#DBC50Summer 25/50: Teaching Math with Google Apps

I love the fact that book 24 and book 25 in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line up came out back-to-back! These two books flow well together as they both discuss that the most important thing in math isn’t the answer itself, but is found in the process of finding the answer. When students ask, “when am I ever going to use this” the answer is now clear, no matter what concept being covered…the critical thinking skills developed in math will be used every. single. day.

Book 25 is the third book published by DBC for Alice Keeler. (The first two released were 50 Things and 50 Things Further, both co-authored with Dr. Libbi Miller.) Alice co-authored book 25 with the late Diana Herrington. Sadly, Diana passed away unexpectedly on May 17, 2017, just a few weeks after the release of their book. Diana’s love of teaching math and her passion for making math fun for students lives on in her words in the book. Teaching Math with Google Apps is book 25, and marks the halfway point in #DBC50Summer!

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Choosing from any of the Alice Keeler Google Apps books will result in a beautiful read. These pages are printed completely in color and organized in such a way that the content is easy to navigate and understand. Teaching Math with Google Apps can be used as a cover to cover professional development read, or as a quick reference guide (I’ll be using it as both)! In this book in particular, the sections of reading are color-coded in the top corners. I personally enjoy a good color-coding system, so this immediately spoke to my heart. I also love that Alice & Diana brought in some familiar faces to contribute! We get to hear from Shelley Burgess (co-author of P is for Pirate and co-author of Lead Like A Pirate), John Stevens (Table Talk Math and co-author of The Classroom Chef), and Denis Sheeran (Instant Relevance).

There are so many amazing tips, tools, activities, examples, and templates included in this book! The complete list of links is available when you purchase the book. That list of links alone is worth every penny! There are examples and templates for elementary through high school math classes, so there’s something for everyone here!

Some of my favorite activities within the book are Pixel Art using Google Sheets (I know, right? Genius stuff! It’s like a digital color by number), utilizing all that Google Forms has to offer through the implementation of self-graded quizzes that offer students immediate feedback, and using the Explore feature in Google Apps to make math relevant to students through maps, shopping, and can even be used to complete a scavenger hunt to find math “in the wild”.

Alice and Diana suggest using Discovery activities to learn collaboratively. Another idea they have is to put the beginning of the lesson in the middle. So think about this… typically students come into math class (or any class) and we quickly review (those who got it yesterday are now tuned out while those who didn’t get it yesterday are already frustrated), probably go over homework (waste of time – both the giving it and the going over it), and then start your lesson for the day 10-15 minutes later having wasted valuable class time. Diana challenges us to switch that up? What if we put our beginning in the middle? What if we didn’t go over homework (or give it for that matter) and we start with an extension from the day before? And… wait for it… they do this collaboratively so those that excelled yesterday have the opportunity to refine their knowledge by peer tutoring those who struggled yesterday. Their peers, those that struggled, get to hear the information from a different perspective and will likely have more understanding. Meanwhile, the teacher is monitoring and asking questions. After completing the extension activity and discussing it as a class, you transition into the day’s mini-lesson and allow students to discover the math using activities in Google Apps rather than telling them (Alice & Diana give the example that we typically TELL students the Pythagorean Theorem… why not ask the students what it is? They have Google! Google will tell them!) This shift in teaching and learning even sounds as though it would flow better. Makes much more sense to me anyhow. Great thinking, Diana!

Some of my favorite quotes from this one are listed below. (Y’all, Alice Keeler has a way with quotes, by the way. After meeting her in June, I can hear her saying some of these in my head now. I can hear the conviction behind some of these quotes and even if you aren’t really sure if you agree, you’ll find yourself nodding along, because the passion in her voice makes it so that it’s the gospel truth.)

“No matter the medium, design for student engagement.”

“Teach like YouTube and Google exist.” (one of my favorite favorites) Going hand-in-hand with that one, Alice says, “I have a rule: Do not tell students things they can look up.” [see Pythagorean Theorem statement above]

“Glitter, scissors, and glue should not be abandoned. Sometimes technology is not the best tool. While work can be created on paper…the work can still be submitted digitally…insert an image”

“The conversation becomes a risk-free learning zone – and that’s where the magic happens!”

“It is important for students to approach a problem with strategies rather than procedural steps. Strategies help them make connections when confronted with new situations.”

