23 September 2015

Sra. Spanglish Tech Tips: Vibby

So you want to know how much students can interpret from a video, but you don't have all day. EDPuzzle is cool because it lets students add voice or typed comments, but you know good and well they're not going to understand the whole thing, and you don't want to spend forever fastforwarding just to get to what they know. It would be great if they could just send you the parts they do get with what they think it means.

Allow me to present Vibby.

Students can enter the URL for any YouTube video and highlight only the parts they understand and then add a comment to each highlight to add their interpretation! In fact, anyone with an account can comment, so if you're logged in and checking Vibbies, you can comment with amendments!

Turning in a Vibby

The easiest way for students to turn in a Vibby is just to save their edits and get their Vibby URL to submit to your Learning Management System of choice. Students can also actually download their clipped video and turn in the file! Vibby emails you your freshly clipped MP4 file, but caution: the download will probably get caught in spam filters. 

Unfortunately the comments don't come with the file.

For me, the only reason I have them download a Vibby instead of linking anyway is to add to their VoiceThread portfolios

Portfolio possibilities

I've had students Vibby up two types of videos so far: a coro song and a video from their Genius Hour research.

Caution #2: you do have to use YouTube links, so if YouTube is blocked or restricted, Vibby might not be the tool for you. I was dismayed to find pretty much all of the videos from my coros playlist were deemed potentially inappropriate--all but "Te mueves tú" and "Vivir mi vida". 

With just these two videos, we covered pretty much all of the ACTFL Can-Dos for Novice Mid listening! (I had them select a classmate video from our shared class Google Drive folder for the "courtesy phrases"--short enough not to need Vibbying anyway.)

Now, we've discovered that free VoiceThread accounts only allow uploads so big...for media. We have yet to discover a comment limit! So when adding a downloaded Vibby to a VoiceThread,  I had them
  1. take a screenshot of the video,
  2. add the clipped video as a comment, then 
  3. add another comment with the interpretation.
(Check out this how-to video to see what I mean with steps 1 and 2.)

But then I have an even better idea--what if the image they uploaded for the MEDIA had all the words/phrases/sentences they understood, and then I could just play the Vibby comment while I read the IMAGE?

Other ideas

I'm thinking of trying target language vlogs for group updates with our next project, and it might be useful for students to Vibby the parts they don't understand to communicate with each other between first and second period or from home when absent.

We might also use it for reflection on recorded Google Hangout/Skype calls to reflect on how we can use the information we get from conversations with our partners.

What else would you do with a tool that clips videos and allows comments?

21 September 2015

Estudiantes de Perú: Novice IPA

Remember those playground interviews I conducted while I was in Perú this summer? I decided the second IPA of the year--the first with listening--was the perfect time to debut them.

Now I can't share the videos themselves, but there are a lot of ways that anyone could collect a similar stash:
What's the Word on the Street?
[image from Muppet Wiki]

  • visit or Skype with your local ESL classes
  • visit or Skype with other TL classes (locally or among your friendly online PLN)
  • Skype in the Classroom buddies abroad
  • interview your own TL-speaking amigos (no reason they can't interpret adulto speech)
  • have heritage speakers in your class interview family & friends for an assignment
  • get permission to hang out at the local mercado and interview à la Murray on Sesame Street
  • or plan ahead on your next vacation

Knowing that the videos would be for my novices, I stuck mostly to these basic questions:
  1. What's your name?
  2. How old are you?
  3. Where do you live?
  4. With whom do you live?
  5. What do you like to do?
  6. What do you like to eat?
I debated whether these videos would be too simple for an IPA, but then I remembered that listening was Spanish II's biggest challenge last year. Also, as Gianfranco Conti points out in The Language Gym that it doesn't make sense to assess listening unless "students have had extensive listening practice on that topic":
Otherwise, it will be unfair and will encourage a perception of listening tasks by the students as guessing games
So that sealed it for me. Plus, I'm not an OPI certified proficiency assessor, but a classroom teacher. So I'm supposed to assess what students have actually had a chance to work with in my class--not every conceivable listening context (definitely not at the novice level anyway).

