Final Reflections

Once again Cool Tools was a big WIN!!!  I learned so much and found so many more activities to explore!  I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this professional development.  It is always so practical and useful; which is why I love doing it!  I can immediately apply my learning and make my kids learning that much better.  This year I have found some new ways to communicate with students that they have really loved…..like my bitmoji…the kids LOVE IT!!  As do I!!!:)

The challenges I found was that it didn’t seem like I had enough time this year. Maybe because my personal life was so hectic and I was never home!  However, with that being said.  The nice part about this PD is that you can do it from home.  So many times I would start one of the lessons when my kiddos were napping and then when they went to bed I would finish it.

The biggest success I think was finding Kahoot!!   My students LOVE IT!!!  They actually ask to play when its recess time.  I love that they get excited about it too!  They think its just a game….they are not realizing that they are learning as well!!  So that is a major win for the both of us.

What’s next?  I plan on diving deeper into what I have learned and try and apply it  consistently.  I will be using Bloomz next year to communicate with my parents more effectively.  I learn so much throughout this time in cool tools that i like to go back and revisit everything so I can look more into other articles and explore it more when an idea or project pops into my head!

I hope this around next year…it is my absolute favorite!  The best ideas are here and I always gain VERY VALUABLE information with each tool that I complete! I have done 20 different ones over the past two years….I believe it has made my teaching that much stronger!!!

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Flash Cards, Quiz Games and More

This is a great idea!  I learned about Kahoot earlier this year it showed up again in this lesson.  I clearly didn’t go to that this time I explored Quizlet.  I have seen this pop up in some of my google searches before, but I never thought that you could creat your own flash cards!  BUT YOU CAN!!!!

 

 

 

 

So I created some math terms that my kids are having a hard time with as we have been working with fractions and adding them and finding common denominators.  The great thing about quizlet is after you have created your flashcards you can share them right with google classroom!  So I would be able to share them with my students instantly!  I shared my quiz below!

https://quizlet.com/_4wu39m

 

Google Drawings

This was a fun activity!  I really liked the idea on how to create your own sticky notes!  I am definitely going to do that in the future!  What a great idea to keep track of things and to provide my kiddos with feedback!  I will use my bitmoji that I have created in the earlier lessons to make it fun for the students!  For this project I created a lesson for the Life Cycle of a Frog.

Frog Life Cycle

I think google drawings is a great way for the students to not only complete a given assignment; but also to create projects as well.  As I was exploring this tool another activity I really liked was all of the graphic organizers that were already created.  Especially the Somebody wanted but so then.  This is the exact strategy that I teach my students.  I can’t wait to implement that graphic organizer as well!!

Digital Portfolios

I have always thought a traveling portfolio is the way to go to show student growth.  It shows more progress than any kind of test.  I also believe that the students should be the ones who pick what goes in there.  If they are proud of their work than it will show.  As I was exploring some of the resources I noticed that for some of the sites there was a minimum age requirement.  This is unfortunate because I teach fourth graders and they wouldn’t have been old enough for some of the sites.  The minimum was 13 so any grade at my school would not have worked.  The one site that I did love was Seesaw.  It allows for students to create their own portfolio and it can travel with them from kindergarten until grade 12….but only if you buy the subscription unfortunately.  I would love to take this to my school based planning team in order to see if it would be feasible for the school to buy.  I think implementing it in kindergarten all the way to sixth grade would be beneficial for everyone involved.

App-palooza

As I was looking at the various links that were associated with this activity I focused on trying to find something that would help me communicate with parents better.  Last year I learned that Instagram would be a great tool to use to keep parents up to date on what is going on in the classroom.  I LOVE IT!  I have been able to share videos, pictures and go live on field trips that we have been on.  The parents that are connected love it!  The downside of using Instagram it doesn’t help with other types of communication, like upcoming projects, conferences, updates that are occurring.  So I set off to explore something that might help with that.  I looked at remind….now this is something that I have used in the past and is great when sending a quick note about an upcoming event or a reminder.  However, the downside is that parents cannot respond or communicate back.  With a little more digging I found a website called Bloomz.  This is not on the cool tools site so I am hoping this is ok to write about.   Bloomz is pretty much Facebook for school. It is shown through a timeline.  Parents can be invited, conferences can be made, and behavior can be tracked.  I could even upload extra permission slips or homework that students tend to lose!!!  I played around with it and did the demo class.  I will most definitely be setting this up for my next year’s class.  It is the entire package!!!

