Thinglink just announced they will once again facilitate a self-paced online summer teacher challenge. Every year that I participate, I learn new and innovative ways to utilize one of my favorite tools. This summer will focus on the use of their premium 360/VR feature. This is the perfect opportunity to try out this amazing platform for only $25.00 (normally $125.00). Below is an example of an interactive 360 image focusing on Science vocabulary.
Check out this post on their blog for more information about upgrading your account and signing up for the challenge. Hover over the tags in the image below to access task cards for each challenge.
It’s that time of year again in Texas (Insert sigh). Reviewing for the STAAR exam does not need to be a painful process. Instead of the traditional STAAR formatted worksheet, try a HyperDoc full of engaging multimedia content. I’ve created a template, examples, and even a list of multimedia resources to help make the creation process less time consuming.
For the past 6 weeks, I have been tutoring a group of 5th grade math students. They handed me a binder that is literally 3 1/4 inches thick. Yes, I measured. The tree hugger in me had a little tiny stroke. That’s what inspired me to turn this binder full of worksheets into engaging HyperDocs using a template created by Nadine Gilkison (@nadinegilkison). The content in these HyperDocs is not my intellectual property. It belongs to my district, so the privacy settings require end users to be logged into their district NEISD Google account.
- 5th Grade Math SSI (Place Value)
- 5th Grade Math SSI (Addition and Subtraction)
- 5th Grade Math SSI (Multiplication of Decimals)
- 5th Grade Math SSI (Division of Decimals)
- 5th Grade Math SSI (Division of Fractions)
- 5th Grade Math SSI (Measurement)
I created another Science Review HyperDoc that supports all of the 5th grade Life Sciences TEKS. This one is open to the public, so please feel free to make a copy and modify to fit your needs. It is filled with multimedia content to support over 8 TEKS. It also includes a reflection component (Google Drawing) where students answer essential questions.
I really liked the flow of the format and the fact that teachers can choose which sections students need to focus on based on assessment results and benchmark data. It’s also great for differentiation. You may have some students that need to focus on Interactions in Ecosystems, while others need to focus on Life Cycles. HyperDocs, by nature, are designed to be self-paced to accommodate the different needs of individual learners.
If you are interested in creating a HyperDoc Unit Review for your class, you can use this template to help get you started. I’ve also curated some of my favorite resources that can be embedded within the activity.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I obsess over certain tools I love. Thinglink is probably number 1 on my list and it just got even better! Last year, I participated in the Thinglink Summer VR Challenge and was introduced to their new 360° tag editor for making 360° images and VR content interactive. This particular feature of the platform is only available if you have a Premium Educator account. When I provide professional development opportunities for my teachers, I usually do not recommend purchasing individual subscriptions because I know that the money comes out of their pockets. This is one exception.
Thinglink is not just a tool. It is a supportive community designed to provide teachers with rich, interactive experiences that engage learners and immerses them into worlds they may not possibly be able to experience otherwise. When I see teachers and students using Thinglink to annotate content that demonstrates understanding of concepts, they are giddy. Seriously. Giddy. One of my favorite bloggers, Richard Wells (@EduWells), recently published a post about the impact of virtual reality in the classroom and how it can encourage empathy.
Below are the Thinglink current pricing options.
I recommend starting with the free 14 day trial so you can see for yourself how easy it is to navigate the interface. If the out of pocket cost is not an option, try approaching your campus administration or PTA/PTO for funding. Many campuses have even used allocated grade level or department funds.
One thing I struggled with as a new user of this feature was learning about 360° images, specifically where to get them and how to make your own. I’ve tried several apps and continue to go back to the same one: Google Street View on my iPhone. Here are the simple directions:
Create photos with an iPhone (Won’t work with an iPad because it won’t save to camera roll)
- Open the Street View app .
- Tap Create +.
- In the bottom right, tap Camera .
- Take a series of photos.
- At the bottom, tap Done .
- Your 360 photo is stitched together and saved in the “Private” tab on your phone. The photo is also saved on your phone (unless you turned this setting off).
- Publish your 360 photo on Google Street View (you can blur faces or identifying information if needed)
Upload Image to Teleport 360° app on your iPad
- Open Google Street View on your iPad.
- Navigate to your public image and save to your camera roll.
- Open Teleport 360 and tap on Upload Media
- Tap Photo Library and tap on your 360 image
- Tap edit and start tagging using text, images, audio, video, embed html, or transitions
Here’s a quick video to show how easy it is to use:
If you would like to take your class on an immersive learning adventure to a specific destination, check out the photo pool from the Flickr 360 Equirectangular Group. Many photographers have given permission for their images to be used. Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) also has a wealth of information and resources on the subject of virtual reality. Also, within the app itself is a growing collection of their own 360° image library.
