Scott and I will be moderating the Texas EdChat this coming Sunday night from 6-7 PM Pacific time. The topic will be using video in the classroom. If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat, you should give it a try. We will be throwing out some discussion questions and then teachers from around the state of Texas, as well as other parts of the world, will kick around ideas 140 characters at a time. To join in, you’ll need a Twitter account. Then go on Twitter on Sunday, December 15, from 8 to 9 PM Texas time and search #TxEduChat in the search box. Select the “All” button at the top of the screen and you will see everyone’s Tweets. It promises to be an extremely valuable and engaging professional development opportunity…for FREE!
Sree Sreenivasan is the Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the most popular tourist attraction in the entire city. He is an expert on social media and infusing digital resources with the physical world. Scott and I interview Sree and learn more about online resources to teach art as well as social media tips for teachers.
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.
In the latest episode of the Bedley Bros EdChat, Scott and I learn more about blended learning from one of education’s foremost experts on the subject, Catlin Tucker. Catlin was one of the keynote speakers at last year’s CUE conference in Palm Springs. Catlin will challenge your view of what education should look like. Do your students back channel? Tune in and learn more.
Scott and I had a great discussion with Kyle Pace about effective professional development and Google Apps. Kyle is on the cutting edge of EdTech and trains teachers throughout the United States. This is one episode you won’t want to miss!
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.
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
Many 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.