Google Classroom: Guardians

One of the biggest pitfalls of Google Classroom, in the beginning, was that parents and/or guardians didn’t have access. This meant they didn’t know what about missing work, class activity, or upcoming work. That all changed this school year when Google announced the option to sign Guardians up in Google Classroom. Now, once Guardians are signed up, they will receive a weekly email summary. Read for more information for Guardians.

Teachers, take advantage of this and add another way to connect with your families.

Go to your Classroom and select the middle tab option marked ‘Students’. Then select the ‘Invite Guardian’ option next to each student.

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To invite the guardian(s), type their email address to invite them. If there is more than 1 guardian needing the information, no problem, simply choose the ‘Add Another’ choice before selecting ‘Invite’.

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Guardians will receive an email inviting them to receive weekly emails. They will have 120 days to accept the invitation. Guardians can read more about it here.

After ‘experimenting’ with one parent, the student commented in class that his mom saw his work and liked what he had written. As a guardian, the parent couldn’t access the student account so the student signed in to show the parent his work. However, this was a great opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about what he did in school that week!

Google Docs: Emojis

Last week, my students were writing an essay in their Google Docs. In the middle of writing, one student asked, “Hey, Ms. N., did you know you can insert emojis in docs?”

I was surprised and answered, “Wait, what? No? Really? Cool. Show me how.” So I went over to her table and she showed me. Pretty cool!emoji-1

So how’d she do it?

Start by going to ‘Insert’ in the menu options

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Choose the desired emoji and viola! You have an emoji in your doc. Now, what if we had students summarizing stories with just emojis?!

Thank you to my student, Johanna, for spreading her knowledge!

 

Ninja Selfies

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-6-31-33-pmLate last week we had CELDT testing for some students. This meant that I had several students who were NOT being tested. This meant that I really couldn’t start something new as too many students would be out. Okay, so what to do? Well, make Ninja Selfies of course!

Taking a page out of Tracy Walker‘s book, I had my students create Ninjas. My partner in crime, – in podcast crime – Nancy Minicozzi, created a tutorial on how we created our Ninjas as our logo for T.L.C. – Tech. Learn. Coffee podcast. It was a BIG hit.

It was not only fun, but they learned a trick or two. Check out their creations. I had 2 classes do this. And with their permission here are their Ninjas:


No Rules!

Last week was the first day of school for my district. I went through many of the first day rituals: greeting my students, introducing myself, identifying specific areas in the classroom, you know, all the usual. In the past, I have given the students the power to create classroom rules. But not this year! This year I allowed them to create Classroom Norms. I know, not so different. This year, I was completely hands off. I tasked them with working as a table group (I have 5) to list 2-3 norms they wanted for the year. I was happy to see that most were positive: listen to others, help, raise your hand, etc.

After a few minutes, I had the students sharing out what their table came up with. THEN, I asked each table to choose their favorite. They then created an illustration in Google Draw of their Norm. This was a sneaky way of me registering my students into a specific Google Classroom.

I split each table in half so that I would have 2 illustrations of each Classroom Norm. I then only allowed 2 people at each table to use their computers to create the illustrations. The results?

Draw Norm (beginning of year) Through this process, I was able to monitor relations, collaborative skills, leadership skills, attitudes, creativity, computer skills, and so much more. Now we have these great posters hanging in our room. It truly is their classroom!

Breakdown of the Process:

  1. Work in table groups to create 2-3 norms for the classroom for the year.
  2. Share out with class.
  3. Have each table group choose their #1 norm.
  4. Write down all #1 ideas on board.
  5. Split each group into smaller groups (in 1/2).
  6. Using Google Draw, the smaller groups (2-3 students) then create 1 illustration of their norm.

The teacher’s only role is to monitor students and print out the results.

Homework: We STILL Hate It

homework [url=https://flic.kr/p/r6shHf][img]https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8610/16470630808_ff856fd3bc_z.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/r6shHf]”I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” – Author Unknown[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/life-long-learners/]Brian Metcalfe[/url], on Flickr

 

I’ve been thinking more about Homework and why I hate it so much. Then, I began to look at it from different standpoints: teacher, student, parent.

Why Teachers Hate Homework

No, I do NOT speak for all teachers. In fact, I know several teachers who advocate homework. This is a collection of reasons I have heard several teachers make:

  • The parents end up doing it for the kids.
  • We have to take time out of our learning day to correct it.
  • The same kids consistently DON’T complete the homework. It becomes a (losing) battle.
  • If we don’t correct it together, I have to take time out to do this menial task.
  • [at middle school] One kid does the homework and their friends copy it before school starts.
  • [at middle school] The kids stopped hiding the fact that they copy it.
  • The kids who need the practice either don’t do it or do it wrong.
  • The kids who don’t need the practice do it – what a waste of time for them.

Why Students Hate Homework

Yes, there are some students who like homework.

  • It’s boring
  • Who wants to do a worksheet?
  • It’s too hard and there is no one at home to help them.
  • They are in charge of younger siblings.
  • They may have several responsibilities to do once they get home.
  • They’d rather be playing (wouldn’t we all?)
  • It’s not meaningful.

Some other points I thought of:

  • Not all students have a home to complete their work.
  • Not all homes have a quiet space to complete work.
  • This is an intrusion on family time. As a teacher, I get upset when a parent tries to intrude in my area (classroom).
  • If I were to work all day, like the students do, and then were asked to go home and do more work on my time, I’d be a bit put-out.

Why Parents Hate Homework

Yes, there are some parents who request more (and I have my own thoughts on that).

  • It becomes a nightly battle.
  • There is yelling, screaming, and crying. Who wants that in their home?
  • It can take ‘forever’
  • Everyone is tired when they get home.
  • You have to find the ‘right’ time to do homework.
  • There is always something to do – ballet, baseball, etc.
  • It’s frustrating
  • The higher kids get more homework

Thank you to Amy (Jenkins) Shwartzhoff for her insight from the parent perspective.