hyperdocs

Want To Know More About Teaching With Hyperdocs?

I’m so excited to be part of the Hyperdocs Hangout On Air! Today I’ll be interviewed by the HYPERDOC GIRLS – Kelly Hilton, Lisa Highfill and Sarah Landis! I’m such a hyperdoc fanatic – if you love hyperdocs, or just want to know what they are or start creating hyperdocs for your classroom, join us LIVE at 4:00 on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018! 

Can’t make it live? No worries – you can find the recorded hangout at this link: www.bit.ly/hyperdochangout10jw . You can watch it over and over again!

We’ll be chatting about all things HYPERDOCS – including challenges, my ‘aha’ moment, how to get started, inspiration and how hyperdocs have transformed my teaching.

hyperdocs

Are you wondering what all the hype is around hyperdocs?

You SHOULD be! Hyperdocs have absolutely transformed both my teaching and students’ learning. The organization, creativity and collaboration in my classroom is higher than ever before!

I’d love to share some of my favorite hyperdocs with you – just use these links to make a copy and add them to your teaching tool kit!

Hyperdocs from my English classes:

Hyperdocs from my AVID classes:

Are you looking for a specific type of hyperdoc? Would you like help? Do you want to COLLABORATE? Have you used one of my hyperdocs and made it BETTER?

I’d love to hear from you! Please comment, tweet, or Facebook me – and please join us or watch the recorded hangout!

 

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

Back To School, Digital Style

Back To School, Digital-Style

This year I’m going back to school with a twist – I’m going digital-style with my syllabus and lesson plans!

A few years back I experimented with different ways to engage students on the first day – and first weeks – of school. Building relationships, engaging my classroom and creating a sense of excitement helps me to keep a high energy level – absolutely necessary for teaching middle school – and also sets a tone of exploring new ideas, trying new strategies and risking failure.

Because seriously – we teachers are constantly asking our students to “push themselves”, to step out of their “comfort zone” and present their very best work, right? And yet how many teachers actually walk their talk? I’ve discovered that I build better relationships with my students when I do what I ask them to do, and as a result, we have a more productive, more creative and more growth-oriented classroom.

Last year was the year of hyperdocs for me – I wrote about how to teach narrative writing with hyperdocs, and have begun transforming nearly all my units into a digital-style package of pedagogy. I like that. I’m energized and invigorated and when I see what the students produce…mind blown!

This year I decided to go digital-style as much as I could for the first day, the first week, and beyond.

Going back to school, digital-style:

First, Creating a Digital Lesson Plan Book

To begin, I signed up for planbookedu.com. This is a HUGE step for me – I love tech, but still prefer to read a hardcopy and write in a spiral planner. I decided to switch to planbookedu, however, because in the process of hyperdoc-ing and transferring file cabinets to Google Drive, I found it challenging to access all the lessons that I had written down but had no direct digital link to. Having a digital-style plan book allows me to manage my multiple preps (4), to link my digital files onto each day/period, to copy the lesson for the one class that repeats and to search and save the plans for next year. I can also print it if needed. After researching the cost of purchasing a new paper planner, the fee for planbookedu seems well worth it.

Then, Digitizing My Syllabus

Back To School,digital-style

Next, I decided to digitize my syllabus. I’ve seen this trending online this year, and I found a shared Google Slide template I thought I could adapt. You can get a copy of it on my ‘free teaching and parenting resources’ tab of my website, jenniferwolfe.net. I’m not going to lie – it took me a good 4 hours to fiddle with the template, to fit in what I needed, to edit, revise, and edit some more…but then once it was done for one class, I just modify for my three other preps!

The amazing part of going digital-style with my syllabus was that it forced me to really THINK about how I wanted to present myself to parents and students; my hope is that the syllabus sticks around with them and becomes a reference point during the school year. On that end, I created a new technology and plagiarism policies and linked them to the syllabus for parents to review and return. I add links to my teacher Google site, to my class photo slide deck, my grading policies and my REMIND codes, and because it’s so visual I inserted more information than my paper syllabus ever did!

