Thursday, July 30, 2015

Oh those dreaded cord tangles!

Just a quick post with some clever ideas I spotted recently for storing multiple devices in the classroom - just in case you're getting frustrated with your old system and want to try something new this year!

From Colombia magazine (found through Pinterest), here's a nice all-in-one solution.  Note how they have tied on the power strip and then woven the cords through the wires so that it's clearer which cord goes to which ipad.

And here's a brilliantly simple idea for managing the cords along the back of the table from Pinterest (had trouble accessing the original site).  Much better idea than the stick-on clips I bought a couple years ago.

Use clips to organize chargers or cords for Smartboard station.

Any other tips you want to pass on?  Or fails?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How to Learn Anything

A couple years ago, I was prepping for a friend's wedding when I noticed  the groom and his groomsmen clustered around a smartphone.  Can you guess why?  They had realized that no one in the group knew how to tie a bowtie, and were watching an instructional video on YouTube.  Yesterday I got an email from Noah B. wanting to know how to use the 1980's rock polisher he found at a garage sale (he helpfully attached a picture). Guess what I did!  Searched on YouTube, found a relevant Mr. Wizard episode, and sent the link to Noah.  Not to take away from the benefits of a live teacher, but these days almost anything worth learning has already been videotaped and posted online somewhere...and that includes many helpful videos for teachers!  Although you can't ask the video questions, you can stop and rewind the video as many times as you like without feeling self-conscious,  And if you want to be uber-geeky about it, you can watch the video on one device while trying it out on another device.  My favorite blogger Richard Byrne recently posted his YouTube playlist of google tutorials - all 57 of them!  I've culled through them and found three that you might find helpful, somewhat in order of complexity.

How to Create a Contact Group for Gmail - every teacher should set a parent contact group at the beginning of the year  - it makes it so easy and quick to sent out announcements and attachments to your parents.  You may have done this, but if you only do it once a year, it's nice to get a refresher!

How to use Docx (i.e. Word) files in Google Drive - documents that you (or someone else) has created in Word can easily be converted into a google doc.

How to add files and folders to a google site - You can create a page on your teacher website that contains the files you might want parents and/or students to access  - for example your class list contact info, your back-to-school night packet, or a reading response form.

Group Reading with Google Docs  You can share a google doc with students (a news article that you've copied and pasted, a text, a writing model, a piece of student writing) and invite them to add comments on the article as they read it.