Friday, February 24, 2017

2 Hour Late Start - Nature's Way of saying "Thanks"

The 2-hour late start is nature's way of saying "thank you" to teachers. But not because teachers have to work two fewer hours that day. Ha! Far from it. Teachers aren't happy with two-hour late starts because they don't have to deal with students as much that day. Well, at least I hope that is not why they are happy. Teachers are happy with two-hour late starts because 1. They might get a bit more rest to get recharged, but still GET to teach students that day. 2. They have two extra hours to plan and perhaps relieve some of the stress/burden that might be building. 3. They get a chance to have a "slower" morning with their kids and not have to rush out of the house before the sun rises.  4. All after school activities (practices, events, clubs, etc.) are still on which are important to a lot of people.

With the two-hour late start, Mother Nature is saying to those teachers: "Teachers, thank you for all the work you do, especially to those who are underappreciated because they "boss" is anything but a leader and never encourages them or builds them up. Teachers, I want to thank you for your hard work and dedication so here's a little snow and nice. Use your two hours to help plan a new idea or just to rest and recharge your battery. And also teachers? One more time, thank you for what you are doing." Yep, that is what mother nature is saying with 2-hour late starts. I'm sure of it.

I'm glad mother nature "thanks" teachers from time to time here in the midwest because I, too, have this undying support for teachers who head into the trenches each day to face whatever comes their way. Well, those that work hard and are dedicated to being life-long learners and producing life-long learners. To those who continue to strive to get better, to research, to develop new ideas. To those who are passionate about kids and attack each day like it's their mission in life.

Hope you enjoyed the 2-hour late star! No need to thank mother nature, because you thank us all, every day for the work you do. So thanks!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Current Favorite Tech Tool:

I was thinking about what to share and I decided to just go with my current favorite technology tool:
Flipgrid is an awesome tool to get students thinking, listening, speaking, and discussing. Having class discussions face to face is great. But, sometimes, it's hard to hear from all students. They either don't want to talk in front of people, or you just don't have enough time to get to every student. Flipgrid is a great complimentary piece to your classroom discussions. Flipgrid allows you to have your students post a short video clip of themselves responding to whatever prompt you have posted. Students post their video and then their classmates can watch. Not only that, but their classmates can also respond to the original video with a response video as well. I teach online classes and with zero face to face time, I have found flipgrid to be the most effective tool in building classroom community in my online classes. The possibilities are endless with flipgrid! The key is to think about and craft flipgrid tasks where there is a purpose to not only what they share initially, but to what the students are responding to. The traditional prompt that students respond to and then you have your students respond to a classmate with "What did you think about what they said?" That general type of response is okay, but try to think up a way for a more meaningful, specific response. Early, I had my students post 3 clues describing a US president. Their classmates and to watch the videos, figure out who the president was, and then post a response video on flipgrid with who they thought the president was and why. 
Student do NOT need an account to use flipgrid, which makes it very easy to use. All students need is a webcam on their computer (or ipad with the app) and the link to your "grid." 
As an educator, you can get Flipgrid One, which means you get one free grid and can post as many topics to that grid as you would like. If you teach multiple classes, you would have to pump up to the paid subscription.   
Check out and see if it is something that would help your students learn!