Sunday, August 21, 2016

6 Reasons I Love ClassFlow

It's official....summer is over for students and teachers in East Texas!  We are headed back to school tomorrow with new friends to meet and fresh opportunities to make a lasting difference.  In preparation for the new year, I have hit the Target Dollar Spot more than one should, bought my Heidi Swapp light box, and taken a deep dive into Promethean's ClassFlow.

For me, ClassFlow is a keeper (and not just because I saw my favorite teacher, Ron Clark, using it at ISTE 2016)!  It is truly an all-in-one solution.  From presentation station to interactive student response cards, ClassFlow has it all.  I've practiced using it this summer alongside a few of my teacher besties and we all agree...we have a serious case of #ClassFlowLuv!!!

Here are a few of the things that I love most:
1.  It is possible to have both teacher AND student cards.  So, one card can be displayed on the board and another card can be sent directly to the student device.  This allows students to refer to the image displayed by the teacher while interacting with information unique to the device that they are using.  So, in my STEM Nametag Challenge lesson, I was able to explain the engineering design process while students thought through how they would complete the design process template.

2.  And when I say unique, I mean that you can literally differentiate student assignments using ClassFlow.  Groups can be pre-set and when student cards are distributed during the presentation of the lesson, assignments that have been selected based upon student needs are sent directly to participants.  Since it is digital, you have electronic documentation of differentiation for all students.

3. ClassFlow makes it easy to consistently monitor the quality of student participation and performance with real time polling options available.  Simply with a click of a button you can ask students different types of questions like true/false, Likert scale, text or number answers, and even creative response allowing students to draw or capture an image!!!!

4.  Whether using a poll on the fly or integrating planned assessments within the web tool, ClassFlow allows you to systematically gather input from students to monitor comprehension and adjust instruction as needed.  No more going 50+ places to provided varied student assessments. With ClassFlow, it is all available in one spot!

5.  Since ClassFlow is web-based, teachers and students can be anywhere and still access instruction. Just this morning, I sat in a McDonald's in Louisiana and tutored a student in Texas using ClassFlow!!! We saw the same images.  I got real-time feedback.  I was able to help as needed and guide him through tough concepts...while working 212 miles away.  I love this, because I have struggled for years with being able to teach multiple students who were out with prolonged absences due to medical issues.  I could figure out how to present one sided lessons, but other than utilizing the speaker on my phone or a service for which I had to pay, I couldn't figure out how to get real-time feedback from my students.  With ClassFlow...problem solved!

6.  Finally, I like that ClassFlow has a Marketplace with a plethora of awesome lessons searchable by topic or standard making it unnecessary to reinvent the wheel as we give ClassFlow a try!

Friday, August 5, 2016

STEM Quick Challenge: Design a Nametag

What a summer! The past few months have been packed with conferences and presentations focused on STEM in Elementary, STEM in Middle School, and now, STEM is for Everyone.  I have definitely stayed busy, but it has been so much fun prepping, planning, and sharing my passion with others!
When I present, I like to start off with some type of introduction and a name tent so that everyone can get to know one, with the many days of STEM trainings, I thought that it would be fun to include a quick challenge to get everyone comfortable and creating from the very beginning.  I developed 2 versions of a STEM Quick Challenge: Design a for STEM teachers and one for teachers new to STEM.
Needless to say, we had so much fun collaborating and thinking through how we would accomplish the task and with a roomful of teachers, we had no shortage of creativity!
I used resources which were readily available: white and colored copy paper, markers, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, pom poms, glue sticks, tape, paper brads, and markers.  For the "new to STEM" challenge, I added conductive tape (left over from my paper circuitry project), LED lights, and watch batteries to the more advanced version.
Here is the printable version of both challenges!  Enjoy!