Check out the Spotlight Speakers 17 Channel created by Susan Oxnevad (@soxnevad) to see examples of how educators are using this tool to support instruction.
There is a new “Featured Lesson” section on Rock the Lab home page that will change every month. I’ll provide 2 different lessons that have a monthly or seasonal theme. This month we celebrate Black History with different types of multimedia content appropriate for all levels. K-2 students can explore videos, text with audio, and books from Capstone to learn about various African-American Leaders. 3-5 students will engage in the HyperDoc Learning Cycle process by researching 3 different African-American heroes of their choice. I would love to feature lessons created by other NEISD educators, so please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to submit a lesson.
Last week I attended TCEA 2017 in Austin and am currently working on a blog post to share my reflections. In the meantime, I stumbled upon this amazing resource created by Ron Burke (@MistaB10). His Twitter pic alone is worthy of its own blog post. Ron curated a plethora of technology challenges that allow teachers to explore new tools, choose tasks that are of interest, and provides examples of authentic integration. Where has this dude been all my life? Seriously. Check out his other interactive images here.
The HyperDoc community has been very busy lately creating wonderful resources for teaching about Martin Luther King. I thought I would gather a few together in case you’d like to slip in an extra lesson this week or next. Enjoy!
- MLK Jr. HyperDoc created by Heather Marshall (Upper Elementary/Secondary)
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Multimedia Text Set created by Jenna Rodgers (Upper Elementary/Secondary)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Choice Board created by Christine Perkins (Upper Elementary)
- Martin Luther King Jr. HyperDoc created by Laura Moore (Lower Elementary)
Did you know you can create a drop down menu in Google Sheets? This is a handy feature if you are wanting students to choose from a list of questions to answer. The cell directly under your dropdown menu can be used for the students to type their answers.
- Click on the cell where the questions will be added.
- In the main menu, click on Data and then Validation
- Next to criteria, choose list of items. Type your questions in the box, separated by commas.
- Check the box next to show dropdown list in cell and add directions in the description box if desired.
- Click on save.
I created a couple of examples demonstrating how to use this feature. Hopefully this will inspire some ideas to help get you started.
As the end of the year quickly approaches, I often reflect on what I have accomplished and what I would like to set as my goals for the new calendar year. This year, you may have noticed I did not publish as many posts as I normally do. This is largely due to the fact that I have been working on 2 other websites. I’m happy to say they are both complete and now it’s just a matter of updating them with fresh content to replace older apps and software. I decided to showcase some of the new lessons and ideas that are now posted on these sites.
Rock the Lab
Rock the Lab is a website I maintain for student use. All of the lessons support Texas TEKS and follow the NEISD Scope and Sequence. It took me a year to build, but I finally have all 4 nine weeks complete. Most of the activities utilize free tools, but some require a subscription or license to paid content/software such as Kidspiration or Discovery Education. Every school year I pick out a new tool or website over which to obsess, and this year it was HyperDocs! I’ve tried to incorporate as many as I could in each 9 weeks and the feedback from students and teachers has been very positive. Check out some of my favorite lessons below:
- Kinder- My 5 Senses Google HyperDoc and Learning Coins Web Based
- 1st Grade- Text Features SMART Notebook
- 2nd Grade- Landmarks HyperDoc and Water Cycle Thinglink
- 3rd Grade- The Pumpkin Patch Google HyperDoc
- 4th Grade- The First Texans Google HyperDoc Digital Storytelling with Epic Citadel Sutori
- 5th Grade- Figurative Language Thinglink Video and Attitude of Gratitude HyperDoc
Schoogle Your Content with HyperDocs
As I stated above, my obsession this year has been HyperDocs. I learned about them last year through Matt Miller’s blog post and never looked back. I love them so much that I decided to abandon my fear of public speaking and present on the subject at TCEA in February. I created a site to share what I learned this summer during the HyperDoc Bootcamp, and to house my growing collection of examples created by myself and the HyperDoc community.
Click on the arrows at the bottom of the home page to navigate through the content. Start at the beginning if you are new to HyperDocs or skip straight to the examples if you’re ready to implement. I hope you will be able to attend my session on Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 5:00-6:00.
