Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quizizz vs Kahoot: The battle of the Game-Based Response Systems

Quizizz and Kahoot are both game-based response systems and I love them both equally for different reasons. When my students arrive to class and I reveal that we will be playing either Quizizz or Kahoot, my students immediately become excited.

Quizizz is a game-based response system that may aid in the gamification of your classroom or to just get your students excited about learning. You could easily search for a ready-made quiz,  create your own using the Quizizz database of questions, or create a quiz with your own questions. Even if you choose a ready-made quiz, you could edit the questions, delete questions, or add questions of your own. You can also set time limits, as little as 5 seconds and as much as 15 minutes, for each question individually.

After the ease of setting up your quiz, Quizizz gives teachers the option of playing a live game or assigning it as "Homework." Assigning the Quizizz as "Homework" just means the students can complete the Quizizz until it expires. In either mode the students are able to view all the questions on their own device as well as see the leaderboard.

There are also several options that allow you to personalize the Quizizz for your students before giving them access to it. I usually keep everything on but sometimes I turn off the "Show Answers" feature. I find that the leaderboard motivates the students but when it's assigned as "Homework" students believe that they are in 1st place but they can be pushed out of the top spot if someone faster comes along.

I created a Quizizz to allow you to experience it through the eyes of the students. Unfortunately, it expires on April 5th. The expiration of the quizzes is one thing that I wish they'd change. There are some instances that I would like my students to be able to have access to Quizizz quizzes for as long as they'd like for practice and review.

Follow the link below and use the game code provided before April 5th to experience the thrill of Quizizz for yourself.

1. Open in your browser.
2. Enter the 6-digit game code 986726  , and click "Proceed."
3. Now enter your name and click "Join Game!"
4. You will get an avatar, and then see a "Start Game" button. Click it to begin!

What students love

  • It's fun for all the students. What's wrong with friendly competition? The students play it like it is a video game.
  • My students love the silly avatars. After they put the code and choose a name it amazes me how they look at the screen waiting on their avatar to pop up. 
  • Who doesn't like music? The music changes the entire atmosphere in my class. 
  • Based on my students reactions, I'm pretty sure that the memes are their favorite. It's almost as if they don't even realized that they are reviewing math skills and concepts.

What I love
  • I am not confined to my device whether it be an iPad or laptop to control the questions.
  • The students see the questions on their individual devices.
  • I feel as if I am as bad as the students when it comes to instant gratification because I love the live feedback when we play live and I love the instant results when I assign it as "Homework."
  • I love the fact that my students like it.
  • Quizizz is student paced. Whether it's live or not students can still move at their own pace.
  • I LOVE the ease of creating quizzes. The question search option has me sold!

Kahoot is already loved by many educators. It was the best new thing in our build last school year. The students LOVE to Kahoot and anytime I ask for suggests for reviewing math concepts, they ALWAYS say Kahoot. Kahoot as another game-based response system that helps students get excited about learning and teachers get excited about teaching. With Kahoot, you can also create your own Kahoots, their version of quizzes, or search ready-made Kahoot that are usually created by other educators. Kahoot gives the option of setting time limits of 5 seconds to 120 seconds.

Kahoot offers a little variety. You also have the option of creating discussions or surveys. 

Kahoots can only be played live but I've seen classroom on opposite sides of the globe play together using a shared screen. Students or participants see the questions projected on a screen and answer those questions on their own devices. You, as the teacher, hold the upmost honor of press the button to go to the next question. 

Kahoot also has a new question format. Jumble allows players to put the answers in a correct order instead of choosing one correct answer.

The students will see their own score and rank on their individual devices but the top 5 kahooters will be displayed on the projected Scoreboard.

You can download the results from the Kahoot to see the results and use for grading or instructional purposes.

