or passionate about. Understanding what your students are interested in and/or passionate about can help you connect learning outcomes for your students based on their interests/passions.
In my previous blog posts on PL, I offer lots of suggestion about how to make these changes in your classroom that you might find helpful. Creating a PL environment does not happen overnight! You should make small changes in your practice to make a big impact over time.
Personalized Learning from A- Z
Getting Started with Personalized Learning
Personalized Learning Barriers and How to Overcome Them
If you would like to see more PL posts click here to see all that I have written.
“All humans behavior and learning, including feeling, thinking, creating, remembering and deciding, originate in the brain. ” By Mary Helen Immordino-Yang
Neuroscience is the sciences which deals with the structure or function of the nervous system and brain. Understanding the brain is very important to understanding how one learns. I believe all educators should have to go through a neuroscience class to be made aware of how the brain works; below is a brief snapshot of three reasons why.
Neuroplasticity describes how the brain is malleable and changes over time and our lives. This change matters what we think about learners because intelligence can be developed as learning can literally change the brain. Students need to practice skills multiple ways as that helps build stronger connections in the brain. Intelligence is not fixed at birth but it is always changing and building neuropathways between neurons. It is important for children to know the brain is always changing and is malleable. Teacher’s views of intelligence affects students outcomes. If they view intelligence as fixed they will have negative consequences for students learning and the classroom has a different atmosphere because there is more judgement. In a growth mindset classroom there is more focus on nurturing and learning as a journey. Jeff Raikes, Former CEO of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says that “Growth Mindset is a key to closing the achievement gap.” Read some of my previous posts on growth mindset here!
Metacognition is important because it links everything together as a result of thinking about the learning. The self-regulation approach aims to help learners think about their own learning more explicitly so as to take increased responsibility for achievement, resulting in the joy of the learning process. Integrated learning helps learners understand concepts on a deeper level because it is connected which promotes long-term memories verse factual single skills.
Neuromyth are misinterpretations of brain science data ie myths such as “We only use of 10% of our brains!”- This is NOT true! Another neuromyth is that we can multitask. You can not multitask as the brain can only focus on one piece of information at a time. When you are trying to learn something you need to focus. Trying to multitask impacts learning because it can lead to decreased memory, executive functions and increased brain cell death. It also comes with a cognitive cost of not becoming part of the long-term memory. This happens due to buildup of cortisol (stress hormone). Doing too much task shifting can have a negative impact on learning, attention and memory. It also changes the way one learns and lowers the ability to stay focused on one task. When multitasking it takes twice as long to complete a task and more mistakes are likely going to be made.
Want to learn more about neuroscience and learning, check out some of these resources:
Neuroscience and the classroom: Making Connections Site
Brain Rules: by John Medina
Lyman, L. (2016) Brain Science for Principals: What School Leaders Need to Know. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” By Joseph Addison
It is that time of year again where I like to write about what educational summer books I am going to read….even though I am a year-round educator. Below are the books I will be reading this summer in no particular order:
*Bonus Read: Embracing a Culture of Joy: How Educators Can Bring Joy to Their Classrooms Each Day by Dean Shareski – This one I have already read this year but it is so good I have to add it to this list because I haven’t mentioned it in any other of my blog posts on educational reads! 🙂
Previous Educator reads I have blogged about which also make great summer reads!