Friday, June 26, 2020

The 'Why I Teach' Folder

So today I'm in my classroom (I know, it's summer!) resetting the room after HVAC work and painting was done.  In the process of moving things around and putting things away, I ran across a folder I created a long time ago called the "Why I Teach" folder.


I do not remember why I started it.  It was early in my teaching career and maybe an older teacher told me about hers or maybe I just had an inspiration. Whatever the case, I stick all sorts of notes and cards and email printouts that meant something to me.  Students telling me what a difference I made, parents letting me know how thankful they are for this or that. 

When I was a younger teacher, I used to go through the folder often.  I am more confident in my teaching skills now, so I don't pull it out so much.  We all reach some kids and parents and we all clash with some kids and parents.  I cannot advise enough, especially if you are a new teacher, to have one of these folders.  I had forgotten most of the notes in that folder and it really made my day to see them again.  There was even sheet music in there - we had a project where we created a Utopia world and one group had come up with a national anthem for their utopia.  The kid later went off to college as a music major and wrote out all the music for it and sent it to me in a letter! 

So get yourself a folder.  Stick the little things in there that make your day and on days you have that makes you wonder why you went into this profession - pull out the folder!

Stay healthy out there!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Fortunate Creative Writing Idea

"Your characters are enjoying a fun evening at China Garden Restaurant when the end of the meal fortune cookies arrive.  There is the usual comment made by one character who wants to point out that fortune cookies are an American invention, but it doesn't stop the enjoyment factor as everyone grabs one for themselves.  Your protagonist opens one to reveal this fortune, which is strangely prophetic..."



At this point students can go to https://secondfortune.com/ or present them with their own fortune cookie that you either saved up from a year's worth of eating take out Chinese or that you got from a box of fortune cookies, which are available at your local supermarket for around $2 or less for 12 cookies.

This random factor requires the writer to adapt and make a move in a direction that maybe he or she wouldn't have otherwise.  Plus, eating a cookie in class is always a blast.  What sort of adventures will that fortune go or what impact will that fortune have on the character's current romantic relationship?  Worse yet, what if that character opens the cookie and there is a blank fortune?  Is that a good omen or a bad one?

Or even put your own sinister fortune in like, "Leave now!" or "meet me at Bennington Park midnight - come alone" using a custom made fortune cookie company: https://www.amazon.com/50-Custom-Fortune-Cookies-Individually/dp/B07JR15BS3

For those of you more extreme than others (and are handy around the kitchen), you can make your own fortune cookies with whatever messages you want inside - https://www.fifteenspatulas.com/fortune-cookies/

If you are using actual cookies or the second fortune, be ready to have a backup fortune, just in case they get a dud for story writing purposes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Best. Grammar. Book. Title. Period.


Buy it at Amazon.  Has anyone out there read this book?  I would love to hear if it is worth getting.  Leave a comment.  Know a better grammar book title?  Leave a comment.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Hwaet!

Need  something a little different to add to your Beowulf unit?  Here is a video short (much like Pixar has before their movies) created by students at BYU that shows Grendel in a bit of a different light:



Grendel from BYU Animation on Vimeo.



For your own enjoyment, assuming you are a Tolkien nerd, J. R. R. Tolkien has a prose translation of the epic poem complete with his own fan fiction short story at the end ("Sellic Spell")! You can get your own copy here:
https://www.amazon.com/Beowulf-Translation-Commentary-J-R-R-Tolkien/dp/0544570308


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Macbeth Done Right

The following account is not mine.  I picked this up from Slow Robot.  Whoever this teacher is, he/she is most certainly daring and I would say - EXTREME.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Paper Airplane Research Challenge

Students struggle in English for a variety of reasons.  One of those is learning styles.  Many student I have had are great learners when it comes to working with hands.  Put this kid in a carpentry, auto mechanics, or electrical trades class, and they are showing amazing learning.  Sit this kid in a desk and make him read, well, the learning declines.

