Chromebook Talk For Sec 1NA Parents

During the Sec 1 Discovery Camp, Sec 1 NA parents attended a talk on Chromebook. As the students would be using Chromebooks in an 1:1 project that aims to allow our Normal (Academic) students with different learning needs, it was important to get the parents’ understanding.

Many parents understood the rationale and they also clarified their doubts during the lively Q&A session.

Mr Shahari giving an introduction

Mr Shahari giving an introduction

Mr Elijah Ong explaining to parents

Mr Elijah Ong explaining to parents

Students and parents listening to the talk

Students and parents listening to the talk

Parents asking questions

Parents asking questions

Mr Cheng addressing the parents' concern

Mr Cheng addressing the parents’ concern

Parents finding out more about chromebooks

Parents finding out more about chromebooks

Parents submitting forms

Parents submitting forms


mind map header

3 Free Mind Maps Online

Mind maps are useful tools for students to summarise what they have learnt. It could also be a brainstorming tool. You There are a number of free online mind maps your students could use. You can export the mind maps as images.

1. https://bubbl.us/
This is pretty colourful. It is free for up to 3 mind maps.
Check out https://bubbl.us/examples for more examples.

2. http://mind42.com/
This appears more linear. You can add images but you can only provide an url. You can add icons too. You can work collaboratively by adding email addresses.
Mind Map

3. http://mindmapfree.com/
Quick and easy without signing up for an account. No images. You can change the colours of the nodes. Very basic but looks more like a mind map in my opinion.

mind map about mind map

You can check out this mindmap for a comprehensive list of ICT tools.

What other free online mindmap tools do you use?


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3 Ways To Use Google Forms In Class

I love google forms. They are one of the easiest way to collect information for you, and you can sort out the information easily later on. You can view the information through diagrams and graphs, or you could view it through spreadsheets.

Many of you are familiar with using google forms for creating surveys regarding events and workshops you have organised. Apart from these, there are many more ways to use google forms in the classroom. I will share three ways I have used them in the classroom.

1. Formative Assessment
I have used this method a couple of times in my history classes. Students answer Source-based questions by typing their answers into google forms. To allow easy collation, I would type in all the index numbers in a list, and let the students select the right one. This is important because if you get the students to type in manually, one or two will type differently and it makes sorting out the data more difficult. If you have a few classes, you can add in the class, so that you can sort all the answers according to class, and then index number. Add in a textbox to collect their names.
google form phone

After the students have completed typing their answers, you are able to see who has submitted their answers easily. If a student had chosen the wrong index number, you can easily change it in the spreadsheet.

To facilitate marking, print out the answers and mark. It is much faster to mark typed answers than handwritten ones, at least for me. I would then photocopy the marked answers for the students. They are able to see why one answer is better than another. With marking symbols, students know which part of their answers is missing. Weaker students benefit from this as they get to see better developed answers. This is hard to do in a conventional class if you do not have time to share the various good answers.

Besides that, many students are motivated to do better the next time as they want to outdo their classmates. If you want to avoid hurting any students’ feelings, you could easily hide the names in the spreadsheet.

2. Surveys
Apart from surveys for your event, have you conducted surveys with your own students? I had carried this out with my English class, and students provided feedback on which components they would like me to focus on. You could use this to find out whether they want more of something, or want less of something. You can also get the students to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses.

Depending on your comfort level, you could let the students be anonymous, or you could get them to leave their names. Being anonymous may swing both ways. One could see students being less serious and flippant in their answers, while the other could mean students telling you what they really think. Having their names allow you to speak to them directly and address their concerns. It is really up to you.

You could also do this in the beginning of the year to collect information about them (phone numbers, email addresses etc), and what opinions they have about your subject.

3. Interviews
For a history project, we had students interview their parents and relatives about their ancestors. Where did they come from? When did they come to Singapore? Why did they come to Singapore? How did they come?

We had learnt really a lot about them. We had students with royal lineage. A medical hall owner, a goldsmith, coolies, a samsui woman, a sailor and even opium dealers were some of the occupations held by their ancestors!
The average number of years the students’ families had been in Singapore were 77, and the longest record was 169, which should be 171 by now. Most of them came from Asia, but we had a tiny number from Europe. These are really interesting facts! It is also a good opportunity for the students to discover their own heritage.
[embeddoc url=”http://www.clapnewsletter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/History-Immigrants.pptx” provider=”microsoft”]

Using google forms allowed us to sort out the information easily. You may wish to check out other links 5 ways to use google forms,
innovative ideas for google forms and
a whopping 74 ways to use google forms.

How have you used google forms in your classes? Do share with us!

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TodaysMeet – Great Ideas For The Classroom

TodaysMeet is a great tool for teachers who want to get quick feedback from students. It is extremely easy to set up. All you have to do is to think of a group name for your students (without any spaces), and give them the link.
They can easily access it, type a name, and then they can start commenting. The latest responses will be right on top. Since the character limit is 140, responses will not be too lengthy to respond to in class.

This is great since you can get more people to answer at the same time, and even the soft spoken students get to speak up.

There are many ways you can use this in class.

1. Find out what questions they have about their homework.

2. Get students to type an answer to a question, and they can press enter at the same time so that other students will give their own answers.

3. Check whether they are following the class with a simple Yes or No to a concept you have just introduced.

4. You could create the channels for different groups, and each group can do their discussion there.

5, When students see other responses, they could also respond to them, thus creating a conversation.

