Looking for a project to connect your students to students in another geographic area? The Global Read Aloud project may be something you'd like to consider.
The project has chosen four books you can either have your students read, or you can share it with them as a read aloud. You then decide how your students will connect with another class - you can Skype, use a Google Hangout, or even communicate asynchronously through Edmodo or a blog.
One of my favorite books, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is on this year's list. This year, Peter Reynolds has been chosen for the author study.
The project begins October 6th and ends November 14th. There is a weekly reading schedule,making it easy for everyone to share projects and discussions.
While I didn't participate in Global Read Aloud, I did an number of collaborative projects over the years with my students and students in other geographic locations. It was always a fun and enriching experience.
If you decide to participate, I'd love to hear about it.
EduWin/YouCanBookMe from Dianna Talley
For many of you, it is time to think about scheduling Parent-Teacher Conferences. Dianna Talley found a great web app that works well with Google Calendar. YouCanBookMe is a free service. They have a special account for teachers, specifically designed for you to book Parent-Teacher conferences.
It is pretty easy to set up, but first, make sure you apply for the non-profit status. Since our USD e-mail addresses don't end in .edu, it might take a few days for them to approve it, but once they do, you will have access to some of the premium features. I used the "sign in with Google" feature from my USD GAFE account.
There are a lot of features you can customize, including the theme of the calendar choices the parents will see.
You decide which days and times are available to book, as well as the length of the appointment.
Once a parent signs up, they and you get an automatically generated confirmation e-mail with all of the details.
Here is a video you can watch to walk you through the set-up. It is a bit long, but covers all of the features.
There is a word of caution from their website worth pointing out to Middle School teachers who have a number of students. Copied here from the website, just so you don't miss it:
"When setting up a schedule for Parent/Teacher conferences, we strongly advise you to disable the two "Google guest" features on the Afterwards tab > 'google'.
Google may need to send emails on your behalf to manage the invitations for these guests. In that situation, Google Calendar strictly regulates how many messages it sends out to anyone associated with your event. The result could be that not everyone is able to complete their booking through the system, as the Google system is set to prevent any 'volume' notifications that could be seen as spammy.
Parent/Teacher conferences are one example where this can happen - since hundreds of bookings are likely on the day the bookings open, you can easily pass the Google limits. Keeping these two options set off will completely avoid the problem."
If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.