Clip this onto educlipper

Sunday, March 31, 2013

You Tube Clean a Great Tool

Every once in a while you come across a little find that is a big deal, YouTube Clean is such a find. We all have watched YouTube videos only to have the comments or side videos ruin the experience. Few things are more annoying than the side videos and lame and inappropriate comments. The nice thing about YouTube Clean is all you have to do is type clean directly after the word YouTube in the URL for this to work. For example one of my favorite Improv Everywhere YouTube videos is Dollar Store Black Friday the URL is as follows:

(Note: this is not the embed code, it's the actual URL.) To convert this to YouTube Clean all you have to do is add clean after youtube and before the .com It will look like this

That's all you have to do. No annoying comments or side videos. Just the video itself.

At times I will have a URL on my website calendar to have students watch for homework and I always worry about it having inappropriate comments and side videos. This is a nice way to not worry about that.

If you are showing to a group now you don't have to worry about comments being profane or the side videos being objectionable.

Give it a try it's easy.

It won't filter the video itself though, so don't think if has profanity or suggestive scenes it will be taken out, it won't. It only removes the side videos and comments.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Student Choice Project: Inquiry, passion, focus for students and the teacher

Fourth term traditionally has been final project term. I have tweaked this for the past five years and last year felt good about the types of projects that were being produced. However, that didn't save me from tinkering again. Inquiry and passion are two important ingredients in learning and education and I feel that I have to allow my students to tap into them more than I previously have done. Which led me to decide to allow student's to choose their own topic and presentation method (website, video, art, slide show, etc...)

I decided to ask my students about this process with a google form survey. The results were surprising in some ways, not so much in others. I wasn't really surprised that students were roughly split on whether or not they cared about the presentation method. I was surprised that while students wanted to choose their topic, they wanted a comprehensive list to view when considering topics. Nearly every student accepted the presentation methods I suggested, only a couple students made suggestions in addition to the ones I offered.

I think it's important to remember that while these students are ninth graders (14-15) they still look for and need guidance. They are passionate and inquisitive, but probably aren't as knowledgeable as they'd like to think they are. Especially when deciding a big final project. I believe they want to make informed choices before offering up a selection. Passion is one thing, focus is another, and I think the two combined make for an exciting proposition.

My plan is to implement a bit of the 'genius hour' idea and allow students a 45 min class period once a week to work solely on their projects. I will have to plan for some sort of ticket out the door accounting, but overall I am not worried about them using their time wisely. They get to pick the project so it will be what they want to do, not what I chose for them.

Also I believe most projects fail or aren't as successful as they could be because they are not structured properly. Too many teachers say this will be due in eight weeks and then are shocked when no one has started a few days before they are due. I am going to have an element of the project due each week so that as long as they follow the plan they will finish on time without any rush the day before. It will be a natural conclusion to their work.

My job along the way will be to push, prod, guide, challenge, get them to critically examine and think about their topic, add perspective and point of view, and help them understand and evaluate to the best of their ability their topic. In order to do that I will have be totally engaged in the process. I will need to be the teacher I dreamed of being when I started this journey. It's easy to sit behind a desk and let students work, sometimes it's good to let them get their hands dirty and get messy with the work, but I need to be at my best in order for me to expect them to be at their best.

While they are working on a focused, passion, inquiry driven journey I will have my own project. Can I transform my classes into the students I know they can become by being the teacher I know I can be? This is my drive, my passion. This is my final project of the year.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Class Dojo

Okay I realize that it has been an extra long time, way too long. For that I need to revamp what I am doing myself, a new years resolution in the middle of March. I attended UCET this past weekend and picked up a lot of great new ideas, tools, sites, etc... One of which surprised me Class Dojo. When I first saw this site I was taken aback. Here were these silly looking monster avatars that I could attach to each students names. I imagine this would work great with 3rd/4th graders but deep down I knew my 14-15 yr old 9th grade students would enjoy them. After putting the student names in, there is an option to add them by list, it attaches a monster to each name. If you give students the rights they can go in and pick the monster of their choice. Who knows I may get to that point, but what I really like is the option to randomize which student is selected. We were beginning class presentations and rather than just selecting who went next I decided to ask Class Dojo for help. The randomizer works well and does a nice job of picking students from all over the alphabet. We sat back and randomized and the students knew the order. I am certain this site is capable of much more than being a randomizer, in fact it has a great behavior management system, I am totally satisfied with the randomizer for now and so are the students. Nothing like having a monster avatar to get you motivated to work. If you haven't tried it or think your students are above it, think again. I'm betting any age group will fall for the monsters.