Thursday, July 9, 2015

Differentiation in the classroom...Summing it all up

My first five week course is about to come to an end. Who would believe that I have used Twitter and Google Hangouts this summer? It was really a lot easier then I had expected.  Everyone should give it a try.  They are great for collaboration and giving out bits of information.   I have learned many new web tools to implement into my classroom. I did not just learn about a wide variety of web tools, but I also learned how they can differentiate in the classroom.

The school corporation that I work for has a wide variety of options for the students.  Our students have a wide variety of chooses to choose from for their high school diploma. They can choose to attend classes in the career center.  They can take AP and Dual credit classes.  They can join the STEM program, Honor program, IB program, or the 1:1 program.  This coming school year every high school student will have a school issued laptop.  I only hope that we have enough bandwidth to hold 2,000+ students and staff with access to the internet.  

I have many ideas and ways in which I have differentiated in the classroom in the past. Very few of my ideas have been with the use of technology.  I have gotten many compliments over my approach to my learning needs students that I work with.  Primarily because I take the time to get to know my students.  I then use what I know about them to apply Earth Science to the world. Through this summer course I have learned more than I had ever expected. I have changed my mind on a few of my teaching views through this course.  I can see how using technology in the classroom can be very beneficial to all students.  I plan on using many of the web tools that I learned and to seek out more that would be appropriate for my class.

I believe that if we vary the types of activities used in a week we have the best opportunity to meet the needs of all our students.  I can see that this really would not be a difficult task to achieve.  Yes, it is going to take some experimenting and additional prep time to begin.   However, as a teacher, I want my students to succeed and if I need to spend a little extra time with planning it would be well worth it.

I created this little PowToon to represent ways to differentiate.

Differtiation in the classroom 

(You can click this link or it is at the bottom of this blog page.)

<iframe width="480" height="311" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe>

The best advice I received through this class is to provide a variety of web tools for projects to choose from.  Students will choose the type of web tool that best meets their educational needs.  The second best advice I received was to let the students have do-overs.  I have been more against this issue than for it. I have felt that at the high school level the students need to be prepared and do the best that they can on each assignment.  When they go off to college there are not any do-overs.  That has been my main reason behind this thought.  I think now that having them redo an assignment helps them to learn what they missed the first time.  In that respect it is helping them prepare for college. I also think this would help many of my learning needs students succeed better in school.  It would lift there spirits and make them feel proud for getting a better grade on an assignment.

I hope you enjoyed my video.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Back to School video using Animoto

I have been taking two college classes this summer. This post is on my second college class.  Today I was asked to learn about and create a video using Animoto. We could create something personal or something school related.  We had to have at least 7 slides, music and add one text.  It did not take me long to think about what I was going to create.   At the beginning of the school year we like to tell the students a little about ourselves. Typically we do a slide presentation. I have been learning all about technology this summer.  I just had to make my introduction more exciting for the students.   I used Canva to create some posters with information all about myself. I then uploaded those to Animoto and chose some music to go with it.  If you have not used Canva, you are missing out!  I absolutely love using it.

I really did like using Animoto.  It was  very easy to create this video.  You will see the watermark in the video.  I do apologize for that.  The only way to get rid of the watermark is to upgrade to a subscription.  Which I may do once school gets into session.

I hope you enjoyed my creation and are inspired to create your own.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July

I learned how to use this web tool this summer.

So I wanted to express ...

Happy 4th of July everyone!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Do you use Warm up and Exit Tickets?

Do you use Warm-up and Exit Tickets? 

I know exactly what warm up tickets are.  Our school system has used them for many years.  A warm up ticket is an activity that can be completed without teacher direction and takes about five minutes. Warm up tickets are partially used so that you can get attendance done and other things ready for the lesson to begin.

On the other hand exit tickets are a quick assessment and used at the end of the class. They should take about two minutes and help to improve students retention.  This is something that I have not experience or have heard of teachers using in my school corporation.

I believe that these activities should be a type of formative assessment.  By adding warm up and exit tickets as a teacher one can get a better understanding of the needs of the students.  Our goal is for each student to be successful in class.  I think that using a variety of tools would help in assessing the students needs.  It would also give a teacher a more accurate picture of what students know and understand.  After gathering the information we can quickly identify any problems or misconceptions that students have and address them immediately or the next day when information is fresh in students minds.  All of these things would help each student to be successful in class.

