Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Flipping Out Over Flipgrid

Our students live in a world surrounded by video and social media. They prefer to watch a youtube video to learn how to do something new and to communicate with their friends over video. Hence the popularity of Facetime, Kik, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. among our youth. (Gen Z Media Consumption: It's a Lifestyle, Not Just Entertainment by Nelson Granados)

Flipgrid is one of my newest favorite video apps for the classroom!♥ Inside and outside of the classroom Flipgrid allows students voices to be amplified and heard. Flipgrid teachers are able to create a digital community for their classes. These communities are known as "grids." Teachers post topics, videos, or links for discussions and students respond to the prompt and to each other with short video reflections. Flipgrid is meant to provide a digital space for students to reflect on topics with their teacher and peers. It is an awesome way to get students participating equally in discussions and for students to hear their peers voices and insights.

Flipgrid is available as both an iOS and Android app, and teachers and students can login through any browser as well. Flipgrid offers a free version (Flipgrid One) and a paid version (Flipgrid Classroom) which offers additional features and possibilities. More information about pricing can be found here.

I would recommend that a first time user of Flipgrid sign up for a free account. As a Flipgrid One (free plan) user, you can create 1 grid (with unlimited topics and unlimited students), so this is a great place to start to see if you like integrating Flipgrid into your classroom before paying for a year subscription for Flipgrid Classroom.

When teachers create their grid they have the ability to decide on notifications, and also if they want the grid to be password protected and have moderated responses. It is reassuring to know that I have the ability to moderate responses considering that Flipgrid is all video based. This allows teachers to have complete control over what gets posted on their grid and what doesn't.

The other nice feature is that students don't have to login to an account and doesn't require student authentication. Students just need to know the grid "code" or the URL link to your grid. By default, all grids are private (plus, don't forget that you can also add additional security by requiring a password). You don't need to worry about someone online accidentally finding your grid(s) without being given the link or code.

With the full paid Flipgrid Classroom version ($65.00/year) teachers have access to the full version of powerful tools. Teachers can easily manage activity across classrooms with the management tools, customize the length of students' videos, an unlimited number of student response videos and replies-to-responses, individualize student-video assessment and scoring rubrics, integrate custom LMS and website embedding, and much more...

If you want to learn more about Flipgrid, have access to some awesome resources, and gather ideas for how it can be integrated into various content areas, you can make your own copy of this "Get the 411 on Flipgrid" HyperDoc to facilitate your own professional learning. The 45 day FREE trial of Flipgrid Classroom code at the top of the HyperDoc is good through the end of the year.

I also received a special code that can be used through Cyber Monday (Monday, November 27, 2017) for $25.00 off your Flipgrid Classroom subscription. I wanted to share this code with anyone who has begun to flipping out over Flipgrid in their classroom. This would make your year-long Flipgrid Classroom subscription only $40.00!


Additional Resources to Get You Started:
The Educator's Guide to Flipgrid e-book
Getting Started: Educators
Flipgrid Privacy Principles
Privacy and Security Settings
Moderate or Hide Videos
Lock Grids with a Password
How to Delete or Hide a Video

Tearra K. Bobula
NR21 Professional Development Strategist
Carson City, NV



Monday, November 13, 2017



Keep Up with Google Keep
Although I may love having students take traditional notes analyzing the dark depths of Iago in Othello or identifying the stages of the hero’s journey with Odysseus in The Odyssey, all those notes can become an organizational nightmare.  Often times, students lose their notes, or they get mixed in with other work.  One way to ensure those notes never get misplaced is to store them in one area.  I recommend Google Keep.   With Google Keep, students can take notes that they can share, and export to a Google Doc.  But wait, Google Keep offers much more than the ability to take notes. Students can set reminders, add images, color code, create lists, collaborate with others and it’s all tied to their Google Drive.  In the classroom, teachers can use Google Keep as a virtual word wall, a feedback tool, and as a one-stop shop for videos, links, etc. of information.  Students can even transcribe printed notes into text as well as keep voice notes.  So the question that remains is--How will you use Google Keep in your classroom?  Here are some resources for inspiration.

G suite.jpg
Las Vegas


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

G Suite Updates!

Google for Education is always updating their products, and there are some new exciting features this Fall!

