3 Creative Ways to Use Attach in the Classroom

by Clara Galan

We are inspired by all of the entries from our iPad giveaway contest. Take a look at some of these innovative ways to use Remind101 Attach from contestants and spark creative juices for your own classroom.

Group Projects

Use Remind101 Attach to choose student groups and send group material. Stefanie Ells, winner of our iPad contest, shared her method of doing this, I used the new “send a few” feature of Remind101 to send four different pictures of a section of the heart to small groups of students in my Biomedical Science class. When they came into class the next day, they had to collaborate together to find classmates that had each of the different sections in order to create a complete functioning heart as a group of four. After sharing the answers to the questions with one another listed next to the picture, they got to work as a group to dissect a heart.”

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Story Problems and Writing Prompts

Text images of story problems to your students and ask them to solve problems for homework. Gretchen Herr Schulz from Indiana gives her students extra credit if they can solve story problem before class. Remind101 Attach is also a great way to send students images of writing prompts to spark their imaginations.

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(Credit: Visual Writing Prompts)

Send Resources

Even when students leave the classroom, Remind101 Attach allows teachers to send them resources about the curriculum. Lisa Givens from Ohio says, “I just sent my students articles and maps of the Chile earthquake and tsunami warning for Hawaii. We have been studying this for the last two weeks and have plotted earthquakes. We have recorded a 7.2 quake in the Chile area two weeks ago and many volcanic eruptions.”

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(Credit: BBC News)

Want to see all of the photo entries? Check out our Pinterest board to see more ideas. Feel free to share more ideas with us below!

5 Ways to Build Relationships with Students

by Todd Nesloney 

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As educators, one of the greatest impacts we have on children is not the amount of education knowledge we can impart on them. The greatest impact we have is how much we affect children on a personal level.  You can’t ever expect to reach a child’s mind if you don’t take the time to reach their hearts. Building those meaningful relationships will change the dynamics of your class and increase the amount of knowledge you can pass on to students. But, where do you even begin? How do you form those relationships with your students? Here are a few things I do every year:

Eat Lunch with Your Students 

This one always has way more of an impact than I realize.  At least once a week, I try to each lunch with my students in the cafeteria.  It allows my students a time to interact with me in a way that is more personal and less structured than in the classroom.  It also gives me time to sit with kids and just get to know them and talk without any pressures.

Play at Recess

My students love when I go out on the soccer field or football field or to the tetherball poles to play. It allows me to let loose and really act like a kid. It gives my students the opportunity to see that I like having fun and being active too! Plus, my students always love when they can beat me at a sport or event.

Hand Write Notes

This is something that I have started this year. Each week, I send out three hand written notes (I have over 75 students). These notes are mailed to the parents just to let them know how much I truly enjoy having their child in my class. I also take the time to say something specific about the child. I have gotten several responses from parents letting me know how much these notes have meant, and I can’t wait to continue this!

Go to Their Extracurricular Activities

I always love seeing a child’s eyes light up when they see me show up at a dance recital or baseball game. It means the world for the students to see me outside of a school setting and to know that I gave up my personal time to show interest in something they were doing.

Stop and Play

Sometimes when things seem to lull in my class, or when I’m having a bad day, or when my students are having a bad day, we just stop and play. We get out fun stuff and just have fun as a group. That time helps us stop, bond and remember that we’re here at school to grow and learn, but sometimes we just need a little mental vacation.

There are so many other things that you can do to continually build those relationships besides the few actions on this list. What I have found, though, is when I take the time to build those relationships and truly invest in my students, I see a huge change.  Not only behaviorally, but also academically.  Kids want someone to believe in them. They want to be told that they matter and have value.  Don’t miss your opportunity to impact a child’s life.

Updates to the Remind101 Widgets

by Aditya Bansod

We’ve recently released two updates to the widget that make them easier to use and even more functional!

Cleaner, Easier UI

It’s now easier to get the embed codes for your widget from Remind101. We also now have specific instructions for popular website and blog hosting providers. You can grab the code for all your classes or a specific class and put them on your favorite blog or web hosting site. 