6. If students have completed assignments and posted them to their own blogs, they could post the links in the group, so you and other students could easily take a look at them.

It is important to state your expectations in how the students respond. They should state their names, and type responsibly. This is a great opportunity to discuss appropriate behaviour.

You could also link this to class dojo, where you will give participation points based on the number of times they respond meaningfully, since you can easily print out a transcript afterwards.

Check out 20 ways to use todaysmeet. You can also find out about how an English teacher used TodaysMeet in her lessons.



Where To Get Free Photos For Presentations

Do you spend hours looking for photos on google search just to find photos? Only to find that ugly watermark appearing ten times bigger on the projection screen?

While we stress the importance of not copying information from the internet to our students, sometimes we may forget ourselves as we source for pictures to jazz up our PowerPoint presentations.

So where can we find photos that are available to us? If you have a budget, do consider royalty free stock photos. Photoxpress is an affordable option. Royalty free means they do not charge you additional money for using their photos for each time you use them. You still have to pay for them.

There are free options. Check out the links below. Some require you to sign up before downloading the photos. Others require you to attribute to them.

http://bootstrapbay.com/blog/free-stock-photos/ A list of many sites with free stock photos.
http://www.stockfreeimages.com/ A compilation of free photos, but the nicer ones are not free.

Instead of just typing the type of photo you want in google search and trawling through the images, do make use of those sites with free photos.

Check out how to use flickr to discover creative commons. There are licenses for you to use works, as long as you attribute the authors/photographers.

Do share other links for free pictures.

using a laptop

Chromebook Pilot Phase in Canberra Sec

ALP Committee is pleased to announce that Sec 1 NA students in Canberra Secondary School will be undergoing a pilot phase in 2015 where they will have one-to-one computing through the use of Chromebooks. Just what are Chromebooks?

Chromebooks are similar to normal notebooks, except the biggest difference is you do not have Windows operating system on Chromebooks. Check out this link for more differences between Chromebooks and notebooks using Windows 8.

There is only google chrome as a browser, but students can still use google docs, spreadsheets and presentation to do most of the work. There are also many other online applications they can use.

If you plan to get students to edit photos or videos, you could try wevideo, although it is not as useful as Windows Movie Maker.

The Chromebooks the school is getting are very light. With long battery life, they should be able to last the whole day.

Do think about how you can integrate this benefit of 1-to-1 computing. Gone are the days where you have to book the computer labs in advance to suit your lessons. You also do not need to plan for an entire lesson that requires ICT tools. It would be easier to integrate your lessons.

You may wish to check out some of the useful apps that you could use on Chromebooks. If you need image editing software, you may also find out more.

Do also check out the tips for teachers regarding Chromebooks.

The Chromebook keyboard does have some differences from a normal keyboard. Do you know how to do a right click to open a link in a new window? Hold down Alt and have a single click. Here are more shortcuts.

Any time you are not sure, just google or check with ALP Committee members.  alp committee logo profile4

cat mathematics2

How To Use Google Drawing

Need to get your students to write out mathematical or physics formula online but found it too hard to type in all the units? Without a stylus pen, it can be pretty difficult.

One way is to use Google Drawing, especially if you are using Chromebook. It is a tool for quick diagrams and scribbles, but you need to find this app at http://www.google.com/intl/en/about/products/. You may also access it via Google Docs, by selecting Insert > Drawing.

cat mathematicsThe picture above is drawn using Google Drawing with my finger on the touchpad. I used the scribble function. The good thing is it will smooth out the lines. You can add shapes and text too.

Check out the infographic from Shakeup Learning below on other ways to use Google Drawing.



The video below shows a quick guide on drawing diagrams.


Chromebook Workshop

To prepare for the 1:1 computing for Sec 1 N students in 2015, a group of teachers involved in teaching the classes attended a workshop in the November holidays on using Chromebooks.


They went through a series of challenges to learn how to use the various Google apps and discuss how to incorporate the ICT elements into their lessons.challenge
Other teachers involved in the programme will attend another workshop. In addition, a workshop will be held on how to use Google classroom, a management system for dispatching assignments and grading them.

The teachers will also meet up monthly to discuss the implementation of the programme as part of professional development and also to provide support to each other.

To find out more about google classroom, do read up the FAQ for google classroom.

class dojo

Class Dojo

Sometimes, it is easy to focus on the negative things about students, so it is important to remember the positive aspects about them. What do you do when you have 100 over students? Class dojo is a method to help teachers to keep track of students’ performances. It is very easy to sign up.

class dojo

Just click on the student’s name, and click any of the icons – on task, participating and working hard, for positive behaviour. You can do the same for negative behaviour, and it will tally up the points.
class dojo points

Check out some of the stories by other teachers who have used Class dojo successfully.

https://www.classdojo.com/stories/remembering-to-celebrate-the-wins This teacher gives Dojo points to students who start doing their homework or taking out a book to read. This encourages positive behaviour and the students learn more.

https://www.classdojo.com/stories/a-lifelong-teachers-key-to-classroom-success This teacher encourages her students to speak a new language confidently using Class Dojo.

https://www.classdojo.com/stories/communicating-with-parents—over-400-of-them This teacher is able to collect feedback on over 400 students and communicated on a more frequent basis with parents. This helps parents to correct behaviour quickly.

Check out the resources where you can introduce this system to students and even parents.