16 Tips for Clean Slide Presentations

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By Tim Bedley Tweet   I have been assigning slide presentations to my elementary students for many years. I found myself repeating the same critiques to group after group. Now, I don’t leave “PowerPoint” style to chance. Here are a … Continue reading

Adding Text to Your QR Codes

By Tim Bedley


PhotoString App well worth 99 cents.

PhotoString App well worth 99 cents.

 

If you’re like me, you love creating QR codes but find it very frustrating to keep track of them because all your QR codes look basically the same. One solution is to use the iPad app PhotoString. The app is designed for making photo montages with text, but I’m using it to label my QR codes. Of course, sometimes you want your QR codes to remain a mystery before they are scanned, but when you don’t, here’s how to label them.

Steps to Create and Label a QR Code

  1. Create the QR code using an app like QRafter or http://goqr.me/ website.
  2. Save the QR code to your photo roll.
  3. Open PhotoString and choose the icon at the bottom that shows one picture with text below.
  4. Import your QR code.
  5. Resize to fit in the window.
  6. Identify the QR code by writing a caption below the code.
  7. Export the finished product back to your photo roll.

Now you can have several QR codes stored on your iPad or computer and actually be able to identify them.

Example of QR Code with caption created using PhotoString

Example of QR Code with caption created using PhotoString

My Unusual Elementary Classroom

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By Tim Bedley Tweet In 2007, I set out to transform my classroom into something special. No more butcher paper covering the walls. No more cold hard desks and plastic chairs. I wanted my classroom to be more like Starbucks … Continue reading

Fostering Critical Thinking Tip #1: Student Feedback

By Tim Bedley


Anna thru kids

A paradigm shift needs to occur in our classrooms to get the students thinking critically. Teachers must reduce the amount of feedback they give and ask the students to critique each other’s answers. This sounds simple, but it’s not. I’ve spent considerable time watching others teach, and without exception, every teacher immediately responds to students during discussions with judgments of all student answers. When teachers are the first to give feedback, the students grow lax and learn that their opinions don’t really matter. I taught for 17 years before I figured this out. My classroom was revolutionized after making the shift. Students began sharing more, they had greater boldness and confidence, and they developed deeper thoughts which they were able to express with more clarity.

Classroom Snippet

Traditional Classroom

Teacher: What do you think is wrong with this sentence? (Calls on a raised hand.)

Student: It’s too long. It’s a run-on.

T: That’s almost it. Try again.

S: Oh, yeah. It’s a fragment. It’s not a whole sentence.

T: Yes! There you go. Good job.

Critical Thinking Classroom

T: What do you think is wrong with this sentence?

S: It’s too long. It’s a run-on.

T: Thanks Sarah. Who else has a thought?

S: I don’t think it’s a run-on. It just doesn’t really sound like a run-on.

T: Who else?

S: It seems to be missing something more than being a run-on.

T: Raise your hand if you think this sentence is a run-on. (Looks) Raise your hand if you do NOT think it’s a run-on.

The discussion would progress like this. Some teachers are not willing to spend the time to develop this sort of class discussion. It’s laborious for sure and takes a great deal of teacher self-control. But the kids will enjoy taking the driver’s seat, they will develop deeper critical thinking skills, and you will know more about the way your students think. Try it. You’ll like it.

Using video to build schema

By Tim Bedley


Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 6.52.31 PMMany of today’s students lack the life experience to truly comprehend what they read. Schema is the background knowledge a reader applies to understanding literature. In order to build schema, teachers and parents may want to use videos as the next-best-thing to a real-life experience.

I have organized a list of schema-building videos on my class website to accompany most of the stories from our basal reading book. With so much available on YouTube, a quick search can normally result in a plethora of options to help children build schema.

Less teacher talk means better student behavior

By Tim Bedley

2012-12-13 14.30.54Have you been around teachers who constantly yack at their students? Give them command after command after command? Have you noticed students in these classes tend to misbehave more?

Teachers with effective classroom discipline choose their words carefully and use as few of them as possible. Commands are brief and used only when essential.

Of course, classroom discipline is extremely complex and cannot be narrowed down to one factor, but a teacher who understands this concept will increase her effectiveness.

Train your students in classroom procedures instead of relying on spur-of-the-moment teacher directives. Use gestures to signal your kids. Be careful, or you will become the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher and your students will tune you out.

Why do you shake with respect when a police officer walks up to your window? “Do you know why I pulled you over? License and registration.” Imagine a police officer standing on the corner incessantly lecturing everyone that went by. The effect would be greatly diminished.

Classroom Snippets:

  • The teacher wants a student from across the room to close the door. She looks at the student and makes a swinging door motion with her hand and then points to the door.
  • The students come in the room loudly after lunch. Instead of giving the kids a big lecture about how many times they’ve been told, the teacher says, “Our class comes into buildings silently. Go outside and do it correctly.”
  • Several students turned in math papers without names. Instead of berating the class for their laziness, the teacher says, “Please stand if I say your name.” After reading all the names from the math papers, the teacher says, “These students followed directions by putting their names on their math papers. Go take a ticket.” Then the teacher lays the remaning papers on the floor and points to them while looking at the class.
  • A student is talking instead of working independently. The teacher calls the student’s name, beckons the student, and then says, “Sit up here and do your work.”

Watch a video of Tim teaching.