This is my new MOST USED app!! It's a game changer in terms of keeping track of class participation.
Popsicle Sticks is my new jam. We've all used actual popsicle sticks to make sure we aren't calling on the same kid every time, and to increase student accountability. It is pretty amazing how much more a kid will do if they know there is a chance that their name will be on that popsicle stick you pull out of your coffee can.
The game changer is the app.
It does just what you would expect - you put your class lists in, save them and off you go. Press the button and it gives you a random name. (You can also set it so that you are more likely to call on students who have not been called on before during the same session.) .
But that's just what a coffee can full of sticks does too. Here's where it gets good. There are three other options and I am going to start with the coolest one just in case you stop reading.
Scored Discussion: You create a discussion, and each time you pick a kid (either randomly or if you click on their name) you can give them a score (from a two point or four point rubric that you pick in settings) The app then tallies up the score for each student. What I do is I keep a running discussion all week and give them a class participation score on Friday. This has been the real game changer in my room. I used to have a million slips of paper with names and checks and it got super confusing. This does it all for you and saves the data. It also will create random groups of any number or random lists of kids. I don't use random groups very often so I have not used this. But I can see how it would be helpful, instead of counting off by four and three quarters of the kids forget their number, to just generate random lists of four and screen cast it to your board. If you don't finish your activity or just want to use the groups again, you just save the list.
One of the neat things about this is that the students see that it is totally random and somehow that has changed the tone of our discussions. So for those instances when you don't have time for a round robin, but want to make sure everyone's voice is heard - this is an incredibly useful app.
Hint - If you don't haver multiple classes you don't have to buy the app - the free version will fit your needs, but if you have more than one class, I have a trick. If you put all of your kids in one class, you might just have to keep tapping till you get someone in your class. I have to say, though, as far as apps that I have bought for the classroom (and I have bought A LOT of apps) this is one of the ones that I use the most. It is well worth the $3.99.
If you want to see it in action let me know or just pop by 323!
As we gear up for the next part of the school year I wanted to formally introduce room 323 as the PS96 Lab Classroom. As model teacher I got to choose from a few ways to support the learning community and I chose to develop a lab classroom. This means that room 323 will be a place of collaboration, where we can meet, observe, try out new things and hone our skills on the old things.
I will be focusing on implementing new structures for teaching vocabulary, integrating technology into instruction, and of course, the big one, discussion.
I will be starting with using technology in the classroom - a serious love of mine. This week I will send out invites for days when I will be using Popplet (a mind mapping tool), Padlet (a note taking and virtual discussion tool) and Google Classroom for essay writing and teacher feedback. Mr. Pretto has offered to free up teachers who wish to visit.
I am also open to coming into your classroom; I can do a model lesson or observe to give feedback (this is teacher feedback, NOT admin feedback).
Please let me know if I can be of any help in other ways - Room 323 is open! It is a dynamic room, not free of mistakes, but we work hard and look forward to seeing you there!