As you know, Forms is an awesome way to create quizzes and exams. The problem is that teachers would have to manually input student scores into Classroom after they take the exam. This is no longer a problem! Forms and Classroom are now able to "talk" to one another so teachers can easily transfer studet scores from Forms into Classroom. Take a look at the tutorial on the right to see how to accomplish this!

Google has added two new updates for Slides. The first allows you to import notes from Keep seamlessly into a Slides deck. In Slides, click Tools > Keep notepad. This will pull up all of your notes from Keep. It's then just a matter of pulling your Keep notes into a new slide!

The second Slides update will make your life easier, especially if you are a huge Forms user. You know how Forms will automatically create charts and graphs using the data you collected? Now you can easily copy a chart from Forms and paste it into a Slide. Take a look at tutorial on the right and start inserting more graphics into your Slide decks!




Monday, October 23, 2017

Skip to My Symbaloo

Have you used Symbaloo?  Symbaloo is a free bookmarking service that allows you to save your favorite or most visited sites.  Access your sites and share them with others.  Teachers can use this in the classroom by bookmarking sites that they will need students to access.  This site is especially helpful if teachers have multiple sites that students will visit within one class period.  Simply have them go to the Symbaloo and then from there they can go to different sites.


Need more inspiration?  Check out this article 6 ways to use Symbaloo in the Classroom--https://en.blog.symbaloo.com/6-ways-to-use-symbaloo-in-the-classroom/


Felicia Wilson
Las Vegas

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Literacy Shed is my Best Friend Forever

Reluctant writers are everywhere and for one school year, I thought they were all in my 3rd-period class.  Essays, summaries, poems, and even their names were all items they simply weren’t interested in putting on paper.  I needed to find something that would get them writing because they NEEDED to write.  I came across a website called The Literacy Shed.  This free site houses short films and animations with teaching ideas.  I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to get my students engaged with a visual and then have them do a writing extension.  No matter what the writing extension was, the point was they were writing.  It became a popular feature in my class, so every Wednesday was dubbed Creative Writing Wednesday.  I saw a change in some of my most reluctant writers as they put pen to paper and added words to their page and even my shy students began to share aloud their creative pieces.  I highly recommend that you check out this site and see how you can use it in your classroom.

Here are a few of my personal favorites.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Add a little Splash with Unsplash

If you are looking for a way to add a little more pizazz to your presentation slides or to make them more professional then I have the site for you.  Unsplash.com is a site that offers you free  HD photos that you can use at your discretion.  Simply download the photo(s) you like and use them as backgrounds to your slides, desktop, etc.  It’s free and it’s easy!


Check it out! Unsplash.com

Also check out this Youtube video tutorial on how to edit and use Unsplash.com photos in your Google Slides.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Wonder of Google Drawings

GD77Flyer (1).jpgEver since I was a little girl, I’ve rooted for the underdog.  If it was the tortoise or the hare, I pulled for the tortoise.  I rooted for Charlie Brown to finally kick the football, The Greeks to win in The Battle of Salamis, and Lennie to live a happy full life in Of Mice and Men.  I rooted for them because I believed in their potential.  So, it is no surprise that I am sitting here, writing about the potential of Google Drawings.  It is the underdog of the G-Suite tools.  In workshops, I have led and in general conversations with people, Google Drawings doesn’t appear to be utilized as often or at all.  So, my question is Why?  Is it the name?  Drawings gives off the connotation that you need to be an artist, creative or Salvador Dali-esque.  The reality is that Google Drawings should be in the forefront alongside Google Docs, and Forms because you can create wonderful things that can be applied in the classroom.  Here’s a list of possibilities:
  • Posters 
  • Flyers
  • Timelines
  • Infographics
  • Hyperdocs
  • Sketchnotes
  • Custom logos
  • Memes

But rather than me telling you about all the wonders Google Drawings has to offer, why don’t you see for yourself.  Here are six resources that will help you get started.  Enjoy the wonder that is Google Drawings!


Felicia Wilson
Las Vegas

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Applied Digital Skills from Google

Google has created a curriculum students can use to apply their digital skills to different activities like researching a topic or creating a budget.

From Google:

"Try a couple Applied Digital Skills activities as a break from your regular curriculum. The video-based lessons teach students everything they need to know to build creative, useful projects — and require little prep on your part."

