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Thursday, July 26, 2018

8 Apps For Class Warm Ups

Class warm-ups are an important part of the class. The teacher can use them as a review of the previous days material or they can provide an inquisitive foundation for the days learning. Below are five apps that can get the days class off to a good start.

Recap: With Recap, the teacher can initiate a chat-style discussion. In addition to the typed chat response, one of the cool things about Recap is that it gives the teacher the flexibility to let the students respond to a class warm-up with a video response.
Socrative: A great app for multiple choice quizzes. Socrative allows for the creation of a short answer warm-up question as well. If you feel a little competition would be fun, you can create a digital race where students answer questions faster than the competition to reach the finish line.

Seesaw: A fantastic online digital journal. Seesaw provides the flexibility for the teacher to either post a video, a drawing, a link, or something from Google Drive to the students journal for them to write about.

Google Sheets: That's right, you can use Google Sheets for class warm-ups! Simple create different sheets for different opening topics. When students enter the class, they open their shared Google Sheet, choose a square, and address the topic.

Newsela: Not just for English or Social Studies. Newsela is a great way to increase literacy. Choose from a variety of subjects. Ask students to read the content and answer the questions.

Kahoot: Gamify the opening of your class. Have your Kahoot waiting as students enter the room. A great way to get students seated with their device ready to begin the day.

Padlet: Create a Padlet board to open the class. Ask students to address the topic with links, photos, or video to make the discussion more interesting

Tag Journal: Tag Journal is the only app in the list that's for iOS only. What makes Tag Journal cool is that it allows the students to tag topics. For example, if the class is studying World War II, the journal topics may have something to do with the subject matter. Students can add pictures or audio to their journal entries.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

10 Great Review Apps for the Classroom

Want your class to review before a test? Facilitate a test review with these apps:

KahootGamify your review with Kahoot! Students log in and compete against each other in choosing the correct answer to review questions.
NearpodMake your review interactive with Nearpod! Nearpod is a fantastic interactive presentation app where the teacher can lead the class through an interactive presentation or let the students go it alone at their own pace.
SocrativeTurn your class review into a space race! The first person or team to answer the review questions correctly is the winner!
Quizlet LiveReview while fostering student collaboration. Students are assigned teams in which they try and answer review questions before the other teams.
Pear DeckKeep your students engaged with this great interactive presentation app. Students can work at their own pace or can be teacher led. Pear Deck slides feature draggable answers, multiple choice, or drawing.
FlipgridAsk students to explain concepts using Flipgrid. Then, ask other students to comment on or add to what other students have said.
RecapUse Recap to pose review questions and facilitate a chat. Students can respond with either a typed chat response or a video response.
PlickersGet instant feedback without student devices! Print out the cards and distribute to the students. Students simply hold up the card representing the correct answer, then the teacher uses their phone to read the cards, getting instant feedback.
Poll EverywhereUse Poll Everywhere to either ask your students open-ended review questions or multiple choice questions review questions. Instantly see where your class stands for the test.
EdPuzzleUse EdPuzzle to create a teacher review video. Then, insert questions in the video at key points. Students work at their own pace to complete the video review.

Apps To Use For Assessment

With Chromebooks and iPads becoming more commonplace in the classroom, teachers are often looking for ways they can use the technology to assess their students. Below are a few recommendations.

Socrative: Use Socrative to give a multiple choice or true/false test. One of the great things about Socrative is that you can view your students progress as they take the test. Students can instantly get their results upon completion of the test. Upon giving the test, the teacher also has the option to let the students go through the test at their own pace or it can be teacher directed, going through each question one by one with the students. Test result reports can be printed or saved to your Google Drive. Socrative also has a student app for phones and tablets that makes it even easier to take the assessment.
Nearpod: The fantastic interactive presentation app, Nearpod, has a quiz element to it. Embed a quiz at the end of a presentation where the students have just reviewed the information. Nearpod makes it possible to add reference material to each question, such as a website, a picture, or a video. For example, include a map in a question and ask the students the relevance of the map. Include a drawing slide and ask the students to draw a flag or trade route. For math, ask them to solve an equation. Include an open-ended slide where the students address an essay question.
At the end of the assessment, Nearpod provides a detailed summary of how each student performed on each question type, whether it’s an open-ended question, a drawing question (which could be used for math to solve equations or draw maps), or multiple choice.
Google Forms with Flubaroo: Google forms is a great way to give students a formal assessment. But the power of Google Forms is amplified with the use of the add-on, Flubaroo. If you haven’t used Flubaroo, you owe yourself a try, it’s easy to use. Simply link your Google Form assessment to a Google Sheet. Install the Flubaroo add-on, and you’re ready to go! Take your assessment and set your answers as the answer key, so when Flubaroo grades the tests, it will grade them against your key. Once the test is graded, Flubaroo shines with the data it presents. If a majority of students got a question wrong, Flubaroo will identify that question by color coding it. And, students who scored low on the assessment will be color-coded as well on the spreadsheet — pretty cool. You can view a report showing the grade distribution as well. And lastly, the teacher can email a copy of the grade report to the student, identifying which questions the student did well on and which ones they didn’t.

