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Need a fun way for students to get to know each other? Throughout the past 8 years, I have designed several online courses and MOOCs. We start with a fun get to know you activity, which usually is the 321 Introduction. I noticed this activity has become super popular in many online course; therefore, for The Goal-Minded Teacher MOOC (#EduGoalsMOOC), I decided to try another activity in case I had participants who had taken my previous courses. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and other popular mobile apps make it super easy for users to add stickers and emojis to their images. For this introduction activity students are asked to choose a profile image to upload to Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Pic-Collage, Buncee, BeFunky, or any other image editing app and add three stickers to describe themselves. Students post the image to their online class platform or Learning Management System (LMS) and let others know what the 3 stickers mean. See some of the #EduGoalsMOOC participant examples below to see the fun and creativity. Check out our Pinterest board with other examples.

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

Intro activity! Introduce yourself to the community with 3 fun stickers! Join the free #EduGoalsMOOC Feb. 13-Mar. 23rd, set & achieve small goals to transform your teaching! Meet teachers worldwide! https://t.co/wxknM3DEEy #30GoalsEDU #Edchat #Education #Teachers pic.twitter.com/lbG13OWlLl

— Shelly Sanchez (@ShellTerrell) February 6, 2018

This is my presentation. I love animals and reading. I laugh a lot and I like dancing
#EduGoalsMOOC pic.twitter.com/AC9WQ7FbhI

— odette arauzo (@odette_arauzo) February 15, 2018

#EduGoalsMooc motivation to achieve my goals, yoga and pilates to keep a mindfulness journal and music to heal my soul❤️🧘‍♀️pic.twitter.com/gp9xac9zKq

— Elaine Ricón (@lennypopat) February 13, 2018

This is Clara from Spain. Looking for new ways to motivate, always learning throughout the world #edugoalsmooc pic.twitter.com/uZjSFJLint

— Clara Cordero (@AgoraAbierta) February 13, 2018

Hi there! I am Mia, from Alabama, and I am super excited to be part of this community! A few things about me…I love the beach, and all things crafty! I love music, and the quote I live my life by is my personal reminder to create a positive change in this world! #EduGoalsMooc pic.twitter.com/2V05vAlr1D

— Mia Terry (@IgniteALVA) February 19, 2018


Challenge: Try this get to know you activity with your students!

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Today, the first live event of The Goal-Minded Teacher: Challenges to Transform Student Learning (#EduGoalsMOOC) free open online course took place. Below is the YouTube recording and the Twitter chat of our panelists sharing tips about teacher motivation, balance, and goal-setting. Our esteemed panelists who are educators in the US, Greece, and Portugal, include Lisa Dabbs (@TeachWithSoul), Theodora Papapanagiotou, (@DoraPap72), Nikki D Robertson (@NikkiDRobertson) Christina Chorianopoulou (@Kryftina) and Cristina Monteiro Silva (@cristimsilva). You can still join the free course and receive badges backed by the Ministry of Education in Spain and INTEF for activities you complete. The second week our focus is on student motivation and we will be designing learning missions and digital badges.

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com! Video Recording

The Goal-Minded Teacher Live Expert Teacher Panel Discussion - YouTube

Twitter Chat Archive
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“Great classrooms are characterized by positive, open relationships, mutual respect, and a shared responsibility for the learning process.”- Robert John Meehan

School tragedies occur way too often nowadays. Often we find the students at the center of these tragedies didn’t feel they fit in. I know a bigger issue lies in dealing with mental health, but I also know too many classrooms do not help their students build relationships with each other and the teacher. Relationship building is an ongoing process. It means taking the time to engage all students in fun activities where students get to know each other. It also means pairing and grouping students effectively to accomplish meaningful activities where they can appreciate each other’s skills.

In my classes we do this by doing the following:

I tell my students at the beginning of the year we are a community and not a classroom. I also tell them that chances are they won’t succeed in college without friends and peers who support them and motivate them when it gets tough and it will get tough. This past week in my students’ journals several wrote about the friends they meet with and study with in our English class. I was so happy to read this, because I know that the effort to build a community is working.

Building a community and working on relationships is the “extra” I do. It isn’t part of my curriculum and not many professors take the time to do this. I feel it’s important and I’ve seen struggling learners exceed time and time again because they have the support of their peers. Part of the learning journey is ensuring our students have the support they need. I’m one teacher with hundreds of students each year. There is no way I can provide each the support and feedback to help them throughout their journey. If my learners can help each other then they have helped me be a much better teacher.