The one catch was that with such short, isolated videos, there's no opportunity to demonstrate intermediate level comprehension. Yes, we're only six weeks into the semester, but I've got heritage speakers mixed in who are working for Spanish II credit (and really, listening is one of their fortes). Fortunately, I have at least two Spanish IIs in each class, so I just made them an alternative IPA based on this video. Still talking about passions, but more suited to their level.

Interpretive Listening

As with previous listening IPAs, I went ahead and included some guiding questions for a bit of a memory jog. I didn't use EDPuzzle this time for a few reasons:

  1. My voice is already in the videos as the interviewers--so I don't need to create the little audio comments to offset native accents and give them a prayer of picking out any words.
  2. I didn't want to have to edit together a video of all eight videos.
  3. And I wanted students to be able to click around on the videos separately, seeing titles and images to associate with each when they weren't playing.
I was going to use Blendspace like Sra. Dentlinger to set this up, but the Drive files didn't show up with preview images that way, and I could only see a way to make multiple choice questions. Plus familiar is good, so I went with a familiar Google Doc structure to upload to Classroom:
Open the Google Doc titled ESTUDIANTES below and the attached Google Drive folder, IPA #2 - Estudiantes. Listen to each of the videos so you can 
1) answer the questions provided to the best of your ability, and 
2) pick out as many words and phrases as you can in Spanish to transfer to the table provided and interpret in English.

Interpersonal Conversation

Which students do you WANT to talk to? What CAN you ask them? Record a 1-3 minute video with a friend discussing which students from the videos you CAN be friends with. Upload the video here. 
The Classroom question survey after our first IPA indicated that 4 of the top 5 problems students had were related to their interpersonal recording:
  1. getting the recording to 1 minute
  2. coming up with questions
  3. talking spontaneously
  4. remembering vocabulary
#1 was actually the writing part, but for a lot of the same reasons I think--coming up with stuff off the top of their heads to say. (I think that might have had to do with the awkward attempt at an authentic prompt involving parents.)

I believe already having one IPA under their belt will resolve some of this, especially with students being more conscious of the need to practice outside of class--several checked out their interactive notebooks for the weekend. I also planted a couple of questions in the L1 to get them started and emphasized a couple of our more recent essential verbs.

I will, however, have to enact planning and redo limits--the last set of 1-3 minute videos took at least 30 minutes for most groups.

Presentational Writing

I think this prompt more directly reflects the conversation where my young ones were processing their responses to the videos, so if they can come up with ideas with one (or get some from their partners's responses).
Write a letter to one of the students introducing yourself and explaining why you want to connect with him or her. Talk about interests you have in common and ask them some more specific questions related to your shared interests.
Plus, my Peruvian teacher amiga will be in town soon, so perhaps she could deliver some letters!

17 September 2015

Misiones Musicales: 15 challenges for Classcraft

Classscraft Eventos de hoy can be a great way to set the tone for the class, but I've already got a starter that sets the tone--literally.

I do, however, need the occasional brain break when the class gets too quiet, too lonely, busily working separately on their Genius Hour tasks for the day. And what better way than MUSIC to bring the class back together to engage with language?

Now I had several musical ideas in my original list of challenge events:
  • Everyone wins 5 HP if they can name a Latino singer.
  • The DJ (teacher) will play a song from the coros. A random player will have to identify the singer OR the song. If the student fails, he/she loses 15 HP; if the student guesses both, he/she wins 250 XP.
  • The player with the least XP has to sing a coro in front of the class.
  • The player with the least XP picks a song for the Game Master to sing.
  • The player that has the most XP in each group has to dance  "Te mueves tú" or lose 10 HP.

