As I prepare this year to send my own daughter to her first year of middle school, I am increasingly aware of the complexity of being a preteen (and teen) in 2019. There is a lot to navigate -- academics, extra-curricular activities, social-emotional well-being, friendships, and the ever present cell phone culture. I've always tried to build relationships with my students, but this year I want to double-down on this practice by giving kids even more outlets for reaching out to me for help or simply guidance. I'm not exactly sure what this will look like in it's entirety but here are some strategies that I plan on using (some old, some new to me). I hope they'll spark ideas for you about how to continue to strengthen your relationship with students.
This week, we're focused on technology. Of course, the instruction ALWAYS comes before the tool, but sometimes, you have an idea and just need to figure out the best way to bring that idea to life. We touch on app building, podcast recording, content curation, and share a music playlist. Take 5 and explore some tech tools with us!
An easy way to create an app? Yes please! I learned about Glide on the Hacking School Libraries Facebook group -- it's a neat little FREE tool that allows you to put togther an app using the contents of a Google sheet. What about a book recommendation app, built by your studnets? Or a guidebook for your school? An end product option for project based learning? The possibilities are limitless.
At BubbleUp Classroom, we love listening to podcasts. So what could be better than an easy-to-use tool for podcasting in the classroom! Synth is web-based so it's available across devices. They have built in safety features for students and offer lots of ideas for using this audio tool in the classroom. Check out this post from Class Tech Tips for more deatils.
Anchor is another podcasting tool with a few more features than Synth. Upload to social platforms, collaborate with co-hosts anywhere in the world, all free in this multi-platorm tool. Maybe this is the year to start that podcast you've been mulling over in your head!
Have you discovered Wakelet yet? It's a neat curation tool that allows your to build collections of information. I used it to archive and share out a few Twitter chats (both the conversation and the resources mentioned during the chat) such as this #vaslchat on the AASL Standards. You can bookmark content from across the web (articles, video, social media posts, images. etc) and then organize it in accessible way, adding text and captions. It's a great way to present information to students! And why as your students to curate collections as well?
I recently ran across this playlist on YouTube from Relaxing Records: "Study and Concentration Music." Each piece is at least 30 minutes (and some are an hour or more) to help with focus, concentration, memory and more. Great for kids who prefer to study with music or classroom ambient noise.
What tech-y things have been sparking your interest lately?
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Can you believe summer break is almost over? I know for many of our readers, school has already begun, but here in Northern Virginia, our students don't come back for a few more weeks. I, on the other hand, head back to work next week. And, even though summer ends every year, I'm feeling a bit stunned that it happened so fast this time around. It's hard for me to go from 0 to 60 on day one, so I'm focused this week on getting my school year mojo back. Here are some things on my to do list for the week as I prep to go back to the library.
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