Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Quizlet Live Puts Smiles on Faces During Vocab Building

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of co-teaching a week-long lesson on Medieval Manor Life in a 7th grade class. To kick off the lesson, the teacher and I adapted the Fast & Curious EduProtocol, Quizizz version, to include Quizlet. As most of students are English learners, developing vocabulary is a must. The smashing of Quizizz and Quizlet was a great help in doing that.

In a nutshell, students individually spent 7 minutes on a pre-made Quizlet study set getting to know the vocabulary cold turkey. When 7 minutes of solo practice was up, they moved into 3-4 rounds of Quizlet Live. Quizlet Live randomly groups students into teams of 3-4. When the game begins, each member of the team has a few potential answers, but only one actually has it. The team is forced to collaboratively discuss the prompt or vocabulary and determine which member has the right answer and submit.

I could go into all the details of the mechanics of Quizlet Live, but what really stood out to me was the smiles on faces. This lesson took place on a Monday morning. The energy in the room felt more like a Friday. The conversations were organic and not forced. The feedback from Quizlet to teams who made mistakes was instant and you could hear kids talk resiliently about not missing that one the next time.

This class had a couple of students who are on IEPs. An aide is also present for additional support. The teacher discussed with me beforehand the accommodations we would need to make and tried to plan scaffolds to help these kids fully interact in the activity. Credit to those two kids, none of the accommodations were necessary. The aide stood back and let them jump it. They fully participated. What was most encouraging was the looks on their faces. These are kids that often feel left out from interactive activities, but in this Quizlet Live session, they felt like part of a team. They felt needed and wanted like never before. Both were beaming the entire activity. Other kids were psyched when they found one of these two ended up on their teams for a new round.

In a nutshell, Quizlet Live did create a boisterous atmosphere. Not all teachers are used to that, but in this case, the learning was collaborative, authentic and two kids who don't normally fully engage felt proud to be part of the team. My question to you is, who are those kids who might feel left out and how may you leverage tools like Quizlet to help make them smile and feel included?

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Google Certified Educator Level 1 Exam Experience

Image result for google certified educator level 1

Since I became a Google Certified Trainer in 2017, I have coached 89 teachers to earn Google Certified Educator Level 1 status. Seeing the sense of accomplishment on an educator's face when they pass this test is intoxicating. This exam is no joke. It is quite rigorous. Seeing the clock count down as you navigate the multiple choice questions and performance tasks can be a little nerve racking. 

In my experience, I have noticed some trends in what people say when they take the exam. One common expression is "I didn't know I could do that with Google. I am learning so much." This expression has led me to tell teachers the best way to prepare for the exam is to just take the exam. Pass or fail, you will learn a bunch. Don't worry, if you fail, you can retake. In my experience, nearly all who've retaken the exam have passed it the second time. 

Another expression I hear often is "I am totally going to try that in class tomorrow." As mentioned earlier, you learn a bunch during the exam. It spurs your thinking and gets educators coming up with ways to apply their learning to their classrooms immediately.

One of my favorite common expressions comes after they've passed the exam when they say "Adam, when do I get to do level 2?" This is a powerful statement because it speaks to the capacity and confidence built by passing the exam. This small win builds upon itself and fuels teachers to seek out further professional learning on their own. It builds intrinsic motivation to constantly improve. As educators, it's our job to learn, and the learning is so much more valuable when its something we are intrinsically motivated to do.

Here are a few of my tips for passing this exam.
- Make sure you have at least three hours of uninterrupted time
- Have snacks and drinks
- Have a stable wifi connection
- Use a computer you trust
- You must have a working webcam
- Have a notepad or dry erase surface handy to jot down quick notes during exam so you don't always have to switch back and forth between tabs.
- Google anything you don't know
- Bring any notes from trainings you've attended
- Take the exam with a group of friends of colleagues (Groups of 5 are ideal as the test has been known to glitch when too many devices are running the test from the same wifi access point)
- Read the questions carefully as the answers are often in the details of the question
- On the multiple choice portion, make sure to scroll to the top to see how many choices it wants you to select. Often, the screen scrolls down for whatever reason and the amount of choices it wants you to choose is not seen.
- Mark every question and task for review. This means, at the end, you are able to go back and check your answers. If you don't mark for review, you cannot go back and double check.
- Try to get the multiple choice finished within the first hour. You want to have at least two hours to tackle the 11 performance tasks
- To copy and paste, don't right click, use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL C &V.

Apps Performance Task Hints
- Hangouts: Know what how to screenshare, add to Calendar
- Calendar: Create new calendar
- Docs and Sheets: Leave direct comments
- Sheets: Insert chart
- Classroom: Assignment with make a copy for each student
- Groups: Create a group
- Drive: Create folders
- YouTube: Create playlist and share the whole playlist
- Gmail: Create labels and move messages to labels
- Tasks: Create task and add an email to Tasks
- Sites: Add text, Docs and images from Drive
- Forms: Different question types and insert YouTube videos

For further training click on the links below for resources from Eric Curts, Kasey Bell and myself.