Several of my other challenges--while potentially useful for skill building and Genius Hour reflection--were not necessarily all that engaging. A recent #langchat, however, gave me several ideas for how to make the most of our musical selection, tapping into students' creativity AND cultural and linguistic awareness.

But I'm going to need your help.

Inner poets

1. Lyrics found poem
The catch with this one is I'd have to  have a stash of lyrics they could choose from or risk the incomprehensible misspellings of a musica.com search. Still, it shouldn't be too big of a problem to just add to, say a Drive folder linked on Classroom as we add a new coro each week.

2. Coro haiku
Haiku would be PERFECT for my little novices and for rearranging choruses!

New song search

3. Find a song from...
How cool would it be to boost my collection by 20+ cool new songs with one 5-10 minute challenge? I mean, sure, they'd probably repeat some of my own finds, and smart ones might hit my Pinterest board linked on Classroom first. For the actual collecting task, I think I'd start a Pinterest board that I share with all of them, thus adding the automatic challenge of not pinning something someone else has already found!

If I set up the search so each group--or the whole class--is randomly assigned a country, then they'll (1) have to use their knowledge about artists we've already explored and (2) have to find new artists they didn't now about before! (I will probably stick to mostly Mexico, Spain, Cuba, PR/DR, Colombia and maybe Argentina to keep things fair, though). And they can look for common threads as they go!

4. Find a song about...
Love song, break up song, dance song...they'll still add to my repertoire and have to focus on meaning, taking into account vocabulary as well as visual and musical cues.

5. Find a song that feels...
Sad, happy, angry...more songs for me, emphasizing some basic repetitive vocabulary.

Vocabulary spotlight

6. Vocab song search
Students could work with a single essential word or from a thematic list (e.g. weather, activities, clothing) and create a playlist (Spotify, YouTube, Pinterest) that provides more context to reinforce understanding for a common vocabulary.

7. Word watch
Have a song picked out with a few words you need emphasized. Give each team or student a different word, or let everybody look for the same word, and let them "buzz in" (Kahoot? Nearpod? Running up and pausing on the SMARTboard? Just raising hands?) each time they hear the magic words.

8. Listening list
Write every word you hear: minimal preparation and micro listening! Mondo XP for the winning team!

9. Wordle highlight race
This one will require a stock of lyric word clouds (reckon I'll just go through my coros lists, hit musica.com and do a little editing), but students will highlight what they hear, and the first person to get to ten could win AP for their whole team.


10. Karaoke with lyric videos
I so want to have a karaoke night fundraiser! But in the meantime, I could put all of those lyric videos I rejected for not having enough cultural input to good use--and expand the selection of songs the young ones are exposed to, maybe picking some different ones from their favorite artists. Maybe this'll be something the person with the lowest AP/HP/XP has to do.

11. Guess the English song from lyrics
I got this SWEET idea from some Appalachian State profesoras posting on my PBL in the TL Facebook Page. Find the lyrics to some popular 'Murican songs in Spanish, and have them figure out which song it is from the lyrics alone (then maybe play them some Kevin & Karla when they get it right.

12. Practice/perspective
Have the students examine the cultural product (lyrics or video) and brainstorm practices and perspectives of the culture!

Make it yours

13. GreenScreen video
I got my school to buy the GreenScreen app, so why not make some lip sync music videos? Zillions of XP for the best video in 15 minutes!

14. Coro response
Based on some of their comic strips from their coro vocabulary activities, I'd love to see how kiddos would respond to the happy, sappy, and breakup songs we've had.

15. Coro perspective rewrite
Now, in Spanish 1, there are not a lot of tenses going on, but we could certainly switch from 1st/2nd person to 3rd person! That'd be a nice way to draw attention to a little grammar too, I think, without a conjugation challenge (yes, I have one of those).

Now for your part

Y'all, I need some help making these sound like cool quests for the Classcraft game, maybe coming up with penalties and rewards too. Can you help me name these and give them a magical feel? Wizards, dragons, battles, elves, and spells welcome!

