December 14th, 2020
From the classroom of Eric Davis at Lewis & Clark Elementary School
Teachers across the district are struggling with student engagement and attendance in their Google Meets and virtual classrooms but Eric Davis, a 3rd grade teacher at Lewis and Clark, may have unlocked some magic with his Weebly school store (Our Classroom Store). He keeps track of points as students do great things in his class and then when they have earned 10 points, he sends the student and their parent a link to their classroom store so that the student can "go shopping" for a reward. Using inexpensive toys and treats from Amazon and Oriental Trading Co., Eric is able to drop a package in the mail to his students (or even drop the treat off at their house) as a reward for their engagement and completion of work in his classroom.
As part of his Master's degree, Eric learned to use Weebly to set up a store front for his classroom. He says that Weebly is pretty user friendly and does not cost anything to use. Users are able to set their accounts up so that no payment is required but students will still get the online ordering experience when they shop his store! Check out Weebly's Set Up Wizard for help getting started.
December 7th, 2020
From the classroom of Erin Hamann at Washington Elementary School
I have been working with two different groups of students doing a chapter book study. I am using the book study to help build fluency with these students. We are focusing on multisyllabic phonics skills and core vocabulary skills. We read the chapter together then I have the students go back and reread looking for words that they don't know or are hard to read so that we can use vocabulary skills to define the words. By teaching these skills then the students can begin to identify unknown words on their own. Thereby increasing their vocabulary.
For fluency building I have each student read a page of the book out loud. Then we discuss different fluency ideas such as pausing for punctuation to help gain understanding. I also have my students read in different voices when reading out loud for multiple reads. We will read in our normal voice, monster voice, and princess voice, so we don't become bored in our reading.
When I had the students in the classroom, I gave them a copy of the book to take home and a package of sticky notes to mark words that they didn't know. I was able to do one day in class for 20 minutes and one day online for 20 minutes. But now that we are back online fully I will be doing this completely online yes. I also use my document camera to help students sound out the multisyllabic words as then I can write these out for everyone to see.
Here's a great article from Picture Book Brain about how to use some digital tools like Flipgrid, Newslea, and Google Slides to get your own digital book club started!
November 30th, 2020
From the classroom of Brent Becker at Caldwell High School
We are still working on them, but I had my students use Google Sites to create online writing portfolios. It is my answer to our limited ability to assign "the traditional project." This gives the students a way to express their creative side and to publish their work. The new Google Sites is so simple, it didn't take long for them to catch on. They set up three pages: a passions page (where they share about themselves), a poetry page, and a literary analysis page (under this page is another page called the "Interactive Detective File," something students are building for a character in the novel And Then There Were None). Thus far, students seem to be enjoying it. Attached is my model.
Brent Becker is an English teacher at Caldwell High. Please take a look at the exemplar Google Site that he put together as a model for his students as they created their project portfolios.
November 16th, 2020
From the classroom of Amber Powers at Canyon Springs High School
November 2nd, 2020
From the classroom of Mitch Dame at Syringa Middle School
Mitch Dame, a social studies teacher at Syringa, has been using NearPod as a self-paced, student engagement tool for months now. He created a lesson in NearPod that he used with students on the "First Day of School" in September when we entered the yellow, hybrid learning model that asked the students to share their experiences from remote learning, had them take a poll about their understanding of the new yellow schedule, and required them to take a short quiz about the contents of his lesson. If you are looking for ideas on how to use the NearPod materials or how to create your own lessons in this platform, Mitch says that he is happy to serve as a resource for Caldwell educators. Check out this sample lesson that he shared with us!
October 27th, 2020
From the classroom of Christine Wilcox at Washington Elementary School
Last week, my classes used a Quizlet deck to review their multiplication. I did not create it but it worked great. My 5th-Grade students are rusty when it comes to their multiplication facts, but they love Quizlet Live! If I had simply said, "let's study your math facts", I would likely have had some pushback. With Quizlet Live, I had everyone logged in and at least trying to master their math facts. I set up the strategy that if they missed it, pay attention to the right answer so when they could answer correctly the second or third time. Quizlet Live was created to use in teams, but they added an independent feature. Here's what Quizlet Live looked like in my room last week.
October 19th, 2020
From the classrooms of Jennifer Condel at Jefferson Middle School and Rachel Dahm at Syringa Middle School
Our fantastic middle school art teachers are using virtual clubs as a way to engage with lots of middle school students this fall. In a more traditional club setting, students have to stay after school and find rides or are limited by other activities that they participate in but moving Art Club to the digital world has allowed Jennifer and Rachel to grow their club to well over 140 students!
