Simplify Grading with GradeCam

Grading is one of my least favorite tasks as a teacher. If done correctly it can take hours to grade, item analysis, be reflective on the assessment, and if needed, reteach the material. Assessment this past year was a breeze because of GradeCam. This new form of grading will REVOLUTIONIZE the classroom and help teachers focus more time on their students and less time on grading!

GradeCam is a WONDERFUL program that saves valuable time for teachers and district resources when grading tests, projects, and essays. Students use specially designed GradeCam forms that can be printed from any copy machine. No more ordering expensive scantron forms! When grading all you have to do is display the answer sheet in front of a webcam, document camera, or scanner. The data is uploaded, automatically graded, and can easily be imported into your grade book. No more waiting in long lines at the scantron machine or hearing those painful beeps as your students get answers wrong.

GradeCam was developed by teachers, with the idea to minimize grading time, easily managing student performance/assessment, offering students instant feedback, and correlating to state/national standards. Students and teachers can get instant reports to monitor student progress such as item or class analysis. It is affordable, easy-to-use, and after it corrects every assignment, the results are put into your grade book. GradeCam blows the old-school Scantron out of the water!

 

Ways you can use GradeCam in the classroom:

  • This past spring I had my students scan their own tests. They enjoyed the instant feedback during the same class period! I had them go back and look at their incorrect answers. One of my students said, “GradeCam makes grading much easier for the teacher and we get our results quickly.” Another student said, “I liked it because it showed you what you got right away so I know how my grade will be affected as soon as I’m done with the test.”
  • You can easily transfer scores from GradeCam to your electronic grade book.
  • You can even generate standards-based reports in order to monitor student progress.
  • You can share assessments with other teachers/administrators and generate item-analysis results by question, student, or class.
  • You can use GradeCam with essays, classroom assignments, homework, behavior analysis, etc. Just attach a GradeCam form to any assignment and then enjoy free time without added  stress of grading.

 

Check it out today! It will change the way you monitor student assessment.

Make a presentation with SlideIdea

SlideIdea is a wonderful presentation application that helps students create powerful presentations. Slide Idea is a FREE app for your iPad that will convert PDF’s, PowerPoints into digital books, filmstrips, and more. Check it out, it’s FREE.

The app has creation and play functions that transform the boring powerpoint into a captivating experience. You can simply add your content and SlideIdea can design your slide. You can also record, publish and browse featured slides within the app. There is also a digital whiteboard option that allows students to display their knowledge in a visual way. It is truly the next generation of presentations on the iPad. It is simple to use and creates beautiful presentations.

Create Beautiful Videos with Adobe Voice

Do you have a story to tell? Do you need to capture the right attention? Tired of PowerPoint? Check out Adobe Voice. It’s an iPad app that turns your story into an animated video in minutes.  Adobe Voice allows students to create stunning and beautiful videos in just minutes. Your students select images and can then tell a story over the pictures. They can pick from over 25, 000 iconic images or all their own images. Your students can persuade, inform, or inspire anyone to act with this beautifully designed application. Creating a powerful documentary is fun, fast, and very simple to use. You can share the videos on  Facebook, Twitter, email, or your own web page for anyone to watch, on any device.

I plan on using this program for my social stratification unit. My students will educate our community about the effects of poverty and hopefully inspire and inform our community.

Presidential Speeches

The Miller Center is a website that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history. The Miller Center has an impressive official oral history project  for every administration from President Carter to President Obama. They are also transcribe  White House audio tapes  of President FDR through President Nixon. The Miller Center provides first hand accounts on how administrations have dealt with complex and difficult issues. They have an impressive collection of presidential speeches from transcripts, audio, and video that is easily searchable by topic and president. This primary source collection could significantly enhance any US History or Government course.

