NOW Classrooms Book Series Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Twenty-Seven Educational Experts from Across the Nation Share Best Practices for Using Technology in Classrooms

Bloomington, IN (November 1, 2017)—The NOW Classrooms series, published by Solution Tree, presents classroom-ready lessons that support the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Students. Educators can use the lessons, which are grounded in the essential four C skills—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity—to connect technology to key learning outcomes and prepare learners to succeed in the 21st century.

“My books are written with the classroom teacher in mind and contain strategies that are practical and easy to implement in the classroom,” explained author Meg Ormiston. “The tech-rockstar teachers get everything quickly and are racing on to the next tip, app or tool. Most teachers need more time to practice as they familiarize themselves with various digital tools—I write for these teachers.”

The books are organized by grade bands of K–2, 3–5, 6–8 and 9–12. Each book’s chapters are divided into several sections containing three lessons each—one novice lesson, one operational lesson and one wow lesson (spelling out “NOW”)—that readers can choose from, based on their experience with the technology and their students’ needs. The series also includes a leader’s guide, which outlines a flexible framework for driving instructional innovation schoolwide or districtwide.

Carole Colburn, a technology teacher at Highlander Way Middle School in Michigan, praised NOW Classrooms, Grades 6–8, stating, “I love this book and how the authors organized it around the ISTE standards, including terrific lesson ideas that teachers can immediately implement in any middle school classroom. It is a great resource, and I highly recommend it for any middle school teacher who wants to create a classroom environment full of engaged, 21st-century thinkers and learners!”

Readers interested in getting technology updates from the authors can follow #NowClassrooms on Twitter or Facebook.

The NOW Classrooms series is available to order at SolutionTree.com.

Books in the NOW Classrooms Series

NOW Classrooms, Grades K–2

By Meg Ormiston, Beth Hatlen, Kristy Hopkins, Kirstin McGinnis, Lissa Blake and Nicole Ring

NOW Classrooms, Grades 3–5

By Meg Ormiston, Sheri De Carlo, Sonya Raymond, Grace Kowalski and Justin Gonzalez

NOW Classrooms, Grades 6–8

By Meg Ormiston, Lauren Slanker, Jennifer Lehotsky, Megan K. Flaherty, Janice Conboy and Whitney Cavanagh

NOW Classrooms, Grades 9–12

By Meg Ormiston, Scott D. Parker, Tom Lubbers, Gretchen Fitzharris, Ellen K. Lawrence and Katie N. Aquino

NOW Classrooms, Leader’s Guide

By Meg Ormiston, Cathy Fisher, Jamie Reilly, Courtney Orzel, Jordan Garrett, Robin Bruebach, Steve M. Griesbach and Becky Fischer

About Solution Tree

For nearly 20 years, Solution Tree (https://www.solutiontree.com) has worked to transform education worldwide, empowering educators to raise student achievement. With more than 30,000 educators attending professional learning events and more than 4,260 professional development days in schools each year, Solution Tree helps teachers and administrators confront essential challenges in schools. Solution Tree has a catalog of 515 titles, hundreds of videos and online courses and is the creator of Global PD, an online tool that facilitates the work of professional learning communities. Follow @SolutionTree on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about Solution Tree.

Contact

Solution Tree

Erica Dooley-Dorocke

Erica.Dooley-Dorocke@SolutionTree.com

800.733.6786 ext. 247

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Connecting Students with a Global Audience

When I first heard about sharing with a global audience I was excited to do so, but like with some many things, the divide between great ideas and actions, was too big for me to jump across. I just didn’t know how to connect my students globally. Fast forward a few years, and now I realize I was taking the wrong approach. I was looking for an individual classroom in a certain area, like connecting a Spanish class with a class in Spain, to explore the exact same content together. A better way of thinking is to share to a broader audience, publish students ideas, and connect with an established group of people.  Here are a few ways to connect and share with a global audience.  

