Engage your students on snow days

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After observing my junior daughter’s activities all day, I can say with great certainty that our students have a lot of time on their hands during these magical snow days. Here are some ways that you can keep them learning and interacting and not rolling around on the living room floor in a prolonged state of ennui. (Just mine? Oh.)

After an assignment, ask students to share reactions, questions, or what they’ve learned on Flipgrid. It’s easy to set up, and the students I’ve used it with have always liked it. Create a “Grid” or class name, and then add “Topics” or questions. I like to video myself asking the question, since I will expect them to video their response! You can adjust the length of time they can talk, and by adjusting privacy settings, they can view and respond to other students’ answers. This Educator’s Guide to Flipgrid is packed with info, but all you really need to check out is “Section 1: Getting Started.” If you’d like to see two Flipgrids from my classes, click here or here!

EdPuzzle lets you paste in a video URL (or choose one from their library) and then embed questions that students must answer before proceeding. They can be open-ended questions or quiz-type questions. The teacher can also narrate the package as a whole, crop parts of the video out, and…here’s the glowing Common Sense Education review that will give you all sorts of teacher tips. This page takes you through set up step by step.

VideoNot.es is a website where students can paste the URL of the video you assign them to watch on one side of the screen, and take notes on the other. Every time they write down notes, it automatically records the timestamp of the video, so you can keep track of what part of the video they’re commenting on. The cool thing is that it’s integrated with Google Drive, so they can share and collaborate on notes – students can work on projects together, quiz one another, etc. And it’s for free! Here’s a video tutorial.

I am loyal to Screencast-O-Matic for creating screencasts (their tutorials are great!), but there are other tools out there as well. If you are interested in creating tutorials for your students, though, this is a great option, as is WeVideo. Email me if you’d like the premium version of these tools.

Google Hangouts Meet – host a video chat for up to 25 people at a time. Share screens, documents, and use the chat function on the side. I have used this for my Crossroads staff on days where we had meetings scheduled but not everyone could make them – it works great!

Google Hangouts on Air (using YouTube Live) – similar to a Google Hangouts Meet, you’d host a group of students through Google Hangouts, but you’d be streaming the meeting on YouTube so you can save it for later. Don’t worry – you can set up privacy controls so that only your students have the YouTube link! Here’s an article that takes you through the whole thing step by step.

 

 

 

 

 

Screencasting made easy!

Soapbox is an easy-to-use, yet robust extension that allows you to create a screencast where you share the screen with what you’re doing on your desktop. When you’re done recording, you can toggle between your image full-screen, your desktop full-screen, or a split screen. Try creating one for a project or paper introduction and keep it on your Google Classroom page for people who were absent or who want to hear the instructions again!

DocuTube makes viewing YouTube links easier

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If you plan to include links to YouTube links to your study guides (or to any handout!), consider asking your students to add the DocuTube extension.  Once installed, this program will offer students the option to view the YouTube videos you’ve linked in a pop-up window so that they don’t have to leave Google Docs. To get the add-on, students need to go to Google Docs –>Add-ons–>Get add-ons and then search for “DocuTube.” Try it out by adding it to your Chrome browser! It’s pretty handy.

Push websites to your students with the click of a button

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If both you and your students have the Share to Classroom extension, you can push websites to the whole class at once by simply clicking on it, then pasting in the site you’d like them to look at. (You can also do this using Hapara, FYI.) Students can also share websites with you – and the extension keeps track of who has shared what with whom!

Voice Typing With Google

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Sometimes it’s easier for students to speak than it is for them to type. Google supports voice typing in Google Docs – nothing to install, just select “voice typing” from the tools menu. Here’s a quick article with an overview.

Help students to summarize articles/websites

noun_1018335_ccI loved this article on Control Alt Achieve by Eric Curts – “Seven Summarization Tools for Students.” Why would a student need a summary of an article before (or after) reading? What are the best tools out there? Click the link to find out! (And if you decide to use an app or extension that he suggests, let me know so that I can be sure it’s available to students.)