Using HyperDoc Format for Unit Reviews

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.

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.

 

Creating Drop-Down Menus in Google Sheets

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.

  1. Click on the cell where the questions will be added.
  2. In the main menu, click on Data and then Validation
  3. Next to criteria, choose list of items. Type your questions in the box, separated by commas. 
  4. Check the box next to show dropdown list in cell and add directions in the description box if desired.
  5. 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.

Reflecting on 2016

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:

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.

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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.

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Thinglink 360/VR 

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.

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.

End of the Year HyperDoc is Here!

STAAR Testing will be over with by the end of next week, so this is the perfect time to plan a tricked out “End of the Year” Technology project. Have your students reflect on a year’s worth of learning through various Google Apps. I’ve created a HyperDoc to house all of the activities and provided how-to gifs that will walk you and your students through the needed skills to complete the project. For more information on GAFE Smashing, check out Matt Miller’s blog post. Interested in becoming a #hyperdocaholic? Begin by exploring this folder of examples. The creators of the HyperDoc movement, Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis, have a new website dedicated to taking up all of your free time. Enjoy!

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HyperDocs Make Me HyperExcited

I want to personally thank Lisa HighfillSarah Landis and Kelly Hilton for introducing me to my newest obsession, HyperDoScreen Shot 2016-03-25 at 3.37.57 PMcs. Ever since I read this blog post about using GAFE to facilitate a learning adventure, I’ve lost sleep, ignored my family, and recorded copious amounts of favorite TV shows on my DVR. Needless to say, I have put their HyperDoc Template to good use. Below you will find my fledgling attempts that I recently posted on my Rock the Lab website for students. To learn more about HyperDocs, check out their HyperDoc Tour.

Are Your Students Rocking the Lab?

Classroom teachers are my heroes. I can’t think of anyone else who is more dedicated to the overall well-being of 23+ children on a daily basis. They wear every hat in the book and I am in awe of how … Continue reading 

Tool of the Summer: Bulb

I’ve been a busy little bee this summer creating PD classes for the new school year. One of the tools I’m using to gather my resources is Bulb. Oh, how I love this site! Bulb allows you to organize content into collections, making it very easy for the user to separate content into different sections. I like it because you are not overwhelming the participant with lots of information at one time. This also makes the perfect tool for flipping lessons or collecting work for student portfolios. You can learn how to get started by visiting their Bulb for Teachers and Students.

I’ve seen many differentiated resources on the Internet lately and decided to make one for an App Smashes and Flows class I will be teaching in August. I created a Bulb with 6 different sections. The idea is to introduce the concept of App Smashes and Flows, explain the differences between the two, and then allow the participants to choose their tasks based on their comfort level with the iPad. Bulb is the perfect tool for this purpose. 

app smash and flow

I’m not the only NEISD fan of Bulb. Sue Carlson, NEISD Instructional Technology Specialist, also used Bulb to curate her resources for our district’s What’s New in Office 2013? professional development course. Sue was able to create separate pages for each of the different software titles within the Office Suite. Participants are able to return to her Bulb for quick reminders, if needed.

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Check out some of my other PD courses I’ve created using Bulb:

Tool of the Month: Google Tour Builder

Inspired by Williams Sonoma Pork of the Month Club (who doesn’t love a new pork product every month?), I bring you Tool of the Month Club. The idea behind these posts is to showcase new online tools or apps with ways to support the curriculum. I’ve decided to start with December because I have no patience and can’t wait until January to share the new Google Tour Builder. For years, Google Earth has been my favorite lab activity and now the Tour Builder is even easier to use. The beauty of any great tool is the ability to be cross-curricular and support multiple grade levels. The following resource was created to support the 4th grade Social Studies TEK: (3)  History. The student understands the importance of the Texas Revolution, the Republic of Texas, and the annexation of Texas to the United States. Click here for a printable version of the Texas Revolution project which also includes links to video tutorials. Since 4th grade also focuses on writing, Google Tour Builder is perfect for place-based storytelling. Students can design a story/path around a pigeon or crow that flies to different locations around the world bringing messages to different characters. For math, multi-step word problems can be written and solved based on distances between area schools or cities.  Check out the video below for a great overview.

December Themed Lessons

Google Doodles of 2013

I’ve been a busy little elf compiling my list of December Themed Lessons. But, before you begin exploring, take a gander at all of the Google Doodles for 2013. The Los Angeles Times created a nifty slideshow with descriptions for each Doodle. Make sure you check the following list often, as I am still adding to the collection.

Geo Greeting for Spelling Practice

Geo Greeting is a neat little tool that allows you to create a message that contains up to 40 characters. It uses satellite images of buildings from all over the world that look like letters. The link it creates can be posted on your blog or emailed. It doesn’t generate an html code for embedding, but you can create a screen recording like the one below (AC/DC background music not included). This would be a fun way for students to practice spelling words. All the links can be submitted using a Google Form. It would also be a great way for primary students to chant word wall words.

November Themed Lessons

(If you are viewing this post from within NEISD, make sure to override Lightspeed so you can see the above video from YouTube)

It’s a new month, which means a new holiday, which means new themed technology lessons. Of course, I have to begin by sharing a Thanksgiving Google Doodle from last year. (Remember that you have to override Lightspeed to view the video from within the district.) The following list contains free sites and apps that you can use in the classroom or computer lab. My favorite lesson you should try is the Thanksgiving Timeline virtual field trip using Google Earth. I taught this a few times last year and it will take at least 2 lab visits to complete.  It’s well worth the time investment!

GaGa 4 Google

google certificate

 

I just completed the free Mapping with Google online course. I thought I knew everything about Google Earth, but there were a couple of features unfamiliar to me. My final product for the Google Earth portion was a Thanksgiving Timeline virtual field trip for K-8 students. One of the advanced required features was to embed the tour on a blog, so here is the updated tour:

The embed gadget that I’m using can be a little wonky, so click here if you would like to download the tour and view it within Google Earth. See my previous blog posts to see my Google Maps Engine Lite project and the Haunting Shipwrecks with AC/DC tour.

Create a Custom Google Search Engine

This is an example of how insomnia can be your friend.  While I was blog hopping, I stumbled upon one with a customized Search Engine for finding resources related to a specific topic. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone from one website to another searching for that perfect SMART Notebook lesson. By typing in a specific curriculum topic (for example, water cycle) I can now search all my favorite SMART websites at once. Oh, the extra time I shall now have on my hands…



To create your own search engine:

  1. On the Google Custom Search home page, click New search engine. In the Sites to search section, add the pages you want to include in your search engine. You can include any sites you want, not just sites you own. You can include site URLs or page URLs, and you can also get fancy and use URL patterns. The name of your search engine will be automatically generated based on the URLs you select. You can change this name at any time.
  2. Select the language of your search engine. This defines the language of the buttons and other design elements of your search engine, but doesn’t affect the actual search results.
  3. Click Create.
  4. To add your search engine to your site, click Get Code on the next page. Copy the code and paste it into your site wherever you want your Custom Search Engine to appear.