Khan Can Help

Perhaps Salman Khan’s success with Khan Academy is due to his soothing voice, and I speak from experience. Recently, I have taken several math exams for state certification, and stumbled upon Khan Academy videos on Youtube. I was unaware of the larger network of tutorials in existence, but I was hooked from the first video. I was  trying to learn summations, and combing through Youtube for help. The lesson immediately made sense, and seemed so simple. I was impressed from the start, and I was not the only one. Scrolling through Khan Academy comments on Youtube is full of others who praise the methods of the Khan…even so much to replace school!



With millions of views and thousands of comments, these videos are making a difference. A big difference, and as a teacher it’s wonderful to know that students are getting the help they need. The biggest question this new wave of learning poses is, what then is the roll of the teacher? I think the first part to this is that Khan is not arguing that this his videos should replace teachers, but what I think he is saying is that his videos and lectures can replace teacher’s lectures and class time. If we consider his flipped model, I think we can see where the change can happen.

As teachers, if we flip our classrooms, we could possibly do more work in class. Students would not have to sit through our lectures, which, let’s face it, might not be as awesome as Khan Academy’s, and instead, we could get to work. I am curious to think about what this methodology would mean for primary grades: could 2nd graders digest lectures online? Or should we simply just shift our homework and classwork routines to make a difference?



So Much Fun!!!!!

We made a video.


OMG!  Digital storytelling is a BLAST!  Especially when you have an awesome group to work with and minions are involved!

My group retold the story of The King’s Commissioners by Aileen Friedman.  This is a great picture book showing different ways of counting.  BUT…we didn’t have a king or commissioners.  What we did have was even better, and way funnier.  We told the story using Grü and his minions.  Dr. Nefario even makes a cameo (though sans fart gun).

So take a look and have a laugh.  It’s great fun!

Too Many Minions from Evan McGrew on Vimeo.

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Reasons to tweet with your class

You can’t ignore it anymore! The internet has made another list, and this one is worth reading.

60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom

“I tweet, I learn”

Found via our ED554 class Diigo page, The Global Digital Citizen Foundation is a massive resource for educators.Of these 60 uses for twitter in the classroom I would like to share my favorite. Applicable to grades 5 and up, all of these encourage daily interaction with your students.


#5 Silencing Blurters:

I call it volcano mouth, that is, the students who want to shout out answers all the time. If they use twitter and a hash tag or @ for their comment, the teacher can read them and address them after class.

#12 Classroom notepad

Continue a conversation with your students and answer their questions after class with hash tags that correspond to their class and section number.


#1 Twitter Recaps:

Summarize each class into 140 words to continue student conversation and discourage memory loss. Plus, 140 characters forces you to keep it short and important.


#5 talk to career experts: In other words, tweet at the best in the business until they are forced to respond!

Writing Skills

#3 Daily word games: Ask students to unscramble anagrams, contribute synonyms, or give vocabulary definitions on Twitter.



Mr. McGrew’s Wordle Class

silly class

Using Wordle teachers can create awesome class graphics to hang on the front of their door! It’s a great way to welcome students on the first day and it is super simple to make. Go to and click create! Type your name twice, and then list each student once. If you have students with the same name, be sure to add their last initial. What are you waiting for?

The Productivity Spectrum:Teens with Technology

We Are so connected and empowered!Image


Social media is changing lives, no one denounces this. What I want to bring into the spotlight is a proposed spectrum of internet users that range of Facebook addicts, selfie junkies, to social rejuvinators and innovators. With all great spectrums, let’s begin with a graphic.



Here is a glimpse, and of course, a somewhat stereotypical view of how people are using social media to “enhance” their lives. This illustration offers a realistic perspective to Scott McLeod’s ted talk about extracurricular empowerment. In his speech, he highlights several teens and children who used social media to accomplish achievements in human rights, school food, science and pop culture. These examples all lead us to want to believe Scott, that social media when unleashed, can unlock the full potential within students. When we allow students to run free, without censorship, they will flourish within the context of success.

I enjoy Scott’s research, and his optimism. The most significant idea of his is that we need to eliminate our fear and censorship on teens access to tech. As a realist though, our fear of teens use of the internet comes from a real place. For ever child triumphing over some social injustice via twitter or YouTube there are million of average social media junkies, posting selfies, consuming nutrient-deficient content, and contributing nothing but misspelled words and self absorbed perspectives.

I am obviously pessimistic about the current use of social media.

What gives me hope, is if we can empower teachers and students to thrive inside schools with technology. New teachers need the confidence to let their students go freely in their studies, and veteran teachers need the updated technological skills to keep their classrooms buzzing. But who will initiate training for teachers? Who will take the lead?

I have faith in education, it is at the base of curing every social issue in our country. With technology and social media, teachers can bring their students the best content while empowering students to create their own content. If teachers can ween students off the endless ”retweeting” and “reblogging” and encourage students to create something new, we might see less selfie junkies and more social super heroes!