Notes & Voice Typing

pexels-photo-355988.jpegMy students constantly amaze me. They come up with great ideas and are innovators in their own right. Not only do I enjoy hearing their thoughts and ideas, often times we implement them in our classroom. I also feel fortunate enough that my students feel comfortable enough to share their ideas with me; knowing they will be taken seriously and not ridiculed.

Recently, one of my resource students (one with an IEP for both reading and math) created her own accommodation. We have been reading Tuck Everlasting and using a Hyperdoc to help guide us. While discussing one of the slides in the Hyperdoc, I noticed that the student had written some notes in the ‘Speaker Notes’ section. I found this interesting. It also made me a bit giddy as she was taking full advantage of our discussions. I privately talked to her about taking notes to tell her how impressed I was with her choice. She then revealed that she put on ‘Voice Typing’ during the conversation in order to capture everything that was said. Not going to lie, THIS really impressed me. Honestly, not sure I would have thought to do something like this.

student using voice typing

Later, I shared with the class what the student had done. Expressing how I felt it was a good use of technology, but shared with them my expectation that if they used this strategy, it is to be used as a means of note taking and all responses should be in their own words.

The next day, we were discussing the events that took place at Lexington and Concord – studying the American Revolution. At one point a group of students had ‘bug eyes’, began giggling, and pointing to their computer screens. I walked over to find out what was so entertaining. Sure enough, someone in their group had turned on ‘Voice Typing’ to capture the information. All I thought was, “Go kiddos!”

Custom Slides Size

I love slides and the flexibility I have with them. I have been using them more and more, in the classroom, for something other than Presentations.  I recently wrote how my students were using them to take collaborative notes. I have also used them as assessments in math and more recently as a version of Hyperdocs. One advantage to using Google Slides is that I have the capability to customize the size of the slide. This means if I want to make it the size of an 8.5 x 11 in paper and print it out, I can. Here’s how:

When open in Slides, go to ‘File’ on the Menu bar and select ‘Page Setup’:


This will open a pop-out window. The default is ‘Widescreen 16:9’. Select the dropdown menu and find ‘Custom’.slides-page-setup-2

This will prompt another window which will ask the size you want. The default is inches but can be changed to centimeters, points, or pixels. Once you have your desired size, select the blue ‘OK’ button. And viola, you will have your custom size. slides-page-size-3slides-page-size-4


Martin Luther King, Jr.

This week we went back to school, after 3 weeks off. My partner teacher and I decided to start book studies on the 17th which left us wide open for this week. Well, we have Benchmark Assessments (I know, who does those the first week back from a break? Apparently, my district). This got me excited. I never feel like there is enough time to study some of the important people and events in our history. That’s when I decided to create a Hyperdoc! I have fallen in love with the model. It’s work on my end in the beginning, but so worth it! The experience and learning are so much richer for the students.

I have shared this out with my PLN and some might be using it. This is what we want! Sharing really is caring. As my students were working on it today, one came up to me and showed me that there were 3 ‘anonymous’ animals on one of the required documents. I said yes, that makes sense since I shared it. He was confused. I explained to him that others were looking for an MLK Hyperdoc and I shared the one I created. He was satisfied with the answer and walked away.

I LOVE that I can model a collaborative mindset for my students. They know I find Hyperdocs and activities online (and am sure to point out the author and give credit even when they don’t know the person). This is what I want my students to do in the future; reach out to others online to create better products and help one another.

If you’d like to use the MLK Hyperdoc, go for it and feel free to pass it along. Sharing really is creating a caring world!

Finding Your Learning Style – FTW

This week in Social Studies I have students using a Hyperdoc to research information on the Great Plains Indians (the information is then recorded on a Google My Map). This is the 3rd installment in a 4 part study series. In the first 2, I told the students to only use the information provided. I intentionally incorporated videos  as a part of their resources knowing that this learning style suits some of my students better. However, this time, I left off any video resources and added the task of finding at least one of their own resources. They are to record information and the search query used.

Then this happened…


I know what you’re thinking, “Uh, huh. A student found a video and is taking notes. Um, wasn’t that the assignment?” And yes, yes it was. BUT…this is no ordinary student. This is the student that has declared (several times), “I hate reading! Don’t make me read. I’m not reading anything!” This is the student that will play around in order to NOT do work – I suspect much of it is too difficult for Student X. This is the same student that can’t sit still for more than 30 seconds. YET, after Student X stopped freaking out that I didn’t include a video and realized they could look one up, Student X then sat for 40 MINUTES watching the video and taking notes…away from the group…working the entire time.

THIS is what happens when we give students the Freedom to learn in a style that best suits them. Student X knew what style worked best for him/her. Student X researched and learned the necessary material in order to support the group project.

This was a HUGE win!