Final Reflections

This is my third year taking this PD and every time I learn something new in order to incorporate it into my classroom.  There is so much to explore within each thing that it is impossible to cover it all when exploring it for that time.  I have done the same topic three different times and each time I have learned something more!  I love this PD and have recommended it to several colleagues.  My biggest takeaway this year is that I need to start incorporating note taking for my students through the use of interactive notebooks.  I am also going to use flip grid as a tool for students to pose questions and respond to questions in a forum that they all can be involved in.  I really hope that this PD is offered every year!

Thing 27: Notetaking Tools

I have always been a big believer in taking notes and using those notes to study for upcoming tests and quizzes.  I was the student who color coordinated her notes and made very detailed outlines.  However, as a teacher I have a hard time transferring that knowledge to my students who are in 4th grade.  This may be a little young to start taking notes, but I believe that it is a good skill for all kids to have. The better and more proficient they become the better learners and test takers they will become.  I looked into Google Keep and explored that a little bit.  It is way too advanced for my fourth graders.  I also explored Evernote….same thing.  I then took it upon myself to google best ways of notetaking for kids and found that the use of interactive notebooks is a fun and engaging way to do this.  There are a lot of pre-made forms on teachers pay teachers, as well as the internet.  I think the next math unit I teach I am going to try to explore this note taking strategy in hopes to have my students more engaged as well as to give them something to take home and study from.

Thing 24: Google Drawings

This was a fun tool!  This can definitely be used within my classroom for the students not only to express themselves with regards to social/emotional lessons, but also they can create projects and presentations.  I used both google drawings and auto draw.  Auto draw was AMAZING!!! I am not an artist by any means….can I craft? YES!!! Am I creative?  YES!!! Can I draw?  Not so much Bitmoji Image.    It as pretty cool to try and draw a butterfly free hand and then auto draw makes a perfect image. I can’t figure out how to paste the image in here, so I can’t show it 😦


I also created this poster from google drawings.  I love motivational posters like these because they are great for the classroom as well as keeping me motivated and uplifted.

Thing 18: Student Assessment and Feedback

I am always looking for different ways to assess my students other than common quizzes and anecdotal notes.  I read the article 5 reasons for formative assessment and 5 methods of utilization.  This article, along with the video gave me more insight on how to assess my students.  I never thought to use a sticky note as an exit ticket.  It makes so much sense!  It’s an easy way to check to see if the students are understanding what you are teaching.  I also liked his idea of using it as a way of forming differentiated groups.  I am a certified literacy teacher and can do a great job forming groups based on the literacy needs my students have.  However, I seem to always struggle with finding the right groups for math.  This is a great way to do it!  I love the fact that they can change every day, just based on the knowledge the students have on the topic.  It can drive my instruction and the groups are changing so the kiddos do not get bored being with the same kids or maybe doing the work they already know how to do.

The two tools I explored was AnswerGarden and google forms-self grading quiz.

I loved answer garden and always wondered how people got the word webs!  This is a great way to assess the students quickly, however the only downside that I see is that you do not know who put what for an answer, you can only see the answers.  This is good for the fact that the students are autonomous, but the downside is that I would not know who is understanding it and who is not.  I will still use it because I think it would be fun and engaging for my classroom.  However, I do not believe that I will drive my instruction around it.

HOLY SMOKES!  I had NO IDEA that google forms would grade your own quizzes!  That makes life so much easier for a teacher!   I have done a couple of PD’s through my district on google classroom, we learned to create a quiz, but never did they mention that it could be self graded!  What a game changer!  I love it!  I will use this more often as mini assessments because the students get feedback right away and so do I!

Thing 14: Bitmoji

I did this thing a few years ago when I first did Cool Tools.  However, I could never figure out how to change my outfit or hair or anything!  I created it and never could update it!  So I spent some more time exploring and had so much fun customizing it even more to show myself.  I created a comic strip this time for an introduction to myself.  I think I am going to have my students do this as a project.  I’m sure the majority know about Bitmoji’s because of SnapChat.  It would be fun for them to incorporate it into google classroom.  I think even if they created a comic strip to start out would be great!  It’s a way to team build and every classroom needs a refresher of how to get along as a team.  I’m going to assign it through google classroom this week, since we just got back from Christmas break.  Below is the google presentation that I did.

