EXCELLENT RESOURCES TO HELP YOU INCORPORATE UDL!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Using the #Last5: #Educreations

I ended last week with an article on YaKiT, a free mobile App to make your pictures talk. It inspired me to think about creating a brief series titled "Using the Last 5." In other words, how do we use the last 5 minutes of class more effectively? It is notoriously a time for discipline problems, packing up, and inefficiency. 

Why Not Use Educreations? 

If you are not familiar with Educreations, it is a free interactive whiteboard program to quickly record video lessons. Educators from all around the globe are using the Educreations website or iPad App to create videos on grammar, math lessons, scientific concepts, etc.  If you want to see more, check out its vast library of videos. 

How to Use it During the Last 5 Minutes of Class

Let's say that you have just wrapped up today's lesson and you want to see what students have learned. What connections did they make? What did they take away? How is the concept piecing together in their minds? 

You could have students use Educreations create a video of themselves using the interactive whiteboard to create a graphic organizer detailing what they learned. This is a great way for students to draw out their understanding (even if it takes the form of stick figures) and verbally dictate their understanding. As a teacher, it helps you see and hear your students' understanding as it happens. 

Not a graphic organizer type of person? Why not have your students solve one last problem by re-teaching it or talking you through the answer? Did you introduce a new vocabulary term? Why not have students explain the new term through words and pictures? 

Conclusion:

This is a great way for checking for understanding, engaging students in different ways, and developing an enriching activity that works with multiple learning styles. The best part is that it is quick and easy. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

#YaKiT: Making the Last 5 Minutes of Class More Efficient

You have 5 minutes left in class and you want your students to summarize what they have learned today. What do you do? You may want to turn to the YaKiT, which gives users the ability to easily create and share photos that talk in as little as a minute. In my previous post, I had mentioned some other alternatives. 

How could you use it? 
  • You are a history teacher and have just finished a lesson on the causes of the Civil War. Perhaps you have one half of the class use Abraham Lincoln's picture to summarize the Union Army perspective, while the other half uses Jefferson Dave to summarize the Confederate perspective. 
  • You are a language arts teacher and have finished a lesson on poetry. Perhaps you have Edgar Allan Poe describe literary elements found in poetry. 
  • You are a science teacher and have finished a lesson on radioactivity. Perhaps you have Marie Curie describe the important elements of today's lesson. 
  • You are a mathematics teacher who has just wrapped up a lesson on the Pythagorean theorem. Perhaps you have students find a picture of the Greek mathematician Pythagoras and have him describe the term.
  • You have just wrapped up a lesson that is filled with vocabulary terms. Perhaps you divide your class into small groups and have each pair create a YaKiT to provide a visual and verbal description of the term. You could easily add this resource to your class webpage, LiveBinder, etc. to serve as a study tool. 


If you do not have iPads in your classroom, another great alternative was suggested in a comment made by Kaitlin. She had mentioned that Voki would be another great alternative to use!

How does YaKiT work?
1. You can begin by taking your own photo, accessing a photo from your camera roll, or grabbing a picture from the Internet.

2. Next, you can edit your picture by zooming and cropping.

3. Now it is time to customize your picture! You can customize your own customized movable mouth or select from a library of mouths, eyes, lips, noses, and even beards! You can add characters to your picture like President Obama or zombies, props like halos and hearts, or special effects like rain clouds and sunshine.

4. Then it is time to record your voice. You can customize the sound of the voice by increasing or decreasing pitch.

5. Finally, it is time to share. You can share your YaKiT via social media or your camera roll.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Your Ideas and Comments from #ChatterPix

My previous post focused on how you could use ChatterPix to make your photos talk. After my post, I received so many great ideas and feedback that I wanted to share it with you.

Here are some of your ideas:

1. Using ChatterPix in the Math Classroom

Lee asked: hmmmm, I wonder how I could use this in math? and we received an excellent reply from Heather: Not sure what grade level you work with but here is an example (see below) of my second graders writing a math story problem and explaining it using Chatter pix.



