Socrative: FREE edtech tool for your classroom!

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Socrative!  This is something that I have heard of for a long time, was given a live demo a year ago and really just explored it this week!  I swear, as teachers – we are exposed to so so so much stuff & at times it can get overwhelming & its hard to prioritize!

Anyways – it is amazing and FREE!  It has 4 cool features:

  1. Quizzes (student immediate feedback, student paced & teacher paced) – requires preparation as the quiz has to be created by you or imported (Socrative quizzes have codes that can be shared…Socrative Garden is a great site with a live document where teachers share their codes)
  2. Space Race (a game where speed & accuracy bring you closer to victory)
  3. Quick Question (for quick verbal, formative feedback)
  4. Exit Ticket (3 predetermined questions to end your class with)

One of the best features is that after each quiz/activity, you can download: an Excel spreadsheet of the results, a complete question summary with answers AND AND (yes – I wrote AND twice…actually now its three times) individual student reports.

Here is a thorough video tutorial that I made where I go through each of the main features of the program.  I show the desktop teacher screen on one side & the student screen via my iPhone on the other side!  I hope its helpful!

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Kahoot!: you seriously need to get this ASAP!

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I heard about Kahoot! for a while but couldn’t get myself motivated to try it out.  Oh man, I wish I had discovered this sooner!  It is AMAZING.  To summarize quickly – its a fun way to bring competition/game-based learning into your classroom.  The students LOVE it – boys especially!  I found that the students who are generally least engaged are most engaged with Kahoot!

What’s really cool about Kahoot! is how you can search through the bank of shared quizzes & so you can build on others’ work or just use it as is!

Here is a tutorial video I made on how to create your own Kahoot! quiz.  You seriously won’t regret this decision to include it in your regular classroom repertoire!

Publish: great app to schedule posts!

You know those days when there’s really good stuff on Twitter & you just want to tweet your heart out but you’re getting to the 4th tweet & feeling like wow – I wonder if I’m spamming?  Well there’s Hootsuite that can schedule tweets to space everything out.  I don’t like how it looks so I haven’t fully embraced it.  I did try a couple of scheduled tweets but the app visually & mechanically doesn’t tickle my fancy.

I like Publish (it’s free) – it has had its glitches & really messed me up in the past (it sent out my entire list of scheduled posts at the same time – this happened on 3 separate occasions….they will also go down for maintenance without notice so none of your posts will push out) so I don’t 100% trust it…but it’s an app I use regularly that I think is worthwhile sharing.

I like it because it helps me schedule tweets so that I look active – even if I’m not.  So if I don’t respond right away its probably because I’m not online.  You can schedule up to 50 posts a day! I schedule between 1 – 4 depending on what I have to share/ what has accumulated over time.

The pic below is what scheduled tweets look like – there are 3 options for publishing: right away, a specific date & time OR optimal time.  For optimal time, the app publishes your tweet automatically when it thinks most people are online. I don’t know if this actually makes a difference as I haven’t noticed a difference…

For example, I’m going to England & won’t have Internet access regularly – Publish lets me look alive on Twitter even if I’m not.  Oh – you can also link it to Instagram if you are big on that. Anyways – have fun!  I’d love to hear your experiences with it 🙂

Toonix: fun, cute & mildly violent avatars!

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Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 8.28.34 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-18 at 8.35.00 PMI love creating avatars! They are so much more fun than regular pictures of myself!  Toonix is by the Cartoon Network & is a world community where you explore, play games, earn coins, etc… I don’t bother with any of that – it’s the character creator that I really enjoy!  To save each avatar, I take a screenshot & crop.  If you teach elementary school kids – there are some choices which are mildly violent (think Halloween) & one clothing choice which a younger audience might find gross.

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Here are the questionable choices to help you decide if this site is right for you!

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Great Canadian Resources for Guidance & Careers Teachers

I’m currently doing “Guidance Part 1” and I’m coming across some really good websites.  So I figure I would document here for future reference for myself and hopefully, some sites might be useful for you as well!

  • Justice for Children & Youth: provide legal representation to low-income children and youth in the GTA.  The “Legal Rights Wiki” is amazing because it has info about: Youth Criminal Justice Act; Education – suspensions, expulsions, attendance rights; Leaving Home – social assistance, shelters; Health & Mental Health, etc…Best part is that it is all organized in a way that is easy to read & understand.
  • Ontario College of Trades (Earn While You Learn): explains the trades, the types & how to get into it – really visually appealing website!
  • CAREERinsite: Alberta website that has questionnaires to help someone figure out their options based on their interests & strengths.
  • Apprenticesearch: lists the trades with brief descriptions, it allows you to register so that they can connect you to potential employers.
  • CareerCruising: interactive self-directed career guidance & pathways tool; it has interest surveys which will lead to career options.  Students can then check to see if they are in the correct stream, if they have the required pre-requisites for the program, etc…
  • Ontario Skills Passport: has a section for students & a section for teachers; it helps with the implementation of the Ontario Skills Passport program.  Main feature would be some games to help digest the content.
  • CareerMash: free PDF that has lessons for secondary level students; ideal resource for careers and computer tech teachers (a little text heavy which can be a con).
  • Electronic Info: website that allows students explore the various university programs in Ontario.
  • Scholarships Canada: website that helps students find scholarships & bursaries.
  • My Blueprint: super useful site that all of the students in our school use to choose their courses and plan out their post-secondary pathways
  • ONTransfer: helps students learn how to transfer their credits in Ontario’s post-secondary system
  • Ontario Colleges: application service for students interested in going to college; also has a helpful search that has associated information & links to all ontario college programs

Wordle: classic word clouds that caring bears would approve of

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Last week, I returned from the ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) Americas institute.  What an amazing experience!  I am going to blog about that next!  This post is specifically about Wordle – a website that allows you to copy & paste words into a box & then spits out a cloud of words.

