How an Elementary Teacher Flipped Classroom with ShowMe

Meet Brian Quick, an elementary teacher in the Kansas City area. He started to use ShowMe three years ago and when asked how did the app change his way of teaching, he says ‘ShowMe is very easy to use, and made it very easy to flip my classroom. I wanted to make sure that the voice the students heard in my flipped videos was mine, and the language they heard was the same they heard in the classroom, and ShowMe helped make that possible.’

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Three Strategies for Teaching Grammar in ESL

Grammar can often be frustrating for ESL students, partly because many grammar texts contain exercises that use the “drill” method with sample sentences out of context. While the drilling method can be very helpful for students who are in beginning stages of learning English, it may become difficult for more advanced students to apply the structures in their own writing. To help students incorporate their newly learned grammar skills into their writing, teachers can ask students to practice specific skills in a paragraph. As students re-write drafts, the teacher can ask students to focus on another skill. This way, students will not feel overwhelmed or frustrated.

Showme has helped me to cut down on the time I spend lecturing on grammar structures in class. With the Showme tutorials, students can watch at home what they do not understand. In class, I can focus more on using the structures in context by asking students to write their own pieces. It is not completely “flipping” the class, but it has made a huge improvement in the way I structure my class sessions; they are no longer just grammar lectures with a bit of time to practice at the end.  I would like to share three strategies that I find successful in the ESL classroom.

First, it is important to collect errors unique to the cultural group(s) a teacher works with. For example, Chinese students tend to have trouble with articles because their language may not have a need for them, while Saudi and some Middle Eastern students tend to have difficulty with Subject-Verb-Object order. As teachers collect work samples, it is wise to also make a list of all the common errors. By using lists of these common errors, teachers can point them out to students so that they become aware that they are incorrect. I normally explain a grammar structure, and after the students have practiced it independently, I often make a list of errors made by previous students and ask them to correct them. Error-correction helps some students understand certain structures better. Creating Showme tutorials for common errors helps students to review them independently.

Second, use a lot of self-talks. This means that as I correct an error on the board, I talk out the steps: “First, I check that my subject and verb are correct; then, I see that the pronoun is “she” which is third person singular, and I see that this needs a third-person-singular‘s’”. I often ask students to do this at the board along with self-talks. Because they are ESL students, they have to internalize these steps. By speaking them out loud while they analyze, their brain has another chance to remember the steps. Of course, the structure of self-talks will depend on the students’ level. I have successfully done this with beginning, intermediate, and advanced English level students, both children and adults. I model self-talks in my Showme tutorials and have noticed that the students who watched them at home often use self-talks on their own in class.

Third, guided note-taking can help students who don’t have the best note-taking habits or lack note-taking experience. How does one take notes for grammar? In addition to what I post on the board and students’ individual notes, I ask students to circle, underline, and draw arrows just as I draw them on the board in their independent homework assignment. I have, over the years, noticed that students who practice this will also do it on an exam, and those students tend to score higher because they caught an error they made and erased it (this also takes years of collecting samples). A teacher will also be able to easily see which students are struggling with a concept because they will often circle or underline incorrectly. Note-taking helps to reinforce students’ memories. The Showme tutorials often show my own underlining and circling which helps encourage students to try out sample exercises the same way.

 After all these strategies have been practiced by the students, I often show a video clip and ask students to write a summary using specific structures from a unit (i.e. parallel structure, adverbs of time, etc.). I like to use Mr. Bean clips or Wallace and Gromit. They are short, funny, and usually have no complicated dialogue, so they’re ideal for any level (writing activities should be tailored accordingly for beginning levels). Finally, this is what Showme has enabled me to do more! I used to never find the time to show a video clip, but now that students get to review common errors in my Showme tutorials, students look forward to writing those summaries! Who would’ve thought? Many of my students used to groan whenever I mentioned a summary. With a video clip, they have something concrete to write about and although the class writes about the same clip, I end up with very original samples that students are proud of!

 

Using ShowMe to Develop Student Created Math Tutorials

This guest post is written by Kelly Wroblewski, a High School Math Teacher in Austin, TX. She and her coworker and fellow teacher William Kiker assigned a fantastic class project to their students, resulting an an entire website of support materials for their Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus classes. Check out the website here. 

This past semester, William Kiker and I (Kelly Wroblewski) applied to be part of a pilot iPad program at our high school.  As members of a small project based  learning community within Austin High School in Austin, TX, we latched on to the ShowMe app pretty quickly.  Some of our students use the Khan Academy website as a resource to supplement in-class instruction, but some topics were either unavailable or were not tailored to our courses or textbooks.  Mr. Kiker and I determined we could use the ShowMe app to create videos similar to those found on the Khan Academy website, but specific to our courses at Austin High. Rather than having students hear their teachers yet again in video, we decided to design a project where the students create the instructional materials.  Since we were implementing this project towards the end of the school year, it provided the opportunity for students to review for the upcoming state exam or reflect upon a specific topic from the school year, depending on the needs for that course.

