Friday, May 26, 2023

The Marvelous Mashup: Adobe Express in the Math and Science Classroom #AdobeEduCreative @RebeccaLouHare

I've been spending a lot of time tinkering around with Adobe Express recently, and let me tell you, it’s a phenomenal resource for us educators! If you haven't heard of Adobe Express, or maybe you just haven't found a way to incorporate it into your classroom yet, sit tight because I have some fantastic ideas for you.

First things first, what’s Adobe Express? It's a super user-friendly online tool from Adobe that helps you create stunning graphics, webpages, and videos. The best part is, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to use it. And yes, it's perfect for the Math and Science class. Let’s dive in!

The Marvels of Math with Adobe Express

Lesson 1: The "Graphical" Tale

Math can be a bit daunting for some students. Why not take those intimidating equations and turn them into a graphical story? In this activity, have your students use Adobe Express to create a story with graphics representing mathematical concepts. For instance, a tale of two numbers 'dividing' their possessions (think pizza slices or cookies) can be a creative way of understanding division.

Remember, it's okay to be a bit silly with the storyline! We're trying to create a safe space where learning is fun. Here is a fun example of Pi sharing Pie. 

Lesson 2: Mathematical Masterpieces

Let's face it, shapes are everywhere. From the soccer field to the kitchen table, we are surrounded by geometry. This activity involves students capturing images of different geometrical shapes in real life, then annotating them with Adobe Express. They can create a collage or a slideshow of the shapes and even write a description about where they found them.

The Splendors of Science with Adobe Express

Lesson 1: The Eco-system Storyboard

Science is all about exploration and understanding the world around us. This project is all about ecosystems. Assign different ecosystems to students or groups and ask them to create a storyboard on Adobe Express detailing the various components of their assigned ecosystem, like flora, fauna, climate, etc.

The catch here is they have to present it as a story. It could be from the perspective of an animal, a plant, or even a droplet of water! 

Lesson 2: The Element’s Journey

In this activity, your students get to pick an element from the periodic table and detail its journey. Where is it found? How is it used in everyday life? What reactions can it undergo? They can illustrate these using Adobe Express's visual tools. This helps in understanding the practical application of elements.

For instance, Carbon's journey could start from being a part of a plant to becoming a diamond ring! The possibilities are endless. Here is an example of the first page of the project. 

So, there you have it folks, four ideas to get your creative juices flowing and your students exploring Math and Science in a new, fun, and interactive way. Remember, Adobe Express is a tool, and like all tools, it's not about what it is, it's about what you do with it.

Can't wait to hear about all the awesome projects you'll be creating!

Monday, May 22, 2023

Navigating Spring Fever: 5 Classroom Management Strategies #EdChat

Generated by DALL-E

Springtime, with all its freshness and warmth, can also herald the onslaught of classroom daydreams about summer vacation. Fear not, we've got you covered with five actionable strategies to keep your students engaged and eager to learn, even as the sun shines brighter outside. Let's dive in.

1. Change the Scenery: Step Outside

Rather than fighting the allure of the great outdoors, embrace it! There's so much educational potential waiting outside the traditional classroom. Let's say you're an English teacher; why not hold a "Shakespeare in the Park" session where students take turns performing monologues from The Bard's classics? It’ll not only provide a refreshing change of scenery but also enable a deeper, more immersive understanding of the text.

2. Engage Their Hands and Minds: Project-based Learning

With the spring air comes a fresh energy, perfect for more hands-on learning. Imagine your students constructing a scaled solar system model in the school field, with each student responsible for one celestial body. This project could combine math (for accurate scaling), art (for the creative representation), and science (for the knowledge about each planet), leading to an engaging and interdisciplinary learning experience.

3. Get Them Moving: Active Learning

Incorporating movement into your lessons can help students refocus their energy and improve academic performance. Try something like a "math-olympiad" competition, where students solve problems relay-style. Each student solves a step of the problem before passing it on. Not only does this reinforce math skills, it also emphasizes teamwork and communication.

