Anchor Yourself

You came back!

I’m excited you’re here.

Let’s talk anchor charts.
Why are they good practice?
They reference processes, procedures, and concepts.
They are easily accessible.
How would going digital extend their effectiveness?
They would be accessible when kids (and you) are not in the classroom.
They won’t get damaged or lost.
They can be remixed.
What tools would you use to build them?

Powerpoint/Keynote/Slides

Canva

Piktochart

Paper by 53 (iOS)

Try one of those. Tomorrow.

Build one chart. Take something you already made and make it digital. Don’t feel like it has to be brand new.

Oh and good job today. You nailed it.

Flying Fish: Einstein was wrong

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – Einstein (?)

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Every time someone uses this quote, I hear the late great Reggie White in my mind. In 1998, the Hall of Famer was asked to speak to the Wisconsin State Legislature.  The following is from the New York Times.

In his effort to promote racial harmony, the Packer player, who is black, said that each racial and ethnic group has its own ”gifts,” that, when taken together, form ”a complete image of God.”

But in describing those gifts, White said that blacks ”like to sing and dance,” while whites ”know how to tap into money.” He said that Hispanic people ”are gifted at family structure. You can see a Hispanic person and he can put 20 or 30 people in one home.”

Asians, he said, know how to ”turn a television into a watch.” American Indians, he said, ”have been very gifted” in ”spirituality.”

Like Mr. White’s comments, the quote seems to imply that one is ‘naturally’ abled.  The talents that one has have been bestowed rather than developed.  You can see the rather troubling place that can lead us from Mr. White’s words.

Stay in Your Box

The quote, while well-meaning, seems to be saying that one is given a rather limiting set of skills that one should stick to.  One should not challenge the status quo.  Climb a tree? Nah, you’re a fish.  Stick to what you’re good at. Do fishy things, but don’t try to see beyond your pond.  That’s dangerous thinking.  Plus, you’ll fail. Absolutely you’ll fail.  Even though you’ve never tried, you’ll fail because fish don’t climb trees.

Change “fish” to black, poor, female, ELL, or IEP and that quote gets very grimy. Very grimy. It’s the stuff that eugenicists dream of.  It’s the ultimate “stay in your box because you don’t have the talents to do that” statement.

The Excuse Matrix

It also gives the “fish” an excuse for not achieving.  I can’t do certain things because I’m just a fish.  I didn’t do my homework because I’m a fish.  I can’t do math because I’m a fish.  Learn computer science? Fish don’t do that.  Make movies? I’m a fish remember.  Write a symphony? Fish don’t do music.

Teachers could also use this philosophy to deny opportunities to students.  I’m not going to teach script writing and movie making to these fish.  It’s not their talent.  I’m not going use certain tools with these fish.  Fish don’t do (insert skill). Fish in this neighborhood don’t do well doing (insert skill) so I’m not going to present it to them.

 

All Talents are Equal?

This quote is pretty Orwellian. Essentially, all talents are equal, but some talents are more equal.  It infers that some talents are more desirable than others and those that have those talents are therefore more valuable.  It creates a hierarchy that is “natural” and eliminates the possibility of dreaming.  It’s pretty literal.  Fish aren’t birds.  Birds aren’t lions. Lions aren’t hippos.  “Tapping into money” and being able to “turn a television into a watch” seem like a lot better talents than fitting 30 people in a house to me. However,  you get what you get and don’t have a fit, right?  There ain’t no changing.  If you’re a cockroach, get used to scurrying when the lights come on because it’s not going to change.

Solutions

We have to teach fish that they might not be able to climb trees, but they can build jetpacks.  According to science, all life started in the seas.  We’re all fish.  Some of us we’re told by others that another reality was possible so we evolved legs and lungs and left the pond.  This is what we need to teach students.  You don’t have to stay a fish.

