Teachers had a chance to learn from each other at an “unconference” held during a King Middle School faculty meeting. A number of teachers volunteered to lead brief sessions on topics of interest to them–including a handful that focused on tech tools. Participants had a chance to pick which presentations to attend.
David Spiegelman, 7th grade humanities teacher, shared how he uses tech tools to provide feedback on students’ work. He highlighted Screencastify, a Chrome extension that records audio along with what’s on the computer screen. David adds comments to a student’s draft in Google Docs, records an explanation of his feedback, then emails the video to the student. He also mentioned the CheckMark extension which offers shortcuts for commenting on common grammar mistakes. David shared his script outline and gave teachers a chance to try out this technique.
Richard Silberg, an ELD and drama teacher, demonstrated how to make use of a vocabulary profiler. He showed us the HKU CAES vocabulary profiler website and explained there are a number of sites available online, but this is the one he recommends for ease of use. Richard pasted in a chunk of text on the site that students encounter in one the lessons from the A Story of Ratios math curriculum. Then he repeated this with a text from the Inquiry by Design English curriculum. The vocabulary profiler scanned the text and identified all vocabulary words that are part of the academic word list (AWL)–words that frequently appear in academic texts. Familiarizing oneself with these academic words can help students understand the content being studied.
Jeff Selk, 8th grade humanities teacher and tech teacher leader, shared his systems for managing digital content using Google Drive. He creates a folder in his Google Drive for the new year that includes his class email lists and class rosters using Google Sheets. Then Jeff uses a Google Sheets add-on called Autocrat to share assignments with students. Jeff also discussed how he gives quizzes using Google Forms plus Autocrat for providing feedback.
King’s “unconference” was a fun, engaging way for teachers to share and learn from one another!
As always, if any of these tech tools intrigue you, please reach out to these teachers or any member of the DigiTech department to learn more.
– Mia Gittlen, K-8 Instructional Technology TSA