4. Take a Breather: Structured Breaks

Giving students short, structured breaks can help mitigate dwindling attention spans. For instance, try the Pomodoro technique: 25 minutes of focused work, followed by a five-minute break. During the break, students could stretch, doodle, or discuss their favorite summer activities. This gives them a breather and resets their focus, ready for the next learning sprint.

5. Tap into Their Excitement: Relate Lessons to Summer Activities

The imminent summer break is high on your students' minds, so why not weave it into your lessons? If you're teaching percentages, create a mock shopping scenario for a summer camping trip. Students must calculate discounts on camping gear, figure out tax, and stay within a budget. Not only does this make learning fun, it also shows them how classroom concepts apply in real-life situations.

Remember, it's all about channeling the high spring energy into constructive and interactive learning experiences. You might just find that these new approaches add a vibrant, joyful note to your teaching this spring.

Hugs and High Fives, 


Friday, May 19, 2023

The Nerdy Teacher and #AI #EdChat

Hey there, nerdy educators and lifelong learners! It's Nicholas Provenzano here, your favorite nerdy teacher. Now, as many of you know, I'm neurodivergent - I have dyslexia and Dyscalculia. This makes writing blog posts a bit more of a challenge for me. Imagine the words on the page being a complex puzzle - not necessarily the one you'd like to solve every day! But, despite these challenges, I've always believed that with the right tools and mindset, we can overcome any obstacle.

Enter Artificial Intelligence - my newfound sidekick in blog post creation. This mighty helper is an incredible tool for organizing ideas and proofreading for grammar and spelling issues. It's like having a personal editor who's always ready to lend a hand, helping me refine my thoughts and transform them into coherent, well-structured posts. It takes care of the nitty-gritty, allowing me to focus on what truly matters - delivering valuable content to all of you.

But it's not just about spelling and grammar. What's remarkable about AI is its ability to make connections that sometimes even I miss. It's like having a collaborative partner that can see patterns and links between concepts, offering insights that enhance the richness of the content. Using AI doesn't diminish my role as a writer; it enhances it. It's a testament to what we, as educators, already know - that learning and creating are always collaborative processes, and every tool, every person, every AI, has something unique to contribute. So here's to embracing AI in our writing process, and as always, stay nerdy, my friends!

Photo Created Generated by DALL-E 2

Hugs and High Fives, 


Monday, May 15, 2023

5 Simple Tips for Supporting Neurodivergent Students in the Classroom #SpEd #Neurodiversity

Neurodivergent students bring unique strengths and perspectives to our classrooms. However, they are often left behind because their learning needs often fall outside the norms. Because of this, many students do not reach their true potential. I was forced to learn in a very traditional and rigid system growing up and my neurodiverse needs were never met. I struggled with reading and writing and had to come up with many coping mechanisms to get by. Those teachers that let me showcase what I knew beyond the sit and get format of traditional education really allowed me to shine and I remember them fondly. Those small, but bright, spots in my educational journey gave me hope to keep trying. When I decided to pursue teaching, I made it my mission to make sure that students like me were never going to be left behind. 

Below are 5 tips that can help any teacher support neurodiverse students in their classroom. Like all things concerning students, nothing works as is out of the box. Feel free to adapt as needed to ensure that the students' needs are being addressed in a thoughtful and compassionate manner. 

Organization: Simplify and Visualize

Neurodivergent students often struggle with organizational skills. To support them, simplify their organizational systems and incorporate visual aids. For instance, provide color-coded folders or binders for different subjects. Use visual schedules or checklists to outline daily tasks and assignments. Additionally, offer a designated space for storing materials and encourage the use of digital tools for note-taking and organizing information.

Example: In a science class, a teacher can provide a color-coded system for different types of handouts, such as blue for lab instructions and green for readings. Using visual cues, the teacher can create a weekly task chart on the classroom wall, outlining the steps and due dates for ongoing assignments.

