5 Teaching Tools for Next Year
So I figured if I was going to list five things I wanted to be better at next year, I should also think about five tools I wanted to use next year as well. 🙂
Spicynodes is a wonderful graphic organizer tool and bookmarking combined. I like that you do not have to have email to set up student accounts, so it is easy to use with any class. This year we only used it with AVID who made a Spicynode about a famous African American for Black History month. Several of those students used Spicynodes for other projects though, so they enjoyed the platform. Spicynodes lets you add links, video, and pictures. You can embed into most websites or just share the link. I can’t figure out how to make it display right in WordPress though, but there is a link to flipped resources in an earlier post.
I learned about this website for the first time at TLA (library conference). What intrigues me most about this website is the amount of higher level thinking it allows. Students would choose a picture to represent a topic. They can then add links to video, text, or websites. When teaching in class I’d also want a reflective piece on why they chose that picture. I’m trying with a class for the first time next week. Excited to see how it goes. For the library, I want to use Thinglink as a vehicle for book promotion next year. I’ll link to the author website, book trailer, reviews, etc. This website does require email but not confirmation.
Popcorn Maker: https://popcorn.webmaker.org/
I have not used Popcorn Maker at all but I’m intrigued. You find information on the web and add events like maps, articles, pop ups onto videos. It does require an account but I think that students might really get into this. We’ll see next year when I give it a try.
Now that Socrative allows you to add pictures this is a fabulous free tool. Teachers create quizzes and students can log in on a computer or iPad; using the Socrative app) to answer the quizzes. Class results are shown instantly to the teacher so you can check for understanding and fix misconceptions. It is also easy to copy tests so you can rearrange the answer choices for different classes. One tip, be sure to clear camera between classes if using the same test. Students are sneaky and will just take a screenshot of the answer for the next class.
The above website is just one place to find webquests. A webquest takes students out into the web to search for specific content kind of like a scavenger hunt. They then use what they learn to answer a question; called a task in the webquest world. An example might be to use what they learned to design the cover of a magazine or a museum exhibit. Until recently I’d dismissed webquests as obsolete and outdated, but in a seminar I realized that the higher level thinking they promote is timeless. We probably won’t use many pre-created webquests, because it is better to customize your own, but I’m hoping to get some collaborative partnerships with history and science using these next year.