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Support for Attach

Your widgets now display a link to any files you’ve attached. For example, if you attach a photo, your message will have a paperclip icon and a link to that attachment. Here’s a quick example from Teacher Advisory Board member Melissa Hero’s website

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Using Social Media to Tell Your School’s Story

by David Fife

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One issue I hear often from parents is that they wish they were more informed about what is happening at the school. For whatever reason, the methods of communication are not meeting the needs of the school community. In the past, schools relied on monthly newsletters and even mail to keep parents up-to-date. While some schools still use these methods, utilizing social media to communicate, inform and tell the school’s story is a powerful approach. To illustrate the reach social media has, consider the following statistics:

  • 60% of 50-60 year olds are active on social media
  • There are now 1.15 Facebook users
  • 71% of users utilize a mobile device to access social media
  • 23% of Facebook users log in at least 5 times a day

For schools that have made the decision to reach out and make online connections with the community, the benefits are clear. Celebrating the great things happening at the school brings parents closer to the classroom and gives them a sense of involvement. This was made clear to me earlier this year, when a parent thanked me for providing regular updates on our school Facebook page. This parent told me she had something to talk about with her kids and knew exactly what was happening at school.

School musical performances, athletic events, classroom projects, special events and celebrations of learning are just a few examples of what schools can share through social media. Videos, pictures and text can be posted in real time, which parents can access any time, any place and even on mobile devices. Most importantly, they provide a view into the school that just wasn’t possible in the past.

Equally important, and often overlooked when talking about teaching and learning is the perspective of students. Classrooms and schools that utilize social media can provide a space for students to tell the school’s story and their own. They become more engaged in the culture of the school and are often the champions of getting their message to the community. Powerful social messages are created and shared on a daily basis by students raising awareness of issues such as bullying, hunger and war.

With the negative perception that many people have regarding social media, it’s important that any discussion include the precautions schools must take to ensure the safety of students. Every effort must be made to ensure that students’ personal information is kept confidential. Therefore, it’s important too that all parents sign media release forms.

Which platforms the school decides to use is also a decision that needs to be considered. With so many different platforms, each offering their own benefits, it can be overwhelming for a school to decide on how to move forward. Involving administration, staff, parent councils and students in the decision making processwill ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to using social media. Next week, I’ll explore four social media apps that any school can use to tell their story.

David is currently the Vice Principal at Mitchell Hepburn P.S. in St. Thomas, Ontario Canada. He is a former learning technologies coordinator with a passion for edtech, student voice and leadership. You can follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

Cell Phones in the Classroom? Improve Communication and Relations

by Jacqueline Leiker

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When I advocate for cell phones in the classroom, I get a lot of odd looks from teachers who are all too often fighting against the devices and loathe every last one of them. So why am I so confident about my desire to include cell phones in the curriculum? Because cell phones are technology — and I teach technology! Cell phones aren’t new to my classroom…well, the presence of the device itself may be somewhat new, but the ability to communicate via technology has been present in my classroom since the creation of email. As the age old saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, integrate ‘em”…well, something like that. Integrating cell phones with class content is one way to get this amazing technology to work in your favor. How can you start integrating cell phones as a teacher? Tools that use cell phones in a productive manor are a start. Tools such as Remind101 can turn that device into a classroom aide (and you will wonder how you ever lived without it).

I’m a big fan of communication in the classroom. Who wouldn’t be? As a parent, I am thirsty for information regarding what my children are doing, how they are learning, and what I can do to help assure their success. As a teacher, I want to provide that information to the parents of my students as well. Being an advocate of #EdTech in the classroom, I prefer electronic methods of communication. I know how they can provide a convenient and timely method of sharing information. Paper notes, reports and permission slips are cumbersome. They’re often lost and are a slow means of communication (just the travel time in backpack land alone can mean days before discovery). Cue Remind101. Google defines it as a ‘safe way for teachers to text message or email students’ but it is SO MUCH MORE than that. With the ability to publish a ‘feed’ of Remind101 messages on a teacher or coach website (see it at work: Mrs. Leiker’s Website), the ability to attach a file — including pictures — to the Remind101 message (assignments, presentations, permission slips) and the option to schedule messages for a later time (yes, Remind101 was the FIRST to come up with this amazing option), it simplifies the process of communication for the teacher. The best part of all is how much parents and students LOVE it!

