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Shake Up Learning Show

Jan 28, 2020

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Part 4 is finally here! Even when we love technology and Google tools, we have to remember that it's NOT about Google.

Our bottom line as educators is always about the learning and doing what's best for students.

In this 4-part podcast series on Dynamic Learning with Google, Kasey shares all her favorite lesson ideas!

In part four, Kasey explains how we can go BEYOND the walls of our classrooms, and how to go BEYOND the due date and encourage students to continue learning about the things that interest them.

BONUS: Get the Dynamic Learning with Google Toolkit to help you find the best tool to support Dynamic Learning in your classroom.

Did you miss parts 1, 2, or 3?

Listen to part 1 (e44), part 2 (e45), and part 3 (e46) so you don’t miss a thing! The entire series is also available here.


Shoutout to Elizabeth Ledkins from our Facebook community for sharing her 60-second PD idea, a one-minute screencast tutorial. She records with Screencastify and uploads it to YouTube. Then she embeds the video in an email to teachers. 

Do you have a question or idea to share on the podcast? Leave me a message here.

Quick Tip of the Week

In Google Chrome, use Incognito mode to check that your public links are accessible and shared correctly. Incognito is a unique browser window that will not automatically log you into any accounts.

In Chrome, click on the 3 dots > select New Incognito Window. (Also works on mobile.)

Or use the keyboard shortcut:

  • Control + Shift + N (PC and Chromebook)
  • Command + Shift + N (Mac)

I use this trick to check my links to Google files, Google Sites, and other links I share with the outside world. Check all the links you post for parents, or share outside of your classroom. (Here are 8 Awesome Reasons to Go Incognito.)

Dynamic Learning with Google (Part 3)

In part four, we are moving on to our last two characteristics in the Dynamic Learning Framework, Beyond the Walls, and Beyond the Due Date. Dynamic Learning is at the heart of my book, Shake Up Learning: Practical Ideas to Move Learning from Static to Dynamic.

Google is NOT a magic solution, but it allows us to create Dynamic Learning experiences for our students.

If you missed parts 1-3, be sure to go back to episode 44 so you will get the big picture of how this all fits together!

We are going to talk about classroom strategies to help you give students a global audience for their work, meaningful connections with outside classrooms and experts, and how student portfolios can support student learning even after it has been assessed.

Get the FREE Dynamic Learning with Google Toolkit

Fill out the form on this page to get access to the toolkit.

Beyond the Walls

I want you to think about both sides of the walls of your classroom. Bring the world to your students, and bring your students to the world! Every student in every grade should have opportunities to connect and learn globally as well as publish their work for a global and intentional audience.

Beyond the Walls with Publishing Student Work for an Expanded Audience

Do you give your students an audience for their work?

I had an eye-opening experience with my own students many years ago. Something magical happened when I had them publish their writing online where others could read and comment. Suddenly, my students wanted to revise and improve their work. Their words will continue to echo in my head, “Can I revise mine? I didn’t know anyone would read it besides you.”

Arrow to my heart! Yes, we love to believe that as teachers, we are our students' favorite audience, but that gets old and tired, and frankly is about as inauthentic as it gets. Students can and should get feedback from others that are outside of their immediate classroom.

Before you freak out about privacy and safety, let me say that these strategies can be accomplished without any risks to privacy or safety. We do not need to share student names or faces to give them an audience for their work.

We can also take this in baby steps. Consider sharing student work in small steps and working up to a global audience. I like to refer to this as an expanded audience.

  1. Share with a classroom on the same campus
  2. Share with a classroom on another campus in your district or region
  3. Share with a classroom in another state
  4. Share with a classroom in another country
  5. Share globally and publicly

It doesn't have to be a perfect audience to see the impact this will have on the quality of work you receive from your students.

So how can Google tools support online publishing?

Most Google applications allow us to share with specific individuals or with a special link. Keep in mind, just because you have made a Google Doc public doesn’t mean anyone will find it. It’s more important that we think purposely about how to share and who to share it with.

My favorite method for sharing student work is on a Google Site or a Blogger blog.

Google Sites makes it easy to embed just about any of our student’s Google-created projects. However, it doesn’t have a native commenting feature that can really take things to the next level.

That’s where I give Blogger the edge. Blogger is a traditional blogging platform that allows for comment. With a blog post, we can share student work and collect feedback from other students, parents, or experts in the field of study. Comments will take things to the next level, a superpower in publishing!

For students under 13, this should be managed by the teacher on a teacher blog. Over 13 students should be given their own space (monitored and assessed) to share their work, their reflections on learning, and respond to feedback.

Remember, the focus of this post is about using Google tools, but there are hundreds of other tools from which to choose.

Again, we don't have to share names or faces to give students a new audience for their work. In fact, using pen names can be a fun twist, especially for younger students.

