Sunday, September 27, 2015

Promoting Classroom Engagement with Technology

I have recently discovered what has become one Edpuzzle, so I couldn't wait to share it with all of you!!
of my favorite go-to teaching tools EVER...

Edpuzzle is a website that allows users to customize videos from Youtube, Learnzillion, TedEd, National Geographic, Vimeo, and many more (videos for ALL subject areas).  You can even upload your own videos and then have the ability to crop, record audio, add comments, and my personal favorite, add questions for the kids to answer.  The best part of all--it's completely FREE!!! 

After you create your teacher account, you then can create the number of classes, based on however many you teach.  In my case, that's 5, so I created 5 classes.  Once you create a class, a class code is displayed, and this is what you give your students when they're creating their accounts, so that they can "join" the class.

How I'm currently implementing this in my class is by using the audio version of the book, Wonder, by RJ Palacio, which I found on Youtube.  The full audio is close to 8 hours, so I cropped it into sections.  For those of you who have read this amazing book, you know that it's written from different characters' perspectives.  For ex, the first section is from the main character, Auggie, the second is from Auggie's sister Via's perspective, and so on...  So I cropped the video so that my students can listen to a section at a time.  Once you crop the video, then you'll have the option to add audio of yourself, or add questions that you'd like your students to answer.  This is a great way to assess their understanding of the topic you're currently working on.  The questions can be multiple choice or short responses.  You can also insert links in your questions and comments.  For example, I wanted my students to be able to access the book online in addition to being able to listen to the audio, so I inserted a link to the book.  If you look at the picture that appears directly under the pic of my students using Edpuzzle, you can see the question and the link to the book (which is the blue text that says Wonder).  Where you see question marks below where the video is normally displayed, that means that's where questions will appear while students are listening to the audio.  Students can access the assignments from their laptops, phone, etc.  They can also watch the video as many times as they need to until they're comfortable enough to answer the question.  Not only is this great for regular ed students, but it's also a terrific way to differentiate for ESL and Special Ed, as well!

Another great feature is that it provides immediate feedback once students complete the assignment, particularly if your questions are multiple choice.  This is b/c you're able to choose which answer is correct when you're setting up the assignment (see example of what this looks like in picture).  If you're having students answer with short responses, then you'll have to grade it.  Because of this, I typically make the questions multiple choice.  This serves as a quick way to analyze data regarding whether students are actually paying attention and comprehending the material.  There are also tons of videos available where others have already created questions to go along w/ ALL subject areas.  So far, every time I've searched for a particular topic, I've had no trouble finding at least 20+ videos that are available and ready to go.

I hope you're able to find value in this amazing resource!  It's too good not to share, and I'd love to hear from those of you that try it!  Please let me know how you're using Edpuzzle or if you have any questions!

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Bell Ringers- Secondary Smorgasbord Blog Hop

This week I'm so excited to link up with the Secondary Smorgasbord to discuss how I get my students started at the beginning of each class.  This is the most important element of having a successful class, because it gets students in the right frame of mind- focused and ready to work. 

When students enter my room, they know that the FIRST thing they should do is grab their warm-up/grammar notebook and begin the warm-up for the day.  This is either already posted on the smart board, or it may be a series of different types of grammar and sentence editing that we have already glued into students' notebooks.  For example, on Monday, students glued 8 days’ worth or warm-ups into their notebooks (I typed up 8 days of different sentences they needed to correct, analogies to complete, etc.).  There are 4 days on one side of the paper, and 4 on the back.  This makes it SOOOO easy for both my students and I, because they already have the work and can get started right away, and I don't have to make copies daily. 

Depending on what part of speech or grammar skill we're working on, I will have my students work on that specific strategy using my Grammar Skills Task Cards following the warm-up.  This set addresses the following skills:

  • capitalization
  • commas
  • quotation marks
  • types of sentences
  • dependent/independent clauses
  • types of pronouns
  • action, linking, and helping verbs

I also wanted to make sure I hold my students accountable for completing the warm-up, so I decided to choose a group leader (or row leader, depending on how your class is set up) each week to check each group member's warm-up.  Each student can get up to 20 points for completing the warm-up, and then making the necessary corrections once we go over it together.  If they don't correct the mistakes, they only receive partial credit.  Then, on Fridays, I collect the charts and give them each a classwork grade.   You can access the chart for FREE here