March 29

Capitalization Made Easy

Did you know you can now convert text to all CAPS and even more in a Google Document?  I remember how helpful it was for me when I discovered the Google Document Add-on, Change Case.  I loved that it would assist me to manipulate text.  The possibilities exactly met my needs:

I like that I can use Change Case for acronyms.  It is much faster for me to simply enter the letters and then manipulate them to be all uppercase.

For those times that I accidentally left the Caps Lock on and entered half a sentence, I like that I could manipulate the text to Sentence case.

These examples and several other times that Add-on saved me some time, effort, and frustration.  It really is the little things isn’t it?  Well, if you don’t have the Change Case Add-on and want to have a simple way to manipulate text, I have good news from Google!

 

The folks at Google have just added a new piece to the Format drop-down box.  There is now a Capitalization option right in Google Docs without having an Add-on.  In the toolbar, simply select Format > Capitalization and choose the option needed:

  • lowercase, to make all the letters in your selection lowercase
  • UPPERCASE, to capitalize all the letters in your selection
  • Title Case, to capitalize the first letter of each word in your selection

It’s that easy!  So, instead of spending time focused upon formatting, you can do more creating, follow your inspirations more, collaborate more.

 

 

October 12

Messy Provides Opportunities for Revision

Yesterday I shared a Fresh Perspective.  I was inspired by a blog post and decided to share.

One of the concepts mentioned was a quote from George Couros, “Learning is messy and we have to be comfortable with risk, failure, growth, and revision.”  As a teacher of writing and a life-long writer, the word revision stood out to me.  So, I went back and read the quote again.  I chuckled a bit to myself because when I was in the classroom, things were often messy.  You see, I was learning (and still am) to be an educator and my students were learning to be…well, to be grown-up human-beings.  I hope they were learning reading and writin8-things-to-look-for-in-todays-classroomg skills.  I hope they were learning to love literature and the written word.  I hope they were learning to be life-long learners.

The chart included in the blog post is one that we need to keep in front of us as teachers to remind us when we are planning learning opportunities for our students.  It would be hard to see each of these eight things in a classroom every single day.  Over time, however, these things definitely should be a part of our classrooms.  Each of them contributes to the classroom being messy but they all contribute to good practices.  As I begin a new quarter with a fresh perspective, I plan to keep this chart where it is easily accessible and use it as a reminder to guide my work with teachers.  I hope you use it to guide you and your lesson-planning as well!

 

 

May 31

Actions of a Teacher

We are just completing graduation season here in our area.  Our district alone hosted nine graduations.  What a glorious time for lots of students, parents, and school leaders!

That proud sense of accomplishment!

That exhilerating feeling of completion!

That exciting feeling of new beginnings!

This morning I was reading through some recent posts as I nursed my coffee on the back porch and listened to the wind chimes sing in the breeze…ah, I love a restful long weekend morning!  I read and re-read this post by Nikki Woodson.  Her words certainly struck a nerve with me and I had to revisit them a couple of times.  They made me recall that personal experience when I completed and graduated with my Masters of Education degree…

I was working as a paraprofessional (teacher’s assistant is the title in laymen’s terms) at one of the local high schools in this district.  I was also a single mother helping my youngest child prepare to graduate high school and elbow-deep in wedding preparations for my oldest child.  I was also interviewing for jobs as a certified teacher in a couple of other districts.  I was also tired and looking for ways to clear my calendar.  Several seniors and I were studying for their high school final exams and I mentioned something about my recent college finals and my upcoming college practicum.  My students stopped thinking about their class material and immediately wanted to know more about my college experience.  They knew I had been working on my M.Ed. degree for a couple of years and one asked when I would graduate.  So, I calmly told him that I finished up my course work and got my degree during the upcoming summer but I didn’t really think that I would participate in the actual graduation ceremony.  All eleven of those students sitting at the table were apalled!  “How can you NOT Walk?”  “Wouldn’t your parents like to see you Walk?”  “Don’t you think your kids would like to see their mother get her diploma?”  I explained that I had already participated in a couple of graduations and that the ceremony didn’t seem as important to me as the actual completion and next steps.  These young folks who had never particpated in a graduation ceremony just couldn’t understand that and voiced several protests.  I finally got them back onto our exam review guide and studying for their final resumed.

The comments of those young people stuck with me, though.  I would revisit them several times over the next few days.  I finally announced to them on their last day of school that I had changed my mind and I would be walking through my college graduation ceremony that summer.  Cheers went up!

