Tes Teach

Tes Teach with Blendspace is a platform used to help plan and create digital lesson plans to share with students. Watch this short video to see how the interface works:

I decided to try it out for myself and see if the program was really that simple to use. As you’ll see in my screenshots, it likes to point at things you have never used before, making it quite user-friendly 🙂 As seen below in the upper right-hand corner, it has Tips for new users too.

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So I decided to try making a lesson on fractions with the search tool mentioned in the YouTube video. I really like that the program is integrated with YouTube, Dropbox and Google Drive to streamline adding parts to a lesson.

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Just like the video, once you’ve found what to add, simply drag it over to the grid on the left. The same grid is where you can add text to organize the lesson, or add a quiz. Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 3.24.16 PM

Creating quizzes is extremely straightforward too:Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 3.26.18 PM

This is what my (very short) lesson looked like when it was all finished:Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 3.26.28 PM

Overall, the tool seems very simple to use, but I struggle to see it working very well in a primary classroom. It would work best for an independent group of learners with frequent access to technology.

To sign up for a FREE Student Teacher account, visit www.tes.com.

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Stick Pick

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Stick Pick digitizes the traditional popsicle stick questioning trick but with a twist. You can use it just to pick names for whatever purpose you need, but if you want to take it a step further, allow Stick Pick to help you design your questions.

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Once you have installed the app (available for iOS and Android on their respective app stores), you can create your class and start adding in student names. To pick a student’s name at random, just shake or tap your screen. Each student can further be categorized based on their proficiency level. The nice thing is, the app individualizes questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, but if you still don’t feel comfortable with the student chosen, you can simply re-shake or tap the screen.

As seen above, you can record the student’s answer as correct or incorrect right in the app and have it store your assessment data.

There is a slight cost associated with this app ($2.99 for Android  or $3.99 for iOS), however all reviews from teachers say the cost is well worth it.

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The Great Behaviour Game

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The Great Behaviour Game, like ClassDojo, is a behaviour management tool which engages students and gives them positive reinforcement throughout the day. The game can be left on throughout the school day while you “referee” and reward points according to student’s behaviour.

Save up to three rosters (one roster per class). Simply type a student’s name in the white box and hit enter to add them to the roster. Check the box next to their name to mark them as present. Uncheck it to remove them from the game if they are absent.

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This is what the game looks like in play:

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Note: “special stars” are awarded for every 10 points a student gets.

If a student is continuously misbehaving, you can put them on a “time out” by pressing and holding their name:

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And if the behaviour persists, you can press and hold it again to “freeze” them. Freezing kicks them out of the game until you press and hold it again.

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Although this program doesn’t have the in-app chat feature that ClassDojo has, it does create both class and individual reports for you to share with parents.

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For more information about The Great Behaviour Game, or to sign up for your free account, visit their website here.

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Where to Next?

Developing and implementing a growth mindset approach in your classroom community requires patience, understanding, consistency and determination.

At this point in our journey, I feel we have lost our momentum due to my missing some practicum and not continuing to talk about growth mindset following our initial challenge and practice with it, however, I notice my students adopting this mindset regularly through the successful learner traits we use from School District #71 to support the learning in our school and classroom community.

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Implemented by School District #71, retrieved from successfullearners.ca

I believe a great way to continue our learning would be to continue speaking and sharing about growth mindset. Subtle ways to work on growth and fixed mindset is to continue reinforcing and re-iterating the vocabulary to students where opportunities arise. For example, when a student says, “I can do it” or “I will work hard”, this is an opportunity to give some positive reinforcement as to the self-talk they are choosing before attempting a challenging task.

Further, when you or your students engage in fixed mindset, challenge yourself to re-frame and rephrase your statement to portray a growth mindset.

Below I will link a few resources that I have found to further support the growth mindset learning in your classroom. Class Dojo has many videos on growth mindset as well as Khan Academy.

A video from Khan Academy that I used following our growth mindset lesson is “You Can Learn Anything“. If you use Class Dojo in your classroom, there is a “Big Ideas” series to support social and emotional learning. Specifically pertaining to Growth Mindset, there is a series on the topic that can be found here.

If you have found useful resources on the topic, please feel free to share them below! My next challenge is to find more on the topic in French!

 

What is literacy?

lit·er·a·cy
ˈlidərəsē,ˈlitrəsē
noun
noun: literacy
  1. -the ability to read and write.

    -synonyms: ability to read and write, reading/writing proficiency;

    -learning, book learning, education, scholarship, schooling
    “literacy and numeracy are the first goals of education”
    -competence or knowledge in a specified area.
    “wine literacy can’t be taught in three hours”
Literacy, to me, has always been so intriguing. The thought that we can process our thoughts through writing, and not only the verbal.  When the words seem to simply escape our minds before they exit from our mouths, writing can provide such a power and grace to the person trying to portray any sort of information. It gives time to process information, elaborate, and convey exactly how one is feeling in that moment. Grammar, sentence structure, and fluidity in any form of literature are my jam. There are few things I adore as much as a well written piece of work.

I think my own passion for this area stems from my earlier days, through the work I was exposed to and experienced, in and through writing letters to pen pals. Up until this point, I had never really written or received a letter specifically addressed to me. The idea that communication can expand beyond friends that I see everyday at school, and family that I spend everyday with at home, was revolutionary to me. This was before any sort of instant messenger, and long before texting. We were able to get to know students of a similar age, in another province, by writing letters back and forth to one another. We were blessed with the opportunity to actually meet these friends in person a while later, after we had gotten to know each other over the course of the year. By this point in time, it already felt like we knew each other fairly well, as if we had been friends for ages. I am well aware that the concept of letter writing is not new or innovative, by any means, but to little me, it opened a new door to this entire world that I hadn’t a clue existed. From this moment onwards, my life was changed, and I really haven’t halted my passion ever since. I would much rather send a letter across the country that very well may take weeks to arrive, than send a message that will be received almost instantaneously. There’s more effort, thought, and love put into a hand written letter, and I thrive off of that.

Literacy does not comprise solely of written works, it encompasses a great deal, which surely also includes literature.

lit·er·a·ture
ˈlidərəCHər,ˈlidərəˌCHo͝or/
noun
  1. written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.
    “a great work of literature”

While I am certain that there are some who may prefer reading over writing, or vice versa, these two really do go hand in hand. They work alongside each other, and arguably help better one another. If there is an adult or a child who struggles with writing, they can improve their skills in this area by grasping further knowledge of literature. This can expand vocabulary, improve spelling, and provide new ideas for the writer to explore.

I had a desire for reading, for as long as I can remember. I would spend my recess in the library sorting, organizing, and reading books. I was most certainly “that library kid”, and I loved every minute of it. The library was a sort of saving grace for me, as I knew that I was always welcomed there, and it gave me a place to escape the chaotic and refocus. It brought comfort to me, and through this, my intrigue into the world of literature grew into a passion that I still hold dear to me to this day. This, in fact, sparked enough of an interest in me, that I am now pursuing a career with the end goal of becoming an elementary school librarian, so I can help create this safe place for students to come and explore their own paths.