What students love

  • The students love the game appeal. Kahoots are fun for all students.
  • Students love the music. I can't argue with that either.
  • Students love the Scoreboard. Most of my students are competitive. I even have a competitive spirit myself.
What I love
  • The ease of creating the Kahoots.
  • I like the variety. I like being able to do discussions, surveys, and the new Jumble questions.
  • I can't resist how much my students enjoy Kahoots.
  • I love being able to add videos to the questions.
When it comes to Quizizz, Kahoot, and students it is a win-win. You can create either with ease and the students love it so how could you lose. Both can be used as a preview to content to come, as a review for things already taught, or as reinforcement for freshly introduced concepts. When things appeal to my students, I try to incorporate them in my classroom. In this case, it not too hard to make happen. Drop me a line below and tell me if there is a clear cut winner in your eyes.

Until next time,

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My Classroom 2016-2017

I know this is late but here is a glimpse into my classroom. I feel as if I decorate my class each year as a typical elementary school teacher but I don't think I will ever change because I take pride in my classroom's theme yearly and I have so much fun decorating. This year I chose the theme of a cafè using the colors lime green, tan, and turquoise.

Here you will find my door. This year we were not permitted to decorate the outside of our doors due to new fire codes so you could imagine my disappointment. I had big plans for my door this year and I was saddened when I was told to take my chalkboard down. I attempted to transform my door into a chalkboard to keep with my cafe theme. I have my welcome sign from TpT Store: Mindful Matters above my door, and mini chalkboard beside my door for updates and reminders, and my twitter feed from TpT Store: The Tallest Teacher.

Below you will see how I utilized my interior door leading to the classroom next door and my make shift bulletin board. Above the door I have our class policy and on the door there are my conversation expectations. We do lots of discussions and I expect active participations from every student. Beside the door I have a make shift bulletin board created by putting burlap on the wall with border around it. I use the board to display news/announcement, QR codes for passes and when students are tardy, and homework.

Now we have my safe haven better now as "Welch's Corner". I have another make shift bulletin board created with black butcher paper and burlap ribbon for my calendars, schedules, and other things that I receive that may be important. I wrapped my desk in burlap to keep with my theme.

Yearly I label all my desk and groups to make it easier to assign roles and task. I use containers for supplies as well but I am still trying to master a way to keep up with all the supplies, keep the students from abusing the supplies, and keep students from using the containers as trash cans. I used editable labels from TpT Seller: Teresa Lewis.

The large colored numbered posters are used for my scales for learning goals. I usually have 3 sets, for regular, supported, and advanced. I used Clock Minute Labels from TpT Store: Chalkboard Chatterbox and the Classroom Number line from TpT Store: GreatMinds123. My very own DOK Posters for Math. I also have my Daily Grind Board with list the daily assignments, homework assignments, reminders, and expectations. 
I also have student classroom job and seat letters on magnets. The students loved the idea of rotating class jobs that include Instagram Photographer, Board Cleaner, Tweet Master, Office Manager, Errand Runner, Folder Manager, The Closers, Tech Assistant, and Teacher Assistant. I try to remember to rotate them daily. Next year that may become a new job.

Since I have a fully flipped classroom and use blended learning practices in the classroom, I have a small group space to use during the "Work with Teacher" Station during rotations.  In the small group corner you will find Math Practice Posters, Problem Solving Strategy Posters, and dry erase circles. Near by is the Word Wall named "The Perfect Blend" to tie into the Cafe theme of my classroom.

The Community Board is where I display superior student work. With a 1 to 1 classroom, a lot of the displays are pictures of students' products, print offs from Schoology (our LMS), and pictures of students working.
I utilized the doors of my storage cabinet to display grades and house work for absent students when we complete things on paper.

