TGIF – A image editing tool in Google Docs and Slides!

Tech Goodies In Focus – A image editing tool in Google Docs and Slides!
Photos are one way for students to bring the physical world into the digital world.  So let’s say one of our learning photographers wants to explain a circuit like this (no, it is not a bomb!).  If you must know, this circuit is an SR flip flop implemented with NAND gates.
01IntroShot.jpg
What is your first reaction?  Of course, too much table and not enough circuit!  Now, there are many photo editing tools available to students through their Chromebooks.  Here is a great list of some powerful ones.  And sometimes the best tool is the one that you already have in front of you.  Google Slides allows the ability to easily edit photos and images.  Below I will show you how.
1)  First the photo needs to be in Docs or Slides.  You have choices about the source of the image.  And you can always drag and drop an image from your computer into Docs or Slides.
02InsertFromDrive.png
2)  So our image is now on a slide or in our document.  There are two ways to get to the image editing tools.
The first way is to select the image (by clicking it) and clicking the Image options… button.
03ImageOptions.png
The second way to get to the image editing tools are to right-mouse click the image and choose Image options… .  Notice there is also an option to Crop image (right above Image options…).  This image is sure in need of some cropping.
04ImageOptionsInMenu.png
3)  Notice your options for images.  While pretty simplistic, sometimes that is all you need.
05AllImageOptions.png
You can recolor the image to a specific color palette.
06Colors.png
You can adjust the transparency of the image.
The image below has a transparency of 20%.
0720Trans.png
And the image below has a transparency of 80%.
0880Trans.png
You can adjust the brightness.
Here is an image where the brightness is set to -50%.
09Neg50Bright.png
And here is the same image where the brightness is set to +50%.
1050Bright.png
And of course you can set the contrast.
Here is an image where the contrast is set to -50%.
11Neg50Contrast.png
And here is an image where the contrast is set to +50%.
1250Contrast.png
My wife is a photographer.  And her goal is to always get the picture right in camera.  But that isn’t always possible.  She appreciates the sliders (in a different tool, yes, but sliders to adjust the picture never-the-less) to help get the pictures correct.  And we, including our students, have the same power of the sliders at our disposal.
*** And of course there is an issue… I am able to edit the image in Slides or Docs and then copy and paste that edited image in Docs or Slides.  Yet, when I copy and paste that same image into Gmail, the image is not edited!  Argh… I wish everything worked all of the time.  Maybe I am missing something.  I hope your experience of copying and pasting an edited image is more successful than mine.

TGIF – CheckMark

Tech Goodies in Focus – CheckMark
Hello staff,
I hope you will get to enjoy this long weekend.  And find a veteran to hug to say thank you.  Hopefully this veteran is someone you know.  But if you are the sort that is OK with hugging a stranger, then that is your prerogative.
It looks like the subject of this week’s TGIF is another feedback tool.  CheckMark is a Chrome extension that allows quick and easy feedback on student writing in Google Docs.  Yes, this only works in the Chrome browser.  You can get the extension here.
What does this extension do and how does it work?  When you are in a Google Doc and the extension is enabled (so the icon looks greenInline image 4 and not greyInline image 3), when you highlight a portion of text this box appears.
Inline image 1
Each button corresponds to a non-editable comment that is automatically created as you click the button.
  • Here is a demo of the tool in action.
  • Here is a list of the icons and their corresponding comments.  If this tool intrigues you then you might want a handy reference of the buttons and their comments.  I picture this list being printed out and taped (or super glued, or stapled) to the bottom of your computer monitor bezel for easy reference, as shown below.  Please don’t super glue or staple this list to your computer.
  • Inline image 2
And I understand the limitations of this tool.  I will not be using this tool with the current comments.  The comments don’t apply to science lab reports well enough.  I would love to see this tool have editable comments.  So I decided to ask the EdTechTeam.  Here was the short conversation.
Mr. Davis to EdTechTeam:  I love this tool and I am sharing it with my staff this week. Is there going to be a way to change the comments? I would love to modify this for my science classes.
 
