Differentiated Instruction with Google Slides

I just watched Dave Burgess at #METC17 and it challenged me to go back through my lessons again and Pirate the heck out of them. And even though we want engaging lessons that kids want to learn, there does come a time, especially in math, when they need to practice. I  don’t think all students should practice the same thing. Some need more and some need less and some need something completely different. On these days we use differentiated lessons in Google Slides. I recently created two new ones (well, one was created by my amazing student teacher) that I will be using next week. Eventually, I’ll have an arsenal of these to use.

The idea behind these activities is to give each group of students a lesson and practice they need to be working on but allows them some independence so I, as the teacher, can walk around and have conversations with students.

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I used to assign all of them in Google Classroom and just tell each group which ones they will be working on but with Google Classroom’s new update, you can now assign separate slides to kids in the same class. I KNOW! Game Changer!!!

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Remember that all files are set to view only but if you File-Make a Copy then it’s yours. Alter as needed for your kiddos but if you share, please credit me.

Enjoy!

Categories: differentiation, Factoring, Google Sheets, Parallel & Perpendicular | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bitmojis in the Classroom

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If you’re not familiar with Bitmojis, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! It’s you in an avatar with a ton of different sayings and situations. It’s an app you can download (iOs & Android) and a very user friendly Chrome extension.

It is fun, but it also has a TON of applications in the classroom. Since it integrates with Chrome so well, you can drag your bitmoji into most Google Apps as feed back for students.

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Sometimes my students leave me “suggested” feedback through Bitmojis as well. a

I recently used Bitmojis to enhance my Superhero Transformations activity for Geometry. It was a HUGE hit!

This idea came from a discussion with the AMAZING Sylvia Duckworth. I’ve included her slide deck full of ideas as well. My example is on there but so are a ton of other amazing examples of how to use Bitmoji comics.

Here is the example I gave my students. We also had a quick exploratory lesson about how to transform the Bitmojis through the arrange menu (or 2 finger click or key command) and a quick lesson on how to crop and mask images.

I was even more impressed after my students submitted their projects.

Example 1     Example 2    Example 3   Template to create your own (make a copy to edit it)

I created some examples for my non-math friends when I presented this to my school. How about a comic in a foreign language, or a political cartoon?

Now if you are a fan of Snapchat, you probably already know that Bitmojis are sticker options inside of it. You can also send “together” bitmojis in a message.

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me & my daughter

Tara Martin shared her idea about using Snapchat and bitmojis with book selections and a new hashtag was born – #booksnaps. You take a pic of a book selection you like, annotate & add your bitmoji. Read about it on Tara’s blog here.

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And if you don’t want to open the world of Snapchat in your classroom, this can be done through Google Drawing or Google Slides.

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A quick disclaimer on Bitmoji, there are a few that are not school appropriate. This isn’t any different from anything else you find online. Talk to your students about using Bitmoji responsibly and open up a whole new world for them.

Follow me on snapchat if you would like. image-1

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Categories: Bitmoji, Geometry, technology | Tags: , | Leave a comment

I’m A Google Innovator

This post has been in draft format for quite some time. Not because I didn’t have a lot to say (this post is crazy long) but because by writing it I feel like my Innovator Academy time comes to an end. I loved spending 3 days with people who share a similar vision and drive to make education better. We encouraged, supported & challenged (and continue to) each other and made connections and friendships that we can always call on. At the end of the 3 days I could say, “I am a Google Innovator,” but those words will never be able to describe the experience.

The Innovator Journey:

On the morning of Oct 5 I got up at 3:15 and headed to KCI. I had a connecting flight in Detroit, and that was the last stop where I had data. I was a little uneasy about landing in Toronto and making my way to the hotel. Luckily, Brian, a fellow innovator, had noticed that we were arriving around the same time and had arranged a ride with Andy, another innovator who lives just north of Toronto. Andy picked us up (after we figured out which terminal we were actually in) and drove us to downtown Toronto.