Providing opportunities for kinetic learners to shine is not a new concept.  Science sees this in labs and math with manipulatives.  However, this is much more difficult in an English class.

The following activity is designed to help kinetic learners excel at researching by giving them something physical to do with the research.

Extreme English Teacher presents: The Paper Airplane Challenge!


Research methods are what they are.  You teach these methods with any subject.  The paper airplane challenge takes kids through five different research sites to find the best way to fold a paper airplane.  Students will search out and five five ways to fold using five different search methods, then pick one and put it to the test.  After taking kids out of the classroom to compete against each other to find the farthest flying plane, students can also compete for the best and oddest looking.



The lesson comes with directions on how to present the different search methods and a worksheet for students to fill out while searching.


If you like this one, you may also like:
The Movie Report: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/EET-The-Movie-Report-5452641Ben Franklin Quotes: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Extreme-English-Teacher-Ben-Franklin-Quotes-5279912

 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tech Tuesday - Timers

Another little classroom hack I've stumbled across recently:

Sometimes you just need a set amount of time for an activity.  Maybe you're practicing timed tests.  Maybe you need to make sure you get finished with your class discussion at a set moment to have time for something else.  You could just tell a student to keep an eye out on the clock for you (that usually works pretty well).  You could try and keep track yourself (but if you are like me, you often get sidetracked and forget the time).

Never fear, the Internet never lets us down.

An easy and fairly discrete one is on Google.  Just type in TIMER into the search bar to get an adjustable timer.  It has a rather annoying beep until you turn it off.  The pros - it's quick and not distracting.



You could also try these classroom timers: http://www.online-stopwatch.com/classroom-timers/  They are much more fun, but also distracting as all get out.  I imagine my eyes as a student would be constantly on them.  However, if you are doing a long group activity where students are being loud anyway, this might actually help keep them on track.  If nothing else, pick the snail race and let students bet grade points* on which snail wins.



If you have any good timers or time keeping system, don't be stingy!  Share in the comments.



*Facetious is the only word in the English language with all five vowels in alphabetical order.  Facetiously includes the sometimes y.  It is also what I am being when I say "bet grade points", no matter how much fun that would be.

'Nuff said.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Macbeth and Joker - Making Connections

So I watched Joker this weekend, finally, and my English teacher nerd brain immediately thought of Macbeth. 

****Spoiler Alert if you are planning on watching the Joker movie anytime soon***


Joker is an excellent movie to watch - once.  I can't say I would want to watch it again.  I'm sure you have heard that is addresses the issue of mental illness in a way not many movies can encapsulate.

That's an issue for another post (and probably a different blog).  I want to bring in comparisons to Macbeth.  Both are delusional - Joker seeing the woman next to him in his time of need, Macbeth seeing the dagger, the ghost of Banquo, and quite possibly the witches at the end (I always let me students argue if he really does see them in the big apparition scene especially since Lennox comes on stage right where they leave and states that he did not see them - my struggling readers get a kick out of figuring out what is real with Macbeth and not and love to float conspiracy theories).

We can also see how both characters are victims of their own making, even though there were outside forces at work.  Joker certainly has mental illness, a failing government health system, a history of being abused as a child, and just rotten people all around him to push him into action, but when it comes down to it, HE is the one who actually acts.  Same with Macbeth.  Certainly we can lay some blame at the feet of the witches, Lady Macbeth, and even some at Duncan for being such a poor judge of character, but in the end, it is MACBETH that chooses to kill.




