One of my goals for my time at the ISTE Conference was to practice sketchnoting on the iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil and the Paper app. I had a great time doing it! I found that I was significantly less distracted when sketchnoting than if I was typing into a word processor, and thoroughly engaged (even though I was internally debating over which color to shade the box and how large to make the title).
I also attended two great sketchnoting sessions. One was presented by Matt Miller and the other was a panel facilitated by Vicki Davis and featured Kathy Schrock, Sylvia Duckworth and Carrie Baughcum talking about how they got started sketchnoting, how they use it with their students, and about some favorite resources.
My first attempts at sketchnoting during the conference appear below, in reverse order. I feel like I can already see how I improved, and that was just in a couple of days. Check back for more attempts (sketchnoting at URJ Camp Newman, anyone?) and for my thoughts on how I’ll teach this to actual students this fall.
Sketchnoting in Education session:
Using Games, Play, Digital Media to Build Your Own Maker Culture session:
Matt Miller’s Sketchnotes: Tools and Tactics for Visual Notetaking Session:
Sketchnoting Exercise from Matt’s session:
Innovation and Tradition in Jewish Education Jewish Educators’ Network
Innovative Learning Spaces session:
I’ve been doing more experimenting with our new Silhouette Cameo and discovering ways that my colleagues will be able to use it. One of our upcoming Yom HaAtzmaut projects is decorating challah covers for lone soldiers in Israel and we wanted to create stencils for the students to use.
Enter the Silhouette!
I created a series of shapes and words for the students to put on the challah covers and we used the Silhouette to cut them out of laminated thin cardstock. This is a cost effective (even with the laminating) way to provide custom stencils. We were able to get four stencils out of each piece of paper.
We got a Silhouette cutting machine for our new innovation lab, and I could not be more excited! A Silhouette is used to (are you ready for this?) cut stuff out of paper, cardboard, cardstock, fabric or vinyl. You use the Silhouette Design software (which is a free download) to design your image, and then send it to the cutter. There are lots of ways that we’ll be able to use this – let me know if you want a demo or to play. And check out my Pinterest board for ideas!
If you’re looking for vintage photographs, check out Shorpy. You can search or just browse to see the amazing photos uploaded by users. It is crowdsourced content, so you may want to be careful having students use it.
Passover is on its way! For links to Passover websites, videos, games and more, check out Jacob Richman’s site.
This summer, we’re repurposing a computer lab into an innovation lab and I could not be more excited! The new lab will be a collaboration and creation space, with movable furniture, writeable walls, and awesome equipment. We’ll be sporting iPad Pros and Chromebooks in there, a poster printer, color printer, 3D printer, and a Silhouette Cameo machine.
What’s a Silhouette? It’s a crafty teacher’s dream – a machine that hooks up to your laptop or computer, and cuts where you tell it to cut. Essentially, it’s a die-cut machine on steroids. You can buy designs for it, or create your own. The machine will cut paper, cardstock, sticker paper, and fabric.
I spent a couple days playing with it (sigh…the tsuris of a tech ed director), and I really think this will be transformative for my colleagues. I’m seeing creative uses for bulletin boards, classroom aids, bookmarks, stickers as well as a myriad of possibilities for student work.
One of the projects I’d like to see is teaching stop-motion animation using an iPad app. As preparation, the students will create a background (set design) using the poster printer, print inanimate objects using the Silhouette and then create articulated characters using the 3D printer. Imagine we were retelling “Little Red Riding Hood” – students would print the forest background on the poster printer, trees and grandmother’s house on the Silhouette, and Red Riding Hood and the Wolf using the 3D printer. How cool would this be?
One of the features I think will be most exciting to my colleagues is print and cut. With this feature, you print your design to a regular printer using the software-supplied registration marks. Then, you put the printed piece through the Silhouette and the machine magically reads the registration marks and knows exactly where to cut. It’s magic, I tell you! Check out the image on the right – how amazing is the detail cutting around the music notes at the bottom and the waving hand at the top?
Stay tuned for more creative uses for the Silhouette cutting machine and our innovation lab adventures!
The Maccabeats and Naturally 7 teamed up to do a lovely cover of James Taylor’s Shed a Little Light. What a great video to share with students! And if you want to share the lyrics as well, I’ve created a Google doc with them.
Creative Commons. Creative Commons. Creative Commons. I can’t say it enough. What’s Creative Commons? That’s the licensing protocol that allows creators to share their creations and say it’s okay (or it’s not okay) for people to use/reuse/remix their stuff. With our digital citizenship curriculum materializing, we’re doing our students a disservice if we continue to allow them to simply do a web search for images and use whatever they find. One solution is to use a search engine that only returns results that are copyright-free. One such resource is Pixabay. You can do a search and then filter by photos, videos, or illustrations. Give it a shot!
Got plans this summer? Check out the National Endowment for the Humanities summer programs website for an impressive listing of summer programs. Stipends are available.
NoCamels is an innovative name for an innovative website about, well, innovations in Israel. It’s ad-supported and a little annoying, but there’s good info on there and it would be a great destination for a student seeking current events articles.
