Welcome to the Teaching with Technology blog. If you are looking for something specific, use the categories to the right to narrow down the topic. You can also use the search button. Or feel free to peruse the archives. If you see something interesting or have any questions, please let me know! :)

Plickers

Plickers Logo Black - Large

Do you have a cell phone or iPad?  Do your students have limited access to online devices?  Then Plickers might be for you!  Plickers is a simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.

Setting Up Plickers is Easy!

Plickers Icon - Blue
Step 1: Teacher downloads the Plickers mobile app.  It is free for both iOSand Android – find them on the App Store and on Google Play. It will work on iPads too (just make sure to search for iPhone app)!

Sample Card Image
Step 2: Print Plickers cards.

Step 3: Set up Classes on Plickers Website.

Step 4: Add Questions on the Plickers Website.

Step 5: On the mobile app, choose the question you want to use.

Step 6: Have students hold up cards with the correct answer facing right-side up.  Scan the room with your phone/iPad.

Step 7: Use LiveView Tab on the Website to display results to students.

Step 8: Use Scoresheet under Reports on the Website to monitor student progress, save time on grading, and run detailed reports.

Check out this Slide Show for Help getting started or watch the video below:

How will you use Plickers in your classroom?  I can’t wait to hear about it!

 

Robotic Fraction, Decimals, and Percentages

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I just posted a lesson I’ve used with various 5th grade classes as they were studying fractions and decimals.  We used the Lego EV3 robots, and were able to complete the activity in an hour.

Here’s how the activity works.  Using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 robot and a touch sensor, each group of students inputs a fraction. Then they convert the fraction into a decimal and a percentage using hand calculations, and double check their work using the EV3 robot. They observe the robot moving forward and record the distance it moves. Students learn that the distance moved is a fraction of the full distance, based on the fraction that they input. For instance, if they input ½, the robot moves half of the original distance. Using this information, students work backwards to compute the full distance. Groups then are challenged to move the robot as close as possible to a target distance by inputting a fraction into the EV3 bot. Four different challenges of increasing difficulty are available in this lesson. Most students complete 2 within an hour, but the extra are included for students who master the concepts quickly.

The kids had a blast with this lesson and were fully engaged.  I love how it really makes them think about fractions in a real sense, and that they have to draw on their understanding to figure out the challenges.

If you have access to EV3 robots and want to try the lesson, you can get it here:

EV3

 

Makerspace Prompt Cards

Makerspace prompt cards

I’ve been using prompt cards in my Makerspace for a bit now.  I find that they help students, but they also help the teachers who bring the students into the Makerspace too.  Even though teachers at my schools have been trained on how to use the equipment, they often need reminders…and it helps them feel like they have a way to answer student questions.

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I prefer using them in Acrylic Sign Holders like these, but they are expensive.  If you trim cards down a bit, they will work in the plastic 8×10 picture frames you can buy for pretty cheap.  They don’t hold up as well, but if you are on a budget, they will work. Another option is to run the cards on tagboard and use sheet protectors.

This packet contains resources to create Makerspace Centers with the following materials:

  • LEDs and Coin Cell Batteries
  • Cubelets
  • Hot Wheel Tracks
  • Little Bits
  • Makey Makey
  • Spheros
  • Dollar Store Fans
  • Squishy Circiuts
  • old toys

Each center contains pictures, simple directions, and QR codes to scan for more info.  You get them on Teachers Pay Teachers here.

Makerspace prompt cards

 

 

 

Newsela and Blendspace

Newsela — (Grades 2-5) This site provides current event articles on various reading levels (sports, health, science, arts, kids, etc).  Each day there are new articles that you can assign to your class (or read in small groups).  Each article has about 5 different reading levels (by lexile level)…so students can read about the same topic at their own level.  There are quizzes students can take, and best of all, there is a search bar that allows a teacher to search for articles that relate to certain reading skills (Author’s Purpose/Point of View, Text Structure, Central Idea, etc).  It might be another resource to add to the list of ways to engage your students in Reading.
Blendspace — (All Grades) Love, love this resource!  Blendspace allows you to create collections of web resources on a certain topic (videos, websites, pictures, etc).  This resource would be great to use with your students in the computer lab, as a small station within your classroom, or even as a way to organize materials you will present to your students on your Activboard.  You can add quizzes and monitor student progress too, if you want.  There are even tons of lessons already available that you can use immediately with your students. We are going to be encouraging you to move away from Portaportal (due to all the ads), and this is an excellent resource to take its place. :)

Tinkerplay

First 3D Action Figure

I’ve been playing around with the app, Tinkerplay.  I started with my MakerMonday group of students and successfully printed one to the delight of the child who made it!

Then students in our FACES Special Education class designed characters during their Makerspace time.

Finally, I brought in a class of 22 third graders who are reading The Indian and Cupboard.  They designed action figures to place in the cupboard.

 

From those three trials, here’s what I’ve learned.

  • The smaller the scale, the easier it is for the action figures to break.  I found 75% was perfect.
  • Students can easily be given parameters to keep their figures from getting out of hand.  In the beginning, I had one action figure with 75 pieces!  I limited students on the amount of filament (grams) and the estimated print time.  They had no problem with this.
  • Saving is a bit complicated.  I attached Tinkerplay to our school dropbox account and saved to there.  I found that it automatically named the file with a number based on the time of day it was saved.  That meant, theoretically, if I didn’t clear out the folder before a group began saving the next day, things could get messy.  I also found that it was important to stagger saving so that people didn’t save on top of each other.  One save per minute.  I showed the students how to find the file name after it had saved so they could write it down.  It made it much easier to know whose was whose later.
  • Taking a picture of the finished creation helped students put them together when printing was finished.

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