5 Classroom Approaches to Beat Pre-Summer Daydreams

Looking for a new way to engage students who seem to have already checked out for the summer?

Hoonuit by Atomic Learning is constantly adding new learning resources focused on helping schools tackle common challenges found in education today—including increasing student engagement—and pulled together a five hot topics to help you kick those pre-summer daydreams out of the classroom for good!

  1. Nearpod in the Classroom
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/NP_000.jpgNearpod is a powerful presentation, assessment, and collaboration tool for the classroom that allows teachers to interact with students during a lesson and get real-time feedback! In this module, you will learn everything from creating an account with Nearpod to more advanced features like VR field trips. Upon completion, you will be able to begin using this powerful tool with your students right away!
  2. Project-Based Learning Lesson Framework: Million Dollar Classroom
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/MD_000.jpgIn this module, we will use the project-based lesson format to have students design a Million Dollar Classroom, in which students will plan, design, collaborate, and problem solve to construct their perfect classroom with a one million dollar budget. This module includes both an instructional guide for teachers and step-by-step videos to walk students through the project, and can be adapted to all grade levels.
  3. Minecraft in the Classroom
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/mine_000.jpgMinecraft™ is a unique combination of game and creative design tool, and its growing use in classrooms around the world is an exciting phenomenon. If you've never played the game or have never used game-based learning, this module will bring you into the Minecraft Education experience quickly, and give you the skills you need to hit the ground running with game-based learning and Minecraft in the Classroom.
  4. Create and Manage an In-Class Flip
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/FLIP_00.jpgFlipped learning has taken the educational technology world by storm! It emphasizes flipping traditional instruction to require students to view instructional material at home and use in-class time for application and creation of content. BUT...What if students don't have reliable home Internet? Or don't watch the videos? This learning module discusses creating and managing in-class flipped learning to benefit all students!
  5. KWL Strategy
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/kwl_00.jpgIn this module, you’ll learn the benefits of the Know, Want to Learn, Learn, (K-W-L) teaching strategy, and how you might use it in your classroom. Included topics cover the basics of creating a KWL graphic organizerhow to use wikis, concept maps and note-taking apps to implement KWL as a collaborative activity, and much more. This module also offers links to templates and resources to help you dig deeper into the KWL strategy.

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A Focus on Enhancing Instruction & Classroom Best Practices

Ensure your educators have the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to provide engaging, meaningful learning experiences in the classroom.

With Hoonuit by Atomic Learning, provide 24/7 self-paced learning resources and online professional development focused on teaching strategies, education trends, and other highly-relevant topics.

Sample topics include:

Classroom Management in 1:1 and BYOD Classrooms

Guest Blog Post by Mason, Learning Ambassador

As a new instructional coach at a 1:1 high school campus, I am always looking to learn and grow so that I can offer teachers the best advice to help improving teaching and learning with technology. Our campus deployed iPads 1:1 in October of 2016, and one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced are the unique classroom management needs in a 1:1 classroom.

12 Ways to Energize Learning [Infographic]

Student engagement is always on the minds of educators, and, while it can feel overwhelming with all the moving parts—student retention, test scores, and more—you must start somewhere!

To help, we’ve pulled together a list of twelve ways you can shake up and energize learning with tried and true instructional strategies.

Ready to dive deeper into one (or all!) of these topics? Atomic Learning is here to help with professional online courses on each:

9 Ways to Foster Collaboration through Cooperative Learning

This article is part of the 12 Days of Learning. Click now to see all articles.

Has the thought of working with a group ever made you cringe? Or have you ever been in a group with someone who just didn’t seem to be interested in contributing OR one person who seemed to take over?

We’ve all been there.

However, being able to collaborate and work effectively in groups is critical to success not only in school, but also in college and the workforce. Luckily there are a variety of cooperative learning strategies that can be applied to foster students’ collaboration skills.

What is Cooperative Learning?
Cooperative Learning is students working in groups or with partners to put together pieces of a puzzle, achieve a common goal, and learn from one another. It’s a powerful strategy to help students learn, get them out of the box, and get them discussing a topic at another level.

Research has shown that students who work in cooperative groups often perform better on tests, and are better critical thinkers. And, if that alone isn’t enough, it’s also said to improve students’ social skills, enhance oral communications, and even heighten self-esteem.

With cooperative learning, it’s also harder for students to fade to the background, and when their contributions are accepted and acknowledged, they are more engaged in the learning experience.

Putting it Into Practice
While there are a wide variety of approaches for cooperative learning, we’ve gathered together a list of nine popular options that you can quickly introduce in your classroom.

