This weekend, I attended Fall CUEat American Canyon High School. My journey started 18 months ago when I attended my first EdTechTeam Google Summit. It was at this summit that I became a Connected Educator. Since that time I have connected with several communities through Twitter and Voxer. The two I feel the most connected with are TOSAchat and ConnectedTL both groups have a large connection with CUE and the CUE affiliates. I followed along on Twitter as my PLN went to Fall and Spring CUE and I picked up tidbits here and there.
This year I made a point to go to Fall CUE. I scheduled it. I registered. Then on October 8th the #SonomaFires swept through my community. As the fires raged all of my students, many colleagues and friends were evacuated from their homes. Some have no home to return to. As of now the best count for my district is that we lost one school site and 38 teachers, 50+ classified, and 900+ students lost their homes in the last three weeks. The entire district has been closed for three weeks as we waited for the fires to be under control, the schools to be professionally assessed and cleaned, and there to be enough staff available to reopen the schools.
As this calamity beat up my community my attendance at Fall CUE became uncertain. I simply did not know when school would reopen, when we would be able to bring a little more stability back into our students’ lives. As it happens our first day back and the first day of Fall CUE were the same day. I was disappointed to miss the sessions I was looking forward to on Friday but totally jazzed to see all of my students again for the first time in three weeks. It was very much like the first day of class all over again, except they knew the procedures and I knew everyone’s name.
Shortly after school let out I headed out to CUE hoping to be able to attend the last session of the day. Three traffic incidents and an extra hour of driving later I pulled up to the school just after registration closed and within minutes everyone was leaving their sessions. I felt horribly disconnected and lonely as hundreds of people streamed out to their cars. I knew there were people I knew in the crowd but I didn’t see any of them.
This year Cate Tolnai (@CateTolnai) and CUE Member Engagement scheduled evening socials in nearby Napa (BEST. IDEA. EVER.). My first stop was to attempt to meet up with North Bay CUE (@NorthBayCUE) folks at Norman Rose Tavern (@NormanRoseNapa). It was my local affiliate but I hadn’t met any of them before. Unfortunately, when I got there CUE had stuffed the place to the gills. Every seat was filled with 25+ waiting by the bar. With no familiar faces in sight I headed out and went to Napkins Bar & Grill (@NapkinsNapa) to attempt to meet up with the Hyperdocs Crew. It was slightly less packed and as I walked in I saw Lisa, Sarah, and Kelly right away. Immediately I felt reconnected, their authentic, happy greetings as soon as they saw me was exactly what I needed. Though I hadn’t seen any of them in quite a while it felt as though it was no time at all. They quickly drew me into the group and introduced me to those who I didn’t know.
Over the next five hours I reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and finally met face to face with people that I have been connecting with online for the last year. I had finally arrived.
Apparently I forgot to post this months ago, oops.
Three months ago my school instituted a Thursday afternoon elective program for our 4-6th grade students. You can read about the process of getting it started here. We are now coming to the end of the school year and I want to document some stats and make some notes for myself.
Well, I finally did it. I completed writing my first Hyperdoc. I have wanted to for over a year since I first learned about them at the Sonoma GAFE Summit in April 2016. I had planned to write one before but never managed to get anywhere with it. Last month, in June, I jumped at the opportunity to take the Hyperdoc Bootcamp put on by the Hyperdocs Ladies (Lisa, Sarah, and Kelly).
Our final project was to write a new hyperdoc to use this year. After scrapping a few ideas I settled on one that I think worked out well. I designed a hyperdoc to both serve as a beginning of the year get to know you activity as well as to teach my students about Google Slides and Google Docs. I set the level of skill needed very low because my students last year had zero experience creating with computers. This is probably a good fit for 5th grade and above.
The base of the hyperdoc is built into a Google Site. The Engage and Explore phases are done on the site and can be used for reference. The Explain, Apply Share are done in individual documents. After the students Explore they click a link to make their own copy of a slide deck or a doc. The first thing they do is rename and share the document to the teacher. I set up the instructions to allow the hyperdoc to be used with or without Google Classroom (but honestly much easier with).
As a part of the Explore phase I created a Slides and a Docs cheatsheet to teach about the icon bar. They are available here: Slides Cheatsheet | Docs Cheatsheet
Feel free to share them separately from the hyperdoc.
This week I have given a whole bunch of book suggestions on Twitter. This got me thinking about what books I have read this year and I decided to keep track. I have not keep a list of what I have read before and I think it might be fun, so here it goes. This may end up being great or terrible, I don’t know. I should note that I am a self-professed book addict. My personal library has more than 1,700 books in it. My classroom library clocks in at 807 books right now (most are mine). Beware, I have a soft spot for young adult fiction. I read it A LOT. Also it helps me make recommendations to my 6th graders.
As a side note, I believe strongly that in order to be a well-rounded person you have to read stories written about and by people who don’t look like you as well as those who do. I am a straight, white male it is easy to find books written by people who look like me with characters who also look like me. I do my best to select books for myself (and my students) that feature women and characters of color and that are written by women and authors of color (this of course includes women authors of color). I do this to give myself a wider perspective and to give my students the opportunity to have characters that look like them in their reading. I am a big supporter of the We Need Diverse Books (@diversebooks) campaign and really like their recommendations and resources. Seriously though, check out this list of books.
Tag after author’s name:
AOC – Author of Color
Tag after book title:
FP – Female Protagonist
POC – Protagonist of Color
Today I finally got caught up on over a month’s worth of Voxes in the #ConnectedTL Voxer group. One conversation during that time was about how to manage Hyperdoc game boards that have collaborative elements when using it with multiple classes or periods.
The issue that was put forward was how to manage having multiple classes get the same game board with each student getting their own copy while still having linked collaborative documents that are unique for each group of students.
The solution that I came up with is to have an intermediary document that serves as a launch pad for those different collaborative documents. The solution I found also restricts access to those documents to the group of students that I want to have it.
Visually: Each individual student’s game board -> Launch document -> All different collaborative documents with access restrictions enabled.
Because describing this is words is difficult to make clear, please watch my screencast of how to make this work.
I would love any feedback about the process and how to make it clearer!