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Creating and Sharing YouTube Playlists

YouTube is a powerful tool in the classroom when it is used appropriately and with supervision. I have a lot of colleagues and friends who are still scared to use YouTube because of the reputation it got in the education world a few years ago. Although YouTube still can be dangerous and contain highly inappropriate content and ads, it still remains the number one video source for information and the top Google search result when you filter by videos. Many reputable sources use YouTube to stream their content, and for teachers trying to take their teaching to the next level, it can be a great supplement to a lesson or unit (keyword- supplement!)

For teachers using Google G Suite for Education, YouTube playlists are a great way to gather a bunch of videos into one spot for students to access. Instead of sending them on a hunt all over YouTube to find videos and risk them winding up where they don’t belong (yikes), you can create a playlist and share it directly to your class via Google Classroom or email. You can also share the link to a playlist to your classroom website or any other platform where students, parents and colleagues can view.

Here are a few other ways educators can use YouTube playlists:

  • Administrators sharing videos of instructional practices, ideas or inspiration
  • Administrators sharing videos of inspiration for meetings
  • Teacher leaders sharing videos for PLCs (professional learning communities)
  • Instructional coaches sharing videos with teachers about best practices, strategies and content area specific practices
  • Teachers sharing resources with colleagues

How to Create a Playlist from YouTube Search Results

Search for the topic or video you are looking for
On the upper right hand corner of your search results, hover over the video to make the 3 dots appear.
Click on the 3 dots and choose “Add to playlist”
Choose “+ Create a new playlist”

How to Create or Add to a Playlist from Within a YouTube Video

Below the video on the bottom left (under the channel name), click on the “+ Add to” button.
Choose “+Create a new playlist” or select the playlist you want to add the video to.
If you are creating a new playlist, you can change the settings to be public, unlisted or private.
If you choose public, anyone can find and comment on the playlist (not recommended for schools). If your playlist is unlisted it will be accessible by anyone but will not show up in public search results (this is usually what I use, especially if I am posting it on a classroom webpage where parents or students may be logging in from home). If you choose private, it will be viewable only to those individuals who you share it with.

Now that you’ve created your playlist, it’s time to share it!
Your playlists can be found on the left hand side of your YouTube account under “Library”.
Click on the playlist you want to share.

When you open the playlist, you will see this screen. Click on the “edit” pencil to the right of your name.

Click on the share button and copy and paste the link. Share this link on your website, in an email, in a Google Classroom or anywhere you communicate with students, teachers and parents.

If you are sharing the playlist to users within your G Suite domain, you can use the email tab to send it to an email list or to individual students or teachers. You can also check the “allow people with link to add videos” if you want the playlist to become collaborative. Be careful making your playlist collaborative with students. Depending on the age of your students, you will want to approve of videos before they are added, and there is currently not a feature to approve of videos before they are added to your collaborative playlists.  

There you have it!

There are so many ways that schools can use YouTube playlists to organize collections of videos for students, teachers and parents.

How to Schedule Time Slots Using Google Calendar

There are so many untapped features of Google Calendar for GSuite for Education users that can make your life as a teacher or administrator so much simpler. There are many reasons why you might be looking for an appointment scheduling feature.

  • Parent teacher conference sign up times
  • Parent volunteer sign up times
  • Meeting times for student led conferences
  • Office hours/drop in times for high school teachers
  • Office hours for guidance counselors to meet with older students
  • Office hours for administrators to meet with teachers for pre and post observation meetings
  • Appointment times for staff development specialists and instructional coaches to meet with teachers
  • Meeting times for building administrators to schedule time with teachers
  • Scheduling therapy times for related service providers
  • Student sign up time slots for stations or events

I have used Google Forms (plus the choice eliminator add on), Sign Up Genius, Doodle, and many others. While each of these stand alone websites or extensions are useful, they don’t integrate easily with your already existing Google calendar.

If you use a Google Calendar to communicate with parents or share important dates with parents and students, this feature is a no brainer.

Here are the steps to create an appointment slot calendar

  • Open your Google Calendar
  • Click on the date
  • Choose “appointment slots”
  • Set the time frame for the appointments
  • Choose the duration of each appointment (i.e. 30 minutes)
  • Click save

  • Once the event is created, you can click on it and you will see this preview.
  • Click on “This calendar’s appointment page”.
  • That will bring you to a new link. This is the link you will share with the people you want to sign up for appointments. 
  • You can copy and paste this link into a website, an email, anywhere where you are sharing information.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. Happy scheduling!

Chicken Souvlaki Lunch Bowls

Happy Monday!

What's in your lunchbox this week? I hate the amount of time I spend prepping lunches on Sunday but you know what I hate more? Being hangry, eating junk and spending a ton of money each week going out for lunch or ordering in. All of these places that deliver now (Chipotle, Panera...) make it even more tempting to order something on the fly.

This week I made these delicious chicken souvlaki lunch bowls which is a watered down version of a meal my family has all the time. We love making a big chicken souvlaki salad with Greek lemon rice and pita. This lunch bowl is basically a chicken salad, but the dressing and marinade make it yummy enough to eat a few days in a row so you won't be sick of it by Friday.

Chicken Souvlaki Lunch Bowls

Chicken Marinade 

(for 10 chicken tenderloin pieces, or 5 breasts)
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
Add chicken and marinade to a Ziplock bag and let the chicken marinate for an hour or two. If you don't have time to let it sit, coat it well. The garlic and oregano will go a long way!