I loved this idea and how creative the kids were! I am a secondary teacher, so I often find myself thinking in a box. This was a very creative idea!

2. Tellagami

Kaitlin said:  Love ChatterPix in the classroom! Tellagami is another great one (free app) to check out too :)

I agree! I absolutely love Tellagami too! Imagine that there are five minutes to go in class and you want a quick way to measure what students have learned today. Why not turn to Tellegami? I had my students utilize this mobile app to come up with an animated message (called a Gami) to define the topic (or vocabulary word) of the day word.

As soon as my students used the app, you could see the engagement level increasing. It was a fun and challenging way to get students to demonstrate their understanding because they had to either record or type a 30 second response. As soon as students finished, they were able to send me their Gami by uploading it from their camera roll.

3. YaKiT

Jake said: YakIt is sweet, because you can have dialogue between 2 characters or objects.

I must admit that I had never heard of YaKiT before, so I did some searching! Thank you Jake for introducing it to me! As it mentions in the iTunes store, this app will "make any photo talk." You can easily create photos that talk in as little as a minute.

How does it work?

1. You can begin by taking your own photo, accessing a photo from your camera roll, or grabbing a picture from the Internet.

2. Next, you can edit your picture by zooming and cropping.

3. Now it is time to customize your picture! You can customize your own customized movable mouth or select from a library of mouths, eyes, lips, noses, and even beards!   You can add characters to your picture like President Obama or zombies,  props like halos and hearts, or special effects like rain clouds and sunshine.

4. Then it is time to record your voice. You can customize the sound of the voice by increasing or decreasing pitch.

5. Finally, it is time to share. You can share your YaKiT via social media or your camera roll.

To show you how easy it is, I compiled a really quick video of my son!

video

Sunday, May 18, 2014

ChatterPix #iPad App: Making Your Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

You've heard the expression, "pictures speak a thousand words." ChatterPix is a free iPad App to help make your pictures speak. Maybe not a thousand words, but at least 30 seconds worth.

How does it work?
  1. Take a photo or upload any picture on your camera roll to the ChatterPix App. 
  2. Draw a line on the picture to make a mouth
  3. Record your voice
  4. Watch your picture "chatter!" 
There are several ways to customize your photo through stickers, text, and frames. Not only is it easy to use, but it is easy to share. Your ChatterPix will save to your camera roll and can be easily shared. 

Want to learn more?

Check out this video: 



Why should you use this? 

This may not be a bad time of year to experiment with this App because students are always looking for new ways to show what they know.  It is engaging and motivating! Why? There is just something entertaining about pictures that talk! It is also the perfect tool for both visual and auditory learners because it forces them to quickly get their message across (30 second limit). 

How can you use this? 
  • If you are a history teacher, imagine having students give a brief biography of historical figures. 
  • If you are a language arts teacher, imagine having your students analyze a character in a passage. 
  • If you are a math teacher, imagine having students define a vocabulary term or how to solve a problem.
  • If you are a science teacher, imagine having students describe an element or the habitat of a particular creature. 
What if you don't have iPads? 

If you do not have iPads in your classroom, another alternative is the free website Blabbarize. I have written about this site in the past. Essentially it does the same thing. 



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

3 Ways to Use #Draggo to Bookmark NOW!

Summer is often a time that educators use to recharge, brush up on their reading, and learn new technologies. As many of us prepare for summer break, you may want to consider using Draggo as a way to do all of these things. Draggo is a free social bookmarking site that is easy to set up and easy to save.

Here are three ways you can use Draggo right now: 

1. Create a summer reading list! Save links to your favorite books and articles on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and Edutopia. Instead of having to sign into each site and view your "wishlist," you can see them all in one location. You can even share with your colleagues and friends!

2. Want to explore new technologies over the summer? Draggo gives you an easy to save and use platform to store all of those sites you want to explore over the summer. The tab feature allows you to separate your personal and professional life. Save links for school in your own public professional tab, while personal information is in its own private tab.

