Marker Mic Drop, Marker Mic Drop Moments

Marker Mic Drop #4: How can I choose?

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Marker Mic Drop (MMD), and now seems no better a moment to do so in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic. In short, a Marker Mic Drop is an opportunity to recognize others for their amazing talents, thoughts – you name it – that they bring to the table.

I hopped on Twitter this past week for the first time in weeks post-baby number two. I had already received an email from Matt at Ditch That Textbook on an abundance of resources. I considered devoting my MMD post to the amazing amount of resources he and his team had displayed for teachers and parents homeschooling during this remote learning time. However, when I continued to scroll through Twitter, I realized I could no longer choose just one person or group to highlight. I was proud to see the first responder-like reaction from teachers in support of their communities. Teachers to teachers or teachers to parents, the outpouring of resources, the sharing of Flipgrid activities, the building of each other up with powerfully supportive comments…we all share one mutual goal: support our students and each other in this new endeavor.

Helpful Resources

While there are a number of resources out there, do not overwhelm yourself. Here are a few of the most concise sites that have surfaced in these early days:

Start with a (simple) plan

  • Plan learning experiences:
    • Project-Based Learning will enrich student learning. Check out PBL Works for an overview.
    • Backward Design (UbD): The concept is simple but often overlooked when lesson planning spirals into the minutiae of required content. Identify your end goal and plan learning experiences.
    • Challenge your students but let them choose: Give your learners an opportunity to explore a topic that matters to them. Is there a community issue that interests them? Charge them with developing a solution. This is a time of flexibility in education, which also means that you may not be working against the same time constraints. Let them choose. Let them explore. Let them dig deeper and make their own (cross-curricular) connections.
  • Ease your load with online assessments: If you aren’t already familiar with EdTech platforms that will grade your assessments for you, it’s time to start exploring. Start with Edpuzzle and Quizizz (Link to my overview: Edpuzzle (The Curious Creator Blog))
  • Easily record your lessons: Use a Google Chrome Extension, such as Screencastify, to post video lessons. Take it a step further and create an assessment with Edpuzzle based on your video.
  • Schools – consider rolling out in phases: This is an overwhelming experience for all parties involved. In light of the day-to-day unknown and the sudden leap into remote learning, consider gently easing into it with a modified schedule that transitions into your school’s norm.
  • Is online learning not an option? Many school districts are in less than ideal situations to ease into a remote learning plan due to lack of resources. While some are handing out curbside lunches every day at schools, they are also loaning devices and coordinating with local internet companies to furnish free internet for the near future. If worksheets and textbooks are your only option, consider Choice Boards and Project-Based Learning to still enrich students with a deeper learning experience.
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In short, this is uncharted waters for many. Take a step back to breathe, create, and embrace your inner learner. Whether you are a teacher or a parent-now-educator, just remember: You’ve got this.

Tech Tools

Tech Tool Highlight #4: edpuzzle

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Video tutorials: edpuzzle Overview (Part 1) and edpuzzle Overview (Part 2 – Gradebook)

This week’s Tech Tool Highlight is edpuzzle, my new favorite tech tool that I will be implementing this school year. Edpuzzle allows you to edit and assign video content, inserting questions and comments for students to answer. Edpuzzle provides a gradebook with student progress, comparative data over time, and the ability to manually update grades and provide feedback, as needed. I had previously used similar tools but find that the ease of edpuzzle as well as its data integration capabilities will be a go-to for my classroom.

Why I love edpuzzle: Not only is the platform incredibly easy to use, but it focuses on key considerations for the student: self-paced work and accountability. Teachers all know the struggle of balancing the pace of a class with various skill levels and an endless list of content. Edpuzzle is the tool that will help guide, reinforce, and also hold your students accountable.

How to set up Edpuzzle

Set up a teacher account at When you use THIS LINK, you will automatically earn three videos toward your storage bank. You can send out your own referral code (found under “Invite Teachers”) and each of you will earn three videos. Spread the word because the more you share, the more videos you can create!

The top right menus are where you will find your profile, classes, and gradebook. Now, take a look at this beautiful button:

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Yes, that’s right. One more reason to integrate GSuite into your teaching world. You can save yourself the hassle and import directly from Google Classroom. Once you have created your classes (“Add new class” on bottom left), then you can assign videos, see student progress, and update grades. Want to give a student only partial credit for not watching the entire video? You can manually update grades as you see fit.

So many videos, so many choices…

You have the option to upload your own video (think Flipped Classroom) but there are a number of resources that may already have what you need. These include:

  • Edpuzzle
  • YouTube – Add the Edpuzzle Chrome Extension to automatically edit from YouTube!
  • Khan Academy
  • National Geographic
  • TED Talks
  • Veritasium
  • Numberphile
  • Crash Course

Once you have selected a video, click “Edit” on the lower righthand corner. Here, you can have a variety of options. Save and finish (top right buttons) your work when it is complete.

  • Crop the video
  • Add voiceover
  • Add audio notes
  • Quizzes – This is where you can add the following questions:
    • Multiple choice: Automatically graded (see Gradebook).
    • Open-ended: You will need to manually grade these later.
    • Comments: Highlight an important aspect of the video for your students.
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Storage space and organizing your content

Teachers can save up to 20 videos upon initial registration but can earn more by referring other teachers. Click on the top right profile icon and “Invite Teachers” to see this screen and each of you will earn three extra videos toward your account:

If you want to organize your videos by topic or level, click on My Content (left menu) –> Add content (blue button, right) –> New Folder and name it accordingly. For example, I have grammar and culture folders, making my content easier to navigate when I want to find a video to assign to a class.

You can also create Student Projects (My Content –> Add Content –> Student Project). Once you have created the project, you can assign it to a class and see their compilation of videos. This project could show you the depth of students’ understanding and serve as a compilation of review videos for the entire class.

Online PDs

Edpuzzle also offers online professional development courses for teachers, including beginner, intermediate, and advanced Edpuzzle levels, flipped classroom training, gamification, diversity and inclusion, project-based learning, and more. Click on this link to access all of the trainings: Edpuzzle Online PD

I just completed the Edpuzzle coach certification, which I highly recommend! The estimated time is 90 minutes but will likely take you less to complete. You will learn all about Edpuzzle and its nuances in short, manageable videos that use the platform to continually familiarize you with how the system works. You’ll be awarded a certificate, this cool badge, and access to a private Facebook group where you can share ideas with other coaches.

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Interested in furthering your Edpuzzle skills? Click here to get started!