In my blog and in my books I continually share lessons, templates, activities, and resources to help you transform your classes into communities. Make it a goal to make room for relationship building. Cyberbulling and bullying has definitely impacted our learners. It’s time every student no longer feels alone.

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

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“The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of.”- Blaise Pascal

People around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day! It’s a holiday that inspires our learners to let friends, family members, and loved ones know how much they care about them by sending cute cards and sweets. However, you can also inspire students to learn grammar, math, geography, science, and more with the 14 Valentine’s Day inspired activities below. I’ve also included a global project for learners to connect with peers worldwide and learn about their culture. Connecting students with peers worldwide is one of the missions in my new book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions.  Check out the slides from my recent webinar, Valentine’s Day Activities Students of All Ages Will Love! (Download as a pdf).

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

14 Valentine’s Day Inspired Activities
  • Students can send free digital greetings to their loved ones, peers, another class, nursing homes, cancer wards, orphanages, or the military with Buncee, Chatterpix Kids app, Ink Cards, Animoto, Canva, Magisto, Pic-Collage, 123Greetings, or Red Stamp. First, allow them to create their messages or poems on paper and have their peers edit for grammar errors. Students can add drawings or photos to many of these web tools and apps.
  • Get your students to send their digital greetings to students worldwide by joining the Virtual Valentines global project. Your students can just send their Valentines or also Skype with the other class.
  • If you’d teach math then your students can send Math-o-grams with cool heart designs graphed. Students can see the equation worked out.
  • Add fun science learning to Valentine’s Day greetings by getting students to write their messages in invisible ink.
  • Students can learn cryptology by turning their Valentine’s Day message into a coded message or rebus for peers to decypher. Try MyRebus where students create quick virtual rebus messages to email. If you have more time then use this lesson plan to get students to create their own secret coded language.
  • Very young learners will enjoy learning words, spelling, and phonics by creating digital greetings on Starfall to send to fun characters.
  • For some grammar and fun try playing the Valentine’s Day inspired M.A.S.H game on iOS and Android.
  • Students can create love poems with the free digital Love Magnetic Poetry Kit.
  • Students can learn about concrete poetry here (shape poetry) and create their own heart shaped poem using the Neoformix Word Hearts generator.
  • Use Tagxedo to create Valentine’s Day inspired word clouds with adjectives to describe their loved ones. Tagxedo lets you create word clouds in the shape of hearts or with the profile of the person.
  • Use candy hearts as writing prompts.
    • Students choose 3 to 5 and include the words in a poem or story.
    • Another idea is to break students into pairs, they choose 3 to 5 candy hearts,  and then they write a dialogue or text message conversation including the words. They can try this free sms chat generator created by Class Tools!
  • Instead of eating the candy hearts, you can instruct your elementary students to save them to learn science with this candy hearts experiment.
  • Candy and sweets are especially popular during Valentine’s Day, which makes it a perfect time to learn math and science by making candy. Find several recipes that I’ve bookmarked here.
  • I’ve created this free writing activity for students in which they work in pairs to create a recipe for a love potion. After the pairs write down the ingredients, they can learn math and science with these recipes for making a fizzy potion they can drink.

Challenge: Try one of these activities with your students! Post more ideas in the comments below.

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“The whole being of any teacher is within our hearts. Although education prepares us to teach, it is the love of learning that sustains us.”- Robert John Meehan

I am excited to announce that after a year collaborating with INTEF (Instituto Nacional de Tecnologías Educativas y de Formación del Profesorado) and the Ministry of Education and Culture in Spain, The Goal Minded Teacher: Challenges to Transform Student Learning (#EduGoalsMOOC) free open online course will launch on February 13, 2018. This Massive Open Online Course is based on The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, but this isn’t a requirement. Any teacher is invited to join and walk through the steps of learning how to regularly set instructional goals and transform the teaching and learning in their classes. Unlike most professional development, we work with you in finding out which goal setting strategies work best for you. We also help you determine goals you have as a teacher and help you to focus on the numerous “wins” so that you are motivated to continue striving for more! Below are 9 reasons why you should join this incredible professional development opportunity. Your moderators for the 5 modules are Fabiana Casella (@FabLCasellaEDU) from Argentina, Kelly Jake Duncan (@JKDNCN) from Texas, and me (@ShellTerrell).

