Teaching Out Loud

Putting something out there, and hoping to get something in return

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ARADIO – Day 31 – Let my Drive be Free!

So today ends the great “A Resource A Day in October”. I’ve had fun writing about these different resources, and I have enjoyed rediscovering some tools I haven’t used in a while.

For this last day, I wanted to give you access to all that I am creating. Here is a link to access my current teaching drive. Many of the things I am using are in progress, stuff that I am creating, past and present units, and basic outlines and thoughts. Use what you will, credit where appropriate, and feel free to share back to me if there is something you think is awesome.

Thank you for joining me on this journey, and look for “A Video A Day in October”! I’ll be sharing videos that I find useful in class, along with lesson thoughts, and possible curriculum connections!

ARADIO – Day 30 – Appointment Slots

Parent/Teacher conference time is upon us, and I have had an extra struggle this year. BIT14 is scheduled on the days set aside for PT interviews, and this conflict meant that I needed a way to schedule my own times.

I decided to dive headfirst into creating appointment slots using my GAFE account and using that as a public way of scheduling appointments. While there have been some technical hiccups, I have found that parents have been able to schedule effectively using the system. The only real drawback is that a google account is necessary, but since all students in my board have a GAFE account, it was just a matter of getting that information home.

Here are some resources to get you started:

Appointment Slot Tutorial (not WRDSB specific)

(video from lynda.com)

Letter Home to Parents (WRDSB Specific, but you can modify to fit your purpose)

Screencast of Instructions sent home to Parents (Specific to my instructions above, but you can make your own using “Screencast-O-Matic“)

PS – Tomorrow is the last day for ARADIO – Look for the final post in the morning! I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

ARADIO – Day 29 – Search Ninja Part 2, The Searchening!

They say that “A google a day keeps the bad citations away.” Although I pretty sure that they are the marketing department for Google.

Nonetheless, “A Google A Day” is the gamified version of Google Search.
A Google A Day
It asks you a question, and gives you access to a google search (devoid of spoiler ridden autocompletes), and awaits your answer. There is a countdown, and point system. While difficult for primary students, and a bit above junior students, it should be just fine for 7-12. I find it is an excellent second part to an independent search skills lesson.

ARADIO – Day 28 – The Log Driver’s Waltz

In case you didn’t know, and I sincerely hope that you do, much of the National Film Board‘s catalogue is available online. Much of my childhood was spent watching their crazy little shorts, including the much beloved “Log Driver’s Waltz”

Canada Vignettes: Log Driver’s Waltz by John Weldon, National Film Board of Canada

The NFB site also has a pretty robust Education site. It comes with lessons, and access to even more films. The site also has an excellent interactive section. Try out this interactive feature comparing our social media obsession to the seven deadly sins.

When I was working in Toronto, I used to take lunch breaks at the NFB building, where you could watch videos at your leisure. I found these science videos particularly engaging:

Science Please! Part 1 by ONFB, National Film Board of Canada

Science Please! Part 2 by ONFB, National Film Board of Canada

ARADIO – Day 27 – If You Can Find It, Use It

In my pursuit of cross-curricular applications, I stumbled upon a book that was at once awe-inspiring and wonderfully useful. It was “How To Count Like A Martian” by Glory St. John.
How To Count Like A Martian
Told as someone trying to decipher a message from mars, it goes through the history of counting systems and asks the reader to compare and contrast, as we try to figure out the counting system from the incoming message. While the story leaves a little to be desired (and is a little outdated) the information contained within is a wonderful way to marry an ancient civilization unit with math.
The book is currently out of print, so getting a hand on a copy is difficult, but not impossible. I got mine used, and I have been so happy to have it.

ARADIO – Day 26 – Marth Madness

One of my challenges each year is how to integrate art into the other subjects (other than having the students just adding a drawing component to a poster or similar activity). I stumbled upon the concept of Marth a few years ago (with the help of Tom Fuke). The idea was to have an art concept that held up on its own as artwork while also using some sort of mathematic technique.

Fractal Art is one of my favourite. Using just scissors and paper, students can create intricate patterns that, when finished, look immensely complicated, and provide a great jump in point for any number of mathematical concepts (addition, multiplication, patterning – just to name a few).

Patterns also pop up in the art of people like Nadia Russ and her Neopoprealism:

Thanks to Steve, a wonderful teacher candidate with whom I had the pleasure of working with these last few months for showing me many wonderful artists, like Nadia Russ, and for preparing the lessons on her.

ARADIO – Day 25 – My 2 Favourite QR Tools

I find QR codes to be extremely useful in class for quick reference items. We have used them when we create a research bulletin board/poster, as a quick way of citing references for student work, a board for accessing commonly used websites and current assignments and rubrics. For all this to run smoothly, you need a good way to create QR codes for the content necessary.

I use two different tools:

When working outside a chrome browser, I use goqr.me. It is a versatile creator and allows you to load a number of different types of content into your QR code – like phone numbers, instructions, geolocations, even WIFI instructions. It is easy to use, and creates codes quickly. (Thanks to Susan Watt for showing me this one)

The second is a browser extension for Chrome. ShortenMe is a button for the browser that, when clicked, creates both a goo.gl link, and a QR code. I sue this as a quick and easy method of adding QR codes, and shortened URLs to anything I am creating. This is especially useful when using google docs, as the URLs end up being quite unweildly.

ARADIO – Day 24 – I’m Friends With The CIA

One of the nice side-effects of a giant clandestine operation is that they keep great stats on people, places and things or just about any noun you can think of. The nice part for us teachers and student researchers, is that they keep a really nice World Fact Book. It has really detailed stats for every country in the world, from terrain and climate to literacy levels, you can find almost any stat you need. The language is very scientific, so lower grades with need a lot of preloading to use it, but I have found it useful in most situations.