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Gilder Lehrman Reconstruction Seminar Resources

Reconstruction Seminar Resources Shared:

  1. Gilder Lehrman
  2.  Library of Congress 
  3. Digital History 
  4. Today’s Meet
  5. Primary Source
  6. Edsitement
  7. History Channel
  8. Stanford History Education Group 
  9. Professor Jones website
  10.  The Making of America
  11.  Freedman’s Bureau
  12. PBS
  13. Valley of Shadow
  14. Understanding Lincoln DBQ Webquest
  15. Harper ‘s Weekly

 

General Resources Shared:

  1.  Primary Sources (great collection of resources)
  2. Common Core Standards
  3. The Choices Program
  4. Archive
  5. The History Project 
  6. Historical Thinking Matters
  7. The People’s History
  8. 270 to Win
  9. US Election Atlas 
  10. Lessons and Document Based Questions
  11. Miller Center 

 

US History Resources for Common Core

Forty-five states have implemented the Common Core State Standards in ELA and Mathematics for every subject. These standards are not intended to drive history and other subjects away from the curriculum, but they are designed to encourage our students to be critical readers who can apply the knowledge they learned.  These standards are intended to engage students in the history curriculum and teach them skills needed to be successful. The websites listed below are useful  to supplement the curriculum and teach students the skills needed to be successful  21st century learners.

Under Common Core Student’s will be encouraged to:

  • Examine and analyze primary sources  
  • Use evidence to support an argument
  • Understand historical context
  • Read multiple accounts and perspectives
  • Question: Who? What? Why? When? How? Where?
  • Take a position and defend it with evidence

Websites:

  • Docs Teach: This website is a wonderful resource that has over Four Thousand primary documents from the National Archives. The website also has tons of resources and ready to use tools to enhance your instruction.
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute: This website offers a massive variety of resources to assist teachers and students. It offers professional development opportunities for educators, provides documents and exercises for classroom use, and encourages excellence in student writing with essay prizes.
  • Digital History: This website is another great resource that has tons of useful materials such as an alternative textbook, teaching ideas, primary documents, learning modules, and media rich lessons.
  • NROC: This is the website from the National Repository of Online courses that provides teachers with video clips on every unit, key readings, and so much more.
  • Teaching History: Teaching history is a website designed by the National History Education Clearinghouse. This website offers tons of history materials from “Ask a historian,” teaching materials, and best practices.
  • EDSITEment: EDSITEment is another wonderful website from the National Endowment from the Humanities. The website offers free resources and over 393 history lessons for teachers. These lessons stress primary source documents, critical thinking, and other common core skills.  The website is extremely easy to navigate and it has a plethora of valuable and easy to implement lessons.
  • Pearson Hall: This website has online educational materials FREE for educators such as vocabulary building activities, review games, interactive links, and assessments.
  • DBQ and Thematic Essay: Greece Public Schools in Greece, NY has a wonderful collections of Document Based Questions and Thematic Essays that have appeared on the New York State Assessment.
  • Eye Witness to History is a wonderful website to incorporate primary sources such as first-hand accounts, vintage photographs, and radio broadcasts into your classroom.
  •  Reading Like a Historian is a wonderful  curriculum to engage students in historial inquiry.  The Standford History Education Group produced over 75 Lesson Plans based on primary documents and activities to engage your students in the study of United States History.These lessons seems to align perfectly with the Common Core Standards of reading, analyzing, forming an opinion, and debating primary source materials. Students are not learning the material from a textbook or a teacher but engaging in real and meaningful historical inquiry.

  

 

Change the way your student’s watch videos with Zaption!

Zaption is a wonderful program I learned about this week. It is truly changing the way students view videos. Teachers can quickly add images, text, quizzes, and even discussions to existing videos from youtube, vimeo, or other private videos. I plan on using this program to flip my classroom. Instead of having them just watch a video they can now be fully engaged with the video. Zaption allows you to display questions for students to answer as they watch a video. Teachers can get immediate feedback on how students interact with the content and understand key concepts.

Here is a sample video for my sociology class on gender stereotypes and expectations

To create a quiz on Zaption you start by creating a “tour” in your account. A tour is a collection of videos, images, and text. Zaption allows users to add videos from YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, or National Geographic. After selecting your video you can start and pause the video where you want to add a question. When students watch the video they will see questions appear during the paused video.

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Edcamp Social Studies will be held November 22nd

Are you doing something amazing in your classroom that engages students and helps them to learn more? Do your students love social studies and love learning in your class? Or, perhaps, you feel stymied or frustrated by the current state of our education system? Do budget cuts and dwindling resources leave you little choice but to teach in isolation?

Bring It!

