Teach Them Kindness

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Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. – Bob Kerrey

Teaching citizenship isn’t an additional part of the curriculum. A good lesson plan or project will get students to learn how to be kind, generous, problem-solving, caring, compassionate, imaginative, creative, emphatic, and/or helpful while also getting them to learn. The goal is to get students to take what they are learning and use the knowledge and skills to somehow improve their current lives or improve the lives of others. These skills are important for their development and necessary to be successful in life. I am sharing activities, resources, tips, web tools and mobile apps that help students learn to be good people and also get them reading, writing, and more.

Ideas and Activities

  • The slideshow below provides students ideas on how to be kind in small quick ways. Get them to brainstorm the digital equivelant of each act like maybe smiling at someone by adding an emoji or sticker.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

  • Make an advent calendar in which everyday you suggest a small way for your students to be kind. Here’s a post and template on how to make an advent calendar with Google Docs and ThingLink.
  • Here’s an online Acts of Kindness advent calendar that emails you suggestions or take ideas from a previous version.
  • Better yet, have your students create their own calendars in which they commit to showing kindness for a week. After they complete the act, they should write a short reflection and post a link to it on their Thinglink advent calendar.
  • Here is a lesson plan I created to get your students to keep a Random Acts of Kindness journal that they later pass on to another student. They also give a presentation on the experience.
  • Inspire them with this 6 minute 40 second presentation (Pecha Kucha) about Kindness. A business student shares how performing random acts of kindness transformed her life.
  • You could get students to post videos, images, audio, or posts that exemplify kindness on a sticky wall like Padlet or LinoIt.
  • Show them any of these videos of kids performing acts of kindness and have them brainstorm ways they can be kind to others. They can add these ideas to a class cognitive map with Popplet. Popplet also has a free IOS app.
  • Have students create a school campaign to inspire others to spread kindness. They can create multimedia posters with Buncee, TackkSmore, Thinglink, Pic-CollageCanva, and Biteslide.
  • They can create a podcast about various acts of kindness. They can invite people around the school to share an anecdote then piece these clips together with an audio editor like Garage Band or Audacity. Find lesson templates and more information in this presentation about podcasting.
  • Read to them a story about kindness and have them share when someone was kind to them or when they witnessed kind acts. They can share these stories on Voicethread.
  • If you teach older students, have them adopt a younger class. They can pair up with the younger kids and teach them something new, read them books, or play games with them.
  • Students can create coupons that help the recipient in some way, such as help a peer study for a test, make lunch for someone, or do a chore.

Other Resources

Challenge:

Inspire your students to perform at least 5 simple acts of kindness and reflect on the experience.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmarks
Digital storytelling, by shellyterrell
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Spice Up That Lecture! 20+ Ideas & Resources

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

Undergraduate students taught by lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than those involved in active learning. – Bajak, A. (2014)

In my new book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, I talk about how even the best lectures aren’t fair for the majority of students in our classes. They simply aren’t brain-friendly if the lectures are over 10 minutes and students are not actively involved either by taking notes, using a backchannel, etc. It’s actually natural for us to want to share what we learned the last 4 or more years in college with our new audience of learner, especially if we are inspired. I’ve lectured before and felt I inspired people. However, I’ve been trying to make even my keynotes and presentations more interactive with demonstrations, backchanneling, and a few activities. The idea is to change things up at least every 10 minutes so that you can awaken your learners’ brains. My art history teacher was a master at this. She’d throw in a funny image to make us laugh, then we’d move on. Try any of the ideas listed below to spice up your lectures and if you find them interesting then share them with your colleagues who lecture. Feel free to download the slide presentation below with ideas, examples, resources, and web tools. Keep scrolling to find the bookmarks with free apps, tools, and ideas.

Ideas

Find the presentation ideas listed below:

Challenge: Use one of these ideas or resources to spice up your lecture!

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmarks

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Newsworthy! Learning as Reporters & Journalists

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light. – Joseph Pulitzer

The best kind of learning motivates you to question, explore, make it your own, then pass it on. I’m not interested in my students coming to specific conclusions or answers. I’m more interested in them taking what they learn and applying it to their lives. This way I know they will continue using that knowledge. That’s why I love when teachers get students to act as reporters and regularly produce podcasts, vodcasts, ezines, digital newspapers, or radio shows. Every subject has their own news sites, journals, or podcasts with examples students can replicate. Students learn to write for an audience and the responsibility of providing accurate and succinct information. In my book, Learning to Go, I include a lesson plan, rubric, script template, and handouts for reporting the news. Feel free to download the slide presentation below with ideas, examples, resources, and web tools. Keep scrolling to find the bookmarks with free apps, tools, and ideas.

