I Joined the HyperDoc Frenzy!


I just love the google apps suite. The ability for my students to collaborate with each other creates endless opportunities in my classroom. Imagine taking Google Apps and its wonderful classroom attributes to a whole new level! Think that is impossible? Well, enter the HyperDoc!

Think of a worksheet on educational steroids. A HyperDoc according to The HyperDoc HandbScreen Shot 2017-08-27 at 12.22.05 PMook written by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton and Sarah Landis (all on twitter please follow them) is “a transformative, interactive Google Doc that replaces the standard worksheet method of delivering instruction.”  Think, as you teach you to give your kids a note sheet or worksheet. You probably infuse your lesson with activities that might be pulled from the internet, YouTube videos, links to all over. You spend a few minutes explaining You may require them to demonstrate their learning using apps on iPads, programs on Chromebooksks etc. Why not put all of that into one place! Hyperdocs let you do that! Partner the google education app suite’s magical powers with the organization of a HyperDoc and watch learning become even more student centered.

I read the Hyperdoc Handbook over the 2017 summer holiday as a solution to organizing my class after ‘ditching my textbook.’ Sidenote: If you have not read Ditch that Textbook you might want to add it to your list also! This book gives you the skills to be the brave, fearless and textbook-less teacher you have always wanted to be, with plenty of ammo for the nay sayers, but never the sacrificing quality of your pedagogy. Give it a try! Anyways back to the HyperDoc Handbook. First, it is short, I read it in 2 days and filled it with post-its, tabs and endless annotations. I immediately felt ready to try it. It is packed with plenty of info on how to create, organize and use a HyperDoc. I have also pulled it while stuck during lesson planning. It has been just one week and already I can see my potential growing.

A few things 2 weeks POST HyperDoc adoption:

  1. The Teachers Give Teachers site has been really helpful. That’s right, NOT teachers PAY teachers… Teachers GIVE teachers. Kudos to the authors for bringing the giving back! I plan to put some of my HyperDocs up once I become more proficient with their construction. If you cannot find what you need for inspiration… plain old google is great too!
  2. Don’t recreate the wheel! I have all my slideshows made and typically tweak lessons before teaching again. This year my tweaking involves simply makeing a copy for the students and converting the slides into formatted HyperDoc Slideshows. (See below to see one of my first attempts) When my kids download it onto their ipads, it’s a PDF with links all ready to go. Don’t feel like to you have to completely start over remaking everything. Think of it as an upgrade to your existing content that you pool in one place. Which if you are a great teacher you are already upgrading and tweaking so you are doing this already!
  3. Go Slow. If you aren’t ready to convert it all, choose one or two lessons that you can teach with your eyes closed and make that into a HyperDoc Lesson. You will still confidently deliver content but won’t feel nervous because you know the lesson’s path so well. I learned I can include much more in a Hyperdoc than I think. For example, I started with just putting YouTube videos into my worksheets rather than showing it on the board. Then I linked a Padlet  and Flipgrid right into the doc instead of having them take a picture of a QR code. I also tried a google form for an exit slip instead of note cards or sticky notes. It will come to you how to add things. Just give it time.
  4. You might want to flip your classroom. I realized to maximize the usage of these Hyperdocs I might want to Flip my classroom model. So first, no textbook, then trying HyperDocs and adding the challenge of flipping my classroom. I am might be a little crazy. However, there is a reason.  Early in my switch, I realized that I am saving time by having kids work at their own pace and giving them the ability to be independent. I don’t have to explain every direction and then send them off to re-read the same directions.  They come in, get the HyperDoc and in 5 – 8 min they are doing the lesson. I am able to work with small groups and 1:1 with students more than I ever have before. This is my dream and struggle as a teacher. How do I spend more time helping not talking just at them? Having the kids do more of the note taking at home means we have more hands-on and minds-on time in the classroom where I can fully support them. Did I mention how much they love it! Science fun every day no boring lectures!

Here is a link to one of my first HyperDocs.  It isn’t perfect but, I hope it helps someone get started. Enjoy… if you need a helping hand comment below or catch me on the twitter! @mswillisscience.


NSTA Area Conference – Orlando 2014

UnknownOverall Experience

This was my first opportunity to attend an NSTA conference. It was only an hour from my school so they were happy to send me for 2 of the 3 days! I pretty much went to as many sessions as I could. I felt very inspired when I left. Thought, I would share some of my take aways.

Take Aways

Page Keely Probes

images-4Page Keeley has written a series of books that “probe” the knowledge of your students formatively. They are a great way to really provide formative data on your students understanding. I honestly do not know what rock I have been under that was keeping me from these! I have already used a few of them and I must say I am a fan. I love explaining and identifying gaps in my students knowledge and these probes are a cornet way to do that. Check out their website I am a super fan!

“Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Volumes 1-4, provide a set of grades K-12+ formative assessment probes that link key concepts in science to commonly held ideas described in the research on learning. These probes can be used to reveal the variety of conceptions, including misconceptions, naive ideas, partially correct or incomplete ideas, and scientific ideas students bring to their learning. Used individually or as a set, these probes provide the diagnostic and formative tools science teachers at all grades need to uncover the preconceptions students bring to their learning and inform pathways needed to build a conceptual bridge from where students are at any point in the instructional cycle to where they need to be scientifically.”


Unknown-1CPALMS is an online toolbox of information, vetted resources, and interactive tools that helps educators effectively implement teaching standards. It is the State of Florida’s official source for standards information and course descriptions. Standards based resources that are ready to be used in the classroom, a science teachers dream! A must visit Cpalms.org

It’Unknowns Debatable

I thoroughly enjoyed this session presented by the authors on how to use real issues to teach science.  It is always my goal to have students learn how to become effective thinkers in the real world. When taught well, science does a great job of having kids look at evidence and find ways to support their thinking. This book describes a concrete way to actually implant this into the classroom. IT IS GREAT! When I first began teaching I used to have my students debate all the time, not sure why I have stopped. It really helps them reinforce content. This session gave me drive to get back to this practice. Here is a blurb from their site…

“Should local governments lower speed limits to reduce traffic fatalities? Should pharmaceutical companies be allowed to advertise prescription drugs directly to consumers? These are the kinds of real-world questions K–12 students can explore using the Socioscientific Issues Framework at the core of It’s Debatable! Both practical and content-rich, this book doesn’t shy away from controversy. Instead, it encourages scientific literacy by giving students practice in research, analysis, and argumentation and by confronting just how messy the questions raised by science (and pseudoscience) can be.”


  • TAKE GREAT NOTES: How many times did you write down something at a conference and could remember where or what your wrote? I had a chance to be a student and use Notability, which is the app that my students use on their iPads at school. It was the best thing I had ever done. Note taking in partnership with the camera and recoding feature made my sessions very effective and also now living documents that I can read again and listen to for refreshers!
  • SNAP PICTURES: I look many pictures an then imported them into notes
  • PLAN: Plan your visit down to the minute and figure out how far session sites are from each other I had a 15 min walk from one session to another with only 10 min in between by bookings. I was late and I don’t like being late!
  • PURCHASE BOOKS: Many books were discounted at the conference so I keep a list of ones I want and waited until the conference to purchase things.
  • BE ORGANIZED: Bring a binder or pocket folders and a hole punch and organize papers you collect them. I hate ending up with mountains of papers, brochures, things I could use after the conference which, let’s face it, we often throw away!