But our older, secondary students need to be able to share and take claim to their accomplishments. They will be Googled before they are interviewed for their first job or when they apply to college. I want these searches to reflect what students have learned and created, not their latest Tik Tok video.

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world and can be a great place to showcase student work and get feedback. But one big drawback is the junk that exists on YouTube, and the trolls who leave irrelevant comments.

However, I have seen many schools create a campus or classroom YouTube channel sharing student work with great success. Don't count it out just yet. Just be purposeful, mindful, and teach your students how to manage this world. They will need those digital citizenship skills!

(See also Every Student Should Publish for the World.)

Beyond the Walls with Global Connections

Let's explore ways to bring the world into our classrooms!

Google tools naturally fit into this equation. When it comes to bringing in outside authors, experts, virtual tours, or even connecting to other classrooms, Google Hangouts Meet makes this a breeze. These experiences should be teacher-led to ensure the activity is safe and purposeful.

No matter what you are studying in your classroom, there is probably an outside connection that you can make to enrich this experience. And guess what? The experts and authors that we often think are unreachable are actually reachable! In this connected world, most people have an online presence or social account. All you have to do is ask!

These connections do not require any funding, permission forms, yellow busses, or any fancy equipment. All you need is an internet connection and a device with a camera.

Mystery Hangouts are particularly great for elementary grade levels. In a Mystery Hangout, your classroom will video chat with another classroom located in another region, state, or country. Using questioning skills and context clues, students must figure out where the other class is located. These are super fun!

Beyond the Due Date

I know this sounds scary, but I promise it isn't! Consider allowing students to continue the work that interests them beyond the final assessment of the assignment or task. Thinking, learning, and exploring shouldn't be stifled simply because it was time to turn it in.

When we see students showing sparks of interest in a project--when they don't want to stop learning--we must capitalize on these moments! Often, the act of turning in an assignment can stifle their passion, learning, and creativity.

Think about those sparks in your classroom, ask them about it, encourage them, coach them.

Let me be clear. This strategy is not about giving students extra time to finish assignments. That’s a discussion for another day. This is about seizing opportunities! Don’t you wish every student was excited to learn?

The other thing to know about this Dynamic Learning characteristic is it is rarely something that is the complete focus of your lesson, but it can easily be embedded in PBL, especially Genius Hour. It is more about capitalizing on the learning sparks we find in our students.

Beyond the Due Date with Student Portfolios

Portfolios are great for showcasing student work and growth over time, but they can also be a fantastic way for students to document and reflect on their interests and passions.

Google Sites is the perfect tool for student portfolios. As I mentioned earlier, Google Sites makes it super easy to embed work created in other Google applications, like Docs, Slides, Sheets, and more.

Check out this post on How to Create Powerful Student ePortfolios with Google Sites, by Mike Mohammed.

Blogger is also a great choice for teachers to manage portfolios or from students 13 and older to manage their own.

Another favorite tool is Google Slides! Slides is probably the most flexible tool in G Suite. But it doesn't allow embedding like Sites and Blogger.

A student interest portfolio should definitely go beyond one and done, and be a long term project. It’s the perfect project for students who finish early, have extra time, or need enrichment. But it’s even better for students that need time and encouragement to find what they love.

Beyond the Due Date with Mentorship and Coaching

Once we have identified those sparks in our students, we can take on the role of a coach or mentor.

One of the best ways to cultivate passions within our students is through coaching and mentoring. This may come directly from the teacher where appropriate.

When we find out what interests our students, we can talk about it. This might be a few seconds in the hallway to check-in, build that relations, and fan the flame of that learning spark.

For instance, I may ask a student if they read the book I recommended, visited a website I shared or connected with a student with the same interest. We can continue to share resources to help the student take their learning further.

Just encouraging students and helping them find their passions can be a game-changer for many kiddos.

Building these relationships with your students will help them find things that interest them, not just what adults tell them they should be interested in.

How Will You Shake Up Learning?

We have covered A LOT of ground in this 4-part series on Dynamic Learning with Google. I have shared a ton of practical ways to use Google tools to support the Dynamic Learning Framework.

Don't forget to grab a copy of the FREE Dynamic Learning with Google Toolkit (form above).

How will you Shake Up Learning this year? How will you use the Dynamic Learning Framework in your classroom? I know you have some amazing ideas! Please share those with me in the comments below, or leave me a voice message here.

If you missed the first three parts, they are available here:

Part 1: BEYOND the Bell

Part 2: BEYOND the Tool(s)

Part 3: BEYOND the Grade Level and Subject

Podcast Question of the Week

What is one way you can globally connect your students to other classrooms, authors, or experts?

Post your answer to your favorite social media platform using the hashtag #ShakeUpLearning, or share it in the Shake Up Learning Community on Facebook!

The Shake Up Learning Book Study

Don’t miss our next book study! It’s completely FREE, and it’s all available online!

Get the details here.

You can also enter to win an autographed copy of Shake Up Learning!