Monthly Archives: March 2014

Worth a read 03/15/2014

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Great ideas for using Google Drive in your classroom

There are a wealth of resources available  to inspire and assist you in using the applications that make up Google Drive, lots of them are from teachers sharing their experiences and ideas for classroom use.

Here are three of my favourites:

1. This Glogster: Google Docs for Learning was created by Susan Oxenvad. (Check out if you would like to find out how to make one of these interactive posters).

2. Google Docs, Sheets and Presentations might not have all the functionality of Word, Excel or Powerpoint (but lets face it, who even uses 20% of that functionality?) but the key thing that makes it so worthwhile is the potential for collaboration. Here are 20 great ideas to get started with:

20 Collaborative Google Apps activities for schools

3. In this article Keith Hamon describes the process he uses for teaching writing; how his students create and share their Google doc with him from the beginning of the task so that he can monitor and advise as they are writing. As he says:

Because I have access to their documents so early, I learn much more about my students’ writing and the issues that they need to overcome. This positions me for better teaching. It positions the students for better learning. That’s a win-win.

Teaching writing with Google Docs

Have you used Google Drive with your students? Will you try one of these ideas?

I’d love to hear your feedback on any experience you have using Google Drive in the classroom and share some success stories. Please share in the comments.

Assessing prior knowledge

I love infographics. Mia MacMeekin at An Ethical Island creates lots of fabulous infographics full of great ideas for teachers and students.

This one presents 27 ways to assess students’ Prior Knowledge – how many of these have you tried?

Prior knowledge

It’s part of a series called Events in Instruction, they are all well worth a look.

iPad news and views 03/07/2014

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Fun Friday – Tim Minchin

Tim Minchin is one of my favourite comedians and musicians. I have always been impressed by his way with words and he excels here, giving an “Occasional address” at a UWA Graduation ceremony where he was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters.

In the address he outlines nine life lessons for the new graduates and there are some absolute gems among them. Number six – “Be a teacher. Please be a teacher…Even if you are not a teacher, be a teacher”. And number nine – “Don’t rush…Life is best filled with learning as much as you can about as much as you can”. If you prefer you can read the full transcript but it’s well worth watching the video for the immaculately timed delivery and the reactions of the Vice Chancellor in the background.

Tim’s speech runs for about 11 minutes, the remainder is another person speaking of his achievements leading up to the conferring of the degree.


Linking reflective thinking with Bloom’s taxonomy

Jen Glaser’s presentation to our teachers on Monday evening reminded me of an interesting article I read on Teachthought recently.

In 2010 Peter Pappas developed A Taxonomy of Reflection: Critical Thinking For Students, Teachers, and Principals. In this recent TeachThought article he shares 44 Prompts Merging Reflective Thinking With Bloom’s Taxonomy.

I developed my Taxonomy of Reflection in an effort to provide a schema of prompts that could be used by students, teachers and administrators to hone their reflective skills. I used Bloom’s well-known Taxonomy of Thinking Skills since I think that self reflection has similar “levels.” Consider the stereotypical student response to a parent’s query “What did you do in school today?” The most many parents hope for is an accurate report on what happened.

Seen through Bloom, that’s the equivalent of “Remembering: Retrieving, recognizing, and recalling relevant knowledge from short- or long-term memory.” My goal was to develop a system of prompts that would raise students to higher levels of reflection that corresponded with Bloom’s analysis, evaluation and creation. As I worked on the student prompts, I realized that the same approach could be used to generate valuable reflective prompts for teachers and administrators.

I particularly like the way he has applied this approach to reflection by students, teachers and principals (or anyone in a leadership role); reflection should be part of everything we do.

This illustration shows the macro prompts (broad questions) one for of Bloom’s domains, and a sample of the more specific questions, for students, teachers and principals/leaders for the Analyse domain. If you follow the link to the full article you will find the rest of the 44 prompts plus links to further information for reflective thinking for students, teachers and principals.

Prompts for merging reflective thinking with Bloom’s Taxonomy

I think the questions mostly fit in the “procedural” or “collaborative” quadrants, as described by Jen but you could easily use Bloom’s domains when thinking about questions for discipline and inquiry – what do you think?


Scootle Community

You may be familiar with Scootle, the free online resource providing access to digital learning resources for all Australian teachers, but do you know about Scootle Community?

Accessed via your Scootle log in the Scootle Community operates like a social network but with the focus being everything teaching and learning. If you’ve never registered for Scootle you will need to do so using your school email address before you can access the Community.

My Feed on Scootle Community

Through the Scootle Community teachers can share resources, seek information and participate in discussions. Anyone can set up a network within Scootle Community so that people with similar interests can participate in relevant discussions, share resources or publicise events. There are networks for specific learning areas, stages of schooling, for those interested in girls education or boys education, for technology applications, for specific regional areas, for casual replacement teachers and many more. When you join a network any new information will be automatically pushed to your feed.

Scootle makes it easy to find and connect with (follow) teachers with similar interests and allows communication and sharing in a secure online space. If you’ve never dipped your toe into the world of social media (perhaps because you think it’s all like the worst of Facebook) but are interested in connecting with teachers from around Australia, Scootle Community could be the place for you!

App of the week: Explain Everything

Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere.

From students explaining their thinking while solving a maths problem:


to creating a presentation on any topic (don’t laugh at my first ever Explain Everything video!)

Explain Everything makes it easy.

You can

  • insert images or video from your camera roll, Dropbox, or Google Drive
  • take a photo or video from within the app
  • insert a file from Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive
  • insert a browser to search and annotate web pages
  • use text tools to draw and type
  • use a laser pointer to highlight things as you speak about them or add arrows or other stickers
  • export the completed project as a video, image or pdf file to other apps
  • upload to Youtube, Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive

Mrs Wideen’s blog has some great examples from lower primary students.

This video from Paul Hamilton is a good overview of how the app works:

Explain Everything is a great app for students to use in the one-to-one classroom but it can also be used in the one iPad classroom giving lots of the features of an IWB in a device that can easily be passed around the room.

The app costs $2.99 and in my opinion is one of the best value-for-money apps available for education.

iPad news and views 03/03/2014

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.