My New Favorite Tool: Classkick

One tool I recently started using that has really had a huge impact on my instruction is Classkick.  Classkick is a platform that allows the teacher to watch students complete assignments in real time and give live feedback as they work.  Students can draw, type, insert images, and record answers, so there are a lot of different ways to assess students on here.  There are already plenty of tutorials out there about Classkick, so I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of how to set it up here, but instead I'll be sharing what I like and don't like about it and some of the activities I've done with it.

What's Good

-It's well suited to both hybrid and virtual lessons.  Students have everything they need right on their own screen and I can monitor their progress whether they are in the room or at home.

-I can see what everyone is doing and I know who is and who is not working.  One of the drawbacks of hybrid and virtual instruction is that so often if we give students class time to work on an assignment, we can't really see what the students at home are doing and if they are really working on it.  With Classkick, I can see what everyone is doing and I can message a student if I see they aren't working on it or need some guidance.

-I can provide live feedback.  I can start a chat with the student right on Classkick or leave them a note.  Now students don't have to wait until they've submitted the assignment to get feedback.  This has increased the percentage of students who go back and correct their work by tenfold.

-There are a lot of different ways to assess students.  I love that they don't just have to type an answer, they can draw it or record it as well.  I've been using it a lot to assess speaking.

What's Not

-The sign-in process is confusing.  If you're not a Pro School, students have to sign in with exactly the same name every time or they will create duplicate students.  So if they sign in as John Smith one day and just John the next, there will be two students there, and it can get confusing.  If you sort students' assignments by last name (which is what we often do) and a student signed in with only their first name, you may miss them.  If you ARE a pro school, the students must skip the prompt to enter their name and click a few more buttons to login.  All in all, the confusing login process has resulted in a lot of duplicate students, which makes sorting through all the assignments a bit cumbersome at times.

-It doesn't sync with SchoolTool, which is where we record our grades, so there's an extra step of copying the grade over.

-It doesn't sync with Canvas, our school's LMS, so it doesn't show up as a missing assignment for students if they don't complete it and their grade for the assignment doesn't show up on Canvas either.

-Students can't copy text written in the instructions, which I guess could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how challenging you are trying to make the task.  I often let my students copy and paste from vocabulary lists because spelling in French is very challenging for novice students, but especially because the accents are very hard to do correctly on their devices.

In the image below, you can see a sample of how I can monitor student progress in real time.  I am viewing a specific slide of my assignment in this image (the students' names have been blurred out at the top for privacy).  The two students on the right have finished and I have given them full credit.  The student on the left is greyed out because they have not accessed the assignment yet.  This could be because they are absent, they previously logged in incorrectly and this is a duplicate entry, or that they are simply not working on the assignment.  You can also see that I have already entered the grades in SchoolTool, and since it does not sync, I have added a note at the top of the page, highlighted in yellow, reminding students to email me if they make any further changes.  I do grade these even though they are often used as formative assessment, but students are allowed to make changes and correct their work until they earn full credit.


A Few Favorite Activities I've Done So Far

Une bande dessinée

Click here to see some pen and paper examples of this task.  After teaching students about how to make, accept, and turn down invitations, I usually ask them to make a short comic strip depicting a scene using this type of vocabulary.  This year I knew they would need some additional scaffolding, so on the first page of the Classkick assignment, I rounded up all the vocabulary they had learned on the topic and sorted into four groups:  How to make an invitation, How to turn down an invitation, How to suggest a new day or time, and How to accept an invitation.  Then students were given a blank comic strip with four boxes (which was made from uploading the worksheet I used to pass out and adding text boxes for them to fill in on top of it) and ask to follow the following format:  In the first box, the first person proposes an invitation.  In the second box, the second person turns it down.  In the third box, the first person proposes a new day or time.  In the fourth box, the second person accepts.  If they had time, they could draw characters or use images they found online.  Here are a couple examples:



Click here to view more!


La prononciation

Towards the beginning of the year, I was using Flipgrid to assess speaking.  Click here to read more about it.  As much as I love Flipgrid and all the neat things students can do with it, I have found that some students are really reluctant to be on camera - even if their face is covered.  Just the idea of the camera being on while they are speaking was very intimidating to them.  And as a result, whenever I assigned a Flipgrid, there were students who would not complete it.  What I've recently started doing is asking students to record short audio clips in response to questions on Classkick.  First, I provide a slide with a list of possible answers to questions and audio files of me pronouncing them so they can practice first.  After all, just because they heard me say it two days ago doesn't mean they remember how to pronounce it.

On the next slide, I ask a series of questions, and for each one, the student creates a short audio clip with their answer.  This is what a completed assignment looks like:

Making a series of short audio clips instead of one long one is much less intimidating to students.  In addition, the video component is removed, which makes a lot of students more comfortable.  I can also monitor their progress during class, which I could not do with Flipgrid unless they were in the room with me.  I do this lesson on a virtual day so that students don't have to awkwardly whisper into their devices when they are in the classroom together.  I did one asking students what they do in various situations, and then another one asking what they DON'T do to reinforce negation, and in both cases, the completion rate was excellent and the students did a really great job on them.


Les adjectifs

I did this input activity to familiarize students with some of the new adjectives they were learning.  Students were given five sentences, and they had to either draw each one or find a photo online that represented it.  Here some results:






Adjective Word Order Activity

I haven't assigned this one yet, but students will be completing this one next week.  After learning about how to compose a sentence properly using adjectives (including knowing which adjectives come before the noun and which come after), students will look at a series of photos and describe each one with an adjective and a noun.  They need to make sure they put the words in the correct order and use the appropriate form that corresponds to the gender of the noun (they will be allowed to use their resources).  The cool thing is that when I insert a text box, I can make it self grading by entering a list of acceptable answers.  Since students have only learned a finite number of adjectives, I can pretty well predict all the possible responses a student would input.  They do have to spell it right to get the credit, but I did enter in responses without accents as acceptable answers because of how difficult it is for students to make accents on their devices.  I did a teaser (shorter, simpler) version of this assignment as a second slide on the previous activity.  It was meant for students who finished early, and it was great because they could tell without my looking whether their answer was acceptable or not.  The image below shows my view of the assignment with the acceptable answers I've entered for number one.  Photo from Unsplash.


Conclusion

I foresee Classkick being an essential tool in my arsenal going forward.  There are still some features I haven't explored, like allowing students to help each other and using manipulatives that you can drag and drop, so expect a follow-up post at some point in the future!

Do you use Classkick?  If so, what activities have you done with it?


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