My implementation for this book is two-fold.  There is an activity (and template, woo hoo, get the book and you have access to the template, too) in the book where students take a selfie and upload into a collaborative Google Slides presentation and share a couple of things about themselves. I want to do this during my first media class with my 6th grade students. It introduces students to Google Classroom, Google Slides, and allows me to get to know the students’ names and faces as well. Secondly, at some point in time this year (and knowing how much Alice loves her spreadsheets, she would recommend sooner rather than later), I want to complete the Google Sheets activity included in the book where students will discover how to input data and manipulate Google Sheets. Using Google Sheets more will only help my students in the long run, so giving them a strong foundation with this template on the basics is a great place to start. I’m excited to see where this takes my students, and the staff! This book is specifically geared toward math teachers, but there’s so many activities here that can be adapted across the curriculum that I would truly recommend this book to anyone! The back of the book even has some Google tutorials for those moments when you’re reading and think, I have no idea what they mean by revision history. Detailed information with a beautiful screenshot is included here as well!

As usual with books co-authored by Alice Keeler, there is a vast world of information on her website. Go to alicekeeler.com and knock yourself out! Check out the hashtag #GoogleMath on Twitter for more. You can also subscribe to the Google Math Newsletter here! Don’t forget that if you want that link with ALL the resources, templates, examples, and other amazingness included in the book, you need to purchase a copy for yourself! You can do that here! Finally, you can always contribute to the flipgrid using the password DBCSummer (if it asks for one). Andrea Paulakovich had the brilliant idea to create a space for global collaboration around each DBC book, and I love it! Please share your thoughts there! We always include a prompt, but that prompt isn’t required. If you have something better in mind, share that! We just want to learn together in that digital space!

***One of Diana’s visions was to create a scholarship fund to encourage students to go into STEM fields. There is a gofundme page here or you can donate directly Fresno State in memory of Diana Herrington. These donations go toward an endowment at California State University Fresno for students who want to teach math! Diana’s passion for math lives on! Any donation is appreciated!***

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point! Next up is a book by one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever “met” (well, met virtually…on Twitter, but I will meet her face-to-face one day, I hope)! If you want to know how to make small changes for a HUGE impact, check out book 26 in #DBC50Summer: Shift This by Joy Kirr!

 

#DBC50Summer Book 11-20 Recap

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In the first recap, #DBC50Summer Book 1-10 Recap, I was hoping I would reach book 20.  Honestly, I look back on the past three weeks and I have no idea how I ended up actually being able to read the first 20 books released from Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. The first recap post was made about 5 days post-op from a minor surgery, and I’ve been running all over the state since then. I was fortunate to speak to a few hundred educators throughout the state about NCWiseOwl (a free database of amazing nonfiction resources for North Carolina public school educators), then got to meet 24 more incredible educators from North Carolina at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT). There we discussed how to reach Generation Z through active and digital learning. We covered topics from augmented and virtual reality to gaming in education to social media to the maker movement to coding and so much more. It was insanely awesome to spend three days with these amazing educators! Finally, I was elected to the North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) Board of Directors as the North Region Representative last Spring and we had our first board meeting to plan for the 2019 conference, held in March. Seeing the curtain pulled back just made it more evident how hard that team works to put on a spectacular conference every year and promote digital learning as great pedagogy and not just shiny new tools! It’s an honor to be part of that group!

With all of that going on, I have no clue how I got to book 20! I have had so many direct messages and tweets on Twitter asking how I’m physically able to get these books read so quickly, reflect, and blog about them. My sincere answer is I have no idea. I am so motivated and inspired by the words in these books that I just can’t stop. As soon as I finish one book, I’ve got a million ideas buzzing around my head and have to get my thoughts written down as quickly as possible. As soon as I get the writing done, I’m eager to move on to the next book. As I write this blog, I’m actually staring at Book 21 (which I started today) and would really rather be reading than blogging, ha! The books within the next set of 10 are incredible & I can’t wait to get started on them!  However, before we can look at where we’re going, we need to take a quick review of where we’ve been in Books 11-20!

