It works, It works, It really works!

 

I could never imagined my classroom the way it exists now. About three years ago, my life, classroom and outlook on education changed. I attended my first CUE conference and I was in awe. I’ve also enjoyed technology, but never really understood the value that it holds in the world of education.

Upon recent interactions with some amazing teachers and technology guru’s I was introduced to HyperDocs. The organization, planning and interaction that HyperDocs initially provided through being explained to me, made me excited and a little nervous. Introducing anything new to high schoolers, is a little scary. Let’s be honest, they tell it like it is. So through some careful planning and an anxious heart, I started a HyperDoc unit on Genetics. Let’s just say…..WHOA!

Let’s just call it the ultimate game changer! It impacted my classroom in numerous ways, I’m going to highlight 5 ways in which it has transformed my classroom.

  1. Improved Attitudes

Ten years in a classroom can play mental games with you. Your outlook can look fuzzy, discouraging, and repetitive. This year I have 5 different classes, that I either am preparing lesson plans for or some kind of product. Along with that I’m in school to obtain my PASC for Administration. Let’s just say my brain and focus is spread thin. Wanting to incorporate some fun and a variety of lessons components in my classroom, I branched out and began to incorporate HyperDocs. My attitude began to shift, because although I’m swamped, it motivated me to reach a high caliber of instruction for my students.

As my students started with HyperDocs, they were a little apprehensive at first. They were a little weary, but since they are honors students, they were resilient. At first they somewhat enjoyed the process. As more units structured in HyperDocs continued their like turned to love. They thoroughly enjoyed using various programs throughout the process to showcase their work as well as reflect. I think for my honors students the SHARE part, was their favorite. They enjoyed viewing other students work and giving them feedback. Most students cringe at critique, but they thrived. Every project or assignment just got better and better.

  1. Improved Test Scores

At the end of the first major unit my students took a formative assessment. My students were actually the ones who told me, Miss Calderon, since we’ve been doing HyperDocs our test scores have increased. To my surprise, I looked into it.

Looking at their scores from pre-HyperDocs they averaged anywhere from 65-79%, post HyperDocs they averaged anywhere from 85% to 95%!!!!

Data seriously speaks volumes when it comes to the successfulness my students had with HyperDocs and retaining information.

HyperDocs are for all students -The HyperDoc Handbook

  1. Accountability

Students became more responsible for their learning. The individuality that HyperDocs provides for students through the first few steps (Engage, Explore, and Explain) really allow the student to gain understanding and knowledge on their own. They were able to go at their own pace and for those who struggled with the content were able to have one on one time with me or group discussions regarding matters they did not understand. This was vital! They knew that they needed to have subject matter comprehension before they could move ahead to the Apply component. In my use of HyperDocs, I created “deadlines” and times where assignments were due, so that way my students could share out and receive feedback. My students then had opportunities to correct mistakes they needed to, in order to receive a better grade.

  1. Implementing Growth Mindset…silently

For many of my students, they’ve grown up with Direct Instruction. Teachers often giving them answers as opposed to them finding it on their own. Also they’ve lived in a world where there is one answer as opposed to several. Really making my students understand these two concepts was hard. Many would express their frustrations in the beginning because it put more responsibility on them, than it did in our prior ways of learning.

Normally, their solution would be to give up. However, through coaching and encouragement I was able to get them to focus on a Growth Mindset rather than a Fixed Mindset. Many of them thrive at the opportunity to make themselves better. I am currently having my students create Animations using Slides. They are doing amazing with them and really enjoying the process. (I will share the success in another blog). It has been great hearing their dialogue. I continually hear, “hey how did you do that?” “That’s so cool, I want to do some cool things like that in mine” “Whoa, yours is better than mine, I’m going to fix mine?” “I’m going to start over, I want a fresh start”. Never before have I heard or had students so engaged in learning.

  1. Hidden Curriculum that benefits my Ss for the future

Being able to share out the tips and tricks that Google has to offer brings me so much joy. Many of my students have had Chromebooks at their disposal at a young age, however they are still learning various aspects of it. Being able to show them how to use extensions like ColorPick eyedropper, Screencastify and Side Screen has been enjoyable. Also, being able to teach them shortcuts and faster ways to complete a task is so rewarding. I always tell my students, I’m not only teaching you Biology, I’m teaching you life skills. Yesterday one student said, “We know, and we appreciate it”.

