Answer Garden – Word Cloud Based on Student Response

 

WHO: Teachers looking to quickly gather responses from students, while easily recognizing most frequent responses.  AnswerGarden creates a word cloud of responses submitted by students to a teacher’s question.

 

HOW: Answer Garden is easy to use, and best of all, does not require an account to use!  Teachers simply visit https://answergarden.ch/, click the ‘+’ sign in the top right, and type in a question.  Teachers then have the option to set an AnswerGarden Mode: Brainstorm –

Teachers then have the option to set an AnswerGarden Mode:

Brainstorm – respondents can submit an unlimited number of answers, including the same unlimited times

Classroom – respondents can submit an unlimited number of answers, but only submit each answer once

Moderator – each answer is submitted to the teacher for approval

Locked – the garden is locked and no new answers can be submitted

 

Teachers can choose to allow answer lengths of either 20 or 40 characters, giving the students a feel similar to Twitter.  Teachers can also set a password and reminder e-mail, allowing them to fully control the AnswerGarden and edit it later.  There are also options for Spam Filter to remove common unwanted answers, set the case (all lowercase, uppercase, or no change), and an option to add local discoverability.

When finished, there are many options to export the word cloud after the session has completed.

 

WHEN:  AnswerGarden would be useful as a bell-ringer, formative assessment, exit ticket, check for understanding, and project brainstorming activity.  It allows for a full class discussion of ideas where every student has a voice.

Flipgrid: Giving All Students a Voice in the Classroom

WHO: Teachers looking for a way to give all students a chance to voice their opinions on topics. Flipgrid allows teachers to post a question/topic and students respond on the computer or on their smartphone.  Students record a video discussing the topic or responding to other students.

HOW: Start by creating an account at https://www.flipgrid.com/, start with the Flipgrid One account.  This will give the teacher a single grid with unlimited topics.  Flipgrid Classroom ($65/year) gives unlimited grids, unlimited topics, the ability to adjust response lengths, and more. Once the teacher is on the Admin page, they can create a topic, adjust a wide variety of settings, record a short clip of themselves explaining the topic, and share via Google Classroom, Facebook, Twitter, or link.  Students will then open the app or website, view the topic, then click the button to record a response.

WHEN:  Flipgrid is a great option for a new style of exit tickets.  Teachers could also utilize it for students that are able to dictate answers but struggle with writing.  Other ideas could include verbal book reports, biographies, reflections, debates, or “show me what you learned today”.  Flipgrid would also be useful as a formative assessment tool.  Teachers could have students discuss topics prior to beginning units then revisit a topic at the end.  Students that use Snapchat will feel a similar setup with taking video clips of themselves while learning to use the technology properly.

 

Five Tools for Engaging Classroom Review

WHO: Teachers that are looking for interactive ways to bring excitement to review lessons.
 
HOW: These tools will focus on classrooms with web-connected devices for student use.
 
WHEN: Heading into the end of the school year, many teachers will be looking for ways to review content. These options engage students while refreshing their knowledge of classroom material.
 
1. Kahoot! – This tool is great for creating a competitive environment with knowledge at the center. Teachers will create a series of questions, launch the quiz, then invite students to join via a code. Kahoot will show a question on the board with answers. Students will then pick a shape/color on their device that corresponds with an answer. Correct answers result in points, with extra points going to speed of selection.
 
2. Quizizz – This tool is very similar to Kahoot!. Quizizz features questions made by the teacher, launched, then joined via unique code. Questions and answers options show up on the student device. This allows the teacher to host a quiz across many classrooms at once. This is useful if the administration would like to run a school-wide quiz.
 
3. Quizlet Live – This tool allows the teacher to create vocabulary quizzes (minimum of 12 terms). Then teachers invite students to join via code and compete. Quizlet Live will create and name teams at random. These teams race to match terms and definitions. An incorrect answer takes the team back to zero. The goal is to be the first team to answer all correctly.
 
