Transforming Your Classroom Into a Game Show!

In the last week of my practicum, I had the chance to observe my teacher do a revision about verbs with her students. Normally, this task should not be too interesting to students. However, it was. Why? Because she used Jeopardy Labs to create a template for a game that involved revising the verbs! I was surprised to see students participate so much in the revision. They were helping each other, high fiving each other and really wanted to win the game. I though this was a great way to teach since it involved a fun activity for the students.

Here’s how Jeopardy Labs works. When you go on their website (https://jeopardylabs.com/), you can choose to create your own jeopardy or to use one that’s already been made by someone else. Using the material you are supposed to cover in class, you can create questions related to it, with different categories and different number of points for different questions (just like the real game!). This website explains step by step how to create your jeopardy lab:

http://suefrantz.com/2011/08/09/jeopardy-labs-create-your-own-jeopardy-board/

The steps are pretty easy to follow and with just a little time, you will have your own quiz adapted to your students and to your material! You can also take a look at the following video, if you need help creating your template:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcz4IaLWmVY

I believe this is a great way to make a revision, before an exam or after some difficult notions have been explained. The teacher can easily see if the notions were understood correctly or not! Students will have fun while doing what they are supposed to do…it really is the best of both worlds! 

When I first saw how it worked, I imagined it would mostly be used for revision, however, by reading a blog called Techy Things Teachers Should Try, I found out about some other interesting things to do. For example, it could be used to test knowledge of your students, prior to the lesson. Your lesson could then be really adapted to their level. Students could also be the creators of the quiz, as a project on which they could be evaluated. You can take a look at the blog here:

http://bryantechnology.blogspot.ca/2013/10/jeopardylabs.html

Whatever the level of your students, creating a game such as jeopardy is sure to entertain them!

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Tweeting in class? Why not!

My first blog article was dedicated to the use of Facebook in the classroom. I recently started to think about how other social medias could be used to teach. Personally, I prefer Twitter to Facebook for mostly one reason: I think it’s a better way to share articles, interesting facts and news than Facebook. This is why I decided to explore how Twitter could be used in a classroom.

The first article I read was on teachhub.com. It allowed me to see a variety of ways how Twitter could be used in class. Whether it is for a teacher to keep his or her class informed of important dates, to find information about a particular topic, to live tweet an event or something else or simply to subscribe to interesting sources of information for students, Twitter will get students engaged in the task because it is via a media that will interest them. I recommend you take a look at the article, as it offers a wide variety of suggestions.

http://www.teachhub.com/50-ways-use-twitter-classroom

After I read this article, I came up with different ideas I could work with. For example, I could ask my students to watch a TV show and live tweet it their impression of it. I could ask them to find about some current event using hashtags and to repost the articles they liked most on their feed. I could have them tweeting with a classroom in an English speaking country (who are learning French for example). Also, I could ask them to tweet the answer to the questions I ask in class, as does this teacher:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w9CnaeaiAE

Twitter can not only increase the class participation but it can also be used for assignments (such as live tweeting a show of their choice). Since keeping students interested while still learning what they are supposed to learn is every teacher’s challenge, I believe that bringing innovative ways such as this can really be a great thing!

I have mostly talked about how Twitter can be used with older students, but there are elementary grades teachers using Twitter with their students. One blogger who uses it mentions how they mostly tweet about what they are doing in class or the problems they solve in Mathematics for example. The teacher set up an account for her classroom and goes through all tweets but it seems to be a lot of fun for the children (http://learningandsharingwithmsl.blogspot.ca/2013/08/using-twitter-in-primary-classroom.html)

If you want to see how an elementary class Twitter looks, you can take a look at the following page:

https://twitter.com/mscassidysclass

These are only a few ways how Twitter can be used…the possibilities really are endless!

ScreenChomp: Bring the teacher home!

This week I have decided to talk about another great app. This app can be very useful for students who have trouble understanding their lessons the first time or who have trouble remembering what was said in class earlier!

ScreenChomp is a very easy to use app. It allows teachers to record what they draw on the board, with their iPad. However, it not only records what is drawn or written, it also records everything that is said while that lesson is being explained! Once the lesson is done, teachers can save it and a link is created on screenchomp.com, which can then be shared via Facebook, email or any other way! The following video shows how to use ScreenChomp:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5__7UMtHyS8

As you can see in the video, students can also be connected to each other to share problems they have a hard time understanding. I believe this could be a great way to promote collaboration between students and to create a positive atmosphere in the classroom.

If you’re unsure how the lesson presents itself to student, you can take a look at the following link, which is a lesson recorded and shared:

http://www.screenchomp.com/t/bogVMQkXmtrN

I believe this application is another step towards making sure we give students all necessary tools to succeed. If students have access to what was said in class and to help from their peers, there is a lot more they can do at home to make sure their homework is done correctly. It also helps students with learning difficulties, such as attention deficit disorder. They can replay their lessons in their own time while trying to pay attention. I believe everyone wins in this situation! It’s no wonder ScreenChomp was voted as one of the 15 favorite iPad apps for teachers on the Emerging Ed Tech website (http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/03/15-favorite-ipad-apps-as-selected-by-teachers/).

Bonus points: ScreenChomp is a free application! It is also very easy to use, but if you’re unsure about anything, I recommend you take a look at dummies.com’s tutorial on ScreenChomp:

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/create-educational-screencasts-with-screenchomp-ip.navId-816039.html

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was a ”iPad in Education for Dummies” book. It might be worth a look!

Teaching with the iPad

I have talked about an app that can be used for teaching English as a second language a few weeks back. However, this week, I will talk about the iPad as a whole and how wonderful it can be to have such an ally for an ESL teacher. 

There are probably a thousand ways teachers can use the iPad! Whether it is for their lesson preparations, grading or for the the students to use, I believe everyone will find something useful! There are countless applications for the iPad. Whatever the age of the students, you can find an application that will be not only useful in your classroom, but also interesting to them. For us, future teachers of English, we can find apps for grammar, sentence construction and many more! I recommend ”Kathy Schrock’s guide to everything” if you want to find great apps! 

http://www.schrockguide.net/ipads-in-the-classroom.html

One thing to remember is that the iPad in itself is not a classroom. It should be used as a support tool for teaching activities and not be overly used. Students and teachers give their opinion on the iPad on this very interesting video on interactioneducation.com:

http://www.interactioneducation.com/ipadsineducation.html

For example, I am currently doing my first practicum and the teacher will use iPads with her students. They are filming a documentary and editing it with the iPad. Students are really excited about this activity and so is the teacher. Not only will her students learn English and practice it while filming, but they also greatly enjoy it. Isn’t this every teacher’s dream?

Of course, there are precautions to take when using the iPads with students. As we have seen in class, Mr. Miller mentioned how we have to make sure to block certain access to students (so iPads aren’t locked for example). He also mentioned how teachers need to make sure that their students use the iPad for the class’ purposes and listen to the teacher when they’re supposed to. However, I believe that with simple rules, using the iPad will be great! For those of you with doubts, I suggest you read this article on National Geographic on how the iPads can help students. Even if it’s not for scientific concepts, they certainly can help language learners, in other ways!

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131210-ipad-learning-education-space-science/

Finally, I recommend you take a look at Berkeley’s FAQ if you have any problems using you iPad in class (with your smart board, for example). 

https://ets.berkeley.edu/help/using-apple-ipad-classroom