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

Course trailer "The Goal Minded Teacher: Challenges to Transform Student Learning" #EduGoalsMooc - YouTube

  • This free online course helps you set and achieve individual and collaborative instructional goals. Learning how to set achievable, short-term goals is so powerful! It means you experience more “wins” as a teacher and are motivated to achieve more!
  • The Goal Minded Teacher offers you an incredible opportunity to develop a Personal/Passionate Learning Network (PLN)! The educators you meet will share resources, experience, and offer support! Some of the people you meet will remain your friends for life!
  • Learn how to collaborate with teachers worldwide! INTEF offers some of the materials in Spanish and attracts a global audience of teachers more so than most professional development. We encourage you to partner up and create materials together.
  • Participate and learn in various ways! We will share and meet regularly on our Facebook group, Twitter (#EduGoalsMOOC), and through weekly live events (expert panels on Google Hangouts). We also show you videos for each module!
  • Earn a badge for your efforts, which is backed by INTEF and the Ministry of Education in Spain!
  • Learn from experts around the world through our live events.
  • Learn how to integrate technology effectively through hands-on collaborative tasks and materials development.
  • Participate in hands-on activities you can apply now to your instructional practice.
  • Keep a digital portfolio of your accomplishments and digital badges for current and future employment opportunities.

Challenge: Join the #EduGoalsMOOC now!

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“The adolescent mind is essentially a mind or moratorium, a psychosocial stage between childhood and adulthood, and between the morality learned by the child, and the ethics to be developed by the adult” (Erikson, 1963, p. 245).

I began teaching teenagers in 2004 in Texas. I really enjoy teaching teenagers and supporting them in becoming strong individuals ready to conquer the world as adults when they leave my classes. Teaching teenagers is much harder today than when I was a teenager. With social media, teens are constantly evaluated by peers and people worldwide. Bullying is a rampant problem and impacts millions of teenagers. according to the famous theorist, Erikson, teenagers are at the 5th Stage of Development, called the Identity vs. Role Confusion (12-18 yrs. old) stage. Teens are developing their identities, focused on fitting in, establishing beliefs, and defining their values and goals. My new book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies with EdTech Missions, has 10 digital missions to help teachers support their teenage students in establishing their identities and defining their goals using technology and digital devices. Below, find 10 different types of activities and tons of resources to address the developmental needs of your teenage students.

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

  • One way to help your teenage students set goals for their future is with vision boards and dream boards! Check out resources and lesson ideas here.
  • Get students to reflect on their identities with selfie challenges which is one of the missions in my book. Find selfie activities, resources, and apps here. Find a free Epic Selfie Adventure template here.
    • Students can create selfie comics with the Comics Head (iOS/Android) app, Friendstrip (iOS/Android) app, or selfie comic videos with the Lomics (iOS/Android) app.
    • Teens can create selfie avatar videos with Gabsee (iOS/Android) app.
  • Host collaborative video discussions and debates using the
    Flipgrid (iOS/Android) app and web tool or VoiceThread (web/iPad) app. Flipgrid is especially motivating for teens with emoji reactions and other cool features.
  • Get your teenage learners to create podcasts, host a radio talk show, or create other audio projects. Find resources and web tools and apps here.
    • Students can learn how to conduct interviews with the lesson plans and questioning tips from StoryCorps.
  • Teens communicate and express themselves with emojis, text speak and emoticons. Bill Nye has a new video series #EmojiScience where students can snap an emoji and receive science videos. Find more emoji resources and activities here.
  • Teens love creating videos. Get them working in small groups to produce animated movies, claymation videos, tv commercials, news reports, documentaries, DIY/How-to videos, tutorials, silent films, and other types of films. Find resources and web tools and apps here.
  • Teens are motivated by game based learning and gamification. Find resources and web tools here.
  • Teenagers love creating playlists and discovering music. Check out these resources for getting students to learn with popular music and hip hop.
  • Students also enjoy memes. Get them to create memes about the rules or to express how various characters feel with Meme Generator. Students can also find several math and science memes as well.
  • Teens love puns and gifs. Get them to learn with gifs with the following resources:

Challenge: Try one of these ideas to engage learners in your classroom this year!