We arrived at the Hotel and got checked in. I was starving and thankfully Brian and Andy were willing to humor me and search for food. Andy was the only one with data (Brian and I could only use wifi) so he was directing us to a burger place. When we got there, a Poutinerie sign was behind it. We had talked about poutine in our GHO so, of course, we had to eat there. Andy messaged the group and more Innovators showed up. For a group of people who had never met before, we had conversations like we had been life long friends.

After a quick stop at a pop-up Luke’s coffee shop (thanks to Rachel), it was time to head back to the hotel so we could go to Google.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was very excited. When we arrived at Google, we were greeted with balloons and a table with name tags. We were early because we were all excited.

 

We all grabbed our name tags and were taken upstairs. After visiting with each other, our coaches and program managers introduced themselves and then our Canadian friends had a hilarious dance introduction for us.

We found our groups and headed to our BreakOut rooms. Our fearless coach was Jeff Humphries and since he planned the Breakout, we go to do it first. The JAMMRS (our group name) broke out, of course :-), and then we went to share our own personal Breakouts. This was one of my favorite times, getting to know our group members through their clues and stories. Andy and Marcus ended up having the same answer to two different riddles. It was an amazing moment.

We ate a terrific meal together and hung out on the balcony while we discussed our group cheer and song for graduation. Some decided to go out after we returned to the hotel, but I had been up since 3:15 so I CRASHED.

The next morning we met for breakfast and then hit the ground running. We had so many amazing Sparks and Sprints through out the day to motivate us, inspire us, and focus us with our Innovator project. Our coaches were fantastic as they each brought their own unique gifts with them. We had amazing team building activities that also had an application to our project. Juggling was one of my favorites even though I never mastered it.

We used more sticky notes that I could imagine thanks to Les McBeth and the design thinking process. It really helped me focus my thoughts for my project.

 

All of our coaches were amazing. It was great to meet and sketchnote with Sylvia Duckworth. Donnie Piercey made me laugh with his awkward muffins. Rafranz Davis helped me create my story and Sandra Chow gave me very helpful feedback on my project and encouraged me every day.  Jeff Humphries was the best group leader (maybe I’m a bit biased) and kept our slightly ADD group on track. I didn’t work much with Afzal, but he was an encouraging presence. Our group leaders, Michelle, Wendy, Mark & Becky, were funny and amazing and I loved getting to know them.

When it was over, I was exhausted, my brain hurt a little, and I was sad to be leaving this new family. We are still connecting through GHO and Slack. We are still encouraging each other. I have followed my new family on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and G+. I know I can call on any of these people and they would help. I can’t wait to see how this fantastic group of people change the face of education and I am honored to be counted as one of them.

I AM A GOOGLE INNOVATOR!

Categories: Google EI, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Google for Education Innovator #TOR16

I was chosen as a Google Innovator. I’m still in shock, super excited, and a little crazy getting plane tickets, hotel & expediting a passport (don’t let those suckers expire!)

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I shared my vision video in a previous post. I’m so excited to be working on a project that will make math suck less (I was more eloquent in my project proposal!) I hope Twitter and blog readers are ready because I plan to take you along for the ride.

I’ll be in Toronto Oct 5-7 to meet our cohort. I can’t wait to collaborate with this amazing group of educators!

I need to give a huge shout out to some folks:

  • my husband Jason (@jasontolen), who encourages me to go after my dreams and supports me every step of the journey.
  • Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) who read my whole application and gave me wonderful feedback.
  • Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) who told me to scrap my first idea and go with my true passion. She was right, the first draft was crap!
  • Shaelynn Farnsworth (@sfarnsworth) who told me this summer that my ideas were good enough and cheered me on along the way.
  • My Algebra 1 team at school who listens to my crazy enthusiasm for Twitter PLNs, project ideas, and edu-heroes & always tries my new ideas.

I just had visions of the Academy Awards: “I’d like to thank the Academy…”

To say I’m excited would be a gross misrepresentation of my enthusiasm level. I can’t believe I get to do this and I know I will come out on the other end a better teacher.

Categories: Google EI, ramblings | Tags: | Leave a comment

Googlefied Scientific Notebooks

Is that a word? Googlefied? My word editor says no, but we are using it anyway. I shared this idea this summer when I conducted PD sessions for schools.

