On this episode of the Blending In Podcast, I’m chatting with Samia Muhareb, an 8th grade Social Studies teacher at Rancho Viejo Middle School who loves blending in technology to help history come alive for her students!
In today’s episode, Samia discusses how she has incorporated experiences like virtual field trips to places around the world like the caves in France to virtual tours of museums or historic sites like Thomas Jefferson’s home in order to make learning history memorable and meaningful for her students. She even discusses how she utilized Judges in the Classroom through the California Courts system which connected her with a Judge who was able to log into Google Meet (or Zoom) with her students to conduct a virtual mock trial with her students!
In our conversation, Samia discusses several additional technology tools and programs that she’s utilized to make history relevant to her students. Her go-to student check-in & SEL tools are Padlet and Peardeck. We discussed how Padlet is a safer place for searching for GIFs for students (rather than just a random Google search or using a site/extension like GIPHY) and using the Explore Tool in Google Slides is a great option to search for copyright free images and GIFs.
Samia also uses the Peardeck add-on to give “pizazz” to her Google Slides, create interactive moments to check her student’s understanding of the content she’s teaching, and provide different ways (ie. drawing, typing, drag/drop, etc.) to reach all kinds of learners in her classroom. She also discusses switching from teacher-paced to student-paced mode so students can finish on their own time or get the material if they were absent. We talked about the versatility of Google Slides (ie. Kacey Bell’s “swiss army knife”) and how this tool can be used in so many different ways to create activities for students. Samia creates things like Choose Your Own Adventure activities, AVID digital one-pagers, infographics, and she uses the tool to provide digital graphic organizers for students to use when learning new information or organizing ideas. (Don’t have time to make your own? Here’s some Google Slides Digital Graphic Organizers that I designed that are available in my TPT store!)
Samia shares that she learned how to do many of the things she’s doing in her classroom by attending professional development opportunities like HUSD’s TechKnow program, the CUE Conference, the AVID Conference, and Riverside & San Bernardino County’s Google Camp; but Samia finds that the best way to keep up with all the latest and greatest tech is to network with other teachers (both in-person and on social media) and listen to what the students are talking about! (Side note: the IACUE Reimagine EDU Conference will be in-person on January 21st, 2022! Click HERE for more details and registration information!)
Our district utilizes the DBQ project in the social studies classes to help students with historical document analysis, and Samia was able to share how she uses tech tools like FlipGrid (now known as Flip) to enhance the inquiry process for her students during DBQ activities.
After teaching units, Samia also discussed the value of gathering student feedback on their learning experiences and how she utilizes Google Forms; but sometimes, just circulating and talking to the students about how the learning experience is going for them gives her the insights she needs to make changes to her lessons.