Educreations: Educreations is a handy whiteboard app where students can record themselves explaining a concept. So, how can it be used for assessment you ask? Well, Educreations shines in the math classroom by asking students to explain how to solve math problems. Why not use it for assessment? Give your students problems to solve, then, ask them to work each problem out on a separate page in Educreations. When they’re done, they can copy the link of the assessment and paste it into their classrooms learning management systems such as Google Classroom, Edmodo, or Showbie for their instructor to view.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Pinterest in the Classroom

Pinterest is a great resource for, well, everything. Pinterest is a good place to start if you're looking for inspiration or fresh ideas. Pinterest is also easily adaptable for classroom use, and, chances are, your students already know how to use it.
  1. Student introductions. A great way to have students introduce themselves is through the creation of their own Pinterest board. Ask students to tell the class about themselves through the use of pictures. Have them include in their board their favorite foods, likes, dislikes, favorite places, interests etc.
  2. Student collaboration. If students are collaborating on a project, have student groups create a board where they save information on their topic. The board would be a great place to serve as an information repository.
  3. Distribute assignments. Create a class or subject board to distribute assignments, such as reading and worksheets.
  4. Research. Students create boards as a place to store their research.
  5. Share what’s happening in class. The teacher displays pictures of student work and projects. Include photos of assignments and other goings on in the classroom.
  6. Post assignments. Create a board and use it as an assignment repository. Include worksheets, classroom and homework assignments, as well as instructions for assignments.
  7. Students visual report. Have students create a board in which they create a visual report. Students include pictures on a topic and explain the significance of each picture as it pertains to the topic.
  8. Comment board. Students post their work for other students to comment on.
  9. Assignment repository. Teachers create a board for each unit/chapter in the class. Include all relevant information pertaining to the unit or chapter.
  10. Parent communication. Teachers stay in touch with parents. Create an upcoming tests/assignments/events board
  11. Celebrate students.  Celebrate those who do well with an achievement board. Post exemplary student work and test scores.
  12. Brainstorm.  Create a brainstorming board. Students upload images where all students can review the board for ideas.
  13. Presentation board. Students create a presentation board with images only.
  14. Share resources. Create a board that includes class notes and readings that will help students with class work.
  15. Samples of student work. Create an example board. Sometimes students need examples of past work and projects. If students need examples, point them to the board.
  16. Bellringer prompts. Create a board for bellringer prompts.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Engaging Apps For Summer School

Summer school teachers, the days of lecturing for hours or having your students do book work for most of the day are long gone.  You have one class with the same students and the same subject for the entire day, why not make it fun and engaging?  With technology, students can now be fully engaged in a lesson while spending hours in the same class. 

You say you don't have access to Chromebooks or iPads in the classroom?  Well, there are ways around that, especially at the high school level.  Knowing that most of your students have cell phones will set you free of a day of classroom monotony. 

Here's some ideas to energize your summer school classroom, all of which have phone friendly apps:

Socrative is a great way to spend a summer class session. Split the class up into teams using just a few cell phones and boom! You've got fun learning that can last as long as you need it or want it to.  Students can participate in a race to answer questions correctly or review with a quick quiz or morning warm up.

Kahoot is another great way to keep the troops entertained while there is actual learning going on. Again, split the class into groups based on cell phone availability and review the days topic with your students. You can create a quiz beforehand or quickly use one that has already been created.