Let me start by saying I am not for 100% paperless. There are many studies that support the need to write and draw for learning. AND, I love me some sketchnotes! But one purpose of using technology is to do things we couldn’t before. You can incorporate so many things into a digital scientific notebook that you either couldn’t do or wouldn’t be easy to do in a regular one. Images of experiments, embedded spreadsheets & graphs, including images from research. The other reason I love a digital INB is for the digital portfolio aspect. What an amazing evidence of learning that is easily sharable with the world. I created a short example using Google Slides (probably my favorite app – I might say that about all of them!) You may freely use it for ideas and adapt it for your needs.

Notice this is 8.5 x 11. You can resize Google Slides by going to File – Page Set Up. I selected a size that could be printed, which also made it easy for me to adapt some of the files I already had.

You may make a copy of the INB here. Please let me know if you find this useful. You can always follow me on Twitter: @TTmomTT

Categories: Google Sheets, interactive notebooking | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Zombie Lines

This is one of those proud moments. The moments when someone has observed you doing something and then goes and does it themselves. My colleague Tessah is a 3rd year teacher, and quite amazing at what she does. She has watched me create & share math activities with GAFE for the past two years. She even created some of her own last year. She found this zombie activity online as a paper copy and after collaborating with our Algebra 1 group decided we could practice our online graphing skills. She did an amazing job creating this digital version. She used the font Zombie Salad from dafont.com, also a habit she picked up from me. I asked her permission to post it here and she was very willing to share (maybe another habit from?).

Tolen Zombie Graphing (1)

It was created on Google Slides, probably my most favorite Google App because of it’s versatility.

Here’s the finished product. Sorry for those of you who don’t give your students the solutions.

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Feel free to use this activity with your students. You may make a copy of this slide here. Please let Tessah & I know if you like her activity. It makes us happy when people use our stuff.

Categories: Google Sheets, online graphing | Tags: | 3 Comments

I applied to be a Google Innovator

I submitted my application today to be a Google Innovator. It’s been a goal of mine for a while now. My vision is to change how we teach using technology, to get away from the factory model of sit and get. Here’s my vision:

I want classrooms full of thinkers, collaborators, & risk-takers, who have an internal drive to learn, create, and contribute to the world, not robots who just follow instructions. The world wants innovation, so let’s send them students who have the skills to innovate.

250 characters is VERY challenging. I know the sentence is choppy but wow 250 characters! I hope the selection committee takes that into consideration!

My solution is to change how we teach math using Google Expedition and Google Sheets. I worked with Alice Keeler this summer and helped her create the first lesson about functions while climbing El Capitan. Then I began a second one. This one is based on an expedition to a Tanzanian manure farm while exploring rearranging formulas. The lesson is titled: This Lesson is Poop.

This isn’t the completed spreadsheet activity, but it’s a good start and will give you an idea about what the spreadsheet lessons will look like that will accompany the expedition.

Other than the expedition part (teacher guided), the lesson is student directed and self-paced. It allows the teacher to ask students individualized questions and guide their learning instead of direct instructing.

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Make a copy of spreadsheet here.

I will be working with Alice to finish the spreadsheet in September. August was crazy busy and slowed my progress on it. I will post the final product here whether I get accepted or not. I think this type of math lesson is important and I will continue working on them when I can. I REALLY hope I am awarded one of the grants I’ve applied for so I can get a Google Expedition classroom set! Right now I don’t have the supplies to do this with my students.

I also had a lot of fun making the Video to go along with my application. I hope it conveys my message.

Categories: Google EI, Google Expedition, Google Sheets | Tags: | 1 Comment

Order of Operations with Google Sheets

I look for real reasons for why we use math. Students can spot BS from a mile away, probably because it STINKS! A few years ago, I realized that a spreadsheet was a great way to explore order of operations. We have to tell technology how we want it to process numbers. If we don’t, technology defaults to the basic rules of math, order of operations.

