Wednesday, November 30, 2016

An Excellent Chrome Extension for Helping Students with Dyslexia

November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below. 

According to the Mayo Clinic (2016), more than 3 million Americans are diagnosed with Dyslexia each year. Dyslexia can pose learning difficulties to students (and adults) with reading, writing, spelling, thinking and understanding. Chances are, you will or currently have a student with Dyslexia. How can you design a learning environment where ALL of your students can succeed?

Open-Dyslexic is an open source font designed to help increase readability for students (or adults) with Dyslexia. The free OpenDyslexic Chrome extension overrides all fonts on webpages with the OpenDyslexic font, and formats pages to be more easily readable. 

How does it work? 

Once you install the Chrome Extension, you can turn OpenDyslexic on/off by clicking on its icon in in the top-right corner of your browser. 

Here is what a typical Google Search result looks like: 


Here is what it looks like once you turn on OpenDyslexic: 

Why is this necessary? 

  • "Your brain can sometimes do funny things to letters. OpenDyslexic tries to help prevent some of these things from happening. Letters have heavy weighted bottoms to add a kind of "gravity" to each letter. You are able to quickly figure out which part of the letter is down because of this feature. It aids in recognizing the correct letter, and sometimes helps to keep your brain from rotating them around. Consistently weighted bottoms can also help reinforce the line of text. The unique shapes of each letter can help prevent confusion through flipping and swapping."

NOVEMBER IS CLICKS FOR A CAUSE MONTH! 


Addison Jacobs was born on 1/13/15, one month prematurely with unknown underlying medical issues. At nine months old, she was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow dysfunction, leukemia predisposition, and skeletal abnormalities. Addison requires a lot of care with all of her complex medical issues. All of her medical necessities trips to Philly for her care and time off work creates an enormous financial strain on her family.  
During the month of November, I need your help to make a difference for Addison and her family! Here is how!

  • Visit and share blog posts - I will be personally donating 1 cent to her family’s medical fund for every blog visit for the entire month of November. 



  • The family needs gift cards! Please contact Matt for more information.

Clicks for a Cause has been helping children in need since 2013! For more information, check out my Clicks for a Cause Page!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Use Google Slides, Keynote, or PowerPoint for Flashcards?

November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below. 

If you use traditional flashcards in your classroom, then you realize that they offer a one-dimensional and one-size-fits all approach. They are perfect for students who have strong literacy and vocabulary skills; however, what about students who need a little extra help? Free tools like Quizlet offer speech-to-text capabilities, which are extremely helpful for students who need to "hear" the word being spoken; however, what about students who need visuals?

Tools like Google Slides offer the capability of using images or embedding YouTube videos into your slides. Here is how you can make your own flashcards using Google Slides,  Keynote, or PowerPoint.

Step 1: Create Your Slides

Enter your definition on your slide and your vocabulary term in the presenter's notes section (or vice versa).  Here is an example that I created to define UDL.

Step 2: Add Different Ways to Represent Content

To better understand vocabulary terms, have students add images, video clips, and links to better understand the term. If you use Google Slides, you can embed YouTube videos directly into your slides.

Step 3: Study Time! 

Have your students use presentation mode (as if you were giving a slideshow presentation) to study your terms. If students struggle with a particular term, they can exit their slideshow and view the presenter's notes section to see the term.

Another Option - Create a Class Set of Flashcards

To save time and make things more efficient, it may be helpful to have your entire class collaborate on a slideshow presentation. Tools like Keynote and Google Slides allow you to easily create a editable presentation as a template and assign vocabulary terms to a student or group of students. When students are finished, make the presentation "read-only" so that students can study at their leisure.


NOVEMBER IS CLICKS FOR A CAUSE MONTH! 


Addison Jacobs was born on 1/13/15, one month prematurely with unknown underlying medical issues. At nine months old, she was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow dysfunction, leukemia predisposition, and skeletal abnormalities. Addison requires a lot of care with all of her complex medical issues. All of her medical necessities trips to Philly for her care and time off work creates an enormous financial strain on her family.  
During the month of November, I need your help to make a difference for Addison and her family! Here is how!

