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Study Strategies for Finals!

Today's post is an update for suggested strategies teachers and students can use for final exam preparation.  I have added one additional strategy tip from the previous post!

As final exams approach, your students face the challenge of preparing for them.  Cognitive learning research provides insight into the best practices for studying. 

 The Top 2 Study Strategies are Retrieval Practice and Spaced Learning: Retrieval Practice  Retrieval Practice is the act of pulling information out of your brain.  You remember what you know about a word, topic, or lesson, pull itout of your mind and then articulate it in some way.  For example, you write down everything you can remember.  This is the way your brain really wants to learn!  
Retrieval Practice is the opposite of reviewing notes or the textbook and trying to 'stuff' the knowledge into your brain!

Teacher Action:   If you are holding review session(s) or providing review documents, incorporate places for students to write eve…
Recent posts

Google Slides + Audio for Student Narrated Presentations

Your classroom has wide-ranging student needs and situations.  Some of your students may have conditions that make presenting in front of the class challenging.

Google Slides provide a lot of flexibility for students who might be reluctant to present in front of the class.  I'm including a few ideas on how you might use Google Slides (or Adobe Spark!) for students with conditions that make presenting a challenge.   Or,  you can use the tools to provide practice for students in a less anxiety-inducing environment.

Narrate the Slide Deck Slide by Slide:
As I mentioned in my last post, Google Slides now allows you to add audio files to your slides.  You can use any program that allows you to create an audio recording, but I like online-voice-recorder.  Students record what they would say for each slide, and add the audio file to the slide. (Insert>Audio).   Set the audio to autoplay as the slide is clicked, and you have a narrated slide deck!  (Refer to my last blog post for more …

Add Audio to Google Slides

Google Slides provide the most flexibility of any tool in the Google App suite.  Some people call it the Swiss Army knife of Google!  Now you can add audio files! 

From the Google Slides top toolbar, select Insert>Audio for any audio file stored in your Google Drive. 

Your audio file appears on the slide in the form of a sound icon.
Select the icon and Format options dynamically appear on your menu bar:

Click Format options and playback options are now available to you on the right side of  your screen:

You can control how the audio file starts playing, its volume, if it should continuously play, or whether to stop or not when the slide changes.   Why would I use this option? If you use Google Slides as your presentation software for your courses, I'm sure you can think of a wealth of ways to incorporate audio into your classroom.  A few I thought of:
Add music files to the first slide, so music plays as students enter the room.  Add ambient background noises to 'set the mo…

Rethinking the Rubric

Rubrics can be problematic for teachers.  Rubrics cost time to create, students may ignore/not understand project requirements if rubrics are complex,  and Rubrics may introduce grading concerns.  (Do you find you tweak your ratings to end up with the grade you think the student deserves? )

My last few posts have been about Rubrics and ways to use them to make grading more efficient.  This post poses the question:

How can I change my Rubric so it is more user friendly for me and my students?
In my previous posts, I used a typical rubric example:

Does this rubric template serve you best?   Based on this blog post by Jennifer Gonzalez of Cult of Pedagogy and Mark Wise, consider these 5 steps to 'Repair your Rubric':

1.  Measure what really matters Simplify: Single Point Rubrics: Sometimes, we create Rubrics with many categories.  Lots of categories make it hard for students to focus on their expected learning outcome.   Consider using a Single Point Rubric.  The rubric language …

Self Grading Rubrics

Grading is definitely NOT one of most teachers' favorite tasks.  Feedback is so vital to the learning process, yet providing that feedback is time-consuming and sometimes soul-crushing.  In a previous blog post, I talked about using your phone to grade a rubric quickly using Google Forms while students were presenting.  Today we'll explore the useful tools automatically created for you when using Google Forms as a rubric.

Using the simple rubric example from the previous post, we assigned the grade ourselves.  Using the Individual tab in the Responses section, you can see each individual presentation you graded. 

You can click the three dots and select 'Print all responses' to print a copy of the graded rubric to share with your students. 




Automatic Grading with a Rubric
Creating a related Google Sheet:
One of the fabulous features of Google Forms is that you can create a linked spreadsheet with one click.  Click the Green + sign on the Responses tab and generate a li…

Schedule Emails and Personalize your Responses Efficiently

Google always innovates and changes.  They have just added three new features to help you efficiently respond to email.  You will want to check them out!


Schedule email: Next to the Send button while composing an email, you will notice a small arrow.  Click the arrow, and you will have the option to schedule the time the email is sent.

Why would you want to schedule your emails?    Have you ever emailed a parent, student, or colleague and they answered your email immediately?  You respond, they respond back, and before you know it half of the time you scheduled to do more important tasks is gone. 

Email efficiency experts suggest you answer emails two or three times per day at a set time.  (For example, I respond to email first thing in the morning, after lunch, and right before I go home.)  They also suggest scheduling email responses to send during a time when you are scheduled to look at your email again or after you have left work.  If the email sent after work hours, responders …