Simplicity & Power of Authentic Learning…

 

This week I stumbled upon Wanda’s Terrel’s Tweet about Day 2 of #SketchCue &  at first thought, “what an opportunity for me to further explore using Google Drawings”. The focus of #SketchCue supports the tenets of learning to create Sketchnotes. A sketchnote is exactly how it sounds. One uses the creative power of drawing and design to capture notes from lectures, research, and etc…  Sketchnoting supports an individual with expressing their content knowledge in a visual format. I found this opportunity to share my Google Drawings Sketchnotes to be engaging and motivating. It was then when I realized a simple activity such as this has the ability to develop into a  “Powerful Authentic Learning Tool” supporting student engagement.

I found myself exploring clipart designs along with examining the meanings for the #SketchCue word topics. After sharing my first sketchnote and receiving a “Like” it dawned on me how this simple use of social media could engage students with further developing vocabulary skills. It always amazes me how a simple activity shared in an authentic manner has the power to motivate the creator. I found myself wanting to contribute new creations every day as well as enjoying reading the creative shares of educators from around the world. It became evident to me authentic learning opportunities are engaging and leads to furthering one’s content knowledge base.

My #SketchCue Day 1 Entry

Word: Arrows

#SketchCue Arrows (1)

My #SketchCue Day 2 Entry

Word: Banners

#SketchCue Banners (1).jpg

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Name the School Object…

Are you looking to do something different to avoid those “blank face gaze”. Send the students out on a mission to capture photos of everyday objects in the classroom or throughout the school. Set a time limit for returning to their seat. Once students are back in seats provide them with a link to a Google Forms where they will upload the images. Now open the folder and click on the Chrome Driveslides extension, and boom a slide deck of images is created. Brainstorm with the students how you may use the images to support the content area.

Example ideas:

  • Spanish Class:
    • Create a custom vocabulary
    • Write a story about the image
    • Add an audio recording explaining what the image is.
      • Vocaroo is an easy to use audio recorder
        • Allows you to save audio files to your drive
  • Math:
    • Create math word problems involving the images
    • Look for shapes
    • Find the area and perimeter of objects in the image
  • ELA:
    • Write a school adventure illustrated story
    • Describe an image and it’s usage
    • Create school how to tutorials using the images

Please share an idea in comment area…

Tweaking Questions & Collecting Data…

Thanks to the NJ Ed Tech Team Google Summit  I’m now a proud owner of a Google Home. After playing with the Google Home for a few weeks I started to think about the value an inexpensive tech tool like this could have in a learning environment.

My husband and I noticed the Google Home has a hard time answering “Open Ended Questions”. Due to this one is forced to learn how to ask  “direct questions” to receive answers. It is amazing how quickly question formation changes in avoidance of hearing “I don’t know the answer” or “but I’m learning new things everyday.” 

Google Home

Once this artificial intelligence device started answering  the questions it was easy to understand how it could assist us.  The Google Home can provide the time of day, not only at home but anywhere in the world. It tells about the weather in one’s area, remembers a shopping list, solves math problems, answers factual questions, plays music, looks up recipe ingredients and etc… It can even play trivia games! This helps to hone our knowledge banks for factual information. I have mentioned just a handful of the interactive capabilities a Google Home may provide.

So you may be thinking how might this be used in the classroom? One of my goals is to support students with becoming independent participants within a classroom community. Everyone needs assistance at different times in their life. When a child explores and asks questions to discover answers their communication and critical thinking skills are nurtured.  This sets an environment where the Google Home may be used to provide a correct answer.  A Teacher would jump upon the opportunity to facilitate a classroom discussion about the answer.  This fosters an environment where student esteems are built rather than destroyed. Learning isn’t about spitting out facts but understanding the relationships of the factual information.

One way this may be used in an elementary classroom is though the tracking of daily weather. This is a common routine for most kindergarten classrooms. The student will still look out the window and share observations about what they see. After the information is added to a Google Sheet the student may ask the Google Home about today’s weather for the school’s location. This information may be added to the Google Sheet as well. A quick classroom discussion may occur if the Google Assistant provides a different answer than the physical observation.

This same lesson may be built upon for upper grade levels. It is one way to collect data which could be transferred into scientific or math discussions. This not only hones communication, and critical thinking skills but adds the reinforcement of using data for solving problems. The Google Home is a relatively inexpensive tool which allows the teacher to integrate technology in supportive ways for whole class usage.

