Because we work on multiple choice every Monday in AP Lang, it’s great to change up the approach to it a little. I got a set of Plickr cards at the ISTE conference this summer and they’ve been a hit with students. My only complaint is there are only four answer options when AP questions always have five choices. It just means I need to spend a little more time editing before class.

Each Plickr card is assigned to a student so data is saved. Augmented reality through the Plickr app on my phone is a great way for me to get a quick read of the class. THe cards are directional and the corresponding letter for the answer choice is on the front so kids know which way to turn. img_0744


Twitter in the classroom

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-11-46-26-amYears ago, when Twitter was first emerging as a social network, I encouraged my seniors in Digital Composition to use it in class as a way to comment on literature. I think it was in 2009 or 2010 and it was mostly successful. Students hadn’t heard of Twitter at that point though and they didn’t really “get” the point of sharing and discussing on a public forum.

Over time, I started using Twitter more for a Professional Learning Network (PLN). I had trouble attending Twitter chats but I followed hashtags and conversations the next morning to find out what was current and compelling for other educators around the country.

This year, one of my teaching collaborators for AP Language & Composition realized we needed to meet students where they are, on Twitter, as we strive to make sure they have exposure to and working knowledge of current events. On the AP Lang exam students need to have a wide variety of CHELPS (Current events, History, Experience, Literature, Pop culture, Sports/Science) to help them with evidence on the argument.

So, we came up with a hashtag for our classes – #southaplang – and very short ones for each teacher so we can keep them straight. Every Monday we send out a tweet with a question or request for comments and a link to an article on a trending topic or a popular idea in the media.

So far… it’s awesome! Kids without Twitter accounts can turn in their tweets on paper or any other method if they prefer. A few students created new Twitter accounts just for this assignment to keep the tweets separate from their personal accounts. And we don’t need to follow them because we can find their tweets with the hashtags.


Blended learning – using Edmodo

I’ve been teaching using, essentially, a blended learning model since 2006. This means that much of what I do in the classroom is supported by online tools. I’ve used Wikispaces, Moodle, and, most recently, Edmodo to varying degrees of success.

Edmodo has recently begun a series of webinars called “Teacher’s Lounge” and I spent a small chunk of my afternoon watching this one on formative assessment using Edmodo. I really like the way she uses the quiz feature for more than just a basic quiz assessment. I’m going to work on expanding my existing (and not great) comprehension quizzes for AP Language for next year.

Creating Multimedia Timelines

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 5.42.22 PM

The other day I stumbled across Timeline JS, a site that assists you in creating multimedia timelines. I found the site while searching for visual autobiography tools for my seniors but after assigning a short, paper, biographical timeline of John Steinbeck, I realized it would be a good project for my Honors American Literature 10th graders.

I suppose it is a bit similar to Prezi but it looks more like a traditional timeline running at the bottom and you control it in a more linear fashion. The website gives you a couple of different ways of compiling the data sets; we used the provided Google spreadsheet with our school district Google Apps accounts. Students were divided into two teams of about 15 students each with one group creating a timeline of the author and the other a timeline of the Great Depression; after appointing a team leader they began populating the spreadsheet with evidence from the web. I appreciate that it has places for students to credit the creators of the material rather than just copying and pasting links.

note the name of the YouTube poster at the bottom right of the video

note the name of the YouTube poster at the bottom right of the video

Here are the timelines : Before the timelines were officially “done” I  viewed each while running Screenr to give feedback to the students and have them make the necessary corrections. I posted the links to those videos here in case anyone is interested in how to give verbal/video/screencast recorded feedback.

I like the end result and the variety of media that the students chose to tell the story of their subject. I think this would also work well as a way of proving a thesis for a problem-based learning project or another multi-media assignment that benefits from being more linear in nature. Comparing and contrasting timelines of The Great Depression and The Great Recession perhaps? Students were a little thrown by how finicky editing a spreadsheet can be, but I thought they did a good job of finding evidence.

Paperless classroom

Our school supply budget is scheduled to be cut next year by a large sum of money so I’m doing additional research on moving to a paperless (or at least paper reduced) classroom.

This Prezi is an EXCELLENT start to help educators visualize what a paperless classroom might look like.

.prezi-player { width: 550px; } .prezi-player-links { text-align: center; }

  • Use Moodle, Edmodo, a website, blog, or share via Google Docs lists
  • project information on the board
  • use tools like GoAnimate, LiveScribe, screencast software, etc. to create mini-lectures

Assignments FROM students:

  • collaborate via Google Docs, VoiceThread, Prezi, wikis
  • presentations via Glogster, Prezi, Google Docs, VoiceThread
  • basic assignments via Google Docs, Edmodo, Moodle
    • hand-written assignments can be scanned or photographed in order to still be submitted electronically
    • LiveScribe could be a good substitute
  • quizzes via Quizlet, Moodle, Google Form, Edmodo

Considerations: students could need increased access to technology