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Tagged With: common core

10 Common Core Tech Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

common core resourcesHere are ten of the top Common Core tips according to Ask a Tech Teacher readers:

  1. 13 Ways Blogs Teach Common Core
  2. Common Core Breathes Life into Keyboarding
  3. Common Core requires publishing. Technology makes that happen
  4. Dear Otto: What are Common Core keyboarding standards?
  5. 7 Ways Common Core Will Change Your Classroom
  6. 7 Common Core Ways to Assess Knowledge
  7. How to Align Technology with Common Core State Standards
  8. 11 Things I Love About Common Core
  9. Common Core Reading–What if Students Don’t Like Reading
  10. Common Core: A Lesson Plan for STEM (on Bridges)

More Common Core resources

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Categories: Tech tips | Tags: | Leave a comment

17 Ways to Add Tech to your Lessons Without Adding Time to Your Day

tech in edBecause I teach graduate classes for educators, I talk to lots of teachers all over the country. It’s become clear to me that for most of them, adding technology to their lessons means layering more work on top of their already overburdened lesson plans. Despite the claims of tech gurus that technology makes the job of teaching easier, few educators see it that way. Even the ones who love it put in lots of extra time to do one or more of the following:

  • learn tech tools and then teach their students
  • learn tech tools only to discover it’s not what they need
  • learn a tech tool they love only to have it either disappear or switch to a fee-based program
  • rework existing lesson plans in the school’s mandated digital program that too often, changes every year. This means they have to re-enter the lesson plan in a new format for a new LMS
  • find a tool they love, but no one else in their teaching team agrees, understands it, or cares
  • the tool won’t work on the Big Day of the lesson and nothing will bring it back to life
  • the digital devices–computer or Chromebooks or iPads–won’t work on the Big Day

But the biggest reason is this: Students don’t know the technology, so their projects become rudimentary displays of their knowledge rather than anything resembling the higher order thinking we teachers aspire to. I’d put it at S- in the SAMR Model (if you don’t know what that is, click to get a brief primer).

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Categories: Classroom management, Education reform, Teacher resources | Tags: | 2 Comments

Dear Otto: Can We Eliminate Blogs–Teachers Hate Them!

tech questions

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please contact me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Christy:

HI!

I love your site – holy buckets of information! I was looking for examples of great classroom blog sites – I do marketing for our school and we had set up “classroom” blog pages for the teachers to control and be able to put up information – i.e. links to great sites relevant to their kids, their bio, hot reference sheets (memory work schedule, etc.) –

We are updating our website and the principal wants to take the blogs down so that it is not so much work for the teachers and they don’t have to take the time to update.

This is not surprising as our teachers are not great at keeping themselves tech savvy – so it is not like they are excited to have a blog page and are mostly just using it to “post” a periotic classroom update vs. making it a rich parent resource page.

I am curious with your tech wisdom – is this a trend for strong schools that teachers have a page for parents – does it help the school or classes stand out in a parents mind? Does it help with the marketing of the school and the value it offers in and out of the classroom? (we are a private school)

Is it worth me outlining a case to keep the blog and how to take them to a higher useful level or drop it – as it doesn’t matter and is not really a trend in classrooms today anyway?

Hi Christy

blogging in classI’m sad to hear that your principal wants to remove the teacher blog pages. It may solve the problem of out-of-date and non-relevant information, but the unintended consequences will be worse. Parents expect teachers to connect to them on a tech level, to offer 24/7 access via an online site like a blog (or a wiki, website, or any number of other albeit more complicated forums). They expect to be able to find homework help, links, resources, school materials at 7 at night while organizing the next school day with their child. Removing that access because teachers have difficulty keeping it up-to-date will solve one problem while causing many more.

Let’s back up a moment: Do you know why teachers aren’t keeping blogs up-to-date? Maybe:

  • they don’t know how–a training session or 1:1 help might get them over this hump
  • they think it takes too long–maybe a template with simple fill-ins, add-tos, or tweaks would make it faster. Truly, all teachers really need to start with is weekly lesson plans–resources, dates, reminders, newsletters. Fancy and involved can come later.
  • they don’t think they are techie enough–recurring tech training might be necessary. Kids are baptized in iPads and smartphones. We can’t meet them where they are ready to learn if we’re afraid to enter that geeky room. Kids love learning with blogs, iPads, apps, online webtools–that sort.

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Categories: Blogging, Classroom management, Dear Otto, Education reform, Parents | Tags: | 2 Comments

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–Common Core

CC Article Bundle Cover(3)I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking 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: Common Core Bundle

Overview

In this bundle, you get 20 tech ed resources on how to use technology to achieve Common Core Standards–presented in a variety of ways including Lesson plans, webinars, and short but pithy articles. Included:

5 books (including 70 lesson plans)

8 webinars

7 Hall of Fame articles addressing Common Core topics

Who needs this

K-8 class teacher, K-8 tech teachers, tech coordinators, library media specialists, curriculum specialists

Classroom grade level teachers if your tech teacher doesn’t cover basic tech skills.

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Categories: AATT Materials, Reviews, Videos | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Talk About Habits of Mind

habits of mindPedagogic experts have spent an enormous amount of time attempting to unravel the definition of ‘educated’. It used to be the 3 R’s–reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. The problem with that metric is that, in the fullness of time, those who excelled in the three areas weren’t necessarily the ones who succeeded. As long ago as the early 1900’s, Teddy Roosevelt warned:

“C students rule the world.”