Finally, Using Google Slides For A Digital Daily Agenda

back to school digital style

Finally, I’m using Google Slides for creating a digital-style daily agenda that can be embedded on my website, shared with students and parents, and easily updated from home or school. This is probably my favorite change of them all. Last year I used a plain slide deck that I switched up fonts and colors every month to keep students engaged – this year I’m going to get a bit more stylized! I’ve almost entirely given up directly assigned ‘homework’, so my daily agenda will follow the ‘must do’, ‘should do’ and ‘could do’ format. I use “due dates” instead of “homework”, allowing students more choice and control over their work. I love using funny gifs or images or quotes to start the day off, and by using a digital template I save tons of time by not having to rewrite everything every day! You can also see and grab a copy of my digital daily agenda template on my ‘free teaching and parenting resources’ tab of my website, jenniferwolfe.net.

back to school digital-style

I’d love to hear some of your ideas about going digital-style with your teaching and moving your classroom into the 21st century – please leave ideas in the comments below!

*This post first appeared on theeducatorsroom.com – please visit this awesome website written BY teachers, FOR teachers!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

College Tours In Boston: Visiting Northeastern, Babson, Harvard and Bentley

Part of my teaching job is running our AVID program, which specifically prepares students for college and careers. I absolutely love that part of my job. I love helping kids see their futures, plan their goals and prepare for their dreams.

When it’s my own kid, I love it in a different way.

It’s like investing with someone else’s money. You care, you try to make the best choices to ensure a strong return. I do all that with my students. But when it’s my kid, sometimes my emotions get in the way.

Like when my youngest child is starting to prepare to go to college.

And when he says he wants to move across the country when he graduates next year.

I’m not sure if it’s really any easier the second time around. In 2013 I wrote about taking my daughter on college tours to Oregon and Washington, and I shared my feelings about her moving to go to school in Utah. I wrote a letter to her, and each year I’ve tried to share the changing emotions and dynamics of parenting your child from afar.

With my son, I’ve got a similar, yet different challenge. He wants to move from our home in California to Boston to fulfill his college dreams.

I’d never been to Boston before; neither had he, actually. So while most of his friends were doing the University of California college tours over spring break, I figured we’d better take a road (er, air) trip and check out the other side of the country.

Now, I’m pretty west coast. So is he. We love the mountains and the snow doesn’t bother us – lucky thing, since Boston was full of it. Our first stop was Northeastern University, located smack inside the city. In fact, we had trouble telling where the city ended and the campus began! Northeastern is a unique college offering a program called ‘co-ops’, where students are able to work at paid internships for 6 months, three times during their college experience. It makes the total number of years in school longer, but what a cool opportunity!

Can you believe these are dorms? Boston’s buildings are so full of beautiful architectural details; it makes walking around the city feel like strolling in an outdoor museum.

Our second stop was Babson College a very small private college in the suburbs of Boston. Babson is known for their entrepreneurial business program; in fact, they only offer a B.S. in Business, and students are able to concentrate on different functions of business as they earn their degree. Babson was the most beautiful campus we visited. The buildings were mainly brick, and the campus was a combination of grassy open spaces and forests of trees. I can only imagine the fall colors!

Despite having to trudge through the rain and snow while touring the campus, I was happy that we got to see what winter would look like in the northeast – definitely different spring conditions here than in California!

We were pleasantly surprised to see that despite their historic appearance, most buildings we toured were very modern inside.

Babson is known for hosting international students, as well as offering study abroad programs aligned with many international businesses.

I thought this classroom was particularly cool – the walls are whiteboards, and freshmen students spend an entire year utilizing this space to create, pitch, plan, market and sell a business. I love the real life applications – students will definitely learn if studying business is their niche!

The dorms below all center around a grassy quad. Most Babson students live on campus – can’t you just imagine this on a sunny day, full of students studying on the lawn?

Babson’s mascot is the beaver…

From Babson, our next stop was Harvard. My first impression? Tourists. Everywhere. Visiting Harvard’s campus felt more like visiting a historic monument than a college campus – kind of a turn-off. I don’t think I’d want to have to navigate people with selfie sticks on my way to class every day, would you?

But then again, if you want to feel like you’re going to school at Hogwarts, Harvard might be the place for you!

Our last college tour was Bentley University, another smallish private school located in the Boston suburbs. Bentley is another beautiful campus located along and atop a hill. That means a LOT of stairs! Bentley is also known for its business program, and the campus also had the beautiful historic feel of a northeastern school.

Bentley has its own trading room, where students learn investing skills by utilizing live stock market access.