There are a lot of warm up and exit activities that can be used.  A few ideas that I have used include:

  1. Quizlet
  2. 3 Statements - where you give the students a subject or topic and they must tell you three things they know about that subject or topic.
  3. SOS Statement - Give a Statement, Students provide opinion (agree/disagree), Support their opinion with evidence, facts or examples.
  4. Post it questions - Students post a question on padlet or some other device relating to the lesson that they didn't understand or want to know more about.  The next day students can try to answer Post it questions that were posted.
  5. Art Photo - Students are shown a photo and tell what they see or feel about the photo.  They can predict what happened before or after the photo. 
  6. Current Event article - Students find a current event article and summarizes it on blog or somewhere the class can access.  
  7. Read an article provided and answer questions related to the article.
  8. Answer Poll or Survey in Google docs, Edmodo, etc.
A colleague, Lisa, and I created this list

More Ideas

What have you used for warm up or an exit ticket?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Games and simulations in the classroom?

What do I think about games in education?

I have always looked at them as a way to brush up, improve upon and even learn new skills.  I have heard my own children talk about using Starfall when they were in the elementary school. They would come home and get on Starfall and play.   I myself purchased many Reader Rabbit games and other games from the learning company to help my kids learn at home.  Two of there favorites were the Putt Putt and Freddi the Fish series.  They would play these games for hours.  Both of these are adventure puzzle solving type games.  As they got older they wanted Sims and other games to play on the computer.  I was skeptical at first on what my child could learn from games like Sims.  Once I learned and actually saw the product I changed my attitude about them.   My children now play Sims, Minecraft, World of Tanks and DC Universe to name a few. People of all ages can learn from games.  Yes, there are mindless games out there where it is purely for enjoyment.  The key is to find a game that is fun and engaging while learning at the same time.  Often you are learning without even realizing it.  That is what is so appealing about games.

This week I played five different games or simulations.

  1. Gravity & orbits on the website Phet interactive simulations.   
  2. The Hunger Games Adventure on Facebook. 
  3. The Hunger Games Skills 
  4. Lemonade Stand on Cool Math Games
  5. Electrocity 
My thoughts and on a few of these games.

The game Gravity & Orbits on the Phet interactive simulations website was a nice game. It is a free website.   It really would teach the students about Revolution and Rotation when talking about the sun, earth and the moon.  You can visually see the relationship between the three and how they move.  You also had the option of viewing in different ways.  Even being able to view a satellite orbiting the earth.  A student could choose to look at the gravity force, velocity, mass, and the path as choice to view in the model. This site is great for the visual learner.  I know that many of my students did not understand what revolution and rotation meant. I could use this web game to teach them.  Last year I took a pencil and a pen to represent the objects, so they could understand the concepts.  So this for me would be very effective website.  They had many other games that would work for my Earth Science class.  The site itself has Science and Math simulations to choose from.  I did notice that some of the other simulations were more difficult.  I would definitely pair up my students on these projects. For example the Radioactive Dating game they have on this site.   I would place a student who has trouble learning concepts with someone in the class who is more quick to pick up problem solving skills.  All of these games seemed to be fairly quick and could easily be incorporated into a lesson at the high school level. 

I found Electrocity to be a very educational game. The basics of this game is to build a city that is run by electricity that you build in 150 days.  At the same time you have to keep your city green friendly. For example if you build a power plant you may need to offset the disappointment of your citizens by building a national park.  You can chop down forest to bring in money. You can prospect the land and look for coal and gas which you can use or sell.  Keep an eye on the market and know when to buy and sell these natural resources.  The main goal is to have a very populated city with little environmental impact to the land.  There are some nice teacher resources that you can use.  They give you examples of ways to use the game in your class.  There are fact sheets about the natural resources that generate electricity.  As a teacher you can sign up and receive a code to give to your class and the kids do not have to sign up at all.  It is a free website.  What I did like was that at the end of your 150 days you were given a grade. 

Energy Management B-
Popularity A
Your environment A+
Overall Score 74/B

I did not do as well as I thought that I would.  I found myself trying again and again.  I believe that the students will do the same.  We always like to strive to do better when playing a game. I mean how can there be any learning going on?  Shhh...that's our secret.