One of my favorite in-class displays is the growth mindset wall. I found a display on Pinterest, my happy place, and I copied it. I projected the brain on the board and traced it on a large piece of butcher board paper.
The "Barista Station" is my version of the students work center. Here students will find a class calendar, rulers, scratch paper, graph paper, cornell notes templates, no name clips, turn in trays, and a return crate that includes extra copies.
This is the notebook setup display. I actually refer to this several times weekly and used it during my lesson for setting up the Math notebooks. I used to borders purchase from Mardel and burlap material I found at Hobby Lobby. I also found inspiration for this board on Pinterest.
Here are the generic learning scales. I tend to use the generic learning scales to do quick check in during lessons.

My front board has labels.

  • Today I will...
  • I will know I have it when...
  • Essential Questions:
  • Today's Specials
I color code each class period's information. You may also see a glimpse of the group roles which are assigned by seat letter and the "Give me 5" sign.

Having a 1 to 1 iPad classroom brings some advantages with passes and signing out or even keeping up with tardies. Students scan the code to sign out and they scan a different code when they are tardy to class. Students know that they are late if they enter the class after I shut the door. I greet students with a hand shake every period, every day.

Thank you for stopping by to check out my classroom this year. I'm already trying to decide what theme I could go with for the next school year. It's takes a  lot of work but I find joy and pride in decorating my class each year. Leave you ideas below or links to your classroom tour.

      Until next time,

Monday, January 16, 2017

Transform Your Classroom with Google Forms

With a 1:1 iPad classroom and tons of Google Apps for Education training I have become an avid user of all things Google. I have created this list of ways I use Google Forms in my classroom and with my team members. In this age of technology, why not let your access to technology help you to work smarter not harder. Please comment below if you are interested in a tutorial on any of the listed uses.

For Classroom Management
I created the following GoogleSlides presentation outlining Google Forms uses for Classroom Management. My favorite thing about my uses for Classroom Management is that you do not need a 1:1 classroom in order for these to work for you. These uses can also be efficient using a chromebook or laptop.

For Instruction
For Google Forms for Instructions I wasn't as fancy and created a GoogleSlides presentation.

  • Assessments: The quiz feature has made this easier by leaps and bounds but prior to the quiz feature I fell head over heels for the Super Quiz Google Sheets add-on. I first began using forms for assessments when I begin to flip my classroom. I found Forms to be the most efficient way and with the Super Quiz add-on I was able to embed the forms on the webpage I was using for the videos and notes that I expected my students to review. I was able to give instant feedback as well as give additional practice or resources. I can have the assessments, big or small, graded automatically or you can grade responses manually. With the ability to send results to spreadsheets, you are able to track progress of your students and plan for future instruction at the snap of your finger.
  • Collect Data for Activities: You can have individuals or groups to use Forms to share their finds with the entire class. This would work across subject areas and it saves time. You are able to send data to a spreadsheet and share the spreadsheet with students. There are many possibilities after you share the class data. Students can analyze their finds, compare their findings to those of their peers, answer questions related to the data collected, and much more. This is not limited to numerical data. For ELA or History students can respond to research resources or readings then view the spreadsheet to compare the findings of their peers.
  • Choose your own Adventure Activities: This is by far my favorite of all the Form uses for instruction. I find that these are fun (but then again I am a geek) and remind me of books I read as an adolescent. You are able to create Choose your own Adventure Forms by adding sections and then adding "Go to section based on answer" to the questions.

  • Student Reflection: I have become a believer in student reflection. I use Google Forms before and after post test to have the students think about what grade they think they'll earn and afterwards as a reflection of what you actually earned and why. I use Forms after pretest as a tool to allow to set short term goals. Students tell what they would like to earn on the post test and how they plan to achieve the goal score. I have students to reflect on their behavior also,
  • Peer Evaluation: Students can collect responses about their work from their peers or rate their peers performance while working in a group.
  • Grade Collection: If you use rubrics, quick grade collect can be achieved using Google Forms. If you have your expectations outlined in a form, you can possibly grade students as you walk around and observe, during presentations, during one on one check-ins, or during gallery style walk around activities. If you are one of those teachers that walk around and check homework during the daily warm up, you can create a Form for that! 
  • Digital Breakout EDU: If yo are familiar with those mini versions of the escape the room scenarios, you'll love the idea of being able to achieve this digitally without all the locks and boxes.

