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Teacher resources

What You Might Have Missed in October

Here are the most-read posts for the month of October:

  1. 9 Resources for National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
  2. 10 Great PowerPoint Changes You Probably Don’t Know About
  3. 10 Tips About Using Images in Your Classroom
  4. How NOT to Assess Student Writing
  5. How to Grow Global Digital Citizens
  6. Should You Unschool?
  7. Visible Learning and John Hattie
  8. What is Standards-based Grading?
  9. What is WittyWe and Why You Want to Use it

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 20 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thriller series, Rowe-Delamagente, and her upcoming historic fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time.

Categories: Teacher resources | Tags: , | 2 Comments

12 Fresh Ways to Assess Student Learning

assessmentAssessing student learning used to be as simple as giving a test that consisted of multiple choice, True/False, short answer, and/or essay. How many answers students got right told the teacher how much they knew. No need to look further. Simply grade, record, and move on to the next chapter.

Educators have come to realize that there are lots of reasons why a test score doesn’t reflect student knowledge. Maybe the student had a bad day; maybe s/he isn’t good at memorizing (and the test was mostly memorized facts); maybe education researchers are right that doing well on tests isn’t a predictor of student success.

Tossing tests makes a teacher’s job more difficult. I’ll stipulate to that. Habits, templates, and routines are much easier than reinventing the assessment wheel but a tool that results in passionate students committed to lifelong learning gets my attention.

That’s what the next twelve options are: assessment strategies that inspire student interest and allow them to share what they know in ways compatible with their personal communication style. These can be used formatively or summatively and can be created by teachers or students-as-teachers. Decide what works best for your circumstances. The uniting characteristics are that all assess:

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Should You Unschool?

unschoolingThe first time I read about Unschooling, I ignored it. Surely, it was a fad that would go away.

When that didn’t happen and I read about it a thousand more times, I dug into it. Inspired by the teachings of John Holt (1923–1985), this free range branch of homeschooling promotes learning through nonstructured, child-led exploration. There’s no set curriculum or schedule; students learn what interests them with guidance from involved adults. There are no worksheets, tests, or structure to provide evidence of learning or templates for teaching. The children pick what to learn, when, at what pace. The result — according to unschoolers, is a love of learning, tenacity to a task, and independent thought that prepares them for college and career better than traditional methods. In fact, if you look at the list of traits valued in popular education programs such as Habits of Mind and Depth of Knowledge, the reasons why parents unschool their children mirror the traits included in these lists.

What is it

According to  Dr. Peter Gray of Freedom to Learn:

Unschooling parents do not … do at home the kinds of things that are done at school. More specifically, they do not establish a curriculum for their children, do not require their children to do particular assignments for the purpose of education, and do not test their children to measure progress. Instead, they allow their children freedom to pursue their own interests and to learn, in their own ways, what they need to know to follow those interests. They may, in various ways, provide an environmental context and environmental support for the child’s learning. In general, unschoolers see life and learning as one.”

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What is WittyWe and Why You Want to Use it

wittywe

There seems to be a limitless supply of online education content. In fact, my email box and social media explodes with them. But often, these offerings are too basic, a lite version of a paid program that isn’t terribly robust, confusing, or created by people who don’t really understand how to blend technology and education. As a busy teacher, I want resources that are clear, easy-to-use, accessible by all types of students, scalable, and fun.

I found that.

Understand, finding a reliable source is a big deal to me. I give potential new sites the seven-second test: If I’m not engaged and excited in seven seconds, I move on. If I have to work too hard to figure out how to use it, I move on. If it requires more than three clicks to access content, I move on.

WittyWe had none of these problems.

WittyWe is a K-9 learning environment that inspires students to become passionate about meaningful learning through engaging video content. Using techniques such as storytelling, resolving real-life cases, learning through play, and self-teaching, WittyWe covers academic topics such as science, social studies, law, economics, entrepreneurship, and engineering as well as life skills like time management, learning, money management, social awareness, healthy living, goal-setting, and leadership. The videos are arranged as themes, online courses, and/or guided suggestions through Ask the Professor. In this last option, students tell the Professor what they’re interested in by theme, grade, and difficulty level, and he suggests appropriate videos.

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Categories: Math, Reviews, Science, Teacher resources, Videos | Tags: | Leave a comment

What You Might Have Missed in September

Here are the most-read posts for the month of September:

  1. A New Typing Website With a Twist
  2. Building Digital Citizens–the Class
  3. Great list of Top Education Blogs
  4. 20 Websites and 3 Posters to Teach Mouse Skills
  5. 4 Great Alternatives to Google Classroom
  6. 7 Tips to Differentiate with Tech

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 20 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thriller series, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days.