I would love to use Electrocity in my classroom.  I am trying to think of where in the schedule that we could put this. There are times when we have make-up days and students who are all caught up could play this game.  I feel that this game is good for all types of learning styles.  It is a trial and error type game.  You get a new town layout each time you start.  You wouldn't ever get 2 students towns looking the same.  This game suits the needs of the visual and hands-on learners.  You can easily incorporate those who learn by auditory by grouping students together.  Once the game is saved, students can share a link with there parents email for them to view their finished city.  How fun would it be to get an email at work showing what your child just completed at school?  I can visually see parents and students talking about it over dinner.

Lastly I am going to talk a little bit about the Hunger Games. I know that some of the English teachers have used the Hunger Games series in class.  I first started out looking at the Facebook game.  It is very similar to all of the other simulation games on Facebook.  It sort of follows the plot of the book and go along doing all the different task.  Once completed you move on to the next chapter forever and ever it seems.  You do learn along the way as long as you are reading what is on the screen in front of you.  I know that many students would just click it away and move on.  One challenge maybe could be over come by having them answer some specific questions at different times during the play of the game.  Then I moved on to find another Hunger game to try on website.  I did like this one. You can choose from two different ways to play.  Both of them do not take long and would fit perfectly into the time schedule of middle school and high school that switch classes. 

The first game is called "The Tribute Trials".  In this game you are given a screen that scrolls left and right with pictures on it.  When you click on the picture it gives you a question and 4 choices to choose from.  Then it will tell you if you are intelligent, courage, charisma, instinct, strength, speed, to name a few.  You will answer 8 questions then you are given a percentage score of which you either win or lose.  

The second game is called "Trial by Fire". You need to read a short paragraph and chose how you would respond.  You must respond within 30 seconds or the game is over.  There is one path to survival and you have to be quick in this game!  I can not count how many times I have played this game and changed my path.  You will too! Give it a try.  

The Tribute Trials would be an obvious choice for all kinds of learners.  I found it nice to choose pictures that were appealing to me.  There is not a time limit to this one, just 8 questions.  The Trial by Fire would be more challenging for those students who have difficulty reading.  You could pair them up with someone, but the partner is going to have to read quickly.  So this game does have some set backs for different learners in the classroom.  This is not a game I would use in my Earth Science class.  I just wanted to learn more about the Hunger Games.  

I hope you have learned something from my blog today.  


Friday, June 19, 2015

Collaboration on Auditory Webtools

I realized that I did not share my collaboration with Lisa on the auditory learner and the web tools that we used.  So I am posting this so that others in my MTI563 class and others who follow my blog can review it.  I hope that this helps if you are contemplating between what web tool to use in your classroom.

Feel free to add any comments / opinions if you have used any of these webtools

We all learn by sharing,

In Honor of my Duaghter Word Cloud

In Honor of my Daughter going off to Purdue in the fall.  I just had to create something that represented her.  I am so very proud of her accomplishments.  I can not wait to see what the future holds for her.

Proud Mom,

 Word cloud made with Tagul

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I created a Mindmap with Edynco

My Mindmap created by Edynco

(my first try at embedding) SUCCESS!

I found this site the most difficult of the sites I have looked at yet.  There was a small tutorial. I still had trouble using the navigation bar.  There were few images that you could add, but i did have the option to upload a few of my own images.  I wanted to rearrange the main cloud types around the word cloud, but could not figure out how to do that.  The help button was of little use.  They have a limit of 100 mb of storage for free with your 30 students and yourself.  It also took me awhile to find out how I could save or get a link or embed code to post on my other sites.  

I understand the concept of creating or having your students create a mind map.  I do not think that this would be a tool that I would use.  At least not until I found a better mind map program that was easier to use.  So I will do some more research to see if I can find one that I like.

When thinking about how a mind map helps our visual learners I believe that it would help them when using photos along with the words or ideas they are putting down.  I think that connecting words with a visual picture is very beneficial for those types of students.  This type of learning is different because they have to brain storm ideas and put those thoughts down in a visual way.  It helps to work many parts of the brain.  Opens up the students for creativity and to be pushed beyond their potential.  Or at least what they think they are capable of doing.

Earlier this week I explored a number of sites to create a poster.  I created a generic poster. It was fun to do.  I think having students create a poster around an idea would be a great creative and visual idea.  

In my experience visual learners tend to remember more information when you give them options to be creative.

Now I am off to learn more about word clouds.  I have seen some of these done and I think that they are just so cool!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Infographics for Visual Learners

One thing I know for sure is that everyone learns in a different way.  Sometimes we learn best one way in Science and in another way in a English.  I myself learn in many different ways.  Sometimes I need a visual to help me comprehend the information being given to me.  Other times I need a hands on approach.  This is one reason why I love to teach.  There are not only different ways for students to learn but also different ways we can teach our students.