  • Visit and share blog posts - I will be personally donating 1 cent to her family’s medical fund for every blog visit for the entire month of November. 



  • The family needs gift cards! Please contact Matt for more information.

Clicks for a Cause has been helping children in need since 2013! For more information, check out my Clicks for a Cause Page!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Save Time and Energy with Google Classroom's Annotation Feature

November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below. 

If you have used Google Classroom lately, you may have noticed a new feature. You can now annotate and provide handwritten feedback on student assignments on the iOS and Android version of the App.


Although many teachers use the commenting features of Google Classroom, you can now annotate student papers and provide written feedback to students. This is a great feature for teachers who want to provide quick feedback.

How does it work? 

  • Use the Classroom iOS or Android App to open up a submitted students assignment. 
  • Once you open up the student assignment, choose the pencil icon (top-right corner of your screen) to open up the annotation feature. 
  • Begin writing or drawing on the document. 
  • After you are finished click the Save icon (in the top-right corner of your screen). 
  • When students open up their assignment, they will see the original copy of their assignment and a PDF copy of the annotated assignment. 

Conclusion:

This is the perfect tool to use during the holiday season, when you are busy, stressed, and just need to lounge on your couch. Why lug papers or a heavy laptop? Use your mobile device instead!

NOVEMBER IS CLICKS FOR A CAUSE MONTH! 


Addison Jacobs was born on 1/13/15, one month prematurely with unknown underlying medical issues. At nine months old, she was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow dysfunction, leukemia predisposition, and skeletal abnormalities. Addison requires a lot of care with all of her complex medical issues. All of her medical necessities trips to Philly for her care and time off work creates an enormous financial strain on her family.  
During the month of November, I need your help to make a difference for Addison and her family! Here is how!

  • Visit and share blog posts - I will be personally donating 1 cent to her family’s medical fund for every blog visit for the entire month of November.

  • Make a donation - for the price of coffee or lunch, make a donation to Addison’s fund via credit card, debit card, check, or cash.



Clicks for a Cause has been helping children in need since 2013! For more information, check out my Clicks for a Cause Page!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

5 Reasons You Should Visit the Teacher's Lounge (PBS Teacher's Lounge)

November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below. 

When I was a young teacher, my mentor gave me the advice to stay away from the teacher's lounge! My mentor told me that it was a place where negativity thrived and new ideas died.

Ironically, I am here today to tell you to visit the teacher's lounge - The PBS Teacher's Lounge - that is. In the era of social media, it is important for like-minded educators to connect and inspire learning. The PBS Teacher's Lounge is the perfect way to connect, share ideas, learn from peers, find daily inspiration and access tools and resources to enhance your work in the classroom.

Here are 5 reasons why you should use this amazing tool!

#1 - Get Fresh Ideas

I am always looking for new ways to do things. The PBS Teachers Lounge is filled with resources for and created by you. For example, how do you teach in the Age of Trump? How do you engage your community through Instagram? Check out the Fresh Ideas section for more ideas. 



#2 - Get the Latest Buzz

Do you want to know what's going on in education, but feel overwhelmed by social media? The Latest Buzz section provides you with the most popular happenings on social media and PBS Learning Media.  



# 3 - Make Today Relevant

Are you looking for ways to make today relevant? Check out the This Day in History section, which is filled with resources to make connections to your curriculum. 

#4 - Tools to Spark Learning!

How do you spark learning in your classroom? Check out the Spark Learning section. This week contains information about Geography Awareness Week. 


# 5 - Resources Galore! 

PBS Teachers Lounge is filled with resources for your classroom, such as the PBS Teachers' Blog, classroom resources, contests, upcoming training events, and a newsletter. 


NOVEMBER IS CLICKS FOR A CAUSE MONTH! 