What I didn’t realize is exactly what Woodson’s mother stated.  I didn’t realize until that moment “that graduation was for all those people who had supported me to that point and for all those who came before me and made it possible…participation was a way to honor them.”  So, on that hot day in August, just days after my youngest graduated from high school and my oldest said her marriage vows, on the weekend before I started my job as a certified educator, I Walked through another college graduation.  Like Woodson’s, my mother beamed with pride and a few friends sat with her and my children and cheered when my name was called.  I’d also like to think that several of those young people who had cheered a month or two before were also inspired to persevere and accomplish more than they ever thought they could.

Like Woodson points out, as educators, we have an impact on students and the community in so many more ways than just those lessons we prepare and facilitate in our classrooms.  We inspire through our continuous learning and by our actions in those communities.  As you begin your summer – and as many of you begin your continuous learning through professional development or college courses – keep in mind that you are still making an impact on students and your community even though there are not young people sitting in your classroom.

April 13

Questions

I worked elbow-to-elbow with a teacher today refining a lesson that his students were completing in his classes.  It was a two-part lesson.  It required lots of reading.  It required lots of writing.  It required lots of thinking.  The teacher gave me loads of information about what his students were doing and his expectations and how his expectations were being met.  Then, he asked me a question and used terms no teacher has asked me before…but more about that later.

This is a teacher with whom I have worked elbow-to-elbow for at least four years.  Many times as I left his classoom, I was frustrated.  Many times as I left his classroom, I was asking myself what more should I do to nudge this teacher forward.  Many times as I left his classroom, I was wondering how I could better get him to move beyond a feeding and regurgitation of facts and information sort of lesson.  Now, to be fair, each year I have seen progress with this teacher and growth with him and his students as well.  But today, he asked me this question and I was a little bit surprised.

Maybe I have just reached that stage in my career.  You see, earlier this week I worked elbow-to-elbow with an assistant administrator at a school and he asked me a very similar question.  Then, later in the day he searched me out and we had another brief elbow-to-elbow work session.  Earlier we had been analyzing one of his teacher’s lessons and the latter meeting was to analyze a projection statement for his school in which he was deeply enmeshed.  At the end of our afternoon session, this assistant administator confirmed that I would be challenged to answer questions from him again.

In answer to the questions that both these gentlemen have posed to me, I think I can safely say that we as educators need to take a more reflective approach to what we are doing.  We need to stop and think and analyze what we are doing with our students and examine whether what we are doing is what we value and meets our intentions.  I stumbled upon a post today describing how great teacher candidates interview differently and linked were a set of questions the author actually claims work, when digging deep to find the best teachers.  My question is, why can’t we pose similar questions to teachers who are already in the classroom as a means of nudging them forward and moving them beyond where they now stand in their practice?

I think a wonderful way to become a better teacher is to reflect and make adjustments.  So, how would you answer these questions?

  • Do you still have a passion for your subject matter?  How would an observer recognize that in your classroom?
  • Describe how technology plays a role in student learning in your classroom?  How are students using the tools available to demonstrate their knowledge and skills?  How are they using technology to raise awareness, start conversations, change minds, drive change, or make a difference in the world?
  • What are your top two purposes for taking grades?  What are you measuring with your assignments?  How are you measuring it?
  • How and when do you provide feedback to your students?  How do you embed formative assessment and quality instruction at the same time?
  • In what ways do you differentiate instruction?  What are the differences in student outcome?
  • What was the best question you asked students during your last lesson?  What was the best question your students asked during that lesson?
  • Describe a timeline of your class broken into five-minute increments.  Which was the most important five-minute increment?
  • What three words would your students use to describe you?  What three words would they use to describe your class?
  • What have you read or studied recently that led to change in your classroom?  What have you listened to or watched recently that led to change in your classroom?  Who is an educator that you have discussed your teaching practice with lately?  Who are your online contacts for improving your instruction?
  • In what different ways have you communicated with parents during he past month?
  • What is your personal goal as an educator when you begin to plan your next lesson?  How will you measure your success rate?

Maybe it is just that time of year but I think an exceptional teacher is one who is always reflecting and using similar questions to those on my list as a way of improving craft, expertise, and effectiveness – and let’s face it, we all should strive to be exceptional.  Asking questions is important.  Yet, how we ask questions makes a big difference.  Are we asking questions to stand still or move forward?  I certainly hope we are asking questions to move forward – especially at this time of the year when our enthusiasm sometimes wanes.

