Bitmojis: The "new" Sticker for Students' Digital Work

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

About a week ago Alice Keeler tweeted about the Chrome extension, Bitmoji, and how you can use Bitmojis to provide feedback on Google Docs for your students. I had absolutely no idea that Bitmoji had Chrome extension...WHERE HAVE I BEEN?! Furthermore, using these in the classroom is such a fabulous idea...I'm G-I-D-D-Y 😍

 Using Bitmojis for student feedback in Google Drive: The "new" sticker for digital work

What is a Bitmoji?
A Bitmoji is an emoji that you can personalize to look just like YOU. Basically, they are expressive cartoon avatars/emojis that you can install (for free) on your phone's keyboard. Click {HERE} to get this app installed on your phone. Note: You will have to allow Bitmoji to operate by going to your Settings>General>Keyboard if using an iPhone.

Once you customize your Bitmoji, you can start texting all sorts of personalized emojis. Warning...it is extremely addicting. Here are a few of my favorites:


How does this relate to EdTech?
I was so excited to learn that Bitmoji now has a Chrome extension. If you are not sure what exactly a Chrome extension is, click {HERE}.

If you are reading/grading student assignments in Google Drive, now you can add what I call the "new sticker" to their digital work...a Bitmoji! Kids/Teens will LOVE finding a little cartoon character that resembles their teacher on their work. The avatar that you customize to look like you will add a personal touch and the kids will get a kick out of seeing which Bitmoji you chose just for their work. 

As soon as I installed the Bitmoji extension to my Chrome browser, I immediately had to see what it looked like on an assignment I had in my Drive. I found that I couldn't insert the Bitmoji into the actual comment box; however, I could drag and drop it right below all of the comments. To be honest, I think I prefer this method! Check out my Bitmoji on an example that is part of a Fall Writing Project in Google Slides I have available in my TpT Store:

Using Bitmoji for student feedback in Google Drive: The "new" sticker

If you are interested in more no-prep writing activities like the one above, then be sure to check out my Seasonal Digital Book Bundle:


Also, be sure to check out these other emoji extensions that WILL allow you to include a regular emoji in the comment box or within a Google Doc/Slides Presentation: Emoji KeyboardEmojiOne.


I even like to include emojis in my Google Docs'/Slides' titles to help the kids locate things a little easier.





Bitmojis Are Available in Gmail?
YAAAAAASSS!!! This extension gets even better. Bitmoji syncs with your Gmail account so you can add Bitmojis to your emails. Once you grant access, a little Bitmoji icon appears at the bottom of your new messages.



Can you tell how excited I am about this discovery?!!! If I am THIS excited, then just think how excited your students will be :)

Life Changing Management Hack for Your Classroom iPads

Thursday, September 1, 2016


I remember my biggest frustration as a classroom teacher was not being able to install apps on my classroom iPads as I needed them. The process to get an ACADEMIC app installed was ridiculous and it took weeks.

My biggest frustration as an ITRT is installing iPad apps for my teachers. They have to email me and then WAIT for me to come to their classroom to install the app(s) since we aren't allowed to reveal the secret password. Often times they have to wait several days since I am only at their school once a week. We have had issues with our iTunes' account locking. We have to wait for one man in the county to call Apple and have it unlocked. Sometimes that teacher has to wait another week until I return to get the app they requested. There is a huge flaw in this system and it frustrates me beyond belief. We wait, and wait and wait...

Luckily times are changing and more and more schools are adopting better iPad management systems that will send out apps to multiple devices with a press of a button. However, how quickly are the iPad managers able to push out your requests?

Enter, my E-A-S-Y iPad hack...

iPad Management Hack: Bookmark a Google Doc on your classroom iPads for students to quickly access websites, Google Forms, Google Slides and other web tools .


This won't help with actual APPS. However, you will see how it is a quick way to push out websites, web tools, and Google files to your students in a matter of seconds.

Create a Google Doc and bookmark it on all of your classroom iPads. Ta-Da..that's it! On this doc you can then hyperlink websites that work on iPads, Google Forms, Google Slides, webtools, etc. that students can access in two taps. It will look just like an app...


When students tap on that "app" in the screenshot above, a Google Doc pops up on their screen:

Bookmark a Google Doc on your classroom iPads for students to QUICKLY access websites, Google Forms, Google Slides and other webtools.

What is SO nice about this little management trick is that I can constantly change and update this doc on my laptop without having to touch a single iPad. You can update whenever YOU want. I suggest having this doc bookmarked on Chrome if you think you might use it often.

On the doc above I chose to insert a table along with a few activities to show YOU an example of what you could add to YOUR doc. If I am working with younger students, less is more. For instance, if I was working with a kindergarten class, most likely I would only have one or two items on my doc. What you see above might work best with 2nd grade and up. Students can identify the activity by the picture and the word.