#DBC50Summer started as Creative Alchemy, a term Dave Burgess uses within Teach Like A Pirate to describe that A-HA moment when you have multiple problems that need addressing and solve them using a creative…

Wait a minute, I have to tell you what just happened, literally JUST happened, before I can go any further. So I was looking up some kind of definition for Creative Alchemy preferring to use Dave’s definition rather than some jumbled up mess of my own. Upon searching for Creative Alchemy Dave Burgess, I was led to a blog written by the Captain himself in March 2012, which dates it before Teach Like A Pirate was published & the advent of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. In fact, the email address is from the days of “Outrageous Teaching.” Anyhow… I was reading this blog and in it, Dave says,

“I am always trying to convince teachers that the best books to read about teaching are rarely in the education section.  I always have 3 or 4 books on my nightstand, a book in my car, one in my school bag, and several more on my phone. I consider it one of the most important parts of my job to constantly expose myself to the high quality thinking of other people. It challenges me, it keeps me current, and it provides me the raw resources that I need for creative alchemy.” ~Dave Burgess, Creative Alchemy, March 2012

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the irony of that entire quote… “the best books to read about teaching are rarely in the education section”… well, they are NOW thanks to DBC! How incredible to read this knowing that 6 years and a few months later, they would have released their 50th book, many of which have become insanely successful communities of educators supporting, challenging, and growing one another across the nation (and the world).

“always have…books on my nightstand…my car…school bag…more on my phone”… and now, according to #KidsDeserveIt episode 100 their inbox is flooded every week with manuscripts. Sounds to me like they’re reading books EVERYWHERE now!

Finally, the last section speaks to me at such a deep level in light of the #DBC50Summer… “constantly expose myself to the high quality thinking of other people. It challenges me, it keeps me current, and it provides me the raw resources that I need for creative alchemy.”  The amount of truth in these two sentences cannot be overstated.  Reading these 20 books, even if I stopped right now (which I’m most definitely not going to do), I have grown more as a professional, and as a person, than ever before.  Here I am, twelve years into my career, and I am FINALLY starting to shape my educational philosophy.  I am finally starting to figure out who I am as an educator, and these past ten books have really pushed me to reflect on what I believe about learning and education as a whole.

I’m honestly in a bit of shock that Dave wrote that paragraph in his blog (and a similar one in Teach Like A Pirate) over 6 years ago, and it’s just sitting out there, like it was waiting to inspire someone like me all over again. Just… wow.

Moving along, creative alchemy is what brought me here. I wanted to begin blogging more consistently, growing my PLN on Twitter, and I had all these Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc books sitting on my bookshelf and had only read a handful of them due to time constraints.  It all clicked as I sat staring at the shelves that #DBC50Summer was the solution to each of my problems. I am so excited to be nearing the halfway point, but there’s so much awesome still to come!  Let’s review Books 11-20.

11 – Your School Rocks by Ryan McLane and Eric Lowe – This book challenges us to tell our school’s story through social media.  Taking us on the journey of two principals sharing their school’s story, we see the relevance behind meeting the public where they are… and in this day and time, that’s social media platforms.

12 – How Much Water Do We Have? by Pete Nunweiler and his wife, Kris – This obscure book in the DBC lineup really isn’t an education book at all.  However, the connections with education are certainly evident in the principles of conquering challenge and thriving during change.

13 – Play Like A Pirate by Quinn Rollins – This is the book that really made me start thinking about what kind of educator I am.  What are my passions? (Thankfully I finally discovered them here) Quinn brings his passions into the classroom and uses comics, toys, and games to make learning fun again!

14 – 140 Twitter Tips for Educators by Brad Currie, Billy Krakower, and Scott Rocco – I’ve recommended this book to so many educators in the past two weeks! This is the perfect book for any educator who is unsure about how Twitter can benefit them and their students!  Check it out, for sure!

15 – The Classroom Chef by John Stevens and Matt Vaudrey – This book was like digging back into Teach Like A Pirate again!  The creative ideas for making math (and any subject really) engaging and exciting for students, as well as the idea that we should be preparing lessons rather than lesson planning, stick out to me from this book!

16 – Launch by John Spencer and AJ Juliani – A powerful book detailing an incredible design thinking process using the acronym LAUNCH.  The process is written in kid-friendly language, and includes the vital piece of launching the product to the intended audience.  Loved this one!

17 – Kids Deserve It by Adam Welcome and Todd Nesloney – Educators should strive to be our best every. single. day. We must not let up on growing ourselves and pushing those around us, because Kids Deserve It.

