Monday, March 4, 2019

Digital Interactive Notebooks

Digital interactive notebooks are a great way for students to keep all class content in one spot using Google Slides.  This makes reviewing content for tests extremely easy for kids when it is kept all in one spot.  Google Slides allows the storage of videos, articles, slides, websites and so much more to be kept and contained in one area.  Students can write the reflection for a video, right next to the video itself, all in one slide.  Digital interactive notebooks also gives students the soft skills of becoming proficient in Google products and appropriate academic use of technology. I have found that teachers use it in different ways, some use one for a whole semester while others use it for a unit.

What the Experts Say wrote a great article titled "5 Tips For Using Interactive Notebooks in High School" that can also assist teachers just starting out. The article is speaking about traditional interactive notebooks, however, it is very relatable to digital as well.  In short the five tips are:

1) Give students choice as often as possible.
2) Keep in mind different learning styles when planning activities.
3) Make questions and activities rigorous and useful.
4) Have a few systems in place to keep on top of it all.
5) Always have the long game in mind

Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller, just posted on this topic and his blog post is great! Here is the link to read what he has to say.

Ditch That Textbook: Interactive Notebooks

Examples, Free Resources & Templates

Kathy Hoover from Kofa High School uses a student tracker as her interactive notebook.  Students attached their notes and assignments to specific objectives in the unit.  This allows students to take ownership in their learning as well as being able to keep track of their assignments and study materials when it comes to the end of the unit test.

Teacher Version Unit Tracker

Student Version Unit Tracker

Below are example images of two ways to use a digital interactive notebook for vocabulary and video note taking.  If you click on the links below you will find TONS of templates already created ready to go.

Example One: Vocabulary

Example Two: Video Note Taking

The "Home" button allows students quick access back to the table of contents

Free Resources & Templates

Digital Interactive Notebook Example 1

Digital Interactive Notebook Example 2

Digital Interactive Notebook Training

Unit Digital Interactive Notebook Example 1

Unit Digital Interactive Notebook Example 2

Please feel free to email me at with any questions about digital interactive notebooks!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Using Skill Assessments in Illuminate

One of the awesome tools offered through the Yuma Union High School district is Illumine Data and Assessment. When teaching CTE often times we need to test students to see if they know a particular skill.  Illuminate offers a system that allows teachers to easily test a skill and best of all it collects the data for the teacher.  Often times you would think of using a skill assessment for the lower grade levels to assess reading and writing.  This could be applied to CTE by assessing a skill like "cutting a straight edge" or "proper dental care".  Collecting this data would allow for teachers to easily differentiate their classroom based on passing or failing a particular skill.

Instructional Video on Using a Skill Assessment in Illuminate:

Written Instructions:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Future of Education Technology Conference 2019 Recap

The Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) 2019 was held in Orlando Florida from January 27th through 30th.  I signed up for the "Premium" pass which gave you access to EVERYTHING.  The Premium pass gave me unlimited access to the workshops which were by far the best part.  Generally, the workshops were hands-on learning experiences that gave great resources.  In this post, I will be sharing my favorite sessions that I found to be super helpful as well as the resources I received from each session.  This conference is HUGE.  The Orange County Convention Center is massive make sure you bring comfortable shoes.  Next year the conference is moving to Miami. 

Conference Tips: 

➤ If you like a presenter, see if they have other sessions, even if it might not have been something you would check out normally, chances are you will end up with some excellent takeaways.

➤ Check out the Expo- lots of opportunities to win lots of free stuff. If you head to the vendors of products you use, often time they will give you the good giveaways (t-shirts, charging cords, etc) if you mention how much you love their products 😁.  They will also give you great tips and tricks on products you already know and love.

Hipster Google: Tools You Probably Never Heard Of

Presenter: Eric Curts

Summary: This guy was awesome and had plenty of resources to share. This session gave a very broad overview of about fifty google tools that most people have never heard of.  If you click on the Hipster Google Agenda you will find all the tools he mentioned as well as links to get you started on each tool.


It's Getting HOTT in Here: Higher Order Thinking with Technology

Presenter: Becky Shiring 

Summary: This session showed different strategies and technology tools that allow for higher order thinking as well as having total participation in students.  The presenter reference the book "Total Participation Techniques" that I have ordered and will share useful information that I find.  This session was mainly done through Padlet. I found slides 15-26 to be especially useful.


Google Docs Literacy Activities

Presenter: Eric Curts

Summary: Another presentation by Eric Curts, when going to a conference, if I like a presenter, I usually go to another session by them, chances are I will learn just as much the second time. This session gave creative ways to use Google Docs for literacy activities.  The four activities were reduction reading strategy using blackout, emoji learning, writing less and choose your own adventure stories.  

Dynamic Learning with G Suites

Presenter: Kasey Bell

Summary: This session emphasized the importance of making learning dynamic for our students.  She stressed the importance of the 4 C's: creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.  In this session, the presenter showed examples of using different G Suite products in a dynamic way. Kasey Bell has her own website called Shake Up Learning, highly suggest checking it out, it is full of great resources.  


Awesome Uses of Google Drawings for Schools

Presenter: Eric Curts

Summary: The final session I thought was great for teachers was yet another by Eric Curts. This session shows you how to use Google drawings as well as different ways to implement them in the classroom. Regardless of the subject, you teach I believe there is a place for use of Google Drawings. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Google Drawings, it is basically like Google Slides but just one slide instead of having many.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Welcome to Save The Trees

Welcome to Save the Trees blog by Melissa Ellegood.  The goal of my blog is to provide free resources to teachers across the country but more importantly to the Yuma Arizona region of the United States.  Please feel free to follow me on twitter @melissaellegood. I currently work for the Yuma Union High School District as well as I am a Google Certified Trainer.