For a teacher, coach, guidance counselor, advisor and more, this tool is priceless! What’s more, is that this priceless tool is also free! Coaches to whom I’ve introduced this tool have nothing but praise for it. They are eternally grateful for having been introduced to it. As a parent, my children’s teachers send quiz reminders, field trip information and more. How great is that? As a technology integration specialist, I used it with our district-wide 1:1 iPad deployment to keep our device users well informed of WiFi issues, cleaning instructions and more. As a teacher, I have shared web links to study guides and blogs, used it with ‘Twitter’ hashtags for awareness to causes, shared technology tips, informed classes of location changes or school cancellations, shared Quizlet flashcards that can be directly opened on mobile devices from the remind101 notification, and so much more!

Technology is truly going to revolutionize education in so many ways. The ability to communicate better than ever before is one of the biggest and best changes to come to education. Cell phones in the classroom? Absolutely. I couldn’t live without them.

 

Remind101 Attach iPad Winner: Stefanie Ells

We’d like to congratulate Stefanie Ells, high school science teacher at North Stafford High School in Virginia, as the winner of our Remind101 Attach iPad contest!

What was her winning idea? Stefanie used Remind101 Attach to help her students prepare for their heart dissection in her biomedical science class. 

I used the new “send a few” feature of Remind101 to send four different pictures of a section of the heart to small groups of students in my Biomedical Science class. When they came into class the next day, they had to collaborate together to find classmates that had each of the different sections in order to create a complete functioning heart as a group of four. After sharing the answers to the questions with one another listed next to the picture, they got to work as a group to dissect a heart. Below is an example of what one group received, and a picture of what the entire heart would look like put together from all four groups." -Stefanie Ells 

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Not only did Stefanie use Remind101 to share content with her students, but she also incorporated the tool into a small group activity in the classroom. Remind101 has been an important tool in Stefanie’s science class this year:

I was trying to find a way to incorporate 21st century skills through the use of technology. The program that I teach is a STEM Biomedical Science program created by Project Lead the Way. I strive to develop 21st-century skills like collaboration, communication, professionalism, creativity, and more in my students. I just started using Remind101 this year to remind them of quizzes, homework, field trips, etc. I started to love it even more when I could send a small group of students a reminder. Adding the Attach feature has allowed for a lot more uses!

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We’d like to thank all of the teachers for the many creative ideas submitted using Attach. We’ll be posting all of the image submissions on a Pinterest board to share all of the helpful strategies. Stay tuned for our next contest soon to come! 

Teaching Digital Literacy Without Technology

by Andrew Marcinek

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For years, teaching technology concepts has been a process that required a device in order to teach. Students learned about computers in computer class. Computer class was a stand alone course that rarely integrated with the content area subjects beyond research and word processing. However, times have changed. Digital competencies are threaded throughout the fabric of K-12, higher education, and the global economy. It’s imperative that schools begin to integrate digital literacy throughout the k-12 curriculum and across all content areas.

However, teaching digital literacy does not require devices at all. In fact, there are so many ways to learn digital skills offline.

Teaching Online Discussion

This lesson or ice-breaker is one of my favorite ways of introducing a variety of online and social media skill sets without any technology present. The setup consists of four to five tables, and each table contains a large piece of easel paper and several markers. Before your students arrive to class, draw a circle in the middle of each piece of easel paper and in the center of that circle put a word or phrase. This word or phrase can be anything you want and should be something that will spark a conversation or debate.

When the students arrive, prompt them to hover around a table and remain silent. The objective is to have a conversation without saying a word. The second rule is that students must keep the conversation on paper alive. Each student will draw a line from the original word/phrase-in-a-circle and add his or her thoughts. They can also add to another student’s circle and continue the conversation (much like an online discussion board, blog comments or a Facebook wall).

Give each group three to five minutes to compose their thoughts and respond to others. Then students rotate to the next table. They review what the previous group posted and add to it. Students will rotate in this manner until they return to their original table. Have one student from each group hang their easel paper on the wall and allow time for the students to collectively review the different conversation threads.

