Fall-themed Mystery Prize and Points Template

A huge trend among our young students right now is collecting mystery reveal prizes. These are sometimes referred to as “blind bags”. These are a series of toys or figurines that kids buy without being able to tell which one they are going to get. Some are labeled as “Common” and others are “Rare” or “Ultra Rare” – which are, of course, highly coveted. I brainstormed with my daughter (who loves these mystery reveal prizes, by the way) how I might create a template that mirrors the excitement and fun of revealing a prize while practicing school work. I also wanted the template to be useful as both a DIGITAL template for online learners AS WELL AS a PRINTABLE for use without a computer. Here’s what we came up with:

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Create Textured Backgrounds using Procreate

I love sharing ideas on this blog that I think will either help teachers, save time, or engage students… but lately, as we are all working harder than ever before to teach through this pandemic, I am at a loss for what I can do to help other educators (or myself). So, this post veers slightly off course from what I normally share, but does answer a few requests I have received asking me to show how I make the backgrounds for my slide decks (like the backgrounds in my Student Planner and To-Do List Post and the backgrounds in my Rank & Justify Slides Template).

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Student Spotlight online or printable

On my campus, all of our teachers are teaching both online (to remote students) and face-to-face (with students physically in the classroom) simultaneously. We are working hard to keep relationship building and a strong classroom culture a top priority – especially since about half of the students in each class will be learning from home. One common idea for helping students connect to each other is asking them to answer some get to know you questions and then spotlighting one student per week or per day until all students have shared. Traditionally, at schools across the world, this has been done by cutting and gluing pictures onto poster board. In an effort to keep passing of papers at a minimum and to level the playing field with an assignment that students can complete online or can be printed and completed with paper and pencil, I created a Student Spotlight template!

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Hybrid Activities that can be completed Digitally or with Paper and Pencil

My district, like many others across the world, is offering families choice in how they receive instruction this fall. Families can choose face to face or distance instruction. At first thought, this task seems like teachers will have to create twice the activities – some for students to complete in person, and others for those students that will need to complete everything digitally. BUT on second thought, we can work smarter, not harder! Here are a few ideas (links to snag a copy of all templates below) for HYBRID activities using google slides that can be completed by students digitally or printed and completed with a pen or pencil.

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Virtual Meet the Teacher

On my campus, we are making plans to have our first ever VIRTUAL Meet the Teacher. While we can’t safely invite all parents and students into the building at this time, we still want everyone to get to meet their teacher and have a quick get-to-know-you conversation, see the classroom, practice walking from their entrance to class, AND we still need to gather lots of information from families. We know that just like when homeroom letters went home in the past, when these Virtual Meet the Teacher’s go out, parents and students will talk to each other and compare who got who. We want this to be a GREAT first impression for ALL of our teachers – so myself and three teachers from my school (Kelsey French, Brittany Laurell, and Ina Nguyen) developed a template for all teachers on campus to use with easy to follow instructions so that we all make the same GREAT first impression.

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Rank & Justify Slides Template

I have seen so many educators on twitter, facebook, and instagram working on and sharing bitmoji classrooms. I love this! Teachers know that at least some of their students and families will choose to learn online this year due to the pandemic and they are working to make their online learning spaces just as warm, welcoming, and easy to navigate as their real-life classrooms! This is such a great place to start – but we can’t stop there. We’ve got to plan for great, engaging, research-proven strategies for learning – and we’ve got to come up with new ways for our content to be delivered ONLINE.

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Blended Learning ONLINE Checklist

On my campus (and I’m sure on many of yours) we are working on growing our blended learning practices. Many define blended learning differently. On our campus, when we say blended learning, we mean teaching our students in differentiated small groups based on data, while students work through a paper checklist that details what they need to complete in the areas of independent work, future ready (collaborative activities), and a digital component (this could be an additional mini-lesson from the teacher which has been recorded or adaptive software that meets students where they are to fill in gaps and take them farther).

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Daily Slide Deck: Keep your teaching organized and on track whether Remote or Face-to-Face

This summer, our district is providing live remote instruction utilizing Zoom and Schoology for summer school. I’m not a part of summer school, but have been lurking on facebook and twitter to learn from those who are! I’ve been most interested in HOW teachers are sharing content – HOW they are keeping themselves and students on track – and WHAT has been most beneficial. The constant I’ve seen in social media posts, conversations, and examples shared with me has been having a Google Slide Deck for the teacher to teach from throughout the day that contains all links, videos, examples, reminders (to self and students) all in one place. This Slide Deck is NOT shared with students for them to click through, but for them to see on the screen as the teacher is talking and teaching (teacher shares their screen). This has been helpful because (obviously) everything is in one place, but also because it is visual for students to easily follow along with.

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Creating in Slides Shortcuts: Little tips and tricks for creating that can save you BIG on time!

Recently, some colleagues and I were working collaboratively to create a document that captured our ideas. As we worked, one teammate said, “How did you just do that so fast?” I didn’t know what she meant. It was little shortcut I knew that she hadn’t learned yet. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference! I am a huge fan of any shortcut – no matter how tiny – that can shave time off my workload! Here are a few shortcuts for creating in google slides that – when used together – can save you a ton of time!

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