Do you have a “Plan B”?
Last week’s web page outage made me think out the importance of Plan B. I would like to preface the following statements by stating that web page outages like the one my district experienced last week are rare. Our IT department works incredibly hard to keep everything running smoothly however not everything is within their control. Last week’s hack was a great example. That being said, there is nothing wrong with giving yourself a little piece of mind with a Plan B.
You’ll find my Plan B below. It is a very small Symbaloo with links to my most basic and frequently used websites. Making and sharing your own Symbaloo is pretty easy; if you can cut and paste links you have all the skills to make your own. They even have their own free version called EduSymbaloo that includes a network of great link collections that you can add to your own.
and see if it would help you with your Plan B. Meanwhile, if you are from my district you could open the symbaloo below and bookmark it for easy reference.
Working with Google Calendar today an older Chicago song with the lyric “Does anybody really know what time it is?” is on an infinite loop in my head. With Google Calendar, everyone can stay on the same page. With it teachers can keep track and share assignment due dates, send invitations to parents and peers to collaboration sessions and be notified when planned events have changed. GAFE has another feature not available for the general public, appointments. After feedback from educators, this feature was brought back from Google’s chopping block because of its usefulness in an educational setting. If you have yet to work with calendar I would highly recommend it.
Today we learned how to make a screencast. The original intent was to use Screen-Cast-O-Matic but due to the fluid nature of the internet, their Google authenitcation piece was not up to Google’s current policies and was not coopertive. This led us to explore other alterntives such as Chrome’s ScreenCastify. This worked well. There are a few things to keep in mind while using it. As soon as the extension is loaded it will be ready to go. Any setup prompts can be ignored at this point. It may begin recording willy-nilly so just click stop and delete recording; it should behave after that. When you want to record, pay attention to the setting that asks which view you’d like to use. Most often you will want to choose to record the entire screen. When you are through you are given the choice to save it to your drive and/or YouTube.
Below is a story I created with the help of Storybird. Storybird does things a little differently in that they provide the illustrations while you provide the story. I recently rediscovered Storybird while I was helping a fellow teacher find quick literacy resources to share. It is worth a look. //storybird.com/books/the-strangest-creature-you-have-ever-seen/embed/?token=6rsm8a6mx4
Today was a challenge. The Google server was intermittent and a challenge. We quickly became experts at chrome’s offline capabilites.
We learn when we encounter a change in our environment.
The collaborative nature of GAFE is both a blessing and a curse. You want to give collaborative access to others but what if you want to place certain areas off limits. Did you know that you can protect a range of cells within Google Sheets? With just a few clicks you can make certain areas off limits to others while still allowing editing on other areas. I could see this being useful with students as you could share a sign up sheet with the confidence of knowing that the basic structure is protected. I’ve designed a demo that shows how this works.
Another cold day in Wisconsin! Dangerously cold weather has kept us all inside but just because you’re not in school is no reason to stop learning. I’ve always wondered what happens to things in the bitter cold and have been fascinated by crystals so when suggestions of blowing bubbles when its cold started showing up on the internet I just had to try. Below is a little video that documented my efforts. By all means, try this at home but make sure you are bundled up and don’t stay out too long.
I’ve added the tools I used to the video. This project gave me good reason to learn how to use Soundzabound from WiMediaLab.org to incorporate royalty free music. If you are from Wisconsin and have yet to use the resources of WiMediaLab.org, I would highly recommend it.
Watch and wonder as the bubble blown starts to crystallize. You can actually see the crystals forming around the bubble.
With Common Core now in full swing and taking center stage it would be easy to set aside the magic and fun that teaching and learning can bring. Luckily with great sites like Thinkfinity’s Wonderopolis you don’t have to. The site can bring out the natural wonder of the every day by offering brief excursions from everything from animals and architecture to volcanoes and woodworking all high interest in an easy to digest format. Users can search the site for CCSS aligned wonders or explore the “Wonder of the Day”.
I wonder what I’ll explore next…
Continue reading “Wonderopolis, did you ever wonder…”