    16 September 2015

    New Classroom Features: Co-teachers & Questions

    Google Classroom, how do I love thee?

    Not only has Classroom helped me all but wipe out late work, but now it also lets me ahead and make and save drafts of assignments until I'm ready to release them to my eager padawans. However, two of Classroom's other more recent features have given me new insights into effective collaboration and student needs.


    I'm not co-teaching anything this year, but I've added two different co-teachers on two of my Classroom classes, and it has been glorious.

    First, I added my principal as a teacher on my classes. She wanted some specifics on an essay assignment for SAT Prep that she saw mentioned in my lesson plans. All she had to do was open up my Classroom class and open the assignment herself (now that I've showed her how)! Also, when a students makes a not-quite-appropriate comment on Classroom, guess who else gets the emailed notification now--AND can respond on Classroom to the comment?

    I also added my Art Club president to our Art Club Classroom as a teacher. "I'm a teacher now! How cool is that?" Not only is it an easy way to recognize leadership, but this meant when I was having trouble posting an "assignment" (she had the idea to do weekly crowd-sourced inspiration themes to start our sessions), my commander-in-art was able to jump in and fix the problem without me even saying anything! Plus I have someone else to post reminders and preview the inspiration presentations before anything...compromising...could be posted.


    I haven't done much tinkering with the questions yet, but I have tried them out as sort of a quick reference and reflection place.

    I had SAT Prep post their individual essay topics, so I don't have to go picking through previously submitted Docs to find each kiddo's personal prompt--and neither do they. It also kind of keeps them working toward answering the question they proposed and conscious of the need for revision if they find their topic developing differently than they anticipated.

    After the first IPA this year, I also tried posting a reflection question to get some quick easy feedback and to work on fostering the reflection piece our summer #langbook book, Make It Stick, suggested. So now in addition to the actual IPA results, I have the additional feedback based on their perceptions as well as the inkling planted that they need to take some kind of action before the next one (although we'll definitely need to explore what "study" really means).

    13 September 2015

    Actividades - México y Aquí: Novice IPA

    This time I am certain I've got a novice-appropriate Integrated Performance Assessment. And I've worked in a little cultural comparison.

    I might be getting the hang of this!

    I opted to find an authentic text--an infograph--about free-time activities to tie in with their Genius Hour interests and with our work with me, te, and le gusta at least. And this time we've spent enough time applying that vocabulary that I won't need to mess with additional prompting and HINTING in the assignments themselves so much.

    Interpretive Reading

    I found an awesome infograph from AztecaNoticias and jazzed up my template a little:

    Basically I made sure I have a spot for them to put the original Spanish (which since it's a graphic, they'll actually have to type out instead of copy and paste. Alas.) AND their English interpretation. They can copy as much or as little as they need, but I'll emphasize for my heritage speakers who lobbied for Spanish II credit to zero in on the few sentences there are and include as much detail and analysis as possible.


    This interpersonal task is perfectly in line with Novice Mid ACTFL can-dos like "I can communicate some basic information about my everyday life," to say nothing of those about making statements or asking and answering questions. 
    Find a partner and RECORD A 1-3 MINUTE DISCUSSION IN SPANISH comparing and contrasting the activities you and your partner like with the activities that are popular with young people in Mexico. Upload the video here.

    Presentational Writing

    I considered glossing over the audience for this one, but decided there might be more potential for demonstrating depth and variety in their language, especially for those heritage speakers.
    Write a list (Novice Low/Mid) or a paragraph (Novice Mid/High) in Spanish for parents who want to know about good activities for teens (jóvenes). Compare your interests to the interests of a typical Mexican teen. What are good ideas and bad ideas for activities for teens?