EdTechTeam (by way of Chris Craft):  I can’t say too much but keep your eyes on my Twitter (@crafty184). There may or may not be a big announcement coming after the holidays. 😉
 
Chris Craft, I am watching.  And I have my fingers crossed for editable comments.  Really, I do.  See?  Disclaimer:  The image that follows are not my real fingers.
  Inline image 5
I can really see the potential in this tool for giving feedback to students without the teacher having to type the most common comments over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  (Reminder… copy and paste can be such a useful tool sometimes, as shown above).

Want to leave feedback?  Fill out this survey!  Your feedback is greatly appreciated and always anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself.  Thank you for your time.

TGIF – Boomerang

Email is a huge part of our professional lives.  How do we get some control over it?  What if you wanted to send an email later at a specified time?  What if you wanted a follow up reminder?  What if you wanted to be reminded if someone has not responded to your email?  What if you wanted a gauge to know if an email is written in such a way that it is respondable?

I sent this email at 11:40am today.  Do you know how I know that?  I scheduled that email to be sent at that time using a tool for Gmail called Boomerang.  Boomerang is a browser extension that works with the following browsers:

  • Firefox 38+
  • Chrome 5.0+
  • Safari 5.1+
  • Opera 15+
  • Edge 39+

It works with Gmail and G Suite (Google Apps, like our HUSD accounts) email.

Boomerang can help you with your email management.
  • You can send an email at a specified time (I have used this feature for this email and for emails about PD information in the past).
  • You can flag an email to deal with it later.
  • You can flag an email to get a reminder if someone has not responded in a set amount of time.
  • You can get a score to gauge if an email is written in such a way that it will generate a response.  Boomerang takes into account email properties like subject length, word count, question count, and reading level to generate the score.

There is a free account.  The free account lets you flag 10 emails a month.  I use this tool some and have never come close to that limit, but power users might run into that limit often.

____________________________

Was this useful?  Was this a waste of time?  Would you like more information?  Would you like to never hear from me again?  Don’t hesitate to give me feedback.  I know your time is precious… and I hope to send out value-added content instead of dang-that-is-five-minutes-of-my-time-that-I-can-never-get-back content.

Happy Friday.

TGIF – Feedback in Google Docs

Hello teachers of Healdsburg High School,

Yep, you are receiving Davis spam for a second week in a row.  I want to talk about some ways to give feedback inside of Google.

1)  Of course, let’s start with comments.  I want to highlight the many ways there are to access comments. And I want to show how you can assign tasks within comments, which can be especially useful if your comments conversation is with more than one person.  You can also create a list of commonly used comments in Google Keep and just copy and paste from that list into your comments.  And remember, all of this also applies to students leaving comments for other students.

a. You can create a comment from the Comments box in the upper-right hand corner of your browser window.
Inline image 1
b. You can also see that the “add Comment” bubble pops up any time you select text.
Inline image 3
c. And who doesn’t love keyboard shortcuts?  The shortcut Ctrl+Alt+M will create a comment.
Inline image 4
 d.  You can create common comments in Google Keep and then copy and paste a comment text into a comment box (too many comments!).
First, open Google Keep within your document (Tools -> Keep Notebook)
Inline image 2
Now I can copy and paste from my list of Common Comments into my comment that I am adding to the document.
Inline image 1

2)  What about using the power of your voice (with inflections, pace, and everything else that comes with hearing the words being spoken) to give comments?  Of course there is a tool for that (https://kaizena.com/).  I have not used this yet, but I want to use this to give comments during my check-on-progress for my next lab report in Physics.