TED Ed Clubs

Just like TED talks, TED Ed has created a 13 lesson curriculum that teaches students how to design a TED style talk to allow students to share their passions and amplify their voice. Through the program, students are able to connect with other clubs around the world to share ideas and grow their global perspective. The lessons help them explore their ideas and craft their story in a way that is appealing to others. Animation lessons are also included. Students create and record their talk then it is published on the TED Ed youtube channel. Students can even earn a chance to attend TED Ed Weekend in New York City where they can give their talk on the TED stage.  Head to https://ed.ted.com/clubs to apply to run a TED Ed Club. 

 

Global Student News Network

Don Goble and his students have created a space called the “Global Student News Network” that allows teachers to submit student created media to be featured on the site. The goal is to spread positive student media to connect stories from around the world. You can find videos from the students in my district at “Youtube Playlist of Six-word stories on Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Infections.” Tweet your student work to @GlobalSNN to share to the site.

Global Math Task Twitter Challenge

Connect your math class to classes around the globe with the Global Math Task Twitter Challenge. Each week, you can connect with classes at the same grade level and share and solve math tasks appropriate for your grade. Students are able to share their thinking and learn how others would solve the problems. The chart of fall connection is already starting to fill up. Check it out at http://gmttc.blogspot.com. 

These three options offer a variety of ways to share your students’ voice and connect with a broad audience. I hope you will find something you are comfortable using!

Written by: Jenny Lehotsky

@JennyLehotsky

 

 

 

 

 

Loosen the Reins and Let Creativity Blossom

Letting go of control of your classroom is scary. Being in charge of 30ish kids is a big responsibility and we, as teachers, don’t want anything to go wrong. However, many amazing things can happen when we give our students choices and the freedom to explore and express their learning in new ways. With a little preparation, students will rise to the occasion and thrive in an environment where the “reins” are loosened ever so slightly.

As a library media specialist and technology coach, I recently worked with Tim Strezo to design a project for his 6th grade Social Studies students where they would be given the freedom to choose the technology tool they wanted to create a product showcasing their knowledge of Ancient Indian civilizations. Students worked in groups in our school’s MakerSpace to make videos using the Green Screen, created Stop-Motion animation films using Play-Doh, Legos, or Dry-Erase marker drawings, acted out scenes, and performed raps, all while immersing themselves in the Social Studies unit content. While the process of relinquishing some control was scary at times, watching students become so engaged they forgot the time made the whole experience worth it. Here is how we approached this project:

Planning
Tim and I met with our Instructional Coach, Erin Christie, to plan and discuss the project logistics. We decided that each student would choose to answer one question about Ancient India that was covered in the unit’s material. In order to put students into groups, Tim created a Google Form for students to take which asked them which question they would like to answer. Students also had to answer which type of medium they would most like to use to create their product; Green Screen, Stop-Motion, Audio Recording, or e-book. Based on how they answered, students were put into groups of 3 or 4 to work on their product.

Making
Before students could start creating their product in the MakerSpace, they had to make a rough draft. For Green Screen and Stop Motion movies this was a script, for audio recordings this was the song
or rap lyrics, and for e-books this was the book draft. Once the draft was approved, students could get to work on their final product.

In order to lessen the chaos of 30 students working in the MakerSpace at a time, we split Tim’s classes in half. Half of the class would work with Tim on new Social Studies material in his classroom, while the other half would work on their Ancient India project in the MakerSpace. Myself and my technology assistant, Julie Fredrickson, would supervise and assist students working in the MakerSpace. Halfway through the class, the groups would switch.
Students had roughly 4 of these class periods (about 2.5 hours) to complete their products. Groups that did not finish on time could arrange to come during lunch or after school to finish. For the most part, students remained engaged and on task throughout the project.

When students were finished with their product, they posted it to their Social Studies Google Classroom.

