Three Ways to Get Help with Seesaw

In a post last August, I recommended you take a look at Seesaw. More recently I did a tip on the 4 New features of Seesaw.

For those of you who are getting started with Seesaw this year, I wanted to give you a heads up as to where to get some help. For those of you already using Seesaw and ready to learn more, you will be interested in the Pioneer program. Lastly the Help Center has answers for all of your frequently asked questions.

New to Seesaw?

The first place to get started is Seesaw’s built-in training. read more

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Five Helpful Tips for Remote Teaching

When teaching or attending meetings remotely, it is essential to present yourself professionally. The following “Five Helpful Tips for Remote Teaching” will do just that!

Lighting
Natural light is preferred. You will want to face the window. If your back is to the window, you will appear very dark — almost shadow-like — in the video. This effect is known as backlit, which you want to avoid. As we all know, our great State of Ohio can experience all four seasons in a week, and our winters can be very gray. On the gray weather days, you will want to place a lamp behind your monitor to brighten your face. To look your best, you may want to consider purchasing a video conference ring light. The ring lights provide soft and even lighting.
Camera Angle
If you have ever offered to take a group picture, you probably have heard at least one person say, “Take the pic from above!” Well, it is the most flattering camera angle after all. When on a Zoom or Meet call, your camera should be slightly above eye level. You may need to prop up your device, so it is higher. Also, you may need to adjust the device lid by moving it forward or backward. As a general rule, do not sit too close to the camera. You will want to remain an arm’s length away.
Look Professional
I believe keeping a daily routine for both teachers and students is important during remote learning. It is easy to fall into the comfy trap. It is unclear who first said, “Try not to dress down more than one level from your normal school attire.” but I think this is a wise rule to follow. 
Minimize Distractions
You will want to keep whatever is in the camera view tidy. If there is too much going on in the background, students may become easily distracted. You may want to experiment with virtual backgrounds. You can use background images just for fun or incorporate a theme with your lesson/unit. Also, try to minimize noise distractions. At times, this can be unavoidable.
Eye Contact
It is helpful to look at the camera lens once in a while to make eye contact with your students. The eye contact will help foster a connection with your students. 
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Make Google Classroom Friendlier for Littles with Symbols

I have been doing a lot of work with younger students and their teachers in the last few months and one thing that has become apparent is that Google Classroom is not an easy tool to teach to Kindergarten students! Difficult but not impossible! I have been musing as to how one could make it easier for younger students to use.

Last week at a teacher inservice at Swanton, I came upon a solution from a colleague (Julie LaPoint) who has started using a website called coolsymbol.com to add text to her Google Classroom. read more

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Easily Organize Your Apps Launcher

It is so frustrating when you click on your Apps launcher, or waffle menu, and you have to scroll down forever to find Google Classroom, or even Jamboard. An easy fix is to just bookmark all your favorite apps to your toolbar, but sometimes you want to open them quickly from your Apps Launcher, too!

You used to have to install an extension to customize your Apps Launcher. Now you can reorder them without anything extra.

Just click on your Apps Launcher (waffle) to open it. Then click and hold down any app icon in your launcher and drag it to where you want it. Put all your favorites at the top for easy access.  read more

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Creating a Welcome Slide for Online Classes

Some of my favorite teachers were the ones that stood outside their classroom door to greet each student. When teaching online, I like to start the Zoom session in a similar friendly fashion. I want to have a welcome slide appear when students enter the Zoom call that includes:

  • a countdown timer to the start of our class
  • a list of what students will need to be successful for the daily lesson
  • an inspirational quote (just because I love quotes!)
  • a joke/riddle 
  • play music – usually a tune from Springsteen or Billy Joel

The below image was created by using Google Slides. It may be fun to create a welcome slide to match your lesson theme or the season. Google Slides lends itself to creating an image because of the design elements included in the program. The welcome greeting may help set the tone for an enthusiastic discussion. #MakeLearningFun read more

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