Thursday, September 25, 2014

The 21st Century Classroom: Google Classroom

Have you used Google Apps in your classroom?  If not, you should start soon!  I had started using Google Apps as a collaboration tool within the classroom.  The students could share a document with the people in their groups, which would allow them to work on the same document at the same time no matter their location.  I encouraged them to set a meeting time to log onto the computer at home where they could brainstorm and work together.  Google Docs would show who was typing what (and even allows them to type at the same time on different parts of the document).  The best part is that Google Docs always saves your work automatically!  There are no more of the: "I can't find that file" or "I must have forgotten to save that yesterday" excuses that delays productivity.  The students could even share the file with the teacher to grade in a paperless fashion.  I thought that was so awesome...that is until I saw this video on Google Classroom, which is new for this 2014 school year!

This video shows how you can set up a class within your Google Apps, add students, send class e-mails with one touch, create an assignment, and enter grades and feedback for the assignment.  What an efficient and paperless way to run your classroom!  You can post the due dates for the assignment and monitor how many students have submitted (or have yet to submit the assignment) easily.  Google Classroom will then organize the submitted assignments (by assignment and class) rather than having you search for whatever the students saved the document as in your Shared Documents using the old Google Docs method.  Watch the video below to see how you could utilize this in your room!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Re-thinking E-mail: How do you come across?

How many e-mails do you receive a day from parents?  Do you receive e-mail from your students?  Teachers in the 21st century are blessed with the opportunity to immediately be in contact with parents and students, but it can also be a very delicate process when responding.

What do I mean?  I know how exhausted you are when you get a few free minutes - at lunch, prep, or after school.  You have a million things on your to-do list and want to accomplish as many things as you can in the teeny breaks you do have during the day.  One short sentence would allow you to cross that task off your list.  But, did that one sentence convey what you intended to your audience?  Think about your students, who may send you cryptic e-mails as if they were texting one of their peers.  Your well-written, professional response will model how a student should be corresponding.

Here are some examples.  This video showcases a frustrated professor tearing apart an e-mail written by one of his students.  How could this professor have modeled appropriate correspondence with his student?  This could have been a valuable learning experience.

This blog article written by Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) gives some excellent tips on how to craft a professional e-mail.  Her blog post entitled "8 Great E-mail Etiquette Tips for Educators and Everyone" even provides some helpful phrases that you may want to utilize when communicating.  Designing a communication plan for your classroom will save you time in the long-run and ensure you are conveying what you truly mean with your words.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Footloose Back-to-School Video

Are you excited about going back to school?  Watch this hilarious Footloose parody video created by two teachers in Wisconsin.  They are using this video to raise money for classroom projects through

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Everts Gets Happy

Students at Everts are happy to share what they've learned this year on spring assessments.  Good luck to all my students!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ion Jones Science Program

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Students were able to experience Ion Jones and the Lost Castle of Chemistry this week, which was a wonderful scientific adventure through the Carnegie Science Center's Science on the Road program.  This program was made possible through a grant awarded by PPG Industries' Public Education Leadership Community (PELC).  The presentation included a school-wide assembly along with ten hands-on adventure stations that reinforced chemistry concepts taught in sixth and seventh grade science classes.  The students were fortunate to work with approximately thirty  volunteers who were able to explain the lab activities in small groups.  The volunteers were fantastic with their explanations and the way in which they worked with the students.  Thank you to the many, many people who played a part in making this event such a successful one for our students!