You can see that I inserted a links= for the popular student response system, KaHoot. KaHoot is a web-based tool that works beautifully on the iPads. Note: For some reason images that are hyperlinked do not work as well as text that is linked. That is why I hyperlinked the text. It might work better if you have the Google Doc app installed. Student response systems are always a great tool to use to start out a lesson to check for background knowledge and/or end a lesson to check for understanding.

I also added my Emoji Wrap-Up Google form (read more about it HERE and grab a free copy). Google Forms work beautifully on the iPad and you don't even need the Forms apps for student use!

BoardThing is one of my favorite web tools that works on laptops and iPads. I added this one because students can work collaboratively by adding sticky notes and images from their iPad's camera roll. I made a quick tutorial for this web tool for our Tech with Us FB Community if you are interested in checking it out:

           

Digital Dictionary in Google Slides for vocabulary words. Turn your word wall into a digital word wall!
Finally, I added a Google Slides activity that can be found in my TpT store. This Digital Dictionary is a great way for students to document their vocabulary words and/or word wall words with a visual component. In order for students to add to this using iPads, they would need the Google Slides app installed. However, if you are keeping ONE digital dictionary (great for younger grades) that YOU are in charge of updating, then all students need to do it tap the link and it will pop up on their iPad for them to click through the slides. This works the same with ANY Google Slides presentations :)


Another way I have used this bookmarked Google Doc other than linking in websites and web tools is adding a poem or text of the day for students to read for fluency practice. They tap the app and BOOM, there is the text I want them to practice reading!

Bookmark a Google Doc on your classroom iPads for students to QUICKLY access websites, Google Forms, Google Slides and other webtools.

I have even been known to link in Google Folders, Dropbox folders as well as Comemories' links filled with images I want students to save to their camera roll. There is A LOT you can do with this bookmarked Google Doc believe it or not!

Want to set one up? Here are the steps I took to quickly get my doc onto my classroom iPads:

  1. Create a Google Doc
  2. Add any charts, images, and links you would like to appear the first time your students tap the icon (you can always do this later and just bookmark a blank doc). To hyperlink words, highlight the word you would like to add a link to and click the link icon in the toolbar. Enter the url and press Apply:

      3. Change the Share settings by clicking on the blue SHARE button in the upper right hand corner. Set it to Anyone with a link can view. Click Done.

       4. Turn the url of your Google Doc into a QR Code. The absolute QUICKEST way to do this is to install the Chrome extension Goo.gl. Read more about this HERE. Have your Google Doc on your screen, click the Goo.gl extension that is installed and then click on QR Code. Grab your iPads and scan the QR Code straight from your laptop screen with a QR Scanner App (my favorite is i-nigma). You do NOT have to print the QR code for it to work.


Once you have the Doc pulled up on your iPad, bookmark it by clicking the square with arrow icon:

Click Add to Home Screen.


Click Add and then you are finished!

Like I said, this "hack" isn't a way around installing and using APPS. However, it has helped me push out a variety of activities for students without having to touch every single iPad. How else could we use these bookmarked Google Docs in our classrooms? Leave any ideas in the comments below!

5 Techie Ideas for Lesson Closure

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Closure is one of the most important components to a quality lesson. It is also the one lesson component that many of us tend to leave out since we are constantly racing the clock. I can't tell you how many lessons I have had to end abruptly because I didn't anticipate having to reteach the concept a million different ways, we were late to lunch, a surprise fire drill popped up, a parent walked in unannounced needing to talk to me (that was always my favorite), etc.. Sometimes lesson closure just doesn't happen. However, when the chance arises, we need to capitalize on wrapping up and reflecting the last few minutes of the lesson in a variety of ways.

Lesson closure is important because...

    🚪The teacher can check for student understanding
    🚪Students have the opportunity to draw conclusions
    🚪Quiet thinkers have the opportunity to articulate their new ideas
    🚪Students become more reflective thinkers
    🚪Teachers become more reflective about their teaching practice

5 Techie Ideas for Lesson Closure. Technology in the Classroom

During my first year teaching I was partnered with an incredible veteran teacher, Debbie Goodrich, who served as my mentor. I could not have asked for a better mentor. She truly taught me so much more than one could ever learn in Elementary Education classes. I remember vividly a day when we sat down to write a lesson plan together. She told me that one of the most important components to a lesson is the closure piece. Debbie told me to think of lesson closure like a jar of butterflies. If you quickly put a lid on the jar, all of those beautiful butterflies will stay inside. However, if you leave the lid off, all of those beautiful butterflies will fly away. The jar of butterflies was a metaphor for the information delivered during a lesson to a child. To this day I see that butterfly jar image in my head every time I think about lesson structure. POWERFUL!

I was really good about lesson closure my first year teaching. After every lesson was complete, I would have my students take out their journals and respond to a wrap-up question that I would write on the board. I mean, I was really good at this lesson closure "thing". I was SO good that my students quickly decided that they didn't like to write anymore because I required them to write after every lesson. They hated lesson closure.

