Poll Everywhere

I was recently introduced to the joys of Poll Everywhere.  It was used in a presentation by Matt Brash, a technology consultant from the Ottawa Catholic Schools as a tool to engage learners in any setting. Naturally, as I started to investigate, I got more excited about the possibilities.poll every

Essentially, it enables the user to solicit information from a crowd without specialized tools or counting hands for “yays”/”nays.” Audience members can text their ideas to a free number or use the online platform to fill out forms online.

Once you set up your polls (and you can do this anonymously & without signing up) you can present them on a projected screen (or not!). If you’re using Powerpoint for your presentation, PollEverywhere will even provide downloadable slides of each question or “Poll.”

How it Works:

http://www.polleverywhere.com/how-it-works

How I might use it in the Classroom:

  1. personal survey
  2. feedback on an investigation
  3. icebreakers (include some silly questions to keep out the inevitable goofy answers)
  4. Image click option can be used to have students point out details in a photo
  5. review for a test using open ended and multiple choice answers
  6. gage interest in a topic

Watch this space for more ideas generated by my 2014 faculty of Ed students!

I might just use this platform more just because I like this video so much. He does have a great vest.

 

Games

Here are a few games you can use in your classroom. I believe all can be adapted and modified to fit many elements of the history, civics or social science curriculums.

10 Out

Object: be the last person in the game.

  1. Sit on the desk. – on desk = in the game, in chair = out of the game.
  2. Count numerically from 1 – 10.
  3. Each player says up to 3 numbers sequentially.  (ex, 1 or 1-2, or 1-2-3…)
  4. move around the group in the same order.
  5. you are trying to force others to say 10.  If they do, they sit back in their chair and lose.
  6. Start again at 1
  7. repeat until you only have one person on their desk. They are the winner

The Tower

Have students work together to build a tower from paper.

PDF Instructions (I’m sorry – it’s a terrible copy).

Nuclear Simulation

Students make judgements about who can survive after a nuclear war destroys the planet.

instructions

Possible extensions:

  1. Create a set of cards with “communist” vs. “non-communist” McCarthy-like assumptions. Students have to categorize who is arrest and who is not.
  2. Create a set of cards with qualities possessed by different immigrant families or individuals. Students then determine who can come to Canada and who cannot. This may be done for immigration policies for 1900 as well as current practice. Perhaps students can determine the best criteria.

Here’s a similar game where students have to determine what items should be taken from a crash site.

Scategories

Instructions for this game can be found on one of my older posts.

The Ball Toss

Object: Say 5 topics within a given category before the other players pass an object around the room

  1. Students sit in a circle.
  2. One student is “it.”
  3. The Game Master selects a category in which “it” must list 5 terms. He/she must do this before the rest of the class passes the ball around the circle.
  4. “It” wins if she/he lists their words quickly and correctly. The class wins if they pass the ball effectively.

Rock Scissors Paper – Marxism

this is an awesome game used by Greg Kulowiec at The History 2.0 Classroom.

Purpose: The game is played to demonstrate Karl Marx’s view of capitalism, exploitation of the working class, the control of the means of production & the difference between the bourgeoisie & proletariat.

Rules:

  1. Each player is given two paper clips (units of money).

  2. One paper clip is the minimum necessary for your survival.  Any more than one paper clip allows you to do with what you will.

  3. Everyone has the same opportunity to earn more money by challenging others to a game of rock, paper, and scissors.

  4. You may accept or refuse a challenge to play, except from a player with more units of money, in that case you must accept the challenge.

  5. You may go at it alone, pool resources, divide winnings or create alliances.

  6. The winner of each challenge takes one unit from the loser.

  7. Once a player has not units and loses a match, they become the employee of the winner of said match.

    1. As an employee, the individual must challenge others on behalf of their boss.  Once two units are earned for the boss, the employee keeps one unit, gives one to the boss and gains their independence.

  8. If an employee with nothing loses to another, he becomes the employee of the new winner, unless the new winner is also an employee.  Then both work for the original employer.  (The employee plays with his labor, not the units of the employer.  If your employee loses, you lose your employee to the person who won, and he works for the new employer.)

  9. Employees may not challenge their boss.

Discussion

  1. What was it like to be an employee?
  2. Why did you become an employee?
  3. Was it easy to gain your independence?
  4. Was it easy to become a boss?
  5. Was it easy to stay a boss?

Got any more ideas or links to new strategies? Please tell me in the comments!

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions The Lab.

In this post by Ewan McIntosh at @NoTosh, teachers and students are challenged to determine low and high order questions. The latter than becomes the focus for the duration of the lesson.

Why?  McIntosh states:

Every topic, every bit of learning has content that can be Googled, and we don’t want teachers wasting precious enquiry time lecturing that content. We want students, instead, to be using class time to collaborate and debate around the questions that are Not Googleable, the rich higher order thinking to which neither the textbook nor the teacher know the answers.

Update:

I tried this with my gr 11 Anthropology Class.

Quick Literacy Strategies

Handout: Cross Curricular Literacy Strategies

Oct 9  Keynote Presentation Literacy and Differentiation Oct 9 Lesson

Alphabet Organizer

I can’t say enough about the beauty of the Alphabet Graphic Organizer. I always keep a spare pile in my room as a back up for any lesson. Here are just a few ways you can use this template.485094_abc_blocks-resized

Here’s a neat online version of the organizer which could be used with a Smartboard or in a 1:1 computer environment.

1) Preview or Review

– have students list words from each letter of words they *think* relate to a topic

– use each letter to review key terms or associated ideas in a unit

2) Summary or Narrative

– each letter, in the correct order, starts the next word or next sentence. Here’s an example I wrote using the story of the  3 Little Pigs.