For Planning

  • Team Lesson Plans: Although I am not currently in a building were we used the same lesson plans, after reading Matt Miller's The Magical Automatic Lesson Planner with Google Forms I was convinced that Forms would be an awesome way to plan as a team. I have been in buildings where each person of our math team would take turns to create our plans for the week. Without the pain of copying and pasting or trying to remember not the save over the original format you could create a form for planning and use autocrat to create a separate doc for each week or continuous doc for all the lesson plans for the week, month, quarter, or school year.
  • Data Analysis: Forms could be created to collect data and review as a team. An added feature of the Super Quiz Google Sheets add-on is able to add separate classes of teachers to one Quiz and being able to compare classes or teachers data.

    Thanks for stoping by,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Worked Wednesday: My Course Guide

What worked for me on the first week of school you might ask? Why my Class Course Guide, of course! Last year I ditched a traditional syllabus and begin using a one page course guide. I had two motives behind making the switch. A) How many parents and students actually read it beyond my reading it to the students in class? B) I wanted something that students could tape in the interactive notebooks that we'd use all year and refer to it when they had any questions about the class.

With those two things in mind I made the plunge and ditched that old, long, boring, traditional syllabus. This nifty little one pager (a little term I stole from the great @EdTechLove) packs a ton of useful information in a fun little delivery format. I feel that this one page Course Guide can take the place of a syllabus because it give important information about the class without all the boring, yet important, stuff that many don't even bother reading.

Included are 10 sections outlining the class policies, supply list, assignment policy, how to receive extra help, our class in social media, Schoology (our LMS), our team webpage, and goals for the year. Since this is printed on a full sheet of paper and must fit in a standard composition notebook, there's even a handy little flap when you fold it for the student's and parent's signature. I always tell my students to fold on the dotted and cut on the solid when we do foldables in hopes that no one will cut their course guide but it sometimes still happen. Not students has cut their yet (knock on wood!) and I know one does.

In addition to the 2 goals I have for students I ask that students choose a goal that we will re-evaluate each quarter. I ask that students choose a goal then explain how they plan to achieve that goal. For example, most students would write get good grades or maintain an A in math. I'd always ask them how they plan to maintain this grade. Students usually said things like study more, not procrastinate, or do homework as soon as they got home so that they would not forget. I told them that my goal was to not procrastinate because man am I the biggest procrastinator in the world. When I was a student, my best work and highest grades were a result of my procrastination but I'm learning that the stress from procrastination is never worth it.

After going over the course guide with my students, I touched on the grading scale and some other things that are in the syllabus and posted in the classroom before allowing the students to complete a team scavenger hunt using the course guide. I gave the teams 15 minutes to answer 10 questions that could be answered directly from the course guide. I gave each person a job and had one person to write their number on the board once the team finished so I could keep up with the order in which each team finished. I walked around and checked the questions as the teams finished. I circled questions that were answered incorrectly and told students to go back and check their answers.

It seemed as if students thoroughly enjoyed this activity. I figured I should come up with something high energy for the students to do after going the course guide for a majority of the hour long class period. Students worked well with their teams and the first 5 teams who answered all questions correctly received a treat. All in all this was a very successful execution of a syllabus and team building activity that worked for me, LaDonna!

         Until next time,


Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year's Goals 2017

I used this Winter Break for resting and reflecting. Even though I spent more time resting and doing nothing I did take some time to reflect on myself as a teacher and myself in general. I was inspired to blog about my goals after reading @historicalipad's New Year's Resolution Post Saturday.