Addison Jacobs was born on 1/13/15, one month prematurely with unknown underlying medical issues. At nine months old, she was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow dysfunction, leukemia predisposition, and skeletal abnormalities. Addison requires a lot of care with all of her complex medical issues. All of her medical necessities trips to Philly for her care and time off work creates an enormous financial strain on her family.  
During the month of November, I need your help to make a difference for Addison and her family! Here is how!

  • Visit and share blog posts - I will be personally donating 1 cent to her family’s medical fund for every blog visit for the entire month of November.

  • Make a donation - for the price of coffee or lunch, make a donation to Addison’s fund via credit card, debit card, check, or cash.



Clicks for a Cause has been helping children in need since 2013! For more information, check out my Clicks for a Cause Page!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Upload Files and Images to Google Forms!

November is Clicks for a Cause Month! Check out how you can help a child in need below. 

Did you notice that you can use Google Forms as a way for users to upload files and images?

If you are a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) user, then you might want to check out the latest update to Forms called File Upload. 

NOTE: This feature  currently does not work on personal Google accounts. 

How Does It Work? 

Creating a Google Form File Upload Question

Create a new question in your Google Form and select the new File Upload feature. As you normally would for any question, provide instructions for users. 











Uploading Files 

Send out your Google Form like you normally would. When users come to the File Upload question, they will be prompted to upload any file from their computer or Google Drive (from 1 MB to 10 GB).  


Where Do The Files Go? 

When someone uploads a file or image to your Google Form, a folder is automatically created in Google Drive. The folder has the same name as your Google Form. Inside of the folder, you will see another folder for each File Upload question that you created. All of your files and images are in the folder! 


Conclusion:

Although Google Classroom is a great workflow solution, Google Forms File Uploads has a lot of potential. This is a great way of quickly collecting files and images from users without needing to create a Google Classroom. 


NOVEMBER IS CLICKS FOR A CAUSE MONTH! 

Addison Jacobs was born on 1/13/15, one month prematurely with unknown underlying medical issues. At nine months old, she was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow dysfunction, leukemia predisposition, and skeletal abnormalities. Addison requires a lot of care with all of her complex medical issues. All of her medical necessities trips to Philly for her care and time off work creates an enormous financial strain on her family.  
During the month of November, I need your help to make a difference for Addison and her family! Here is how!

  • Visit and share blog posts - I will be personally donating 1 cent to her family’s medical fund for every blog visit for the entire month of November.

  • Make a donation - for the price of coffee or lunch, make a donation to Addison’s fund via credit card, debit card, check, or cash.



Clicks for a Cause has been helping children in need since 2013! For more information, check out my Clicks for a Cause Page!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

4 Ways to Unleash the Power of Audio with Clyp

I love finding new tools to record audio! I just came across an excellent post by the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog called Clyp.

Clyp is an audio recording application that is available on iOS, Android, and as a web app. Users can use Clyp to upload or record up to 100 MB worth of audio content for free! Once your content is uploaded, Clyp creates a URL that you can share or embed on a website.

This is an excellent tool for younger students because there is no sign in required. It reminds me very much of Vocaroo.

How could I use this? 

  • Thinking Prompts - Instead of a writing prompt, why not give students a thinking prompt? Give students the option of typing text OR using Clyp to record a 30-second response to a question.  Once students publish their response, they can share the link in the commenting section of Google Classroom, Schoology, or Edmodo. You could even have them add the link to a Padlet note. 
  • Book Trailers - Movie trailers get movie goers excited to watch films, why not do the same with books? Have your students create a 1-minute clip summarizing their favorite book. Publish your audio file to Clyp to generate a URL. Use the URL to create a QR Code that you could place on the back of the book, a poster, or flyer. 
  • Blogger of the Day - Students are constantly in and out of our classrooms for a variety of reasons, such as illness, appointments, and other absences. Why not assign 1 student per day to be the "blogger" of the day? Instead of actually writing a blog post, why not have the student share the three things you should know from class today? Post this audio clip to your class website, blog, or use social media. 
  • Weekly Update - Parents want to be connected to our classrooms, but often do not have much time. Why not create a 1 - 2-minute weekly update of what happened in your class this week? Share news, events, and information about assignments. Want to get more parents involved? Why not have your students help you create a weekly update. Parents love to hear their kids. Publish your audio file to Clip and share it via email or social media. 