In order to be prepared, it’s best to bring along the following to an EdCamp

  • An open mind
  • A positive attitude
  • A willingness to collaborate and share
  • A couple of your colleagues
  • EdCamps are NOT about formal presentations. They are about conversations and they are fully participatory.
  • A concept or idea that has worked really well in your classroom that you can share and about which you are prepared to guide a discussion.
  • Ideas about things you’d like to learn – you don’t need to teach everyone else if you lead a session, you can just as easily lead a session by asking others to teach you. In other words, practice the inquiry-based practice in leading a session.
  • EdCamps are not techno-centric, however, it is a good idea to bring a laptop or other device as many people will be filling backchannels and Twitter streams around the conversations taking place. Conversations can be centered around tech and non-tech ideas and concepts.

 

You can expect:

  • Passionate educators sharing their tricks & techniques
  • Collaboration with others like you in learning new tools, content, etc. together
  • Instantaneous excitement, networking and camaraderie
  • Rich, meaningful conversations that will last far beyond the construct of the day
  • A blank schedule at the start of the day. You’ll be encouraged to sign up for a session you’re willing to lead and the schedule being built from it. This is participant and teacher driven.
  • A rule of two feet, or as fellow organizer, Shawn McCusker would say, the ability to “go where you grow” – if a session doesn’t meet your needs, you keep moving to one that does.
  • A smackdown – at the close, participants have one to two minutes to share a favorite tool, lesson, website or concept in a highly energetic fashion. The resources are curated and shared with all participants and beyond through Twitter

Review Game: Jeopardy Labs

I was looking for a fun review game for my final economics review session. Instead of creating a jeopardy game in powerpoint I created on JeopardyLabs. Jeopardy Labs is so easy to use and can be played online from anywhere in the world. Building your own jeopardy game is so easy and it can be modified with a simple editor.  You can also search other jeopardy games by browsing other jeopardy templates  created by other people. As a teacher you can set up the number of teams as well as keep score easily on the Jeopardy Labs website. Another wonderful feature of Jeopardy labs is that your students can play the game at home for additional review.

Statistics in Schools

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The U.S. Census Bureau invites you to join the vanguard of a new effort to boost students’ data literacy—a crucial capability for success in every academic field and lifelong careers. We’d like you to test materials that aim to strengthen your lesson plans and improve your students’ achievement.

Teachers know best what works for their students. That’s why we need your feedback to launch Statistics in Schools (SIS), an innovative program to improve students’ data literacy and familiarize them with valuable Census resources.

This summer, SIS will provide exceptional K-12 math and social studies teachers like you with activities and materials to use in their classrooms in the fall. We’re offering videos, interactive maps, games, supplemental activities, and discussion prompts based on real-life data and examples.

Through this SIS Early Adopter program, you will be among the first teachers to try SIS materials in your classroom, and your feedback will help shape the program before it is rolled out in schools nationwide.

Why should you participate? As an early adopter you will:

  • Have exclusive access to new materials aligned with Common Core State Standards.

  • Receive an informational toolkit and biweekly emails with updates on the program and tips on how to incorporate SIS resources into your classroom.

  • Stand at the forefront of a movement to improve data literacy among students and influence a program for teachers and students nationwide.

  • Be a voice for your fellow teachers on the types of resources you need to empower your students to succeed.

To be eligible to serve as an early adopter, we ask that you:

  • Teach math or social studies (including related electives) to K-12 students.

  • Plan to teach from the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year until at least Nov. 30, 2014.

  • Be able to incorporate SIS materials into your classroom as much as possible from August through November.

  • Participate in an early adopter kickoff webinar in August.

  • Provide us with feedback about your experience using the SIS materials and website.

We’re still adding the finishing touches to the SIS website, and we will share it with you as soon as it’s complete.

To confirm your participation as an early adopter or to learn more, contact Shannon Tucker at [email protected] or 571.366.8984. Provide the following information in your email:

  • Full name

  • School name and full mailing address

  • Type of school (e.g., public, private, charter, tribal, parochial, IB, Title I, alternative, home school)

  • Grade(s) and specific subject(s) you teach

  • Email address and phone numbers to reach you this summer and during the school year

If you know other teachers who might be interested in becoming early adopters, please forward this email to them.

Livebinders for the Social Studies – Part 5

Livebinders for the Social Studies – Part 5:  Presenting with Livebinders

When it comes to presenting material to the classroom, there are several platforms to choose from – platforms ranging from Microsoft Powerpoint to Apple Keynote and a slew of others.  These platforms provide a means of organizing data and presenting it to the classroom.  I myself have previously used Powerpoint when providing content every now and then to the classroom, which can be useful if used to it’s fullest potential.