This project required that students create a short instructional video supplemented by a video guide document to lead the viewer through the content and a quiz to assess the viewer’s knowledge over the skills that were taught in the video.  The topics ranged widely from specific objectives from the state exam to specific Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus concepts.  Though the concepts were quite specific, it was interesting to observe the unique ways in which the students decided to present the topics in their videos.  Using ShowMe as a medium allowed for creativity and individuality while still guiding students to accomplish the overarching video creation task.  What we have compiled as a result of student submissions is our significantly more customized AHS Academy website where students can go for Austin High specific assistance with their math courses.

Overall, this project was a great learning experience for all involved, especially the teachers.  Mr. Kiker and I will be implementing version three of this project next school year in the hopes of expanding and improving upon the current content.  For more information on this topic, or to provide feedback regarding the website, please email me at kwroblew@austinisd.org or Mr. Kiker at william.kiker@austinisd.org.

 

A Great Tool for Graphing

WARNING: Math-related content! Handle with care!..

My math teacher in high school was really good at drawing figures and graphs. He could draw a circle almost perfectly with only one move. Though my drawing is good, I am not as good as him. Especially, I have a hard time when it comes to drawing accurate graphs in the class. By the time I started suspecting if a ruler might help, I discovered this website; GraphSketch.com.

It is extremely handy if you teach how to graph functions. You can use this website to draw your graphs accurately for hard-copy worksheets, or to draw your graphs while teaching, or to have images of the graphs for your ShowMe’s.

Introduction first:

When you go to the website, what you see is a coordinate plane. If you scroll down, you see the parameters. Here, you can type up to 6 functions, each graphed with a different color, adjust the size of the coordinate plane, display the numbers on the axes according to your choice, adjust the thickness of the graph, and even the size of the image!.. I can write a long paragraph for each setting, but it is always the best when you explore yourself.

At the bottom of the page, you may see the table for assistance on how to write certain type of functions. This is really helpful as the website doesn’t have a tool to type mathematical symbols, like the powers or the square roots, etc.

And the best part is, you can either save your graph, or get a “permanent link”. To save your graph as an image, click on the link just under the coordinate plane, and then save the image as usual. To get a permanent link, just right click on the “permanent link to this graph page” and click on “copy link location”. Then you can share the graph by sending this link via e-mail or pasting it to your website, etc.

I really enjoyed using Graphsketch in teaching graphs of radical functions. I no longer draw graphs with color pens on the board, which actually are ‘sketches’ rather than accurate graphs. I can graph several functions in Graphsketch, but “three is a crowd” in my manually drawn graphs. Moreover, I save time; typing the function is all that I have to do. And here is how I used this amazing yet simple tool in my ShowMe. You can compare my manually drawn graphs to the ones drawn with Graphsketch.

My students also liked the website. Actually, it is a good way for them to discover the nature of the graphs of functions. They can start with a parent function ( y = √x, in my case), and then insert numbers and four operations to realize the graphing process, understand the transformations, or compare the graphs of different functions, etc.

If I was asked to improve it, I would add “percentage” option for changing the size of the image. This is a good option if you want to change the size but keep the scale of width and height of the image. Also, I’d like it to draw graphs of implicit functions, as well, but I think this option is way too harder to add than the percentage option.

For the ones who dare to read this article until here, feel the relief; it is over. Thanks for your patience.

 

How-To: Email ShowMes directly to Evernote

Evernote is a really fantastic organization tool for both teachers and students.  The notebooks you create can be accessed on your computer, iPhone and iPad. But did you know you can also email your ShowMes directly from you iPad to your notebooks in Evernote? With this strategy students no longer have to worry about losing schoolwork. Teachers can also create e-portfolios for each student and students can email you directly with their name #hashtagged! This can be a powerful and efficient way to have students submit ShowMes (or other work). Here’s how to do it.

Evernote provides an email for every account. You can find it by logging in and clicking to human outline on the top right corner of the page. Here you will see a “Settings” option. When you click that it will take you to a page that lists information about your account, including your evernote email. Use this email address to send ShowMes directly into your account. Emailed notes will go directly into your default notebook.

You can direct your ShowMe to a particular notebook by simply including key tags in the subject line of your email. (Use the guide above from Evernote to help.) Happy organizing!

 

 

How-to: Embed your ShowMe into a Prezi presentation!

This How-to comes to us from Peg Hartwig of Marshfield, WI. One of her students was asked to make a STEM project and discovered the ability to embed a ShowMe into a Prezi presentation. It looks really awesome and she has kindly shared instructions so that you call can make your own.  Make sure to watch the original presentation (and inspiration for this post) Distance of Celestial Bodies in Space.