Tips for Creating Doc’s & Slides Worksheets

This is a compilation of a few tips for alleviating stress when using Google Docs and Slides as worksheets. First let me state I feel traditional worksheets aren’t always the best method for supporting learning, but if a teacher is going to digitize a traditional looking worksheet. “Why make it frustrating?”

When it comes to using technology there are many different factors which can slow a person down filling in a digitized worksheet. If one has small motor issues or are challenged by eye to hand coordination typing digital answers may be challenging. Keep in mind frustration doesn’t only set in due to physical issues, it could be as simple as the accidental deletion of text.  This can change the whole layout of the worksheet making it difficult to find where the answer belongs. Below are a couple of other scenarios to support the above statements:

  • Imagine if you have difficulties highlighting and were told to highlight the line followed by typing the answer. Wouldn’t this frustrate you if the teacher moved on and you were still typing the answer?  Highlighting is a skill which even slows down the experienced adult user when typing and editing a document.
  • What if the answer was long and changed the format of the worksheet? When you looked up at the interactive whiteboard to copy down the next bit of information everything looks different!

If the worksheets were setup differently this could prevent undue challenges while typing traditional notes and answers into a worksheet.

Make It Easy for Students to Use

When using a Google Doc Type the questions and place a single cell table for the answer. This will provide the student with a clickable area to type the answer. If you color fill the cell this would make it even easier for the student to find where they left off.

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 2.39.31 PM.png

Click here to make a copy of the template

How to Insert One Cell as Answer Placeholder

  1. Open a Google Doc
  2. In the Tool Bar Click Table
  3. Select Insert Table 1×1
  4. Click More
  5. Select Paint Bucket Tool
  6. Choose a light color
  7. Repeat Steps 4 to 7 
    • Click Custom and adjust color shade

Insert Table.gif

Alleviate Errors Due to Deletions

Google Slides offers a magical tool called, “View Master” this allows you to customize layouts by locking down graphics and text. When using this tool it lessens the chances of students deleting worksheet information while typing. This is because the words and images you edit in “View Master” are locked into the background of the slides template.

Please Click Here to Make a Copy of the Template

How to Edit Google Slides View Master

This demonstration is going to use the George Washington Worksheet represented in the above Google Doc.Open a Google Slides

  1. Select Page Setup

    • Next to Screen size
      • Click Downarrow
    • Choose Custom
    • Type 8.5 x 11
    • Click Done

Slides Custom Page Setup (2).png

  1. Click View
  2. Select Master
  3. Delete Slides
  4. Edit Master
    • Insert
      • image, shapes,
      • placeholders or text
  5. Click Slide Deck

Slides Edit View Master.png

Google Form Math Support Explained

Oh how I love the “Newest” Google Form upgrade! The idea of inserting images in a Google Form question or answer triggered the inspiration for this idea. It dawned on me there are two types of images: Static or Animated. The animated image seems to fit in well with everything  I read about supporting a students critical thinking skills. This made me think what would happen if an”Animated Image” was provided demonstrating solving a problem and the student was asked to explain what they see?

The Google Math Form Idea

Click Here to Make a Copy 

In creating this Google Form Math support I used the “New Image Question” feature in conjunction with the “Go to next Question based on Answer”. This provided the opportunity for the student to first explain how the problem is solved. Next the Student practiced the equation solving steps. When the Student Solves the Problem Correctly they End the Form a Kudos Message, and then submits their answer. If the answer isn’t correct the student is sent to a review page where they click a link to a Review Google Slide. The Slide is copied to the students Google Drive.

The Review Google Slide Deck Presents the Student the opportunity to view the animated problem solving steps. A space is supplied where they can type or use a voice recording to explain the problem solving steps. This is followed by a second slide which provides the problem to solve along with a place value mat as extra support. Student may use a calculator to assist with the multiplication facts.


Click Here to Make a Copy 

When the Student is done solving the problem they go back to the Google Form to submit the answer.

I recommend using the Chrome Browser with the Tab Resize Extension. This will allow the students to view the Google Form and Slide Deck side by side.

Watch for the NEXT POST!

STEP 1: Creating the Math Animated Gif

RELATED POSTS:

  1. Step 1: Creating the Math Animated Gif
  2. Step 2a: Creating the Google Form