Tech Tip of the Week

Nearpod is here to save the day!

posted Feb 26, 2015, 10:07 AM by Mindi Vandagriff   [ updated Feb 26, 2015, 10:14 AM ]

This month, I have had the extreme pleasure of introducing Nearpod to our staff during the February Lunch & Learns. And if the app alone didn't sell itself, I was also able to give out these super-fancy 3-in-1 pens! Thank you, Nearpod


It didn't take long for Nearpod to catch on! Here are just a few of its features:
  • Will work on ANY device that can access the Internet
  • Available in the Apple app store (for Apple devices), the Google Play store (for Android devices), and the Windows store (for Windows devices)
  • Account is linked to Google account so there's no need to create a new account
  • Presentations are easy to create 
  • Powerpoint and PDF files can be converted into Nearpod presentations simply by uploading the file into Nearpod
  • Students will be instantly engaged by the Draw It, Video, Audio, Poll, Quiz and many other interactive features
If you missed the Lunch & Learn, you can click here to see resources I've provided including a Cheat Sheet! But you completely missed out on the Nutter Butters...


Maybe it was the contest-announcement for the three Gold licenses, maybe it's because Nearpod is totally rad, but whatever it was... it was contagious! Teachers were sending me all sorts of photos of their students using and LOVING Nearpod! 


  

Mrs. Gonzalez' High School Physics Class
Mrs. Gonzalez learned about Nearpod during the high school Lunch & Learn, which is 4th period. These pictures were taken during 6th period on the SAME DAY! She went back to her room from the Lunch & Learn, converted a Powerpoint presentation she was going to originally show into a Nearpod presentation, and had her students use their own devices to view the presentation. Students were saying things like, "This is really cool!" and "Can we please use this again tomorrow?"



  
  

Miss Maxwell's Kindergarten Class
Miss Maxwell's interest was peaked about Nearpod during the Lunch & Learn and immediately scheduled a brainstorming conference so that we could come up with a way to use Nearpod in with her kindergarteners. Since the students had been learning about the -ake word family, she decided that Nearpod would be a great way to make her lesson interactive. 




  
  

Mrs. Robinson's 4th Grade Math Classes
Mrs. Robinson was excited to use Nearpod with her math classes. She is always looking for ways to make math word problems and calculations more interactive & engaging and Nearpod was here answer! She turned a boring worksheet into an interactive opportunity for students to show what they know!



 
 
 
 

Mrs. Pratt's 4th Grade Reading Classes
Mrs. Pratt had used Nearpod previously, but was thankful to be introduced to some of Nearpod's new features, especially the ability to be used on ANY device. While Mrs. Pratt has nearly 80 4th grade students, she definitely has a shortage of devices for those students. She allows students to bring their own devices everyday. So when she was ready to share her Nearpod presentation, students used the device they were most familiar with... their own! Look at all those different devices!



Ms. Garner's 2nd Grade Class
Ms. Garner has been looking to differentiate instruction with her second graders to maximize her time and her students' learning. She saw Nearpod as the perfect opportunity to do just that!


If you are using Nearpod in your classroom, please share photos with mindi.vandagriff@annaisd.org

How to Make a {Cutesy} Email Signature

posted Sep 5, 2014, 12:40 PM by Mindi Vandagriff   [ updated Sep 14, 2014, 7:37 AM ]

I've been getting a lot of inquiries lately on how I made my email signature in Outlook mail. 

So I decided to make a short video tutorial on how to create your own!

How To Make a ‎‎{Cutesy}‎‎ Email Signature.mp4


Google Drive Explained!

posted Sep 5, 2014, 11:52 AM by Mindi Vandagriff   [ updated Sep 14, 2014, 7:34 AM ]

Google Drive seems like it has been all the craze lately! And with 30 GB of FREE storage, virtually no collaboration boundaries, and accessible from anywhere…. I can see why!

We are a Google Apps for Education district which means that not only do staff already have a way to login to Google Drive with Anna ISD credentials, but so do students! Being together under the same Google domain (Anna ISD) gives us a chance to share and create across the district!

This presentation will explain Google Drive from top to bottom and when finished, you’ll not only be ready to use Google Drive to its fullest, but ready to help your students start using it, too!

https://docs.google.com/a/annaisd.org/presentation/d/1_pI93atVUbNl2yT-O8NAi-GL5TgTSkCe-TVK4IwrOZs/edit#slide=id.g398923b49_011

Make QR Codes Work FOR You!

posted Aug 12, 2014, 8:46 AM by Mindi Vandagriff

A QR Code is a a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone. QR stands for "Quick Response". 

