Monday, 21 April 2014

Using Formmule in the Flipped Classroom (Old Sheets)

My co-teacher Lori Uemura and I are big fans of the flipped classroom model. One thing I've learned in the last few weeks is how to use "formmule" to do the following which is really handy if you're having students read articles or watch videos and want to assess comprehension when they walk in the door. This quick tutorial will show you how to:

  • Create a self-grading quiz
  • Assign and email review activities on a form submit trigger

This has really helped with classroom management and creates a personalized set of activities that has gotten my students engaged as soon as they walk in and sit down. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Creating Personalized Quiz Reports with the New Autocrat and Sheets

After my COETAIL course 5 project, someone asked what "Autocrat" was and how I use it for assessments. Autocrat is a tool that allows you to take spreadsheet data and paste the data into documents using merge field mappings shown by "<" and ">" signs. There are many uses of this, but from an assessment perspective, this is particularly handy in creating and emailing documents to students after having taken a quiz on Google forms and you want to:

  • Communicate what the correct answer is and what the student's response was.
  • Provide a document that students can use as reference and review. 

Related Posts
Using Flubaroo with Google Forms

Friday, 11 April 2014

What's a GIF? (and why you should use one)

I have been using GIFs more and more in my classes. I only learned about these this school year from the huge number that people share them on Google+.  The example below was playing in the background while my students were doing a lab investigating how the rate of evaporation affected crystal growth.


What is a GIF?
 GIF's are an acronym for "Graphic Interchange Format" which are compressed and don't require playing, as they're running continuously. The "G" is actually pronounced with a "J" sound so it sounds like "JIF", the peanut butter. If you've seen Harry Potter films, they're a lot like the paintings in the "grand staircase" which are constantly moving in animation as students pass by. Unlike other web 2.0 tools like "youtube" which require the user to press play, pause, and replay, GIFs are cyclical "loops" constantly playing. What I like about GIF's is that they focus on a key part of video content and play it over and over. With most videos on youtube or vimeo, the highlight may only be a few seconds and you will have to back up to watch it again. Recently, I have liked to use them playing in the background during certain activities for visual cues or reinforcement. Seeing a GIF animation play over and over again may become a bit repetitious, so I usually change them up once or twice during a lesson. I've also embedded them into our Moodle site for outside assignments.

Where Can I find GIFs?
My "go to" site is Giphy. Giphy has a great assortment of media, although most of them are for social media use. Another is Gifbin. There are a lot of educators sharing GIFs on Google +, so connect to see what everyone is sharing!

Two Great Uses of Google Maps in Science

Ah, spring. My final two units in grade 6 and 7 are "Inside Earth" and "Watersheds" respectively which allows Google Maps to be a handy tool when looking at data and information from around the world. Just like working with Google docs, maps can be created and worked on collaboratively. Here are two uses that I've found very helpful.

Inserting a Layer of Spreadsheet on Google Maps
As we were finishing up our unit of chemistry, one of our labs was to investigate the factors that influence water's ability to boil. We signed up for the "International Boiling Point Project" which is a collaborative effort amongst schools around the world, much like Google's Connected Classrooms Workshop. Participating classrooms collected data on the following:
  • Elevation
  • Average Boiling Temperature
  • Amount of Water
  • Heating Device
  • Room Temperature
 After we did, we input our data on a simple spreadsheet and added other classes information onto it as well. The cool thing I learned at Google Teacher Academy is that you import spreadsheet data as a "layer" on Google maps as shown below to aid in the analysis. Here is a tutorial to get you started.


Collaboratively Mapping Out Geographic Features
My seventh grade classes are learning about watersheds. After some front loading of water distribution on earth, and surface water movement, our lesson asked students to do the following:
  • Research an area that you know well and locate a watershed within it. 
  • Draw this area within Google maps. (Discuss with country partners so you don't overlap!)
  • Indicate how mountain ranges, hills, or ridges (acting as divides) funnel water to larger rivers within your watershed.
  • Name 1-2 tributaries which flow into the larger river. 
  • Extension: Insert an image from your watershed.
Of course within International Schools, the wide variety of student backgrounds gave a greater breadth of background knowledge to areas they knew from their native countries. But, the product (which was formative in nature) ended up being a good foundation for our study of water. Furthermore, my co-teacher and I are planning on finishing the unit with water collection around Ho Chi Minh City, wherein students will collect water from near their homes, map out their locations and provide analysis on chemical indicators. For this, we can simply "add a layer" of spreadsheet data (like the first example I showed) so maps can have layers of information showing subsequent lessons, all building on top of each other.