Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Google Advanced Search

"The noblest search is the search for excellence."
~Lyndon B. Johnson

A simple Google search can give you access to practically anything in the world that you could possibly want to learn about. Unfortunately using poor search technique can also lead you to several billion web pages that have virtually nothing to do with what you were looking for. Google has a simple way for you to narrow down your search results to just the content you want. Here is a short video introducing you to Google Advanced Search.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Quick Tip - Making Columns in Google Docs

"Learning never exhausts the mind."
-Leonardo Da Vinci

Here is this weeks quick tip for you. This tip will show you how to mimic columns in Google Docs. Enjoy.

If there is anything you want to learn more about or if you have a great idea for a video, shoot me an e-mail.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Quick Tip Tuesday - Advanced Sharing in Google Drive

"The Internet is a great way to get on the net."
~Bob Dole

In an effort to keep you all learning new things, I will continue to share with you Apps, websites, and tutorials that I think you will find helpful in your class.  The reality is you probably don't have time to try them all. Therefore, I introduce to you, "Quick Tip Tuesday". Each week I will share with you a short tip that I hope you can use immediately. Today is a tutorial about an advanced sharing feature in Google Drive that I hope you find helpful. If there are things you would like to know more about, please let me know and I can share what I know.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Running Records with Fluency Tutor

"A text is at a students' independent reading level if they can read it with about 95% accuracy."

~Marie Clay - "An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement" (1993)

Running records are a little window into the world of our students. They allow us to understand how a student sees the words on the paper and their strengths and weaknesses with regards to vocabulary. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find time to sit with students one-to-one and listen to them read as often as you would like. 

Fluency Tutor is a free app available in the Chrome Webstore. This app syncs with your Google classroom and allows you to assign Lexile leveled reading assignments to your class. Texts are available through the app or you can use text from websites and Drive.  The great thing about this app is that students can record themselves reading the passage. The student and teacher interface is really easy to use. 

I tested this app with a class and the kids were really excited to be able to hear themselves read. Used on a regular basis, I can see how this program can be great for students. They get an opportunity to reflect on their own reading and hear for themselves how they can improve the way their reading sounds. For you as a teacher, it gives you the opportunity to hear every student read multiple times a week and take running records as needed. Students could also just as easily respond to a text instead of recording their actual reading.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Collecting Data Using Flubaroo

"Experts often possess more data than judgement."
~Colin Powell

Anyone anywhere near a classroom these days hears the word data more often than they would probably like. Some teachers have long defended their use of judgement to evaluate students. The reality is that whether we like to admit it or not our judgement is often flawed.  I am not saying a gut decision every once and a while is wrong, however, we should be using hard data regularly to guide our practice.

The trouble with data is without ways to easily collect it and analyze it, you end up with a pile of useless information. Fortunately, there are ways we can use technology within our classrooms to make collecting and analyzing data a little easier.  Some solutions require a little time to set-up in the beginning, but the investment pays off in the end. Today I will introduce you to one that can be easily incorporated with online quizzes.

Flubaroo is an Add-on to Google Sheets that automatically grades quizzes and provides data in an easy to use and analyze package. To use Flubaroo, you must first create a quiz in Google Forms. The responses get populated in a Sheet and then the Add-on can be run to score the quiz and provide data that is easy to analyze. Below are some resources to learn more about this Add-on.