Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gamify Your Staff Meeting or PD: Kahoot

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Want to add a little gaming to a staff meeting or pd session?  Kahoot is a GREAT tool to spice it up!  Kahoot! is easy to use and a fun way to collect feedback!  And that's not it...what a great way to model technology use to collect information and/or feedback that can immediately be used the next day in a classroom.

Kahoot! can be used as a classroom formative assessment tool to:
  • begin a lesson- gathering prior knowledge or building background knowledge on a topic
  • gauge student understanding in the middle of a lesson
  • assess knowledge, drive your instruction for the next day or week, at the end of a lesson as an 'exit slip'
Materials Needed: To use Kahoot! everyone needs a device that connects to the internet, i.e. smartphone, iPad, Chromebook, laptop... they'll all work.

To set up a Kahoot! quiz, discussion, or poll, you'll first need to make a free account.  Then you can build your own game by following directions here.  These directions are easy to follow and walk through creating a quiz step-by-step.

When you're ready to play, log in to on a device connected to a projector (preferably), choose your game, and select 'play.'

Select 'Launch...'

Players need go to and enter the unique code that was generated for your quiz (it'll appear after you click 'Launch').  They'll also be prompted to enter a nickname to identify themselves.

Your device (connected to the projector) will display the questions and answer choices.
Players devices will ONLY show symbols for answer choices.
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Results will appear as soon as everyone has responded.  Players play for points...the quicker they answer the more points they get!

Have fun with this!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kid Snippets: Math Class

Kid Snippets are some of the funniest videos on YouTube.  Here is my ABSOLUTE favorite- Math Class.  In Chico Unified (my school district) we have a group of teachers that facilitate district-wide grade level meetings during the year.  We used this video to open our very first meeting of the year and it was a huge hit...every teacher can relate to this situation.  Needless to say we haven't been able to find one to top this video yet, but we keep looking...

This video is perfect for:

  • Opening a staff meeting after a rough day
  • Instant icebreaker at a Professional Development session
  • "On a whim" sharing (Hey!  Check out this funny video!)
  • When you're by yourself and are looking for a laugh!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Apps You Need: Sock Puppets (Apple only)

Socks Puppets is a MUST have app if you have an Apple device for use in your classroom.  The app uses a sock puppet to record student voices (up to 30 seconds for the free version).  Students can also choose the background and any props for their scene.  The free version allows you to save and share the videos to a variety of sites.

Common Core Connections
  • Talks in complete sentences
  • Uses descriptive language

  • SL.6- Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly
  • L.1- Demonstrate command of English grammar and conventions when speaking


  • SL.6- Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation
  • L.1- Demonstrate command of English grammar and conventions when speaking


  • SL.6- Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
  • L.1- Demonstrate command of English grammar and conventions when speaking

However...this app can be used for a multitude of standards! Check it out:
  • Fluency: students practice reading a short passage for accuracy, rate, and prosody and then record as a sock puppet
  • Comprehension: Summary- have students record a written summary of a book/piece of text. Summaries include the most important points so students will have to think critically to write an effective summary that will have them talk for 30 seconds or less.
  • Mathematical Thinking: create a scene with 2 puppets and have puppet #1 (teacher voice) ask how a problem was solved and puppet #2 (student voice) explain how they solved a problem.
Finally- share the student videos on your website or email it to parents. The app alters the voice and there won't be any identifying student information in the video. How awesome would it be (as a parent) to receive a video of your student's work in an email? (I would love it!)

@prestoplans 30 Day Happy Teacher Challenge

Need a challenge for yourself? Try the 30 day Happy Teacher challenge from ! Brilliant! A little bit everyday will go a long way!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tech Integration

Today I found a fantastic article that really sums up my thoughts about technology in education.  Read the article here:

"There’s a wide gulf between technology use in the classroom and actual tech integration."

Yes!  How do we (teachers) use technology to transform learning for our students instead of using technology to substitute tasks that we currently have students complete?  There is certainly a place for technology as a substitute- practicing math facts, sight words, number recognition, etc.  But true integration goes beyond that and allows students to use technologies to enhance and transform their learning.  And when student learning is transformed, teaching has been too!!