Important Points

  • You can decide to produce the news in whichever digital form you find easiest and you can also choose to publish this weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
  • Depending on the format, the process may include giving students time to collaborate, designate roles and responsibilities (taking photos, proofing, etc.), brainstorm, research, script and plan it if aired, record it, edit, and publish.
  • I find it helpful to have students evaluate newscasts from famous broadcasters such as Walter Cronkite or Barbara Walters. Find audio clips and bios of famous broadcasters here, http://otr.com/news.html
  • Teach students how to conduct digital research, which involves social bookmarking, curation, citing resources,  note-taking, etc. You’ll find this visual map of the process helpful, http://kyvl.org/kids/homebase.html
  • I recommend these tools for digital research- Google Drive, Evernote, Postach.io, PearlTrees, Storify, Educlipper, and Diigo.
  • Storycorps.org is a great site for teaching students how to interview.

Challenge: Get students to report the news around them regularly or as a project for a unit.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmarks

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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Digital Ways to Celebrate December Holidays

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. – Hamilton Wright Mabie

Students are excited about the holidays and celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or their school break. Get them learning and celebrating with digital devices, web tools and apps. Students can write digital stories with the resources listed below or  create very meaningful gifts for friends and family members. They can also discover how others around the world celebrate. Discover how in the slide presentation below you can download for free. Keep scrolling to discover my bookmarks with free apps, tools, and ideas.

Ideas

Host a Google HangOut or Skype Session

  • Connect with another class virtually and teach each other songs, carols, finger chants, or rhymes
  • Host how-to sessions about traditions or recipes
  • Interview experts
  • Have an author read a holiday story. Find available authors at Skype an Author
  • Find classes to connect with on Skype for Education

Create a Game
Students can create personalized learning games for peers or family members. Try game creation tools like Zondle, Stencyl, Scratch, Adventure Games or create a game on the iPad with TinyTap and Game Press.

Celebrate with Music
Students can modernize the lyrics to the 12 days of Christmas or any holiday song, then create a music video. Try Touchcast.

Celebrate a Digital  Book
Students can create digital books. Check out my post, Creating Digital Books as Gifts for Others, to discover lesson ideas, web tools, and mobile apps for making digital books.

Send a Holiday Greeting
Students can send a special greeting either through video, with personalized pictures, or with a holiday e-card. Some are equipped with Christmas and Hanukkah backgrounds and extras!

  • Buncee (Web/iOS)- Students can use this web tool and IOS app to create multimedia presentations, comics, and animated greetings. Buncee has a large library of stickers, backgrounds, audio, images, animation, and videos. Try their new free iPad app to create multimedia digital posters they can add voice recordings and drawings.
  • Animoto  (Web/Android/iOS)- Upload images, pick a template, and choose a holiday soundtrack from their library to make a 30-second video. Sign up for an educator account to create longer videos for free.
  • Magisto (Web/Android/iOS)- Upload images, pick a template, and choose a holiday soundtrack from their library to make a 1 minute video. Sign up for an educator account to create longer videos for free.
  • Fotobabble- (Web/iOS)-Quickly create and easily share talking photos in 3 steps (Snap or select or a photo, speak into the microphone to record audio, share with friends via email, Facebook or Twitter). You do get various holiday themed backgrounds. Example- Here’s Rosco, my pug’s holiday card to you!

  • RedStamp (Web/Android/iOS)- send free e-greeting cards with various free holiday templates in the spirit of Hanukkah and Christmas and upload your photos

Challenge: Have your students celebrate the holidays digitally.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

December Holiday Bookmarks

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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Student Reflection with Digital Portfolios

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action. – Peter Drucker

A year ago, I created a technology course on Moodle for Spanish teachers as part of the Ministry of Education of Spain. The teachers are very new to web tools, developing Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and are currently teaching full time. The course is task based and I’m fortunate to be one of the instructors. The course will soon be over so I am grading their reflective eportfolio final projects. I look forward to grading their reflective eportfolios, because this is when my students begin to look back at their learning journey and see how much they’ve grown. Three months ago these teachers were new to integrating digital storytelling projects, integrating technology, social bookmarking, and connecting with teachers online. After the course, they have contributed to our collaborative Pinterest boards, created and shared on Twitter, attempted missions and received digital badges, and kept digital portfolios. Many students let me know how much they appreciate learning about technology integration and how to develop PLNs, which you can see from the tweet I received from one of my students below. Keep reading to discover how to get your students reflecting on their learning in your course with a digital portfolio.

 

Creating Reflective Portfolio Presentations

Students are asked to create a reflective audio/visual presentation in which they reflect on a task, reading, and resource (tool, app, website, game, database, video or program) for each module. Their presentations should include screenshots, links, and examples. Students are asked to describe what they learned from the resources and explain how they will specifically apply this knowledge in the real world. More instructions are included in the slide presentation below, which is free to download. 

Recommended Tools

I recommend these tools for completing these projects: these tools for completing this project:

  • Prezi- multimedia presentation tool that embeds video with cool transitions
  • VoiceThread – multimedia shows you can add video or audio commentary to
  • Present.me – use video to narrate a slideshow
  • TouchCast- create a multimedia, interactive video with clickable links
  • Capzles -looks like a timeline. Add video, pdfs, etc.
  • Educlipper- curation tool like Pinterest with the ability to add audio and video commentary

Student ePortfolio Reflections

These are some examples of their eportfolios. Find more in this Pinterest board.

 

Challenge: Have your students reflect on their learning for the semester.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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