This school year, you can turn any website or resource into a scannable barcode accessible from any smart device. A great way to utilize this tool is to create a QR code for your class website or blog and display or copy for parents on Meet the Teacher Night. That way, parents can easily follow your class website or blog by simply scanning the code. Important information is literally at their fingertips.

Here's how in a step-by-step guide:

1. Go to your class website, blog, or Facebook page and copy the URL. (Highlight the web address, URL, and right-click to select COPY.)



2. Go to QRStuff.com and paste the link in the box.


3. Use the color slider to select a color and a preview of the QR code will generate automatically. 


4. Click "DOWNLOAD QR CODE" to save the image to your computer.


5. Finally, you can create and print a document to hang in your classroom or in the hall on Meet the Teacher Night. You could also create business cards to give to the parents to take home!

 
Example of flyer to hang

Example of business card

Create a Class Facebook Page

posted Jul 30, 2014, 6:25 PM by Mindi Vandagriff   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 7:09 PM ]

A great way to communicate with students and parents is to create a Facebook page.

How are Pages different from personal profiles?
from https://www.facebook.com/help/217671661585622

Each person who signs up for Facebook has one account with login information. Each account can have a personal profile and manage multiple Pages.
  • Personal profiles, are for individual, non-commercial use. They represent individual people and must be held under an individual name. You can follow profiles to see public updates of people you’re interested in but aren’t friends with.
  • Facebook Pages look similar to personal profiles, but they offer unique tools for connecting people to a topic they care about, like a business, brand, organization or celebrity. Pages are managed by people who have personal profiles. Pages are not separate Facebook accounts and do not have separate login information from your profile. You can like a Page to see updates in News Feed. 
Watch this short tutorial on how to create your class Facebook page:

Create a Class Facebook Page Tutorial


If you are a classroom teacher, be sure to get permission from parents to post pictures on social media! You can use a form I've already created. Complete the form below with your class Facebook page information, then print the form and send it home with your students!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-saUjF4CxjARjlmbHpteHYxODQ/edit?usp=sharing

Be sure to "LIKE" the Anna ISD Instructional Technology Facebook page for classroom technology resources throughout the school year!

https://www.facebook.com/AnnaISDInstructionalTechnology

Five Technology Lessons Every Teacher Can Teach

posted Jun 15, 2014, 4:52 PM by Mindi Vandagriff

Do you want to jump on the technology-in-the-classroom train but just aren't sure where to start? Taken from EducationWorld.com, this Tech Tip of the Week provides five lesson plans that every teacher can teach. 

Click on each of the headlines below for a complete teaching resource. (Appropriate grade levels for each lesson appear in parentheses.)

  • Whats Inside My Computer? Students draw a picture of what they think a computer looks like inside. Then they explore more. (Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, advanced)
  • Mousing Around Practice using a mouse and complete a mouserobics scavenger hunt. (Grades PreK, K-2, 3-5)
  • Theres a Monster in My E-Mail! In this simple collaborative e-mail project, students make new friends as they practice their drawing, writing, and computer skills. (Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12)



More Technology Lessons
Click here to view 20 additional lesson plans!

For more easy technology-based activities, don't forget to check out Education World's archives of TechtorialsScavenger Hunts, and WebQuests.


See more at: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson285.shtml#sthash.lzlEvOWy.dpuf

Vocabulary: Using The Frayer Model & Google Docs

posted Jun 14, 2014, 7:28 PM by Mindi Vandagriff   [ updated Jun 15, 2014, 9:00 AM ]


With the use of Google Documents in our classrooms, teachers can create an interactive and collaborative working space to develop vocabulary skills. Using a Frayer Model template, teachers can have teams learn vocabulary in a seamless and collaborative environment. 

What is the Frayer Model?

The Frayer Model is a strategy that uses a graphic organizer for vocabulary building. This technique requires students to (1) define the target vocabulary words or concepts, and (2) apply this information by generating examples and non-examples. This information is placed on a chart that is divided into four sections to provide a visual representation for students. This instructional strategy promotes critical thinking and helps students to identify and understand unfamiliar vocabulary. The Frayer Model can be used with the entire class, small groups, or for individual work. The Frayer Model draws on a student's prior knowledge to build connections among new concepts and creates a visual reference by which students learn to compare attributes and examples.


