Our school year is growing to a close – our last day will be June 15th.
Along with beginning to share the results of anonymous student surveys about my classes, it’s time for me to begin to share various other end-of-year reflections.
Today, I’ll share the web tools I found most useful over the past ten months (not in any order of priority):
I can’t say enough positive things about Quill. It’s an amazing adaptive learning site that my ELL students can use for grammar practice. Even though I haven’t really begun using their brand-new Reading For Evidence tool, I’m excited about trying it out next year.
I pretty much always end a class with a game, and Quizizz is my favorite online gaming platform. It has so many other teacher-created games, so many different features, and it’s easy to access study analytics. I’ve also begun to have students create their own that we can play, especially in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes (students make presentations, and then have to make games the whole class plays immediately following them). If I can’t find a specific game already made there, I’ll go to Kahoot, but it’s clearly my second choice. Just to mix it up, I’ll sometimes throw in a Blooket version.
EdPuzzle has so many excellent videos available on just about any topic, and I show a fair number of short ones in all my classes. I have noticed however, that it’s not uncommon to find errors in the questions, so try to always check them out before showing them in class. I also wish they offered the ability to play them at slower speeds, but I’ve been asking for that for awhile and they still haven’t added it. In an ideal world, EdPuzzle would also offer the option of “gamifying” a clip, like FluentKey (see below). I will sometimes show a BrainPOP video that’s already on the platform prior to students watching it on their own, and that seems to work well. Speaking of BrianPop….
Though Brainpop ELL has never been a big hit with my high school students, having students in my Social Studies classes watch them during the first seven minutes of class has been an excellent warm-up activity. They have to watch the video, write three things they learn in their notebook, take the online quiz, and do one other online activity connected to it. We then will often play a Quizizz game about it at the end of class. Their Spanish-language versions are great for ELLs to watch first, prior to viewing the English one and taking the test in English.
If I ever need to show a video that I can’t already find on EdPuzzle, or is not adequately covered on Brainpop, I will upload it to FluentKey and turn it into a game. I usually only have to do that for my IB Theory of Knowledge classes.
And, of course, there are the mainstays of Google Classroom (it’s so nice that they added the ability to schedule assignments in multiple classes at the same time!) Google Jamboard, and Google Slides.
As far as next year goes, in addition to the Quill “Reading For Evidence” feature that I mentioned earlier, I definitely plan on using the Adobe Express for Education (formerly Adobe Spark). You can’t find an easier tool where students can create audio slideshows. I had wanted to use it a lot this year, but our district’s IT department kept blocking it. With luck, it will be fixed by the time the next school year rolls around.
What were your favorites, and what should be on my list for next year?
ADDENDUM: Oops, I forgot to include EPIC!. It’s an excellent site for Voluntary Free Reading , plus I’m easily able to find texts for whole class instruction. Students seem to like it a lot more than RazKids because of the wider choice.