Sean Ziebarth and David Theriault are high school teachers on a mission. They are connected to other educators on social media and believe in engaging their students in outside the box activities. Tune in to this special Halloween episode as David, Sean, Scott and I discuss topics like blogging, music, and student centered education. This is probably our zaniest show yet. Enjoy!
Vicki Davis has so many ideas for the classroom, it will make your head spin! In this episode of the Bedley Bros EdChat, Scott and I are caught in a whirlwind of amazing teaching tips provided by the Cool Cat Teacher. Vicki is a tech teacher in Georgia who is on the cutting edge of effective classroom pedagogy. She is the co-founder of the Flat Classroom and an award-winning blogger. So what did we talk to Vicki about? Whew! Where to start? Just be ready to take some notes.
Join my brother Scott and me as we speak with author Susan Cain. Susan shares how educators and parents can impact their classrooms for those students who may be introverted. Susan talks about best practices that you may want to consider offering as you plan for your school year. Listen to this powerful discussion about introversion in the classroom on The Bedley Brothers EdChat episode 24.
Scott and I interview Dr. Brian O’Connor, expert in Lesson Study, a professional development program that actually changes classroom practice. Scott shares his tip on using Buzz Mob to communicate with parents. I talk about Google Apps (Google Drive) as an easy and free way to do word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings. Enjoy!
Everyone I ask in my neck of the woods, Southern California, has never heard of Maker Faire. On the weekend of May 18-19, my brother Scott and I took a trip to the San Francisco Bay area to visit our very first Maker Faire. We were told that over 150,000 other people would visit the two-day event as well. Hmmmm. So I guess it’s not as big of a secret as many would think!
What we saw blew our minds. What is a Maker Faire? “Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement,” says the Maker Faire website. But after seeing it for myself, it’s not something that can be described in words. One must experience it to understand it.
Scott and I, the Bedley Bros., shot a bit of video while at Maker Faire because we love to learn and love to share. So check out our interviews with some of the coolest makers at the faire. In the first video, we talk with Eric Stackpole who created on open source underwater ROV, Shane (high schooler) with First Robotics Competition, David Baszucki of Roblox, Legoscope, and More. The second video features Jay Silver, who created the Makey-Makey, and Andrew H. Petersen of the Drone Dudes.
Watch Alex’s engaging discussion with Tim and Scott on the latest episode of The Bedley Bros. EdChat. Alex, the 2009 California Teacher of the Year, shares ideas from his new book Teacher of the Year Handbook. Both of the Bedley Bros. also share a quick tip for teachers. Whether or not you are in the running for Teacher of the Year, educators will benefit from this lively interview with the Rappin’ Mathematician.
Last week, Jordan, one of my fifth grade girls, was caught doing something without permission! AND I LOVED IT!
Jordan’s classmate, Koral, was on a trip out of town to attend a funeral. During our book clubs (literature circles), I noticed that Jordan had propped her iPad up in front of her and was talking to Koral on FaceTime. Jordan knew that our class was a safe place to try something new. She also knew that I would approve of anything she did that enriched her education or that of a classmate. So here is Jordan reading Chomp to Koral, separated by a measly 1000 miles.
In episode 6 of the Bedley Bros, Tim describes how 2/3 of his students and their parents opted out of letter grades this year. He addresses the obstacles and shares the triumphs of de-grading his class.
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 few of the tips I give my students.
Use VERY small amount of text. A few words that give the main idea for each slide is good. The big NO-NO: Reading your slides to your audience.
Choose one font style for the main points and one for the sub-points. Use these styles throughout your entire presentation. This includes font name, color, and size.
Be careful with overlap. Text that is barely touching a photo is awkward. Text that sits right next to the edge of the slide is awkward.
Dark text on light background or light text on dark background. Contrast! Make it POP!
No bullet points. Duplicate your slides and put your sub-points on separate slides.
Try to fill your slide with one large image.
Faces are better. We all like to see closeups of the human face.
Be careful not to distort your pictures. Grab the photo in the corner, not the edge, to change the size.
Be careful with image size. If you use a small image and resize it to make it large, the image gets very blurry.
Photos are better than clipart. Better yet, make your own pictures by taking photos or drawing pictures.
Cite your source. Always give credit for the images you use.
Overall Design Tips
Avoid using templates. They are cheesy and show little creativity.
Avoid slide transitions. You want your audience focused on the slides, not the switching between slides. NO transition is wonderful!
Simple! Keep your slides clutter free. A nice big clear picture with 3 words to focus the audience is great!
Avoid creating a “The End” slide. If you have a conclusion, great. Otherwise, just make a main topic slide as your last slide. Don’t make a slide that says, “Thanks for watching,” or something similar.
Advanced Tip: Use the rule of thirds. Draw a tic-tac-toe board on your slide. Place items where the lines cross. It’s a bit more complicated than this, but the main thing: try to avoid centering things on the slide.
Note: These tips definitely limit creativity, but my purpose is to teach my students to first create a good clean slide show. Once that is accomplished, then I encourage the students to break the rules…with purpose. It’s similar to learning a new instrument. We first need to learn our scales and copy the masters. Later, we develop our own style and can artfully break the rules.
Screencast Instructional Video: 12 PowerPoint Tips for Kids