Here is a blog post (not from me) about Kaizena and two other tools for voice comments.  http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2017/10/three-options-for-adding-voice-comments.html

3)  Let’s say you are looking at the collaborative work from others and want to assign a comment to a specific person.  For instance, I am looking at a WASC document and I want to tag Ben Gunter in a comment.  Just type the + and then a list of contacts appears.  Choose the contact! And notice that you have a checkbox titled “Assign to <name>”.  Checking that box will assign that task to their Tasks list in Google.  Otherwise the person will just receive a notification that they have been tagged in a comment.
Inline image 4

Enjoy and happy Friday!

TGIF – Gyazo

I have started sending out weekly emails to my staff at Healdsburg High School concerning technology tools that I hear about.  Below is my first email.
First, TGIF is a play on Thank Goodness It’s Friday.  I am going to say that TGIF in this context means Technology Goodies In Focus.  I am trying to be witty.  Work with me here.

I would like to send out a weekly email to share some tech goodies I find on the internet.  And these emails will also live on our HHS Staff PSL page as a subpage of our Technology Resources page

Inline image 16
TGIF 10/20/2017 Gyazo
I saw this tool on the internet recently.  It allows you to create and share GIFs easily.  It is called Gyazo.  I used it to create this single GIF below and I was able to share it to you in less than a minute.  And while this tool also allows you to get screenshots easily, I don’t think it is any better than the snipping tool as far as screenshots go.
________________________________________

How to open the snipping tool:

a.  Type the Windows key (Inline image 14)

b.  Type “snip”.  See the highlighted Snipping Tool.
Inline image 15

_______________________________________
Gyazo is really nice for GIFs.  See below.

Inline image 2
Let me show you how I did this (and I might use the tool to show you).
1)  I downloaded and installed the tool.
Inline image 3
2)  Notice the tool lives in your toolbar.  And when you right-mouse click on the icon you get options (like Capture GIF).
Inline image 13
3)  Notice a new page is opened with your browser.  Now you might want to think of sharing it.
Inline image 5
4)  Click Share.  I want to download and share the GIF.  A new window opens with the GIF playing.  I will right mouse click on the GIF and select Save Image As…
Inline image 6
5)  A File Save Dialog pops up.  Give it a file name and location and you are all set!
Inline image 7
6)  Now sharing this GIF in an email is as easy as dragging and dropping that GIF into the email.
Inline image 10
7)  By the way, I did copy and paste this email (along with GIFs) into a PSL Text Content block.  No problems!
Inline image 12
Enjoy!

My Implementation of SBG for Math

I have been thinking through how I want to implement SBG for my physics class, and that got me thinking about my implementation of SBG for my math classes and how I think it will have to change for physics.  I think this is an appropriate time for reflection on the past.  I will talk about how I set up my classroom and then talk about why I do what I do.

 

What I Do 

I feel that my SBG system for math is more accurately describes as Skills Based Grading instead of Standards Based Grading.  I have a one to one correlation between skills and test question types.  I would give a Skills Test every week, and that test would be a collection of skills.  The class before the Skills Test I would give a Skills Test Preview.  Every skill would get its own score (see grading scale below).

 

Here is the grading scale I have used when grading these Skills test

A – 100%

B – 85%

C – 70%

Not Yet – 40%

 

1)  Every skill is tested (at least) twice.

2)  The first time a skill is tested the skill is an easier version of the problem.  Because the first time a skill is tested the version is easier I will only give a maximum score of a B.  The second (and beyond) time a skill is tested will have a maximum score of an A.

3)  My gradebook will only remember your highest score on a skill.

4)  Any skill for the semester can be retested with prior notice.  I allow the retesting of one skill a day.

 

Why I Do What I Do

Of course no ideas are original.  I switched to a Skills Based Grading system during the 2009-2010 school year.  This article by Dan Meyer was my inspiration (The Comprehensive Math Assessment Resource) along with articles from Marzano.  I have made some changes and tweaks for this system to work in my world.