    10 September 2015

    Compras para kinder: a PBL/TCI story

    I needed a school supply story to provide some context for vocabulary we'll need as we collect school supplies to ship to a rural school in Colombia through Ayudando Ando, and so I thought I'd walk you through my Alphabet Soup steps for writing a unit story as I made one.

    1. Pick the vocabulary
    We'll already have hit tiene and puede with the Genius Hour unit, so they'll be built into the story but won't be the main focus like my first story last year. What we'll need now is words to work through the planning process for the project:

    • QUIERE- because groups need to discuss their preferences and goals
    • NECESITA - because groups need to discuss materials
    • VA - because groups need to flesh out their plans, what they're actually going to do

    2. Make it weird
    I brainstormed a few school/school supply related scenarios before settling on one:
    • Collecting supplies for a school--actually obedience school for dogs?
    • Weird supplies--writing with fish? 
    • Weird class activities--eating with pencils? dancing with computers? soccer with notebooks? 

    3. Squeeze in some choice
    There are a few basic things that the kiddos can pick to make the story theirs:
    1. Name of the student
    2. Name of store
    3. Amount of money and
    4.  Supplies needed (4, 6, 8, 9)  

    But it's the activities (5, 7, 10, 11) they pick from their interests page that'll make the story fun!

    4. Write the story
    Here's what I came up with:

    5. Set up the materials
    Since I'm shifting away from the SMART Notebook software, I'll set up a Nearpod with open-ended questions (which provides similar opportunities that the storyasking Google Form has in the past):
    • ¿Cómo se llama la niña?
    • ¿Adónde va con la abuela?
    • ¿Cuántos dólares tiene?
    • ¿Qué quiere comprar?
    • ¿Qué necesita primero?
    • ¿Qué va a hacer con esto?
    • ¿De qué necesita dos?
    • ¿Qué va a hacer con ellos?
    • ¿Qué más necesita la niña?
    • ¿Cuántos dólares son ellos?
    • ¿Qué va a hacer con ellos?
    Then I'll need to remove the focus words in caps from the story for the notebook printouts, and I'll be set!

    And of course, finding or creating a visual always helps!

    08 September 2015

    Interactive Notebook Page: Tengo, tienes, tiene

    Get your copy of this page for $1 on TeachersPayTeachers!

    Novices are expected to be able to introduce themselves and provide basic information like their age and who's in their family. It's also useful if you as their teacher can stay in the target language when making sure they're prepared for the day's work: ¿Tienes tu vocabulario? ¿Tienes cinco pins en Pinterest? ¿Tienes ideas para tu proyecto?

    So tener is the second verb we formally introduced with notes in the interactive notebooks after gustar. You'll notice we're sticking to the singular, but this time it's expressed with endings instead of object pronouns. This is a little trickier and takes a little longer to stick, so practicing the vocabulary in context with actions is essential. I provide these little Piktochart-crafted boxes to illustrate the gestures (kind of like purse clutching, you see, but also with a bit of a chest thump for emphasis).

    The only other thing I print out for this one is my Piktochart family tree, which they've already seen with our welcome stations...just without the vocabulary filled in this time.


    So after we go over the first, second, and third person gestures, we go into numbers. I have them write down the numerals for 1-15 in three columns, then we go over the spelling and pronunciation for each five at a time (hint: I have them write 1 as un so it matches the context question). I also have them write 16, 20-23, and then 30-100 by tens.

    Now, I've saved the context questions for last, but I think I'd go ahead and have them write them on the reflection page as soon as the numbers are finished and then practice with some volunteers and/or victims from the class, maybe talk siblings or parents (then threaten to tell their parents the ages they gave for them! MUAHAHAHA!)

    PS since French and Italian also recognize you can't BE years but you can HAVE them, this works for you guys, too!


    I like to see how many words the kids can remember first--making sure they're using pencils, of course! Then I flash the words semantic group by semantic group in Spanish on Nearpod and circulate to make sure they're filling them with the right spelling (this IS their textbook after all) in in the right spots (though you could also add images for the right parts of the tree to help them narrow it down).