We need a coherent curriculum that is knowledge based so that students are able to very rapidly eliminate the achievement gap.  We need students to be given the opportunities to not only learn the rudiments of reading and math, but also computer science, multimedia creation, science, arts, and engineering. We need to allow far more exploration and collaboration in schools so that no one sees themselves as a fish that can’t climb trees but as a school of fish that push each other to evolve into whatever they’d like.

 

Get Ghost: A New Browser’s Possible Impact on Classrooms

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The internet is a fount of knowledge that is important to tap during school.  In order to access its vast amount of information, there are number of different options.  Firefox. Safari. Chrome.  But there’s a new browser that I’ve begun using that might be a game changer for students and teachers alike.

The Ghost Browser bills itself as a tool for tech professionals, but it has a few applications that educators might want to take advantage of.

Having limited computers

Say you’re a teacher at a GAFE school and you have less computers than students.  One of the complications that could arise could be multiple students sharing the same computer.  While you could have every student create profiles in Chrome, it still wouldn’t give students the ability to all have their information available immediately.

Groups (File > New Group) is a function of Ghost that allows one to have multiple log ins in one window.  This would allow multiple students to be logged into different gmail accounts in the same window.  While one wouldn’t attempt this without some digital citizenship lessons, it would be a feasible way to make computer usage in a classroom a little more efficient.

Each group tab is given it’s own distinguishing color which makes it great for very quickly viewing information. When links are accessed from a group or tabs are opened from them, they remain associated with the group.

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I have three groups opened and I’m logged into three different Google Accounts.

Research

The other great thing about groups is the research possibilities.  One could have multiple streams of information from multiple projects or ideas all color coded in a single window.  For tab hoarders like myself, this is a wonderful way to stay organized…and sane.

Social Media

If you’re teacher that is managing multiple social media accounts, Ghost is a godsend.  Using the groups tool, you can be logged into multiple Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts for example.  This is a great functionality as I have my own social media presence and manage social media for my day job as well. Ghost gives me the ability to very easily divide separate business from pleasure.

Chromium

I love Google Chrome and it’s currently my default browser.  It’s fast and it’s simple. I instruct my students using Google Chrome.   That’s another reason love Ghost. One of the best things is that Ghost is built on Chromium.  If you’re a Chrome user, the interface will be familiar. It’ll allow you add Google Chrome extensions meaning you’ll not lose the functionality that Chrome gives, while acquiring some cool new abilities.

 

 

Pitch…Perfect?

Here at Hoodlum Central, we believe in Design Thinking. We integrate it into most things we do and it’s been pretty fruitful both in our day jobs and in our business practices.

No matter which flavor of Design Thinking one subscribes to, ideation is essential. You can’t prototype anything if you don’t have a smorgasbord of ideas to play with. While Webs and I generally do this with the Googles, I recently came across a tool I hope to use during my 9-5 hustle. Pitchcard seems like a promising tool to use in a classroom looking to encourage designing.

Pitchcard allows you to ideate publicly if you wish. You title your idea, choose a color, and then write a brief (200 word) description, which I think is awesome. Being forced into being concise allows one to hone the “spirit” of the idea more authentically in my opinion.

Once your idea is placed on the card, you can distribute it publicly on social media or privately via email.

The feedback that your idea garners is sent to the email that was entered which hopefully allows one to refine the idea into a better concept.

Classroom Applications

GAFE

If you are at a GAFE school, one could utilize this tool pretty easily. Everyone of your students would have an email address, giving them the ability to send ideas to classmates efficiently and to archive the feedback so that it could be referred to when needed. Generating feedback on ideas for projects and writing assignments just got #mosexy.

Exit Tickets

Looking for thoughts about what students learned during class? Don’t want to create a Google Form or use Exittix? This is a pretty streamlined way to gather information from your students about what they learned or struggled with during the school day.

Lesson Feedback

So you want to know if your lesson was the bomb or just bombed? Send a Pitchcard to your students and allow for feedback.

Lesson Plan ideas

Send a Pitchcard to colleagues about an idea for your have for that quantum physics lesson and see what they say.