18 – The Writing on the Classroom Wall by Steve Wyborney – This is another lesser known (at least it was to me, but maybe I’ve been under a rock) DBC book.  I was unaware that it was DBC until I began my #DBC50Summer research.  Steve has a unique way with words and speaks metaphorically.  His quotes throughout the book are thought-provoking and he really makes you question what you think about teaching and learning. This book stretched me, and I know it will do the same for you!  I highly recommend grabbing this one!

19 – 50 Things to Go Further with Google Classroom by Alice Keeler and Dr. Libbi Miller – This book is an amazing guidebook to how to create a student-centered classroom using a digital tool, Google Classroom.  The tips and tricks within this book are amazing, as if we’d expect any less from this dynamic duo! Definitely look into this book if you want to utilize Google Classroom to its fullest extent!

20 – Instant Relevance by Denis Sheeran – This super short book packs a lot of punch in its only 102 pages.  A quick read that leaves you with lots to ponder. Denis is hilarious and you’ll laugh from start to finish, learning how to make learning relevant to your students through making connections with them.

So there you have it!  The second #DBC50Summer Book Recap, and a little tangent brought to you by a super old blog post from the Captain that I wasn’t expecting to impact me like it did.  Speaking of the Captain, he created two videos upon the release of these books (one for books 11-15 and one for books 16-20) that you can check out here.

Books 11-15

Books 16-20

Are you ready to reach the halfway point and beyond?  The next ten books are stellar (according to their Twitter fame & Amazon reviews)!!!  Many of them have been on my MUST READ list for a while and I’m so excited to finally get to crack the spine on them!  One of the most influential books of my career is also coming up in this set of ten!  Any guesses as to which that might be?  Oooooh I can’t wait!  Book 21 blog is coming soon!  Stay Tuned for the reveal of the next ten books in the order they were released!

*Interested in joining in on the #DBC50Summer fun? Don’t feel as though you have to read them all and you don’t even have to read in order! Choose a few that you’ve been wanting to dive into! Share your reflections with the world; maybe it’s #BookSnaps, maybe it’s #Sketchnotes, maybe it’s #blogging or #vlogging… the idea is basically just to share your learning from DBC books in any format, so others can learn with you! Here’s the thing though… we can all read these books. That’s fabulous, really! But what are you going to DO with the information you gain from reading it? How will it impact your teaching practice and/or your students? That’s the biggest piece of #DBC50Summer for me… creating the ONE (or two, or three) thing I want to implement in the 2018-2019 school year. You can see the updated spreadsheet with titles/authors, Flipgrid links, blog post links, and implementation plans here! If you aren’t sure where to start, check out each blog post above and click on the Flipgrid information! You can start there! (Shoutout to Andrea Paulakovich – genius extraordinaire!) Just tag #DBC50Summer in your tweets and join in on the fun!  Several are hopping on board & I’d love to have you join in, too! Reach out to me on Twitter if you have any questions! I’d love to connect with you! Thanks for sticking with me!

Alicia Ray

@iluveducating

#DBC50Summer 19/50: 50 Things to Go Further with Google Classroom

Well, folks… they did it again.  The dynamic duo of Alice Keeler and Libbi Miller, EdD teamed up to bring us another Google Classroom book. Believe it or not, this one is even better than the first (I know, I know – I thought there was no way, too).  Are you ready to see what this one is all about?  Book 19 from the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line up is 50 Things to Go Further with Google Classroom by Alice Keeler and Libbi Miller, EdD.

50thingsfurther

I’ve been asked if it is an extension of the first Google Classroom book. I’ve heard it said, “I don’t need that one; I’ve got the first one.” To that I say, “Uh, yeah… you do.”

You see, this book and the first are nothing alike, other than the “50 Things” bit, the format, and the integration of Google Classroom.  Beyond that, this book has much more “meat on the bones”.  The first book was terrific, don’t doubt that for a minute!  It is where I direct educators who want to know more about Google Classroom as a tool and how to get started.  THIS book is where I direct educators who want to use Google Classroom to engage and empower students.  50 Things Further is unique in that every single way to use Google Classroom Alice & Libbi discuss how it relates to a student-centered approach. I love, love, love that they aren’t just telling you how awesome Google Classroom is as a tool, but are sharing the incredible things your students can do by using Google Classroom!

