2 Truths & A Lie: State Style

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash.com

It’s no secret that I LOVE incorporating Google My Maps whenever and where ever I can in the classroom. So a teacher friend, Jennifer Stimpson (who is an AMAZINGLY inspirational scientist/teacher), thought it would be fun to get our classes to collaborate. She is a teacher in Texas and I teach in California. Our students come from drastically different backgrounds, which makes this project all the more appealing. We are going to play 2 Truths and A Lie: State Style.

In short, although the details have yet to be worked out, we will divide our classes into groups. Each group will be assigned a state in which, using Google My Maps, they will need to research the state and write 2 truths and 1 lie. They must cite their source and they may embed a video. This is phase 1.

Phase 2 will then see the teams working on another state, one the other class has completed, to find the 1 lie. Once the lie is found, it must be corrected and sources must be cited.

Finally, phase 3 the two classes will play either a Kahoot or Quizzizz game together. The idea is that students need to know the information for ALL 50 states, not just the ones they did. So students will have to work together, maybe digital notebooks, to study and learn.

We figured that this was way more fun than filling out a blank map of the U.S. What are your thoughts? How can we make it better? Want to join in on the fun? Here is the link to our document with a few more details.

Biggest, BEST Fail of the Day

Yesterday I wrote about the MLK Hyperdoc my students are doing this week. Today we discovered that at least one other class is using it. While doing their work today, a student approached me asking, “Who are some of these people?” My student was on the MLK Padlet doing their assignment. I looked, and sure enough, there were names on it of students who weren’t in our classroom or school.

When I shared the Hyperdoc I forgot to unlink the padlet and make a note to create your own padlet. The other teacher must not have thought about it either.

padlet-1I got pretty excited about this. THIS makes their learning even more relevant. They now have a chance to talk with another class somewhere in the US. I encouraged my students to answer questions and check out what the other students had written. Some were silly (a string of letters) and my students were disturbed by this. Which I took as a compliment. This means they know what I expect from them and that that sort of Internet activity isn’t acceptable. My students then began answering questions and reading the information.

This was such a GREAT learning opportunity for them (and me). So yes, my Padlet is a ‘hot mess’, but a wonderful ‘hot mess’!

Mini BreakoutEDU Games

This week I wanted a fun review of the objectives that we have learned in Math thus far. So my ‘brilliant’ idea was to create 5 mini BreakoutEDU games for the students to rotate through. I have 5 tables groups, thus the 5 mini games. I went through our math program and copied some challenge problems for the students to solve. I gave them 5 minutes to complete each game.

img_4672Yes, one of the breakout boxes is a backpack! This was their first exposure to BreakoutEDU. At first, they thought it was going to be easy. A few decided that they would just ‘mess’ with the locks. They soon figured out, it wasn’t so easy!

So during the first round, only 1 of the 5 groups was successful. The other groups were disappointed that they didn’t succeed. I also think they thought it would be much easier than it was. The next round was a bit more successful: 2 groups succeeded. I even had one group that went 3-2 for games. All in all, 11 of the 25 games were successful. Not bad for our first try.

At one point, one of the groups that hadn’t cracked any locks asked if we were going to do it again on Monday. I was a bit nervous that the lack of success with this group (based on the kids in the group) was proving to be discouraging. However, when I answered no they were disappointed that they WEREN’T doing it again on Monday! They went on to tell me how much fun it was! This will be happening again this year.

TLC Ninja Podcast

TLC Logo v3I’m so excited to see this come to fruition! For quite some time, I’ve been wanting to start a Podcast. I LOVE the idea of sharing, communicating, and collaborating with others. So a while back, I contacted @CoffeeNancy (Nancy Minicozzi) about joining forces on this. And she agreed!

Yesterday, we taped our first podcast (using Blab – this is where you can see us too, total bonus!). We’re even in iTunes! Now do you see why I’m so stoked? We’re totally legit!

So the premise is that you, the audience, decide what is discussed. What do you want to know more about? Want to talk about something awesome YOU are doing? We also intend to keep it short and sweet. We all have busy schedules, so our podcasts will be no longer than 15 minutes.

How do you join in on the fun? Go to TLC.Ninja (yes, our domain is .ninja – that’s how awesome is this?). You can listen to us here, see when our next podcast is taping, and contact us with YOUR ideas. We will normally be on Blab (even if you just want to watch us live) every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month at 7 pm pst (unless otherwise stated). The podcast will be available on iTunes by the following Wednesday.

Join us next Monday (8:15 pm pst) when we talk to Tracy Walker, a CUE LeRoy Finkel Fellowship Finalist, about her ‘BIG’ idea.

Lesson Plans & Google Calendar

I know this is not revolutionary, but while reflecting this break, I thought I’d try out using Google Calendar as a lesson planner. There are a few reasons why I chose to do so.

  • I’m terrible with lesson plans. I keep them in my head. Then when I need to share what I’m doing, I have to remember then write it all down.
  • This will help me stay on task and organized.
  • It’s really not that hard to set up.
  • Since it’s in a calendar, I can easily see what weeks are short, which days are minimum, and so on.
  • Since it’s in Google Calendar, I can easily share the calendar or event(s) with various people.
    • Now the Resource (Special Ed) teacher doesn’t have to hound me about what I’m doing. Bless her for putting up with my ‘organization’.
    • I can easily share, therefore making collaboration that much easier.
    • My partner teacher can add details and we can have a cohesive program.
    • If I’m out and forget to leave lesson plans, anyone with access can quickly see what I’m doing. Still debating if I should make it open or restrict it to people who could help in a situation like that.

So here’s what I did. First, I created a new calendar  and named it ‘Lessons’. Then I created an event for each section of my day and made sure it was created in the ‘Lessons’ calendar.



Remembering to make sure each event was repeated 5 days a week until the end of the school year.


Now you can share your ‘Event’ with someone. Select ‘Save’ to save the event.


And this is what my January looks like:


To add details to a subject/day, simply click the subject on the desired day and select ‘edit event’. Then add the details. So Monday, January 11 I will do the following in Math: