Monday, September 28, 2015

Make Videos with WeVideo

One of our special education teachers made the video above using WeVideo.  First off I should say we flip for not just mainstreamed students, but also special ed and ESOL (ESL) students.

WeVideo is an app that you can add in Google Drive or sign up for separately.  As with everything else here, it is free and pretty amazing as it lets you add in sound, video, words, effects, etc.  Best of all, you can use it with your students in groups as it lets them collaborate much as one can do on a document in Google Drive.

Below is an introductory video on WeVideo and here are all their (short) tutorials

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Complete AP Econ Course - Videos, Problems, Solutions

So AndrewFoos is a teacher in my district who created his own videos, put together textbook problems and their answers and even videotaped the answers for some of the harder ones.  I used his work last year and was very please with the results.  I should add that I do add some ACDC videos and some I made myself, but Foos' stuff is a great place to start. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Strive for a Five - Full Length Free AP Econ Exams

StriveForaFive is a teacher run website that has two full length AP Microeconomics and two AP Macroeconomics exams that students and teachers can take and receive free feedback all for the princely sum of $0.00!

They are looking for donations to keep the site open for another year if you like what you see on it.   You can go here to make contributions.   

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chromebook Shortcuts

So last Friday the two wonderful SBTS (school based technology specialists) in my building delivered thirty Chromebooks to my classroom.  We spent about 20 minutes logging in and then connecting to the two WiFi accounts that we have at school.  I was surprised first by the number of kids who hadn't heard of them and then later by the number who said they liked them so much they were going to looking into buying their own.  My favorite comment came from a young man who said he no longer had time to text in between going from webpage to webpage.  Yes they are lightening fast.

So I promise to blog about using Chromebooks this year and will start with what I mentioned in class today which is the list of shortcuts that you can use on the laptops.

By the way if you are like some of my students and haven't heard about Chromebooks then you should know that they are a very cheap, but high quality laptop ($200-250 is where most fall for school needs).  The ones we have are sturdy and from signing in to being on a webpage is less than ten seconds.  There is some space for downloading, but not enough room to run programs that require java script.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

New Voice Typing for Google Docs

It takes a bit of getting used to, but you can say things like "new paragraph," or "exclamation" and it will do them in addition to regular old typing on your Google Drive documents.  I found this on Google+ from Carlos Guerrrevo

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Grading and Returning Student Work in Google Classroom

I am going to be testing Google Classroom this year so will be putting tutorials in how to use it this year.  Above is a great video I found on the International Educators IT Leadership and Integration page on Facebook.   The video takes you through all of the grading steps and options.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Back to School Night

Our Back to School Night is next week.  As a precursor I give my parents this message to watch and a Google Form to fill out.  I then begin with the questions and have plenty of time to answer any and all of the questions the parents have about our class.

You can create your own using and this tutorial.  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Doodle to Schedule Meetings

Last week I used Doodle to figure out when my department should have its fall party.   Our count's online teachers also use it to determine what time is best for our weekly chats with students.  The great thing is that you do not need to join, but do need to give them an email.

By the way I have a junk email that I use when signing up for new things out there to make sure I like them (since you can always change your email later).  This helps to cut down on the emails you receive and don't really want.

Doodle sends a link (such as this one my department used) which allows users to identify themselves and then to select a time that would be useful.  It certainly is much easier than sending a bunch of emails and quicker than creating a Google Drive form.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Categorizing Released FRQs

We all know that the College Board has released all of the FRQs for micro and macro, but Jacob Clifford has created a great chart so you can see each type of micro and macro question and decide what you are going to use in class.  He also has micro and macro tutorials on many of the questions (one is above).  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Effective Classroom Methodology

As I begin a new school year - my 25th,  (my student have their first day on Tuesday) I always like to reflect on what setup (beyond the physical part) is best for my students.  So

  • Hip (Keith Hughes) has a great list of what is most important in the classroom starting with setting up an engaging classroom which lead inevitably to better classroom management.  My favorite on his list, though, is to be a little cray cray.    Teaching is like any good relationship. The more fun the teacher is having, usually the more fun the students are having.  The list isn't something you don't know, but it is good to hear it and make sure you are following each item. 
  • If you are a new teacher, look at Keith's rules for new teachers.  
  • Here is a great list of the elements of an effective classroom 
  • If you want to see some research on what goes into a good classroom going as far as the necessary light (hello 70s era schools without windows!) then go here for a great overview. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rewordify to Simplify Readings

In my World History I ESOL classes I have usually have 25 kids who have been in the US less than four years and half who have been here just two years of fewer.  So one thing I use is Google Translate when I am trying to get them to learn to write (they write in their native language and then translate it to English as the writing part is more important than the English part).  But there are also lots of words or even combination of words that make it tough to read a textbook or newspaper.  So for those (if they are done electronically), one option is to use Rewordify which literally simplifies what one is reading.