Many times we (this is a real “we,” as in, I’m 100% guilty of this, too) become so enamored by the new “shiny” tool that we lose sight of why we are using it.

If the tech doesn’t serve a purpose, if it doesn’t make the lesson more efficient, more interactive, more… just more… then WHY would we use it?  Don’t let the tech drive the lesson, but let the lesson drive the tech.

Alice & Libbi get this better than anyone I’ve seen.  The students drive their reasons for using Google Classroom.  They show how the tech makes starting class, transitions, procedures, directions, giving feedback, grading (ugh, current soapbox item for me, but that’s another post for another day), collaboration, and connections more efficient.  They give evidence of how Google Classroom makes student learning stick by giving the power to the students.

Some of my favorites from this book:

  • Numbering assignments in Google Classroom – #001, #093, #182, etc. Makes it easier to find assignments through keyboard shortcuts, faster to tell students which assignment is missing, and organizes the Google Classroom folders!
  • Use Google Classroom in conjunction with a website or Learning Management System (LMS).  Many teachers in my district are using Google Classroom to manage day-to-day lessons in their classroom while putting grades, lesson plans, communication with parents, etc. in our LMS.  This is proving to work very well together with the LMS serving as communication and Google Classroom serving as organization.
  • Using hashtags in comments! I REALLY love this idea!  George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, shared in a workshop I attended that we should hashtag our Google Drive.  That idea worked wonders for me in the organization of Google Drive, and this idea from Alice & Libbi will be just as functional, I believe!
  • Peer editing – I love that students can peer edit within Google Classroom.  Because it is a closed environment and protects students from people outside the classroom, I can safely put student work here and accountability partners in class can edit and revise one another’s work!
  • Yearlong journals – giving students a space to reflect is so important!  I learned from The Writing on the Classroom Wall by Steve Wyborney that reflective writing is one of the most powerful practices in which we can engage ourselves and our students. Giving students a writing journal template allows them a safe space to collect and transcribe their own thoughts.
  • Providing challenges and not assignments is one of my very favorite ideas to come from this book!  I love that the authors suggest giving a challenge with complex questions so students can show their thinking, rather than a detailed description which would create 100 of the exact same assignments turned in.

With these amazing ideas in mind, my implementation plan is quite simple!  I already use Google Classroom in the media setting.  I intend to use the hashtag in comments and numbering assignments tips from this book.  I will also implement a writing journal for each of my students.  This will be a space for them to reflect on books they have read.  At the beginning of every media class, they will be responsible for accessing Google Classroom and spending 5 minutes reflecting on one of the books they will be returning.  This reflection may take any form they’d like, but they must write and it must be about a book they are returning.  It is my hope that this will encourage students to read, keeping them accountable, but also freeing them to write about it as they’d like without the standard “write a summary” prompt.  I’m so thankful that I didn’t have someone telling me what to do with #DBC50Summer as I have finished reading each book, and I have taken so much more out of this experience than I likely would have if this was a prescribed reflection.  Don’t you think the same is true for our children’s reading?

The Flipgrid for 50 Things To Go Further With Google Classroom is located here, with the password DBCSummer.  A big thank you to Andrea Paulakovich for the amazing idea to include a space for global collaboration and continued learning as a book study for ALL of the DBC books!  Access her #DBC50Summer here!  Alice & Libbi have set us up for success by providing an updated tour of Google Classroom at 50thingsbook.com. You can also access Alice’s Google Classroom page here, her website/blog here, and find the templates and add-ons mentioned in the book hereAs I mentioned in the first Google Classroom book, these are rabbit holes.  Proceed with caution; you will NOT want to leave all the awesome that is provided on those websites!  I also highly recommend following Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) as she is constantly tweeting tips and tricks for teachers AND students about using GAfE (Google Apps for Education)!

The 20th book in the DBC line up is finally here!  OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am honestly in shock that we’ve reached this point in the #DBC50Summer journey!  The 20th book is one of my favorites; it’s a short book packed with all kinds of “relevance” (wait for it…) – written by Denis Sheeran, Instant Relevance (see what I did there…) is a MUST-HAVE for any educator’s collection!  Blog coming soon!

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Did you get your copy of 50 Things to Go Further with Google Classroom yet?  What are you waiting for?  You want this!