Goal #1
Save more and spend less. I received a harsh wake up call when we relocated to Colorado and I am just now really adjusting almost 3 years later. I currently save a little each month but it is nothing compared to how much money I feel I waste and have nothing to show for it. I am really bad about "wanting it now" and instant gratification. I feel that I am quick to spend without weighing my options. My family eats out way too much and there are several things that I feel we can go without. We recently purchased a home and we have a list of wants that will actually benefit us in the future when it comes time to put our house on the market. Goal #1 will eventually open other doors for my family.

Goal #2
Workout consistently. I currently workout but I'm not consistent at all. Some weeks I workout 3-4 times and then I go weeks without lifting a finger. My goal is to workout 3-4 times a week. I am more consistent with a partner but I have to learn how to motivate myself to workout alone. I'm excited to now have an At Home Gym but I need to utilize it more consistently. Our gym is still a work in progress but I'm proud of the what we have so far and I have enough for a full workout. I always feel better and have more energy when I workout so with accomplishing goal #2 I have nothing to lose.

Goal #3
I would like to blog and upload to my TpT store weekly. I've been trying to figure out a schedule that will work for me but I have not been able to find that magical formula yet. I currently purchased a planner and have been researching formats to help me plan out my life. I really like passion planners and bullet journals but have not decided which is going to work for me. Goal #3 will eventually help me to build my platform and reach more fellow educators so that I can do the many other things I'd like to eventually do in the near future.

With all of my goals I was able to come up my own personal #oneword2017 which is consistency. With consistency I will be able to #slay the goals I have for myself in 2017. I find that when I do get off track it is because of a lack of consistency. I am looking to come up with a routine that will not take away from my family or sleep. Looking back at 2016, family time and sleep usually suffered the most when I was working on something extra or work related.

What are some of your goals? Did you write down resolutions for 2017? Do you have an #oneword2017?  I'd love to hear from you. Leave your comments below.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cross Curricular Planning: Trip of a Lifetime Project

I would like to start by telling you all how much I love projects that make connections with real world concepts. I had so much fun planning this project as well as working on this with my students.

This project was created as a cross curricular End-of-Unit project with my ELA teaching partner, English Middle School Mania. Students completed this project after reading Around the World in 80 Days and after completing a unit about rates, ratios, proportions, and converting decimals, fractions, and percents.

This project requires students to make decisions that required the use of math skills. The students created a budget, found the percent of a number, used proportions, and found unit rates and ratios.

This project includes the following:
  • Planning Packet
  • Slides Presentation for Students to complete
  • Tic Tac Toe Board for options for final products
  • A rubric for grading of the final project
  • Aligned to the Common Core Math Standards with options to connect to Common Core ELA Standard
Students presented their final products gallery style and allowed the presentees to complete a short survey about their presentation. Students received useful feedback they were able to reflect on for future projects. Students were also given the opportunity to reflect on what they did well and what they could have done better.

My ELA teaching partner and I would like to do a cross curricular project each quarter for the remainder of the school year. I'm excited about what we'll come up with and the things that our students will create.

Students' Presenting and Parts of Presentations

Student mapped her trip with a map in her Slides Presentation.

Explanation of choice of Rental Car.

Student reflecting on what was hard.

Student's final budget and explanation.

Student's choice of final presentation using the Tic Tac Toe Board.

What I learned
  • We have ability based classes and we accounted for our Advanced students without considering our Supported students. I learned that we must have accommodations for them before even beginning the project. I assumed that the students would be able to handle the workload with me working with them as a class step by step. That did not work and I ended up throwing out many parts for my Supported students.
  • I should have created a checkpoint calendar. I find that when I have created checkpoint calendars in the past students are more organized when working. Students also know what I expect and when I expect it. I also have an idea of the quality of work and can stop students who are off track to help to get back on track. This time around I assigned task for the day and as homework but I still had students working on what they wanted to and when I checked in for participation points some students did not receive those easy points.
I hope you check out my project on TpT. Thank you for stoping by!

Until next time,