Book Covers with Adobe Spark

This marking period, we are focused on helping our students write for an authentic audience through the creation of eBooks. With many of the book creation tools we’ve explored this marking period, student authors have the option to upload their own cover. One tool we have used in other ways, Adobe Spark, also allows students to create their own custom book cover that will get the attention of their readers. Visit this post for an overview of how to use Adobe Spark to create your own book cover. Some of the advantages of using this tool include: designing a custom sized cover, pre-designed templates, easy access to photos, Google account login, and one-click exporting.

The image below was created using Adobe Spark and could be imported into Book Creator or Pages as the cover of an eBook.

Emphasize words in a Google Comments

Giving students feedback through Google is a powerful way to provide individual feedback and maximize instructional time. One common complaint from teachers is the limits of text formatting within a comment. By surrounding your text with different symbols, you can format the text of a comment to include bolded text, italics, or a strikethrough. For detailed instructions and a gif on the steps, visit Jake Miller’s Font Formatting in Google Comments.

Wednesday Website: PaperRater

This week’s Wednesday Website was shared by High School Teacher Intern Ariel Mickey. She shared about PaperRater, a free paper analytic service to check grammar. On the site, it can check for plagiarism, too! Just simply select the grade level of the student and viola, the site has analyzed your student’s paper.

It provides you a full log regarding the student’s spelling, grammar, word choice, style, organization methods, etc. When the site notes improper grammar or spelling, it offers suggestions for corrections. The site even offers its own automated grades — but as teachers, we’ll do that part ourselves. 🙂

Effective Vocabulary Instruction

Vocabulary is a key component of instruction. One place to learn about effective vocabulary strategies is Michael Kennedy’s Introduction to Special Education Podcasts Vimeo channel. This channel includes strategies for vocabulary instruction across disciplines. Another fantastic resource, also produced by Kennedy and his team, is Vocab Support. The resources linked on the Vocab Support website are designed for teachers to use directly with students. Visit the upper right-hand corner of the website, select CAP-Teacher Resources and visit the slideshows of vocabulary that include student friendly definitions, evidence-based practices for teaching vocabulary, and questions to check for understanding.
One way to effectively teach vocabulary is through the Frayer Model graphic organizer. This website provides an overview of the Frayer Model and how the strategy can be used with Google drawing. Here is a template you can share with your students through Google Classroom to open in Google Drawing. Here is another template that can also be used in Google Drawing.

Effective Vocabulary Instruction: Examples & Non-Examples from Michael Kennedy on Vimeo.

Stop, Think & Breathe

Last week, we featured Calm as a tool to practice mindfulness with students. For students across grade levels, educators can apply for a free premium membership to Stop, Think & Breathe. There are hundreds of sessions grouped by topic and labeled with the amount of time for each activity. These sessions are only available through the app, there is not a web version. If you are using this with a group of students, consider projecting your mobile device so that all students can view the session. Be sure to checkout the educator guide on the Stop, Think & Breathe website for ideas of how you might incorporate mindfulness into your lessons.

Another mindfulness tools for students and adults is Mindyeti. The free version includes 15 sessions. While this beta version is designed for students in the elementary levels, the exercises can be modified and used with older learners.

Working with secondary students? This blog post highlights how to use mindfulness with older learners.