Nearpod is a good activity to use when other reviewing content or going through it for the first time. With Nearpod, the teacher can create either a teacher led presentation or a student paced presentation where the students work through the various activities at their own pace.  Nearpod exercises can include drawing activities, quizzes, short/long answer, and collaborative activities.  Nearpod is great for keeping students engaged throughout a lesson.

Edpuzzle is a fantastic way to show your class a video.  Using Edpuzzle, students answer questions throughout the video, keeping them engaged.  Students watch the video at their own pace.  So, if they don’t know they answer to a question you’ve posed, they can simply review the video again until they find the right answer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

11 Apps That Foster Student Collaboration

1. Explain Everything: The well-known whiteboard where groups of students can work on a project together.  Anyone with a link/code can edit.

2. iMovie: A great way to get students to work together!  Making a movie forces groups of students to collaborate, by virtue of the app.  Someone can direct while others act.  And, they should be working from a script, which they all collaborate on as well.

3. Voicethread: Have students put together interviews, conversations, or theatres of the mind.  Ask them to collaborate on a script and the actual voice recording, with students playing different parts in the audio recording.

4. Google Docs & Slides, Apple’s Pages & Keynote: All of these productivity apps can be used collaboratively.  Use them to take collaborative notes, write dialogue as a group, create slides etc.

5. Book Creator for Chrome: Have students create a book on whatever topic you choose.  And the cool thing is, they can do it collaboratively.  Students invite their partners to their library and they can work on a book together.

6. Padlet: Each group can create a thinking map.  Students can use Padlet to address a question or explain the steps in a process, perhaps how to solve a math problem.

7. Popplet—Great on the Chromebook!  Students use the share button with their partners to collaborate on timelines or graphic organizers.
8. Recap: Pose a complex question to groups of students and ask each student to contribute to a discussion.  Ask students to present their answers to the rest of the class.

9. Google Drawing: Life Google Docs and Slides, students can collaborate on a poster or drawing, working on the project at the same time in real time.

10. Canva: Students can work together creating posters, photo collages, or infographics.  Students simply share their creation with a partner and their off and creating together.

11. Evernote: Have students share a notebook.  Then, they can work on a piece of writing together or add different entries in a journal style writing assignment.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

5 Ways To Measure Engagement Without Breaking Your Lesson Flow

The book "Bold School" (Keischnick, 2017, p. 95),  states that "Trying to measure engagement and comprehension without breaking the flow or falling behind schedule is a great challenge for direct instruction."

This is where technology can come to the aid of a teacher trying to infuse checking for understanding throughout the lesson without pauses or time-consuming transitions.  Chromebooks and iPads have created numerous opportunities for teachers to measure engagement during instruction.  The trick is how to measure engagement without breaking the flow you've created in your instruction.  How can technology help in keeping the lesson flowing, without interruption or dead spots?

The other consideration is to make sure every student has a voice.  If you simply ask students if they get it, some may genuinely understand, while others, not wanting to risk embarrassment or hold up the class, shake their head in the affirmative.

These apps can help you reach each student while incorporating checking for understanding in the lesson without breaking the flow of your lesson.

1. Nearpod: Use Nearpod for all phases of your lesson, from the introduction all the way to your formative assessment.  All the while checking for understanding in between.

2. Pear Deck: Pear Deck will not only help you present your lesson and incorporate checking for understanding with an anonymous thumbs up or thumbs down option, but you can also ask a question on the fly for students to answer in the lesson, without having to exit your Pear Deck lesson.

3. Google Slides Q & A: If you're presenting a Google Slides presentation, make it a Google Slides Q & A presentation.  Students can have their phones at the ready to ask a question without interrupting the class.  Q & A is great for those students who oftentimes are too shy to ask a question.

4. Kahoot: At the beginning of class, prior to the lesson, ask students to prepare for a Kahoot by having them go to  Then, you can insert Kahoots at various points of your lesson.  Prepare a few checking for understanding questions throughout your lesson.  Then, when the time is right, throw in a Kahoot.

5. Socrative: Use the Quick Question feature in Socrative to ask a multiple choice, T/F, or short answer question.  Like Kahoot, ask your students to prepare to use Socrative.  You can either have questions prepared (in which case, you can make a rocketship race out of it) or ask them on the fly.