It’s the kids without their nose in a book that notice the world around them, make connections, and learn natively. They excel at activities that aren’t the result of a GPA and an Ivy League college. Their motivation is often failure, and taking the wrong path again and again. As Thomas Edison said:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, and Albert Einstein are poster children for that approach. Both became change agents in their fields despite following a non-traditional path.

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Categories: Critical thinking, Education reform, Problem solving, Teaching Strategies | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

How to Compare and Contrast Authentically

compare contrastTo students, knowing how to ‘compare and contrast’ sounds academic, not real world, but we teachers know most of life is choosing between options. The better adults are at this skill, the more they thrive in the world.

Common Core Standards recognize the importance of this skill by addressing it in over 29 Standards, at every grade level from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. Here’s a partial list:

Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. (K-5 and 6-12 Reading Anchor Standards)

With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories and With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (K Reading Standards–2)
..
Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories and Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (1st grade Reading Standards–2)

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Categories: Critical thinking, Problem solving | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Playful Learning–What a Great Idea

playPlayful Learning (Parents’ Choice Gold Medal website) is a well-done, professional-looking website that  offers advice, projects, and visual images touting the benefits of education through play. The reader is drawn into the child-centered imagery and strong basic colors, wanting everything on offer so their child’s play areas can look and work as described.

Let’s back up a moment. Play as the vehicle of education is not a revolutionary idea. Pedagogy has long recommended ‘play’ as a superior teacher for youngers–

Play is the great synthesizing, integrating, and developing force in childhood and adolescence. –PsycINFO Database Record 2012 APA,

The play of children is not recreation; it means earnest work. Play is the purest intellectual production of the human being, in this stage … for the whole man is visible in them, in his finest capacities, in his innermost being.~ Friedrich Froebel

In general, research shows strong links between creative play and language, physical, cognitive, and social development. Play is a healthy, essential part of childhood. —Department of Education, Newfoundland Labrador

Young children learn the most important things not by being told but by constructing knowledge for themselves in interaction with the physical world and with other children – and the way they do this is by playing.” –Jones, E., & Reynolds, G.  “The play’s the thing: Teachers’ roles in children’s play”

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Categories: Education reform, Homeschool, Parents, Research, Reviews, Websites, Writing | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Book Review: Common Core Literacy for ELA

Common Core Literacy for Ela, History/Social Studies, and the Humanities: Strategies to Deepen Content Knowledge (Grades 6-12)Common Core Literacy for ELA, History/Social Studies, and the Humanities: Strategies to Deepen Content Knowledge (Grades 6-12)

by Katherine S. McKnight

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Dr. Katherine McKnight is an author, educator and consultant. She regularly publishes in professional journals and has written eleven books including titles like The English Teacher’s Survival Guide and The Elementary Teacher’s Big Book of Graphic Organizers--recipient of the 2013 Teachers’ Choice Award.

Three of her books are on Common Core, the latest being Common Core Literacy for ELA, History/Social Studies, and the Humanities: Strategies to Deepen Content Knowledge (Jossey-Bass 2014). When I saw this book on my Amazon Vine list, I was excited to read her thoughts on effective delivery of these far-reaching Standards.

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Categories: Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Tech Ed Resources for your Classroom–Common Core Bundle

CC Article Bundle Cover(3)I 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: Common Core Bundle

Overview

In this bundle, you get 20 tech ed resources on how to use technology to achieve Common Core Standards–presented in a variety of ways including Lesson plans, webinars, and short but pithy articles. Included:

  • 5 books (including 70 lesson plans)
  • 8 webinars
  • 7 Hall of Fame articles addressing Common Core topics

Who needs this

K-8 class teacher, K-8 tech teachers, tech coordinators, library media specialists, curriculum specialists

Classroom grade level teachers if your tech teacher doesn’t cover basic tech skills.

(more…)

Categories: Reviews, Videos | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How to Teach Students to Solve Problems

tech tipsOf all the skills students learn in school, problem solving arguably is the most valuable and the hardest to learn. It’s fraught with uncertainty–what if the student looks stupid as he tries? What if everyone’s watching and he can’t do it–isn’t it better not to try? What if it works, but not the way Everyone wants it to? When you’re a student, it’s understandable when they decide to let someone tell them what to do.

But this isn’t the type of learner we want to build. We want risk-takers, those willing to be the load-bearing pillar of the class. And truthfully, by a certain age , kids want to make up their own mind. Our job as teachers is to provide the skills necessary for them to make wise, effective decisions.

It’s not a stand-alone subject. It starts with a habit of inquiry in all classes–math, LA, history, science, any of them. I constantly ask students questions, get them to think and evaluate, provide evidence that supports process as well as product. Whether they’re writing, reading, or creating an art project, I want them thinking what they’re doing and why.

Common Core puts problem solving front and center. It comes up in ELA (“Students will be challenged and asked questions that push them to refer back to what they’ve read. This stresses critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that are required for success in college, career, and life.”), but is inescapable in Math. In fact, students cannot fully meet the Math Standards without understanding how to effectively approach the unknown. Consider the Standards for Mathematical Practice that overlay all grade levels K-12:

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Categories: Math, Problem solving | Tags: | 4 Comments