While reading Jo Boaler’s book, Mathematical Mindset (if you haven’t read it, get a copy RIGHT NOW!), Alice Keeler and I started chatting on Twitter. Alice was working on a spreadsheet activity and asked me to collaborate with her. I realized it was the perfect platform for a student directed lesson (I used to guide the exploration) on order of ops using Alice’s inspiration. This is what was born.

Students begin with some research on equations and expressions, inserting images or typing their own examples. There is also a place where students draw a conclusion from their research. Communication and collaboration is encouraged.Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.18.00 PM

Then it’s time to play a game. One student writes an expression in words. Their partner calculates by hand and enters their guess. Then we teach a spreadsheet skill (Alice would say Computer Apps class isn’t needed, we can embed it in content – I agree!) This is a basic introduction to entering a function using the =. If your partner calculated correctly, they get a point, if not the first person does. The spreadsheet tally’s the points to see who wins. The 2nd person has to figure out how the spreadsheet would calculate and then calculate by hand the same way.

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The sad part, I didn’t get to use this lesson this year because of the late roll out of Chromebooks. I may put it in Google Classroom as a warm-up one day.

Feel free to use this but please give me feedback. It makes my day when people use my stuff!

Get your own copy here.

Categories: Google Sheets, order of operations | Tags: | Leave a comment

Memes in Google Drawing

I love a good meme. Who doesn’t? I also love giving students fun choices to demonstrate understanding. This year, one of the options I want to include is making a meme in Drawing. I’ve included a quick tutorial below so you can see the process and use it too.

Let’s look at a meme. It’s usually square (doesn’t have to be). The words are bold usually with an outline and placed at the top and/or bottom. Words relate to the image (usually funny).

Dwight Meme

  1. Open a new Drawing document.
  2. Insert an image. It doesn’t have to be square at this point in time.Meme 1
  3. Crop your image.

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4. Move your cropped image into the top left corner & click the handle in the bottom right corner and drag it to meet your image.

5. Insert a text box and select a font to use. Anton works well.

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6. Type your words and center them on the page. Repeat if you want words on the top and bottom.

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7. I like to shadow my words. Copy and paste your words and color them white.You can nudge them in to place using shift and the arrow keys. You will have to change the order  (command down arrow on a mac Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 7.01.39 PM) to move them behind the the black words.

8. Now you can download your image. Go to File – download and choose the image type. I like .png but it depends on what you want to do with it.

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How could students demonstrate their understanding with a meme? I can’t wait to see!

Categories: Google Drawing | Tags: | 1 Comment

ISTE 2016

#ISTE2016 was three weeks ago. It was my first ISTE and hopefully not my last. I met so many new people, learned so many new things, met so many Twitter friends, learned so many new things… Oh wait, I’m repeating myself. The experience was a whirlwind and SO WORTH IT!  Rather than type the whole experience, I made a sketchnote of just a few of the things that stick out in my mind. I didn’t put anything on there about the WONDERFUL poster sessions, or reference ALL of the people I met (John Bergman who created flipped classroom), or note all of the sessions I attended, but I tried to capture the moment in a sketchnote (which I did learn a lot more about at ISTE)

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Meeting Matt Miller and Alice Keeler was at the top of my list. Matt is the author of Ditch That Textbook and he and the #ditchbook team let me moderate the Twitter chat every now and then. Our DitchBook meet up was awesome despite the CRAZY hail and flooding and I met Evan Mosier who is another regular to the chat. Ditchbook is one of the best Twitter families and PLN you could be a part of.

Alice Keeler is someone my daughter says I “Twitter stalk”. She and I share very similar opinions about educating children and she is very passionate about what she does. Not to mention, she is a genius with all things Google especially Sheets. As a result of ISTE, she asked me to collaborate with her on a Google Expedition project for math using Sheets. It’s so awesome working with her and it’s going to be an amazing activity that I can’t wait to try it out.

I plan to submit a proposal to present next year. It would be awesome to present at ISTE! At the very least, I hope I get to go again.

Until next year #iste2016…thanks for the adventure…I have so much to take back to my classroom, students, & school.

Categories: ISTE2016, sketchnotes | Tags: | Leave a comment

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