Creating memes to learn logical fallacies

We are currently learning about logical fallacies in my class. After learning 8 basic fallacies, today was a day to practice.

First, I wrote a script of a play in which the 2 politicians debating (Smith and Jones) used fallacies. The debate moderator (Doe) asked the audience (the class) to identify the fallacies. The kids enjoyed it and they learned how to spot the fallacies “in the wild.”

Next, students created memes that were examples of fallacies. We used Google presentations and Google image search to do this. Here were the steps:

  1. All students got on an editable Google presentation. Each student got their own slide.
  2. Students then found a meme image on google images. You can do a search for “blank meme” and lots will come up
  3. Students put this picture in their slide.
  4. Using word art, students inserted words over the picture to illustrate a logical fallacy
  5. We then went through them as a class and guessed which fallacy each meme was illustrating.

It was super fun! If you’d like to see any of them, just check out this presentation.

Blended learning for a whole unit. Docs, slides, and videos

My 6th graders are currently working on a marketing campaign that aligns with the hashtag on social media for the Minnesota Department of Tourism: #onlyinMN. Students each picked a place or event which they thought was awesome. They’ve researched and now created 3 products as part of the campaign: a pop-up ad (in the style of a brochure), a TV commercial, and a tweet. They are now on to preparing their presentations in which they are pretending the class is the board of directors for their place/event and they have to persuade them to purchase their campaign for the upcoming season.

I’ve done this whole unit with just 2 google docs that have step-by-step directions and linked videos, templates, docs, and rubrics. By doing this, each of my students has been able to work at their own pace. I have an end-date that is the same for everyone, but teaching this in a blended way has allowed for many awesome things:

  • Fast students to go ahead of their peers
  • Slow students to get help from me when they need it
  • Students who were sick to work from home and not feel as stressed out when they return
  • Me to have individual one-on-one time with every student to help them make their work great
  • Students to revise when they need to, instead of feeling ahead of behind the class
  • Students

I was very proud of them throughout this unit because students also learned and were so successful with many tech tools and tricks. I really attribute this to the blended learning model. Instead of modeling the tech tool or trick to the whole class at the same time, students could watch a video model when needed.

If teaching to the whole class at once then these negative things can occur:

  • Students will not get a chance to re-watch if they don’t understand
  • Students who already know the skill are forced to waste time
  • Students who aren’t ready for that skill don’t necessarily understand
  • Students may not need that skill for a while and will not have a chance to immediately apply their learning

If using blended learning, then these positive things can occur:

  • Students can re-watch again and again and again to master the skill
  • Students who already know the skill can skip that part of the lesson, or simply review quickly
  • Students can watch and learn the skill when they actually need it
  • Students can immediately apply their learning since they are watching when they need it

The tech skills that my students learned throughout the unit were as follows. I was so proud of them! (And keep in mind these are 6th graders who aren’t 1:1!)

  • Creating citations with Easy Bib google docs add-on
  • How to change the page size of a Google presentation
  • How to manipulate photos in a slide
  • The research tab
  • Sharing levels on google products
  • How to create a hyperlink
  • Publishing Google products to the web
  • Creating goo.gl shortened links
  • Creating a commercial using Animoto

If you’re interested in seeing the students’ pop-up ads, they are linked here and here. I will be tweeting out their commercials and tweets from our classroom Twitter account, @HogensHeroes, soon.

Taking over the library: a recipe for authentic learning

Today was our last day of our reader’s workshop unit. As I wrote about previously, I arrived in this unit to create a constant sense of authentic audience. This was mainly done in two ways: makerspace reflection videos were posted for all students to see and students knew that their final products of book reviews would be put in the library and on Amazon.

Today we went and took over the library with our book reviews. First, all students wrote their reviews in a Google doc. They then changed the sharing setting so that anyone with the link could view. They then used goo.gl to create short links which were then printed out. Next to the links was the message, “Want to know if this book was good? Read this review from another student here at the school!” We then went and taped these reviews in the inside covers of the books.

Mir was such a great feeling to see my students filling the library with their excitement and anticipation of other students reading their work. They were so excited to know that, not only will their writing be read by someone else, their writing might actually help someone make a decision about a book!

I’ll be posting the reviews to Amazon soon under my account. (I have 6th graders so they can’t do this themselves.) it’s been a great ending to a great unit!

Power of Publishing: Publish those Google Apps!

One great feature of Google Apps that I don’t think is very well-known is how you can publish pretty much any of them to the web. When you do this, you get a new URL as well as an html embed code. Both of these things are very useful.

When you publish a google app, it:

  • It is somewhat like a copy of the app
  • It is like a view-only version
  • It takes away most functionality, only leaving the content to view
  • It updates every 5 minutes if you change the original
  • It creates a new url for you to share (no “share” function like regular apps)
  • It creates an html embed code

There are many advantages to publishing including:

  • Not having to worry about sharing settings.
  • Getting your content out to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. (Sometimes you can overload a doc or other app if too many people are trying to view it at once.)
  • Inserting your content inside something else like an LMS or blog or website
  • Taking away all Google apps bells and whistles. (This is sometimes positive for those who only need content and might be confused by functionality)

Want to learn more? Check out my presentation here. You could also register for the EdTech Team Google Education Summit this January 30th and 31st where I’ll be presenting.