Infographics and Data Visualization

I found this to be very useful!  I like the idea of graphs and visuals for people to understand data better.  I created a bar graph displaying the data for my last year’s 3rd graders and the results of their NYS tests.  I would have loved to do this at the beginning of the year during open house to show the parents just where we are as a class and what we need to do in order to get better.  The chart is below!

https://create.piktochart.com/output/30438046-new-piktochart

 

I also tried creating a chart on their Fountas and Pinnell Scores, but I couldn’t figure out how to change the Y-axis in order to have it be letters instead of numbers.  I suppose I could have created a key but I figured that would be too confusing.  Plus I wanted to show the progression from the fall to the winter and how many of them increased their scores! Overall I can see this being very useful for my classroom, with monthly newsletters or data reports.  It was a great tool to explore!

 

Ebook Creation

I JUST LOVE THIS TOOL!!!  I created a story on storybird for my daughter Ella and she LOVED IT!  She wanted to create her own.  However, she is in first grade so I would have had to do all of the writing.  But I think over the summer this will be something we can do when we have more time to devote to it!  I just loved that you could write and pick out pictures that would coincide with it.  Many of my students love to write.  I will be trying this with them.  They are going to love it!!  It’s a great way to create stories and allows them the freedom to just create!  Which, I believe is lacking with the curriculum that we currently have.  There is no free writing or creativity anymore.  This would be a great tool to use for my centers!  I would have a writing center and my students can just be CREATIVE!!!

https://storybird.com/books/ella-and-prince-matthew/?token=5gkavxdhrs

Search Tools Ninja

Maybe I am not tech savvy, but I found this to be a very hard topic.  I thought at first it might be really good in order to help my fourth graders customize their searches in case we were doing a research report, but that didn’t seem to be the case.  I did explore several different sites (Scoopit, Instya and google custom search), but didn’t find them to be any better than just a plain google search.  In fact I found it more confusing.  I tried to do the google custom search, but after exploring it, I found that it was more geared to if you had a website already established, that you could set it up so someone can search for you.  Overall I didn’t have great success with this tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Assessment Tools

I chose to use google forms as well as well as Kahoot. I chose google forms because I had previously completed a professional development where I learned more about it and wanted to explore it more.  I chose Kahoot because it looked fun and engaging for my students.

 

I tried both of these tools with my students and they both produced great results.  The google forms was a great way to assess my students learning and allowed me to provide quick and efficient feedback to them.  For Kahoot my students LOVED IT!!!  They were super engaged and it almost felt like it was a game instead of a learning opportunity.  They keep asking to play it every day! The one disappointment about Kahoot is that there is a word limit to the questions.  You also can’t copy and paste pictures and graphs for math.  However, there is a HUGE amount of already created resources.

 

 

Bitmoji Fun

HOW FUN!   I always wondered how my friends had little images of themselves when they would send a text or even on Snapchat….now I know!  It was fun creating the Bigmoji and I absolutely love this one!  The theme in my classroom the past two years has been super hero!  This fits perfectly.  I wonder though if there is a way to make your own.  For example.  I know you can make your own avatar….but is there a way I could have just had me with the cape on the building without the worlds YOU’RE WELCOME under  it?

As I as browsing the different links for Bitmoji I LOVED LOVED LOVED the idea of creating your own stickers.  My students love stickers on their papers and it would be a fun way to provide feedback.  I also think it would be fun to provide those same characters within smart-book lessons or even morning messages.  I can’t wait to see the reactions my kids have to my avatar.  I wonder if there is a way to have their input in designing it.  I tried editing it…but couldn’t figure out how to.