Musings Over Milk

By Katie Fielding

Musings Over Milk - Issue #5

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Katie Fielding
Katie Fielding
In this weeks edition I will share some ways you can start thinking about communicating to students and parents at the start of the new school year.
Next week I’ll be back with start of the year classroom culture building activities.

Back to School 2021
Back to School 2021
Newsletters:
Newsletters can be a great way to communicate class or school activities. I have done a weekly “tech notes” newsletter for teachers, and this year I plan to add one for students as well. Here are some tips for making a good newsletter:
  1. Keep it short. This is something I have learned is really important. No one thinks ALL THE THINGS are as important as I do, so I need to keep my audience in mind when creating the newsletter.
  2. Add video. Creating a short video overviewing the highlights of a newsletter will get more engagement and activity in the content below. Think of this video as your elevator pitch for the rest of the content. Flipgrid shorts is the perfect tool for making this 30 second-1 minute video.
  3. Make it accessible. I like to use Wakelet for my newsletters because immersive reader is build into it–this allows for read aloud or translation into the readers language of choice. I also like to set up a separate Wakelet space where all the newsletters live so they can go back to them at anytime during the year. This is what that space looks like right now ready for the year ahead.
Wakelet even has a newsletter template you can start from.
Course Trailer:
Introducing your course to students to preview the content for the year is an important way to prepare them to envision their learning and to help them make their own learning goals. Using Canva to create a “course trailer” can be a fun way to do this. I love the video game blockbuster audio file available in Canvas as well for this. Here is a template you can start from. Just add images, and text that goes with your course. Here is an example trailer video I made for a PD course I lead this summer. If you make a trailer for your course I would love to see them!
Another way that I shared in a previous Musings Over Milk edition was a genially course roadmap. Here is an example of a completed roadmap showing students key ideas/topics they will learn through the year.
Canvas Front Page:
Creating an engaging front page of your Canvas course is important. This page should communicate to students the most important areas of focus and direct their learning. Last year I saw a lot of popularity with creating Canva graphics and using them as buttons on the front page, laying them out with a table. This is actually a poor accessibility practice.
What my suggestion will be this year it to create a Genially interactive image and embed it on the front page (including a direct link to the page of course as well for accessibility). Here is an example front page I created for my tech course for my teachers, here is a short silent video showing how this looks and works on a Canvas page. I made a Genially template that you can use to create your own version. Change the boxes to colors of your choice and add text, images, and content in each box and link it to Canvas pages or other sites for students to navigate too. You can embed these nicely into your LMS.
If you make a front page for your course I would love to see it!
Canvas Accessibility:
As you start creating you content for the upcoming school year don’t forget accessibility. The Wakelet below has 10 steps you should take to make sure your course is accessible.
Where to see me next week:
Spark Up Your Life with Adobe Spark
Spark Up Your Life with Adobe Spark
Next week Ill be presenting at EdChange Global, a FREE 24-hour online conference. There will be loads of great presenters from all over the world. You can still register to attend.
Come to the first ITCs4All event of BTS 2021 to learn how to make the interactive genially graphics I shared above. Sign up to attend here.
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Katie Fielding
Katie Fielding @katief

Always: Creativity, Accessibility, Canvas, ISTE, Google Workspace for Education
Never: Boring

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