Their current creative exploration involves allowing the students to design and sell School Spirit Masks. Students download the digital mask template from their Art Club or they can stop by the art classrooms at both middle schools to pick up a paper template. Once the designs are done and submitted, students can purchase their own or their peers' artwork to be printed on a mask!
If you are interested in having your students participate in this project, or you would like to support the middle school Art Club by purchasing a mask, please contact Jenn or Rachel by email for details! Jenn and Rachel have provided a copy of the mask template below.
October 5th, 2020
From the classroom of Andi Arnold at Caldwell High School
October 1st, 2020
From the classroom of Jackie Nelms at Syringa Middle School
As we transition into yellow and are preparing a combination of synchronous and asynchronous lesson plans to meet the needs of the kids who are in our classrooms and the students who are doing at-home, distance learning, more and more teachers are exploring the concept of hyperdocs (or hyperslides) as a tool for that asynchronous component of our lessons! Jackie Nelms, physical education teacher at Syringa Middle School, decided to use this digital learning tool to help her PE students explore the 5 components of fitness at home. Her hyperdoc allows students to engage with her curriculum using a bunch of different technology platforms and gives them opportunities to show mastery in their own words. Jackie's students will watch videos, create their own Slide decks, record a Flipgrid video, use Google Docs for writing, connect with a reading assignment in Actively Learn, and even do a Drag-n-drop activity in Google Slides. Using a wide variety of Google Suite products lets her students take their physical fitness into the digital world when they cannot be physically present in her classroom. Thanks for showing us this beautiful beast, Jackie!
September 22nd, 2020
From the classroom of Brian Sullivan at Caldwell High School
Brian Sullivan, the health occupations teacher at Caldwell High, shared an uber user friendly guide to how his students are submitting work in his classroom this year! This is a great strategy for using Google Classroom to allow students to demonstrate evidence of their learning in a variety of ways. He remind us that things are a "bit western right now" and that "life is a dance, we too learn as we grow". Take a look at his slide deck and see if you can find a way to bridge a binary code world with a tactile classroom experience! Thanks, Brian!
September 7th, 2020
From the classroom of Dr. Alphonsina Savell at Jefferson Middle School
Many students - and teachers, if we’re being honest - have wondered at the purpose of having an Advisory class while in the remote learning environment. I personally wondered how it would go as my in-person advisory class results have been varied. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised to have a positive first class. For remote learning, our school decided to continue working on Social Emotional Learning skills.
In the last couple of years, JMS has been utilizing at least one day of the week in Advisory to conduct SEL lessons to help our students develop a healthier understanding of their emotional state and its impact on their academic endeavors. One of those lessons involves helping students use a Mood Meter. Thanks to the lovely Ms. Bonnie Mainord, we now have a digital, clickable mood meter to share with our students. Each word is linked to its definition in vocabulary.com, where students can hear the word, read the definition, and see it used in a sentence.
For my first advisory lesson, I wanted to share this with the class, but I also wanted to involve them in the process. So, I copied the mood meter into a new slide and shared editing permissions with my students. During our Live Session, I “assigned” the students a word from the mood meter. It was their job to find a visual to help us see the emotion listed. Sometimes, our students don’t even know where to begin when asked to describe how they are feeling, so adding a picture allows them the chance to connect what they are feeling to a visual representation. Most of them are used to using emojis, but for this activity, I asked them to make their visual an animal.
All of the students were working on the same slide together in real time. It was interesting to watch them as they chose images to include and moved them to their assigned words. While I only had a handful of my students attend the live session, those that did were engaged and enjoyed the activity. One student actually said those glorious words out loud, “This is fun!” What’s more, this is a living activity that we will be able to use throughout the year. Once all the animals are in place, this slide doesn’t disappear into a file of completed work. I’ll be able to use it as a weekly or daily check-in with my students to help them put words to how they’re feeling. As we have learned, sometimes, just giving something a name can help make it more manageable. And being able to communicate that feeling to an adult or peer is a powerful tool when it comes to being “learning ready.”
Bonus: The main activity itself can be replicated in any digital classroom. For younger students, pictures can already be placed in a “bank” at the top of the page. From there, they can drag the pictures to the correct location on the slide. Older students could use the insert picture tool, as mine did, to find their own visuals for new vocabulary. It could also be used in ELA to have students use book descriptions to “cast” their characters. Or science teachers could have students working together to build an image of a cell. Math could use this method to help students visualize story problems. There is a reason I have heard slides referred to as the “Swiss Army Knife” of the Google Suite. I plan to continue to put this tool to good use this year.