Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Reading with my ears - free from the county library!

So many books... make more time!

Too many great books to read and so little time. I started to listen to books at the gym and in the car because there was just too much down time.

I used to buy tons of books on tape and CD but after a few months all that starts to add up to serious money.

Did you know that you can download all kinds of audiobooks on your mobile devices? All you need is a St. Louis County Library card and a little storage space on your device. I'm also pretty sure every single student was just issued a new card just last week, why not get them listening before break!

Getting Started
Download and log into Hoopla.
Also check out Libby, the newer version of OverDrive, for additional audiobooks from the county library.

Download and click hoopla.
It should ask you to login with your county library account.

Click the search button or you can choose a category below.

I searched for Freakonomics and this is what I found.
I then clicked on Super Freakonomics.

Click BORROW if this is the book you want to listen to.

Click Play to start listening.
Concerned about streaming the book? Just tap to download so you can listen without being connected to the internet. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hook me up! How do I automate more of my life?

So I have this blog and a classroom Facebook page, how do I get my blog posts to automatically show up on Facebook?

It is wicked simple if you use one simple site, dlvr.it.

Getting Started
Make sure your Facebook page is using your Lindbergh email and a Facebook place page. You will know it is a place page if people can like it, not friend you. These are district requirements to using Facebook for your classroom.

Complete the following three steps:

Connecting through dlvr.it
First step is to copy the address of your blog. Make sure you copy the correct address.
lindberghlinc.blogspot.com - address of our blog
lindberghlinc.blogspot.com/name-of-some-post - this only links to a post, not the full blog

Log into dlvr.it
1. Click Automated or Feeds at the top.
2. Paste blog address.
3. You should see your blog pop here after a minute or so.
4. Click the plus symbol that appears.
5. Click Next: Connect Socials.

I'm already logged into Facebook so my page already appeared.
I just need to click Start Posting.

Nothing will post on Facebook until you create a new post on your blog.

Moving from Drive to FilmoraGo

Check out how to get a video that was shared with you on Drive into FilmoraGo.

Start in Google Drive on your mobile device.
Click on the video you want to add to your project.

Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen.

Click Send a copy.

Click Save Video.

Open FilmoraGo.
The videos should be the first on the list.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Helping kids discover new things to read. (Flyer Time)

Do you find kids struggling to find things to read? I'm sure you have seen someone pick up a book read a page then discard it. They might repeat that cycle over and over again. This isn't isolated to just books, reading magazines and things online fall into the same wandering pattern.

There might just be a way to help some of the kids discover new things to read based upon what others in Flyer Time, or class, are reading.

Padlet To The Rescue
What is padlet
Think of it as a simple Post-It Note board but totally online. To add a note all you need to do is click, it is really that easy.

Padlet Examples
  • Reading - this example shows how the kids share what they are reading week to week. Check out week seven.
  • What are you reading this week? Similar to the above, kids posting about what they are reading. These types of pages help others discover great books and magazines to read. Here is another example of kids sharing.
Creating A Padlet
Visit padlet.com and create an account.

You should see the big pink button in the upper left, click to create a Padlet.

There are five different types of Padlets to choose from. My personal favorite is the wall or grid. Not sure which one to choose or what it will look like? Just click on the PREVIEW button on each layout to see what they look like on the web.

Above is my brand new Wall Padlet page.
1. Fill out the title and description. I like to think of the word description is really code for directions. Write some directions because humans often forget what they should do next.  Whatever you write here will also show up in the upper left corner of the Padlet.
2. Click Next.

1. Privacy (access) - I would recommend making it either Secret or Public.
Secret - anyone with the link can access. The link won't be accessible by Googling or on Padlet's site.
Public - Anyone could access it. I like to think finding it is similar to finding a needle in a needle stack. That is way harder than finding that same needle in a haystack. When the Padlet public it is wicked hard to just stumble upon.
2. Make sure you allow them to write on the Padlet you created. That is kinda the whole purpose, kids writing and sharing with other kids.
3. Click Next.