4. FlipQuiz – This tool is your classic primetime quiz gameshow. The teacher creates categories, adds questions and answers, and play in front of the class. A question is selected and after a student responds, the teacher can reveal the answer. There is a button to award points on each question. 
 
5. Classtools.net – This site features many great tools for the classroom. Arcade Game Generator is great for review. This option allows teachers to enter multiple-choice or true/false questions. The students can then choose which game they will like to play using the set of questions. Game choices include: PacMan, Manic Miner, Asteroids, Pong, Wordshoot, and Flashcards.

Quill: Writing Tools For Students

WHO: Teachers looking for an easy-to-use tool to help students become better writers.
 
HOW: Head over to https://www.quill.org/, sign-up as an educator using Google, Clever, or manual entry, and get started.  Teachers can import classes from Google Classroom or create their own in the system.  Once a class is in place, a diagnostic test can be assigned.  Information from this assessment will give recommendations on activities for each student. There are four main options for student use in Quill:
 
Connect – Practice combining fragments into complex and well-structured sentences.
 
Diagnostic – Allows teachers to find out where students need to focus.
 
Proofreader – Students learn editing skills.  Passages are supplied with errors allowing students to practice grammar.
 
Grammar – Sentence writing activities for students to practice grammar.
 
WHEN: The majority of these activities are 5-10 min so they function well as bell-ringers or closing reinforcements.  These could also be used for enrichment work for students to extend their learning when they have finished regular classwork.

Qball – The Throwable Microphone

Qball - The Throwable Microphone

WHO: Teachers that are looking for an exciting way to engage their students in the classroom.

HOW: Set up on the Qball is very easy.

First, plug in the receiver to a power outlet.

Plug receiver into speakers

Turn on the receiver (hold button for three seconds)

Turn on microphone (hold button for three seconds)

Microphone will flash while it syncs with receiver, when the light goes solid, you are all set.

Insert the microphone into the Qball.

Make sure the volume on the speakers is up, and start the fun!

WHEN: The Qball is great for question and answer sessions, reading aloud, review games, and much more!

I have featured the Qball on this site before, but now that I actually have one, I can tell you that students love to use it!  I walked into one classroom with it and overheard a student say “Oh, it’s the magic ball!”. The Qball captures students’ attention and engages pupils that want to answer and participate in the classroom.  It is durable, easy to use, and eye catching. Students not only benefit from being able to hear the teacher better, but they can also hear their classmates responses loud and clear through the classroom speakers.  The Qball has a sensor in it that shuts off the microphone while it is flying in the air, to prevent a loud whoosh sound every time it is tossed (and not blow out your speakers).  If you will be at OETC, be sure to stop by their booth to learn more! To order one, head over to http://peeq.us/

Going Google! An Introduction to G Suite for Education

 

WHO: Teachers that are interested in getting started with G Suite for Education (formally known as Google Apps for Education).

HOW: This tutorial video is under 20 minutes in length and is a simple introduction into the icons and options inside of Google Drive, Team Drives, Docs, and Forms. Viewers will learn how to navigate, organize, and utilize a small variety of G Suite For Education products.

WHEN: This video gives examples of how you could use G Suite in the classroom, as well as in School Administration.

Data USA: Easy To Use Census Data for Classrooms

Data USA

WHO: Teachers looking for an easy way to students to search and use data from the U.S.A. Census data.

HOW: Visit https://datausa.io/, type in the location y0u are searching for, and the data will be presented.  There are many different categories, graphs, charts, and easy to understand data. After selecting a location, the user can select another locale to compare.

WHEN: Data USA would be great for geography lessons, understanding the makeup of communities, comparing communities, and much more!

Top 3 Posts of 2016

Here are the Top 3 Most Viewed Posts of 2016 for Teacher’s Tech Toolbox:

3.) Wizer.me – Take your worksheets to the next level. Teachers create assignments with a variety of question types and assign to students online.  Students can also create their own assignments as an option to show mastery of content.