Oh, the question I was asked today?  The terminology this teacher used that no teacher has ever used before?  “Now that we are near the end of our collaborative time this year, what, in your expert opinion, would you encourage me to work on to improve my game for next year?”

February 13

Teaching Tips from a Coach

More and more we are becoming aware that the role of a teacher is not that of the ‘sage-on-the-stage’ who dispenses knowledge but really is more like a coach who guides learning.

In Dan Rockwell’s article 6 Core Skills of a Leader Who Develops Talent, the author starts out with potent statements which provoke thought.  “Powerful conversations are the coaching-leader’s path to remarkable results.  Coaching-leaders focus on developing strengths.”

First, I notice that he selected the words powerful conversations.  This made me pause and think about my experience interacting with teachers as a mentor or coach.  In order to have a meaningful conversations with them, I need to spend a bit of time to know more about them.  In the classroom, that was far easier because I was with students every single day.  The thing is we need to encourage conversation.

Secondly, I notice that Dan brings out the fact that we are developing strengths.  Each and every person has strengths.  So, it is important for us to discover those strengths and work with the person to build upon them.

I know that, as a tech coach, I am pretty aware of inviting input and expecting differing opinions when working with other tech coaches or with teachers.  When reflecting on this article, my first question is: Do I invite with an accepting attitude, input that will improve the ‘product’ I am putting out?  In other words, do I simply ‘allow’ feedback or am I really trying to improve the PD or whatever that I am providing?  I know from years of experience that I sometimes develop a sort of tunnel vision of what I think something needs to look like or to offer and it helps me when offered suggestions, critiques, and feedback.

I also know that I am not always the best at Open Listening!  Sometimes I just go through the motions of providing somebody else the time to share instead of really pausing and listening.  I think I must get too ‘married’ to my ideas and don’t want to accept suggestions and feedback or take the time to put that into action.

I would encourage you to read the post and reflect on your own practice as a teacher, mentor, and coach.  It certainly continues to make me self-evaluate.

October 15

Did I miss anything?

Did I miss anything when I was absent?

Have you ever fielded this question from a student?  Did it cause you to gnash your teeth and bite back a smart-mouthed response?  Did it frustrate you that the student seemed to think that his/her absence meant that everything in your classroom just halted and anxiously awaited his/her return?

In a recent post by Grant Wiggins, my eyes were opened in ways that I had not considered in a long, long time.  He shadowed a couple of students to get ideas about coaching them as an academic coach.  The first questions it made me want to ask myself about the PD sessions I facilitate and the teachers I work with as we plan collaboratively is: Have you put yourself in the role of your students?  How would you absorb this lesson?

Probably the most important question Wiggins asked his student was whether she felt like she made important contributions to the class or if, when she was absent, the class missed out on the benefit of her knowledge or contributions.  This made me sit up and realize that I need to reconsider my reaction to a question students used to ask me upon return after an absence.  So, I’m going to ask you to stop and ponder as well…

Think about the most recent lesson you and your students worked through in your classroom.  If a student was absent, would he/she ask you THAT question?  Would he/she feel like it didn’t really matter whether he/she (or any student) was present and participating or not?  How much autonomy do your students have?  How much of their learning are your students directing or choosing?

Wiggins suggests that he would change lots of things about how his classroom might look if he were the teacher of record.

  1. Definitely, it wouldn’t be a sit-and-get!  Sitting down passively all day is exhausting!  Students need to be interacting, working, digging into the content!
  2. Offer mini-lessons!  Assessment-for-learning-type activities is how he references them.  Why not pose an essential or driving question and expect students to dig in?  Then, using a rubric or checklist, make sure they know what you want them to take-away.  If they don’t demonstrate the knowledge you expect, then kick in with reinforcements.  Wouldn’t this be far more engaging than a droll lecture?
  3. Offer a topic/word/term and ask students to pose the questions they think they will need answered right at the beginning of class!  Then, as a group, you and students could determine which question should be addressed first.  Have the rubric or checklist ready and offer students the opportunity to contribute a couple of things before you get started.  Then, post the rubric/checklist to your class webpage quickly and students can access it as they are working to make sure they are covering the material and showcasing that they know what they need to know.

I keep reminding myself that we have become a culture of instant gratification, personal questing, work-in-short-spurts.  So, instead of fighting that constantly, why don’t we build on that as a strength and roll with it?

You can bet that my next lesson and my next PD will certainly be planned with the opening question in mind!

