Saturday, January 24, 2015

Online Read Alouds
Live Streaming Using Google Hangouts and YouTube
by Jay Billy (@jaybilly2) and Beth Houf (@BethHouf)

In order to begin this process, you must have a Google+ account and your own YouTube channel. It is also useful to have a moveable camera, such as IPEVO.

If you do not have a Google+ account here is a quick YouTube video that explains how. It is very easy:

Getting Set up through Google +

  1. Go to HOME
  2. Select PAGES
  3. Select GET YOUR PAGE
  4. Select BRAND
  5. Create Your Page by completing the sign in form
  6. Click on CREATE PAGE
  7. You now have a Read Aloud Page! You automatically have a YouTube channel linked to this page.

Doing the Read Aloud

Once you have established your YouTube channel, you can now do live streaming of anything you want to show. This is how:

  • Go to YouTube
  • Click on My Channel (Left Side)
  • Click on Video Manager  (Top Center)
  • Click on Live Events (Left side)
  • Click on New Live Event (Top right side)

Once you get to this page, there is a quite a lot to look at:
  • Give it a Title
  • Description
  • Public or Private (For Read Alouds you will want it to be public and open)
  • Time - You can do it for right now or pick a time in the future
If you pick now, you are ready and click on Go Live Now (upper right hand corner)

You probably won’t do this unless you have an open page that people are all subscribed to.  
If you pick a time in the future, then you can click on Create Event in the upper right hand corner.

Once you click on Create Event , the event is created and you are ready. If you click on the event that you created for the future you will get the YouTube URL and it will show a countdown until the event. You can now send out the URL to those that are joining you. If anyone clicks on it early they will get the countdown until you activate the site.

A couple of minutes before starting the Read Aloud, go to your Events and click on Start Hangout On Air.

You should then see yourself on the Hangout.  At the bottom of the page you will see Start Broadcast.  Click on that when you are ready to begin. It will take about 10 seconds and then you are in.

You should see a Live button in the top right hand corner which means everything you do is being streamed live and saved for ever in YouTube format. You end the broadcast by clicking on the button at the bottom of the screen that says End Broadcast.

There you have it. You can now schedule and live stream any type of Read Aloud or announcement that you would like.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Resource "Treasure"

Let's face it.  There are soo many resources out there, all providing some value to our daily instruction.  Remembering which resource is needed for certain lessons, objectives, content areas, etc can be the real challenge.  Look no further.  I will showcase one that will become your new best friend.

I know there are times we moan and groan because it's common plan time again.  Yes, we all truly believe in our PLC process, but when lessons need to be created, copies made, websites searched, engaging activities created, we need that time to accomplish those truly important tasks.  But we have to remember that these common plan times are just as equally important in our many tasks of the day/week.   Our common plan really holds us accountable for looking at student data to help us drive further instruction.  And that is truly the basis of our function as a teacher.  Find out what the students need to know, how will we know they have learned it, what do we do if they did not, and what to do with those students who have it.  Teaching at its  finest.  It is through this weekly common plan time, a colleague shared a resource that has me excited.

Our grade level has always allowed for a resource share that can, and does, help us answer those four corollary questions.  Today I introduced an awesome mind-mapping tool through Google Apps, Mindomo.  This is, by far, the easiest online mind-mapping tool I have found.  It is collaborative, user friendly, and allows the students to truly personalize and show their levels of understanding.

However, my cohort, Allyn Gibbs, brought a true treasure find to our meeting today.  Learnzillion.  Now, I have to admit I have heard others talk about this resource.  I have even visited this site before, (I already had an account), but I never truly gave this site the proper attention it deserved.  This site has it all.  I will attempt to highlight some of the many components this site has to offer.

Learnzillion offers support and resources, and by this I mean lessons, interactive videos, activities, all aligned to the Common Core, in the areas of Math and ELA.  Don't worry, Science and Social Studies are available, too.  Only they are represented as a component of ELA.  Reading across the content areas.  LOVE IT!

To get started, I visited the main page and was immediately directed to locating free lesson plans or videos.  Allyn suggested we choose the Common Core Navigator tab located at the top of the screen.  This led us to a breakdown of ELA, Math K-8 and Math High School skills.  We chose ELA because we have recently created a new SMARTgoal for persuasive writing.  This choice led me to a plethora of resources.  But, organized soo nicely! ( This is important for me.  Too much information and I can feel stressed at where to begin) We scrolled down and chose 4th grade, for obvious reasons.  This is where the magic begins!

Knowing we were looking for persuasive lessons, we found a whole unit focused on persuasive writing, aligned to the Common Core.  Within this unit are short, precise, interactive, and to the point videos and activities walking the students through the persuasive writing process.

We were so excited, we jumped over to the poetry unit.  Surely there aren't 2 units that can provide everything we need to provide quality, engaging activities to our students?  WRONG!  The poetry unit was even better than I expected.  The icing on the cake?  An end of unit assessment, using a new poem, promoting application of skills acquired through the short, precise, engaging mini-lessons.

If you haven't guessed by now, 4th grade was sold!  Thanks to our wonderful colleague, we found a true gem.  I hope this has given you a reason to try it out.  Give it a try. This site offers resources K-12.  I promise you will not be disappointed!