With that being said, one aspect that needs to bring special attention to your material/lesson is how engaged will it make your students in the classroom?  Thanks to Livebinders, students (and teachers) can now present the material they have created or put together to the classroom and beyond.

Livebinders provide a sense of ownership

Before we get into how you can present with Livebinders, you may be asking why you should be using Livebinders instead of the other options that are available?  Don’t get me wrong, I think platforms like Powerpoint and Keynote can be useful when used properly.  With Livebinders, however, students can create their own online portfolio and work on it throughout the year.  With Powerpoints, once it is completed, students don’t typically come back and build on it unless you design the lesson that way. Livebinders give the students ownership of their own learning and they are able to reflect upon what they have done.

Presenting with Livebinders

With Livebinders, you have the option of creating a presentation of your material.

To put your Livebinder in “Present” mode, first put your cursor over the “eye” on the top navigation panel:

When you do that, you should see a option to select “Present”.  Click on “Present”.  This will put your Livebinder into a presentation mode, which will look like this:

If you will notice, the “Present” mode gives your Livebinder more of a finished product.  You see the name of your Livebinder at the top left hand corner, the binder author at the top right and of course the material of your Livebinder being the center focus.

Using Livebinders also saves time.  You can fill your Livebinder with links to websites, videos and pictures. There’s no need to create a slideshow and insert images or videos because they are already in your Livebinder ready to go.  Students can use Livebinders to present the material or projects they learned throughout the entire year.

This will show how the student has grown and learned since entering your classroom.  Reflection is a huge part of the learning process.

If you have any videos, pictures or stories to share about how you have used Livebinders in your classroom, I would LOVE to hear about them.  Please feel free to DM on Twitter or Google + at @justinstallings.

Livebinders for the Social Studies – Part 4

Livebinders for the Social Studies – Part 4: Using Livebinders to build on collaborative skills

On the previous post on “Livebinders for the Social Studies” we looked at how you can use the “Livebinder it” tool and how to use Livebinders in general to organize and gather resources for lesson plans.  On this post, we are going to look at how students can use Livebinders to build on their collaborative skills.

When it comes to the Social Studies classroom, students take part in research projects on historical events or historical figures throughout the year.  Students research data in books, newspaper articles and, primarily, online content.  When you determine that your students will complete the project in groups, something you must consider is the “nuts and bolts” of how it will be done.  How are my students going to collaborate on the project?  What is the best way to make the project effective that will build my students’ skills?

With Livebinders, you can provide your students a central location where they can collaborate and combine their efforts to enhance their learning.

The benefits of using Livebinders

As a student teacher, I tried to engage my students as much as possible in collaborative activities.  One of the ways I used was creating a webquest and assigning responsibilities to where each group member had a responsibility (jigsaw method).  When I made the webquest, I hoped that my students would at least like the activity and have some fun while learning,  When my students started getting hands-on with it I realized how much they loved doing something besides something on paper or listen to me lecture.  What I also realized is how important it is to provide each student ownership of the project.

Livebinders gives you both the means of engaging your students and giving them ownership of what they contribute.  Livebinders also provide a means of collaborating and contributing throughout the year.  This is something they can constantly update and reflect upon.

Collaborating on a Livebinder

Livebinders provide a way to engage each one of your students and give ownership of the project to not one member, but to all.  Each student will have the opportunity to contribute to the Livebinder when they are added as a collaborator.  Whenever they find a resource, they can add it.  Each member of the group can add a tab to their group’s Livebinder and add content to that tab – which gives them part ownership of their group’s Livebinder.

Having your students do a project on World War 1?  One member can create a tab on the key historical figures, one can create a tab on battles and another member can create a tab on pictures/videos.  All of this combined into one Livebinder where the students can reflect upon their learning.

When students are engaged, the learning experience is enhanced.  This also has the potential of sparking interest in your students that may have not been discovered prior.  As a educator, these interests are key to providing the most meaningful lessons possible.

How to add collaborators to your Livebinder

Please note that each student will have to have previously signed up for their own Livebinder account in order to collaborate on any Livebinder. Click here to go to the blog post on www.livebinders.com about how to have your students sign-up for a Livebinders account.

There are two ways which you can add collaborators to your Livebinder.

