Hot Links- 8/9/18

Why Grammar Instruction Does Not Improve Student Writing: How to Teach Writing and Grammar– This article explains (ie..some of the research is showing) how traditional isolated grammar lessons does not lend to significant student growth in their writing. They are wanting to sell a product to help, but the article has some good points.

Teaching Writing and Grammar: Writer’s Workshop, Spiraling Writing Curriculum, Authentic Writing, and Isolated Skill Drills– This post is next in the series and offers some thoughts on Writer’s Workshop

How to Get Started With Genius Hour for Elementary Classrooms?– Erin Klein offers some pointers to get started with Genius Hour

Can We Stop Saying “a PBL”?– John Larmer of Buck Institute writes about why it is not helpful to high quality PBL to refer to it as “a” PBL.

Self-Paced Learning: How One Teacher Does It– Jennifer Gonzalez (Cult of Pedagogy) shares an interesting approach one teacher uses in her class.

Use it or don’t



Hot Links- 8/2/18

Here’s the next set. If you only read one, I recommend the critique of the Common Core. It puts a different spin on it. And why, when taught with fidelity, it may be discouraging critical thinking as a byproduct.

A Democratic Critique of the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) Standards.

10 Education Truths That Support Project-Based Learning

20 video project ideas to engage students-  Matt Miller gives some tips.

10 research-based insights on how the brain learns– More Matt Miller

14 copyright essentials teachers and students must know– Good to know

Hot Links- 7-25-18

53 Ways to Check for Understanding– Great ideas beyond the test or quiz.

Can We Make Lesson Plans More Than Just Compliance Plans?– AJ Juliani makes some interesting observations about his own journey with lesson plans.

STEP IN, STEP OUT: A STRATEGY FOR THINKING DEEPLY ABOUT TEXT– A clever way to teach Point of View. HERE is the free resource associated with it.

HOW ADDING A LITTLE MYSTERY CAN CREATE CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT MAGIC– I saw a long term substitute at my site doing this great idea.

REVISITING #ONEWORD– Mr. G offers some thoughts on the word CURIOSITY. Oneword is a cool idea about choosing a theme word for your year, like growth, connection, curiosity.

Hot Links- 7-19-18

How To Build Classroom Community; It’s Not What You Think– Michael Linsin describes how we can build community in our classroom.

6 Powerful Ways To Build Community– Linsin continues with some extra ways to build community. I love the idea of “Find a Rival”.

20+ resources for engaging game-based learning– Matt Miller shares some resources.


How to become a teacher who innovates – Matt Miller shares some thoughts on innovation.

Innovation is not out of our reach. It is simply trying something new.

Hot Links- June 8, 2018

I just officially started summer break, which means more opportunities to reflect on my teaching and blogging. Though sometimes when it is busy, it is easier to get more done than being lazy, so we’ll see.

How To Handle Aggressively Disrespectful Students– Michael Linsin always has good classroom management tips.

App smashing and Reading Rainbow-inspired book reviews

5 Vocab Practices That Need Updating– Alice Keeler has some simple ways to elevate some of our vocabulary practices.

Why your students need a podcast: How to do it fast and free– I like the idea of a podcast, and Matt Miller helps make it seem possible to use in your class.

On paying for digital classroom tools– To pay or not to pay. What are the benefits?

Use it or don’t


TEC 902- Workshop Reflection- Drive, Docs, Forms, etc

TEC 902- CUE Workshop Blog2000px-google_22g22_logo-svg


I wasn’t sure what to expect with my first CUE workshop with the CUE Digital Innovator’s Program. It was scheduled for 2 and 1/2 hours! But, man, did that time really fly. The presenter was Marlena Hebern. One of the folks in the cohort said she was coauthor with Jon Corippo of The Eduprotocol Field Guide. It is now in my Wish List. DISCLAIMER: Marlena never mentioned the book, and I don’t get any kickbacks from mentioning it.

Drive/Add-Ons/ Extensions

This was a quick activity to share about Add-ons and Extensions. the difference between them is that Extensions are a part of your Chrome browser and Add-ons are a part of the G-Suite (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, etc). Marlena (I wonder if I can call her that- she seems nice enough) had us add an extension and then the Add-on called Orange Slice. Orange Slice was a cool Add-on that helped us quickly create a rubric that we can paste (and score) right within a Doc. the Orange highlights in the image are the teacher scores on the document. Plus, having the students download the add-on and grade their own writing using the rubric is something that I see having a value in the classroom.
Screenshot 2018-05-18 22.07.11
Image: Orange Slice


Most of us knew about Forms, but Marlena showed us how to use them create a self grading quiz. Like many tech things, it does take some input up front, but the other side of that is that once they are created, you will not need to recreate it next school year. Forms is becoming a valuable tool in the G Suite collection. I will definitely start adding these, more, to my toolbox.