This week in my grad class we are learning about the visual learner.  Today I took the time to learn about Infographics and a program called Pictochart to create a visual.  Let me first explain what I learned is an infographic .  Basically it is a graphic representation of information or knowledge that you want to share in visual form.   You are able to share information quickly and clearly by using pictures, maps, signs, writing, etc in a visually appealing way.

Here is the Pictochart that I created. You can click on the link below to view.

My overall opinion of Pictochart
This program had many options to use.  It also was very easy to use and understand quickly.  If you clicked on something incorrectly it would give you a pop-up hint.  There were many options to choose from to share your creation. You can share through social media, and email.   Majority of the program is free.  You do have a fee to pay if you want a pdf of your creation.   I liked the fact that you can sign up using your google+ account.  They had over 1,000 images to choose from or you could upload your own images. I did both in my creation.  One thing that I did like was that they had ready made themes and templates that you could use.  One downfall of this is that you have to make your creation public.  The only way to have it private is to subscribe.  I think one of the biggest things that I like about this web tool was that once I created my infographic I could turn it into a slide presentation.  For example if you look at the photo above there would be 3 slides.  This would make it very nice in presenting to the class.  This would also make a great flyer to hang up in the classroom.

How does this affect visual learners?
Visual learning in my opinion happens in two ways.  The student can visually see and learn from the information presented.  The learner also gets a mental picture of the information.  This can make it easy for them to process the information needed to learn.  When your students are taking a test you can say "Do you remember the visual presentation we did on how minerals form?" for example.  Instantly they get a mental picture and this helps them to recall what was presented. 

In concluding as teachers we need to remember that students have different needs. They need to see, touch, and feel to learn!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Thoughts on using Twitter in the classroom

Today while reading an article "How to use twitter in your classroom" written by Ask a Tech Teacher I wanted to express my thoughts.  I know that twitter is used constantly with teens.  I can definitely see some possibilities with using Twitter in the classroom.

Students could tweet out there questions while your teaching a lesson.  You could ask students to review those questions and respond for an assignment the next day.  In English class I have an endless list running through my head.  I would give the kids a list of words and they could tweet out synonyms and antonyms.  I believe that you could utilize poetry in tweets. For any class you could have the students tweet during the very beginning of class.  We call this time "Bell work" at my school.  On these days you could call it "Tweet out day"  A great way to mix up the daily structure of class, while your taking attendance and getting all the little details completed so you can begin class at the high school and middle school levels.

One challenge that I have at the high school level is that teens like to turn off and pack up 5-10 minutes before the class is over.  You could use this time to utilize twitter.  You could ask each student to tweet one or two things that they learned that day.  For those that do not have a phone they could use someone else's in class and add there first name in the tweet.

My mind is running wild with twitter and I have only tweeted 3 times!  I hope this has made you think about how you can use twitter in your class.  Take the time to follow the link I provided and read over the article for yourself.  There is a lot of other education ideas to read about.

Happy Tweeting!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Little Bird Tales

My last web tool that I have looked at for my MTI 563 class is Little Bird Tales.  I did not create a project using this website.  I how ever did look around the website to see how the web tool works.

Little Bird Tales is a website where students can share a story/ artwork/ document that they have created.  They can add their own voice or text to the story or artwork that is uploaded.  One of the big pros of this web tool is that you have the ability to email the completed document.  How wonderful would it be as a parent to get an email of a completed piece of work during the school day.  It appears to me that this website would be great for all grade levels.  This website can be used on an ipad or an iphone.  A downfall of this web tool is that you are only limited to 3 minutes of recording time.  At the end of a school year all work can be transferred to a parent account for each student.  The downfall the parents must pay for this account.Teacher accounts also have a limited amount of space available for use.  They do have free accounts however they only good for 90 days.

This website would be a nice tool to use for the elementary students.  However it does not appear to be a web tool that I would use.

Thanks for reading about Little Bird Tales,


Today I played around with Blendspace.  My lesson is a work in progress but you can follow the link below and see the lesson I  began creating.

