Saturday, May 17, 2014

Google Forms

My first encounter with a Google Form was last year. I overheard how another teacher had parents enter all their information at Meet the Teacher night, then had it all combined in one document for the entire team! I had to try it this year and it worked like a charm. I created a Google Form and had the url plus a QR code waiting for parents to complete at school, or take home and complete. I offered paper copies of the form, as well, for parents who were not sure about completing the information online. Most parents completed the form, either at school or at home. For the few that did not, I just entered their information from the paper form onto the Responses Form on my Google account. I will continue to use this each year since it was so easy for both parents and myself.

Later in the year, I used a Google Form to create a survey for our staff from our Digital Cadre. In order to gain information from the staff, I created the survey with input from my administers, then it was sent out for the staff to complete honestly and anonymously. The information submitted will help our Digital Cadre provide what the staff needs next school year, as well as reflect on what we did this year that worked or needs work to better assist our staff.

I recently created a Google Form I would like to use in my classroom. I got the idea from Pinterest (one of my favorite places to share and borrow ideas). Students will read a book of choice, select a question from the drop down list, then write a response. I'm looking forward to try this idea and others in my classroom soon!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Twitter Chats

A year ago I began my digital classroom journey. It has opened my eyes to endless possibilities for myself as an educator, for my students and for opportunities to collaborate with others. One new option for me was doing a Twitter Chat. I tend to be the quiet person who listens and takes what everyone says in, then I try it on my own and reflect. I'm a bit shy, especially when surrounded by other professionals. Turns out, Twitter Chats are PERFECT for me! At first, I was a 'lurker'. I would watch the chats but not get involved, other than retweeting something so I would have record of it later. I slowly grew my PLN this way, following a number of people. After a while, I began to participate. Now I really enjoy getting involved and look forward to meeting some of these people in my PLN at conferences. One of my favorite Twitter Chats is #1stchat. It is every Sunday night, which is nice timing in my home. We are winding down, preparing for the week ahead. I can ride my stationary bike or get comfy in my sweats while on my couch and follow along. If I have to take care of my family, I can go back and read what was stated during the hour later on. This chat has led to TONS of ideas that I can go back and apply on my own time, and share with others. It has led to me branching out with a Twitter account in my classroom, matching up with other 1st grade teachers from around the country and in Canada. They have sent activities to me, as well as share fun ideas (#2d3dshapes while we were all studying geometry; number riddles, poetry, etc). There is a lot of participating and active sharing. I've started lurking in #2ndchat as well recently. I also enjoy #txeduchat on Sunday nights. I can finish one chat and go right into another. I know there are several others - I have checked out #geniushour, too. My first favorite of course is the #gcdcchat! It was fun chatting with other educators that I have met at meetings but never get to just talk to about what works and what doesn't. I enjoy when coaches and administrators get involved and offer ideas, as well. One of my favorite things was visiting another school in our district. A teacher and I recognized each other but we had never met. Turns out we participate in the same Twitter Chat! It is fun to get to know all these amazing educators that are right here in my own district, as well as others from around the world. Twitter Chats are perfect for a person like me. I can sit back and observe, or I can take a risk and offer what I have experienced or what I am wondering about. I have gained confidence in what I do and really enjoy broadening my PLN. I highly recommend Twitter Chats!