July 25

Getting Off to a Good Start

It is that time of year again.  Soon the school bells will be ringing and students will be entering classroom doors.  Believe it or not, that first day is probably the most important day of the school year.  You only get one chance to make a first impression!  What the teacher and students do on that first day can determine the success or failure of a classroom for the entire year.

According to some authorities, “teachers who spend some time during the first couple of days organizing the class so that everyone knows how the class is structured and managed have far fewer discipline problems and students who are involved with learning (Wong).”

What are some things the teacher can do to foster success?

1.  Share your passion.

Forget the myth, “Don’t smile before December.”  That isn’t the personality of a teacher.  Most of us entered this profession because we love sharing something we are passionate about with others.  When we are sharing a passion, we are happy, enthusiastic, and energetic.  Let your students see that passion.

2.  Put your best self forward.

Be the person you want your students (and their parents) to see.  Dress the part.  Act the part.  Do you want to be respected as a professional?  Look professional.  Be professional.  Marketing studies show that we only have seven seconds to create a positive impression.  So, appearance can be important to how you are perceived (whether we like it or not).   There are ways to achieve a professional look and not like a little old church lady and ways to achieve a casual appearance without looking like you just dashed in from doing yard work.  Mode of dress is important but so is behavior.  That first day, above all others, is the one when your behavior is observed most closely.  This is when you begin to develop trust, purpose for listening to what you have to say, belief that you mean what you say, and offer inspiration to your students (and their parents).

3. Be Prepared: The Small Stuff Can Be Big Stuff.

Think about moving throughout your school day and how you want it to flow smoothly.  How are you going to seat your students?  How are you going to communicate with parents?  Where are you going to post or store materials for absentees or tardy students?  How will you encourage students to get started and dismiss class?  What will ensure that your class is truly experiencing bell-to-bell instruction and not milling round the doorway before and after class time?  How and where should students submit late work?  Try to think of all this Small Stuff so that there isn’t any Big Stuff.  Since I work in a BYOT district, I always encourage the teachers with whom I work to utilize as many online resources as possible.  Create a Google Form InBox and link it to your class webpage.  Posting online shared documents instead of distributing hard copies provides for easy, real-time updates and revisions.  Online tools and documents offer constant, anywhere, anytime access without chance of losing the hard copy.

4. Share Your Expectations.

You might call this rules or norms or acceptable procedures – whatever you choose to call it, make sure you make them known and adhere to them on the first day.  Your students want to know what is expected of them and really do want to be successful on day one.  Whether you prefer creating all your parameters or allowing students to develop them with you, make that a part of your first day and consistently follow them through to the last day.

5. Be the Manager.

You wouldn’t turn your bank account over to your students (or their parents) and ask them to manage it!  Likewise, you should be the manager of your classroom from bell to bell.  Again, think through a typical day in your class.  Make sure you have an idea on how you and your students might handle different situations and stick to your plan.  Consistency is vital to the success of a year-long community of learners.  You and your students must learn to trust one another, be prepared to share your space and your ideas, and work as a cohesive learning community for a long time.  The first day plants the seed for the tree of knowledge that you grow together during the school year.

6. If You Fail to Plan, You are Planning to Fail.

The first day of school is a long one with teachers and students adjusting to being back in the classroom.  Plan ahead what will be accomplished during that day.  Just as Benjamin Franklin expressed so eloquently, without a plan, you are planning to fail.  Maybe you want to spend time sharing the rules, introducing routines, getting to know one another, beginning to build a community.  As a reading specialist, I always encourage using read-alouds and picture books to lead discussions about issues important to your classroom.  Make it a day to learn about your students and give your students a chance to learn about you.

7.  Let Them Know Who You Are.

You are not there to be friends with your students.  You are there to be their coach, guide, mentor, and teacher who encourages and supports their growth and knowledge.  However, don’t hesitate to let students know at least a little bit about you.  We tend to trust, respect, and be inspired by those with whom we are familiar yet still hold a bit of mystique.  Try to be that model for your students.

 

The first day of school ends and the rest of the school year lies ahead.  The first day of school—when you have your students’ rapt attention and when their minds are open and they’re eager to do well—is the one chance you have to get things right from the beginning.

Good luck getting off to a good start!

I borrowed and adapted ideas from these resources to compose this post:

You Only Get One “First Day of School”

There is Only One First Day of School

The Biggest First Day of School Mistake You Can Make

July 24

Learning a New Way to Document

Today is the first day of a series of days where I am the facilitator for training teachers to utilize the new electronic grade book system for our school district.  The workshops are called Train-the-Trainer sessions because two representatives from each school in the district are attending and learning all there is to know about the system and will return to their school and train the teachers in their building what they know.