But I think the biggest parallel is the type of people they both kill - and the order in which it is done.  let's look at Joker's murders compared to Macbeth's:

Joker:

  • The two guys on the train - self defense - perfectly justifiable
  • The third train guy who was trying to get away - a little less justifiable since the guy no longer posed a threat, but we can see and excuse Arthur (Joker) at this point.
  • His  mother - certainly past excusing, but we can see where he is a victim of his illness here.
  • Randall - now we see Joker going down a road toward senseless murder.  Randall did him wrong, but that seems to be an excuse to murder him at this point.  Arthur still has some sense of himself, though, when he lets Gary leave.
  • Maury - similar to above, but less so since the guy is now giving Joker a chance to succeed at being a comedian, Arthur's goal.  Unfortunately, from this point on, I think we can safely say that Arthur is no longer a character.  Only Joker.
  • The health care worker at the end - here there is no reason to kill her.  She is only trying to help and this murder is irredeemable.  
Macbeth:
  • Macdonwald - brutal killing, but an act done in war and in defense of his king and country.  Perfectly acceptable and even lauded as an act of a hero
  • Duncan - inexcusable, but there is a reason for this murder - Macbeth wants something  and this is the way to get it in his mind.
  • The Guards - logical under the circumstances.  If Macbeth is going to get away with his former act, this is what needs to be done to prevent them from telling others that Lady Macbeth was the one who got them drunk.
  • Banquo - Macbeth has a reason, but we are getting further away from it being a logical reason.  Here we see Macbeth is beginning to become obsessed with killing.
  • Lady Macduff and Little Boy Macduff - here Macbeth crosses the Rubicon.  Up to this point, he at least had a reason to kill, albeit often a flimsy one, but a reason nonetheless.  This killing, though, is not only useless, but only gives Macduff MORE reason to come after him.  
Both go through a progression where the murders get further and further away until we can no longer hope for the protagonist's redemption.  Both of these stories puts the audience in the camp of the villain.  We want to root for Arthur and Macbeth.  It's the nature of the protagonist to have the reader/viewer on his side.  But both stories takes us down a path with the lead character until we feel in a traitorous situation by no longer agreeing with his actions and wanting him stopped.



If you have any good book to pop culture pairings, list them in the comments.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Let Grammar Bytes Challenge Your Class All Year


Once a week for each week in 2020, Grammar Bytes is putting out a one question grammar quiz on their Twitter page.


Go to their page at: https://twitter.com/grammarbytes and you'll see questions like this posted each Wednesday:




Except, of course the answer isn't shown until your pick it, then it shows the breakdown of answers.  You'll want to keep this in mind if you are putting it up on a SmartBoard or projector, since once you answer, the results will be shown when you pull it up again for the next class, which may influence their choices.  This a quick way to get your students to try it out.  You can put the link on your page so that students can click it and have everyone try it out at the same time.  This could lead into discussion of why that comma is needed or why it isn't right to put 'of' in that sentence. You could also let them put their name down for choice 1, 2, 3, or 4 if you have some extra board space and allow people to have bragging rights if they are correct.

The following Wednesday a new question will appear along with an explanation for last week's question.


The nice thing is that sometimes the majority of people get the question wrong.  Why is that nice?  Your students who struggle with grammar will be relieved to know it is not just them.

2020 may have brought us everything from fires to pandemics to murder hornets, but it also brought us weekly grammar quizzes!  Things are looking up! 




Thursday, May 14, 2020

Bang!

I don't remember where I found this, but I was cleaning out my folders and ran across this image of gun shot onomatopoeias.  I imagine it might be a fun image to use in explaining the literary term 'onomatopoeia' or for a creative writing class.


Going to the tumblr site on the first panel shows this guy James Chapman has a couple of "in other languages" cartoons like this.  Check it out!

Also, while writing this post on an onomatopoeia, a memory of a video game commercial from the '90s resurfaced.  I think the message of the commercial is "Don't be an English nerd, play video games instead," but I might be wrong.  :)


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Time Idioms

Need something easy to demonstrate idioms?  I found this image on Facebook a few years ago.  I have long since forgotten where.  The site it came from originally is www.grammar.net, which seems to have stopped posting new material last year. 

This is a very effective and quick way to help your students understand the literary term 'idiom'.