Kids need to type this WHOLE address into their browser to access the Padlet.
Does it look kinda long? Check out how to shirk the URL, wicked easy!

Posting to Padlet - BYOD
I used my phone to post on the wall. Below are screenshots of how I did it.
Navigate to the Padlet page. 
Click the plus symbol in the lower right to add to the page.

1. Add a title and a description.
2. Click to add an image.

To add an image - aka shelfie
1. Click Choose File.
2. Click Camera.

Click DONE when you are ready to post.

It is not enough to just post to Padlet. You need to take time to talk about what was posted, time must be dedicated to allowing the kids to scan what their peers posted. Reflection is key to making it all work. The Padlet will not help kids discover if you don't take 2-3 minutes to draw attention to it.

I saw a teacher using a similar tool in her classroom. While everything was running smoothly the tool wasn't making the impact we all thought it would. One day she made one tiny instructional move, she pulled up what the students submitted and they talked about it as a whole class. By taking just 3-5 minutes a day to reflect, the learning forever changed the rest of the year.

     Whenever I am looking for examples or ideas to jumpstart my thinking I turn to Twitter. I used the search window to look for anything referencing Padlet. At the very top of the page you do have a few categories to choose from, I usually stick with Top and Latest to start with.
     Change it up a bit, try Padlet math or Padlet science and see what you get. I use Twitter as it will usually give me many more usable and actionable ideas than just a search on TpT or Google.
     I will search for math/science/writing Padlets even if I am looking to create one for social studies. Looking outside a content area will usually spark fresh ideas.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How to make a QR Code

A Quick Response, or QR, code allows the user to access something in a snap. Creating the QRs are as easy as scanning them. Check it out!

How To

Pull up the page you want the kids to access.
Copy the web address.

1. Visit goo.gl This is Google's URL shortening tool.
2. Paste address.
3. Click Shorten URL

Click Done in the lower right corner.

1. Click on the ice cream cone (three dots) at the far right side.
2. Click QR Code.

Right click to copy/paste the code.

Just take my money!

There are things that I just buy without a second thought, this was one of them. While I have no idea how to make it all work it can't be that hard. Just watch the video and see what you think.

A simple processor, motor and voice. That is all you need. Check it out.
I wonder if you could alter the programming to tell you if it was indoor or outdoor recess. So many ideas to help introduce the students to IoT (internet of things).

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The lesson in the leaves. (STEM is everywhere.)

In the Marines we had this corporal who had us play these memory games. What he was helping us do was become hyper vigilant of our surroundings and commit to memory what we saw. I wasn't so sure it was working at first but then slowly I began to take notice of things I normally would have ignored. The lessons he taught us started to change how I saw my surroundings.

This past summer I had a similar experience which opened my eyes to things that once went unnoticed. A handful of us participated in the STEM TQ program which put us on the path to becoming STEM capable learners. One of the big ideas was to see STEM everywhere, from a ball point pen to why water ponds on the parking lot.

Today I had two experiences that made me stop and wonder. How is what I am seeing STEM?

I left Truman and saw this leaf tornado. The red boxes highlight some of the leaves that suddenly started spinning almost out of nowhere. Was it due to the shape of the building? Was it two weather fronts suddenly colliding right in front of me? So many question from this chance encounter.

When we left the house today the lawn was free of leaves and when we arrived home we found this odd assortment on the lawn. Leaves were only on one part of the lawn leaving the other part free of debris. The new pile of leaves had a strange curve to it. How is something like that formed? Was it a fluke or if we walked down the block we could see similar patterns?

The idea isn't always to answer these questions but it is to start to question. Without Googling or YouTubing we could spend a chunk of time investigating and wondering. These wondering could lead us to thinking about how sand or snow piles up when the winds blow. That idea could lead us to talk about the currents deep within the ocean. There is no end to where these simple STEM questions could lead.

What have you seen today that is STEM?  How could you take that one thing and start your kids questioning and wondering?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Help! I need this paper turned into a PDF, how do I even do that?