5 THINGS

Upon attending CUE this weekend, I sprang to Twitter once it was over to hear of all the stories and experiences that everyone else had. As I was scrolling I saw @msventurino’s blog about 5 things. It inspired me create my own 5 things blog. So here it goes:

5 Takeaways from #cue17
1. Give credit where credit is due, you can re-tweak it but give credit.
This has been a mantra I’ve repeated in my head over and over again! I believe it goes back to my moral compass, one that seems to unwaver. People work REALLY hard. They dedicate and sacrifice their time to produce great lesson plans, innovative ideas, and ways to better our students. I know it is an unknown thing, where teachers “steal” from each other, but it is vital that we don’t lose our integrity in the movement. One session that I attend by Kristen Berg @mrsqueenberg, she said, “give credit where credit is due, you can re-tweak it but give credit”. Preach it sister!
2. Not using technology is not an option anymore.
Another powerful statement that was said by @mrsqueenberg was that, “not using technology is not an option anymore”. I totally agree with this! Some form of technology must be used. It often is a touchy subject. Many educators I know are using innovative apps and programs to allow students to be creative and guide their thinking, while others are still teaching like it’s 1950? We as educators must empower our students with the tools necessary to prepare them for success outside of high school. They need to be able to communicate, be creative, critically think and collaborate with others. I don’t know how that occurs if students are being talked to during direct instruction?
3. I have to do a Breakout EDU
This session was packed and the room was hot! So I’m not going to lie, I left! All I know is that I NEED to do a Breakout EDU session with my kids. I know various educators that do these constantly in their classrooms and have such great feedback from their students. It’s going to happen….
4. I have to create a Hyperdoc through Google Sites.
I’m pretty sure Blendopoly was a Hyperdoc on steroids! First and foremost TY @TrPatel20 @GMMoon1. The planning for your session was completely evident. Blendopoly was an interactive game via Google Sites. It greatly reminded me of Hyperdocs due to the fact that it required the participant to perform various tasks in order to move on. It allowed the participant to move at their own pace. I loved the streamline that Google Sites created for the process. Definitely going to increase my “game” with this activity.
5. @KristyAndre2 and @LaurenMStein led a powerful session.
Kristy and Lauren….A+ on your presentation. You ladies knocked it outta the park! Your energy was great, but your examples were what I was amazed at. The main thing I took away was the fact that you had elementary students doing some AMAZING things. All students are capable of accomplishing greatness if they are given the opportunity. You ladies gave me a sense of hope. I have taken a lot of steps outside my “zone” this year, and your presentation gave me the continued motivation to keep fighting the good fight. 

“Provide uncommon experiences for your student and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude” Dave Burgess

5 Future Education Goals
1. Apply for an Administrative position: I am on the verge of finishing my PASC and could not be more excited! The possibilities are endless! I am eager and excited to see what the future holds! 
2. Become a Google Trainer & Google Innovator: I am going to finish my Google Trainer App this time! I am, I am, I am! Then I am going to start thinking about what I can do for GI.
3. Present at GAFE: I have applied once, but I am going to continue to refine my presentations and continue to pursue being a presenter at a GAFE conference.
4. Present at CUE (National Conference): My tech buddy Meagan and I have decided to present together! She is a teacher at a middle school, while I am a teacher at a high school. I think that if we put our ideas, tech skills and excitement together, we could potentially create a presentation worthy of the CUE conference. Looking forward to 2018!
5. Go to ISTE: This has been on my list for three years. It’s going to happen! I’ll see you in Chicago in 2018!

5 Talents I wish I had
1. Being a writer: I am a science teacher. I did poorly in grammar, punctuation and anything related to English. I wish I had the ability to allow thoughts to flow freely from my brain and create something worth reading. Unfortunately, it’s a work in progress.
2. The ability to say no!: It’s something I’m working on. I just want to help everyone! I’m finding though that this year, I have lost the “me” time that is so vital in my life. I know it’s only a season, so I look forward to Summer and next year to incorporate more of this. Although, I know that I will still continue to serve others.
3. The ability to function on no sleep: I need at least 7 hours of sleep in order to function. Coffee helps, but if I have less than that, let’s just say it’s not a well functioning day. I admire other teachers who run on 2-3 hours and still do amazing work.
4. To speak another language: My parents are both bilingual. I, however, am not! That is one of the biggest regrets I have. I know that as I continue to grow as an educator, this is a talent I wish to acquire.
5. Rapping: I really wish that I could rap! A strange talent, but one I want to accomplish! I think that my students would appreciate it and it could potentially add to my content delivery. 

5 Books on my To-Be-Read List
1. Dive Into Inquiry by Trevor MacKenzie
2. Blended by Horn and Staker
3. Lead like a Pirate by Burgess and Houf
4. Courageous Edventures by Jennie Magiera
5. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carolyn Dweck

5 Things I’m going to Implement in my classroom for the last quarter
1. Breakout edu
2. Build a Hyperdoc for AP Bio
3. Use GoFormative
4. Try FlipGrid for review for AP Bio
5. Use a project as a Summative test rather than multiple choice ?s

Google Extensions-Anyone Can View

Google Extensions have saved time on my life…..literally! With the click of a few buttons to install, I have ways to cut down my time on lessons plans, organization but most importantly my sanity!