Check it out here: https://applieddigitalskills.withgoogle.com/en/high-school

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Differentiated Instruction with Ongoing Formative Assessments

Teachers can move towards a more student-centered classroom when they plan learning tasks that focus on student engagement, growth, and mastery (Tomlinson, 2001). And when data from ongoing formative assessments is used to inform their planning, teachers will reach learners at different levels of skills, interest, and preparedness. Afterall, differentiated instruction and ongoing formative assessment go hand in hand.

According to Cauley and McMillan (2010), formative assessment "is a process through which assessment-elicited evidence of student learning is gathered and instruction is modified in response to feedback" (p. 1). The collected evidence can be used by teachers to identify misconceptions students might have about the content, give pointed feedback to students to help them correct their misconceptions, and modify instruction to reinforce the corrections.


Research suggests there is a positive correlation between formative assessment and how well students perform on standardized tests (Cauley & McMillan, 2010). Ongoing formative assessments impact student learning because, in addition to allowing teachers to modify their instruction, they "allow students to see concretely how they can improve" (p. 2). In today's one-to-one blended classroom, educational technology can help make linking formative assessment with differentiated instruction easier.


There are many online tools, resources, and services to help teachers formatively assess their students, provide feedback, and differentiate instruction. Socrative, for example, allows teachers to administer any combination of multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions to students. The teacher can allow students to receive instant feedback as they attempt the quiz, or he can use student scores to form mixed-ability groups to work on a project later in the unit.


EdPuzzle is a tool that will transform the way your students watch and interact with online videos. Teachers can crop an online video to focus students' attention on a specific part and record their own audio narration to any YouTube video. Teachers can set up their videos so when a student reaches a certain spot, the playback stops and they are asked a question. Teachers can even provide feedback, based on the answers the students provide.


There are a number of online graphic organizers and templates teachers can use to differentiate instruction. HyperDocs can be designed to provide student-choice as they show mastery of the content.


Teachers can use a Must Do May Do graphic organizer to allow more student-choice (clicking on the link will force a copy of the template to your Drive.) Use the Must Do May Do template when you would like students to complete a required task and then choose between two optional tasks.


When teachers differentiate instruction based on formative assessments, deep learning occurs. Educational technology can make offering different approaches to demonstrate mastery easier. Give it a try!


Chris Justus

Las Vegas


Sources

Cauley, K. M. & McMillan, J. H. (2010). Formative assessment techniques to support student motivation and achievement. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, 83(1), 1-6. 


Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Differentiated Instruction in a 1:1 Classroom

Image credit to Luisalvaz
When an educator differentiates instruction, she provides multiple modalities for students to learn the content, the processes they use to interact with it, and the final products they turn in. According to differentiation guru Carol Ann Tomlinson (2001), as teachers begin to differentiate instruction "they move away from seeing themselves as keepers and dispensers of knowledge and move toward seeing themselves as organizers of learning opportunities" (p. 16). Because of this, a differentiated classroom will likely include more student-centered, active learning opportunities.

When differentiated instruction is combined with a 1:1 Chromebook environment, 21st century skills can be practiced and applied.

On her blog post 10 Ways to Differentiate Instruction with Technology, teacher Heidi Raki writes, "Let students follow their passions through Be the Teacher projects, student-led inquiries, passion projects, Genius Hour or 20Time [projects] to get them more engaged in their learning." These projects are a way "to differentiate by bringing in each students' individual interests and level." Google's suite of online productivity tools makes integrating these types of projects easy.

For example, students can use Google Docs to organize their research. Within Docs, students can find more resources related to their topic using Doc's 'Explore' feature. Students can create a folder within Google Drive to house all of the artifacts and components generated for their project including videos, Slides presentations, research Docs and essays, and visuals made in Google Drawings. Collaboration and communication between students can be facilitated by the communication features in G Suite and a class Padlet.

When teachers differentiate instruction, they should group students based on their skills, interest, preparedness, and choice. Check out our Differentiating the Learning Experience with Technology article for inspiration on using a graphic organizer to increase student choice and leverage individual interests, skills, and readiness. The graphic organizer can easily be modified to allow groups of students with mixed-abilities to choose their methods they would like to use to demonstrate mastery of the content.