3) Poem

– use the organizer as a template for an alphabet poem

55 Word Stories

Writing a summary, story, review, answer, definition etc in EXACTLY 55 words is a literary and literacy-related challenge. Students have to select the best words as well as eliminate extraneous words or ideas from their work. This type of activity forces students to organize their ideas before writing.

Stronger students will rise to the challenge and weaker writers will be relived they only need to come up with 55 words. Sentence structure still matters, and students must recognize what constitutes a word and what is a character (.;!,? etc).

Some Examples:

“How many times do I have to tell you not to leave your backpack in the front hallway!” Wendy bellowed from the kitchen table. “Honestly,” she said. “Do they expect me to pick up after them all day?” She sighed and took a sip from her mug. “So where was I?”

All she could hear was the sharp inhale and exhale of her breath and the rhythmic slap of her running shoes against the damp, dark pavement. The sun burst through a pack of clouds, illuminating the rusts, golds, and reds of the leaves and their muddy trunks. A curve in the road. Blue sky ahead.

She sipped her wine. “My professor proposes,” she said, “that we’ve evolved to find beautiful those things that resemble resources essential to survival.”

“Preposterous,” he said, and ran a hand through hair as golden as a field of wheat ready for harvest. She shrugged, and met his eyes, two blue pools of fresh clean water.

6 Sentences

This is a great activity I learned from the brilliant Anne Gripton. I’ll be honest, students hate the idea of this activity. However, once they start working, they are invigorated by the challenge.

1) Ask students to summarize or review an event in history or a chapter in a story.

2) In writing about this summary, they may only use 6 sentences of ‘reasonable length.’

3) They may not repeat a single word – not ‘a, they, the, him, her, in, of’ or anything.

4) Write a draft and review.

5) Finish!

An example:

Sometimes students struggle with writing.

They want to do well but are afraid of an empty page.

Give them a graphic organizer.

This can help provide structure for thinking and organizing.

Once assisted, many create beautiful works.

Challenges result in major successes.

Resource Review

Resource Evaluation Assignment

Review of Resources Rubric

Example: Resource Review assignment

I’d rather have an armload of resources than be forced into a Socratic style of questioning pupils whilst hanging out under a tree (okay, I’d dig a tree classroom). Although a teacher can facilitate engaging discussions, helping students chew over historical information is best done with imagesinteractives, interesting texts, films etc. Resources can make or break lessons. Even seemingly ‘bad’ resources, if creatively applied, can be remarkable tools to capture the imagination.

This assignment will help you hone skills in identifying resources and challenge you to identify new ways to use them. We’ll practice a few examples in class.

inspire teachers

Some of my favourite resources:

1. The Faithful Elephants

This is a great children’s story about the unintended consequences of war. Beautiful water colour images capture the haunting history of the Tokyo Zoo during Allied bombing in WW2. http://www.amazon.ca/Faithful-Elephants-Story-Animals-People/dp/0395861373

2. The Big Six by Sexias and Morton

This teacher’s resource is an accessible breakdown of the major elements of the historical inquiry process. Whether an educator had been trained in History or not, this book provides clear examples and activities to study any period of time. The book focuses on “The Big Six:” historical significance, evidence, cause and consequence, continuity and change, historical perspectives, and the ethical dimensions of History. There are more great follow up activities here. 

3. The Enemy: a Book about Peace

This is an amazing children’s book about the futile nature of war. This youtube clip is a fair substitution if you can’t get a copy.

Bridging the Gap – Student Success as Student Servant (technology) Leadership

Replace-Fear-with-Curiosity

Bridge the Gap between teacher knowledge and student knowledge through a technology they’re interested in playing with.

Why Are you (sometimes) hesitant to use technology in the classroom?

(this will take you to a Google doc and you’ll be able to anonymously contribute).

Student success is consistently tied to their connectedness to the school and classroom. They

Easy Ways to Include Technology in your classroom:

Fakebook Discussion Threads

Fake Twitter Threads

Want to try real twitter? See this post.

Online Comics:

Bitstripsforschools.com –> I have set us up with a class and an activity comic so you can have some fun playing with this amazing program.

http://www.kerpoof.com — Better for a younger audience and creates .jpegs or can save if signed in
žhttp://www.xtranormal.com – Requires log in
Mind Mapping
text2mindmap.com – takes text broken down through tabs and creates a mind map with associated sister and child branches
bubbl.us — Tool allows students to determine the space and orientation of their map, colours, etc

JUST PLAY.

Here’s a great fun activity to help your students engage with the interactive white board. –> www.drawastickman.com

Newspaper Clip Generator (and other things)

Other Neat Stuff:

http://waterlife.nfb.ca/#/ — An interactive  multimedia presentation about Canada’s Waterways

http://flawed.nfb.ca/#/flawed — Body Image, Love and a beautiful multimedia story

PicMonkey.com

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Want further Inspiration? This is a great “catch all” site.

Google has created an interesting resource to help teach students how to “google” better. It’s American-centric, but you can adjust the concepts to make it more accessible in your classroom.

Graphic Organizers

I love graphic organizers like nothing else.  Many students are intimidated by the blank page. It’s amazing how adding some blocks or circles on a page to “fill out” make the work of writing or researching so much more manageable.

Students can be given graphic organizers to help outline “how many” concepts or ideas they should research. Further, an organizer can help ensure they extend their thinking beyond ‘gathering facts’ to ‘evaluate’ or ‘examine’ given teacher-directed language.

I found this AMAZING fill-in .pdf webpage a little while ago. I have gone back to using it again and again. There’s a webpage for so many topics and needs. Teaching students about these resources may help them to remember these as a starting point in their writing or organizing process.

Here is one of my Favourites: The Alphabet Organizer

alphabet exemplar – 3 Little Pigs