Ahhh…yes. Cue Julie Andrews. It’s that time of year when, whether you like it or not, holiday music and decorations abound and you just can’t help but have one of those little tunes in your head. (Personally, I’ve been waiting for this season for months.)
In the spirit of music, Favorite Things-themed parties and an end-of-year wrap-up, this post is highlighting some of my favorite tools and how I use them in the classroom. Without further ado…
Flipgrid has stayed at the top of my list for a few years now. If you are not familiar with this tool, it is a platform that embraces and empowers student voice via individual recordings. Flipgrid embraces what I want to nurture most in my students: finding confidence, expressing their creativity, and positive encouragement among peers to become a more cohesive, accepting, and inclusive community.
While many EdTech tools have become more user-friendly and visually appealing, nothing rivals Flipgrid when it comes to reliability. The glitch-free experience only makes me love it more, especially on days when I switch directions to pick up the pace and promote student creativity. Once again, my many thanks, Flipgrid!
For a detailed overview, see my June 2019 blog post: Flipgrid (The Curious Creator Blog)
Un jour, une question + Un jour, un actu
This collection of videos (available on YouTube or via 1 jour 1 question, France TV’s website) is specifically for French teachers. Young French students submit questions to France TV, who then summarizes a response that are accompanied by appealing animations. The questions range from “How long has Barbie existed?” to “What is terrorism?” prompting rich discussion. It won’t be long until your students are reciting the intro. It’s quite catchy!
Also see 1 jour 1 actu for print resources pertaining to culture and current events at a student reading level.
While Class Dojo is predominantly used in elementary schools, this EdTech tool changed my speaking world. I assign points based on a student’s oral participation in French or Franglais, or take away points for speaking in English. The sound of a positive “DING!” or overwhelmingly ominous sound often puts students into competition mode, whether with classmates or to reclaim points lost.
Check out my blog post for more detail: Class Dojo (The Curious Creator Blog)
Quizlet has been around for years, with good reason. Many teachers and students use it in its most traditional form – housing vocabulary lists and reviewing flashcards – but let’s take it to the next level.
I have abandoned the textbook for a few years now, meaning that I rely on resources that let my students create and collaborate with ease. I create a collaborative class set where students add their chosen vocabulary based on a brainstorming session of sub-themes. Once the list has been created, I cut up the words for OWL Language-like activities. There are a host of activities within Quizlet itself – tests, smart studying of words consistently missed – and of course, a little fun. My favorite way to Quizlet? Students do a Quizlet Live Relay, with one student facing all devices while their teammates wait their turns on the other side of the table. Once the student has answered, the next person rotates into the game.
Quizizz is another competitive EdTech tool that is extremely user-friendly. My two favorite aspects of Quizizz are my ability to give individualized attention to each student as well as the reports that follow each game. The report provides specific data on how students performed, displayed in a visually appealing graph of red and green. The graph immediately draws your attention to questions that need to be reviewed in red. If I take a Quizizz for a grade, I can find the student’s percentage score in my reports. The students love the memes, and I love the fact that I can walk around to help students as it is self-paced. Oh, and did I mention the calming, meditative music? The tone is immediately set for learning once the game has begun.
I love G Suite and how easily everything talks to each other and to other EdTech tools. (For example, post your Padlet directly to Google Classroom under the “Share” menu.) Google Images makes for easy speaking prompts at the beginning of class or for inspirational Chindogu examples. Make sure to censor them before you spontaneously do an image search!
Ever wanted to ensure that students watch the entire video and also have accountability questions? Edpuzzle makes that happen. While I’ve come across a few glitches in students being organized into the proper class, the activities you can assign are well worth it. Make sure to add the Google Chrome Extension to directly edit within YouTube!
Here is my blog post for a tutorial and more! Edpuzzle (The Curious Creator Blog)
Organization made easy and efficient. Period. I teach four different levels across seven periods every day. That means I have a lot of different resources coming from various sources. Wakelet allows me to organize my collections so that opening what I need is just one click away.
For a more in-depth look at how to use Wakelet, here is the link to this year’s Tech Tool blog post: Wakelet (The Curious Creator Blog)
Last, but not least, there is music. Whether you are streaming from Spotify or search for a (Francophone) artist on YouTube (always censor it first!), music motivates, makes your students move, and can help center their focus. There are a number of benefits to the brain besides the good spirit it will create in your classroom. Check out my recent post, Learning Through Song (The Curious Creator Blog) for ideas of how to use music in the classroom.
If you are not already on holiday break, you’re almost there! Enjoy the season with family, friends, and I will see you next year!