November 21, 2016 by Dr. Robbie Barber
In the normal course of things, it’s impossible to get near the copier the week before Thanksgiving holidays begin. I have seen principals that demand the packet fully printed and approved in advance. I have seen principals get the information two weeks before Thanksgiving and copy it themselves. I have students take packets that never come back. I think the best return rate I ever saw was 20%. So this year, instead of focusing on handing out wads of paper, I am going to focus on what teachers can be practicing at home, lying on the couch with their pets.
I am not focusing on assessments at all. I am not looking at software that students need to log into. I am not suggesting that every child have a device. But that does not prevent you from using some educational technology in YOUR classroom. And, everything I list is FREE.
Entrance Activity / Exit Ticket / Quick Review: Try out Kahoot! or Plickers. Kahoot! has a team mode so you only need one device per table/team. Plickers just requires the teacher to have a smartphone or iPad with a scanner.
Classroom Games: In teams, individual, with or without buzzers, try using Jeopardy! games. I use this at every Family Literacy Night, pitting two families against each other. They have a blast!
Study Guides: I have a science teacher who swears by Quizizz. The other one I use is Quizlet. I do have an account, but you don’t need one to use it. Just search for your subject. Then scroll through the results til you find a person labeled “Teacher”. This is a teacher who paid for the full package access. The chance of the questions and answers on this one being valid are very good. All you need to give to your students is the address quizlet.com/number of quiz. They can play games, use flashcards, take a mock test. It doesn’t have to count or be assessed. It can just be review. (Hint: if you or your child is sick suddenly and you need to leave the substitute some directions, just give her a list of quizlet numbers and your students will be busy.) Yes, they need a device, but again, they can work in teams or as the whole class together.
Personal Improvement: Do you have a password manager? Do you know what one is? You are out of excuses. For your own protection, you need to use a password manager. Many good ones are FREE. They protect you. And, one of the barriers to using #edtech by teachers is the requirement to create accounts. Then teachers have to write down and track another password. Or use the same one 50 times. Think about it. In this day and age, do you want to be hacked? What systems will it mess up?
And, if you’re nerdy like me, you can set up a Quizlet, a Plicker, and a Kahoot! and share them at the dinner table for a lot of laughs. (You should have seen the look on my brother’s face when he realized he wasn’t as fast as our mom at answering Kahoot!)
Enjoy the holiday week! Read! And play with #edtech. If you find the fun, so will your students!