Posted in Weekly

More about Peardeck

After a fabulous T3 the week before, it was exciting to visit with teachers about Peardeck and to hear all the wonderful plans they have to use it with their students.  Shout out to the fifth grade team for jumping in with all things Peardeck.

Mrs. Crabdree, Mrs. Schultz and I worked together to to plan for a Peardeck this coming week.  Students will be using Peardeck to review their understanding of mixtures and solutions.  Big kudos to these two ladies for also including a sorting activity on mixtures and solutions.  To be honest, I learned the difference and could teach a friend.

In  math, Mrs. Sommers  invited me to her room to assist with a Peardeck on Order of Operations.  One of the best parts of her lesson was the combination of the technology and traditional teaching.  She did a great job of having students respond on  their devices, but also  working out and processing their thoughts with their expo markers  on their desks.

Ms. West used Peardeck to  review Text Features with her  students.  I enjoyed helping her use her ipad to run the teacher dashboard to add a timer to student responses and to star the student responses she wanted to share with the class.  One of the  things I found eye opening as her students shared their understanding, was the ability to see all student responses and immediately decided if the whole class needed a review or if a small group mini-lesson would cover it.  For example, one of her slides asked the students to choose the correct response for a picture with words underneath.  Only one student choose the incorrect answer and Ms. West was able to move on and get with that student later.  It gave her instant feedback and allowed her to keep the lesson moving and students engaged.

If you have not had a chance, you need to go and check out Peardeck’s newest slide templates on Social Studies. Check out this slides on identify the type of source for a document.  I am also in love with the website slide using Google Earth or the draggable slide on chronology.  One of the great things about Peardeck is that they are constanting adding to and updating their templates.  Currently, they have math, social studies, critical-thinking, and social-emotional learning.  Follow their blog or twitter @Peardeck to stay up to date and participate in  their contests.   If you need assistance getting access to your free premium account, let me know.

One thing I did not share about Peardeck is the Flashcard Factory.  In this activity, the teacher chooses the terms and then students work in partners to create definitions and illustrations.  The class can vote on the best to create their own Quizlet set of flashcards.

If you want to stay in the know on technology, join my Google Classroom with the code tu85nrh.  I post links and cool things to check out.  Be on the lookout for the second Bathroom Briefs dropping in a stall near you on October 1st.


Posted in iCoach Thoughts

Dot Day and Peardeck

International Dot Day is celebrated on September 15th of each year.

International Dot Day was started on September 15, 2009 when a teacher, Terry Shay, introduced his class to Peter H. Reynolds The Dot.  The purpose of the book is to inspire creativity, courage, and collaboration.  In  the book, a teacher encourages a student who does not believe in  themselves to “make their mark.”  The student starts with a dot that leads to a breakthrough in her courage and self-worth.

Throughout this week,  Mr. Burns and our students have been working on Dot Day projects.  Our kindergarten and first grade students used paper plates to express themselves using markers, crayons, and paper.  2nd and 3rd graders used construction paper to create something to represent them.  Mr. Burns provided the students a variety of circular items, i.e. cds, paper towel rolls, and coins, to create dots on their papers.  Some students wrote a short summary about their drawings and what it meant to them.  Our 4th and 5th grade students used construction paper and glued  a black dot to the paper.  Then, they created works for art using the black dot for inspiration.  Look for the students art work to be on display during Open House this week.

For those of you who missed the Peardeck training on Tuesday, you missed a laughter-filled afternoon.  We had a blast working on an interactive Peardeck in both teacher and student paced modes.  Those teachers in attendance showed their skills on slides about math,  RLA, science, and social studies.  Look at a few of the slides below.

On the teacher side, you can look at the responses as a whole group or individual.  For example, on a draggable slide, you can have the student responses layered and immediately see if all students understand the material or if you need to review.  One of my favorite things about Peardeck is that you can view individual responses and choose to share one or a few on the projector.   The best part is the student will remain anonymous when you do this.  This allows your shy students to still shine in the classroom.

A few Peardeck highlights (just my opinion):

  • I love the takeaways.  How awesome is it that students can view their responses and the teacher’s notes on their own time?
  • You do not recreate the wheel.  Peardeck allows you to add interactive slides to existing Google Slides presentations.
  • Peardeck has many interactive types – draggable, open-ended, multiple choice, and websites – just to name a few.
  • You can toggle between teacher-led and student-paced during all presentations.  This allows the teacher to check for understanding and bring the class back together to clarify misconceptions.

The best part, our campus has access to all of Peardeck’s features through December.  This includes all interactive features and their massive template gallery.  On Thursday, they added a gallery for Social Studies and more templates are to be released in the coming weeks.  Get with me if you need additional help or support  with Peardeck.



Posted in iCoach Thoughts

How has technology changed in the classroom

I remember back when I took my technology class at Sam Houston, my professor considered an overhead, a pencil, and manipulatives as forms of technology.  It was easy to get marked high for technology on your observations because everyone used an overhead.  However, these same tools would not be considered technology today.  So, what do we expect to see in a classroom now?

As technology has evolved, so has our opinions about how we use the technology in our classrooms.  I worked as a classroom teacher for Willis when we did the first rollout of devices at the middle school.  For those student take home devices, we just hoped the students were using them at home appropriately.  The next round of devices were a few teachers with a set of tablets in their classrooms.  I vividly remember attending a meeting with Mr. Harkrider telling us he expected them to be used often and for more than just research.   I looked at my partner and asked her are we sure we want to do this?  We jumped in, full steam ahead with support from administration and our campus iCoach.  We learned a lot and tried many new things during that time.  I remember how nervous I was about turning students lose with the devices and what happens if they do something I do not know how to fix.  It was not always smooth sailing, but some of my favorite years in the classroom.  Looking back now, I am still amazed at how differently classrooms look in relation to technology than they did when I started fourteen years ago.

The vision for the instructional technology department is to empower learners to create, innovate, and collaborate.  Thinking back to my college professor’s view of  technology,  I realize it was all about how the teacher used the technology.  Now, it is about how is the student using technology.

ISTE Student Standards Poster

We want our students to take the information they are learning and create a product that illustrates their understanding or extends what they know.  No longer do we want students to create for only their classroom or their school.  Instead, we want them to publish and collaborate outside of our school walls.  To ensure their success, we have to equip them with the tools to do so.  Check out ISTE‘s webpage to learn more about the International Society for Technology in Education student and teacher standards.  It is a fabulous resource for our digital age learners.

With all the new changes with technology in the classroom, how can I help you?  I’m going to share some advice that helped me in the classroom.  First, do not be afraid to ask for help.  My best resource during my technology transition was  my iCoach.  She was always willing to listen as I walked through something I wanted to try, offering suggestions or support as needed, or just being an extra set of eyes and hands when trying new things.  My goal is to support you in using technology to ensure all students will learn at high levels.  Just let me know what you need from me: support during a lesson or planning, researching ideas, or just a sounding board.  I am only an email away.  Secondly, learn from  your students.  Our students are growing up in an age of digital learners.  They will be ahead of us every step of the way.  Let them teach you.  Finally, reflect on your lessons.  With technology, things will go wrong at times.  Reflect on the lesson  and think about how to make it better.  It could be something as simple as giving clearer instructions or working in partners instead of independently.  It is sad to see technology removed from lessons because it went poorly when a small change would have changed the outcome.Bitmoji Image