Monday, September 19, 2016

GoNoodle Brain Breaks, Many Possiblities

Have you ever tried GoNoodle's videos and games to help keep your students moving inside the classroom? These desk-side movement activities geared towards K-5 classrooms are selected and projected by the teacher from the GoNoodle website. Sign up as a teacher at, fill in some information and then choose your class "Champ". Champs are the primary motivation system in GoNoodle. Every time you play an activity with your students, you help grow your Champ. When you grow a Champ completely, you get to choose a new one to grow. (For more info about Champs click here). There are over 200 GoNoodle videos to choose from. 

Here is how to find the right activity for you:

  • Explore: Explore is the default view after clicking the Play button from the champ page, featuring the newest and featured GoNoodle activities. Use this page to see what's new, what's coming soon, and to find activities you may not have played before.
  • Channels: GoNoodle is like a music collection – think of channels as artists! If you know you want to dance with Zumba Kids, you can go straight to the Zumba Kids channel.
  • Categories: Think of Categories as genres. To see all the dancing videos, for example, head to the “Guided Dancing” category. A variety of genres makes it easy to find the right video for your classroom’s energy level.
  • Search: Searching GoNoodle is super easy. Simply type in keywords to see all the videos that match. Try “mindfulness,” “Pop See Ko,” or even “2 minutes” for videos around a certain length. Perhaps a 10+ minute video for that indoor recess?

Quick Subject Transitions 

In the Explore view search for videos and activities by duration. Grab a 1 minute clip and wiggle your way into the next subject area. I thoroughly enjoy Awesome Sauce's "Dance like this Dude". Silly dance moves everyone can get into to get the blood flowing for the next part of the day. 

Here are some highly recommended options for your next GoNoodle Adventure:
(You'll need to already have signed up to view these channels and categories)

  1. Testing: Calming category.  Ease anxiety with several calming, stress-reducing activities.
  2. Indoor Recess: Mega-mixes. Longer GoNoodle videos for the times you’re stuck inside.
  3. Mindfulness: Think About It. A series of positive, one-minute reflections, perfect for morning meeting.
  4. Great for the active: Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Awesome beats, hilarious dance moves.
  5. Special needs favorite: Mr. Catman. Emphasis on coordination and concentration.
  6. Sluggish afternoons: Zumba Kids. Dance your way back to life!
  7. Bouncing-off-the-walls energy: Free movement category. A group of videos that let students get the wiggles out.
  8. Older grades: Fresh Start Fitness.  Seriously intense workouts!
  9. Younger Grades: Maximo. Simple stretching moves, led by a silly monkey.
  10. Celebration: Guided Dancing category. Pick a dance-along, and go to town

Read more about the features and specifics or GoNoodle here. How are you GoNoodling in your class?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

An Interview With Shannon Pasma Part Two

An Interview With Shannon Pasma Part Two

I recently sat down with Shannon Pasma at Cafe Bicyclette for a chat about everything grade two and educational technology. Here is part two of an abridged version of our chat. Don’t forget to read part one!

A Little Bit About Shannon
Shannon teaches in the Elk Island School Division and is going into her fourth year of teaching grade two (her favourite grade). She has also taught grade one and five. Her school is one-to-one Chromebooks grades two to six. She also has five iPads in her class and access to sign out a whole cart of iPads as needed. You can find her on Google+ and on Twitter as @ShannonPasma. She is also the co-author of an e-book for grade two social studies which she created as a part of her masters in Educational Technology in Elementary Education.

What apps or technology tools do you use? Are there any that you use for specific projects?
Anytime an app has dual application (like being able to record your voice), I like that.  If I can use it across the subject areas, I’m good with it, rather than a one-off app. Some of the tools I use all the time are:
    • I especially love Google Slides. I like to use it for pretty much anything from How To writing to Non Fiction writing to Timelines. I like to use Screencastify to have voice connected to work if images are just included.
    • Or any recordable whiteboard app. Again, great for anything you want the students to explain a process or thought. I like this especially for math. My students create problems and then solve them recording their work and voice.
    • Great for digital posters or scavenger hunts in 2D shapes and 3D objects. Lends itself well to labelling.
    • Great for social studies, too. Students can make a poster about the community.
  • Popplet for mind maps.
    • We often turn a story into a script. PuppetPals is used as a choice to act out the script if students don't want to perform in front of the class. I also like to have the students do a Bug Talk Show and interview various creatures in science. I love to see their creativity come out.
  • Seesaw (but you can’t upload from Google Drive)
  • Google Classroom is an absolute must in my room!
    • During the first weeks of school we create iMovie trailers to show/teach/reinforce classroom routines. My students like to also use the DoInk Green Screen app to integrate with iMovie.
You made an e-book. Do you still make them?

They take forever. You have to find images you can use. You have to write your own content. You have to cite all of your stuff. You have to record each of your voice sections and then put it in the book. Each of the widgets we had, most of them were from third party sites so you had to download them and then upload them. Saving it on the Mac (iBooks Author) and then trying it on your iPad. The hardest part was finding a site to hold it and share it out so people could download it. It is so huge to download it so it takes forever. It’s a lot of work.
After we made the first one, I saw how successful it was with my students.  That’s when I had a student with a learning disability, so I couldn’t take that away from her. So I just had to do them.  It would take me a whole Saturday and Sunday to make them. But now that they are done, they’re done. However I have noticed a couple of the videos are missing because they are not on YouTube anymore. So now it’s about going back and fixing them. Then re-downloading and re-uploading them again.

You can download them here: Exploring Iqaluit, Meteghan, and Saskatoon

You had a five week student teacher this year. How prepared did you feel they were edtech-wise?
Very unprepared.