Copy Center - Sperreng

Sometimes you have this one paper document laying around that you need to quickly send to copy center. Sending over the paper is possible but that takes time. Why not just use your phone to scan and send?

Make sure you have downloaded Google Drive on your mobile device.

Find and open Google Drive on your mobile device.

Click the plus symbol in the lower right corner.

Click Scan to open the camera.

1. Line up your shot.
2. Push the button to take the picture. Google Drive will then convert it into a PDF.

Use the little circles to crop the PDF just right.
Click the check in the lower right to save it to Drive.

It is now uploaded to your Drive!

When sending an email to the copy center plase include:
     subject line: 
          Copy Job for YOUR NAME (Copy Job Colin Davitt)
     body of email: 
          describe what you want in plain language
          make 75 copies of attached file on white paper. 2 sided. Stapled.

Make sure you have an email signature so the copy center can call if there are issues/questions with your job.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New Hour of Code Challenges!

Just saw this and thought you might be interested in trying it out. Washington University's MySci Institute for School Partnership program created this Hour of Code page that offers a series of coding activities that appear to be based on weather. I think they are all on weather, I have not gone through them all yet.

The idea of these challenges is to give you and your kids a little dabble time with what coding and how it is used in the actual world.

Give it a shot, we are sure you will not be disappointed.

Friday, December 1, 2017

#booksnaps + Seesaw = Gallery Walk

We have been making the rounds during our Lunch and Learn to talk about the power of #booksnaps. One idea that has plagued classrooms since the beginning of time is getting kids to share what they are doing with their classmates. Experiencing what our peers create is key to thinking about our own work and serves to push us to think from a different point of view.

Any time we place work online it tends to make it much easier to see but it can offer barriers if it can't be accessed quickly.

Did you know that within Seesaw there is a hidden little feature that can make the work the students created super visible?

What if you could pin up a few exemplars for the class to discover on their own?

Check out how to bring this idea to life.
Log into your Seesaw account on your laptop.
Find the post you want to use as the exemplar.
1. Click the three dots in the lower right corner.
2. Click Get item QR code.

Print and post the QR code.

Student logs into Seesaw on iPad or laptop.
1. Click their name in the upper left corner.
2. Clicks Scan QR Code at bottom.

Once they line up the code that post will appear.
The power of discovery is now in the hands of the students.

I wonder what might happen if you posted a few things at a station/center. I wonder if there are things your students do that would help explain ideas and concepts in such a way that it reaches some of the kids you have troubles reaching?

Lunch and Learn Posts
1. Lunch and Learn (#booksnaps) our first post highlighting some of the ideas we talked about.
2. Anchor Charts and #booksnaps: You will want to see this! - three anchor charts you really need to check out. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How is this even possible? (STEM question)

We were at Dressel today when my friend gave me three of these amazing chocolates. I ate two almost instantly and left the third in my car for a few hours

Just before I reached for it I suddenly stopped and thought about dinner last night. I made a batch of banana chocolate chip pancakes, mostly because plain pancakes are gross. I accidently dropped a chip near the hot griddle and when I went to grab what I thought was a solid chip all I got was chocolaty fingers. 

Back in my car I hesitated picking up the Dove because I didn't know if it was solid or not.

How is this STEM? What makes chocolate hold its shape even when it pretty much melted. Is it due to the Dove and chip where undisturbed and once a little force was applied they would collapse? Maybe the chemical structure of chocolate can withstand higher temperatures?

A quick Google search could answer this right away and stop me from thinking about it. I wonder how many different solutions I could think of before I look up the answer. I wonder if I posed this question in a classroom how many possible solutions, and new questions, we could come up with before we actually found the answer online. My gut says the kids would learn much more through brainstorming than from whatever the actual answer is.

Maybe a better title for this post should ask if the pursuit of knowledge is more meaningful than answers.

Reading with my ears - free from the county library!

So many books... make more time! Too many great books to read and so little time. I started to listen to books at the gym and in the ca...