Friday, October 20, 2017

Links and Loves

One of the things I love about technology and the Internet is how random things can be.
Here is a list of very random Links and Loves.

This week I did some coding with students in an after school program. has an entire collection of coding activities ranging from grades 2 - 12. We used Karel the Dog to learn basic Java Script which was challenging enough for the students.

Thank you Kasey Bell from Shake Up Learning for teaching me how to make short gifs using Gyazo. This is such a simple and useful tool for any educator.

I was very moved by this video shared with me from Tara Lere, an educator from East Range Academy of Science and Technology in Minnesota, who is participating in ISTE’s Verizon Mobile Learning Academy. Tara uses the video in her health class.

Gotta Love Millennials is a multi-track video sung by a Gen X singer with a lot of humor. Compare this to If Ye Love Me which is a multi-track video of a song from the Renaissance time period sung by a Millennial.

I warned you these were RANDOM!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Troubleshooting with a Capital T

Sharing a Few Troubleshooting Tips

With updates to browsers and the GSuite happening at lightening speed, I sometimes have to solve computer issues on a daily basis.

Today I'm sharing a few troubleshooting tips for you and your students that can make mobile learning in the classroom a bit easier.

Tip #1 - Enable Flash for recording or viewing videos
Sometimes you or your students will get the dreaded puzzle piece screen. This is because Adobe Flash is not being allowed on the site.

Here is the quick fix.  Click on the puzzle piece and then click on allow.

Here is more of a long term fix. Click on the lock and secure area to the left of the URL (omni box) and then click on always allow on this site. Finally reload the page and Flash will run.

Tip #2 - If you get a blocked site screen, one thing to try is to make sure your connection is secure. Add https:// at the beginning of the url to give yourself a secure connection. You may also have to add www. at the beginning of the URL.

Tip #3 - If sites aren't loading correctly or if you are seeing a different search page or new tab page than what you usually do, try this. Click on the three dots in the top right corner (this might also be a circle with an explanation point), and go to more tools and extensions. Disable or delete any extensions that you are not familiar with or that you have added. Extensions often can cause issues with webpages loading correctly.

Tip #4 -  Too many extensions on your Chrome browser can cause your pages to load slowly or to not load at all.  Use the extension Extensity to quickly enable and disable extensions. 

Tip #5 - If you are seeing issues with your Chromebook or laptop working slowly or shutting down randomly, check to make sure your device has at least 10% battery. If not, plug it in. 

Another thing to check is to make sure you have the latest version of Chrome. Type chrome:chrome in the omni box and then allow your browser to update. Restart your computer and you will be good to go.

Hopefully these few troubleshooting tips were helpful. Do you have a troubleshooting trick that you use? Please share it with us.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Links and Loves

I showed a few students Auto Draw this week. They were impressed. They felt artistic, talented and creative.
Did you play the Baamboozle game “How Well Do You Know Deb Norton?”  I wrote about Baamboozle here. I love playing games for learning.

Google Pixel Buds - These could be a game changer. Wireless headphones that translate in 40 languages.

 After a busy week of HOCO activities and teaching, sometimes we need to just sit for 2 minutes and do nothing. Another option is to be calm and meditate.

My weekend goal is to take time to breathe, relax and rejuvenate; even though there are a million things that need to be done. What are your weekend goals?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Baamboozle - Let's Play A Game

Baamboozle - A fun game that can be played with your class

When I first came across the site Baamboozle, I was instantly reminded of this Friends episode:

Games can be so much fun and make learning truly enjoyable. Unless you are playing the game Bamboozled with Joey, Ross and Chandler.

Now that I have sidetracked everyone, let's start over. 
Baamboozle is a site that has featured games as well as a simple game creation tool. 

There are two modes to Baamboozle: Play Game and Study Mode.
Study Mode is for students to practice the content in class and Play Game is to play the game in teams.

Here is an example of one of the featured games on idioms.

Creating your own game is very easy.  Type in a question and the answer and choose how many points the question is worth. Add an image if you wish and click on +Add question.  

Project your game in front of your class and decide which mode (study or play) you want to use. 
If you choose Play Game - you then are prompted to tell how many teams you will have in your class. You will also choose between Quiz or Classic mode. 

A team chooses a number on the board and tries to answer the question. Click on "check" to see if the answer is correct and then click on Oops or Okay to award points or not.

Classic mode adds luck to the game with random events like these. Somehow I now see the connection between Joey's Bamboozled and this game, Baamboozle. 

or this
or this

With Study Mode there are no teams and when the question is selected the answer appears and you can select oops or okay to keep track of your progress.

Baamboozle can easily be shared with the URL link and students can play the game on their own devices.

Are you ready to play my Baamboozle game? It is called "How Well Do You Know Deb Norton?"  Click here to play.  
***Note: Everything in this quiz is 100% truthful.