Tech Tuesday - Use Blogger to Make an Easy Homework Blog for Students and Parents

Communication with parents is key for a variety of reasons.  Here is one more way you can be more transparent - a homework or upcoming events blog.

The idea is simple - a blog that has either the daily work posted or the weekly work posted so that students who are absent can find what is expected of them and parents can stay up on what is going on without having to sift through all of that Canvas or Moodle page of yours.

The problem - who wants the hassle of having to login, write the post, format the post, and publish the post everyday or even every week?

Well, Blogger has an easy solution if you use them.

Once you have a blog set up, go to your design page (where you would go to create a new post).  Scroll down to SETTINGS and select EMAIL.  See that option to post using email?


It's the first one.  Pick your secret word.  Now, if you send an email to that address, it will automatically post your email to the blog.  No more logging in. No more formatting.  Easy-peasy!



Thursday, May 7, 2020

Daily Reading Comprehension Questions

In my state, we have two English tests that are practically the same.  One is the North Carolina Final Exam (formerly called the MSL, formerly called the Common Exam) for freshmen, juniors, and seniors.  The other is the End of Course for sophomores.

They are quite horrid tests, as I am sure you can relate to in whatever state you are in.  It is more of a test of a student's ability to stay focused for two to three hours rather than an accurate measure of a student's reading comprehension.

I have two daily reading comprehension blogs for you.  While one is labeled for the NCFE and the other for the EOC, they have the same type of questions and will fit most any reading comprehension tests.

The first is the Daily Dose of NCFE:



And the second is the Daily Dose of EOC:




They hit literary terms, vocabulary, author's purpose, inference, and basic plot understanding. 

Currently, they each run for a semester and then recycle the questions. Next year they may be merged into one blog, since supposedly my state is doing away with the NCFE, which should mean I can pick from the best questions on both.

I have had great success on my state reading comprehension test scores.  I've spent a lot of time understanding these beasts.  I do have a free resource on my Teacher-Pay-Teachers store that helps you walk students through prepping for the test.  I usually use it a week before the test.  It gives students a way to stay focused longer during the test.  I know  you probably do not have a state test for your students this year with all the shut downs, but feel free to download and give it a look for next year.  And if you like it, please leave a review for it. It helps me out a lot as a fledgling store owner.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Extreme-English-Teacher-Acing-State-Reading-Comprehension-Tests-5283540

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Tech Tuesday - Get Creative with Images on Google Slides

Ok, let's have some fun with masking images to give them a little flair.  Take this rather boring slide:


Now, let's fix the Spider-Man image (my good friend Peter Norbot).  We are going to mask it, which means we are going to cut out some of it and make it into a shape.  This is super easy to do.  We will also put a nice strip of color behind to make it look like it is a part of the Google Slides template.




Easy-peasy!  You can make it any shape you want.  So give it a try!



Monday, May 4, 2020

Are Students Viewing Your Google Slides?

Anytime you give a Google Slides presentation for a student to look at during this time of asynchronous learning, how can you know if a student is viewing the lesson?

Well, you can make it in to an "Answer this question" type deal.  In my case, that doesn't work because my state has said my seniors have passed and cannot be penalized or rewarded for work completed or no completed (really makes it worthwhile to keep producing lessons....).  So a student may look at the lesson, but may not answer any questions or complete any activities.

If you are in a similar situation or you just want to know who is looking at your lesson, well, you may be in luck.  Pull up your Slides and see if you have the crooked arrow at the top of your screen.


If you have that, then your IT guys have enabled some analytics.  Click it and you get this screen:


This doesn't tell you how much time they spent on the presentation or what effort they are putting into it, but at least you get an idea of who is at least putting forth some effort.

Hope this helps!



Friday, May 1, 2020

A Free Lesson to Use - How to Write a Cover Letter and Resume



Here's a lesson I gave my seniors.  It is one that I created for complete on your own and one that I will use in the future for self-pace work or when I have a substitute, since they will not need me to walk them through it.