Heavy learning.

These teachers are absorbing information and practicing what they learn.  They are taking notes, asking questions, and exploring options.  This is an interactive, hands-on workshop where teachers are getting an early look at a measurement tool.  It is probably one of the most important reporting tools the teachers will encounter in their building.

Important learning.

Hundreds of teachers in this district will soon be learning from their peers – the teachers who are here all day each day for the next few days.  They will learn how to document student performance and this documentation will be shared with the student, his/her parents, the school administrator, and fellow teachers.  The documentation becomes a permanent record for each student.

Crucial learning.

So, while this training is just sharing how to use a tool that is provided to house the files of information which document student performance, this information is that data which is used as a measuring stick for an untold number of reports.  Private, personal information is housed within the system as well as those almighty scores which document high stakes test performance.  Therefore, the use of the tool must be treated with greatest security measures.  The teachers in these sessions recognize the seriousness and importance of using this tool accurately, securely, and demonstrate that in their questions and comments.

Vital learning.

By listening to their questions, discussions with their partners, and looking over shoulders at notes, I’m already envisioning how these two representatives from each school might share their learning in their home schools.  I know that what they learn today will be something which fits their school community specifically.  I’ve seen the beginnings and seeds of multimedia presentations the partners are creating to guide their own training sessions with teachers at their schools. The teachers are familiar with their school community and peers.

Personalized learning.

Yet, knowing the information which has been stressed and the reminders which are shared, my glances at their notes show that these teachers recognize what has to be consistent across the district.  I also know that the main points stressed and reminded during the session will be the same from school to school across the district.  As we know, some things have to meet the same standards sort of like a tax return!  The teachers are familiar with their school community as well as district guidelines and focus that in their notes and discussions.

Standardized learning.

Amazingly, learning seems to be… learning… no matter who is the clientele.  The parameters and expectations seem to be similar no matter the classroom.  In this particular case, assessment will be a performance task (like our performance in any job setting) – how accurately, efficiently, and securely the mass of teachers across our district use this tool to report student progress and grades will become a part of the students’ educational file.  The teachers in each session recognize this and are hungry for all the information they might need before they go back to their schools to train their colleagues – asking questions and seeking more information.

Performance learning.

As I proofread this post before clicking that Publish key, I notice that learning is something that we all continue in our world of constant change.  We recognize the importance of the task at hand in order to perform as expected on a continual basis.  I cannot help but wonder if we approach each lesson we teach to students in our classroom is approached with the same serious nature and if we as teachers prepare each lesson with that in mind.  After all, those students sitting in our classroom will eventually be the mechanics, CEOs, clerks, nurses, legislators, food producers, and EMTs who respond to our emergencies in the future.  Are we planning our lessons to prepare students for such heavy, important, crucial, vital, personalized, standardized, performance learning that will benefit them in the future as productive citizens in our society?

June 13

Summer Learnin’

Tomorrow marks my first day for facilitating professional development (PD) here in our district for the upcoming 2014-15 school year.  I am so excited I can hardly wait!

It feels so good to know that we have planned strong, useful, tech-rich sessions for teachers that model what is possible in their classrooms.  The exercises are meaningful and simple so that teachers can take them right back to their classrooms and be ready to implement them with their students as soon as school begins later this summer.  The tools are also user-friendly so that students and teachers can easily utilize them as go-to resources if they choose.

My morning session will guide teachers to explore building a digital learning community.  They can make choices according to how they think they will be best used in their own repertoire.

After thinking about and choosing a standard of focus, we will look at Diigo, a social bookmarking tool.  I can see this applied in the classroom for student discussions around an article or topic, used as a research bookmarking tool, or as a tool for highlighting and annotating practice (and use).  It would be applicable for reading circles, small group work or stations, and provide a resource for students to learn to make notes for referencing a non-fiction text for an essay, a debate, or a discussion board.

Next, we will explore Edmodo.  During this past year I have seen students and teachers using this tool in a multiplicity of ways.  It is great for communication between students in a group who are collaborating on an out-of-class project.  Teachers have led discussion board reviews prior to a big test.  They have used it as a way to share and discuss online articles, videos, etc.  It offers teachers a way to implement online quizzes, assignments, and discussions of all sorts.  It has also provided a place for teachers and students to store digital work much like an online locker.  Teachers have also used it as a way to connect with other teachers and share ideas.

