Monday, September 28, 2015

Oh my dear sweet DINOs! I had a "duh" moment last week.  I thought I was tech savvy enough to get the kids started on Blogger and then have them place an RSS feed to their websites.  If you aren't tech savvy, you are probably thinking I'm speaking a foreign language right now! Lol.  

An RSS feed is a web feed that publishes frequently updated information: blog entries, news headlines, audio, video from another source.  You may have subscribed to an RSS feed at one time or another. It just pushes the info into one feed and location.

First, I had the students blog on Blogger to get a feel for blogging.  It is different when you ask them to blog in another language.  Expect less but set high expectations for quality.  On a different day, we came back to the Google Sites and set up an RSS feed gadget.  I've included directions for that here.

Here's my RSS feed on my Google Site. 

I checked and double checked my directions. I tried it out on my "fake" sites/Blogger etc. I thought I was prepared.  To my surprise, none of the students were successful in adding the RSS feed.  It kept popping the same stupid message "cannot parse the feed".  I was ready to chunk all the technology out the window!  I scratched that idea and goal for the day and did some investigating over the next several days.  Turns out because I had my students set up as private on their Blogger account, they couldn't "parse the feed".  As soon as I had my students change their settings in Blogger, we were all set! Man, sometimes you gotta just roll with the punches! Don't give up!

Now that our RSS gadget is all set up, we will never have to do it again, (Praise the Lord) and it automatically pulls their blog posts to their website. How awesome is that!  I will keep the posts coming. Next item we are working on is the digital locker for each unit. Wish me luck!!!! Back in the trenches I go!

Friday, September 4, 2015

DINOs to the Rescue!

My Google Sites Website Template...

I am absolutely L-O-V-I-N-G the Google Chromebooks in my classroom! This has been such a huge blessing this year.  These Chromebooks have been the very reason I started to use Digital Interactive Notebooks (DINOs).

So how's the DINO coming, well...we are off to a good start. I finally got a template worked up thanks to one of my coworkers-- shout out to Steph. Once I got the template set up the way I liked, it was super easy. The students used my template and created their own website. I will say, Google Sites is not the most user-friendly website creator out there, but since we are a Google school, I felt it was easiest for the students to upload items from their Drive.

I gave my level two students the review project that I give them every year during the first week of school. I divide them into about 7-8 groups and have them take a unit from level one to teach and review. They create a Google Slide presentation and activities for the class.  Since everything is Google, when they finished I shared all the group presentations via Google Classroom and had them link them to their websites. It was super easy.  It took about 10-15 min for them to link the presentations on their site.  I imagine that this process will get faster as I do this more often.  I was pretty impressed.  We didn't have one glitch in any of my classes.  It was a miracle.  I kept waiting for something to go wrong, but it never did.

I did give the students a information sheet that explained how to link and get things from Classroom to their website. I've uploaded those instructions here.  You can create your own Google Sites template for your class and give them similar instructions.

On their websites is now a "Level 1 Review" tab with each of their classes' group presentations linked for easy access and review at any time.  Here is the link to my template where you can see where the students would link the presentations.

We are doing more DINO work this next week.  I will post how it goes! Wish me luck!