Two clever new products you and your students can enjoy.
By Barb Szyszkiewicz
Game time: with a Catholic twist
Remember “Mad Libs”? Karen and Tommy Tighe’s riff on the road-trip game, Catholic Funny Fill-Ins (Pauline Books & Media), takes an old favorite one better by mixing in a fun Catholic fact at the end of each page — and making it part of the game! Woven into the stories are mentions of prayer, saints, sacraments, feast days, and ways to help others. It’s fun and creative, and helps children review the parts of speech.
You can use this book in your classroom as a rainy-day recess option, a lighthearted end-of-day activity, or with small groups. Available at your local Catholic bookstore or your favorite online bookseller.
Go-anywhere, store-anywhere smartphone stand
From the department of “why didn’t I think of that?” comes Edthena’s new low-tech smartphone tripod tool. It’s super-easy to assemble and use, and it folds flat and slips right into the pocket in your planner or grade book for storage — because it’s made from card stock and folds to the size of a business card!
How low-tech is it? I don’t have a classroom anymore, so I tested this tripod in my own kitchen.All you need to do is slide one end of the tripod into the other (it works on the same principle as cardboard stands for paper dolls or board-game characters), then place your smartphone into the notched end and set it to record video.
This eliminates wondering whether the bulky phone tripod is sturdy enough to hold your particular smartphone model, and saves you from carrying around an extra piece of equipment.
Edthena created this tool for teachers who needed to capture classroom video for use in their video coaching program; you can use it in a myriad of other ways as well.
Teachers can upload the videos captured using their mobile devices to engage in the video observation and instructional coaching process. Teachers share the videos with colleagues who add timestamped comments.
Edthena enables teachers and coaches to participate in collaborative professional learning. Interactive dashboards, linked to the school or district’s professional standards, help teachers and administrators identify teaching trends, determine if the professional development is improving teaching practices, and provide a basis for ongoing dialogue about instructional best practices.
Schools, districts, and teacher education programs in nearly 30 states are using the Edthena platform to make video observation an integral part of teacher observation, teacher mentoring, professional learning communities (PLCs), and peer observation.
Learn more at Edthena.com.
Barb Szyszkiewicz is managing editor of Today’s Catholic Teacher. Learn more about her writing at FranciscanMom.com.
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