The New Google Sites Tutorial for the HW Site

#mamatechnology #laurablair #edtech #newgooglesites #tutorial


2016 -2016 school year

At the beginning of this school year, I filled out a pink card and a blue card.  Or at least I was supposed to.  On the PINK card were some targets and on the BLUE card I finished these prompts:

  1. this year I’m going to do more of….
  2. this yea, I’m going to do less of…

Since I having many moving targets that materialise through the year, I guess it doesn’t matter so much I can’t find my cards.  Here are the moving targets that continue to emerge in my professional life;

  • Student Reflective Blog Portfolios
  • Makerspace
  • Developing a Tech Resource Website
  • Coaching teachers and students
  • Transitioning teachers to Google Classroom as their Learning Management System

Things I did plenty of:

  • Creating resources
  • Offering PD
  • Generating ideas
  • Planning
  • Walking

Things I should have done more of:

  • Meet individually with teachers
  • Help teachers use tech in better ways
  • Keep more up to date on Social Media professionally
  • Blog and Share
  • Yoga
  • Relax

Things I did less of:

  • Meeting with PLCs
  • Sleep

Things I should do less of:

  • Eat and Drink
  • Worry

#reflection #school #endofschool #edtech #mamatechnology



Teacher’s Reflecting in Blogs

We have 9 days of school to go and at this last faculty meeting we were asked to reflect on the goals that we made at the beginning of the year.  At the beginning of the year, we wrote these goals on index cards and put them in envelopes.  Instead of reflecting on paper this time, teachers posted their second blog post to their professional blog.

Though having teachers reflect in a blog was not one of the goals I wrote down on the index cards, starting a student digital portfolio blog program was a huge goal of mine when I took this job.  Getting the teachers on board with this initiative is imperative for this program to be implemented well.

I’ve tried before to have teachers start their own reflective professional blogs with mixed results.  But time is up, I will have to finish my reflecting next year.

Creating an Audio QR Code

Today a teacher asked me for a simple solution to creating an audio QR code for her Foreign Language class. is the simplest way that I found to make one.  There are other ways like uploading an MP3 file to Google drive, or recording on Soundcloud.  But for a very easy and quick solution, I would recommend Vocaroo.

Here’s a little tutorial I made on how to make an audio QR code with Vocaroo.

Here are some cool ways you can use Audio QR codes in your class.

  1. Give students directions for a center or an activity
  2. Speaking word wall
  3. Showcase student spoken word poetry
  4. Include Audio QR codes in a scavenger hunt activity
  5. Label parts of a Foreign Language classroom with audio QR codes.

Alternatives to Glogster

Every year I get requests from teachers if we have a subscription to Glogster.  Though I am sure the Glogster has some uses in the classroom, it’s not a tool that I would pay for.  There are too many other free tools that do similar things.

To give Glogster the benefit of the doubt, I signed up for their 7 day trial.  Some features it offers are adding photos, videos and audio to an online poster (basically a website).  The site has library of images that students can use and you can take pictures, audio and video using your computer.  One feature I think teachers would like is the Class Feature. Teachers can add student accounts in the EDU version.  This feature gives you access to student projects.  I guess this would be good if you are having students all use the same tool; however, I am not a big fan of assigning everyone a project where they must use a certain tool.  Allowing students to choose how best to present what they learned is definitely best practice.  You will be amazed at what students can do if you don’t limit the tools they can use. 

Here’s another great article about some Pros and Cons of Glogster.

Here are a few alternatives to consider.

Moving my Blog Over to WordPress

After many attempts of trying to import my old COETAIL blog to import to this new blog, it actually worked this time.  It’s been getting stuck for months.  I was half  way through writing a post complaining that I would have to transfer it manually, but it finally worked. Here the the instructions if you ever need to export an old blog to a new blog.

I’m going to have to go through all my posts and see what I have actually put up on my COETAIL blog.  COETAIL was a great program that helped me connect with educators interested in technology while allowing me to affordably get my masters through SUNY BUFFALO.  But, I think I have a bunch of BS posts that were just done for the courses that I have to go through and delete.

Being a technology coach already, I learned some new things from the program, but mostly I got experience helping others.  Jeff Utecht and Kim Cofino are on a roll with COETAIL and Eduro Learning.  I wish I had more time to pursue endeavours like those that would maximize my earning potential.  I guess I have enough on my platter for right now with my 2 and a half year old and another on the way.

My new goal for this blog is to transform it into a helpful tool for educators and to actually blog regularly.

Dragon Box +

A couple of days ago I had one of my 6th grade teachers express interest in using iPad games to motivate her students in math.  They are just starting algebra so I immediately thought of the game dragon box +.  It’s a super cute game with levels that progressively get more difficult.  What I also love about this game is that it introduces new rules every couple levels.  The kids don’t know this when they start but these rules are the rules of Algebra.

I remember when I found this game a couple years ago.  I decided to give it a try while I was waiting to renew my Indian visa in the Chennai Foreign Residents Registry Office (FRRO), probably the worst administrative office that has ever existed.  It usually was at least a 2 hour non air-conditioned wait in a very cramped room with no semblance of any sort of order.  Anyways, I played the game all the way through during my 2 hours wait and it was great.  I think it helped me better understand some algebraic concepts and I could definately see how kids would be motivated to play.  It had all the good aspects of a game that were discussed in the last module.  It was challenging but not too challenging, it rewarded you with passing levels, kind of like angry birds and it introduced new rules slowly.

Trying to figure out the rules together

I tried it with a class the next week and it was a hit.  After they completed all the levels, I made them reflect and draw conclusions between the game and the algebraic rules they were learning.  Though not all of them became algebraic geniuses from playing the game, they told me that they had fun and that it helped with their understanding.

Getting the hang of it

The 6th grade class that I want to try this out with was not quite ready yet.  I asked the teacher to have 4 or 5 students that were ahead of things in their math work to come test the game out.  I really didn’t give much instruction because the game tells the students the rules as the levels progress.  I simply asked them to work together to understand the game, because they would be the ones helping their classmates understand the rules in a few weeks time.

They had a blast working together.  I actually left them alone for a while to go through the levels by themselves.  When I returned they understood the game but we’re stuck on a challenging level.  I asked them if they knew what this game was helping them understand.  One student said fractions, another said it was math and they last one said, “hey, is this algebra?  They all agreed not to tell their other classmates that this was a math game and they were all confident that they could explain the basic rules (which are basically the rules of algebra).  I think my exploration into game-based learning went well.  I’m excited to see how the activity goes in a whole class session.

This is where they got stuck.