Blendpace lesson

I especially liked this web tool.  You can create a whole lesson using this web tool.  I made this one on Alternative energy.  I was keeping in mind that maybe if I was absent the students would be able to access the lesson and take the quiz that I was able to create.  I also was able to type in an open ended question.  For them to answer that they just post comments for me to view in answering the question.  You are able to drag and drop from a variety of sources to use in the lesson.  You can add information from Google, YouTube, your Gdrive and Flickr to know a few.  You can also drag and drop your own video files. This really gave a wide versatility of options that you could use to create a lesson.  When you add a quiz your are only able to choose multiple choice type questions.  As you see I got around them answering and open ended question by using the comment feature of the program.

A few other options once the lesson is created you have the option of sharing it to over 200 other programs.  I really did not find too many things that I did not like about this web tool.

I hope you will take the time to explore  I really think that all grade levels would enjoy this program.  I can even see this being used for students as an alternative to using a slideshow to express what they have learned.

Please take the time to explore this site.  You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Learned how to use Jing

Good Afternoon,

I have learned a tremendous amount already in my grad class MTI 563.  I am beginning to think I have been living in a technology bubble.  This is not to be any longer!  I really am enjoying learning about all kinds of tech tools that are readily available for my use. My high school has taught us about a few tech tools, but I am definitely impressed with the list of things I am exploring.  Who knows one day I may branch out and use that search engine to find more!

Today I took the time to learn more about Screencast and Jing.  I can already see that I am going to love to use both of these in my teaching.  I can honestly say that prior to this class I have never heard of either of these two web tools, nor have I seen any teacher use these tools. At my school we have used the Prometheus board.  Which I am still learning how to use.  It is really great tool in the elementary schools.  However it is not used as much at the high school level.

I took a photo that I had taken when I visited the Chicago Museum of Natural History to incorporate what the students need to learn about faults. In this photo it is a thrust fault.  I have put in all the information that covers the common core standards on thrust faults.  I new this photo would be helpful to the students in understanding thrust faults when I took it.  I am even happier now that I do not have to stand and point out the information and give a lecture.  They can look at it and absorb the information as needed with me adding additional information.  I found this to be a difficult concept for the youth to understand.  I certainly believe that paring the photo with Jing will be a great success.

Here is the link to see the photo and information.

I hope you all enjoy and give Jing a try.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Web tool Ted Ed

Hello again,

Today I have been learning about a web tool that I can use in my classroom.  I looked at TedEd:Lessons worth Sharing.   I really liked some parts of this tech tool, while I definitely can see some downfalls in general.   I co-teach in a classroom that has a huge range of educational levels in grades 9-12.  I can have someone who I need to challenge and someone who needs one on one help in the same class. I can see it's disadvantages and advantages when talking about differentiating in the classroom.  I do not want to spill the beans on Ted Ed as I will need to discuss this with my partner.

Hey speaking of partner..who wants to be my partner?

Here is what I created that would be useful in my classroom Reasons for the Seasons on Ted Ed.


6/12/2015 Added

I wanted to explain more of the knowledge I learned while working with Ted Ed.  I liked that students can review the video at any point while they are taking the quiz.  I also liked how when you set up the quiz questions you can pin point in the video the time where they can find the answer.  You are able to create your own questions.  You can have multiple choice and essay type questions.  A small down fall is that you can not just give a link and allow the students to do the assignment.  They data is only collected if you have your students have an account and then access your assignment.  I also noticed there was a limit number of ways to share the assignment.  I also noticed that you would have to create a different assignment for your higher level thinking students.  Otherwise you would have to just have the students do the whole assignment.  There is just not much way to differentiate for the assignment.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A lot of learning has begun

I have learned how to do many things already for my first grad class MTI 563

I not only have set up this blog, but I now have a twitter account.  I have searched and followed my professor on twitter.  I am waiting for classmates to post their handle so I can follow them.

I have reviewed wiki and learned how to navigate and find important things.

I have added my professor to a google+ circle.  I created my own circle titled MTI 563 so I can put everyone in one place.  So happy I figured that one out without asking my children.  I think last night they were like "Mom really you can figure this stuff out".  I guess I can!  It has just been so long since I have taken classes, I am a bit nervous about being able to understand and do all that is required.  I am used to being on the other end.  Doing the majority of the teaching and learning some from my students along the way.

Now I am off to figure out Digital Portfolio...I hope there is an app for that in google+.  

Wish me Luck,

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Welcome Colleagues of MTI 563

Welcome Colleagues of MTI 563

How technology makes differentiation fast and easy?  In 5 weeks we all will be able to answer this question. Let the learning commence.