Reflecting
In order for Mr. Strezo to accurately assess how well each individual group member had mastered the content, he had each student answer their group’s chosen question through a Google Form. Students also had to rate their own performance while making the product as well as rate their groupmates. Students were graded on the Google Form response as well as the finished product.

Recommended Technology Tools
Here are some of the technology tools that our students used, but is by no means a conclusive list. You could create a list with any tools your students are familiar with or allow them to completely pick their own!

  • Green Screen by DoInk An easy to use Green Screen iPad app (costs $2.99).
  • iMovie a basic movie-editing application that comes for free on Apple products. Students can easily export Green Screen movies into iMovie and add music, titles, and voiceovers.
  • Stop Motion Studio is a free Apple and Android app that allows students to turn photos into Stop Motion videos as well as add voice-overs.
  • Garageband is a sound-mixing program available on Apple products where users can mix voice and instrument tracks together.
  • WeVideo is a web-based program and app where you can easily combine photos, video clips, text, and music to make custom videos. A paid subscription allows users to make Green Screen movies.

Try It Out!
You don’t have to launch a project of this scale your first time trying this technique. Start with something small, such as having your students recap a lesson at the end of class. Give students a few technology options and guidelines and see what that they will create…the results may blow you away!

by Megan Flaherty @D60WestviewIMC

Math Writing Prompt Leads to iMotion Video

Video Link

How to make an iMotion video (With iMotion)…

  1. The first step to create your project is Download the free app iMotion.
  2. Open iMotion and select the button labeled “new movie”. (You will see two buttons underneath labeled “help” and “iMotion gallery”. The button “help” contains help and tips, while “iMotion gallery” contains videos and movies from others.)
  3. After clicking on the “new movie” button, then select “manual”, and then “start”.
  4. Please Note: iMotioncan also be used to make voice notes, remote videos, and time-lapse projects.
  5. Once you have selected the “start” button, choose your topic/theme. For my project, it was a Super Mario BrosTM -like setting.
  6. Get your props ready. For me, it was paper and a utensil to draw with.  Also, scissors to cut the designs and something to prop up the camera.
  7. Please Note: You will want a substantially sturdy object to hold it. This can include a custom case, stand, or even just a stack of thick books. However, make certain your holder doesn’t cover or block your main camera.
  8. Position your camera in a way so it will not move. Or in a way so it is easy to move.
  9. The following video shown above uses movement intentionallyto mimic the movement of the Super Mario BrosTM Game. However, this example project requires a still camera.
  • Near the top rightmost corner, there is a “capture” button. Once you have positioned your props, press this to take your first video. Move your props about a quarter-centimeter, and then take the second “capture”.
  • Please Note: The span of your screen for the normal model iPad Miniis a 720×720 base. This may vary in devices updates, and otherwise development. Also, you can see the total number of “captures” you have taken by looking at the total middle label titled “Images”.
  • If you have finished your video, select the “display button at the bottom leftmost corner. Then the “stop capture” one.
  • Move your object a half-centimeter in between every “stop capture”.
  • Please Note: When you hit the “stop capture” button, you will see several options. One of these, “onion skin” will allow you to see the previous screen overlaying the new one. I would recommend using this for the smoothest possible transitions.
  • When you are finished with your section, hit the “stop capture” button. It will ask you to confirm, so simply tap the screen to continue.
  • Once you are at this point, the lower scroll bar will allow you to change your FPS, or Frames per Second.
  • To delete a frame, simply slow your FPS down and pause on the frame you’d like to delete.
  • Save your project.
  • You’re done!

Janice Conboy @Mrs_Conboy

and Whitney Cavanagh @WhitneyCavanagh

6th Grade Teachers

Guest Blogger: Clarissa, 6th Grade Student

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?”

In Beth Campbell’s 7th grade Spanish classes, students start an immersive and multi-faced technology project by imitating the phrasing from this class picture book by Bill Martin, Jr. Students are tasked to create a Spanish version of this book, using their own theme in replacement of Martin, Jr.’s animals.  Several students choose Disney characters, others choose food, and a few pick favorite athletes as their theme.