3. Are your students completing a project? Why not create a tab for students in your classroom to use if they need access to resources and links?  You can create a new category for each project in your classroom to keep it better organized.

Want to learn more? I can help you get started in 3 minutes!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#Draggo: A Social Bookmarking Alternative


Lately I have been struggling for a way to organize my favorite websites and resources. I have tried Diigo, Symbaloo, and Delicious; however, I wanted to see if there is a new way of organizing my resources. My friend Kelly introduced me to a new site called Draggo, which literally lets you drag and drop the URL of your favorite websites and then go!

How does it work? 
  • You have to install the Draggo add on button to your favorite browser. This will allow you to bookmark your favorite website. 
  •  When you visit your favorite site, click on the Draggo button (on your browser), add some details about your website and save. This is where it is a little different than other social bookmarking sites. Your bookmarked site is sent to your Draggo account inbox. 
  •  You can drag and drop this site into pre-made or customized categories. You can even place categories on different pages called tabs!

I literally just found out about this site today, so I'm still learning about this bookmarking sit! I plan on sharing more with you soon!

Want to learn more? Check out this great introduction:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

#2048 in the Biology Classroom?



A colleague of mine is a high school science teacher with the learning goal of teaching students how exponential growth works in biology. The majority of his students come from impoverished backgrounds and lack the fundamental understanding of how exponential growth works. Many of his students struggle with basic numerical concepts that most students developed in pre-school. It is a huge barrier that can prevent them from understanding concepts like Mitosis and Myosis.

One of his biggest strengths is that he creates very effective visual representations of concepts; however, he is finding that he needs to use different strategies. Why? He is only addressing some and not all learner differences. Knowing the barriers his students face, allows him to develop a creative way to help his students understand the numerical patterns of exponential growth (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.).

Where did he turn? To the simple, but addicting game called 2048. The game provides students with a hands-on understanding of how exponential growth works. The best part is that students are playing the game outside of the classroom! They are learning and they don't even know it!

How does it work? Students shift number tiles to match the same number. For example, if you match the number 2 with another number 2, you make 4. If you match a 4 tile with another 4 tile, then you make 8. Your goal is to match enough tiles to come up with the magic 2048 tile.



Monday, May 5, 2014

Matt featured on JoyStick Learning Podcast: #UDL #LiveBinders

Click here to listen

I recently was featured on the JoyStick Learning Podcast to discuss the concept of Universal Design for Learning and its implications on students. Check it out!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Address the #CommonCore with #Edmodo #Snapshot

With all of the pressure and time constraints that many of us face, it is difficult to constantly develop new methods, materials, and assessments to track student progress. Data...data...data! It's frustrating to keep track of it and make decisions based on it.

SnapShot is a free assessment tool built into Edmodo to help you with this dauntless task. It helps you assess what students know and don't know through a library of questions (aligned to the common core) to choose from.

It provides you an opportunity to pre-assess or give an exit ticket out the door. The best part is that you get real-time data that can help you make adjustments to instruction in no time!

NOTE: This tool is still in its infancy stage, so it is limited on standards it addresses and the types of questions.

How does it work?


There is a how to video at the end of this post, but I do have step-by-step directions below:

1. When you are logged into Edmodo, choose the Snapshot icon and this will direct you to Snapshot.

2. Click Create New Snapshot

3. Next, you will need to choose one of your classes to assess in the Select Student Group portion of the screen.

4. Choose which Common Core Content Area (ELA or Math) to address.


5. Now you will want to find standards that you would like to address. Explore which standards you would like to address and check them. You will have to click on the circle with a plus sign icon and click. This will make it become a checkmark.

6. Once you have found all of the standards you would like to address, it is time to assign your Snapshot. Provide a name, date you want it assigned, and how much time you want students to take.



Edmodo does the rest! Students will receive different sets of questions that meet the need of the standards, so you don't have to worry about cheating!


No matter your content area, it is all of our jobs to prepare students to meet the standards. This is a simple, but meaningful way of doing it.