It is just a crash course in what a cover letter does and some help in creating a resume.  Each one of these could be a whole unit in themselves, but the goal here is to give the students a bit of a heads up on what these things are and how to write one if the need arises sooner than later.

The cover letter portion is a video from Indeed with a few extra tidbits along the way.


I've got to say, I'm pretty impressed with the animation pausing I did to time the tidbits to the video.

The resume portion takes students to Resume Genius where it will not just walk them through setting up a resume, but it will format it for them as well.  It even has a focus on resumes with no job experience.


There is a small follow up video on how to gain confidence going into a job interview, but there is so much more to the  interview process than this even begins to scratch the surface.


All in all, a student can watch this presentation and come out with a concept on what a cover letter is, a working resume, and a few job interview tips.  Not too shabby!

You can find it here.  Feel free to make a copy and adjust and modify to fit your students!

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ET5KS10yOhD5ZE_55tmfb4kowTQhWF6qKQ7YurKxUco/edit#slide=id.g419515fe0b_0_8862

If  you have a better way to to do this or another similar lesson you'd like to share - say so in the comments!  We all get better by helping each other.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Teaching Students to Write a Formal Email

We all know students can write emails, but we also know that they often lack formal protocols needed for communicating with professors in college, potential employers, or even when asking teachers and counselors for letters of recommendations.



I recently uploaded a new lesson on the Extreme English Teacher Teacher-Pay-Teachers store.  This is a self-paced lesson (although easily adjusted to be a teacher-directed classroom activity) that is ideal for students stuck at home (as during the pandemic), for homework, for when students are working on assignments at their own pace, or when there is a substitute.  Plus, it is an easy assessment for the teacher.


 The presentation is 20 slides long, but many of them are short.  All in all, it will take a student anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to complete the slides and all activities.

The presentation starts with the students sending an email to an address and getting back a standard response.  Then it moves on to some famous humorous email fails and shows the students step-by-step what they need to do to make their emails look professional when they need it to be.  Areas addressed:

  • email address
  • subject line
  • salutation and the importance of knowing who is reading the email
  • the body
  • the signature line
  • the follow up

I used it recently with my stuck at home seniors with much success. Find it here:

If you have a Teacher-Pay-Teacher store you would like to promote, do so in the comments!


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tech Tuesday: How to Add Music to Your Google Slides

Last week I showed you how to add extra time to your Google Slides animations.  This week I'll show you a simple trick for adding background music.

Google currently doesn't have an "Add  Audio" feature for Google Slides.  What it does have, though, is an "Add Video" feature.  So I pull up a song I want for background music off of YouTube. You probably are aware already, but if not, you can find all sorts of background music to match whatever mood you wish to establish.

OK, so when I made a Slides presentation on Norse Ragnarok for my mythology class, I wanted to tell the story of Odin's fight with Fenrir.  So I found a great image to post on the screen and I wanted some cool music in the background while I'm in story-telling mode.  After a search on YouTube (and getting way too sidetracked on listening to several different awesome background songs), I found one and copied the URL.  Then I hit the INSERT option at the top of my Google Slides and chose VIDEO.  You can search YouTube right there on Google Slides, but I prefer to find it on YouTube, catch the URL and then stick that into the URL search.


However, when I place it in the slide, it is way too big.  That's OK.  We will take care of it in a minute.

Now, we want the music to start automatically, so we need to click on the video, select FORMAT, and then FORMAT OPTIONS.  

Under the FORMAT OPTIONS tab, click VIDEO PLAYBACK.  Notice that here you can choose a time in the video for your song to start or you can just start it from the beginning.


Now you need to click the AUTOPLAY WHEN PRESENTING box and it will start immediately.

Extreme Pro Tip - It is a good idea to select the AUTOPLAY option when presenting and slide that has a video.  It makes for a smoother presentation.

Now we need to get the video out of sight.  So we will now shrink the box down and move it to a corner.


