Thoughts by Kris
Yep, that's what is happening here
For many countries and states, distance learning is here until this school year is out. This is a very hard pill to swallow especially for those who would be celebrating milestones. Non the less, there are alternatives that can provide families with a positive memory of this time. These unique ideas all share a common thread and that is one of celebration and positive memories. By all means, you should always try to replicate the same speech, words of affirmation, and awards that were handed out in the past. Your delivery will just need to be changed! Here are 5 ideas for how you can still have a graduation ceremony during distance learning.
Host a meeting that allows for families and students to attend. Dress up in your best attire and ask students to wear their cap and gown if applicable. Begin with your typical commencement speech and words or recognition before calling on each student one at a time. You could have them stand, walk into the screen, or simply wave as they are recognized. Be sure to record this meeting so that it can be saved and shared for the future.
Create a grid that is all about your students. Create one topic that is a celebration of each student. Spend some time talking about their positive contributions to the class and about what they meant to you as an individual. Create other topics allowing students to share their favorite memories. Open this grid up so that families can view, and download the recordings.
In Seesaw you can voice over content and splice together pages to create a flippable eBook. Create a page or a series of pages that talk about each individual student and voice over it with your words of recognition. This video can be shared, and opened up for families to download and save as a memory.
4. Google Slides
Create a slide or a series of slides that is all about each individual student. Embed videos of their work and embed an audio recording of you talking about their positive attributes. Take the time to create a positive monument that will stand for each student for many years to come.
Use this tool to record yourself talking about each individual student. Pull up some of their WOW work and be sure that your turn on the front facing camera. This tool allows for personalization that can be felt as a parent. when you are done with them all, combine them into one video to share with your class as a memory of this year
Google docs is a very commonly used tool. It is one that is often a go to for many teachers. It is easy to get started, quick to understand, and accessible by students. This post is designed to help you squeeze the juice out of your next google doc project. Take it to the next level and teach your students some of these tips and tricks!!
1 - Publish the Doc
Publishing the doc is a phenomenal way to quickly showcase your project. When you publish, you are essentially creating a website! I have used publish to create Professional Learning schedules, share structures outside our network, and create parent friendly newsletters.
2 - Embed GIF's
For sure a Jake Miller favorite!! You can take any GIF and copy this onto your google doc and have it still run. This option allows you to embed self help, random number generators, or even step by step directions! PRO TIP - Use screencastify to make your own GIFs!
3 - Headers/Footers
The headers and footers for google docs are often extremely underused. This is a great place to add your own drawings to create visually appealing formats. Customize this section with your tag line or your logo to make a real splash with your next meeting!
4 - Button Drawings
Links are boring, so why not make a custom button out of drawings! This button will look just like a clickable button and can still be a link and putting its money where its mouth is.
5 - Default Font
Nobody likes to type in arial and if they do, they haven't looked at the fonts that google offers. There are ways that you can change the default font on all google docs so that you dont have to change it every time you open a new doc. Find me on YouTube to solve this problem!!
6 - Use Bookmarks
Long documents don't have to bother you anymore if you use Bookmarks. Mark the spots and titles that you want with bookmarks and create a table of contents at the top. This organization will save your life on your long meeting agendas, or curriculum documents!
7 - Template Link
When handing out templates to your students, there is a trick you need to know. Change the URL from ending with "edit" to ending with "template/preview". This will allow your students to see what they are copying before they make a copy!
8 - Use Docs.new
Making new google docs is easier than every. Go to your chrome browser and type in docs.new. Believe it or not, this will open a new google doc for you that is saved in your drive!!
Brush.ninja is a drawing based GIF creator. Simple open the website and start to draw. You can literally create anything in a matter of minutes from a complex artistic creation to a simple educational purposed tool. The ability for you to import your own images allows you to use this tool to create so many more tools for your students.
This free website offers many drawing abilities including the standard pen, shapes, background chooser and stroke changer. There is also an eraser and a formatting tool that allows you to zoom, rotate, adjust, and move items that you have already placed. All of these tools are accessible on any device and allow for quick creation and seamless exporting.
One of my favorite sections on this website is the gallery. There are hundreds of ideas here ranging from artistic creations to teacher created projects. You can find the link to those here.
Here are some other ways that you can use this tool:
Hopefully one of these ideas, or the example pictured help to convince you of the power found in this tool. Not only is it easy to create, it is easy to export, and easy to come up with countless ideas. Enjoy brushing with the ninjas!
I LOVE Flipgrid!! I have been using it with students since I was first introduced to it in 2012. Back then it was still under the U of M bubble and not as widely spread as it is today. This phenomenal tool has made a wonderful home in our schools and is a great addition to any classroom. If you have not checked it out, click here
As we reach the mid point in the school year, it can sometimes be tough to get your "mojo" rolling. It is hard to wake up, rock it each and every day, and then have anything left for the loved ones you have in your life. In this post, I will share 5 ideas that you can take into any classroom to help bring some of the positives back. Help you to reclaim your mojo by remembering your why.
Idea #1 - CREATE A CLASSROOM MEMORY GRID. This ideas is very simple. We often get lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, so why not capture it. Create a grid that is specifically for positive memories that happen in your classroom. These can be told by you, a student, or even a parent. Make this an ongoing list that you can look back to at the end of the year and remember the amazing things that you did. Not only this, but these memories will last forever!!
Idea #2 - SHARE A GRID AS A STAFF. Create a grid that is designated for sharing with staff. Just like the idea above, we forget positive things that happen, and pretty quickly. Take some time to capture these moments that happen and keep them for when you need them most. This idea does not have to be one that is done by an administrator! Anyone can create a grid that is shared with all staff!
Idea #3 - OPEN A GRID TO PARENTS. Parent education is a huge emphasis for me and has always been. If you can have an ally at home, you have just made your classroom twice as effective. Create a grid for your parents where you can share things that happen in your class. Open up topics like "playdates", or "summer plans" for your parents to have a unique place to connect with each other. This space will pay dividends later when you start to share strategies and model learning for your parents to use at home ;)
Idea #4 - PICK ME UPS FOR STUDENTS. We could all use a pick me up at some point. Why not make this an option for your students. Create a grid and take some time to give a heart felt message to each and every one of your students. Share a memory, compliment, and positive for each students that they can dig into when they need to hear it.
Idea #5 - A BUDDY GRID. We all love buddy benches, so why not make it a grid! Create topics ahead of time for students to post on such as "I like kickball" or "What is your favorite game". Students can share their name so that they can connect with each other face to face.
This past August I had the amazing honor or being a guest blogger for Ditch That Textbook. In that post, I shared some of the many ideas that I have around how to engage students in your primary classroom. These resources are able to be used with Google Classroom, Seesaw, Schoology, and many more learning managements systems.
If you want to see the 20 amazing ideas, Click here