A Open Ear to the World

Say you’re a teacher with very little technology at her disposal and you’d like to use the tool. If you had a classroom email or social media setup, you could have students generate ideas that could be posted for feedback and then disseminate that feedback to students. Class project could be #mosexy if you sent a Pitchcard rather than used snail mail or limited contributions to conversations in the room.

In short, Pitchcard is a tool I hope to roll out next week during my day job. Students will be pitching video game ideas and Pitch could be a very slick way of making students feel even more empowered.

There in a Gif-fy…

I love making gifs. LOVE it. I just recently became aware of the a new site called Gifs which is pretty “baller” as Webs would say. It makes making gifs insanely easy from media that is already uploaded on Youtube or to upload gifs you’ve made on your device. It’s free.99. It’s ease of use definitely has implications for your classroom especially if you’re a GAFE school. ***As always, set your students up for success and model proper digital citizenship. **

Exit Tickets

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? A gif is worth a million views. Have students stretch their creativity in order to describe what they learned in class and how they feel about it.
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Assessments

Instead of having students write responses to questions, have them answer in gifs. The created gifs have links that can be placed in Google Forms, Wizer, GoFormative , etc. Talk about taking the mundane and making it the magical.
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Projects

So one of the things one can do with gifs is have students use them to present research. They embed nicely in websites, blog posts, and learning management systems.
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Teaching with gifs is pretty slick as well. Embed them into your Smart Notebook files and ClassFlowsto help students visualize information. The entertainment value is priceless and it’ll make your lessons far more unforgettable. Just ask Drake…

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Economy of Class

In the words of Pink Floyd, “Money, get away. Get a good job with more pay and you’re ok.”

I chose to return to the classroom this year and one of the biggest challenges of being a classroom teacher is finding a way to motivate students.

I hesitate to say classroom management because no one wants to be managed. They want to be motivated. Maybe that’s what I’ll call it: classroom motivation plan.

To read the specifics of set up and resources, check out My Classroom Economy. In addition, I have students deposit their money into their Bankaroo. Keep in mind with Bankaroo you are limited to 1 class of max 30 students.

I want to talk more about the impact it has had on my classroom.

1) Addressing curriculum – math and social studies:
I started out giving students their balance, but after two weeks of doing banking everyday I gave students their previous balance and had them add and subtract based on if they were depositing, withdrawing, or purchasing. Likewise, when students made purchases of multiples of the same thing, they started out doing repeated addition and moved to multiplication when they were ready. Economics are a required part of 3rd grade curriculum in Nevada. When certain items became popular, I raised the price and we talked about supply and demand.

2) Building community:
One of the positive side effects to using a classroom economy is that it allows students to build up the sense of community among them. I have students who choose to loan money to other students and purchase things for their friends. Likewise, they can share ideas for rewards or fines. Students with behavior plans or point sheets, have consistent motivation. I reward my students who use point sheets by paying them for earning 9 or more positive behavior points for the hour.

3) Natural and real life consequences:
Perhaps the most obvious natural benefit to using a classroom economy is that students get to see the results of their choices and how it impacts their financial well-being. They get to experience what is necessary to get what they want and see the consequences of negative choices as well. Financial literacy is something absent from our everyday curriculum and this is one way to begin to include it in a meaningful way. This is especially beneficial for students who do not have the advantage of receiving financial education at home.

If you would like to know more about my workflow, please tweet me: @WebersWords

iPadpalooza 2015: Close Reading for Super Villains

Webs - @weberswords-2Webs and The Chocolate Teacher are available to engage YOUR school in professional development in a unique, dynamic, effective, and memorable way. Contact us at theintelligenthoodlums at gmail.com for more information.

Links

Examples:

  • Reminders for Explicating (or analyzing or evaluating)
    Photo Jun 25, 5 09 56 PM
    Photo Jun 25, 5 10 02 PM

If there are other examples or more info you’d like to see, please comment or contact us.