  1. Upload your ShowMe to your account from your iPad
  2. Log into the ShowMe website and navigate to your name in the top right corner. Hover over it to make a menu appear
  3. Click on “Edit ShowMes” and select the ShowMe you wish to download by clicking “download”. The file will save to your computer as an mp4.
  4. Next, open Prezi and go to the tool wheel to insert a file. Select the ShowMe from your downloads folder and click OK/Upload. The video will appear in your Prezi!
  5. You’re all set to go!
Peg also kindly created this ShowMe tutorial to help you follow along!
 

How-to: Have students use ShowMe to teach each other!

I recently went to 7th grade classroom in Mineola, NY where they proudly declare their classroom motto is “think different!” I was incredibly impressed with the students and teachers and totally jealous of the things they were getting to work on!

One really awesome thing that they told me about was the way they use ShowMe. Instead of the teacher creating lessons to share with students, after assessments the teachers figure out where each students’ strength lies. Students are then assigned a topic or a problem to teach using ShowMe. The last step in the process is to assign a student created ShowMe to another student who might be struggling or need a little extra help with the topic. Students get to learn from and help their peers which is what a 21st century classroom should look like!

If you think this is a great idea for your classroom, here is how to do it:

  1. Give your students an assessment or temperature check for understanding. You can also let them volunteer their favorite part of a unit!
  2. Assign each student a problem set or area of study to teach. They should be able to cover the subject in under 5 minutes.
  3. If you have one iPad in the classroom, set up a station in a quiet part of the room and create a schedule to let students know when they will be creating your ShowMes. If you have a cart or 1-to-1 classroom, let students work on their ShowMes in waves. The room can get quite noisy with 28 students all teaching at once!
  4. Each student should save and upload their ShowMe and then email the link to you. Save these links all in once place on a class website or blog.
  5. Assign these student created ShowMes as review work to help students who need to strengthen their skills!
 

How-to: Use ShowMe for in class presentations!

Today’s blog post is written by Julia Wilson, our awesome community intern, who you will be seeing more of on the blog! 

Have Students use ShowMe as a Replacement for In-Class Presentations

I’ve always been a fan of in-class presentations. From my experience, students tend to put more effort into something when they know it will be shared publicly with classmates. They also tend to gain a stronger grasp of the material when they are required to present it in their own words.
In Short: the students work a little harder and learn a little better.

Now think of ShowMe as a twist on the typical class presentation method. The students are still required to work together, research a topic, and practice public speaking skills while creating a well thought out presentation. But instead of having students preform in-class presentations, break the students into groups and have them use ShowMe to create a presentation instead.

Benefits:

1. Save class time. Student presentations are time consuming and it can be difficult to keep the attention of all students while their classmates present. If each group of students is given an iPad, ShowMe can save valuable class time because each group can create their presentation at the same time.

2. A Great assessment method. After the students upload their ShowMe you will be able to go back and watch the presentation at a convenient time for you. If you wanted the presentations to count as a graded assessment, you could easily go back and watch each ShowMe more than once. (Instead of racing to fill out a rubric for students while they present in-class.)

3. Easy Sharing. It is really simple to share a ShowMe, you can even embed the videos onto your school website! Did one group really create an exceptional lesson? You now will be able to share any of the presentations with other students, teachers and parents as often as you’d like.

So the next time you are considering in-class presentations I challenge you to have your students use ShowMe instead. Be sure to let us know how it works in your classroom!

 

How to: Use ShowMe with Speech and Language Learners [Part 2]

Yesterday’s post about using ShowMe with speech and language learners is actually part of a longer series of How-tos I’m going to write. Of all the ways we imagined people using ShowMe, hearing about how it has helped students with learning and speech differences is the most powerful and moving to me. I think for educators in this field there is something awesome about ShowMe because it allows for personalized lessons that foster independence and reflection. For students who don’t have these resources at their fingertips, I’m proud that many of these lessons have been uploaded to the community for anyone to learn from!

This how-to idea comes directing from Gailyn Ryan in Minnesota. Gailyn works in an elementary school and is always coming up with new innovative ways for special education teachers to help students. Every year incoming students focus a good chunk of time learning how to write their name. However, with many students in a class it can be hard to differentiate for every one, which is where ShowMe comes to the rescue! This is how Gailyn changed the way the lesson was taught:

  1. Create a new ShowMe
  2. Tap record, pick your pen color and start writing the name of the student across the screen.
  3. While you are writing each letter, explain how you are doing it (“A” start at the top and make a line to the bottom…”) Make sure to pause after each letter to say it out loud. Depending on the abilities of your students you might want to say the sound the letter makes too.
  4. When you are done writing, say the whole name out loud and then hit stop. Save your ShowMe and upload it.
  5. Have your student sit in front of the iPad or the computer with a paper and pen. Push play on the video player
  6. While your student is watching, they should be following along on their paper mirroring what you are doing in the ShowMe. They can stop, pause, rewind or re-play as many times as they’d like until they are confident in their new skill.
As with yesterday’s ShowMe, its important to have this ShowMe readily available on the internet for your student to watch at home or share with others! This lesson can definitely be adapted for many other writing lessons–names are just the start!