After a break, we will explore netTrekker for its resources and options for teachers and students to collaborate online.  Not only does it provide students with a safe searching and researching environment, it also allows teachers to make assignments and keep a portfolio that they can share with colleagues.

The teachers will have some time to check into implementing a Twitter account for personal use or to check into getting certification for a professional account.  We also will talk about some other ways teachers can develop personal learning and collaboration communities.  The best thing is that we have banked in some time for teachers to really dig deeper and explore these resources and begin to plan how they might use them to support and extend classroom learning.

We used to think of our professional learning networks/communities as the folks across the hall or in our district but these days, those connections can be with folks across the district or eve across globe!

My afternoon session will focus on blogging in the classroom.  We will be exploring KidBlog, Google Sites, and a district Edublogs account as tools for these efforts.  This is probably my favorite professional development session to facilitate!  It offers teachers time to learn about blogging and plan ways to use it with their students.

I love introducing an online option for teachers and students to share ideas, keep their notes and thoughts organized in one place, and reflect on their learning and practices.  Almost every teacher who has worked with me to set up using blogging as a classroom tool has been enthused and excited about the results it brings.  So, I feel like my love of blogging and its use as a classroom tool is contagious!

I know that the teachers who will join me tomorrow will not arrive at my PD sessions with the excited attitude that I will but I certainly hope they leave with the same enthusiasm that I have.

We will be Tweeting updates using #BYOTFridays.  Join us if you can!

April 25

One Site/Many Uses = Padlet

One of my favorite friends when it comes to online tools is Padlet.  It is sort of like a good pair of shoes that you can wear all day…or that favorite jewelry which accessorizes so many ensembles and makes everything look fabulous.  There are so many different ways to put this workhorse to use.

Padlet home

Padlet is sort of like a virtual bulletin board.  Participants with the link to a Padlet wall can double-click or double-tap and add a virtual sticky note.  Then, can add their name and a more extended message.  When creating a Padlet wall, creators can choose from backgrounds provided or upload their own image.  The layout can be set at random or as a threaded post similar to a discussion board.  There are many options to make each different Padlet wall different and unique.

Padlet vocab

One of my math teacher friends keeps a permanent Padlet for homework questions.  During after-school hours students can post questions relating their homework assignment.  Then, if the teacher notices that eight students in a class has questions relating problem six – a bit of revisiting of that particular kind of problem and concept is in order.  Otherwise, the teacher knows which students need one-on-one remediation or a more personalized focus regarding the problem or concept.  The Homework Question Padlet is a starting place for class discussions the next meeting time of the class.  For more ideas, visit the Padlet Gallery to see things like a weekly planner, a bucket list map of places to travel, a decorating design board, vocabulary word wall, etc.

Padlet presentation

One of my social studies teacher friends had students create virtual posters using Padlet walls.  Students could work in collaborative groups to create an information wall where they could add links to resources, images as references, and text which explained facts and provided dates.  Then, other students in the class could visit the wall and offer comments or ask questions.  These later because interactive review boards for students to use in studying for a unit test.

Padlet definition

One of my English teacher friends used a Padlet wall as a place for students to contribute comments, questions, and ideas about a piece of literature.  An in-depth online discussion took place long before the piece was discussed in class.

 

 

padlet christmas listA science teacher used a Padlet wall as a place for students to post their selection of research report project topics.  The teacher provided a list of suggestions.  Students chose one and posted their choice to the Padlet.  There was a first-come-first-served rule and nobody could choose the same topic as somebody else.  There was no question of who had first pick because the sticky notes were time-stamped.  There was also no question as to who had not completed the assignment because each student was responsible for posting his/her name on their sticky.  The teacher had no hassle because the Padlet provided students a way to self-monitor.

Padlet signupAnother instructional technology coach friend uses a Padlet as a back-channel conversation area.  During a professional development session, participants can post questions which come to mind that do not have an urgency and can be answered later.  Other participants can answer or the tech coach can post an answer later.  Anybody can reference the Padlet wall at any time during and even after the PD session.  So, information can continually be relayed to all participants on a virtual bulletin board.

 

Other ideas which have cropped up have been to use it as a ‘parking lot’ for questions or comments (much like the back-channel idea).  Another teacher uses it to be a collective area for students to post resources relating to a common topic or theme.  I’ve seen it used to offer upbeat comments to lift class members up – a place for everyone in the class to put a star by somebody else’s name.  I’ve seen it used as an announcement board for teachers and class members to post important information about upcoming tests, review sessions, or assignment deadlines.

Padlet Question