Summer is coming to a close and back-to-school season is here! If you’re sitting down to start planning for what’s sure to be a challenging, uncertain year, then you’re not alone. I start school in just a few days, and while I have a lot of my own work to do, I wanted to share some of my most helpful blog posts! This roundup, or “hub” of links, will help you navigate my growing collection of blog posts about back to school ideas, teaching with technology, and everything in between!
I hope this helps you find the information you need to get started with your planning. If you have any questions or concerns that you don’t see addressed here, leave a comment or send me a DM on Instagram! I’ll be happy to add your ideas to my “to-blog” list. 🙂
BACK TO SCHOOL ACTIVITIES FOR VIRTUAL, HYBRID, OR IN-PERSON LEARNING
If you’re overwhelmed with all of the uncertainties and challenges of the upcoming school year, ease your stress by planning out the first few days of school with flexible back-to-school activities that will work in any setting. This brand new blog post will help you do just that! All of the ideas featured here are adaptable for socially distanced, in-person learning, a hybrid plan, or a fully virtual “distance learning” model. Better yet, the activities are deliberately designed to build relationships and cultivate classroom community from the start.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of a virtual “investigate the teacher” activity, fun digital icebreakers, back-to-school learning stations, a fun “about me” Google Slides activity, and more, then this post is for you!
TOPICS/ACTIVITIES COVERED: First day of school, building relationships, classroom community, virtual back-to-school activities, distance learning
20 FREE TECH TOOLS FOR ONLINE TEACHING
This is the ultimate list of tried-and-true tech tools that will help you mix up your instruction, whether you’re teaching in a 1:1 or fully virtual environment. Each tech tool is accompanied by ideas for use in the classroom. And the best part…all of these tools are completely FREE. If you want to learn about hyperdocs, digital interactive organizers, virtual field trips, and more, then this post is for you! If you love it, let me know; I just might have to create a “part 2” to add to my list of favorite edtech tools!
TOPICS COVERED: Google Classroom, Loom, Screencastify, EdPuzzle, Vocaroo, flipped lessons, hyperdocs, Quizziz, Kahoot, Gimkit, Quizlet, ReadWriteThink, Canva, Adobe Spark, Venngage, Padlet, Flipgrid, Common Lit, Newsela, ReadWorks, ThingLink, podcasts, No Red Ink, Quill, Symbaloo, Google Maps, Project Gutenberg, and more
HOW TO TEACH WRITING WITH GOOGLE CLASSROOM
When it comes to teaching writing, there is one thing I could not survive without: Google Classroom. This platform has made me a better teacher and truly revolutionized the way I teach writing. I love Google Classroom because it makes it easy to streamline my writing instruction while staying connected to students throughout the entire writing process. Classroom is intuitive enough that you can figure out the basics on your own, but with a few tips and tricks, you can really maximize the platform to its full potential.
Teaching writing remotely is tough, but Google Classroom can make it manageable! In this post, you’ll learn 10 practical Google Classroom tips for teaching writing in a 1:1 or distance learning setting.
TOPICS/ACTIVITIES COVERED: writing workshop, writing workshop minilessons, providing feedback, scaffolding, digital graphic organizers, hyperdocs, daily exit tickets, formative assessment checkpoints, peer feedback, reflection, self-assessment, writing rubrics, Google Slides, Google Forms, Google Classroom questions, Grammarly, Diigo, Kami, Read&Write, and more.
15 WAYS TO USE GOOGLE FORMS AND 15 MORE WAYS TO USE GOOGLE FORMS
Google forms are the holy grail of teacher tech tools! They automate grading, save time, collect meaningful data, streamline instruction, and more. Forms can give you the most precious gifts: your time and energy, so you can focus on the stuff that matter mosts (you know, like teaching)!
If you haven’t experienced the life-changing magic of Google forms, then you need to read these blog posts: 15 ways and 15 more ways. And even if you have had a taste of the magic, you should still read them. Because here’s the thing: Whatever you think your forms can do, they can probably do more. You know how they say we only utilize 10% of the power of our brain? Well, forms are like the brain. And even after blogging about 30 ways to use Google forms, I’m still thinking of new ways to use them!
TOPICS/ACTIVITIES COVERED: Too many to fully list! A few highlights: self-grading quizzes, differentiated assignments, choose-your-own-adventure activities, individualized feedback, learning stations, escape rooms, and more.
7 WAYS TO USE GOOGLE CLASSROOM QUESTIONS
While I’m obsessed with Google forms, I secretly like Google Classroom questions more sometimes! This tool is super simple but incredibly practical. If you know when you use it, it will make your teacher life so much more efficient! Google Classroom questions are game-changing because they compile all student responses into one accessible spot and they allow teachers and students to comment on responses. It’s the latter that makes them better than forms when you want to offer instantaneous digital feedback.
Because of this, I use Google Classroom questions just as much as I use Google forms. If you want to get in on all this question goodness, then you’ll love this post of 7 practical ways to use Google Classroom questions! Pssst: Google Classroom questions are perfect for online discussion boards and virtual Socratic Seminars.
TOPICS COVERED: Google Classroom, bell-ringers, exit tickets, learning stations, online discussions, Socratic Seminars, assessment, writing workshop, peer feedback
HOW TO STRUCTURE LEARNING STATIONS ONLINE
If you’re anything like me and love learning stations, you are probably searching for ways to continue them this year. While learning stations are the most magical when facilitated in person, digital stations are the next best thing. I’ve been using digital learning stations for the last 5 years, so I’ve had some time to experiment with different ways of setting them up in 1:1 and fully virtual environments. Luckily, there are tons of options for setting up online learning stations…Google forms, slides, docs, and other platforms.
If you just don’t know where to start, then you’ll definitely want to check out this thorough how-to list of 10 different ways to structure learning stations. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned tech nerd, you’ll be able to learn some tips for creating engaging, student-friendly stations that will work in any environment. (If you’re totally new to the strategy of stations, then start with this first post in my 3-part series.)
TOPICS COVERED: learning stations, Google Classroom, Google docs, slides, forms, interactive Google slides, hyperdocs
HOW TO USE HYPERDOCS IN THE CLASSROOM
Do you love how everything in this blog post is organized and easily accessible so that you can navigate the sea of blog posts on my website? If so, then you’ll love using hyperdocs! In its most simple form, a hyperdoc is a “live” Google doc full of hyperlinks to other docs, resources, websites, platforms, etc. Hyperdocs are innovative tools that will help you compile resources, organize information, and structure lessons in a more student-friendly, accessible way. You can use them to provide scaffolding, differentiation, and enrichment for in-person or distance learning. If you’ve ever struggled with finding the most efficient way to share resources or design user-friendly digital lessons, then you need some hyperdocs in your life. Allow this blog post to introduce you to your new best friend.
TOPICS COVERED: hyperdocs, hyperlinks, Google docs, Google Classroom, writing workshop, digital minilessons
I hope these blog posts help you relieve some stress and get started on your planning for this upcoming year. As always, please let me know if you have any questions I can answer or any ideas for future blog posts by replying in the comments.
Best of luck with the 2020-2021 school year.