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Creating a Connected Learning Environment in Chromebook Classrooms

Making the shift to a connected classroom  with a digital learning environment is a journey and a phased-in process. Support and training for teachers  along the way are essential. There are a range of elements to consider -- digital citizenship, classroom management of hardware and workflow of assignments, scaffolding of information literacy skills--just to name a few. All leveraged toward the overarching goal of creating digital assignments and projects across the curriculum that are standards-aligned,collaborative, inquiry-driven and rigorous.

Working recently with middle school teachers who are developing 1:1 Chromebook classrooms throughout the upcoming year, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to  give an introductory training as planning gets underway to begin blending digital assignments into daily instruction. We explored features of Google Drive as a starting point and considered options for sharing assignments and organizing class workflow. Teachers saw immediately how creating and sharing Forms with and among students can become vehicles for students’ interactions with class content and assignments as well as for ongoing  formative assessment. Creating a self-grading quiz with Flubaroo Drive Add-on allowed teachers to see how they could quickly provide  immediate formative & summative assessment feedback to students through email (and save valuable time doing so). We walked through process of collaborative writing from pre-write to published piece in Docs while  working with embedded revision history, comment features, and citations within research pane.  It was inspiring work with administrators and teachers who recognize the potential in GAFE (Google Apps for Education) and how Chromebooks in their classrooms will impact how students learn and they teach!


A word cloud created from teachers' exit ticket feedback in training this week captures many aspects of the learning potential in Dreambox Math. 

Updated Dreambox Learning Training Guide

I've updated my Dreambox Learning Training Guide for HISD workshops with K-2 teachers in upcoming weeks. Weebly is such a user-friendly platform to share online presentation resources. This should make it easier for everyone to access sequential page-to-page links, agenda, slides, flyers, & general resources now that they are collected all in one place! 


Not All Superheroes Wear Capes...

Too often, I get caught up in a busy day’s work to notice all that is worthy of my gratitude and appreciation. Moving through this school year’s final month though, I have shifted into reflection mode.  I find myself stopping to take in these moments to fully witness and appreciate incredible work that teachers have done and are doing. These are ‘superhuman’ efforts delivering results that matter. Kids are learning and making critical forward progress (despite some of the odds stacked against them). No amount of funding, technology, or tutoring will ever supersede what great teachers create every day in hearts and minds of kids, toward bright futures ahead. 

Teacher Appreciation Week centered recently at my school on the theme of ‘Teachers--Every Day Superheroes.’ To say this resonates is an understatement. I know with conviction NOTHING could be closer to the truth. A highlight of my year has been filling our campus websiteTwitter, & Facebook stream with images of the great teachers and events taking place in my school. Education news is painted with negativity and grim realities. The tough challenges are very much there. But it should be balanced with celebrating great teachers and schools, and the profound impact they have on children. Shining our own spotlight over the education landscape on these bright spots is our collective responsibility, because if we don’t do it for ourselves no one else will.

An essential part of the equation also has to be supporting and mentoring teachers who are 'good' and clearly on their way to becoming 'great.' But too many are disappearing from the profession too soon, and from classrooms and schools where they are most needed. is sponsoring some nice giveways May 5-9 for National Teacher Apprecation Week. Teachers sign up and complete a profile for instant eligibility for all kinds of cool stuff. Clips of of great teaching techniques are available here on a range of grade levels and topics. A few of my favorites are these below--illustrating how a range of ‘silent signals’ can help kids let us know they are thinking and learning.  


Creating Custom Pathways in Think Through Math

When & Why: Think Through Math  indicates student(s) grade-level pathway is complete. They find this message: ‘Have your teacher create another pathway.’  Review the work on the individual lessons that student(s) completed and then create a new pathway that addresses gaps in their learning.

  • Creating a 'Custom Pathway' may also be done for specific windows of time for targeted skill preparation/remediation for STAAR (or summer school) 

Designing custom pathways will work around the programming of scope & sequence and built-in supports, but allow you to use TTM as compliment to what you’re doing in classroom instruction & customize to students needs.

Here are step-by-step instructions as well as an updated TTM lesson sequence...