NOVEMBER IS CLICKS FOR A CAUSE MONTH! 

Addison Jacobs was born on 1/13/15, one month prematurely with unknown underlying medical issues. At nine months old, she was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow dysfunction, leukemia predisposition, and skeletal abnormalities. Addison requires a lot of care with all of her complex medical issues. All of her medical necessities trips to Philly for her care and time off work creates an enormous financial strain on her family.  
During the month of November, I need your help to make a difference for Addison and her family! Here is how!

  • Visit and share blog posts - I will be personally donating 1 cent to her family’s medical fund for every blog visit for the entire month of November.

  • Make a donation - for the price of coffee or lunch, make a donation to Addison’s fund via credit card, debit card, check, or cash. Sign up to make a donation using this Google Form. I will send you an invoice via PayPal. At the end of the month, I will make a donation directly to the family.



Clicks for a Cause has been helping children in need since 2013! For more information, check out my Clicks for a Cause Page!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

7 Ways to Help Students Master The Writing Process

The writing process is a challenging process for anyone. What scaffolds and supports do you have in place to help students during the writing process?

1. AnswerGarden - perhaps you have a class writing assignment and you need a list of key terms. Why not begin with a brainstorm of keywords? AnswerGarden helps you create a class word cloud of terms that may be associated with the writing assignment.

2. Wolfram | Alpha - is an excellent source for finding information about a topic. It does not show you popular websites like Google and Bing, but gives you the facts and other types of information that you need. Do you need a definition, synonym or other interesting facts? Then this search engine is for you!

3. Google Voice Typing is a great tool for students to use if they have a physical disability or just need to get the words from their head to paper. Use this free tool while using the Chrome Browser and Google Docs. If you are using an iPad, simply use the voice typing features.

4. Grammarly - is an excellent tool to help students with proofreading, spelling, and grammar. How many times have your students turned in something that was not proofread?

5. PaperRater - is another proofreading tool for students to use; however, I like how it also serves as a coaching tool. PaperRater gives students scores for sentence structure, use of transitional phrases, and even an overall score. Although this is not entirely accurate, it can be helpful for developing a higher quality paper.

6. Have a checklist of tasks to do before they turn in a paper! Create a document that has 3 - 5 things that they must do prior to turning in their paper. For example, you may want to have students read their document aloud, use Grammarly to check grammar, etc.

7. Give feedback BEFORE students turn in their assignments! Why not try to give students feedback during the writing process, so they can actually make corrections and learn from their mistakes? Why not give them an opportunity to take a risk with their writing without the fear of a bad grade? Commenting tools in Word, Docs, and other word processing tools make it easy to give real-time feedback!


November is Clicks for a Cause Month! 

Addison Jacobs was born on 1/13/15, one month prematurely with unknown underlying medical issues. At nine months old, she was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow dysfunction, leukemia predisposition, and skeletal abnormalities. Addison requires a lot of care with all of her complex medical issues. All of her medical necessities trips to Philly for her care and time off work creates an enormous financial strain for her family.  
During the month of November, I need your help to make a difference for Addison and her family! Here is how!

  • Visit and share blog posts - I will be personally donating 1 cent to her family’s medical fund for every blog visit for the entire month of November.

  • Make a donation - for the price of coffee or lunch, make a donation to Addison’s fund via credit card, debit card, check, or cash. Sign up to make a donation using this Google Form. I will send you an invoice via PayPal. At the end of the month, I will make a donation directly to the family.



Clicks for a Cause has been helping children in need since 2013! For more information, check out my Clicks for a Cause Page!