  1. Think-Pair-Share
    One of the most commonly used cooperative learning strategies in education today. First the teacher poses a question to the class, and then gives students time to think about their responses individually before having them pair up with a partner to discuss their response. Based on individuals’ responses and perspectives they could learn something new or be challenged with something they’d not previously considered, and have an opportunity to discuss it with their partner before the teacher calls the class back together for pairs to share what they’ve discussed.

    Think-Pair-Share is very easy to use and can be a powerful tool for learning. If you're interested in trying it yourself, you can learn more in Atomic Learning’s Think-Pair-Share course.
  2. Prairie Fire
    The Prairie Fire approach is designed to get your students talking in groups about more high-level questions. To start, gather students in groups of 3-5 before posing a question, then give the groups time to discuss and formulate a single group response to share. Next each group quickly shares their answer and learns the correct response before being instructed to continue their group discussion on what was shared, what they may have gotten wrong, and why.

    This approach is a great way to help students practice the group processing component of cooperative learning, including incorporating feedback from other groups.
  3. Four Corners
    Start by dividing students into larger groups – say where they stand on an issue, for example, and ultimately directing them to one of the four corners in the room to join a team with similar values, opinions, philosophies, etc.. Then pose a question to answer or assign a task for these groups of like-minded individuals to complete. After allowing time for discussion, have groups share out to the class.  

Infographic: The Science of Classroom Design

There's been a lot of buzz lately regarding effective learning spaces—classroom layout, color, noise (or lack thereof) and a variety of other factors can all have an impact on students' learning experience. As the infographic below points out, simple changes, such as how desks are arranged, can help encourage collaboration and discussion.

Be sure to check out the infographic and resources below for insights on making the most of your space.

12 Ways to Energize Learning

Student engagement is always on the minds of educators, and, while it can feel overwhelming with all of the moving parts—student retention, test scores, and more—you have to start somewhere! To help, we’ve created a list of twelve ways you can shake up and energize learning with tried and true instructional strategies for increasing engagement with your students. Learn more about each of the topics below with resources from Atomic Learning.

The resources mentioned in this infographic are all available on Atomic Learning. Dive in:

Don’t have a login? Request more information.

Using Skype in the Classroom #skype #edtech #elearning

A recent headline cross-posted on Tech&Learning caught my attention. It's amazing how technology--when used effectively--can create so much opportunity for collaboration in the classroom. WI educator Pernille Ripp sums up how she is effectively using Skype in her classroom with this statement:

Create a Kidblog for Your Classroom - Guest Blog Post

Guest Blog Post by Ron Farrow, eLearning Contributor

While we all strive to give our students more writing opportunities every day, we struggle with how we can do so online in a safe and meaningful way. Social media can be a great tool for engaging kids in the writing process, but how can we ensure that our writing is meaningful, and that the instrument we use is safe and secure? Kidblog may be just the solution.

5 Tools for Your Classroom

Looking to learn something new? Been meaning to look into that great new tech tool you heard about? Atomic Learning's online library has training on over 250 applications—plus soft skills, methodologies, and much more! Here's just a few of the most recent training topics that might spark your interest—and give you some ideas for your classroom!

Creating Digital Portfolios
Gone are the days of 4-inch think paper portfolios! Learn how to collect your digital samples and organize them into a digital portfolio that will wow potential employers in this online course.

In this course, you'll learn about Kahoot! A Kahoot is a collection of questions on specific topics. Created by teachers, students, business-people and social users, they are asked in real-time, to an unlimited number of “players”, creating a social, fun and game-like learning environment.

Coding in the Classroom
In this online training course, you will learn how to introduce coding concepts in your classroom and some of the tools that will help you do this efficiently and effectively. Each component of code will be broken down and then shown how to utilize in the Literacy and/or STEAM curriculum.

Training that demonstrates how technology can be used to foster Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. This series includes several tool-specific examples for each of the 4C's.
Mystery Skype® is an educational game, invented by teachers, 
played by two classrooms on Skype®. The goal of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions.

To see more new training, visit the Recent Releases tab, and check back often! Don’t  have access to Atomic Learning? You can request more information about how to access these training courses, projects, and more.

Classroom Courses Featuring Skype® and Coding Added to Training Library #skypeintheclassroom #codingintheclassroom

Did you hear? Atomic Learning recently added training courses featuring Skype® and Mystery Skype® in the Classroom as well as Coding in the Classroom to its training library.

Mystery Skype® is an educational game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype®. The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions.