Traditional Frayer Model Activities

Pre-select a list of key vocabulary from a reading selection (or content area). The Frayer Model should be explained and a graphic organizer provided to each student. Then direct students to complete the template individually, in small groups or as a whole class. Model the type and quality of desired answers for the specific concept.
  1. Review vocabulary words or concept list with the class before students read the selection.
  2. Have students read the assigned text and carefully define the target concepts. Have students complete the four-square chart for each concept.
  3. Ask the students to share their conclusions with the entire class. These presentations may be used to review the entire list of new vocabulary or concepts.
(From: http://www.adlit.org/strategies/22369/)

Frayer with Google Docs

1. Using Google Documents, prepare the group Google Documents ahead of time. 
  • Click here for a Google Doc Frayer Template. 
  • After clicking into the doc above, click FILE>MAKE A COPY. Then name it for your classroom. Your copy of the template will land in your Google Drive list. 
  • Make as many (digital) copies as groups that you have. (Example: "Frayer Group 1", "Frayer Group 2", "Frayer Group 3", etc.)
  • Set the SHARE to "anyone with the link can EDIT," OR upload each student to each document.
  • Also, you may add pages to the Google document, so the groups can work with more than one vocabulary word.
*** TIP: Post the links to the groups' Frayer templates to your website. That way the students can just click on their group name, and they will have access to edit the page. See an example here.

2. Pre-select the list of key vocabulary from a reading selection or content area.

3. Explain the graphic organizer to the students, and how you will group the students.

4. Conduct your normal vocabulary lesson as usual.

5. Direct your students to fill out their Frayer Model templates on the vocabulary words.

6. You can go into the templates and see the work that is being done and comment.

7. Students can work together collaboratively from home on this assignment.


Why use Google documents with students to study vocabulary?

  • It is novel for students to use technology this way.
  • The brain loves novelty and learns well when we use it.
  • Students can practice online collaboration.
  • Students can practice project management.
  • We can follow the Kagan Cooperative Learning participation model: P.I.E.S.
  • Students homework will not get "lost"
  • Dogs cannot eat Google Documents :)
  • It is FUN!!!

Links for more information:



TEKS Objectives Met 

Reading

3.4
Reading/Vocabulary Development. Students understand new vocabulary and use it when reading and writing. Students are expected to:
4.2
Reading/Vocabulary Development. Students understand new vocabulary and use it when reading and writing. Students are expected to:
5.2
Reading/Vocabulary Development. Students understand new vocabulary and use it when reading and writing. Students are expected to:
TxCCRS
B.Understand new vocabulary and concepts and use them accurately in reading, speaking, and writing.
TxCCRS
B.Understand new vocabulary and concepts and use them accurately in reading, speaking, and writing.
TxCCRS
B.Understand new vocabulary and concepts and use them accurately in reading, speaking, and writing.

Writing

3.20
Writing/Expository and Procedural Texts. Students write expository and procedural or work-related texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students are expected to:
4.18
Writing/Expository and Procedural Texts. Students write expository and procedural or work-related texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students are expected to:
5.18
Writing/Expository and Procedural Texts. Students write expository and procedural or work-related texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students are expected to:
TxCCRS
A.Compose a variety of texts that demonstrate clear focus, the logical development of ideas in well-organized paragraphs, and the use of appropriate language that advances the author's purpose.
TxCCRS
A.Compose a variety of texts that demonstrate clear focus, the logical development of ideas in well-organized paragraphs, and the use of appropriate language that advances the author's purpose.
TxCCRS
A.Compose a variety of texts that demonstrate clear focus, the logical development of ideas in well-organized paragraphs, and the use of appropriate language that advances the author's purpose.
TxCCRS
B.Writing across the curriculum
TxCCRS
B.Writing across the curriculum
TxCCRS
B.Writing across the curriculum

Technology Applications (Grades 3-5)

(1) Creativity and Innovation. The student uses creative thinking and innovative processes to construct knowledge and develop digital products. The student is expected to:
(2) Communication and collaboration. The student collaborates and communicates both locally and globally using digital tools and resources to reinforce and promote learning. The students is expected to:
(5) Digital citizenship. The student practices safe , responsible, legal, and ethical behavior while using digital tools and resources. The student is expected to:
D. create and execute steps to accomplish a task
A. use communication tolls that allow for anytime, anywhere access to interact, collaborate, or publish with peers locally and globally
A. adhere to acceptable use policies reflecting appropriate behavior in a digital environment
E. evaluate and modify steps to accomplish a task.
C. format digital information, including font attributes, color, white space, graphics, and animation, for a defined audience and communication medium
B. comply with acceptable digital safety rules, fair use guidelines, and copyright laws


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