I have created amazing lessons for the past 20 years. During that time, we went from an environment with a few computers to a setting where every student has one. Now I am in the process of updating my lessons to have a technology component. Google Apps provides a great platform for this. Create a shared drive, kids can take pictures of their lab work, edit images and make dynamic presentations on their learning. If these ideas interest you, check out my Essential Computer Skills for Science Class bundle below.
If you are looking for ways to incorporate technology into your existing lessons, this bundle is for you. Students will learn the basics of using digital images, manipulating graphics and making connections to create unique products that demonstrate their learning. When students create in this activity, they reach higher levels of learning. I use these lessons at the start of the school year, this allows me to apply these techniques to any activity during the school year. Growing some seeds in class? Create a digital image. Learning photosynthesis? Have students take a picture of the plant, then annotate the image and mash it up to show what they have learned.
Everytime we talk about social media in school, it ends up in a discussion over Facebook and student drama. I've often wondered how we could connect with our students in a positive way to teach them about social media and how to use it appropriately. Many school policies ban certain types of social media contacts with kids (I like my job), so what is our alternative? Edmodo is an educator centered social media website. It's simple to use and your classes can connect with you and their classmates. The best part is the teacher controls who is in the class and can easily monitor everything that is going on. I've even set up Edmodo classes for my after school groups to discuss important topics. If you have never used Edmodo before, check out the video and links below. Best part, its free!
Plickers are an amazing tool for classrooms. They are printable student response cards that can be stapled, glued or taped onto your kids notebooks. The best part, they are free. This gives you a quick and easy way to collect responses from bell ringers, questions or whole class assessments. If you haven't experimented with these yet, check out the video below, I highly recommend Plickers.
Every year I am looking for ways to improve my classroom. This video on active learning really gets me thinking about my students. How will I engage them this year, what will I do to improve my classroom. When I think of improvement, I consider several categories
Pictures are worth a thousand words. I suspect that pictures taken of learning events boost student learning in the same way. My goal is to make images an essential tool of science exploration in school. In this lesson concept, students will learn how to complete an image mark up (taking an original image and labeling important concepts). The basic principle is that students create unique digital products that demonstrate their learning. In one class period with group access to a computer students create an image that highlights important scientific concepts. As students work to create their examples, you will unlock new learning opportunities. Once this skill is mastered, it can be used for anything, labeling insect parts on a specimen collected form the field, making constellation makes of the night sky, the possibilities are endless. Click on the image below to learn more.
Digital images are an essential part of scientific research. In field biology, researchers can capture images of animals and behaviors that provide months of data for future research. With the wealth of technology tools available to teachers today, our students can use these same technology tools. Almost any lab you do can benefit from students taking pictures of their work. Often, I will ask them about a lab event the day after and they struggle to remember. If students take pictures of their lab work, it’s easy to show them pictures of their own work to start the discussion. I also have students use these as part of their lab reports which leads to a deeper understanding of the concepts. If you are interested in this topic for your students, click the image below.
Rubristar is a free site I use frequently for creating rubrics for my class projects. This is a lifesaver for busy teachers. In addition if you have followed any of the Mass Customized Learning (MCL) movement, this is a great tool to help out. In many cases students are doing self assessment for MCL projects. This provides a fast easy way to create rubrics.
This past year I started creating spreadsheets to "gamify" our students learning experience. For example, when we do our spring kickball tournament, instead of just keeping points for the game, we allow teams to earn team building points for various activates. This creates a fun engaging environment that really engages students. The video below is an example of our kickball spreadsheet. You can view the product by clicking the thumbnail below.
Have you ever wondered how many species are on Earth? I came across this article that 86% of plants and animals on land and 91% of plants and animals in the sea have been catalogued. I find this amazing that in todays day and time that there are still undiscovered species. This article would be a great resources for a discussion on classification in the classroom. Click here for more.
Welcome to my Blog. This is my online home to share thoughts and life as a teacher, dad, coach, and instructional designer.
Fidget spinners, love them or hate em, they are everywhere.
Love this one, simple but effective.
What if Jupiter was a star?