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“… these tests are unable to measure all of what it is that makes you the valued person who you are.” – Principal Len Christie

In Chapter 17: Re-evaluate Value of the The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, I discuss the high stakes associated with standardized testing:

Standardized testing is stressful for students, parents and teachers. You might feel like me that they are detrimental to learning and a plague on the education system. Even though I’d like to abolish them completely, I realize standardized testing is part of the education system and not going away anytime soon. Therefore, teachers need to help students learn strategies and tips to help them pass tests. The strategies below not only help students cope with the stress and inequality of standardized testing, these strategies also help students cope with stress in their lives. These strategies are also included in a slide presentation you can download as a pdf. Click to access the bookmarks. ​​

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

Strategies and Resources
  • Write students and parents a letter letting them know students are worth more than their scores, such as this inspiring letter written by Principal Len Christie.
  • Provide students with information on any accommodations given to them and how they can apply for these accommodations.
    • The Americans with Disabilities Organization provides information about these accommodations here.
    • All parents should be given this information early, because sometimes students, especially in the primary years, haven’t identified learning disabilities.
    • Make sure students apply before any deadlines.
  • Let parents and students know how to opt out of standardized testing and alternatives. The National Center for Fair Testing provides important information on how to write letters and alternatives to standardized testing in the US.
  • Much research shows standardized testing doesn’t fairly assess students and associated with unfair high stakes. To help students achieve higher scores you will need to familiarize students with the format and procedures, time limits for each section, materials they are allowed to bring, scoring, what is included in each section, requirements, and any general information (location, times to take the test, the temperature, etc).
  • Get students to practice taking the test with no penalties so they can become familiar with the test format and procedures as well as identify areas of confusion, low scoring areas, stressors, and base knowledge.
  • The Khan Academy website and iOS/Android app has excellent resources for prepping for the SATs, GMAT, MCAT, CAHSEE, IIT JEE, and NCLEX-RN.
    • I especially like the Khan Academy SAT prep resources which include practice tests, identifying problem areas in conjunction with College Board, and specific feedback on written essays.
  • Find many different practice tests and test prep help with the following web tools and apps- Shmoop, Accuplacer by the College Board, Prep Factory (get help with SATs, ACTs, PARCC, and SABC exams), and Exam Elf (free website and mobile app to help with STAAR, PARCC, and Test Taking Strategies for Adolescents).
  • Get students to develop and jot down strategies for addressing any confusion, sections that trouble them, and dealing with stressors in a personalized and colorful test prep playbook. Find examples of test prep playbooks here.
    • Include ideas, such as get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast, and believing in themselves.
    • Help students come up with strategies for when they don’t know the answers, don’t understand the question or instructions, are running out of time, get tired, lose focus, or are unmotivated to continue. Strategies in their playbooks might include doodling, stretching, breathing exercises, or give themselves pep talks.
    • Familiarize them with Growth Mindset Strategies. Class Dojo has excellent short animated videos to help students develop confidence with Growth Mindset.
  • Help them deal with the stress with humor! Create memes.
  • Testing in a native language can often help students get higher scores in English. They should of course practice in both languages. Practice tests in different languages can be found at Shmoop.
  • Try test prep stations where students take turns completing different tasks. Find this activity here.
  • Make it interesting! Take a look at this amazing Pinterest board with fun ways to prepare for tests.
  • Assess with the same scoring guide as the tests so students are familiar with the scoring system.
  • Quizlet (iOS/Android/Web) is a great study tool for learning vocabulary with digital flashcards and games to help learners with vocabulary common in various types of exams.
  • Also check out Scholastic’s Standardized Test Prep Lesson Plans full of ideas.

Challenge: Try one of these testing strategies this year to prepare students.

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“Learn with great passion. Learn with great enthusiasm.” – Lailah Gifty Akita

Google apps have so many features to help your students collaborate, brainstorm, research and create effectively with technology.  Google also makes collecting and assessing digital activities much easier and quicker for teachers. In this blog and in my new book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions, I’ve created several Google Docs, Google Drawings, Google Forms, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Slides templates teachers can copy and edit. Find more Google tips, resources and templates by following the Google gurus listed below and by searching the recommended hashtags on Twitter. I’ve included a general overview of some of Google’s features in my presentation, Ideas for Teaching with Google Apps and Tools, which is free to download as a PDF.

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

Google Hashtags

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“There’s only one interview technique that matters… Do your homework so you can listen to the answers and react to them and ask follow-ups.” – Jim Lehrer

Our learners are inundated with news and information on a daily basis. In order for students to make sense of all this information and evaluate what is true they need to develop a critical eye. Part of this critical eye is learning how to gather knowledge from reputable sources. We can help our students learn this important process by getting them to conduct interviews with peers or experts. Conducting interviews and piecing together a newscast is one of the missions in my new book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions. Below, I have listed resources and web tools to help students practice conducting successful interviews. In my book I provide additional resources including an interview request template and evaluation form for analyzing professional interviews.