I highly recommend using Baamboozle to bring a challenge and some fun to your lessons. And I'm pretty sure students will learn from the games as well.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Links and Loves

How was your week? Mine was great!!  Here are some Links and Loves to support your classrooms.

Classroom Screen looks like a useful tool for any classroom. Project various items on the screen for your class including a timer, a random name picker, stop light, text box, etc. No account needed and very easy to use.
If you are looking for a timeline creation tool for your students, Time Graphics looks really REALLY good!  It’s free and these examples look impressive.

Do you want to promote writing with students? Try this simple website.  Set a time and start writing. If the student stops writing for more than 5 seconds, the writing disappears!  When the time is up, the work is saved by date. Students can then download what they wrote or click on the saved file.

A student felt this was important enough to share with me. So I must pass it onto you as well. It's the simple things that can bring me to smile.

It's been an incredible week of connecting with educators both at Oshkosh North High School where I work and with teachers and administrators from all over the nation who are participating in the VMLA free ISTE course in which I am an online coach.  I'm one lucky lady to be able to work and learn from so many amazing and dedicated educators.  

Thursday, September 28, 2017

CommonLit is 100% Free and Similar to Newsela - Guided Reading Activities

From the moment I opened I was impressed.
CommonLit has free reading passages and progress tracking tools for grades 5th - 12th.

I started by creating an account. is 100% free.
In the Library tab, I can filter my search by book, genre, grade level, literary device, text set or theme.  

Once a reading passage is chosen, there are several choices. On the right there are guiding questions, assessment questions and discussion questions. There is also the ability to enlarge the font, highlight the text, translate words to other languages, look up words in a dictionary and listen to the text be read aloud at various speeds.

Teachers can create a class (with the ability to import from Google Classroom or share a link or a code) and assign a reading passage to students. 

If the teacher assigns guided reading to the passage, students are asked to answer multiple choice questions throughout the passage and are given immediate feedback when they are done.

Here are some examples of types of questions students are asked. They look like the types of questions asked in standardized tests and are mostly inferential.

Once students submit the assignment, teachers can grade the student work by viewing data in the form of circle graphs for multiple choice questions and score short answer responses on a rubric and leave written feedback to students. 

Teachers can also view an assignment report to see a detailed report of student work.

I highly recommend using CommonLit to help your students practice their reading comprehension skills and also inferential questioning strategies. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Word Clouds, Clickable Images, Icebreakers, OH MY!

Poll Everywhere has so Many Different Options

It's been a while since I've used Poll Everywhere. Recently a colleague of mine asked about using this wonderful site, and I was pleasantly surprised when I visited Poll Everywhere. There are many, many choices for polling students. And not every choice is necessarily a poll. 

Some of the more unique options include Leaderboard, Self-Paced Quiz, News Ticker and Select on a Map.  What great options for collecting feedback, assessment, written response and opinions from staff and students.

Another useful feature that I found was the ability to embed a Poll Everywhere into a Google Slide presentation. This is super easy to do with the Google Chrome Extension for Poll Everywhere.  Here is a quick video showing how this works:

I love that teachers and students can easily add an interactive poll or activity directly into their Google Slide presentation during a lesson.  The Poll Everywhere shows up in the presentation without the need to go to Poll Everywhere. In addition the presenter can adjust the settings of the poll right in Google Presentations such as turning the poll on or off and locking the responses.

If you want to ask a series of questions, simply create a group and add various types of poll questions to the group.

Recently I did a Poll Everywhere with the students at our high school and I'm so touched and impressed with the responses. 

Check them out:

One of the great things about Poll Everywhere is the ability to see the responses in real time. I love watching the data appear as it is collected. 

One restriction of Poll Everywhere is that responses are anonymous unless you upgrade to allow for reporting and grading. Also, the free educational account allows for 40 responses per poll.  To get around this, I either clearing all responses or I make a duplicate poll.

I highly recommend using any of the unique options in Poll Everywhere

Friday, September 22, 2017

Links and Loves

Have you seen this video from Appleton East HS that went viral? Officer Jack Taschner is one class act resource officer. I love the positive energy and fun he brought to the student section.

This week I listened to Chop Wood, Carry Water on Audible. (Thank you for the recommendation Jackie.) This book is read by the author, Joshua Medcalf, and is a story about living life and perseverance. I love that it helped me to reflect on my own life and experiences.  Click here for some of the inspirational quotes from the novel.

Have you heard of the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast by Matt Miller and Kasey Bell?  I listened to a few episodes this week and they are fantastic for a Google Guru like myself. (Thank you Naomi Harm for the recommendation.)

Check out the TI - Innovator Rover Programmable Rover!! This programmable robotic vehicle that drives conceptual curiosity in math, science and coding. (Thanks for sharing Rick.)

Has anyone tried Smart Lab for the Smartboard? Games make learning fun. This is geared toward elementary students. I recommend games for any grade level.

Happy first day of Fall everyone. Enjoy the sunsets, the beauty of the turning leaves and Friday night football games.