The Power of Kahoot! in the Classroom - Guest Blog Post

Who better to speak to the power of using Kahoot! in the classroom than the eLearning Contributor who developed the training on Kahoot! himself?

Guest Blog Post by Ron Farrow, eLearning Contributor

Student engagement and motivation seem to be at the top of every teacher’s list when it comes to successfully reaching students. Fighting student apathy can be one of the greatest struggles a teacher can face. Luckily, technology has provided us a world of resources that allow us to engage students like never before.

One of my favorite web tools for adding excitement to my lessons is Kahoot!  Kahoot is a web tool that allows you to create a fun game environment for many of your lesson objectives.  You can use it to start a discussion, survey your students, or even assess and review lesson content. The students' devices become their personal game pads, immersing them in the competitive battle to answer quickly and score the most points. After sharing this with so many teachers, this is the one tool that they will come back to me and report their students are actually requesting to review. If you’re looking for a way to add a little more excitement to your lesson, to engage students on another level, try Kahoot. It's such a powerful tool for reaching students.

Watch the series Ron developed on Kahoot! now!

I started as a music teacher for the Farmington School District in 2002, where I taught 5th and 6th grade music as well as High School Percussion. As a music teacher, I had the opportunity to experiment with many forms of technology in the classroom including smart boards, tablets, recording studio equipment, etc. I took this passion for technology and education to the district-wide level in 2010 as part of a leadership cadre for our district, then, in 2012, I became the Educational Technology Facilitator for the district. I joined the Cape Girardeau School District in the Summer of 2013.

I believe technology is the future of education.  But it's more about the change in instruction than the devices themselves. We are in a very exciting time for education! It can be scary to have such a paradigm shift in teaching. However, students now have tools to access a world of information that was previously inconceivable. Through technology, we can foster more creative learning environments, differentiate instruction to meet the needs of every student, and create productive, responsible, digital citizens for future generations.

New Video: Make a Card Using iPhoto - Just in time for Valentine's Day!

Check out our exclusive Valentine's Gift to you -- we recently added this video on creating a card in iPhoto as part of the iPhoto 9.6 (Yosemite) Training series. In this online training series, you'll learn about how iPhoto® lets you do more than you ever thought possible with your photos. It gives you easy ways to find, sort, and rediscover your favorites. Simple, but powerful, editing tools let you turn good shots into magnificent ones.

Defining Flipped Learning

If you are a regular reader of educational technology blogs and publications, you've likely read quite a bit about flipped classrooms and flipped learning. However, there are some common misconceptions and myths about the movement.
Recently, the Flipped Learning Network (FLN) shared a formalized definition about what exactly "Flipped Learning" is:
Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.

Webinar: Finding Classroom Tech Projects in Atomic Learning

Whether you’re an elementary, middle school, or high school teacher, Atomic Learning has classroom projects for your grade level and subject area using the technology you already have.  

Select a link below to register for one of these 15-minute webinars to learn how to find a project to use with your students.

Flipping Your Classroom? Don't Make These Mistakes

A recent eSchool News article discussed common pitfalls some teachers have faced when flipping their classroom. Have you thought about or tried flipping your classroom and struggled to keep your students engaged? Don't give up. Take some tips from your peers who have tested this practice and avoid the mistakes they've made.

Transparent technology, understanding, and innovation

There's a debate ongoing over whether technology in schools should really be invisible. One blogger argues that technology should never be a hurdle to leap before learning, and one says it's critical to understand how technology works to alter our living environments.

I'm not sure either perspective is quite right. For every learning scenario, there will be a limit to how much effort we can (or should) make to understand the technology at hand. It would create an infinite comprehension loop if we were to try and evaluate every learning tool we use. 

For example, I've seen interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in use by talented math teachers, instantly drawing graphs and calculating formulas far more quickly and clearly than was previously possible. They bring to life concepts and approaches to learning that I couldn't have imagined in my schooling. There's no doubt in my mind that they enhance learning of the subject at hand.

Australia: Not upside-down, but certainly forward

When I was a kid growing up in the midwest, I was sure the people in Australia had a constant head rush, what with all that blood flowing to their brains from being upside down all the time
As I grew up, I still didn't understand how neither of us were upside down but blindly accepted my teacher's explanation and focused my down under attention on kangaroos, koalas (not koala bears), and around that time, Crocodile Dundee. Australia had always been a romantic, faraway, and exotic place, (a visit to which has been on my bucket list for years), but, I'm embarrassed to say, somewhat removed from my global understanding and perspective. Until now.