Posting Online

Before we rush off to sign students up for their own blog, it’s imperative to teach students digital etiquette offline before they move forward. One strategy for teaching this skill set is to create an analog version of a Facebook “wall” in your classroom. As the teacher, allow students to post periodically to this wall. Depending on your setup, this is something you could schedule. Additionally, you can choose to provide a topic for wall posts, or leave the subject matter up to the students. Either way, when students share their posts, have them briefly explain why they chose that piece and why they felt that piece was important for the class to see.

The next phase of this lesson would allow students to literally post comments to the “wall”. After comments are posted, the teacher could lead a discussion around the types of comments that were posted. Ultimately, what you want to get across is that posting comments are just the same as saying something to another person when they are directly in front of you. Similarly, ask students what the difference is between a comment online and a comment in person. The goal here is to address the reach of the comments online and that the impact is greater online due to the public visibility.

#Vocabulary

When I taught English, I always struggled with finding clever ways to make vocabulary lists exciting. However, using the Twitter format in an offline manner can place an exciting, fresh spin on vocabulary.

Much like the analog “wall” we created in the previous lesson, teachers can create a #Vocabulary feed in their classroom. Have students define their vocab words in 140 characters. Then, have them develop a sentence that is also 140 characters in length. This task is not only a reinforcement of the words, but promotes sentence structure skills. Crafting a sentence in 140 characters forces students to use higher level vocabulary and create focused sentences.

What’s more, students are engaging more with the vocabulary and developing an online skill set in using Twitter. To some, learning Twitter may seem silly and unnecessary, but it’s a medium that has grown exponentially and is used by companies across the globe. There’s a good chance our students will encounter Twitter in their line of work, or in their own personal networking.

It’s good practice to teach and prepare students for a digital world using offline methods. The pace at which we integrate technology and applications should be done responsibly and carefully. Ultimately, students should understand that the two worlds are not that different and that certain offline skills must be transferred into digital spaces.  

Gathering Resources for Your Flipped Classroom: Where Do I Start?

by Monica Burns

Many teachers are trying out the flipped classroom model. When it comes to locating resources for your students, the choices can be overwhelming and it’s important to keep a few things in mind. As you start looking for video clips, lectures and readings, it is really important to think about what it is that your students need to learn about a subject area. It can be tempting to share a really great resource you’ve found, but you need to make sure it aligns to the curriculum and your instructional goals.

Here are a few different places to help you get started gathering resources for your flipped classroom:

Khan Academy is a fantastic spot for finding good quality explanations of different topics. There are tutorials that cover a wide range of subject areas including high quality math videos. Khan Academy has so much content to explore and it really fits into the idea of giving students access to a short clip that can be paused and replayed by students as they see fit.

YouTube is a terrific resource thanks to educators around the world who have uploaded and shared videos they have created. The quality is going to vary and you will have to dig in to find clips that meet the needs of your students. Try following channels or users of educational organizations or other teachers to help narrow your search.

Vimeo is similar to YouTube in the function that it performs and it is a great alternative if YouTube is blocked at your school. Vimeo has lots of HD videos of great quality. Vimeo is also a good choice for uploading videos you’ve made too. They have an easy search function and there is definitely content that could fit into your curriculum.

TeacherTube has videos created and shared by teachers. There are also sponsored, partner channels such as the Texas Instruments Channel which has videos on math topics. A lot of the content on this site is a combination of PowerPoint presentations with audio. It will definitely inspire teachers to make their own videos for their students.

iTunes U is a fantastic resource for flipped classrooms even if you aren’t ready to create your own course. Teachers can easily search iTunes U on their iPad for courses made up of content that is similar to what they are teaching. For example, if you are teaching high school physics there may be a course with videos and reference materials that match up to yours. There are also courses that fit specifically into the K-12 range as well as courses created by museums and similar institutions. It’s a great way to search for material that fits into your curriculum.

Do you have a favorite place to go to gather resources for your flipped classroom? Add a comment below!

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com or follow her on Twitter at @ClassTechTips for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

"M" Stands for Memorable: #mlearning

by Scott Newcomb

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When you think back to your childhood education, what do you remember?  I guarantee that your fondest memory was not the grammar worksheets, writing your spelling words five times each, or what seemed to be the endless paper pencil assignments.  The times that most people remember are the hands-on activities, the field trips, and projects that allowed them to collaborate with their peers and classmates.    

