Monday, September 28, 2020

Presidential Debates - 2020 -- The Assignment

Hello fellow EETs!  The debate season is upon us and you are probably wary of wading into it (and rightly so).  However, there is such a gold mine of communications assessment here.  The most powerful job in the world being decided in a large part on how a person can communicate!  I may not know your state standards, but I can bet there is a communication aspect there.  So how do we tap this resource without getting fired?

By removing the political opinion from it completely.  You don;t need to know who your kids will vote for (assuming they are seniors and can vote).  Your kids don't need to know who you vote for.  Use this handout and your students can do a quick assessment of the candidate's speaking skills plus you are putting them into the situation where they can hear for themselves what the candidate has to say and make up their own mind.  I would say that is pretty extreme indeed.

Just make a copy of it and give it to your students.  I know I waited late to share this - the first debate is tomorrow!  I let it slip up on me!

Also, I know this is a very basic analysis of communication skills.  This is where my students are at.  Feel free to adjust it for your own purposes - just be careful if you get into anything that is requiring a student to reveal to you their political preference. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday Fun Day

 A friend of mine shared this on Facebook, credited to Jill Thomas Doyle:

Thanks to Kelly Arnold for being extreme enough to sharing it with me!

  • An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars.

  • A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

  • A bar was walked into by the passive voice.

  • An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

  • Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”

  • A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

  • Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.

  • A question mark walks into a bar?

  • A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.

  • Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Get out -- we don't serve your type."

  • A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.

  • A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

  • Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.

  • A synonym strolls into a tavern.

  • At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar -- fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.

  • A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.

  • Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.

  • A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.

  • An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.

  • The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.

  • A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned by a man with a glass eye named Ralph.

  • The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.

  • A dyslexic walks into a bra.

  • A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.

  • A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.

  • A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.

  • A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.

Bonus points if you knew what a chiasmus was without having to look it up! And even more extra credit points if you know anything about this Jill Thomas Doyle. I've seen this all over the Internet always with a reference to her as the creator, but never anything about who she is.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Try this Pro Gamer Move

 If your school has Chromebooks for your kids, then here is a little tip they can use to turn their single screen into a double screen.

I'm betting there is a similar technique for pretty much any computers out there.  Google "split screen for" and then type in the computer your students have.

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  You can get the template here:

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?

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:

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!