Homework: Provide Structure and Flexibility

Homework can be challenging for neurodivergent students, so it's crucial to strike a balance between structure and flexibility. Break down assignments into manageable chunks and clearly communicate expectations. Offer options for demonstrating understanding, such as written responses, multimedia presentations, or oral explanations. Allow for extended deadlines or modified assignments when necessary, without compromising learning objectives.

Example: In an English class, instead of assigning a lengthy essay, a teacher can break it down into smaller tasks, such as brainstorming, outlining, and drafting. The teacher can provide a choice of presentation formats, allowing students to showcase their understanding through a written essay, a visual storyboard, or a podcast recording.

Assessment: Offer Multiple Modalities

Neurodivergent students often excel in areas that traditional assessments may not capture. To create inclusive assessments, offer a range of modalities that tap into diverse strengths. This can include open-ended questions, hands-on projects, oral presentations, or collaborative activities. Provide clear rubrics or scoring guides to help students understand expectations and focus on demonstrating their knowledge.

Example: In a history class, rather than relying solely on written exams, a teacher can incorporate alternative assessments, such as creating a timeline, conducting a mock interview, or designing a visual representation of historical events. By offering multiple modalities, students can showcase their understanding through their preferred means of expression.

Redirection: Encourage Self-Advocacy and Self-Regulation

Neurodivergent students may struggle with staying focused or managing their emotions. Teach self-advocacy skills by encouraging them to communicate their needs and seek support when necessary. Foster a classroom culture that promotes self-regulation strategies, such as deep breathing exercises, sensory breaks, or access to fidget tools. Provide visual cues, like a stop sign or a calm-down corner, to help students recognize when they need a break.

Example: During a math lesson, if a neurodivergent student becomes overwhelmed, the teacher can empower them to use a predetermined signal, like raising their hand or placing a colored card on their desk, as a discreet way to request a break or assistance. The teacher can establish a designated area in the classroom with sensory tools and teach students strategies to self-soothe or refocus.

Classroom Management: Foster Inclusivity and Empathy

Creating a supportive classroom environment begins with fostering inclusivity and empathy among all students. Encourage peer collaboration and empathy-building activities that promote understanding and acceptance. Provide opportunities of collaboration, such as group projects or buddy systems, where neurodivergent students can work alongside their peers. Implement classroom routines and visual cues that establish predictability and reduce anxiety. Model and teach social-emotional skills, including active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution.

Example: In a science class, the teacher can facilitate a group project where students work together to design an experiment. By assigning neurodivergent students to diverse groups, they can benefit from peer support and learn from different perspectives. The teacher can incorporate regular class meetings to discuss collaboration, empathy, and problem-solving, ensuring that all students feel valued and included.

Supporting neurodivergent students in the classroom requires intentional strategies that address their unique needs. By implementing the five tips outlined in this blog post, teachers can create inclusive environments where all students can thrive. Remember, small adjustments in organization, homework, assessment, redirection, and classroom management can make a significant difference in the educational experience of neurodivergent students. Let's embrace their strengths, foster their growth, and ensure their success in our classrooms.

Hugs and High Fives,


Tuesday, May 9, 2023

4 Fun and Creative Ways Adobe Express Can Support Neurodivergent Students #AdobeEduCreative @RebeccaLouHare

I wanted to share with you some fantastic ways to engage and support neurodivergent students in your classroom. Before we dive into the awesome ideas, let's first understand what it means to be neurodivergent.

Neurodivergence refers to the natural variations in human brain function and processing. Students who are neurodivergent often have diagnoses such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, or other learning differences. Traditional assessments can be challenging for these students as they may struggle with processing information, organizing thoughts, or focusing their attention. So how can we, as educators, create a more inclusive and engaging assessment experience for these students? Enter Adobe Express!

