049: Take Flight with Google Classroom, with Matt Miller

I just keep hearing about Google Classroom. Whispers of how to use it to organize everything. To respond to everything. To eliminate the paper trail. To differentiate for different ability levels. To pull in creative new options for class time.

I bet you've been hearing about it too. Maybe even experimenting with it. But perhaps, like me, you've got a lot of questions.

That's why I invited Matt Miller, of The Google Tribe Teacher Podcast, onto the show. We're talking about how to use Google Classroom from an English teacher's perspective. We'll be covering what it is and what it does, how to get started with it, how to use it to stay organized and create truly creative lessons, and also how to use it to make your grading quicker and more effective. At the end of the show, I asked Matt if there's a way to use Google classroom to help prevent plagiarism and cheating, and I think his answer will surprise and delight you, as it did me. 


The TPT Day of Giving: 9/27/18

There's a big day coming up on Thursday. Have you heard? It's the TPT Day of Giving, and I want to tell you about it and invite you to participate.

Zoom backwards with me for a moment. When I was little, my Dad always had a story for me about his days as a Sociology professor.


Reading Program Accountability that doesn't Ruin Everything

So you know you want your students to love reading. It will help them develop their writing skills, make them more successful in all their classes, teach them empathy, broaden their horizons, and help them become critical thinkers and leaders. 

You've seen the buzz about Gallagher and Kittle's 180 Days here there and everywhere, or you've read Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) or Nancie Atwell. Maybe you listened to Jennifer Gonzalez interview Pernille Ripp for the podcast episode, "How to Stop Killing the Love of Reading."

You're working on your independent reading program, maybe you've picked up some great books and managed to add some silent reading time for your students to your busy week. 

Now what?

How to Plan a Unit for ELA

So you've gotten your classroom ready, gotten to know your students, laid out the order of your texts and units for the year. But what comes next? How do you plan a unit so you can fit in everything you need to do?

Planning things out in advance helps you feel like you have control over your curriculum, and actually makes it easier to fit in all the creative activities you want to do. You can be sure that you are hitting all your priorities as you define the many wonderful parts of your unit.

For today's post, I wanted to share a few strategies for unit-planning success with those of you who are newer to the process. It can feel so intimidating to try to fit everything in - vocabulary, reading, writing in different genres, different types of discussion, research, passion projects, grammar, journaling, blogging, projects, acting, speeches, etc.! You've got your list of standards or the priorities of your grade level, and somehow you're supposed to stir all this together and produce the perfect unit.


The Power of the Writing Makerspace, with Angela Stockman

For a long time, the conversation around the maker movement pointed in one direction, STEM. No longer! Because of Angela Stockman's amazing work developing the make writing movement, ELA makerspaces are now popping up around the country. Students are discovering new levels of complexity and creativity as they work with maker materials to develop their ideas before they write them down. 

I invited Angela on the show to share the origins of the #makewriting movement and to teach us how to get started with making writing in class. Don't be nervous! There's no need to run out and buy a ton of materials or scrap the writing curriculum you already have. 

In this show, you'll learn about some basic (even free) materials you can use to start, get ideas for prompts you can share with your students to inspire their making, and find out how the process of making writing will help your reluctant and enthusiastic writers alike to develop their skills and love of writing. At the end, we'll explore a little about what Angela learned in her recent trip to visit the Reggio Emilia schools of Italy, a system that honors the classroom space (or "atelier") as one of the teachers in the school environment. 

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