Customized email newsletters for every kid with Google Forms

Make solid connections with families by creating custom email newsletters for every student. It's easy with Google Docs, Sheets and Forms. (Public domain image via Pixabay.com)

Classroom newsletters are kind of hit and miss. If you’re sending photocopies of them home in students’ backpacks, I’ll bet your success rate is less than 50 percent. (And that’s being generous.) There’s a big reason I believe that these newsletters — which could be great parent/teacher communication tools — fall on deaf ears (or […]

12 ways to really make Genius Hour work in your class

Genius Hour empowers students to do something meaningful with their passions. Here are 12 ideas you can use in the classroom from an expert in innovation. (Public domain image via Unsplash)

Lots of schools and classrooms are making innovation a priority and changing how day-to-day school is done. Don Wettrick’s students take it to a whole new level. Don teaches “Innovation Class,” where students take on a project that connects with their passions. In this class, his students have created apps, designed new products and created […]

10 strategies for lightning-quick feedback students can REALLY use

Students crave feedback, but it has to be timely to matter. Here are some strategies for feedback students will WANT to read. (Wikimedia / Carla OLPC Wiki / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Using homework assignments to give feedback is pokey. Inefficient. Slow. Think about the length of the feedback loop for traditional homework assignments: Teacher assigns homework to students. Students take it home (maybe) and work on it (maybe). Students turn it in the next day. Teacher grades and provides comments that night (if not completely swamped […]

10 add-ons to Google Classroom you MUST try

Google Classroom's basic features are powerful. Take it to the next level with some add-ons created just for teachers and students.

The basic functions of Google Drive and Google Classroom are only the starting point for the innovative and creative uses one can use in the classroom. Alice Keeler, my co-author in our upcoming book Ditch That Homework, proves that again and again. Alice is one of the only people I know personally who codes for […]

My blogging voyage, and how I do it (step by step)

IMG_0790

Three years ago I embarked on the voyage “Ss Blogging” in my fifth grade classroom. (It’s a take on the “SS” abbreviation for “Steam Ship.” Remember the “SS Minnow” from Gilligan’s Island? In this case, Ss is the Twitter abbreviation for “students” … very fitting!) It has evolved into a learning adventure, where I am […]

10 ways to create interactive multimedia in any grade/subject

Video. Audio. Images. Text. Interactive questions. Great student-centered learning can happen at their intersection. Here are some ideas. (Public domain image via Pixabay.com)

Watch a video. Move definitions around to match their term. Jump to an article online. Get instant feedback to a multiple choice question. Student-centered learning lets kids get right to work and take control. It also lets the teacher connect and help with students one on one. That student-centered learning is at the heart of […]

Commitment is good. Connections are better.

We can go far when we're committed, but our limitations stop us. We're unstoppable when we're connected. (Public domain image via Canva)

Inspiration seems to strike when we don’t expect it, doesn’t it? I was listening to the radio recently and during a commercial break, they played an excerpt of a speech that stopped me in my tracks. The speaker, Levi Lusko, dropped this line, this knowledge bomb, and immediately I knew I liked it. “Commitment is […]