The first, and quickest way, is to go to your “My Binders” tab. From there, place your cursor on the Livebinder you would like to add collaborators to – this will bring up three quick menu tabs (Options, Edit, Present).

You’ll then want to click on the “options” tab which will give you several options to choose from, including: share this Livebinder, collaborate, show details, link or embed, add to shelf, make a copy, edit it, present and delete from your account.

The option you’ll want to click on should be the second selection, “collaborate”.

 

Once you click on “collaborate” you will notice that the “Add or Remove Collaborators” selection is now on the left side of the webpage.

The second way is to add collaborators is via the “edit this binder” link once you open your Livebinder.  Simply open your binder, click on “edit this binder” link and then “binder settings”.

Once you get into the binder settings of the Livebinder, you’ll see the “add/delete” button where you can update your collaborators for that Livebinder.  

 

The collaborators that you add to your Livebinder will receive a email asking to approve to collaborate on that Livebinder.  Once they complete those steps, they will be added as a collaborator to that Livebinder.

Here’s an example of a Livebinder that was collaborated by myself and Jen Petras (@jenpetras) on Cyberbullying:

 

Cyber Bullying

For more details on having your students collaborate on a Livebinder, please visit this Livebinder created by Tina & Barbara, the creators of Livebinders:

 

Create an iBook

Last year I had my class complete a Supreme Court Brief Assignment but this year I wanted to create an iBook with my class. I attended a session on iBook creation led by Edtechteacher at West Essex Tech Symposium. Through the Book Creator app, my students created an iBook. Book Creator app is a simple way to create a beautiful and creative iBook project. Students can choose from portrait, landscape, and square book sizes. They can easily add media from the camera roll such as photos or videos. Pictures and videos can be quickly resized or rotated with the swipe of a finger. Students can edit text by color, size, rotation, and font. They can even draw or write on the book with a freehand pen tool. As a presentation tool your students can add their voice to their projects. This application is perfect for any type of school project, especially children’s books or alternative textbooks. They can easily be shared via PDF, iBooks, or uploaded to drive or dropbox.  Wired.com said ”Book Creator makes e-book publishing easy.”  My students loved creating their books and were very creative with images, drawings,  and animation. Overall, it was a very worthwhile assignment that I would reccomend to any teacher. Here is a sample project before it was converted to an iBook:

Give your students a fun language experience with Normandie à la Carte’s French learning programs

Language learning is more important now than it ever has been before and almost every school will offer some sort of language course. Knowing what language to learn can be a difficult decision for students, but one language that every school should teach is French. The ability to speak French will provide students with a huge number of opportunities and will greatly improve not only their career prospects but also their life experiences.

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French is one of the most widely spoken countries in the world with over 200 million speakers, and is the only language apart from English which is taught in schools in every country. It’s spoken in five continents and is the language of the arts, so that ability to speak it will give students the chance to enjoy many works of theatre, literature, film, music and more which they may not have had access to beforehand. Students who can speak French will be able to communicate with a huge number of people all around the world and they’ll have a better experience when travelling because of this.

French speakers are in incredibly high demand in the professional world and a qualification in French language will create a lot of career opportunities for students in many different areas including travel, teaching, editing and publishing, and even governmental positions. They’ll also get the chance to work in various international companies.

Not only does learning French give students lots of opportunities in the business world, but it also gives them a better understanding of the English language. Whilst it is common belief that most of our English vocabulary is derived from Latin, we actually get the majority of our words from the French language. By learning to read, write and speak French, students will get a better understanding of the English language too, and they’ll be able to steadily improve their abilities in both.

One of the best ways to help your students learn French is to take them on a French language trip. Trips are incredibly helpful in teaching languages as instead of learning in the classroom where they are able to speak English to their friends and teacher if they want something, students will be completely immersed in the French language and culture and will have to use their French vocabulary in order to communicate with the locals. This will help them to develop their fluency and conversational skills. If you want to take your students on a French trip, you can start by looking into Normandie à la Carte’s French learning programs. These have been specially created so that students can learn in a safe, fun and friendly environment.

Normandie à la Carte’s French learning programs are based in a centre with 3 acres of grounds in a village which is 2kn from the coast. This is a beautiful and safe environment in which students will have a lot of fun and take part in a range of activities. They’ll be able to enjoy learning French with much more freedom than in the classroom, and as a result they’ll become much more eager to learn even when back at school.