Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Tech Tuesday - Customizable Progress Indicator Charts

 Today I'm going to show you how to have an easy to update progress indicator chart on your web page to keep track of points or stars or whatever incentives you use to keep your students happy and engaged.

In my mythology class, we complete old Medusa Exams and every question correct is a slain gorgon my hero students can claim victory over.

Now that I am in Remote Learning mode, I am using it in my English IV classes to give points whenever someone participates in our Remote Learning Showdown.  I am giving them the ability to spend those points to get things (bonus points on a quiz, homework pass, etc.).

Now, I did NOT figure out how to do this myself.  I found this on Flippity.net.  You can get the template here: https://www.flippity.net/ProgressIndicator.htm

The instructions for how to put it on your class page are all there.  You can post the chart on your class page and you update it just by accessing a simple Google Spreadsheet.  Change the numbers and the web version automatically updates.  That's simple!  Whoever made this chart rates as Extreme! in my book!

If you have some other way of keeping kids engaged, or if you use this/plan to use this - let me know in the comments!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Why You Should Try Using Edpuzzle to Read Aloud for Asynchronous Learning Based on Unmotivated Student's Recommendation

So I, like so many of us, am trying to get my head around teaching a novel with my students while we are in remote setting.  I chose to start with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time since it is a book almost every student enjoys, regardless of their love or ability to read (can't say that about many books, that's for sure).

The book does very well with in class reading, so I tried some reading over Zoom.  That works OK.  So then I decided to record myself reading on Edpuzzle to see how that works.

After each chapter I added the questions  I would normally want them to answer (though I must confess for this trial run I made most of them multiple choice for ease - I know, I know... lazy teacher....).  I have some students who are reading ahead, so I took off the PREVENT SKIPPING option so that they could read on their own and just skip to the questions when they needed to do it.

Before I had a chance the next day to ask students how they felt about it, I had one of my less motivated readers ask if we could do that again because it really helped him.  Let me make sure you understand this - a student who normally keeps his mic muted and camera off and hates to read, took the initiative to unmute his mic and make an unsolicited comment over Zoom about liking a reading assignment.  See why I took notice now?

So, what are YOU doing that is getting your remote learners involved in reading?

Monday, September 14, 2020

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

On September 21st, 1897, The Sun ran this letter to the editor and its famous response:

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

So as the anniversary of this printing comes forward next week, you may wish to incorporate it into your classroom.  If nothing else, expose the kids to this bit of American culture.  Use it in journalism class to discuss the responsibility of the newspaper.  Just give the class the original letter and let them respond to it before showing the editor's response (could be a great way to teach audience). Use it for a reading comprehension practice (I have one here that I used for ninth grade regular level: Reading Comprehension Practice).  Use it to spark a letter writing exercise and then write letters to editors of your newspapers.

Anyone else use this letter in their class?  If so, how?

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Damn Spot

 A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook page.  I don't know who this Miss Robinson, but she is an EXTREME ENGLISH TEACHER and I would feel awesome if I found out she reads this blog!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Tech Tuesday - Drag and Drop Google Slides

Hello all!  I wanted to create something different for my students to complete for vocabulary practice, so I made a Google Slides Presentation that they can manipulate in a drag and drop sort of way.  The video below is quick and painless and then I have a quick breakdown for follow up directions:

Quick Directions:

  1. Create a Google Slides Presentation.  Go ahead and write and put images on the screen that you do NOT want to be moved by the student.
  2. Go into PRESENT mode and take a screen shot.  Edit it to trim away anything but the presentation screen.
  3. Back in Slides, pick a fresh slide, hit BACKGROUND and CHOOSE IMAGE.  Put your screen shot as the background image.
  4. Place your manipulatives by either adding text boxes or images to the screen.
It's that simple!

If you want to use my sample presentation, you can find it here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1A1f3Lh1z3F8WIbGjuXhKnCgGE_Pe8hcAcwFsRFrMvwo/edit#slide=id.g96e2764824_0_116

If you have any other manipulative idea, let us know in the comments!  We love hearing from our fellow Extreme Teachers!  

Oh, and here is a handy way to grade these things - below is a red X that I use to put over a wrong answer so that students will know what to work on.  Once I import the image into one, I just copy it and paste it whenever I need it.

Of course, feel free to use Darth Vader yelling, "NOOOOOOOOO!" or Gandalf saying, "You shall not pass!" if you are feeling cheeky.

And, of course, you might find the check mark helpful as well:

*Up Date* - While I am never one to want to do a 'gotcha' on students (in fact, I often set up assignments to where cheating can actually be a learning experience - I'll have to go into that on a later post), I also do not like being bamboozled.   It is easy for students to share a copy of their graded assignment with a student.  I graded one recently with a word I have moved in another student's copy.  It seemed odd to me that this student's copy also had that word moved.  I did a quick version history and saw the original he started with, complete with my red X marks for the other student.  I do not want to NOT take late work and I know that whenever I grade assignments and hand them back (either paper or digitally), the ability for students to copy work is abundant. So here are few ways you can tell if a student's digital Slides presentation is just a flat out copy of a graded submission:

- In the notes section on the first slide, just hit enter five or six times and type the student's name.  This way, if you pull up a student later and do NOT see the 'Click to add speaker notes', then you know it was copied and you have a record of who allowed their work to be copied as well.

-Change the background color of the last slide.  You won't know who allowed their work to be copied, but it will be easy to spot that you have a copied version.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Adding Someone to Your Canvas Account (without having to wait for IT)

 We recently ran into a problem - my wife and I are both teachers and we cannot access our daughter's Canvas page even though we followed the guidelines for parent observers.  The problem?  Every time we try to access Canvas, it reverts to our teacher account and then we no longer have parent observation status.  My wife asked IT and they were not much help.

So I figured a work around.

This method should work for ANYONE who you would like to add to your Canvas page - a co-teacher, a mentor, a parent, an EC case manager - whoever you would like.

FIRST STEP - Open your page and choose PEOPLE

SECOND STEP - Click the blue +PEOPLE button on the right side of your screen.

THIRD & FOURTH STEP -  Put the email of the person you want to add in the big box, then select the role drop down menu

FIFTH STEP - Choose what role you want that person to have then click NEXT.


SEVENTH STEP - Make sure your observer has your link to your course (just grab that from the URL).  Relax!  You’re done!  You should get a tech credit for doing this!

Need this in a handy dandy print out?  Here you go! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NgBpMH5npFbe6-x60FDh4VO30XYaMpPVQaza-vnfXhg/edit

Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday Film Festival: The Lord of the Flies - Modern Classics Summarized

Overly Sarcastic Productions breaks down literature classics in a rather sharp manner!  Watch their take on Lord of the Flies:

Check out my Lord of the Flies survival game you can play in class (if we ever safely get back to a classroom setting, that is). http://lordalford.com/lotf/lotfframeset.htm

Do you do anything special for Lord of the Flies when you teach it?  Let us know in the comments section!