    I group sections like this:
    • mother, father, sister, brother
    • stepmother, stepfather, stepsister, stepbrother
    • aunt, uncle, girl cousin, boy cousin
    • grandma, grandpa
    It's kind of cool because at this point, they start noticing the male/female o/a ending thing.

    Plus we have an L1 cultural sidebar on how half-siblings are just siblings and how even if you don't have step-anythings, you'll likely talk to someone who does, and Communication is the name of the game.

    Then, of course, we get into the context question on the reflection side: ¿Quién tienes en tu familia? I know there are probably more natural ways to phrase it, but I like to take the opportunity to emphasize "who" in context in their notebooks...and keep it open and general.

    A little Voluntario o víctima comes in handy here, too before having students interview each other.

    I also take this opportunity to bring back familiar words like soy and gusta to have them write a brief personal profile, something that covers "basic information," including their age and the people who live in the same house(s) with them. THEN they interview a partner (in second person) and write up their personal profile (in third person).


    Me gusta is usually something a lot of students have heard or seen (memes anyone?) before they get to my class. Tengo? Maybe. Tienes? Nu-uh. So it takes a lot of gesturing and context for this to catch on. I'm constantly asking if they HAVE their scissors or HAVE their glue or HAVE their notebook or HAVE ideas to drill it in. It's been over a week now, so the sinking is almost in.

    Also, it's a good way to start drawing parallels with ¿Cómo estáS? to let the concept of verb endings begin to take root before you get to Puedo, puedes, puede.

    06 September 2015

    Sra. Spanglish Tech Tips: Common Curriculum

    Common Curriculum is a website that lets me set up my plans in a way that works for me--and then rearrange my plans in a way that works for me too!

    After all, the best laid plans of mice and men are always going to do what best laid plans do. And it's such a help to have a planning platform--a FREE planning platform--that is as flexible as me and my classroom!

    Out with the old

    This is what last
    semester looked like.
    For YEARS I just made big ol' tables in Google Docs of my entire course, color coding workdays and holidays so I didn't inadvertently plan them away. Then last year, somebody got a bee in their bonnet and decided we all needed to have state objectives clearly labeled on our lessons, so I developed a more detailed weekly spreadsheet...which I may or may not have kept up with by May.

    By about July, however, I started planning ahead for the next year, what with my passion from the start pretty much being a done deal in Spanish I here on out (hooking with relevance and a little gamification grabs even the most distractible!) So I took the tasks that worked before and tweaked the agenda a bit, adding in interactive notebook pages for key information at strategic points.

    This is actually the adjusted version
    of August, after reality set in.
    I put these pages and due dates on a Google Calendar to give me a skeleton of at least the first unit--one that I could easily shift around with a click and a drag...even if I still had to cut and paste everything on the spreadsheet I fleshed out based on the shifted due dates.

    In with Common Curriculum

    I am forever indebted to my Pinnacle amigo, Sr. Wilson, for just offhandedly mentioning Common Curriculum to me during our Pinnacle training this summer. It took two days into the semester when something took longer than it should and one class had to take a college placement test before and my whole table was suddenly a mess.

    After all, I now knew there was an easier way out there!

    Here are some things I've been able to do with it since this serendipitous revelation:
    • Create my own template with the kind of stuff I actually do day to day.
    • Add new boxes and specifics for different activities, take stuff out, rearrange.
    • Make notes when something doesn't work or one class needs to come back to an activity the next day.

      • Lay out the main topics for the month for all of my preps--2 different ways!
      • Move any activity--or day's plans--around anywhere! (It is a little trickier from one week to another though.)