The one to one correlation between skill and problem type was necessary because I only have a two-dimensional gradebook (my school uses the gradebook in Aeries SIS), with the dimensions of student and skill leading to a single score.  I wish we had a three-dimensional gradebook, where each student and skill can lead to multiple scores, but I don’t see that coming to Aeries any time soon and I am unwilling to use a separate gradebook outside of Aeries.

Currently my school has a 7 period modified block schedule, where we see all classes on Monday, we see all odd period blocks on Tuesday and Thursday, and we see all even period blocks on Wednesday and Friday.  I never like to surprise my students with assessments so we would have a preview of the skills test every first block (Tuesday and Wednesday) and a skills test every second block (Thursday and Friday).  I will give students time in class during the first block to go over the preview and then I make sure we go over every problem in class.  Then the solutions are posted on my website.  As I tend to have a new class or two every year (I have taught 12 different preps in my 7 years of teaching at my current site) I use the previews as a time to write a first draft of the test.

I have modified my grading scale to something simple.  I use a 40% as the lowest score a student can receive on a test because of this article (The Case Against the Zero – CCRESA).  I used to have a score that corresponded to 55% (so a consistent 15% increase between scores) but I dropped it because I only wanted a minimum competency on a skill, as represented by a C (70%), to count in the gradebook.  I never liked deciding whether a student got a 40% or a 55% because they were both not showing competency.  And eliminating a score (and a choice) it made it even easier for me to grade.

My gradebook only remembers your highest score because I had no straightforward way to record the history of the scores on the skill.  As I enter in the scores I only change the score if the new score is higher.  And I love having the first time a skill is tested to make it an easier version of the skill and not allowing students to earn the full score on that version.  Everyone gets tested twice and gets feedback after the first testing.  Students get the confirmation that they know (or do not know) how to solve the skill.  And everyone is trying the second time a skill is tested because everyone is trying to get a score of 100%.  It is pretty amazing how that works for students regardless of skill level.

I have gotten away from students recording their own scores on a separate paper.  I never enforced that in an authentic way.  Students would fill it out by looking at their grades online instead of as they received their papers.  I didn’t feel like that was the behavior I wanted but I also knew that I didn’t want to enforce the desired behavior (recording their scores as they received their papers).

Every student can retake a skill throughout the semester.  This implementation is one of my biggest disappointments, though.  I cannot get students to retake tests.  I only allow retakes outside of class, and even though I am usually in my classroom during break and lunch I don’t have many students asking for retakes.  I only allow one retake for one skill a day because I really want students to learn one skill, show me, and then learn something else.  Also, it saves me from a student coming to me in the last couple of days before a semester and asking to retake eight skills.  I do not give a skill retake on a day that I help them through a skill.  I will give students complete practice problems before they retake the skill to make sure they are up on the knowledge.  I want them to see that their scores are not determined by a magic 8 ball or by a lottery.  Their skills are determined by their practice and learning.  I expect them to practice and show me their learning.

I wanted to make my life easier in the long term by creating problem types in ExamView that would let to create multiple versions of a test (my students all sat in groups of 2-4).  I learned how to program questions in ExamView and I have created test banks for my Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Trigonometry classes.  Those test banks made it really easy for me to make test retakes and practice for students.  And while it is a lot of work up front to create those test banks the effort did pay off as I taught a class multiple times.

Below are examples of my tests and previews.  Notice how they are similar in format but notice how the skills and scores summaries are slightly different at the top.  These tests were all created in Word for my Integrated Math classes.

Sample Skills Test Preview

Worked out Solutions to the Preview (reviewed in class and posted on my website)

Sample Skills Test

I hope this helps to explain how I have implemented a skills based grading system in my math classes.  I have tried to be deliberate with all the decisions I have made.  I want this system to be focused on student learning while being manageable for a teacher to implement.  And I am looking forward to showing how my physics class will be similar and different.