It was pouring rain during our Bentley tour, but like Babson, can you just imagine the trees bursting to life? Or the brilliance of the fall leaves? College in Boston definitely will be beautiful, wherever he chooses.

Bentley is larger than Babson, but still has a nice community layout.

Many private colleges require interviews as part of the admissions progress. At Bentley, I got to nervously wait outside. I appreciated the descriptors!

As much as I love college tours, I couldn’t wait to see a bit of the history of the Boston area. Top of my list was Salem – the witch museum, taverns and walking on the jetty were such a special way to end our memorable trip.

Four days and four nights were just enough to get a taste of Boston, and enough to get me thinking of all the other adventures and restaurants and coastlines we could see…the bright side of thinking about my boy moving so far away, I guess.

Until next time…

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

Finding The Extraordinary In The Ordinary October Moments

Don’t you just love the extraordinary moments in October? In northern California where I live, we do have a bit of a ‘fall’ season – and this year we’ve already seen some rain. I’ve been digging in – literally and figuratively – this month. Teaching middle school means that the first couple of months are crucial for setting up for success, so I’ve been digging deep to build relationships and think carefully about how to be my best in the classroom every day. At home, digging in my garden has given me a chance to clean up from the summer and prepare for the beauty of next spring. I love the cycles of life – keeps things interesting!

I wrote an October newsletter – you can view it here – and thought I’d show you what life has been like around here, and why I’ve slowed down my writing! I’ve been pretty active on Instagram – I’d love to connect with you there, too! @mamawolfeto2

veggies
End of summer harvest – peppers of all varieties, kale, tomatoes and gourds!
walking shadow
Walking…feeds my spirit.
Gourds
Gourds went crazy in our garden…I marveled at the colors, textures and intricacy of nature’s beauty.
AVID
AVID. Fuels my soul, makes me really feel like I can help change happen. I invited all AVID students, families, and tutors for a gathering in my classroom Thursday night. It was awesome!
Chromebooks
My students love to cuddle. I thought they looked like pomegranate seeds on Chromebooks. You can’t tell that they were reading heavy text about North Korea and comparing it to the society in The Giver.
quotes
I love quotes. Every month my planner gives me a good one, and I try to follow its advice.
garden
My garden is my solace, my stress reliever, my chance to create a little beauty. This month our arboretum had two plant sales, and I stocked up. Can’t wait to see the spring blooms!
firewood
I did it all by myself. Stocking up for winter fires and snuggly mornings.
San Diego
Once upon a time I lived in San Diego. I went back for a #gafesummit, and found a party in Balboa Park!
friends
My daughter and her daughter have been best friends since grade school. No wonder I like her so much! Great travel partner to #gafesummit on Coronado Island!
aunt
Everyone has that one crazy aunt, right???? #love
Grand Canyon
Meanwhile, my daughter’s adventures continued during her fall break trip to the Grand Canyon with her dad…
bike
I’ve ridden my bike to work every day so far this school year – this ride was the wettest one to date. Note the garbage bag my husband used to lovingly cover my teaching bag!
Socktober
Have you heard of Socktober? My AVID classes have collected nearly 500 pairs of socks for our local homeless shelter. It’s an easy way to pay it forward.

What were the extraordinary, ordinary moments of your October? I’d love to hear what’s filling your days and feeding your spirit!

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

Excuses Are Useless In Middle School

excuses are uselessI get really tired of excuses. In fact, in my classroom when my 8th graders try to excuse their behavior, lack of homework, or unpreparedness I tell them kindly yet firmly, “Excuses are useless.”

Initially quizzical looks form on their faces, and then they start to stammer…which is exactly when I interject my reasoning. Everyone has issues. Everyone is busy. Everyone can blame someone, something, or some “whatever” for anything. But what’s the point?

Last week I had a day ‘off’ to attend a workshop. For teachers, attending workshops is equivalent to taking a course for a day, except that we have homework before (lesson plans) and after (fixing up messed up lesson plans). I knew I’d have a mess to fix up when one of my college interns texted me to tell me how horribly things had gone in my absence. She was absolutely devastated.

I wasn’t surprised. Kids don’t always make the best choices with substitutes, right?

To find out what happened next, please visit The Educator’s Room, where I share stories about education and life as a middle school teacher – it’s a terrific site full of thoughtful and well-written articles by a diverse group of educators from around the United States.

http://theeducatorsroom.com/2016/03/teaching-teens-making-excuses/

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp