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Seesaw Graphic Organizers

posted May 20, 2017, 5:13 PM by Kris Szajner   [ updated May 20, 2017, 5:13 PM ]

Seesaw is a one of a kind portfolio building tool. The application of this in learning has almost no bounds. Throughout this year, we have seen a HUGE increase in the use of this to help boost students' learning. This has resulted in us teaching new, and innovative ways to make this tool more powerful. Today I want to share with you a Google Slide file that has a multitude of graphic organizers that you can download and copy into your seesaw course.

Normally I would prompt you to make a copy of this document, but today I encourage you to add it to your drive. This is because there is much more work to be done within this file in the year to come! Enjoy!

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Tried and Tested - Is it done?

posted May 2, 2017, 6:43 AM by Kris Szajner   [ updated May 2, 2017, 6:43 AM ]

Tried and Tested. Is what we are doing tried and tested. Are the strategies you are using tried and tested. Can you fall back on years of experience to ensure that it is the right path. This phrase is one that I hear time and time again with teachers. They are waiting for the time when we can say, "yep, this is the path to go because X, Y and Z happened". Honestly, this phrase may never come and here is why.

Our world changes too fast
Whether you live in a technology rich environment or try to seclude yourself from this world, it is impacting everything you do. Buying groceries at target, searching for items online, or using a fit bit all create digital trails of information in your name that can be tracked, measured, and to an extent guided. This may be scary to some, but it is here and it is real. The true impact that technology has on our lives is only at the bottom floor. There will be a day when everything around us has a chip in it, and all of those chips can talk with each other. They are talking about how you go about your life and how you interact with the things around you. They are talking about how they can make your life better and how they can influence you to make better choices. These ideas and directions are already in place by companies like Google and Apple. 

Waiting isn't standing still anymore, its backtracking
The growth trend of technology is exponential and we are just at the beginning. it culd be represented by a hockey stick that you lean against the wall. We are just now at the bottom of the hockey stick. As you continue to move upward, we will reach a day when the growth trend explodes upward. There will be a new breakthrough that will forever change what we do and how we do it. Think about the touch screen cell phone. This technology took a few years to grab hold, but today you no longer have the choice to have a button based phone. This growth is equivalent to you riding a downward traveling escalator. You can choose to hike upward, or you can stand still. By standing still, you are going to move away from the end result. The target of knowing how to use technology to boost student learning is forever moving and shifting upward. Without taking purposeful steps toward this goal, you are moving away from it and not standing still. 

Change is the new Normal
The only constant in todays world is change. We should expect that if you learn how to do something, the process or the tool will change within the next 3 years. This mindset is one that many younger people already have. They are "good with technology" because they know that you can either embrace the change and know that it is a constant, or you can try to shut it out all together. Like I mentioned above, choosing to shut it out and ignore this, you are moving away from your target. It will take longer for you to get to your goal.

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iPad Integration - Teaching vs Creation

posted Feb 13, 2017, 5:22 PM by Kris Szajner   [ updated Feb 13, 2017, 5:22 PM ]

School technology is becoming more and more advanced. Students and teachers are being provided access, and tools that provide opportunities that have never existed before. iPads are one of the primary tools that can be seen in students hands. These devices can be looked at in multiple ways. In my experience, these thoughts can be distilled into two major topics. 

iPads for Teaching
The most common vision that I see for iPads is that they are for teaching students. There are hundreds of thousands of apps available that teach content. They use color, flash, or games to engage students while teaching them concepts in the background. Teachers who hold this as their belief have iPads that are filled with tons of apps. They are probably grouped in folders based on the content that they teach. 

iPads for Creating
iPads make for a one of a kind creation tool. Other tablets and devices come close, but do not have the access that comes with an iPad. The access to the microphone and camera through the countless easy to use creation apps make this a one stop shop for your students. In my opinion, this is the ONLY use for these devices!

Which one is Better?
There is a right answer to this, and it is using iPads for creating. When you are using them to "teach" students, at best you are providing them low level task work in an engaging environment. It provides you are a false sense of hope that you are truly teaching students. 

Lets simply break down the management of these two styles. iPads for creating uses a base set of creation apps. Seesaw, iMovie, Paper 53, Tellagami could be some example of these apps. The time it takes to teach your students how to use these 10-15 apps is very minimal. Also, these apps are highly used which means that they update very minimally. iPads for teaching is the exact opposite. Let's pretend for a moment that you have just 20 "teaching" apps. This is a small number compared to what I have seen in classrooms! You have the spend the time to teach your students how to use each and every app. That alone is taking away 25% more teaching time from your instructional block. These apps are prone to regular updates and pop up/add distractions. These take time to fix and distract students from the content. 

This belief is not one that is singular to iPads. Any technology in students hands can result in this outlook on technology. Choose to have your students creating authentic deep meaning rather than be babysat by an engaging screen.

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Google Sheet - Data Validation for Drop Down Menu's

posted Feb 9, 2017, 7:01 AM by Kris Szajner

Google Sheets is a great tool for almost any application. I know that the primary use is as a spreadsheet and the computation that can come with that, but there is much more that this tool is capable of. In this post, I will highlight how to use Data Validation to create drop down menus in your spreadsheet to make your life easier and open up the possibilities of this tool.

Here is a tutorial I quickly put together that will walk you through how to do it and how it looks!

I have used data validation to:
  • Create grouping sheets
  • Organize centers
  • Track Student progress
  • Track Behavior
  • Develop student driven lessons

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posted Jan 31, 2017, 12:14 PM by Kris Szajner   [ updated Jan 31, 2017, 12:14 PM ]

The seesaw is a phenomenal tool for elementary classrooms. This portfolio tool is essentially a digital drop box for all learning taking place in your classroom. Students of all ages easily use this tool to show their knowledge on any task with this FREE tool!

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My Story Book Creator

posted Jan 27, 2017, 9:04 AM by Kris Szajner   [ updated Jan 27, 2017, 9:04 AM ]

My Story is one of the most universal apps that I have ever used. It is incredibly easy for students to use and it can export as a video, a book, or as PDF's. One of my favorite parts about this app is the audio recording option. This transforms a fun book making app into a tool for assessments, and capturing learning.

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Small Group Math Display Board

posted Jan 23, 2017, 8:58 AM by Kris Szajner   [ updated Jan 23, 2017, 8:58 AM ]

The work needed to improve our daily teaching practice is unending and often quite daunting. The world around us is constantly changing and creating a fluid, updated future. This future, although unpredictable, is very different from today. It promises to be more connected, faster paced, and driven by technology. Whether you work with technology or not, it will influence the world around you. This future forces us to look critically at how we are educating students. It forces us to ensure that all students have the ability to learn and achieve at high levels. This responsibility is one that I share, which is why I am constantly aiming to help you through these resources. 

Below you will find a link for a Google Slides template that allows you to organize your math instruction to meet the needs of all learners. There are center ideas and structures, formative assessment guides and icons, and a 5 day layout that will keep you and your students organized. 

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Paper 53 Overview

posted Jan 20, 2017, 7:28 AM by Kris Szajner   [ updated Jan 20, 2017, 7:28 AM ]

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PicCollage Kids Overview

posted Jan 18, 2017, 6:31 AM by Kris Szajner   [ updated Jan 18, 2017, 6:35 AM ]

2017 is here! This year promises to be a time for change and a prime opportunity for improvement. I am going to kick off this year with a series of 1 page documents that help to provide how to's on the tools that i support classrooms with along with some quick ideas that you can take to integrate this tool into your daily teaching. I hope you enjoy them!

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