The Google Cultural Institute website is an extraordinary collection of works that are searchable and browsable. A search of “Chagall” returned information about the artist, links to four exhibits and 278 items. There are 950 collections in this impressive resource, including museums, Carnegie Hall, Yad Vashem, the Metropolitan Opera, Life’s photo collection and more.
Think innovation! Here’s a good list for teachers looking to up their innovative classroom game.
Don’t Google it…Grok it! Go to Instagrok, type in your search terms, and you’ll get an interactive and customizable map. This is very cool.
February is around the corner, and with it comes the Illinois Computing Educators Conference! Lots of great workshops, keynotes and general technology hilarity. It’s close, it’s cheap and it’s usually worth spending a day or two traveling to St. Charles. Check it out here.
Who remembers PacMan? Now you can create your own PacMan quiz for your students. Check it out here.
Looking for Chanukah resources? Jacob Richman has assembled an impressive list of web resources, including coloring pages, videos (over 500 at last count), songs and more.
ComicMaster is a really nice looking website for creating your own short graphic novels (or, as we used to call them, comics). Signing up is free and you can save or print.
At EdJEWcon we used backchanneling a lot. That’s where you use a website where participants can add their thoughts during a presentation. If you like the idea and would like to explore using it in class, check out this blog post.
This is fun! If you’d like for your students to create their own Facebook-type pages, you can download a PowerPoint template that they can modify as needed. Download it here. If you’d like to stick with a Google doc, here’s a tutorial you can use.
I wanted to remind everyone about Newsela. Newsela is a great site for current events articles. You can sign up using your Google credentials, create classes, and assign articles. You can even choose the right reading level for your students.
Here’s a terrific way to get notifications every time a Google folder is changed. This is big, folks!
Hour of Code is coming! In honor of Computer Science Week, tens of millions of students spend one hour during the week between December 7th and 11th learning how to code. If you’re interested in committing an hour of class (and it doesn’t have to be an hour at one time) to having your students delve into some aspect of coding, here are some great resources:
The brain is the coolest! Here’s a great article with nine things teachers should know about it.
Oooooh – this awesome (if somewhat geeky) article presents a great set of tools to use to discover if that viral news story is really true. Not only are some of these sites useful if you want to just verify if something is true or not, but they could form the basis for a terrific lesson plan on media literacy.
Love Excel but want to use Google Sheets for sharing ease? Here’s a nice selection of Excel-like tools that you may not have known are available in Sheets.
You know how I’m a big fan of copyright-free image sources for students. Photos For Class is a terrific search tool to find appropriate images that include proper citation. For instance, I downloaded this image and you can see that the source info is embedded at the bottom. Very nice!
From my friends at Behrman House:
Hack Jewish Education
We’re seeking ideas for a NEW digital experience that can help reboot Jewish education
Have you been tinkering with an idea for an app or other digital learning experience for Jewish education? Would you like get ongoing mentoring about your idea, and take it to a month-long workshop in Israel to bring it to life with help from professional coders, designers and ed tech developers?
Behrman House and MindCET, the innovation department of Israel –based Center for Educational Technology, are seeking a North American team with a great idea to mentor in a pilot accelerator program funded by a grant from the AVI CHAI Foundation. The program will include working with developers and other teams in Israel for a month, hosted by MindCET; workshops and mentoring hosted by Behrman House to focus on the Jewish educational market; and access to professional design, coding, art and other tech development talent.
Applications, which are due November 20, 2016, can be accessed at www.jlearninglabs.com under ‘submit your idea.’ The chosen team will work with Behrman House and MindCET for six months, beginning in December 2015, will head to Israel in mid-February (exact dates to be announced). For more information, contact Jeremy Poisson.
Design thinking, the “formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of solutions, with the intent of an improved future result” (Wikipedia) is something that’s been intriguing me for some time. If you’re interested in a 90-minute crash course on this method, check out Stanford University’s site.
Put some Zing! into your classroom! Zing is a new free eBook site that you can use with your students. You can browse by category, language or reading level and monitor student progress. Sign up for a free account and let me know if you want to strategize about Zinging with your students.
Looking for some Jewish educators’ blogs to follow? Here’s a list of some, as crowdsourced by the Schechter network’s Jon Mitzmacher.
Well, this is interesting…here’s an interesting article about how a synagogue used technology to answer “every question it had.” I wonder if this solution could be applied to other institutions!
I’m a big fan of Kiva – the microfinance site that allows you to make small loans to individuals in generally underdeveloped areas. Every year my religious school students take part of their tzedakah collection and make a Kiva loan, which gets paid back so we can loan it out again! If you’d like to explore using Kiva with your students, check out the resources at Kiva U.
H.S.I.: Historical Scene Investigation is a pretty intriguing site. It was “designed for social studies teachers who need a strong pedagogical mechanism for bringing primary sources into their classroom,” but what intrigues me is the modality it uses to encourage inquiry among students. I’d love to know what you think!
Speaking of primary source docs, the LOC (Library of Congress) is hosting a free online conference about that very topic. The conference will be October 27-28, and the sessions will be recorded for later viewing. More information can be found here.
What exactly does a teacher do in a blended classroom? Khan Academy and the Clayton Christensen Institute teamed up to provide a series of videos that explore that very topic. If you’ve got some viewing time, check out their videos here.