I want to make a course or workshop for preservice teachers to learn how to use technology. I would open up my classroom to them. They could come in and observe some tools and see what there is. In the course/workshop we’d talk about the tools and how to use them. They would have to create lessons to go with the technology so they actually feel prepared. Most preservice teachers have no educational technology skills.

If you had to interview someone for division one educational technology. Who would you pick?
You know who I really want to sit down with? Catherine D off Twitter. We had really great conversations at the ERLC Educational Technology Innovation Summit. I would love to sit down with her for the whole day.

Last question for you, what are your hopes for educational technology in the future in your classroom? Alberta? Canada? Globally?

If kids don’t learn some technology skills, like coding,  I can only imagine 2025! They are going to have to have these skills. I feel if you don’t start teaching them these things they are going to be behind and unprepared. I feel that if teachers don’t get on board with the current educational technologies they are going to be even further behind and then you are doing a disservice to your students. This [phone] is your life. Literally you can do everything on here and you don’t need anything else. I hope that teachers catch on.

It [the future] is going to be kids coming with greater skills and expected to do a lot more but connect globally. I  feel like it is no longer about working in the isolation of your classroom. I feel that Global Read Aloud is the start of zero barriers. You are going to be learning from each other.   

The flexible seating movement is on the cutting edge of - you don’t need to learn in “this” way, you can learn in your own way. I feel like there is going to be more individualized learning. I think desks and rows are by-gone things now.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

I would like to thank Shannon for an extremely enjoyable chat through an epic thunderstorm.

Check back for the October interview with Alicia Kuzio.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Interview With Shannon Pasma Part One

Perspective From The Park

I recently sat down with Shannon Pasma at Cafe Bicyclette for a chat about everything grade two and educational technology. We chatted for almost three hours! So here is part one (of two) of an abridged version of our chat.

A Little Bit About Shannon

Shannon teaches in the Elk Island School Division and is going into her fourth year of teaching grade two (her favourite grade). She has also taught grade one and five. Her school is one-to-one Chromebooks grades two to six. She has five iPads in her class and access to sign out a whole cart of iPads as needed. You can find her on Google+ and on Twitter as @ShannonPasma (and her class account is @misspasmasclass). She is the co-author of an e-book for grade two social studies which she created as a part of her Masters in Educational Technology in Elementary Education. You may have read her blog Elementary Elements or you may have seen her on TV last year.

The Interview

Ideally, what technology skills should students have before coming into grade two?

It would be great if they knew how to log onto a Chromebook already. I would really like if they knew how to use some basic iPad apps such as Explain Everything or how to record something; that would be huge. I use PicCollage a lot, so it would be great if they knew how to insert a picture or be able to do some typing.

Where do you get your educational technology ideas?
Shannon Pasma at ERLC's 2016 
Educational Technology Innovation 
Summit with Christine Quong and 
Karla Holt.

I brainstorm with Karla Holt and Christine Quong; we text each other a lot. I talk with the techie people at school. Online, sometimes I go on Twitter to get ideas but I never really tweet about them. Seeing some of your stuff that you did. Or out of my own brain or from ideas that students have. 

When using my e-book with the students I see how they have become really comfortable with the technologies used in it. We made it so the apps were repeated over and over again so the students get really comfortable with them. So my students have become really comfortable saying “can I do this and do this for it”, so lots of it [edtech ideas] comes from them bringing it up.

What hashtags do you follow on Twitter?

I follow:

What type of technology do you use in your school?

We have iPads, Chromebooks, SMARTBoards and webcams. Like you, I personally got an ozobot. I got a grant for MakerSpace stuff. We are starting a MakerSpace in the fall. My Dot and Dash is coming at some point this summer. I also got the Bits Box. Then there is a tricaster that we are sharing with another school for school announcements. 

So you have iPads and Chromebooks in your class. If you had to keep one and get rid of the other, which of the two would you keep?

Oh. I use both ALL the time. Well, the Chromebook apps are getting a lot better than they used to be, so I’ll say Chromebooks. 

Based on your response to the question above, why would you keep that technology?

Chromebooks are easier for inquiry. I love Read and Write for Google and it’s harder to access on an Apple device. It is easier to access to save and store things on a Chromebook than an iPad.

You might be too young for this question to apply to you but how has technology changed how you teach?

Oh lots! They were installing SMARTBoards the first month of my first teaching contract. It [a SMARTBoard] went from wow to meh. Now I use it as my whiteboard pretty much and to project things off my computer. So I think it [educational technology] has gone from engaging kids up here [on the SMARTBoard] to now you have to actually change your teaching and tailor it so the kids can be successful so it’s not everybody is doing the same thing. Technology has changed teaching so that everyone can do “it”, whatever “it” is. They can choose how to be successful and use technology, or not.

In my classroom, if I partner them up, they are really good at socializing using technology. If I partner them up with a paper activity, not so much because they are not sharing the same thing. There is more conversation when they are on technology whereas they hunker down with a piece of paper and keep to themselves.

I had a student with a learning disability two years ago. She was very tech savvy. She was reading well below grade level. She wouldn’t write anything down because she couldn’t. She would say “can you film me now” and she would talk off the top of her head and it was fabulous. She knew her stuff. If you told her to write it down on a piece of paper she wouldn’t have known her stuff because she wouldn’t have been able to get it out. Technology levels the playing field.

How do you decide what is worthwhile for students to learn through technology, given literacy and skill challenges in grade two?

I do Daily Five. When students are listening to reading they might use technology like Epic!. Sometimes they would do word work on the iPads. I do not have them do free writing on the Chromebook or that much literacy stuff with technology. They need to sit and talk with each other and they still need to do a print book. So during literacy time, honestly, it was not much technology when we were reading or writing. When we did projects or research then they would use technology.

Check back next week for part two of my interview with Shannon. 

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