Boy times have changed since that first year of teaching! I have experimented with all sorts of different types of lesson closures and I find that students just like fun and fresh ideas, not that same mundane activity over and over again.

5 Techie Ideas for Lesson Closure. Technology in the Classroom

So, for you tech lovers, here are 5 E-A-S-Y lesson closure activities that will help keep those butterflies in the jar while making your students engage in meaningful reflective practice.




Recap is a brand new & FREE web tool AND app that students use to respond to a prompt provided by their teacher through a video recording. This easy to use and intuitive tech tool is pretty amazing. Students sign in with a simple code, view the question the teacher provides, record, and send their video to the teacher's dashboard. The teacher can share individual responses with other students, parents and educators, or show a daily review reel in class. This would be an incredible tool to wrap up a lesson while having your students engage in reflective practice!


 To get set up, visit https://letsrecap.com/ and set up a free account.



Next....






Add a class.








Name your class and decide how you would like students to sign in (I find that class pin is easiest for younger children).










Add students. Click Add Class.












Add a recap (prompt).





Type the question you would like your students to respond to in their video reflection. Click Next.


Decide on a recording limit, due date, which class(es) you are assigning that question to as well as if you would like to include an "Assess Yourself" poll. Click Send.

After you complete the steps above, you will be ready for students to do their recordings. Your students can use the free iPad app, Recap, or they can visit the website: https://app.letsrecap.com/student/login.

Students enter the class code and choose their name:

Students will see your question and when they are ready, they will press the record button. A 3-2-1 countdown appears and then recording is in progress.


After students press stop, they have the option of previewing, recording or continuing on to submit. 


If you selected the "Access Yourself" option when you created the Recap, then students will be prompted to answer here:



Once they press Next, the video is sent to the teacher's account. Note: I had to refresh my page before I saw any videos pop up.

Here is what the teacher sees on his/her dashboard:

The teacher can even provide feedback to the student videos that students can see the next time they sign in:

I think Recap would be an incredibly valuable tool to use to wrap up your lessons. You can even email or send a link to parents to view their child's response:




Erintegration blogged a few months ago about using the Post-It Plus app to digitize actual sticky notes that students use as a quick exit ticket. This idea for lesson closure is really nice for those of you who do not always have access to devices. All you need is one iPad or Smartphone for this idea! In a nutshell, students write responses on a sticky note and post it somewhere in your classroom. You or a helper would use the Post-It Plus app to take a picture/scan the sticky notes in the room and it saves to the app. You can then export the digital stickies as a PDF, PowerPoint file or Excel file! Click on the image below to take you to Erin's post so you can read more about this neat idea:

5 Techie Ideas for Lesson Closure. Technology in the Classroom

I love her exit slip posters you can purchase to organize the post-its...especially the 
EM😎JI ones...



To go along with Erintegration's exit slip posters, I have two different Google Slides presentations that contain lesson wrap-up reflection questions. Project this presentation, have a child click on an emoji (from the Emoji Edition) or a book (from the Standard Edition) and a wrap up question is revealed. Students could write their response on a post-it or any digital tool of your choice to submit! If you are running out of time then just have students turn and talk to a friend.



These are on SALE for the next two days! Check out my promo video to see these products in more detail:

          

Recommendation:

If you choose to use this presentation often and need to access it quickly, I suggest bookmarking it or making a shortcut on your desktop. That way it is right there, a click away, when you are in a time crunch.

To bookmark in Chrome:

Open the presentation and click the star. Rename the presentation and click Done:


To make a shortcut on your desktop:

Drag and drop the little lock icon next to the url onto your desktop.


Did ya hear the BIG news? Google Forms now allows you to upload images as answer choices! K/1 teachers...this is HUGE. Wrap up your lesson with a fun yet QUICK reflection form in Google forms. Here is one I made using emojis. (Click HERE if you would like a copy...this will take you to the summary of responses. To access the form, go to Form>Go to Live Form):

5 Techie Ways to add closure to any lesson: Emoji Wrap-Up Google Form-FREE

If you have access to iPads, take the url to your Google Form and turn it into a QR code for students to quickly scan and access your wrap-up form.

Use a virtual collaboration board for students to post closure question responses. Padlet, BoardThing, Lino and Stoodle are all tools that will work on any device that has a web-browser.

Prompt them with a question you have, a question from one of my wrap-up presentations mentioned above or use Kagan dice/chips to reveal a question! You can check out the Kagan tools in my affiliate links below. My students always loved when I chose a special volunteer to roll the dice or pick a chip out of a hat :)

                                                       
Example using a Padlet Wall
Your students will be so curious to read what their friends write so think of this as an instant lesson review!

There they are folks! 5 techie ways to add closure to any lesson.

Don't forget how important it is to put the lid on your jar full of butterflies!

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