Dare I say, Thinglink is still my number 1 go to tool for student created projects. This year they introduced a new feature that supports 360 images. I was fortunate enough to be able to create content for their new iPad app. Students can explore 360 images and interact with multimedia content to learn about different places or concepts. 2 of my lessons are now featured within the app: Earth’s Forces and Remember the Alamo!
Creative Writing Challenges
This year I’ve chosen creative writing as an instructional focus. Here are some HyperDocs that have a seasonal or monthly theme.
PD in Your PJs
Can’t come to a training? No worries! Below are links to resources that provide you with anytime, anywhere, self-paced learning.
- SeeSaw: Student Driven Digital Portfolios
- Google Classroom
- App Smashes and Flows
- Hour of Code
- Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
- Schoogle Your Content with HyperDocs
Goals for 2017
What does 2017 look like? At the rate things are changing, I have no idea yet. When you’re in this profession, tools are being developed at the drop of a hat. One thing I have learned is good teaching will never change. I think that’s why I fell so hard for HyperDocs. It’s not about the platform or the device. It’s about sound instruction that allows the student to engage with the content. Therefore, my goal for 2017 is simple…best practices.
NEISD students and teachers will be participating in this year’s Hour of Code during the week of December 5-9. Hour of Code was designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can understand the basics without having any prior knowledge or experience. The hope is that more students, especially girls, will enter the field of Computer Science. Computer programming focuses on computational thinking, problem-solving, and literacy skills across multiple curriculum areas.
All NEISD campuses have a variety of devices from which to choose. Plan ahead and reserve a computer lab, cart, or make sure you have the age appropriate iPad apps downloaded on your device. If you choose not to use technology, there are unplugged activities such as the Binary Bracelet lesson that teaches students the binary format.
If you are not sure where to begin, I’ve created a page on Rock the Lab that will guide you through a grade-level appropriate lesson. Begin at the top with the video and then have students click on their grade level underneath. Happy Coding!
It’s only a couple of weeks away until the U.S. Presidential elections. I’ve added an Elections Resources page on my other website for students, Rock the Lab. Here you will find hyperdocs, videos, interactive vocabulary and maps, and many other resources that will engage your students in the election process. If you’re looking for an amazing picture book to read to your students, check out Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS written by Heather Patterson. She has provided lots of teaching ideas to go along with the story, which can be found on her website.
*UPDATE* HSTRY is now known as Sutori
I’m so excited for HSTRY’s latest update, real-time collaboration. It’s perfect timing, as digital collaboration and communication are my top 2 goals for all of my campuses this year. I started using HSTRY’s amazing interactive timeline platform back when they were still in beta. And yes, they are the reason that I have memorized the HTML code for formatting text and inserting links. They’ve come a long way and now it’s easier than ever for students of any age to create engaging linear presentations.
It was difficult narrowing down my ideas on how to use the collaboration feature. Data results from last year’s district technology survey identified digital writing as a needed area of growth. HSTRY’s integration with Google sign in, the ability to add a variety of digital content, and intuitive interface are the many reasons why this tool is perfect for the task. Last year I wrote a blog post featuring a few integration examples, so I have chosen Digital Storytelling with Epic Citadel as my “test” lesson. After introducing students to the app, they can make a copy of the template and then work collaboratively to finish the story. I’ll make sure to share the finished student products when complete.
Please visit their blog for more information on this new feature.
I know most of you are already setting up your rooms even though the year hasn’t officially started. This profession seems to attract dedicated individuals that go above and beyond. Here’s one thing you can check off of your to-do list…the first 9 weeks of Rock the Lab is complete. The purpose of this website is to provide students and teachers meaningful technology integrated lessons that support the NEISD Scope and Sequence. There are 2-3 lessons per content area and several lessons for keyboarding and coding skills.
One of my most favorite moments during the Summer Olympics was when the women’s gymnastics team won gold. The gif below expresses the perfect attitude for the beginning of the year. Just take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I got this”.
It’s summer! This time of year always gives me the opportunity to learn new skills, explore new tools, and collaborate with new people. Once again, I am participating in the Thinglink Summer Challenge. We will be exploring a new feature they recently added that allows you to upload and annotate 360 images. This is a great way to create engaging and immersive experiences for students. My first attempt was a virtual field trip to the Alamo that provided students with a guided tour and interactive activities that taught them about the significance of the battle during the fight for Texas Independence. I’ve created a channel to showcase the submissions from various Thinglink Expert Educators and teachers from around the country. I will continue to add on a weekly basis, so please check back often for more Thinglink inspiration. Make sure to join the Thinglink 360 Facebook page and visit the #Thinglink360 feed on Twitter. As Susan would say…Happy Tagging!