I was even thinking that I could probably teach my 3rd graders to create them too. Next year I will be teaching 3rd grade, but I thought it was a great idea to be able to use picture as questions and possible answers for the littles.


OK I had heard many folks on podcasts and blogs talk about the amazingness of Hyperdocs. I glanced over, thinking it sounds nice, but moving on because I only have so much time in my day.

Once the instructor showed us a couple and how simple it was to do, I was hooked! And then she seriously blew my mind because I realized she was doing our presentation from a Hyperdoc!Screenshot 2018-05-18 22.37.33

This is a section of the instructor’s Hyperdoc lesson.

Then, like much of the Workshop, she had us try out the tools and tricks. I was really impressed about the feature for making a label like “Page 3” could be made into a bookmark and hyperlinked to that page or section. This section was certainly a highlight for me. There are so many uses for this. I plan on using this to help my students be limited a little with some of their research (and sites). We have a solid filter, but my students have often ran across some things they shouldn’t. Any way I can limit that and protect their innocence a little longer, I am all for.Screenshot 2018-05-18 22.39.27


Eduprotocols are templates that we can use to guide our students in their learning and we can use the template for many different topics and content areas. The idea behind it seems to be that if we can have the structure repeated, there becomes a familiarity with the structure and it becomes one less thing for the students to have to learn and navigate during the lesson.

One of the ones we tried was called the Booka Kucha. It is based on a Japanese-styled presentation called Pecha Kucha, similar to the Ted Talk. Fun fact: Pecha Kucha is an onamotopoeic term that means “chit-chat”.

The Booka Kucha is like a mini book report. Depending on the level of your students, there are several variations. The example we were given was a literary example. It was 4 or 5 slides. Students say what book they are reading and the page number. The prompt was: Three Problems, One character. On the next slides, the students would add a couple sentences and an image that corresponded.Screenshot 2018-05-18 23.25.11

When they are done, they have basically 20 seconds per slide to present for a total of about a minute. This is a great way to get students up and presenting as well as just a quick reflection activity. I am all about having activities (multi-use tools) that I can use the same structure and just change the content.

Session Reflection

What did you think was valuable? Why?

Most of the 2+ hours was pretty valuable. I am not just saying this for a grade. Frankly, it could have gone on for several more hours and not been long enough. So many good tidbits of info. Part of the value was not just someone talking for hours. It was very interactive. She would talk, she would demonstrate and she would make us do or reflect on something. I think a big part of being an effective teacher is modeling and reflection. I, especially, plan on using the Hyperdocs and Eduprotocols on a regular basis.

What did you NOT think was valuable? Why?

For me, while Orange Slice is a very useful tool, I almost feel the steps involved with it may be much for just a teacher assessment. Though, by stepping it up and having a peer review and student self-review, it may be more valuable.

Plus, I was sad we didn’t get to Sheets. That is the application I am least comfortable/proficient at, and I wish we had time to get to it. Maybe next time.

Will the discussion change any of your teaching practices? How?

If it doesn’t, then I may need to get out of teaching. Seriously, even if I was new to tech, the instructor was very helpful and was willing to back up as needed. One of the important things I have learned is that the tech is there to support or enhance my teaching, not simply to try out a new fun toy. One of the ways this will help me is that these tools are useful no matter my level, the level of my students and there is not much extra prep on most.

What do you think is worth sharing with colleagues?

Considering I have already shared the Booka Kucha, and CyberSandwich, and using pictures on Forms and Hyperdocs, there is much to share. I am certainly going to be sharing these as much as I can, until my colleagues begin to take a different route when they see me coming. Hopefully, not that bad.

What are you inspired to do, think, etc?

One of my ideas for my final product was the use of Hyperdocs for helping guide some of our PBL units. Even if I don’t use it for that, I know I will be trying many of these things in the new year. I am hoping to be able to add to the conversation happening during our cohort.


Thursday Links- 5-10-18

Heading into the final stretch. 18 days of school left. But who’s counting? 🙂

Closing the Door on TPT– Mr. Brent shares why he had some issues with Teachers Pay Teacher and what he chose to do.

Surviving the Home Stretch– Dan Tricarico, The Zen Teacher has a few pointers to help with the last days.

Tackling Tattling in the Classroom– Anyone else deal with kids tattling? No, just me? If not, check out this post on helping kids feel heard, but not going crazy.

What to Do About Tattling– Responsive Classroom has a response…get it? No? Well, I’m telling.

Using a Wonder Week to Spark Student Inquiry– John Spencer shares about helping kids see the value in their own learning.