Be on the lookout for an article next week on how ongoing formative assessments are an important part of the differentiation decisions teachers make.

We also have an upcoming professional learning opportunity starting October 1. Learn more about Leveraging Online Tools and register for the eCourse here.

Chris Justus
Las Vegas


Sources

Raki, H. (2016). 10 ways to differentiate with instruction. Retrieved from http://blog.whooosreading.org/10-ways-to-differentiate-instruction-with-technology/

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Differentiating the Learning Experience with Technology

Google's suite of online productivity tools makes differentiating students' learning experiences fun and easy. For example, leveled groups of students can design class presentations by sharing a Slides presentation with one another and work on them collaboratively. 

Another way to differentiate in the classroom is to give students a choice in how they work on their assignments. Check out this Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Menu. When you open the link, click 'Make a Copy' to add it to your Drive.

With the Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Menu every student starts with the center square, which should include background information, content, and/or links every student would need to successfully complete the assignment. Using the center square as their jumping off point, students then create a tic-tac-toe line by completing the tasks in the green and blue sections. Each blue and green square should offer students differentiated tasks they can choose based on their level and abilities.

The Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Menu can make learning relevant and can ensure teachers are reaching all students, regardless of their level.

Inspiration: Shake Up Learning

Chris Justus
Las Vegas

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Upcoming Professional Learning Opportunity

One of our first professional learning opportunities we are offering for the 2017-18 school year is our brand new Leveraging Online Tools eCourse. Check out the course details, the link to the syllabus, and the registration form by following this link.

The course is unique in that you will have more control over your learning. We have worked a badging system into the course and you can choose which EdTech badges you would like to earn and which tools you would like to integrate into your curriculum.

Successful completion of the 15 hour course will earn you 1 continuing education unit issued from the Nevada Department of Education. This credit can be used to renew teaching licenses.

This optional course starts October 1, 2017. Please register by September 24 here: https://sites.google.com/nv.ccsd.net/lotools/home

Chris Justus
Las Vegas

Friday, August 25, 2017

What's New in Google Classroom?

Google Classroom has become a popular service teachers can use to get digital artifacts, assignments, discussion prompts, links, lessons, and videos out to students. Google adds new features to their products all the time and Classroom has a couple new bells and whistles you can try out for the 2017-18 school year.

One of Classroom's newest features is the ability to see all of a student's submitted work. To try this out in Classroom, first navigate to "Students" then click on an individual student's name. All the assignments they turned in throughout the year can be accessed from this single view. You can even filter the assignments down to assignments turned in, returned with grade, or missing.

Organized teachers rejoice! Classroom now lets you organize your different classes in any order on the Classroom homepage. Imagine you have 5 sections of an ELA class. Before you would have to create those classes in the exact order (Period 1, Period 2, etc) to make them appear in the correct order. Now with your mouse you can "grab" each class and reorder any way you want!

Other new features include the ability to give decimal grades, display the class code to join in full screen, transfer class ownership from one teacher to another, and use the app launcher directly from Classroom.

Curious how Classroom has changed throughout the years? Check out all of the changes to Classroom since 2014 here.

Chris Justus
Las Vegas

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Use Keep as Your Student Planner

If I was a student, I would be using Google Keep to help me keep track of my different assignments. Keep allows students to easily write notes to themselves, collaborate on other students' notes, and add pictures of assignments written on white boards. Students can even set reminders for their notes so when they get home from school, they will be reminded to work on their group project.

Take a look at the video below and share with your students!


Chris Justus
Las Vegas

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The "Inbox Zero" Mentality!

Using Gmail? Have hundreds or even thousands of old emails clogging your inbox?! Watch the video below to learn about the Inbox Zero Mentality and change the way you do your work email!


Chris Justus
Las Vegas


Monday, June 19, 2017

HyperDocs Across Nevada

The HyperDoc movement began with Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis. With their collaborative and innovative nature, HyperDocs has taken off like wildfire.

This year teachers across the state of Nevada have been joining in the HyperDoc movement by participating in the HyperDocs course and creating and sharing their own HyperDocs.

