Friday, May 3, 2019

Video Reboot, Part 1 #flipblogs

I have needed and wanted to refresh some of my videos for the past 2 years. I have made new videos every year, but some of the videos I use are now 4 years old. Life has conspired against my best intentions, however, and there has been no opportunity to remake the videos that need remaking.

Since I'm currently on leave, I have more time, and the planning bug that bit a few weeks ago led to looking at video creation.

I have used Explain Everything for 4 years. My typical make-a-video routine is:

  • Create blank notes in Smart.
  • Export the notes as a PDF.
  • Upload the notes into Explain Everything.
  • Record the video as a screen-cast. I write on the blank notes as I explain what I am doing.
At the beginning of the year, I upgraded to Snagit 2019, and I decided I would like to try to use Snagit for video creation.

I looked at some videos explaining how to record Google Slides presentations using Snagit.



So I have spent the past week or so creating Google Slides. I am using Equatio to create the math. I am doing many things one line at a time so I can click in a line and explain it as I go.

It is taking a LONG time to create a video template.



I like the more professional look of the slides, and I like being able to use a few effects to make things look a little more "done."

I like that I'll be able to use the cursor as a pointer as I talk about things on the slide.

I'm afraid I'm going to miss writing on the notes.

The next step is to actually do some recording and see what it all looks like. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Keeping the Pace #flipblogs

Algebra 1 has a lot of standards.

And for 8th-grade Algebra 1, I have to teach about half of the 8th-grade standards in addition to all the Algebra 1 standards (advanced 7th-grade math gets the other half).

It's 61 standards in all.

Oh, and make sure you cover them in-depth, so that students have a conceptual understanding of them all and can demonstrate mastery.

This is not a problem unique to me. All teachers have a lot of material to cover and have to ensure their students know those standards.

But the last couple of years, I have struggled to cover all my standards. I've been going more in-depth with lots of standards (a good thing) and ending the year with more than a handful of standards uncovered (a bad thing).

So for the past week or so I've been working on my Algebra 1 pacing guide.




I started with broad topics and then sorted my standards into the topic(s) they belonged.

Yes, I wrote out all my standards, some of them multiple times.

I then started deciding which standards would take less time and the ones I for which I would need more days.

I found a great website - When Math Happens - with a workable pacing guide AND complete lessons for Algebra 1! I also found Better Lesson, where I can find lessons for specific standards, even the ones I read and think, "So how do I teach THAT?!?" I'm reading information about how to spiral math from Kyle Pearce and John Orr.

And a plan is coming together. It's still largely in my head, but I'm confident it will (mostly) materialize.

Will I be able to cover all of it? We shall see, but I'm optimistic.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Beat Goes On #flipblogs

There's a new #flipblogs challenge!

I'm still on leave and thus not experiencing a lot of blogging inspiration, but the school part of my brain has been kicking into gear, so I have a few things I can blog about.

I'm asked pretty regularly, "Do you miss being at school?" and the honest answer is, "Not really." I do miss my students and friends, and I'm looking forward to returning to the classroom in the fall (Lord willing), but it has been a blessing to be able to focus on what is the priority.

There was a fleeting thought early in my leave of, "What if I don't want to go back?"

While I knew the answer, it was confirmed last Friday.


I went to school to accompany my Algebra Team to the county math tournament.

The first student I saw was my student who is blind. I was having a conversation with a teacher friend, and the student came to stand near us. I told her, "Hi," and she said, "Mrs. Gibbs??? Mrs. Gibbs!!!" She literally shook she was so excited, and she brought tears to my eyes.

As I spent the day with my team and then saw more students after school - who came to give me hugs and seemed genuinely happy to see me - I realized my teacher-heart still beats strongly.

I'm thankful for the opportunity and ability to take some time off when I needed it, but this teacher still loves doing what she does and is excited to be able to continue doing it.