2.) Wheel Decide – Add in student names, subject topics, or assignment types. Then, spin the wheel and see where it lands.  This is a great tool for assigning classroom jobs, small groups, project topics, and more! 

1.) No Red Ink – English and grammar site that students enjoy using! After setting up the class, students are able to log in and choose from a variety of topics of interest in pop-culture. No Red ink then adds these interests to the assigned work, helping to keep students engaged.

Thank you for a great year! I am looking forward to 2017 and sharing more tools for your classroom. 

Flippity.net Spelling Words – Create Online Spelling Word Practice!

Flippity.net

WHO: Teachers that are looking for an interactive tool to help students study spelling words.

HOW: Teachers visit http://flippity.net/ (a bunch of great tools for teachers!), click on instructions under Flippity Spelling Words, then follow the instructions given on the page.  Teachers need to have a G Suite for Education (Formerly known as Google Apps for Education) account as this functions through a Google Sheets spreadsheet.  After making a copy of the template and adding it to their Google Drive account, teachers will then be able to add in their own words and create their own categories.  In the example, flippity.net uses individual students names to have personalized lists.  Another option may be to put in the spelling lists by week, this would allow students to work ahead if they would like.  The teacher may also decide to put all of their students as the categories and keep the same words in each group, couple this style with the “e-mail to” row in the spreadsheet, and the teacher can have each individual students results e-mailed directly to them.

When adding in words, it is important to note that you can put in a sentence using quotation marks after the word, this will speak to the student and give an example.  This is needed in the case of homonyms.  Another important note to your students is that in the practice and quiz section, the words are case-sensitive.

Once the words are in place, the teacher will need to go up to “File” then “Publish to web….” and finally “Publish”. The user will be prompted to note the URL, this will need to be copied to the clipboard.  Next, go back to the spreadsheet and look at the bottom of the page, there the user will see some tabs.  Click on the “Get the link here” tab, and paste the URL into the highlighted cell. Once this is completed, the teacher can click on the “Click here to go to your Flippity.net spelling words” and see their list live in action.  Copy and paste the new link from the address bar, share the link with students, and enjoy!

WHEN: This tool is excellent for teachers that would like students to get some help with their spelling words.  This is an easy way to get parents involved as well.  Send the link in an e-mail to all of the parents and let them work on it with their students on the computer, tablet, or even on a smart phone!

 

Here are the step-by-step instructions from Flippity.net:

Want to Make Your Own Spelling Words Manager?

Note: Works with Google Chrome and iOS for iPhone/iPad.

Step 1: Modify the Google Spreadsheet Template

  • Make a copy of this template. (You’ll need to sign-in with your Google account.)
  • Edit the Student names. You can have up to 50 lists.
  • Edit the Words lists.
    • Add a phrase in quotes to clarify homonyms.
    • Note: Practice and Quizzes are case-sensitive.
  • Optional: Add an email address in the Email Results to line to automatically receive quiz results.
    • (You can have multiple email addresses separated by commas.)
  • Optional: Label your spelling words by changing the name of the worksheet (at the bottom).

Step 2: Publish Your Spreadsheet

  • Go to File, Publish to the Web…, then click Publish.
  • Copy the link under the Link tab.

Step 3: Get Your Flippity.net Link

  • Click on the Get the Link Here tab of the template (at the bottom).
  • Paste the link in the light green cell (A3) to get the link to your Flippity Spelling Words.

Step 4: Click, Bookmark, and Share

  • Click on the Flippity.net link to see, practice, or take a quiz on your spelling words.
  • Bookmark the page to find it again quickly.
  • Tell your friends and colleagues about Flippity.net.

Tutorial – How to Create a QR Code

WHO: Teachers that would like to use QR Codes in their classroom.

HOW: The video below takes teachers through the step-by-step process of creating a QR Code to use in their classroom.

WHEN: QR Codes are useful for directing students to specific websites you would like them to use, for hiding clues in a scavenger hunt, and many other things in the classroom.