Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Quizziz--another fun way to check for learning

My students love Kahoot.  But, it's losing it's power.  So, I stumbled upon Quizziz.  It is very similar to Kahoot.  Students visit the site and input the code. But students (either alone or in groups) get the questions in various orders.  So, you get a better check for understanding.  You can also remove the time limit.  On the teacher side, you can see how everyone is doing in real time--who is missing a lot of questions or taking a ton of time.  The kids love it--and I love it.  Like Kahoot, there are a lot of premade Quizizzs, but they are easy to make on your own.  The reports are thorough and easy to download and navigate.  Just add this little tool to your arsenal. 

Use Flipgrid to Create Amazing Conversations

Hi all!

So, Flipgrid.  It is an amazing app.  You create a class--and assignment.  You then let your kids respond via video.  This can then be shared and responded to (via video) by other students, staff members, family members, and community members. All of which need to be approved before posting.  That way you can guard against anything that would not be helpful. It is an app that pushes down the walls of the classroom. 

Go and visit my class' new year SMART goals.  As much as I love the students explaining their goals, I love the responses of encouragement and suggestions.  It's just amazing.   Leave a comment, if you wish.  They would love it!    Visit:

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The school year has begun; is it too noisy in your room?

Welcome back!  Did your summer go by as quickly as mine?  But, I have to admit, I felt ready, rested and excited to begin again.  But, I have to admit.  This is a CHATTY class.  Most of the issue is that I looped with this class, and I have used all of my tricks.  But, I have just discovered a new app.  Sometimes, the class is just too loud, but sometimes, I am just overly sensitive to the noise.  The "too-noisy app" is a perfect tool.  It is $3.99, but it is a perfect tool now that Silent Light has gone away.  You set the noise level, and the time limit.  The kids have to keep the noise level at a certain level to earn points.  I plug the iPad into the projector, and the kids can see the points they earn and lose.  It is helping my sanity--and the kids love it.  Click here for more information.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Are you starting to drag...sing about it.

Hi all!

I know for some of you, you are ending your school year.  Packing it up.  Heading out into the sunset. Some of us have snow days to make up and will be in school long into June.  After testing, it can be hard to get kids to be engaged.  So, here is a great idea.  Create song parodies!  All you need are the lyrics, a karaoke track, and an iPad.

I love using parodies, because I have the students review things they have already learned.  In groups of three or four, they get to choose the popular song to change the words to.  Together as a class we pick different topics, and each team gets to choose a different topic.  We then get to discuss rhyme schemes, patterning, and syllabification. I model and provide guided practice by writing a song myself.  In no time flat, you have kids discussing syllables, and what content to include, and how to find rhyming words.  All you are doing is helping manage.

Once the song is complete, allow them to use a movie making app to create a music video.  They may want to do a stop motion video, or a live action music video, or they just might want to use images and video from discovery streaming.  But here is the tip...

Record the music separately from the video.  It is too difficult to record good audio with kids making a video.  Record them singing using garageband or a similar app.  And then record the video.  Move the video into iMovie (or a similar movie making app) and turn the audio off.  Then bring in the song from Garageband.

And there you have it!   A song that reviews content, teaches important literacy skills, and a 21st century project made with a lot of student choice.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Another fun way to practice vocabulary...

Hey all!

I am sure you have heard of QUIZLET.  The wonderful flashcard review website.  Well, they now have a "live" feature.  It allows you to create a game from those vocabulary flash cards.  The first innovative thing about this game is that it is done collaboratively between 3-4 people.  On your team, everyone sees one side of the card, but only one person on the team has the answer.  So they have to discuss and share to get the correct answer.  And just to be sure students aren't just randomly clicking, if they get an incorrect answer, they go back to the beginning.

As the teacher, I can observe which teams are moving quickly, which teams are struggling, and which teams keep missing answers.  It gives me a lot of good data, while the kids are having a blast.  Try it out!  There are lots of vocabulary sets already made, but it is also very easy to make them yourselves.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Want to improve your students' writing? Go Google.

Hi all!

Well it is almost spring break.  Here is a little tip to look into while you are resting on the beach, or skiing the slopes, or watching Netflix on the couch.  I don't know about you, but trying to constantly conference with my students about their writing is overwhelming.  I have discovered a trick.  I wish I knew where I first heard of the idea, but it changed writing time for me forever.

When your children are writing, have them write in google docs.  They should set the document up to share with you right away, right when they set up their document.  Then from that moment forward, you can comment on their writing as they type their stories.  You can conference during class, but you can also conference during your down time or prep time.  And, I find the students love coming to writing to see if their teacher has left any comments on their writing.

For example, right now, we are working on our student autobiographies.  We decided to do it in google slides, so that it will print and look like a real book, but could also easily be turned into a movie.  Here is a screen shot of my student's writing, and my comments.  She has already started editing based on my comments below her slide.  It's easy and powerful.  Give it a try!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mini-Golf, Math, and Me

So, I have continued my robotics/coding journey.  It just keeps getting better and better.  The kids are really starting to understand the language of coding.  And, it has been amazing to see who has stepped into the expert texspert role.  It is not the usual student leaders.  I have found that coding is a leveled playing field.  Some kids that are gifted at school are not gifted with this required "thinking outside the box."  I have also watched gifted students struggle with perseverance issues.  Since they have not had to work hard at school, they do not have their grit muscle strength like some students that have to persevere every day.  Fascinating to watch.

It has also forced students to really understand angles.  To give correct instructions, the students have to inform the robot at what angle it should travel.  A lot of discussion, trial, and error have brought a greater depth of understanding than any curricular math lesson.