How to Get ELL Students to Talk-6 Story Telling Apps

I know when I was an English Language Learner (ELL) instructor, getting students to speak in front of others, was my greatest challenge.  Mind/Shift not only addresses this challenge for educators, but recommends some fantastic storytelling apps for all three grade levels (elementary, middle, secondary) to ease their anxiety.

“With digital storytelling tools, students can spend time formulating their stories, self-reflect and self-assess, collaborate with peers of differing skill levels, and in the end, feel confident in their abilities.”

Kid in Story Book Maker (elementary)

Tell About This (elementary/middle)

ShadowPuppet Edu (elementary/middle)

Toontastic (elementary/middle)

VoiceThread (elementary/middle/secondary)

Explain Everything (middle/secondary)

“Apps and tech tools allow students to practice in the comfort of their own home by themselves or with a caregiver.”

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138 Practical Ed Tech Tip Videos

Free Technology for Teachers organized a cumulative list of 138 fabulous, easy to follow videos aimed “at tools for flipping your classroom, videos on managing workflow, social media tips, search strategies, and media production.”  But one does not have to be a teacher to find some of these quite useful.

Many of the tools or videos are aimed at assisting anyone using Google docs or apps.  3 Helpful Google Drive Settings is just one of those videos.

This is a definite resource for everyone to bookmark!

10 Resources for Teaching and Learning About Weather

Free Technology For Teachers presents ten great resources for teaching and learning about weather.  You don’t have to be a science teacher to see these top ten resources are truly inspirational!

How does this get better you ask…videos!  Why Are There Clouds? is a relatively new Minute Earth video that explains how clouds are formed and how they rise or fall in the sky. The nice thing about Minute Earth videos is that a list of references is included in each video’s description on YouTube.

Richard Byrne, creator of Free Technology for Teachers, provides links to all ten resources as well as several Youtube videos for educators to peruse.

Teacher Recommended: 50 Favorite Classroom Apps

Librarian Michelle Luhtala, from New Canaan High School, hosts an Emerging Tech webinar on edWeb; with a large professional learning network of educators, Michelle compiles this great list.

This list of apps is among ones educators favored and shared some commonalities with from last year’s favorites on edWeb.  Teachers tend to drop apps if they become too expensive or sometimes if the updates are so overwhelming that they no longer know how to use the product. Luhtala explained it’s a delicate balance: “If it doesn’t feel different than it did a year ago, that’s alarming. It should feel the same, but better.”

The repeat apps that have made it to this favorite list added functionality without doing so too quickly. They also tend to target younger students — high school students mostly use their phones for personal computing and their laptops for school. The emphasis in the higher grades is still on reading and typing — teachers give students fewer opportunities to express their learning in creative ways, so the tools of choice tend to be basic. High school kids use Google Apps because they can easily collaborate.

What is your reading personality?

How do you find just the right book to recommend for a kid?  What makes a certain book a yes for one kid reader and a clear no for another?  Certainly anyone can read anything. But what is the doorway in?

These questions plagued Barb Langridge. Barb pulled together knowledge from her master’s in education and human resources development to attack the question.  She re-examined the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, based on the psychological types described by Carl Jung who believed that our seemingly random behavior is actually consistent. It is based on differences relating to the way we make use of perception (sensation and intuition) and judgment (thinking and feeling).  Barb revisited the Keirsey Temperment Sorter, which is based on the theory that there are four basic temperament groups–artisans, guardians, rationals, and idealists–and that those groups might be further divided into more specific character types.

Now, Barb has developed a way of analyzing and understanding that personality may be based on a variety of factors, including their interest in particular types of pacing, tone, subject matter, settings, emotional arcs.

Which Reading Superhero Are YOU?  is a 10-question assessment that helps identify a child’s reading personality.  The current answer key on the website divides each type, by gender, but Barb is currently working on creating new names and gender-free divisions for the four reading personalities.  She notes: “The only reason I divided it back in 2009 was to reach and meet needs of people who were Googling books for boys.”

Barb’s model divides readers into four categories:  guardian/belonger, dionysian, Joan of Arc/seeker, and answerman/investigator analyst.  Barb provides an extensive description of each along with examples.

PD-Café offers professional development activities to complete alone or with colleagues

Teaching Tolerance has posted an article titled PD Cafe, or Professional Development Cafe.  Why?  “2014-15 was the first school year during which no single racial or ethnic group made up a majority of the student body in our nation’s public schools.”  

Recognizing and acknowledging diversity in the classroom just got a little bit easier with these activities.  My personal favorite is Creating a Community Action Board.  Giving students the opportunity to post articles, illustrations, comics, poems or quotations that capture what’s happening in their homes and neighborhoods, seems so simple, yet I didn’t think of it!

There’s also Reflect and Research, Audit you Classroom, and Put it all Together. The article even gives educators suggestions for self-reflection.

Click here for the PDF version of PD Café.

Teachers Pay Teachers-Buy and Sell Original Educational Resources

Teachers Pay Teachers is an open marketplace for educators to buy, sell, and share their original resources.  I don’t know what I would have done the year I was asked to teach four different grade levels of high school English, mid-year, had I not been told about this great resource!  Many of the teachers offer free lessons and worksheets, while most are very reasonably priced.

Their search feature allows you to search by topic, subject, grade level, or even how much money you want to spend.  I particularly liked searching under “free.”

Membership is free and although I haven’t sold any of my original resources, plenty of other teachers are and making money!

Realtime Board-Free Tool for Teachers to Host Online, Collaborative Sessions

Realtime Board provides a blank canvas on which you can type, draw, and post pictures.  Realtime Board is built with HTML5, meaning it works equally well on laptops and on iPads or Android tablets.  The boards that are created on a Realtime Board can be shared publicly or privately. To help communicate with collaborators, Realtime Board has a chat function built into every board.

Realtime Board grants teachers and students access to all premium features for free.

20 Teachers to Follow on Pinterest

If you need some amazing teachers to follow on Pinterest, you have come to the right place.  Pinterest is so helpful when it comes to getting new teaching ideas and inspiration.  I started posted on Pinterest a couple years ago as 98fallon, but haven’t spent the time on this particular social media site.

I currently have three educational boards: two dedicated to secondary or higher items and one for my preschool or elementary level (pre-8).  To be honest, I’ve done very little posting to these boards lately, but if you’re looking for educators who post regularly on Pinterest, then look no further!

Emily Liscom, author of Education to the Core, has put together a fantastic list of twenty, awesome, educational bloggers.

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Three Classroom Uses for the Vocaroo Audio Recorder: Formative & Peer Feedback and Read Aloud

Vocaroo is a simple, free voice recorder that allows users to create an audio recording with just a few clicks. Once recorded, the audio file can remain on the Vocaroo servers and be easily transmitted via a link, or it can be downloaded into several different file types including MP3, Ogg, FLAC, or WAV. Additionally, it can be embedded onto a blog or website or shared via several social media buttons.

Since Vocaroo is web-based, it’s great companion for the Chromebook classroom or any web-based environment. Students and teachers can easily record and share their thoughts with each other. The audio recordings become opportunities for formative assessment and feedback as well as a neat way to have students double-check their writing for errors.

Educators will find detailed instructions for the three applications and additional resources to learn more about working with Google Apps, Web Tools, and Chromebooks, by visiting EdTechTeacher.