I’m a true believe you have to give credit where credit is due.

I have been to various CUE conferences and have come away with some amazing resources because many educators have been generous to share their resources with me and countless others.

I attended a CUE Rockstar: Google Edition one summer and was blown away by the diligence of Lisa Nowakowski’s list of Google extensions. Here is Lisa Nowakowski’s List of Extensions! Follower her on Twitter @nowatechie, she is amazing! Through my exploration in using Twitter, I have come to know many amazing educators like yourself, who are always willing to share and educate other teachers to spread the useful tools of technology. Upon my exploration, I came upon Alice Keeler’s extensions. I currently have 3 of Alice Keeler’s extensions: Anyone Can View, Side by Side and Quick Share Screenshot!

With the Anyone Can View you are able to instantly share your Google Docs/Slides/Sheets/Drawings, so that anyone with the link can view. My domain at my district, defaults the shared setting to only people within our district can access. However, if you share your documents of websites, with parents or other educators who are not in your domain, you have to change your settings. It’s not a super long process, but takes away valuable time in the grand scheme of things. So now, due to this extension is makes it way FASTER! You are able to click the extension button and immediately access the link to share out!

I have created a quick tutorial on how to use this extension.

If you are interested in more extensions, I suggest you check out Alice Keeler’s Big ‘ol List of Extensions! Follower her on Twitter @Alice Keeler

Digital Portfolios

“Students yearn for an educational experience that caters to their interests, innate desires for expressive creativity, and a need for play.”

-Eric C. Sheninger Uncommon Learning: Creating Schools That Work for Kids

Are you in the dilemma of keeping your students spiral bound Interactive Notebook and replacing it with a Digital Portfolio? Do you feel that the students need a change? Do you, as an educator need a change?

Are you ready to try something new and shift into the Digital Age? 

Technology is a great tool to help express students voice, personality, and classwork. Through the use of  “New” Google Sites, students have the ability to create a user-friendly Digital Portfolio, with ease.

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Within my classroom, students create meaningful work through various Google Applications: Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Charts, YouTube etc. By creating a Digital Portfolio it allows the students to organize their work in a simple visual display for me to view, as well as, an online audience.

Here is a tutorial on how to navigate through the “New” Google Sites.

Within the tutorial is a way to collect students URLs to their newly made Digital Portfolio. Through the use of Google Forms, there is a quick way to gather data, so you can easily view students portfolios.

Here is a link to a Google Form Template

Here is a link to the “New” Google Site I created during the tutorial of this video.

My Story!

My name is Jennifer Calderon.

My life as a teacher started roughly 10 years ago. I was on the verge of graduation from Biola University, and had no prospects of a job in sight.  I had discussed my career goals with my Professor, and to my surprise he said I would be an excellent teacher. (Well, if I’m being honest, I knew I was meant to be a teacher, ever since I was in third grade. Not to sound sure of myself, but I put my passion on the backburner to pursue a job as a Doctor). My dream of being a Doctor was thrown out the window when I experienced health issues during my Junior year in college.

So here I was a girl with support, passion and no job. Upon conversations with my Mom, I decided to apply at my Alma Matter in Hesperia Unified. My interview was perhaps the scariest experience I had ever been through at the time. They asked me questions regarding State Standards, teaching strategies and questions I had never even thought about. I knew that only having a Bachelor’s in Science, I was ill prepared for a job in Education. I owe it to a past Principal and Assistant Principal for giving me a chance of a lifetime. They offered me a job that same day. Ecstatic, I accepted. Saying “yes” was the best career choice, I have ever made.

My first few years were rough. Being fresh out of college and fully immersed into a classroom where finding my pedagogy, defining my classroom management skills and dealing with rowdy students  was overwhelming. It wasn’t until my second year teaching that I finally felt, like I kind of knew what I was doing.

I say all that to bring you here in my story: I’ve always had a interest in learning. My mom always tells me the story of being a curious little girl who carried a notepad and pencil behind my ear. This story always makes me smile, because it literally describes my outlook on life. I no longer use a notepad and pencil, but a laptop and my cellphone to discover many facets of the world, but specifically how I can become a more effective teacher in the 21st century.

Learning is something that resonates with me deep to my core. In the years I’ve been a teacher, I have always had the desire to learn more. To never stay stagnant with teaching strategies and ways to incorporate new fun and exciting technology in my lessons. I am so grateful for the passion that was placed in me at such a young age and that has continued to burn presently.

Currently, I am my school site’s Team Technology Lead. I want to take my passion for education and share it with my colleagues who in turn can share it with their students. I will continue to use this blog to document stories within my classroom and a place to create tutorials for my fellow teachers.

I leave you with this: Our students deserve the very best everyday. We make the choice to go to work and be teachers, so let’s give it everything we have. Step out of your comfort zone and take a journey with me to educate our students in the 21st Century.