It will not be completely out of sight, but when the slide presents, it will be virtually unnoticeable and, at the very least, unobtrusive to those that do notice it.

This is what your audience sees.


Now all that is left is for you to drop a link for the music in the notes section of your slides right under your image attribution.

Extreme Pro Tip - Each semester, before presenting the slide, do a quick run through to make sure your songs are still active on YouTube.  Sometimes people's accounts go down or they didn't have permission to host that song and the link is now dead.  Of course, it is a good idea to do this anytime you have a video, for viewing or for listening, in your presentation.


Have a cool tip?  Share it!  Have a different way of putting music on the slides?  Share it!  Found it useful?  Let me know!




Monday, April 27, 2020

The Empty Throne


Here is a quick lesson for you to use.  It is a reading excerpt from Bernard Cornwell's book, The Empty Throne.  Cornwell is known for his historical fiction and this book is from the series dealing with Uthred, made famous in the Netflix series.



This particular excerpt has him talking about Beowulf from a contemporary perspective.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VcWNWW_vGvA8kzuUTaNQzPfAmQJLCIzIMZbuBjUqE3w/edit


Use this for test prep or if you just need some more at home work during this shut down. 

If you are into all that Anglo-Saxon jazz, I highly recommend this series.  Pick up the first book, The Last Kingodm, and read it here: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Kingdom-Saxon-Chronicles/dp/0060887184

Or watch The Last Kingdom series on Netflix.  It is not a completely spot on retelling, but it is still a good one. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Shakespeare at Home - A free lesson to use during shut down

So frequent readers know that I am teaching seniors and my school system has already passed them, but we are still required to give them work.  That is a hard sell for my non-honors group.  I am sure many of you are in similar situations.

I am lucky if I can get them to read emails right now, much less do an actual lesson.  One lesson that I felt went very well was an email protocol lesson that will go up on the Extreme English Teacher Store next week, but today's lesson was a quick and dirty take on Shakespeare.

I am going to provide the link for you to use.  Just make a copy of it and change up what you want of it.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/11JmlH00QkqY5yRJg9UF_zZif9P4UQyCuiK7PTkZnq2Q/edit#slide=id.g35f391192_00



Students will need to put this in present mode.

There are three parts to it.  We were just about to start on Othello in class before the shut down came along and ruined that, so I thought I would start with a summary form.  I was daring (well, we can't call ourselves extreme if we play it too safe) and went with Thug Notes for my summary.


I love Thug Notes, but the language and drug/alcohol references usually make me a bit wary about including them in the regular classroom setting.  I watched several other video summaries and they all put me to sleep.  

The note at the bottom of this slide is an inside joke for my students. We read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time recently and they loved reading Mrs. Shears lines aloud.

The next section was to give them a glimpse of how complex and awesome Shakespeare's writing is.  I chose to do Macbeth for this.  All they will get from Macbeth are two lines, but I chose it for the witches' famous line "Double, double, toil and trouble / Fire burn and cauldron bubble."  Students will read these lines aloud with a parent or sibling.  Then the focus on how they read it in a sing/songy fashion due to Shakespeare's control of language.  It is just a sliver of what I would do in class, but hopefully this imparts a little of his wonder to them.


I am particularly proud of the countdown I finagled with the Google Slides animations.

After that, I follow it up with a short video that shows the first scene in three different settings.  This is a hit in the classroom; I hope it translates well at home.



The third and final part is the traditional Shakespearean insults page.  I bet you have one in your classroom file cabinet (those of your old enough to have a hard copy filing cabinet).  


This idea is certainly not mine, but there are so many versions out there, I gave up trying to give proper credit for it.  I know Scholastic has a version of it, but that was different from this one.

The reason I put this here was because I wrap it up with a chance for them to earn pyramid points (part of a class game) by sending me an insult.  This way I know if they looked at the presentation or not.

So I provide this to you, fellow extreme teacher, to modify to fit your needs or to use as is.  Let me know if you found it useful!







Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tech Tuesday: How to Add a Pause to Your Google Slides Animation

Adding animation to presentations can be a fun way to keep your lessons dynamic.  Having to click the screen or mouse every time you want the next animation to begin is annoying, though, and makes you look less than extreme when standing in front of the class waiting for the animation to begin (especially after you just clicked to change to a new slide).

Google Slides does have the ability to make your animations start by click, with the previous animation (or slide change), or after the previous animation.


My problem came in that I wanted, for this particular presentation, a cloud with words or an image to float by, pause for the student to read it, then automatically move on off the screen without anyone having to click anything.

I could easily make it move in with an animation and then I could easily make it move out with an animation set to AFTER PREVIOUS.  The problem was I could not make it pause long enough for the students to read it. 

My solution was to add a transparent  image and give it animation.  I set my transparent image to move as slow as I thought I needed. Here is the set up:

Cloud Image - Flies in from left (after  previous)
Transparent Image - Flies in from left (after previous)
Cloud Image - Flies out to right (after previous)

I set the transparent image animation to slow (5 seconds).  For text that I thought students needed more time to read, I just added a second transparent image animation for another up to 5 seconds.

This way, several bits of information and images flow across the screen and move on in the time span I want without having to constantly click the screen. 

This is useful for students doing work at their own pace or at home.  It is also useful for having images come up when you want them to while giving a lecture.  You just have to time your lecture right.

Or sometimes it is just more aesthetically pleasing to have a little bit more time between movements on screen.

You can use my transparent image.  It is centered below.  Just hover over it, right click it and save.



Next week's tip - adding music to your Google Slides.

So, what tips or tricks have you used to make your Slides better?

Monday, April 20, 2020

Memes for Monday

So this year I teach seniors.  Our state has decided that seniors have passed the course if their grade is 60 or above as of March 13th.  The only grades we could give were makeup assignments given prior to March 13th.

Now as we move forward, we are expected to give seniors more assignments.  However, these assignments will not be graded.  We will give feedback, but they can in no way help a senior improve their GPA (passing is passing whether the student had a 65 or 95) or cause them to lose their passing status.

The people way above teachers in the education hierarchy said that students will want to continue their education for learning sake. 

Of course, we are teachers!  We will deal with this extra obstacle and move forward.  LIKE WE ALWAYS DO.  We teach students despite the good intentions of politicians.  However, this new - give-them-them-work-but-do-not-grade-it has inspired me to make a meme or two (or several) to encapsulate it.





















All in jest, of course.  

All memes made with: https://imgflip.com/memegenerator

Friday, April 17, 2020

Break Out Your Classroom (or home office...)

I got this from my librarian today and thought I would check it out:



breakoutedu.com/live

So I tried it - and it  was fun!  The way this works is you are given a random puzzle in four parts.  You have a very limited time to answer it.  The puzzle I tried was on authors (lucky break!) and it would give all sorts of images and I had to put in the name of the author of the book that these images represented.  One person who gets all four puzzles finished gets a prize.  The whole thing took less than ten minutes.

The prize the person gets is a home breakout puzzle that you can do with your family and a breakout kit you can add to your collection or your library's collection.  We have some in our library, but they are worn out, so I am going to try and win one to replace some of the broken ones.

Will I use this in my class?  I think I will, especially in this time of online learning.  I can pick a day and say whoever can send me the answers to the four questions will get some sort of prize or recognition as smartest student or something. 

When students win, they get the home kits for themselves and the teacher gets the school kit.




They also have many breakout puzzles to pick from on their website.  Some are locked (I assume because I do not have a paid account, but I should check to see if my library does) and some need a kit, but there are a few that are digital only.  I started on this one about King Lear:


If I found one on a book or concept we were studying in class, I would use this as some sort of competition assignment.  I am hoping I'll find some mythology related ones to use in my class.

I'm curious to hear if any of you are using this or plan to try the daily puzzle.