While participating in the course, teachers learn how to transform their teaching while empowering their students as learners by engaging in the use of the 4 C's, SAMR, and DOK. HyperDocs provide a digital delivery tool that replaces the worksheet method of delivery of instruction. HyperDocs are much more than just some links on a document. They improve collaboration and instruction between the teacher and the students and allow students to be creative and critical thinkers. In the course, teachers were able to engage in conversations and share strategies with other teachers for creating a blended classroom, including designing lessons that are engaging, interactive, multi-layered learning experiences for students, and packaging web tools and improving workflow.

You can click on the link to this Padlet to see the HyperDocs that are being shared across Nevada. Please continue to post and share HyperDocs that you create by adding them to this Padlet.

NR21 HyperDoc Gallery Wall





Wednesday, April 12, 2017

EquatIO

Are you looking for an easy way to add equations and formulas into Google Docs and Forms? Your search is over. Check out EquatIO, a Chrome browser extension by TextHelp.

Within Google Docs, you can type or handwrite any expression, and EquatIO will convert it into accurate digital math. If you aren’t sure what expression to use, EquatIO will help. When you type 'sq', it knows you mean 'square root'. When you dictate a formula aloud, EquatIO will ignore any “umms”,  “errs”, or other non-math words. EquatIO has a built-in library of ready-made formulas, equations, and other math expressions.

Creating a digital math quiz for students in Google Forms using EquatIO is seamless. EquatIO allows students to add sketches, diagrams, and other notations allowing them to show their work to their teacher.

You can try EquatIO free for 30 days with unlimited access to all the features. After 30 days there is a licensing subscription for Premium features.  There are three types of licensing: single, group, and unlimited. Check their website here for more details. With the free version you have access to Google Docs Integration, Speech Input, Handwriting recognition (2 per day), LaTex, Math to Speech, and Resizing Images.

Check it out! Watch this video showing how easy EquatIO is to use.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Leveraging Online Tools in SoNV


The Four Cs of 21st Century Learning are skills students need to develop to successfully navigate middle school, high school, college, career, and beyond.

We have two different professional learning opportunities focusing on the Four Cs coming up in May and registration is happening now! Both sessions are face-to-face in the Greenspun JHS library from 4:30PM to 7:30PM on May 9 and 10. Here’s the map to Greenspun: https://goo.gl/maps/nJSyd1Sxgqq 

This opportunity is available to all NR21 educators in Southern Nevada.

Check out the flyer and registration form: bit.ly/LOTools. On May 9 participants will learn how to use digital notes, Animoto, and Lucidchart to foster communication and critical thinking in the classroom. On May 10 participants will learn how to use collaborative digital notes, Padlet, and WeVideo to foster critical thinking and creativity.

Learn more about the sessions and register here: bit.ly/LOTools 


See you at the trainings!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Attention Southern Nevada NR21 Teachers!

The Southern Nevada Digital Learning Summit is fast approaching! Join us Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 8:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. at Bob Miller Middle School for a day of EdTech and Professional Learning.

Register for the event here: http://ctl.li/S-NV-Digital-Summit (password: Nevada)

We are planning engaging sessions on:

  • HyperDocs
  • Latest Google Apps
  • WeVideo
  • Canvas Training
  • EdTech Lesson Planning
  • PocketLab
  • New Google Sites
  • Choose Your Own Adventure with Google Forms
  • Latest Chrome Extensions
  • And more!

Space is limited, so register for the Summit today!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Combine Edits in WeVideo

Collaboration within WeVideo is easy because the program allows teachers to create both collaborative and shared projects. WeVideo has made it even easier to allow students to collaborate on a project with its "combine edits" feature. Now teachers and students can combine many edits into one finished video with the click of a button.

The combine edits feature works with any type of WeVideo project including collaborative, shared, and personal projects. All you need is two or more video edits and WeVideo open in a browser window. Here's how to do it:

  1. From the project menu, open the project.
  2. Select all the videos you would like to combine.
  3. Right-click on the selected videos. Click "combine edits."
  4. Select the order of the clips.
  5. That's it! A new window will open with all of the video edits combined into one.
Watch the video below for a tutorial on how to combine edits within a WeVideo project then work the move into your next lesson!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Increase Your Use of the Four Cs with Concept Maps

How are you incorporating collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity, or the Four Cs of 21st Century Learning, into your lessons?