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com! Interview Resources
  • Students can use artificial intelligence to interview a person, such as a police officer or zookeeper, about a profession. Students download the free Google Voice Assistant app on Android or iOS devices.  Students say, “Ok Google, talk to everyday heroes.” Then the Google Assistant will provide you with a choice of people and professions to interview. Students ask the professional questions with tips from the Google Voice Assistant.  These are pre-recorded responses from real people who describe their jobs and answer other questions.
  • Storycorps has several resources to help students conduct an interview, which include the following:
    • Storycorps has amassed a list of Great Questions divided by topic for students to use to conduct their interviews. I have students choose a few to ask their peers as an introduction lesson to interviewing.
    • Check out Storycorps lesson plans and resources for educators with ideas and resources for students to conduct interviews and podcast.
    • The Storycorps (iOS/Android) app walks students through the process of great interview techniques then allows them to record a quick interview and archive it.
  • Flipgrid is is a video discussion iOS and Android app. Create a Grid (group), add your question or topic, and students contribute short video responses. You send students a code or link to make the discussion private. You can determine the length of the video, embed the videos, and download the videos. Students will enjoy the fun emojis they can add to videos.
  • Skype in Education has a great list of guest speakers who students can contact to request an interview. One of the best features on Skype is the powerful machine learning voice translator, which works in 8 languages and the text translator is available in more than 50 languages. The more students use the translator, the better it works! Get students to try conducting an interview with a person in another country and test the power of the translator.
  • The quickest and easiest way to record is with the free web based tool, Vocaroo. Registration isn’t required. Email the recording, provide a link, or listen with the QR code provided. You can embed this recorder on a website or blog and students can quickly click record and you’ll have the recording.
  • You can have students copy and use the Student Interview Buncee template embedded below to conduct peer interviews. A list of questions has been provided. Buncee allows students to record responses via their microphones or webcams.

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I teach college freshmen and soon will meet a new batch of learners. Students who take my class are preparing themselves for their official Freshman English class. This means my students didn’t receive strong scores on their reading and writing exams. I believe reading, writing, and learning is tied to engagement and interest. Everyone can read, write, and learn and likes to but many need don’t like to do any of this in school. I can empathize, because some of my favorite books I hated reading in school. Not until years later when I reread these books apart from the classroom did I truly get to enjoy them. Each semester I try to find new ways to help my students discover how they like to read, write, and learn. I also try to find new ways to motivate them to stay in college and stick it out, because when you teach college freshmen the retention rate is quite low. Many times by the end of the semester I might have as many as 40% actually make it through. This year I’ve decided to combine the One Word challenge with my Digital Vision Board idea and Buncee template students complete. Below are two examples of my words for my students, which are Try and Stun. Feel free to use the following example template with your students who are free to copy and edit as they like.  They will need a free Buncee account to do this.

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com! I’ve trained teachers in over 20 countries and consulted with ministries of education on their policies and programs.

STUN

I chose the word, “Stun,” for my students, because I want them to astonish people with their courage, determination, creativity, ideas, passions, and talents. I was inspired by seeing the audition from Britain’s Got Talent 2017, winner, Tokio Myer, which I’ve shared below. Tokio stuns the audience in the way he plays the piano. His expressions show you how much he loves to play the piano. In the audition, Tokio, shares how he grew up poor, but one day walked into a hall of music in London and decided to work hard till he received a scholarship to attend.

Winner of Britain's got Talent 2017 - Tokio Myers - Full Performances - YouTube

TRY

Try has always been the word I tell my students they need to do to succeed in my class. As long as they attempt every assignment and strive to attend every class then they will make an A or B. If I see they are trying then I will work with them. I was inspired by seeing the audition from America’s Got Talent deaf contestant, Mandy Harvey. In the example below, Mandy performs her original song, Try. She shares her story how she went deaf at 18 and lost her music career and everything she loved. She almost quit on life, but decided one day she had to try to dream again and try music again.

Mandy Harvey: Deaf Singer Earns Simon's Golden Buzzer With Original Song - America's Got Talent 2017 - YouTube

I hope one of these examples really touches my students this year and gets them to strive at completing their education and chasing their passions. My students come from poor areas of the city and my community college is a step towards a brighter future for them and their families. In some cases they will be like me and be part of the first generation to graduate from college. I’ll keep you updated on which of my efforts motivate them the most!

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