Hanging Out with an Artist in 2nd Grade

2nd grade students chat with artist

When Amy Eibler,  2nd grade teacher at SES, wanted to teach her students about critical thinking, she turned to apples.

Mrs. Eibler’s students studied apples to attempt to look at them differently. Over the course of the first few weeks of school, her class studied different artists who create with different perspectives. Then she asked her students to draw an apple from the perspective of that artist. They drew Picasso apples, Monet apples, Matisse apples, and Kandinsky apples. Mrs. Eibler wanted to teach her class that there are a lot of unique ways to solve a problem, just like there are a lot of unique ways to look at an apple.

To cap off her study of apples and perspective, she asked her friend, artist Beck Seashols to video in her class to talk about art with her students. Mrs. Eibler and a technology coach used her document camera and Google Hangouts to meet with the artist, who lives in Virginia. The students met with the artist for about 30 minutes, where they were able to see some of her art and ask questions about being an artist.

Mrs. Eibler hopes to reference this lesson throughout the school year.  She hopes that students will remember the apples when they have to solve a complex math problem or interpret the meaning in a story. This lesson on critical thinking and problem solving was a great way to encourage students to reach out of their comfort zones and think abstractly.

2nd grade students chat with an artist

Do you want some help integrating technology in your classroom? Reach out to Dan Stitzel or Molly Klodor or sign up for us to come to you!

Improving Communication with Guardian Summaries

google classroom setup flyer

The  year is underway and you’ve set up your Google Classroom. That’s great! Now it’s time to take it to the next level. While teachers and students have access to Google Classroom, parents do not. Give parents and guardians access to Google Classroom in a few quick steps!

  1. In Google Classroom, select the People tab
  2. Next to each student, add the guardian’s email address. You can find the addresses in TAC
  3. Click Invite

That’s it! Now parents can receive daily or weekly summaries of their student’s work in ALL of their classes! And if a guardian has more than one student, the guardian will receive one email with all of their information. Parents can see their student’s missing work, any upcoming assignments, and the announcements you make. It’s a great way to stay connected!

Check out this flyer you can share with parents to help them get started:

google classroom setup flyer

Use Google Docs to Support ESL and ELL Students

I was recently having a conversation with a friend who has a student that just moved to The United States from a Spanish speaking country. As I listened to my friend tell me how they were copying and pasting worksheets and documents (line-by-line) into Google Translator to help this student, I almost feared to tell them the following statement: You can translate an ENTIRE document in Google Docs with just six simple clicks of a mouse.  Here’s how…

Click 1: Open the document you want to translate.

Click 2: “Tools”

Click 3: “Translate document…”

Click 4: “Choose a language”

Click 5: The language you are translating the document to.

Click 6: “Translate”

After the final click, a new document will open with your original document completely translated!

¡Espero que esto ayude!

Cultural Connections – Learn About Fika, a Swedish Tradition

Standards Connection

Ohio’s Social Studies Standards, grade 2

  • CS 8: Cultures develop in unique ways, in part through the influence of the physical environment.
  • CS 9: Interactions among cultures lead to sharing ways of life.

What is fika?

via http://www.swedishfood.com/fika

Fika is often translated as “a coffee and cake break”, which is kind of correct, but really it is much more than that.

Fika is a concept, a state of mind, an attitude and an important part of Swedish culture. Many Swedes consider that it is almost essential to make time for fika every day. It means making time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat. Continue reading “Cultural Connections – Learn About Fika, a Swedish Tradition”

Improve Literacy with Read&Write

Have you noticed a little purple puzzle piece decorated with the letters “rw” appear while you are navigating on Google Chrome? That puzzle piece is the Read&Write Google Extension that has been added to all Chromebooks, grades k-12, in the Streetsboro City Schools.

So, what does this extension do? Read&Write is a software created by Texthelp that offers the support that many students need with their reading and writing.  This tool has over 80 features that help student literacy including text-to-speech, a picture dictionary, translators, and various study skill aides.

To learn more about how you can maximize usage of Read&Write in your classroom, click on the following links for resources from Texthelp.

Read&Write Introductory Video

How-To Guide for Students

Read&Write Accommodates Every Learning Style

How To Create A Dynamic Reading Experience

Psst…Math teachers… Don’t feel left out!  Texthelp also has a math program, Equatio. To learn more, click here!

Thinglink your Images

thinglink

So many of my students find it easier to explain their understanding with pictures than with words. My challenge, though, is that I don’t always understand what they might be trying to say with those images. Thinglink is a content platform that allows students to upload photos and add annotations. Those annotations can be text, images, links, other images, and much more. Thinglink images can then be shared via Google Classroom or added to Google Sites or other platforms. It’s a powerful tool that’s easy to use!

Image result for thinglink images

Kahoot Floods

Kahoot

I often use Kahoot to review with my students. My classes love the game and request that we play to help prepare for our assessments. So when a request came in to use Kahoot to review for an assessment, I was happy to oblige.

In my class of 10 students, suddenly there were 200 people playing this Kahoot. How?

Bots.

A student in my class went to a spam site and inserted the game code, then we were playing with my 10 students and 200 of our closest robots.

But don’t despair, it’s easy to keep bots from playing your games. In your game setup, where you choose to play in Classic Mode or Team Mode, scroll down to turn on “Enable 2-Step Join.” It will require players to answer an additional question before they can join the game. Now you can play without worry!

Kahoot 2 step join

Design Better with Canva

A few years ago, I made an independent reading project assignment for students to create a poster for their book. In response, I received a good handful of posters that consisted of plain white copy paper, some stick figures, and poorly-drawn speech bubbles. While the content was good, the execution was weak. I knew I needed to retool the assignment to elicit better work from my students. In search of this better assignment, I stumbled upon Canva.

Canva is an online graphic design tool that allows creators to build beautiful designs. I use Canva as a tool for students to present their work in a more engaging way. Students can sign in with their Google accounts and jump right in to creating a design. Canva has several templates to choose from, or students can work on a blank document and build their own. Canva designs can be collaborative, a feature that isn’t true of many design platforms. I use Canva to make better syllabi, more engaging slides, and easy-to-follow infographics.

Canva is free to use, but has quite a few premium features. I find that teaching students to avoid those premium features is an important learning tool, especially because it’s a lesson I’ve had to remind myself of many times. The drag-and-drop style of Canva makes it so easy to use, that every design I’ve made using Canva has looked good.

If you’re trying to find a way to make more engaging and interesting designs for your content, look no further than Canva!