Slides and PowerPoint presentations are classroom staples used to transfer knowledge from the teacher to the student. This "sit-and-get" style of information input, however, can be very teacher-centered. But note taking doesn't have to be so one-sided! You can increase your use of the Four Cs by having your students create concept maps of their class notes.

Concept maps help students organize their thinking, and are made up of a series of terms or concepts linked by connecting phrases. The concepts are enclosed within a rectangle, which are called nodes. Students draw arrows and create connecting phrases between the nodes. See the yellow graphic, made with Lucidchart.

I teach my students to build simple concept maps by imagining the two nodes and the connecting phrase are parts of a sentence. Node 1 is the beginning of the sentence and node 2 is the end of the sentence. The connecting phrase links the beginning with the end. Look at the green graphic for an example of a simple concept map. Note how the direction of the arrow tells the viewer which direction to read the concept map.

From there, students can begin to add more nodes and connecting phrases to their concept map. I tell my students to add interconnections between nodes so their concept map looks like a spider web rather than the spokes of a bicycle tire. Teachers can use the number of interconnections between nodes as a type of formative assessment. The more interconnections between nodes and the more web-like the concept map, the deeper the understanding of the content.

Concept maps can be used as a pre-assessment tool, too. Instead of creating a K-W-L chart, ask students to open Lucidchart and create a concept map on everything they know or think they know about the topic of your upcoming unit. Reading students' concept maps before teaching will reveal misconceptions the students may have. Since Lucidchart is a digital tool that allows students to easily edit their work, they can go back and correct their concept map as their learning grows throughout the unit. Because concept map creation allows students to be active participants in their own knowledge construction, concept maps are often used in constructivist classrooms.

Concept mapping will increase your use of the Four Cs because your students must use their critical thinking and creativity skills to create their concept map throughout a unit. Students will collaborate and communicate with one another when they use Lucidchart to create and share their concept maps.

Practice making a couple concept maps in Lucidchart first and then try it out with your students for your next unit.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

When Chrome Extensions Go Bad- "Extension Viruses"

Who knew extensions could be bad or turn bad? I actually never really thought that much about it until yesterday!


While attending a GAFE Summit, one of the presenters showed off the "Web Paint" extension. Of course, I always like to play with new toys so I immediately installed the extension from the Google Web Store. A box popped up with permissions asking me to allow them. I usually never really read these (but after this experience I will.)

Yesterday, I turned on my computer and it freaked out identifying a virus. My anti-virus software nailed it down to the "Web Paint" extension. I immediately disabled and removed the extension from my machine and did some virus clean-up.

This morning, while checking my Twitter feed, I came across an article titled "When Chrome Extensions Go Bad" written by John Sowash on his blog. It specifically mentioned the "Web Paint" extension, which in my early morning hours before a Chai Tea, helped me to begin to connect the dots between my experience yesterday and the threats of extensions causing security risks.

Read the blog post to learn more about how best to protect yourself and what to do when you have an extension virus.

Out with Venn Diagrams! In with Comparison Tables!

I have a problem with Venn diagrams. 

Not only do they not translate very well in a digital classroom, but they are also hard to use! 

I remember in my classroom I'd ask for students to create a two circle Venn diagram in their notebooks. Some of my more careful students would ask me to borrow something round so they could make perfectly linked circles while other, less careful students would create something that looked like two linked circles...

The intersection of the two circles of a Venn diagram, the almond-shaped vesica piscis, arguably is the most important part because this is where students would find similarities between the two concepts. Regardless of how the student created their Venn diagram, they often made this area too small to write in.

"There has to be a better way?!" you ask yourself.

"There is," I reply.

Enter the comparison table.

The comparison table allows students to easily compare and contrast two concepts without having to know what a vesica piscis is. Even more, the comparison table is a perfect digital replacement for the Venn diagram when teachers use Google Docs to create them. And since Docs can be shared between students, comparison tables increase collaboration and communication, both 21st century skills we should be incorporating more of into our lessons.

Open this comparison table that describes the similarities and differences between plant and animal cells. Note how students are asked to identify the general similarity between the two cell types like "organelles," and explain how they are similar: "both types of cells have ribosomes, mitochondria, ER, Golgi, and nucleus." Likewise for the differences. Students differentiate in what regard plant and animal cells are different and explain their reasoning. 

Make a copy of the comparison table and start identifying similarities and differences with your students today!