The words that are larger are those that are used more often in the body of the text.  You can customize your clouds by choosing fonts and colour schemes!

Here are some Wordles I made by using my ADE written application.  Have fun making clouds of words or word vomit – depending on your perspective!

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WordSwag App: amazing beyond words


The most common question I get asked is what I use to create quote & pictographics – well my friends, this is it – WordSwag and it literally does just that.  It swags your words and makes you look like a legit graphic designer – just like Canva! Except Canva doesn’t work on my iPhone so I will always reach for this app instead. There is an app that is free with ads that is a rip off of WordSwag but is available if you don’t want to invest in the best app in the world.  There is also an in-app surcharge for unlocking more fonts and being a font-fiend…I needed the upgrade just to have the options available!  Below are some of my creations, if you want more – see myTwitter page.  Have fun!!!

  

    

Keep Calm: you’ll have a hard time doing just that with this free app!


I discovered this little gem a while back but didn’t get a chance to rave about it until now!!! It is called Keep Calm and the best part is that it’s free!!!! Well not completely, there are costs to upgrade (to pro) to allow for more personalization but I haven’t done so as the basic features suffice for the time being.

It’s pretty simple – type what you want, decide which words go on what line and choose either the large font size or small font size.  Afterwards, pick a colour (so many options) and then a “crown” (that’s the image at the top of the graphic).

Have fun! I can’t wait to see what you create!

 


 

  

Numeracy Ideas: @ the ballpark

I love the Toronto Blue Jays – I will never forget watching them win the 92′ & 93′ World Series!   I still have the McDonald baseball cards – would be awesome to meet the vets that made my childhood and make them sign my nerdy cards!

Each year I remain optimistic about playoffs & even if we don’t make it – I still love & support the TBJs – this is my favourite roster so far – great additions this year… Martin & Donaldson…such assets!  And hello – Chris Collabello…what? Where did you come from…wherever it is I’m glad you’re here! (It’s ok that you missed some balls in the outfield – your powerful at bats sure shuts up naysayers)  Don’t get me started talking about Drew, Mark & Aaron!!! I love it when Josh brings the rain & Edwin walks his parrot!  WAIT – this post is about numeracy lesson ideas in baseball…lol – sorry, I get carried away because I LOVE THE JAYS!!!!!

Ok – where was I? Right numeracy ideas…so these are some questions & things you can do at the park – some ideas can be adapted to just watching it on tv.  Imagine – “kids your homework today is to watch or listen to the Jays game” – kewl!


Basic Baseball Questions: these can be given all at once or periodically so that they are not overwhelmed…especially if this is their first game!  Tweet them q’s to keep them engaged!

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  • How many balls before a player walk?
  • How many strikes before a player is out?
  • How many outs before the next team’s at bat?
  • How many innings in a game?
  • How many bases are on the field?
  • How many total at bats are there per team?
  • How many at bats did each Jose get?  How many in total? (Bautista & Reyes)
  • How many players are in the outfield? Infield?
  • How many spidey catches did Pillar make?
  • Who is #17?
  • How many home/away players are there in total on the field?
  • How many umpires are there?
  • How many coaches are on the playing field?  Which bases are they near?
  • What is the percentage of strikes does each pitcher have by the end of the 3rd inning?
  • How many pitches does the starting pitcher make before he is switched out for a relief pitcher?
  • How many hits does each team have?  How does that number relate to the score?

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Ballpark Numeracy Tasks: here are some things that can be done at the game…if you’re going to the ballpark – arrive at least an hour before it starts so that kids can do these tasks and then actually enjoy the baseball game 🙂

  • How many vendors sell hotdogs? Popcorn? Tim Horton’s coffee?
  • How many entrances are there?
  • How many people are wearing blue jerseys? White jerseys? Gray jerseys? Create a pie chart showing the percentages.
  • How many rows are there in each section?
  • How many seats per row?
  • Estimate the perimeter of the playing field – how did you do this? Estimate the area – explain.
  • What is the ratio of park guest to employee?
  • Survey guests to determine their favourite player – illustrate using a graph (use the Numbers app on iPad)

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Oh another good idea if watching baseball at home – compare the accuracy of the umpire vs the pitch tracker!!!  Or if you have MLB At Bat – there is a pitch tracker there but I find there is a delay.

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If you have any ideas – share below!

Yep – that’s the new Stroman bobble – he is going to light it up next year!

Fun App with Educational Potential: a disguised gem

Just discovered QuizUp a couple of weeks ago – I was probably living under a rock because I never heard of it until recently.  It is not advertised as an Education app but I feel that it has great potential for use in the classroom.


The whole premise of it is simple – choose a category, answer 10 questions, earn points (based on speed of response & accuracy).  You can challenge your friends or strangers from around the world!

What I find supercool is when you play a category, you earn points – these points let you level up & you get to unlock different titles (so instead of your title being “beginner” – you could be “fairest of them all” or “gene in a bottle”.

This leads into the categories – you can spin this into an educational game because there are categories like: Biology, Science: General, Math: General, Geography: General, Spelling, Thesaurus, Word Scramble & Capital Cities!  So it covers general curricular topics & promotes overall literacy & numeracy – win! There are also achievements that add badges to your profile page & a pie chart that shows your game statistics!

 
Haha – here is my overall game breakdown…at this point in time, I am using it for fun – as evident based on my choice of topics…lol – but I see potential as using this app as a hook into a topic, as  a transition between activities that require you to set up, a “closer” to the class that prevents kids from lining up at the door, etc…

Happy playing!