What I'm Loving So Far This Year

I hope everyone has had a nice start to their school year.  I am having a great year this year, not only because I have a real dynamic group of students, but also because I have been trying lots of new things.  Here is what I am loving so far this year:

My colleague Sarah introduced me to Gimkit.  It's been described as Kahoot on steroids.  Basically how I would describe it as a self-paced series of multiple choice questions, but with a twist - students are earning "money" and they can cash in that money for upgrades that help them earn more.  The upgrades get you such things as more money per question, insurance against losing money, and streak bonuses.  I had fun playing it at our last department meeting.  To make your own, you can start from scratch or import from Quizlet, which is what I did.  I used it in class a couple times to practice numbers, and the students loved it.  They are still asking me when we are going to play it again.  Have you ever played Gimkit with your students?

Connect 4
I found this resource on Stephanie Bass' blog.  You can visit her blog to download the template.  The idea is that students take turns rolling two dice, and add the numbers out loud.  The student fills in a number on the sheet that matches the total they rolled.  Students use different colored pencils or markers to fill in.  The first to get four in a row wins.

Online Quizzes
Since going 1:1 this year, it has been really easy to give assessments online.  I've been using Canvas, our school's new learning management system, to create and administer them.  I love how it gives you an overview of how students did, an item analysis, and a place to give feedback or comments to the student.  Now instead of passing back papers, I just have them login and see how they did.  I also love the immediate feedback on multiple choice questions.  Now when I want a student to correct their work, I direct them back to the assessment online instead of a piece of paper they might have lost.  Do you give assessments online?  What platform did you use?

Vieux McDonald
My colleague Robin introduced me to this great idea.  One day last year, I heard lots of fun singing coming from her classroom, so I asked her what she was doing.  She explained that she had her kids sing "Old McDonald" in Spanish to practice pronouncing the vowels (they say A-E-I-O-U instead of E-I-E-I-O).  She also uses it to teach the animal sounds.  She gave signs to students to hold up when their animal came up, and then only that student made the sound of the animal.  She even gave me her signs because she was retiring, so all I had to do was pull the Spanish labels off and replace them with French ones.  It was a fun and goofy activity enjoyed by all!

This year, not only do we have a full class set of iPads to share among our department, but each student also has their own Dell Cloudbook.  This makes games like Quizlet Live (above) a lot easier to play.  Students can also access programs like Microsoft Word on their devices and easily create work to turn in digitally.  I can on the fly have them access a variety of programs on their devices if I want to do a quick wrap-up activity.  It's fun uncovering all the benefits of 1:1 as the year unfolds.  If your school is 1:1, what is your favorite thing about it?

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