A weekly post about interesting articles, video, podcasts, and content I found over the past week. This week includes…

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Project Zero is a resources from the Harvard Graduate School of Education that lists several instructional thinking strategies that can be used to engage students during instruction. They recently created categories for their thinking routines which makes it easier to filter the routines depending on your instructional activity.

The Toolbox organizes the Thinking Routines into categories that describe the types of thinking the routines help to facilitate. Some routines appear in more than one category, and some routines have different versions that offer modifications for specific age groups or more specific conceptual challenges. When clicking on a routine in the Toolbox, a separate page opens with links to the downloadable PDF of the routine. All routines use a common PZ template describing the purpose of the routine, offering potential applications for the routine, and often providing suggestions for its use and tips for getting started.

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Radiolab is a great podcasts that focuses on long-form journalism and storytelling but not all of the episodes are classroom appropriate. If you are looking for curated episodes that are more appropriate the classroom Radiolab has released a new show called Radiolab for Kids. From the Radiolab for Kids website:

It’s a place where we’ve collected Radiolab’s most family-friendly content. (Because we all know that over the years, some of the content has been…er…NOT so family friendly!) From “What do dogs see when they look at the rainbow?” to “Do animals laugh?” the topics are squeaky clean (mostly) and all about curiosity. Radiolab for Kids is sure to delight and engage the most curious minds.

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Station rotation is a useful instructional model when you want to have students work independently or in small groups. It also allows the teachers time to work with students who need additional support. Julie Mason at We Are Teachers talks about how How Teachers Can Plan & Use Virtual “Stations” Online:

There’s a reason why so many teachers use [the virtual stations] instructional model. First, it allows us to use data to strategically group students and differentiate their instruction. Second, teachers can teach and reteach small groups, which allows for more guidance and feedback. Finally, students practice a skill in different ways (on their own, with their peers, and with their teacher), which is engaging and supports different learning preferences. I could go on, and on. There are so many benefits.

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HyperDocs are a great tool that educators can use to create engaging interactive digital documents. Holly Clark has a great blog post explaining what is a HyperDoc and what is not a HyperDoc in her blog post What is a HyperDoc? A Quick Look:

But when I sit down with those same educators to see their “Hyperdoc” it’s almost always the same scenario. What I see is not actually a Hyperdoc but a doc with links … A Hyperdoc is a lesson that is specifically designed to create a student-facing, blended learning experience. Inside of this lesson, students have voice; they are collaborating, creating, communicating and critically thinking their way through the content. It is created to help inspire students’ inquiry and curiosity - driving them to exploration, to find answers to their questions, build the background knowledge and supports the application of their new knowledge in order to show what they know. Teachers create these lessons with their students in mind, scaffolding every step to help meet their learning needs.

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There are several elements teachers can use to build their lessons including (but not limited to) modeling, discussions, research and explorations, assessments, and collaboration. Catlin Tucker talks about these activities and discussions how to building online and offline activities for learners in her blog post The Building Blocks of an Online Lesson

The tools teachers use to engage students online are indeed different. It is also true that engaging students in learning activities online will require (at least initially) that teachers onboard students to those technology tools and support them in learning how to navigate online tasks. However, the activities and tasks teachers use to create their lessons offline can be transferred to the online environment if teachers know what tools to use.

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Ice breakers questions are a great activity to help students and teachers get to know each other and build community in the classroom. If students do not feel comfortable with their peers then they are less likely to participate in classroom activities. I also often use ice breaker activities at the beginning of professional development or PLC activities as a way to learn more about the participants and help people make connections. These activities can also be used for hybrid and online learning with tools like Flipgrid. Here are some resources to help you find ice breaker questions for your classroom

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There are many engaging assessment tools that teachers can use for face-to-face instruction, remote synchronous instruction, and asynchronous instruction. Many of these tools go beyond multiple choice and short answer question to offer engaging assessment options including video discussions, image annotation, and collaborative boards. These tools offer a variety of features for both formative and summative assessments that provide data to help inform classroom instruction.

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I’ve discussed several situations where teachers may be breaking copyright law in their classroom. Whether that is making copies of handouts that are copyrighted to or using Netflix in your classroom, teachers need to be careful to ensure they are not violating copyright law. Recently, a school district was forced to pay a fine when they showed a movie during a school district event.

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