Adobe Express is a versatile suite of creative tools that can help make learning more accessible and enjoyable for students with various learning needs. Here are four fun and creative ways Adobe Express can support neurodivergent students across different curricular areas and assessments:

Science: Comic Strip Lab Reports

Who says lab reports have to be boring and text-heavy? With Adobe Spark Post, students can create visually engaging comic strips to illustrate their scientific findings. By using images, symbols, and minimal text, neurodivergent students can better express their understanding of the scientific concepts without getting bogged down by the traditional written format.

Social Studies: Interactive Timelines

Assessing a student's understanding of historical events can be more than just a written test. Adobe Spark Video allows students to create interactive timelines that combine visuals, audio, and text to showcase their comprehension of the subject matter. Neurodivergent students can benefit from this multi-modal approach, as it allows them to process the information in a way that suits their individual learning style.

Language Arts: Creative Book Trailers

Reading comprehension and analysis are essential skills in language arts. Instead of the typical written book report, encourage your students to create a captivating book trailer using Adobe Spark Video. By combining images, music, and voiceovers, students can showcase their understanding of the book's themes, characters, and plot while also honing their storytelling skills. This approach is particularly helpful for neurodivergent students who may struggle with organizing and expressing their thoughts in writing.

Math: Visual Problem Solving

For some neurodivergent students, traditional math assessments can be overwhelming. Why not make math more accessible by incorporating visual problem-solving? With Adobe Spark Post, students can create graphics that illustrate their thought process when solving a math problem. By breaking down the problem into visual steps, students can better understand and communicate their mathematical reasoning.

So there you have it, four fun and creative ways to use Adobe Express to support neurodivergent students in grades 6-12. By implementing these ideas, we can make assessments more engaging and accessible for all students, fostering a more inclusive learning environment.

Hugs and High Fives, 


Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Enhancing Assessments with Adobe Express #AdobeEduCreative @RebeccaLouHare

As educators, we are always on the lookout for creative ways to engage and assess our middle school students. I want to share with you an amazing digital tool that can be used in a variety of ways for assessment purposes: Adobe Express. This powerful platform allows students to create and share visually stunning projects while demonstrating their understanding of content. Below are three examples of how Adobe Express can be utilized for assessment in different content areas.

Social Studies: Building Interactive Timelines

When it comes to social studies, there's a lot of history to cover. A traditional paper-and-pencil timeline might work, but why not kick it up a notch with Adobe Express? Students can create interactive, multimedia timelines that not only display key events but also include images, videos, and audio to help bring history to life.

To assess students' understanding, have them create an interactive timeline of a specific historical period or event. For example, students studying the Civil Rights Movement can create a timeline highlighting key events, figures, and legislation, with accompanying images and videos. Teachers can assess students' comprehension of the material based on the accuracy, depth, and creativity of their timelines.

Science: Crafting Multimedia Lab Reports

Lab reports are a staple in science classrooms, but let's face it, they can be a bit dull. With Adobe Express, students can create multimedia lab reports that are both engaging and informative. Students can include photos of their lab setup, videos of the experiment in progress, and audio explanations of their observations and conclusions.

To assess students' understanding of the scientific method and lab procedures, have them create a multimedia lab report for a recent experiment. For instance, if students are learning about chemical reactions, they can document their experiment with baking soda and vinegar, sharing images of the reaction, videos of the process, and audio explanations of their observations. Teachers can assess students' understanding based on the clarity, accuracy, and depth of their multimedia lab reports.

Language Arts: Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is a powerful way for students to express themselves and demonstrate their understanding of a text. With Adobe Express, students can create visually captivating stories that incorporate images, videos, and audio to enhance their narratives.

As an assessment, have students create a digital story based on a piece of literature they've read in class. For example, after reading "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton, students can create a digital story that retells the plot, explores a character's perspective, or examines a key theme from the book. Teachers can assess students' understanding of the text based on the accuracy, creativity, and depth of their digital stories.

Adobe Express is a versatile tool that can enhance assessments across various content areas. By incorporating multimedia elements into their projects, students can demonstrate their understanding of the material in a creative and engaging manner. As educators, we should continue to explore innovative tools like Adobe Express to ensure our assessments are both effective and enjoyable for our students.