Categories: Teacher resources | Tags: , | 1 Comment

2017 Teachers Pay Teachers’ July Conference — Overview

One of the largest online marketplace for teachers is Teachers Pay Teachers. If you haven’t heard of this estore, you are either new to teaching or long since retired. This vibrant educator community hosts teacher-authors who wish to sell their original lessons and ideas to other teachers, district administrators, homeschoolers, and unschoolers. Since its start in 2006 by a former teacher, it’s grown to over 3.4 million teachers buying or selling over 2.7 million education-oriented Pre-K through High School lesson plans, curricula, videos, classroom activities, assessments, books, bulletin board ideas, classroom decorations, interactive notebooks, task cards, Common Core resources, and more. Teacher-authors have earned more than $330 million since TpT opened its doors with about a dozen making over $1 million dollars and nearly 300 earning more than $100,000. There’s no set-up charge, no cost to join, and no annual fee unless you choose to become what’s called a Premium seller.

TpT 2017 Conference Observations

Every year, TpT holds a conference to share ideas with teacher-authors on how to build their stores, develop their platform, and make money off of their passion. It’s more like an Amway convention than an IBM shareholder meeting. Or, if you’re a football fan, think Pete Carroll’s amazing college football success attributed in no small part to his high-energy positive way of motivating players, an approach that earned him the nickname “the poodle” from arch-rival Notre Dame.

This year, I trundled my way up to Anaheim, California, home of Disneyland and the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks, ready to be wowed by the expertise of fellow teachers and eager to make a whole lot of new connections. I wasn’t disappointed. From start to finish, this event was a rowdy affair filled with energy and enthusiasm, networking and new friends. The first day, as we rode up the elevator to the Welcome event, the TPT folks cheered and high fived all of us teacher-authors. Buzzwords like “shout out”, “ecosystem”, “safe space”, “self-publishing”, “data analysis” were part of every conversation. A favorite phrase was “That’s OK”. Rarely was Common Core mentioned and never did politics come up (thank goodness!).  Teachers raved about their “unicorn husbands”, unbelievable spouses who did the housework, childcare, and cooking so their entrepreneurial wives (90% of the teachers I saw in attendance were female) could work on their TpT store.

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Tech Ed Resources–Certificate/College Credit Classes and Coaching

tech ed helpI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Classes

Ask a Tech Teacher offers a variety of classes throughout the year. These can be taught individually (through coaching or mentoring), in small groups (of at least five), or as school PD. All are online, hands-on, with an authentic use of tools you’ll want for your classroom.


online classesThe Tech-infused Teacher

Certificate

Group enrollment

The 21st Century teacher blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools while addressing overarching concepts like digital citizenship, internet search and research, authentic assessment, digital publishing, and immersive keyboarding. You will actively collaborate, share knowledge, provide constructive feedback to classmates, publish digitally, and differentiate for unique needs. Classmates will become the core of your ongoing Personal Learning Network.

Assessment is project-based so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker.

Price includes course registration and all necessary materials.

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Categories: AATT Materials, Classroom management, Online education, Teacher resources, Videos | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Curriculum Companions Start September 10th!

curriculum companion

Curriculum Companion Wikis (K-5 only) follow a tech professional as s/he teaches each lesson in the SL K-5 curriculum textbooks.  Presented via video (10-15 minutes each), you can ask questions, start a discussion with other teachers using the curriculum, and access additional resources. It’s your mentor, your sidekick, your best friend in the tech ed field.

If you own any or all of K-5 Structured Learning technology curriculum (6th edition), you have free access to the grade-level wiki. If you don’t own the curriculum, you can purchase access on a yearly basis here.

K-5, 32 webinars per grade (192 webinars), 9 months

Curriculum Companion Wikis not only include weekly videos, you also get:
  • comprehensive tech vocabulary
  • how-to skills used in lessons
  • a class Discussion Board
  • shared resources

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Categories: AATT Materials, Classroom management, Freebies/Discounts, Teacher resources | 1 Comment

What You Might Have Missed in August

Here are the most-read posts for the month of August:

  1. 2017 Teachers Pay Teachers Conference: Notes from Sessions
  2. Back to School. Lots of Ideas!
  3. Google Sheets in the K-12 Classroom
  4. Math: Energize Your Math Program with Thinkster Math
  5. Moodle: The Unsung Hero of LMS Options
  6. Tech Ed Resources–Organize Your Class
  7. Whole Brain Teaching: Is it Right for Me?

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 20 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thriller series, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days.

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It’s Time to go Back to School. Lots of Ideas!

I’ve written a lot of Back-to-School articles over the last few years. They cover so many topics–see if you find what you’re looking for here:

3 Apps to Help Brainstorm Next Year’s Lessons

3 Organizational Apps to Start the School Year

4 Options for a Class Internet Start Page

5 Tech Ed Tools to Use this Fall

5 Tools To Shake up the New Year

5 Top Ways to Integrate Technology into the New School Year

5 Ways Teachers Can Stay on Top of Technology

5 Ways to Involve Parents in Your Class

6 Tech Best Practices for New Teachers

8 Tech Tools to Get to Know Your Students for Back to School

11 Back-to-School Activities for the First Month

Back to School–Tech Makes it Easy to Stay On Top of Everything

Dear Otto: I need year-long assessments

How to Prepare Students for PARCC Tests

New School Year? New Tech? I Got You Covered

Plan a Memorable Back to School Night

Turnitin Releases Free Back-to-School Resources

What Digital Device Should My School Buy?

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