After students have picked their themes, they get busy writing a script for the story, having it checked for grammar and spelling by Mrs. Campbell before the final production stages. In order to transform their script into an electronic book, they will be using the technology platform Adobe Spark. Adobe Spark allows users to insert text, images, and voice recordings into multi-slide presentations that can be shared online. Students have fun as they change design themes, add pictures, and finally record their voices and publish their finished product.

In my role as a technology coach at Westview Hills Middle School in suburban Chicago, one of most enjoyable aspects of my job is to see projects evolve over the years. The Spanish picture book project described above started off several years ago with students creating their own versions using paper and markers. For the oral portion, students would read their book to their class. We have tried numerous technology platforms over the years, from Shadow Puppet to Google Slides combined with Screencastify. Each product has had pros and cons, and this year we decided we were ready to try something new. Adobe Spark seemed like a perfect combination of components we have liked in past platforms. It is easy to record audio and the finished presentations look professional and inviting. Students found it easy to use and could login with their Google accounts.

As this project continues to evolve, next year we hope to share the electronic picture books with K-2 Spanish-speaking students in our district. After the K-2 students view the books, they can record their feedback and share with our 7th-grade students. Every evolution of the project has enhanced student learning and helped to develop new skills in technology and the content area. The electronic format allows for seamless teacher and peer feedback and the ability to share throughout our district and the world. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this exciting project!
In what ways have your projects evolved over the years, particularly with the integration of technology?

Megan Flaherty, Librarian and Instructional Coach Westview Junior High

@d60WestviewIMC

Digestive System Choice Project

After learning about the digestive system, students created a project to show their understanding of the path that food takes throughout the digestive process. Students were to pretend that they were a piece of food and write or speak their journey in the first person. The project was a student choice project meaning students were able to pick how they were going to show their learning. Many students chose to use their ipads and used iMovie, Keynote, Strip Design and many more apps.

This video made with iMovie.

Whitney Cavanagh @Mrs_Conboy

and Janice Conboy @WhitneyCavanagh

6th Grade Teachers

Conversations With Socrates

In social studies, students were able to have a “conversation with Socrates” through the use of a prerecorded voice recording of Socrates.  The voice recording was put into their social studies folder in Showbie*.  All the 6th graders were able to access the voice recording through Showbie.  Students were then able to create their own responses to the thought-provoking questions from Socrates.  The next step was to record their answers to make a conversation.

Step 1 – Listen to the Socrates recording located in Showbie

Step 2 – Record your responses in Garage Band, iMovie, or QuickVoice

Step 3 – Import recordings into Garage Band or iMovie

Step 4 – Create a new project, splice, and combine the recordings to make a conversation

Step 5 – Be sure to save your project

*Showbie is a wonderful tool to help make your classroom paperless.  It can help to get materials to all students, groups of students, or even individuals.

Janice Conboy @Mrs_Conboy

& Whitney Cavanagh @WhitneyCavanagh

Voice and Choice in Math Assessment

Our class took a geometry assessment today on 3D shapes. Students demonstrated their knowledge on the app called Educreation. In the assessment they were able to choose the shapes they were working with and then they had to record their understanding. This aligns to the standard 7G.A.2

To Get Started Open EduCreations App on your iPad. Hit record.

  1. Drawone of the following shapes and explain verbally (with your speech) the number of vertices the shape has. Then draw line of symmetry through the shape.
  • Cylinder
  • Cube
  • Rectangular Prism
  • Sphere
  1. Drawanother shape from the list and explain verbally (with your speech) the number of vertices the shape has. Then draw a line of symmetry through the shape.
  2. Describe verbally the relationship between the two figures you have chosen.

Stop recording and save your video.

Educreation offers a free “classroom” to share and organize projects.

Janice Conboy & Whitney Cavanagh sixth grade teachers