As an educator, I want my students to have many positive memories. Seven years ago I introduced PDAs, Personal Digital Assistant, to my students. Yes, I said PDAs.  Unfortunately, the same year, the company that made them decided to stop manufacturing them. This is when my school district decided to go in the direction of using smartphones in the classroom. Something unexpected happened when each one of my students had their own smartphone. The students that usually said very little in class were now the students who couldn’t wait to be called upon.  It did not stop there. They were not just raising their hand; they were asking to go up to the front of the room to share with their classmates.  The students began collaborating with each other. That year we allowed the students to extend their learning outside of the classroom by taking their devices home. They were actually excited about doing homework, and they were doing more of it. Many were concerned that allowing the devices to travel back and forth to school with the students would result in broken or lost MLD’s. In the end, their concerns were put to rest when not one device was misplaced or damaged in any way. The students took pride in the interactive learning that was taking place as a result of these devices. They were more than excited to share this learning beyond the school setting. Students took special care of their devices, and in turn learned not only academic content, but also responsibility and maturity.  

This brings me to the question, “Why such a change in student performance and interest in learning?” The reason for this was that the students were given the opportunity to learn in a similar format as they do at home. I realized that outside of the school setting, many of my students had some type of digital device, if not many, at their fingertips. The activities that we were doing in school were all hands-on. I specifically remember an activity that we doing on a Friday afternoon. We called it “write, pair, share.” The students started by typing a story on their mobile learning device.  Then the students “beamed” their story to their partner who was responsible for completing the remainder of the story. The students were so engaged in their learning that the bell rang to end the school week, and not one student stood up to leave. They were so enamored by the lesson that they wanted to continue their learning right then and there.  

We took our learning beyond the classroom setting and students were encouraged to look at the many educational opportunities that surround them on a daily basis. Students were able to take their learning to another level during class field trips. They worked collaboratively to take pictures and journal about their experiences. Through the implementation of these devices, we as educators were reminded of a very important lesson. When learning is memorable, students take ownership of their learning. Their education now meant more to them because they now had an invested interest in what they were learning and more importantly…how they were learning!


Scott Newcomb (@SNewco) has taught for 13 years and works with fourth-graders at St. Marys Intermediate School in Ohio.  Newcomb helped organize and participated in the first Mobile Learning Technology Conference in Ohio. He also has helped with professional-development training for staff members and conducted webinars on the topic of mobile learning for Classroom 2.0 Live, EdTech Talk, edWeb.net and the Reform Symposium.

 

Remind101 Attach: Contest Extended!

Over the past two weeks, we’ve enjoyed seeing all the ways teachers are using Remind101 Attach! In fact, we’re so excited that we’ve decided to extend our contest to Thursday, April 10th!  We’ll be choosing one lucky winner on April 10th at 5:00 PM PST who has shared a creative way to use Attach. There’s still time to enter! Just share your favorite ideas on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest using the hashtag #Remind101Attach. Check out some of these great ideas teachers and administrators have shared with us so far (and get inspired for your own school!):

….so many ways I could use an iPad!:) #remind101attach I also use it to send a picture of a book we read aloud in class to the parents of my kindergarteners. The picture helps the kids remember what it was about so there’s something to talk about at dinner that night. I also recently sent a picture of a really great book I think all parents and teachers should read. So we started a little book club! Can’t wait to share what we’ve learned. Thank you, remind101! - Caryn Akin

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This is what I sent to my classes today after we won a class competition; collecting donations for families in Africa. We raised $90 in 4 days and I wanted to thank them. - Janet Tombre

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I’m sharing complex diagrams with my students from the white board using #Remind101Attach. Here’s an example of one. -Chris Baker

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Learning about Moon phases sent this via #remind101attach announcing moon themed snacks allowed in class! @remind101 - Mr. Barber

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#Remind101Attach @remind101 I attach pictures from @CorkEngTeacher, so my students improve their English a lot more.- Miguel Perez

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How I use Remind101 to stay in touch with my students as part of my flipped Chem instruction. #Remind101Attach- Joseph Vincente 

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@remind101 I was able to send a photo to parents during our field trip today! #Remind101Attach- Shannon Descamps

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Thumbs up @remind101 4 #remind101attach #teachers check out my #blog to see me rant about this application #edchat  - Jessie Mann

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