Jot

Jul 2, 2015 by

jotHere is a summer tool for you!  Jot is a Chrome browser extension that creates an editable list in every new browser tab.  This is a great tool to “Jot” down a note or to-do list quickly while you’re working on the Internet in the Chrome browser.  Jot saves your list items until you delete them one at a time or clear the page.  Jot can be a great tool to keep your students on track with the tasks that they need to complete for each lesson or throughout the day.  Jot has many uses for both students and teachers to store thoughts or keep on task.

 

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A Must Read for Teachers

Jun 25, 2015 by

Please read this story this summer!  It is a success story of amazing proportion and is a fantastic read.  I highly encourage you to take 5 minutes to read the whole article… but if you absolutely do not have time, below is a short summary.

Paloma Noyola Bueno is growing up on the edge of a garbage dump, living in poverty with 7 siblings and a father dying of cancer.  She is an intelligent girl who followed along with her classmates as teachers handed out government prescribed curriculum.  She always did well but never stood out or excelled until 5th grade.  Finally, Paloma landed in a classroom with a teacher who was bored to death with the curriculum and knew the students were too.

Sergio Correa became a teacher to change lives, having grown up in the same town next to the same garbage dump.  He wanted to help kids lead a different life.  And so the journey began. . . Sergio started researching some of the “new” philosophies based primarily on what he had read about the work of Sugata Mitra.  The difference. . . Sergio had no technology in his classroom for his students.  Instead, Sergio researched at home, brought ideas to his students and then got out of the way.  He really did very little (you know I like to ask: who works hardest in your classroom?).  Contrary to the training he had received, he let the students ponder and discuss and debate and struggle as they worked to explore concepts and build a consensus before presenting the right answer to him.  Sergio noticed that for nearly every problem he proposed, Paloma jotted down the answer within a few minutes and quietly observed her classmates discussion, occasionally adding to it.  When asked why she had never expressed an interest in math, Paloma indicated that she had never before found it as interesting as she did now.

Sergio continued through the year with his “radical” new teaching method and it came time for the government mandated standardized testing.  Historically, the students in the small school next to the dump had not done well on the standardized test and Sergio had no idea how they would do this year.  When the results were finally published, it turned out that Sergio’s students had made vast improvements over previous years.  Ten of his students scored in the 99.99th percentile and one student had the highest math score, not just in the district but in the entire country of Mexico.

The part I like most about this story is that Sergio let go of control, tried something new, and did not limit his students to his own understanding.  He asked them to think- not just remember.  I am sure this was a scary proposition for him especially considering he would also be evaluated by how his students performed.  He took a chance and let the students do the work.  Thank you, Sergio, for inspiring me!  Read the whole story here.

 

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Teaching the Last Backpack Generation

Jun 17, 2015 by

TLBGCoverI am excited to announce that Teaching the Last Backpack Generation: A Mobile Technology Handbook for Secondary Educators is now available for pre-order through Corwin Press.  Over the last five years I have compiled strategies for using mobile devices in class from great teachers around the world- this handbook is the result of all that compilation.  It is a practical guide that will be useful for teachers who are just getting started with technology in the classroom as well as those who are looking for something new and innovative.  The handbook is filled with great ideas and includes plenty of space for teachers to lesson plan and come up with their own classroom innovations.  Pre-order yours today at Corwin Press and get the pre-publication price.

Please share with friends and colleagues as well- I sincerely appreciate all of your support!  Thank you for the encouragement and kind words along the way- this book has been a lot of fun to write because I get to work with all of you.  THANK YOU!

 

 

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Most Viewed Friday Photo: Statistically Significant

Jun 12, 2015 by

Remember that failing is part of learning. . . keep trying and you will be successful!
Make failure statistically significant

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Most Viewed Thursday post: Plickers

Jun 11, 2015 by

PlickersPlickers is a great formative assessment tool that lets teachers quickly get a view of student understanding.  Teachers create  their class and each student gets their own printed card.  Students hold up their card to respond to the question and all the teacher has to do is scan the room with their tablet or phone to record all of the responses.  Plickers provides immediate feedback and actionable data for teachers.  Plickers is available for Android and iOS and only requires one device in the classroom.

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Most Viewed Wednesday post: Kahoot!

Jun 10, 2015 by

KahootKahoot is a new twist on checking for understanding as it adds points and a timer to gamify formative assessment.  Teachers can set up quizzes, discussions, or surveys in Kahoot.  Discussions are a single question that can be used to facilitate a class debate and surveys can be multiple questions.  The Kahoot quiz has multiple questions, points, a timer, and even allows the additions images.  After the quiz is created, teachers give students an ID number to enter at the Kahoot web address.  The website is mobile friendly so students can access it on any device.  Students love the challenge of answering in time and getting the most points.  I highly recommend checking this tool out!

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Most Viewed Tuesday post: NoRedInk

Jun 9, 2015 by

NoRedInkWriting is a subject that is notoriously difficult for many students.  NoRedInk is a fun way for kids to work on their grammar and writing skills and get immediate feedback and support.  Teachers sign up and create a class that students join using a class code.  Then, teachers can assess students and assign activities that will help students improve their grammar and writing.  Teachers can also create quizzes for students and track their progress allowing for personalized support for each student’s struggle point.

Students can create profiles with their interests so that their writing activities are centered around topics that are engaging and relevant.  Students spend a great deal of time on informal writing with 21st Century tools at their fingertips and they have a lot of great ideas.  NoRedInk will help them share those ideas while improving their formal writing.

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Most Viewed Monday Success: New Power vs Old Power

Jun 8, 2015 by

As we wrap up the school year, I hope all of you will take some time to reflect on your year and think about even one small change that you can make that will impact your students.  This week will be dedicated to the daily posts that you viewed the most throughout the school year.  Hopefully these will inspire you!  During the summer, Last Backpack will have weekly posts for those of you who are looking for tools and ideas.  Daily posts will resume again on August 24.

Top Monday Success

In this very powerful 15 minute TED talk, Jeremy Heimans describes the “shift in power” from old to new.  Old power is secretive, held by a few, and built largely on commands.   “New power is the deployment of mass participation and peer coordination to create change and shift outcomes.”  What does this mean for education?   Students and their peers can start a movement.  We have the power to make change happen!  More now than ever before, our students must be prepared for a mobile, rapidly changing world.  A world in which they can make a real difference by joining together with their peers and standing for what they believe in.  Are we preparing our students to think critically about what is current?  Are we teaching students to collaborate with their peers beyond the confines of their school walls or city boundaries?  Are students driving their education or being led?  Our students have the new power to change the world!  

Please watch this video- I’d love to hear your thoughts via Twitter- @lastbackpack.

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Friday Photo-You are not a tree!

Jun 5, 2015 by

As we begin summer, it is important to rest and rejuvenate and reflect.  Summer is a perfect time to look back on our teaching and find those differences, large or small, that will improve our practice for our benefit as well as our students.

Have a wonderful, restful, reflective summer!

notatree

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To Do Reminder

Jun 4, 2015 by

ToDoReminderTo Do Reminder is an app to help you organize your life.  If you have ever made a resolution to get more organized and stop waiting until the last minute, To Do Reminder can help you.  This app makes it simple to add things that you need to do using the keyboard or using your voice.  You can set items to repeat daily, weekly, monthly or yearly so that you can save time by only entering events once.  To Do Reminder can also help you remember birthdays and send birthday greetings for you.  To Do Reminder is a great time saver and organization tool.

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