On a baking sheet, lay the chicken flat and broil at 500 degrees for 5-6 minutes (it will start to brown a bit). Turn the chicken over and broil for another 5 minutes.

Salad Fixings

  • romaine lettuce
  • tomato
  • cucumbers
  • red onion
  • feta cheese
  • kalamata or black olives

Free to do list from Clementine Creative / Make Today Awesome
Salad dressing containers / Sistema To Go Collection

Greek Vinaigrette Dressing

Makes 2 cups
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

My Most Humiliating Teacher Story

Each Tuesday over on Instagram I have been sharing tips and wisdom for new teachers. This time of year really resonates with me when I think of new teachers because October is usually when the honeymoon is over and it starts to get real. So this week for #newteachertiptuesday I was reflecting on some pretty embarrassing things I did early on- you know, like raising my hand at a faculty meeting when the principal asks if anyone has any more questions...etc.

One story that came to mind is one that I am NOT proud of. Once you read it, you will understand why. But by sharing this story, I am encouraging new teachers to ask for help and veteran teachers to be more aware of the new teachers who may be drowning next door to you right now.

Here it is...

In my first year as a special education teacher, I was teaching 5th grade as a long term substitute for a maternity leave. I had been a kindergarten teacher for 2 years before so I didn't really feel like a "new" teacher anymore and I certainly didn't want to be treated as such. Determined to prove that I was already self-sufficient and knew it all on my own, I didn’t ask a lot of questions of my teammates. I wanted to prove that I was worthy of being hired and was a skilled special education teacher. I was in a consultant teacher role on my team, which in New York State is a form of push in and pull out service for students in a general education setting. The first or second week of October, we had Open House/Meet the Teacher Night. I sent a note home to all of the parents of students who I had for pull out reading services. I invited them to attend my Open House reading presentation. At the end of the presentation, a mother and father approached me and apologized for being in the wrong room during my presentation. I was confused and caught off guard. I even went as far as to tell them how much I enjoyed their son and how much I was looking forward to working with him and how impressed I already was with his skills. I assured them that if they got my note, then he was in my reading class because I sent it to all of the students on my team with an IEP. They assured me that he hadn’t received reading services in 5 years and the only reason he had an IEP now....was for speech. O. M. G.

I was mortified and embarrassed. I wanted to curl up right there and cry, quit, run away. How could I be so negligent? How did I not know that I was supposed to review every line of the IEP? I had been removing him from his regular classroom setting for 5 WEEKS without his parents knowledge and not honoring his right to be in the least restrictive environment (special education teachers reading this are horrified right now!) Since it was a new school year, they assumed I was the reading teacher on the team. It wasn’t until my Open House presentation discussing the benefits of research-based reading interventions, that they realized they were in the wrong room....and so was he. Not only was I embarrassed to admit this to myself and his parents, I also had to admit it to my new teammates at the end of the night. I was certain that they would write me off as a clueless young teacher and question the judgment of the principal for hiring me in the first place.

But they didn’t. They rallied around me. They felt that they had let ME down by not offering to help me more often. They said they assumed if I didn’t ask, I didn’t need help. Most of all, they felt a tremendous amount of guilt for not knowing this child was in the wrong classroom because the IEP is not exclusively the job of the special education teacher and they should have known it too.

This humiliating story was the foundation of a year of growth, learning and humility for me as a young teacher. It taught me to slow down and worry about what matters. I was too concerned with what people would think of me (and whether my Sharpies were organized by color), that I failed to honor the important responsibilities of my job.

To all the new teachers out there— be patient with yourself. You don’t have to have it all together this year. Or next year. Or ten years from now. It is OKAY to ask for help and admit that you don’t know everything. Nobody does and nobody ever will.

To all the teachers out there with a new neighbor, new teammate or a new teacher in their building: make an effort to support her. Ask her what she needs, ask her how she’s doing, stop in her classroom and ask her what she’s struggling with. Remember that "new" doesn't mean fresh out of college. "New" might mean a new grade level, new building, or returning back to work after 6 years home with her kids and every. single. standard. changed.

To all the administrators out there with a "new" teacher in your school- check in on her, ask her what she is struggling with, give her a buddy or a mentor.

New teachers: what are you struggling with? How can we help?
Veteran teachers: what advice do you have for new teachers?

We rise by lifting others.

Phonics Based Spelling for Struggling Students and Beginning Readers

This approach to teaching reading and spelling has been a game changer for my students who struggle with phonics, letter and sound identification, blending and segmenting. It also teaches sentence writing, capitalization and punctuation.

There are 8 main components to a lesson. Each lesson typically takes me 30-35 minutes if done with fidelity. I have definitely done "express" versions of them depending on the group of students I have. If I am teaching whole group, it tends to take the whole 30-35 minutes. If I am teaching small group, I can get a lesson done in about 20-25 minutes. I've had the most success using dry erase boards in place of pencil and paper (but either one works!) I used to use journals or pencil and paper so I had a record of the lessons, but now I prefer dry-erase boards. The kids are motivated by it and it saves a lot of time with erasing when mistakes are made. 

This multi-sensory approach to spelling uses visual learning, auditory learning and hands-on learning. It's very direct and routine for the kids and the more consistent you can be with teaching it, the better results your students will get!

You can see it in action on a Smart/Interwrite board in this video, or scroll down to read through how I teach a lesson
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