Transitions

It has been too long since my last blog post.  I didn’t even do any writing reflections during the 2016-2017 school year!  But this school year will be different.  There are some changes this upcoming year.  I am a math teacher by training and experience.  But during the 2017-2018 school year I will not be teaching any math.  I will be teaching 3 periods, where one period is both of my engineering classes and my other two periods will be teaching physics.  No math!

I have been thinking a lot on how I will be teaching physics this year.  I know I will be using the modeling physics material from AMTA.  And I know I will be evaluating the students using a standards-based grading (SBG) system.  I have been using a SBG system in most of my math classes for the last 7-8 years so I have experience with the system.  But I had been having a tough time wrapping my head around how I would use SBG for physics.  Well, it seems that others have this problem also and I found a 3 day workshop in Manhattan, New York that was addressing SBG in STEM classes.  And one of the workshop leaders is a major contributor to AMTA for physics and uses SBG in his classroom.  That seems like a great place to learn, right?  So I went to the workshop last week, learned a lot, and got back home a couple of days ago.

Over the next week or two I want to post reflections from the workshop as I begin to build this system for my class.  This is really exciting for me.  I love implementing student-centered systems and learning with the students.  I am excited about the upcoming school year.

Beginning to teach lines Part 1

Introduction

So I know the second half of my Algebra 1a class is going to be focusing on the linear part of Algebra 1.  I want to look at multiple representations of linear relationships, and I want to tie these relationships to something they can see and measure.  Here is what I have done and I will also talk about what I want to do.

Start with solving proportions

I have known that I ultimately want my students to be able to interpret position versus time graphs, so I decided to start with introducing ratios and solving proportions.

I started the worksheet above with this idea from Sarah Hagan (of Math = Love Blog fame).  I wanted to stay away from even mentioning cross multiplying when solving proportions because I see students try and use it everywhere… regardless if it applies or not.  So I really emphasized solving an equation techniques.  I also wanted students to get used to working with units.  These numbers have meaning.  Please state the meaning.
We spent a lot of time writing and solving proportions.  Some were doing really well with it.  I then wanted to begin a graphical representation of ratios and all the proportion solutions.

Students were expected to come up with their own scale for the graphs.  Also, I have been emphasizing all year long that a graph always needs three things, the quantity for both axes, the units for both axes, and the scale for both axes.

So now I wanted students to find other solutions from looking at the graph.  Also notice that I am asking students to write the ratio of distance over time.  Again, that is to preface our slope discussion, and to show that this distance over time has meaning!

There is more to come… part 2 will be up soon.

Decimal Scales

I used some of the decimal scale slides from this site today.

http://donsteward.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/decimal-scales.html

It really got my Algebra 1a students thinking.  And it was a great lead in to us talking about graphing and determining a scale for the axes.  It really helped to bring out their misconceptions of scales having different size intervals.  This was a great exercise for them today.

 

Today in Principles of Engineering (11/2/15)

Please continue with your exploration titled Define Relationships in Series Circuits.  You will be expected to talk to others.  This work isn’t easy, but I know with perseverance you can figure out what I am looking for.  Remember to be on your best behavior for our guest teacher.  I tell everyone I have awesome classes, so remember that I have high expectations for your behavior.

Please know that the last page of circuit evaluations need to be done by hand first.  You will check your work with a circuit simulator and then build the circuit.  But you will be tested on these concepts by evaluating the circuit by hand.  Here is how I would start attacking any circuit evaluation.

  • Find the total voltage and resistance.
  • Use Ohm’s law to find the total current.
  • What do you know about the current in a series circuit?  I bet you now know the current through each resistor.
  • So you know the current through each resistor and you know the resistor value.  I bet you can use Ohm’s law to find the voltage drop across each resistor.
  • As always, remember your units and metric prefixes..

I hope this helps.

I will need 1-2 volunteers to take the Chromebooks back to the library.  Could this happen in the last 5 minutes of class?  Thank you!