Thing 15: Breakout EDU

I have personally been to the Escape Room in Rochester twice.  IT IS SO MUCH FUN!!!  I thought exploring Breakout EDU would be an awesome experience for my classroom.  While it does have great ideas and tools, the downside is that it costs money and unfortunately even for the free games you still need to kit in order to go through it.  I spent a few hours exploring the website and couldn’t figure out how to actually create a game.  I tried both online and paper.  It appeared that you need the kit for the combinations.  So instead I set off to google to explore similar ideas.  I found the Escape Classroom offered single purchases for a cheaper option.  I also found a Free escape classroom that I used with my kiddos.  IT was Escape Camp Emoji!  The kids had so much fun and kept them engaged for over an hour!!  I paired the groups with mixed ability and instructed that everyone needed a voice and were expected to contribute and come up with the answer.  They loved it!  This type of escape room uses printed materials, there isn’t an option to go digital.  For some this might be a downfall because some teachers have flipped their classrooms and are all digital now.  However, for me it is perfect.  My kiddos are just learning the chrome books that we have and having it all printed is the best option for me and my students.

Thing 5: Audio Tools

Wow this will be fun!  I had my two girls get in on FlipGrid with me.  I figured if they could do it my students would be able to do it!  The girls loved doing it and also loved decorating their selfies with stickers.  I think this will be a great tool for my kiddos at school.  Many of them are very low performing, especially in writing.  They are able to vocalize their responses better than they can write it.  This would allow them the avenue to respond verbally to a prompt or a question.  Also another great thing about FlipGrid is that you can redo it!  So if they make a mistake, its not a big deal, they can just redo it!

Once downside was that I couldn’t figure out how to make a video myself.  For example I googled how to create a video and it gave me instructions on how to have the kids do it, but within that video it had a teacher’s video with the prompt too.  I couldn’t figure out that part.  I need to do a little more research I think.  But I am definitely going to try this with my class!


I also explored Synth, because I love listening to Podcasts.  However, I didn’t love this for the population of students that I have.  I didn’t like how it wasn’t secure and that anyone could view their posts.  So for that reason I did not explore it more.



Thing 13: Augmented and Virtual Reality

The whole premise of bringing Virtual Reality into the classroom is a great idea.  I think of my students and the lack of experiences they get on a day to day, year to year basis.  I teach in the inner city and most of my students are unable to experience what else is outside of the city.  I think of my childhood and all the trips I went on, the camps I was signed up for, the sports opportunities that my parents were able to afford.  It is sad to me sometimes that my students are not able to pay for a field trip to experience the world.  The idea of bringing the world to them is great!  I explored the articles and also tried to download the expeditions app but for some reason my school computer wouldn’t let me.  I don’t know if it is because of the firewalls that are up or what.  So sadly I couldn’t explore it.  I did do a little research on the google cardboard glasses; they actually aren’t that expensive.  Maybe the school budget would be able to pay for a few of them.  Also the website that gave The 10 Best AR Apps for Classrooms gave a great list that are all free.  I think those will be key with my kiddos.

Thing 6: Digital Storytelling

I chose to explore PowToons for my digital storytelling piece.  That was a lot of fun!  I could be on there for hours putting together a slide show.  For that I worry that it might be too overwhelming for my fourth graders.  Maybe if I narrow it down to just a couple of templates they might do better.  I will have to let them play around with it!  I think it would be a great tool for kids to use to create presentations!  The animation pieces to the Powtoons makes it fun and engaging…..almost video game like!  I think the first time I introduce it to my class I will have them work in pairs.  I will pair a higher kid with a lower kid so the level of frustration will not be there for my lowest kiddos.  I will allow them to create just an introduction about themselves.  Then maybe when we get good at it I will have them create one of their writing pieces on it!

That is my powtwoon that I made via a template.  Which I really think would be the best route for my students when they are first learning it.