      Now I do still keep the Google Calendar for the kiddos for easy sharing on the class webpage and kind of a more condensed outline for myself. I also still have my master spreadsheet, since I'd already made it and all, in part so I can copy and paste what I laboriously fleshed out this summer. Not to mention the fact that my principal's trying to go all 21st Century and have us submit plans on Google Classroom, and, alas things like creating a PDF of your plans or planning by unit or collaboratively are paid features. Also, sometimes I really wish I could pick my own colors for each block rather than running through a rainbow of blocks before I get the one I want.

      I'd really like to see some other templates that creative teachers have come up with for their lesson plans and hear your tips on how to get even more out of planning with Common Curriculum. 

      How could this platform work for you?

      02 September 2015

      VoiceThread Spanish Skills Portfolio

      I went and rearranged e-portfolios again.

      As if I didn't have enough portfolio templates already.

      My colleague talked me out of the interactive infograph portfolio. She's pretty much our tech whiz, so if Sra. Payseur says it's too many steps to upload an image to ThingLink, create four VoiceThreads, upload evidence to the VoiceThreads, link and then move the VoiceThreads all  BEFORE you add the badges that actually indicate the standards that are being demonstrated...I'm inclined to believe her.

      And, you know, when I look at it that way, I guess I agree.

      Template Structure

      So I opted to make yet another Google Sites template (which, if you look closely, you can copy yourself straight from that link!). This time, though, I opted to break pages down into 4 skills--reading, listening, speaking, and writing--instead of 5. After all, isn't most speaking at the novice level interpersonal anyway? And really, what run-of-the-mill employer actually cares about the difference between negotiated and presentational speech? Can you talk and be understood? is all anyone outside of linguistical circles really wants to know, right?

      Since I switched back from Livebinders to Google Sites, I also managed to squeeze four sublevels of modified Can-Dos onto each pageÑ Novice Mid through Intermediate Low PLUS overviews for the levels Novice through Advanced. All with plenty of room for a nice big scrolling evidence window in the middle of each page!

      How'd I do it?


      With VoiceThread, the future employer and/or gatekeeper of all things college and prerequisite can see the students' performances at a glance, no scrolling or endless link clicking. The first thing they'll see is the title slide (step 2 in the handy dandy set up instructions--free on TeachersPayTeachers!), and then they'll just see progressively more impressive samples of your students' skills scroll by (though they may have to poke some arrow buttons to progress through the impressiveness).

      Also this time, I emphasized self-evaluation by directing students to review their samples before they highlighted the objectives they demonstrated with those samples. So far it has at least made a few of them re-record at least one sample, so I'll take that as a sign of progress.

      VoiceThread Tips

      So I was all excited about how students could upload pictures OR videos OR documents to display on their VoiceThreads--and then comment in writing or audio or video additions!

      Too bad it turns out that even 30 second videos were too big to upload with "Add Media" on the free accounts.

      HOWEVER the videos students had recorded worked PERFECTLY if they uploaded them as COMMENTS (well, perfectly and upside-down for some reason...) So I made this instructional video to help the kiddos do just that (unfortunately Screencastify was on the fritz, so I had to record a track after the fact to a Snagit screencast using WeVideo--it's tech-ception!--which did not capture the full glory of my lip syncing.)

      Students also experimented with different formats when we discovered the video upload trick. A couple of kiddos tried just putting their videos on their title slide, which is nice for immediacy, as the videos just follow one right after the other. However for me as an evaluator, I like a little time to digest between videos. Plus the whole autoplay effect could be a bit for the untrained ear (though it is handy while making notes on a rubric in another window)...overwhelming, and the title slide provides a nice pause before diving in.

      On the subject of title slides, I required their name, the course name, and the skill on the image, and beyond that only asked that it be neat. I especially liked the ones that used Skitch to add the required labels to pictures of themselves. The Chromebook filtered camera shots of them with whiteboards were pretty cute too, but plain old Paint or a snapshot of notebook paper worked too.

      HINT: VoiceThread now lets you create cover art, but this is NOT a title slide and really only shows up in your VoiceThread dashboard.