Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Zondle as a review tool

One of my teachers has truly embraced the technology at our school and has brought me some great ideas.  One of them is zondle.  I had never heard of zondle, but when she showed me what it is and what it can do, I was really excited about the ways a classroom teacher could use it.

Once you create a free account (and you can also update to a premium, but the free has a lot to offer), you get a long list of things you can work with.  You can create classes, add users and monitor your students.

Some of the things I like about it:
1.  Sharing components-  You can create content and share it with staff members in your school. Why do the work twice?
2.  Teaching mode and playing mode-  You can use it to both introduce the material as well as review it for "zollars" (Zondle points)
3.  It's mobile!  You don't have to use just a computer.

There is so much more about this, it's worth dabbling into to see what you can do with it in your classroom.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Using Kahoot in the classroom

One of my staff members has been very busy using an app to keep her students engaged.   I had the chance to use it myself, at a conference over the summer, and I can see why kids enjoy using it as a review tool.

It's called Kahoot and it is a free website taking place of that old school powerpoint we had back in the day, but it is very interactive.   Have you ever gone into a restaurant and played the question and answer game with the people around you?  You get a question and it times down adding more info as you wait until you ultimately see the final answer?  That, my friends is Kahoot!

Kahoot allows for question/ answer creation in the form of multiple choice.  Teachers can input questions that relate to the specific topic and it generates an online quiz.   The audience chimes in via their phones, computers, tablets, whatever.  They simply get a code for the kahoot you are using and join in.   The game launches and it runs through.  Teachers get instant feedback from student responses.   The timer ticks down once the question starts and the first to answer wins the most points and it goes down to the last respondent.  The final results determine the winner.

A few of our teachers have been using this with a great deal of positive results.  The kids love it and the teacher is getting very quick feedback about what needs re-covered and what is mastered.  It is a quick and easy tool to use.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Library Maker Space

This school year brought about a lot of changes to our school and our library.   We migrated our SMS to PowerSchool from SDS, we got an almost new administration and we have a lot of new staff. Why not add something new to the library as well?  We decided to make a maker space in the library.  It's the ideal way to get kids to come in and visit, and it allows for some release from the norm of a tedious school day.

We were fortunate enough to have some money to use to buy tools and supplies for the space.  I wanted student involvement as much as possible as well. I created a survey with some potential ideas for the space.  We included things teens like to do and also added some stuff that we like. (After all, who doesn't love to play with Legos?)   We sent the survey to the student body and learned the following:

Duct Tape crafts are a HUGE hit.  Almost all of the kids who responded wanted to be able to make duct tape crafts.  They may be a little pricey, but we decided to float the project options week by week so we can make the tape last longer.   We also learned that origami is a classic favorite.   A lot of kids wanted to be able to come in and make origami.  The Legos and computers were a no brainer. Legos are awesome so we had to have those and for the computers, we updated all of our devices and had 150 Windows XP computers, so, we grabbed a few from the recycle pile and ordered a computer tool kit.   Amazingly enough, the computer tear down/ rebuild station is the hottest in the library!  One thing we did do was add a book that relates to the topic.  We have a Lego book with ideas, an Origami guide or two, and some duct tape craft books.   We aren't letting them circulate.  They will remain in the library with their respective kits. 

Aside from the maker space stuff, we also have some games we added last year:  Chess, Checkers, Apples to Apples, Life and Risk.  Kids love to play games in here so adding them was a wise choice.

It's exciting to see kids come in and ask to do crafts and play Legos.  It makes our day.