Plickers

First thing: What are Plickers?!?!?!

A Plicker is a student specific QR Code that is used to answer multiple choices questions. The teacher controls the question being asked with the app on his/her smart phone, and then scans across the room with the phone to collect student answers.

Plickers.com has pre-made QR Codes that can be printed for free from their website. They come in different sized packages with a minimum of 40 unique cards. Just print out each card, and assign each of your students a number.

From the website you can upload questions and create your classes. To gather students responses though, you do have to download the app onto your smartphone or tablet. For students to answer they have to turn their QR Code a different direction with the answer choice they want facing up.

 

The “1” on each of the corners means that this is the QR Code for whomever is student #1 in your class, probably Austin Adams. Since the “B” is at the top of the QR Code, Austin is indicating that he thinks the answer to the question is “B”. All you have to do now is have the app open on your phone and scan it across the classroom and collect your answers! Answers are saved online and you can look at the reports anytime.

 

Go to www.plickers.com to create your classes and download your QR Codes

What I like:

  • You can create multiple different classes and assign each student their own Plicker number to gather data
  • You can upload your own questions and move between which question that you are displaying from the app
  • As you are scanning the class, student names will pop up and change to green if they got it right or red if they got the question wrong
  • All responses are saved online and reports can be generated to look at later
  • When you print out the QR Codes they come two to a page to save on paper (because we all know how quickly schools run out of paper)

How I use it:

In my ideal classroom, I would introduce Plickers on day 1. I would have printed out each code and have it glued to a folder for each student. I would have a few “Getting to Know You” questions made up to demonstrate how to use Plickers. After about a week or so of using Plickers to answer random questions, I would take the folders and fill them with sample questions from whatever standardized test you guys use (for me, it’s the STAAR Test). Each day I would have students show their work and practice strategies in their folders, but instead of having to individually grade each folder I would use Plickers to gather responses as an Exit Ticket.

My Kids Bank

This year I wanted to try something new with my students. Over the summer I was part of a book chat and we were reading Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire by Rafe Esquith. One of the things that he wrote about was teaching students about financial literacy, and I got inspired since it’s also part of the 8th grade curriculum. Like so many others before me I decided that I was going to go above and beyond and teach my students about rent, bills, income, and budgeting. 


My Plan:

  1. Have students earn income by turning in assignments and being on time to class
  2. Charge students rent for their desks
  3. Fine students for eating, swearing, littering and writing on desks
  4. Have a class store where I provide chips, drinks and other things for students to spend money on
  5. I would print money to pay my students with, which means that I have to buy paper and ink, which means that I would have to spend money to make fake money, and expect students to keep up with it all and realizing this made me want to quit teaching and school hadn’t even started yet.

Obviously if I was going to implement my plan I wasn’t going to spend all my money on colored paper. I decided to search online to see if there was an online banking solution, and to my relief there is!

What I like:

  • You can have individual accounts for your students
  • You, as the banker, can make deposits and withdrawals from each account
  • There is a setting for earning interest
  • You can edit multiple accounts at one time
  • You can print bank statements for each account

Teachers Pay Teachers

As an Aggie, I’ve had it drilled into my head that you do not “lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do”, but as a teacher, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that we’re just elaborating, collaborating and borrowing.

“Ms. Jones made this activity, but it doesn’t cover all that I want it to, let me make it a little better!”

“Hey Ms. Smith, this resource book costs $10, and has some really good stuff in it, do you want to split the cost and we can share it?”

“Oh wow! This resource book is really good, but you paid how much for it?!?!?! Oh can I borrow it for a few minutes to make some copies? I only want this page, not the whole book.”

Let’s face it, we’ve all done it, so there is absolutely no reason to judge a fellow teacher for doing it!

In comes Teachers Pay Teachers

I’ve been wanting to make a post about this site for the longest time, but I have had no real experience with the site, UNTIL NOW!

Think of a huge flea market, where there are teachers from all around the world displaying activities and lesson plans that they have come up with. They have books that they have written, there are foldables as far as the eye can see, projects, rubrics, interactive journals galore! The best part, is that you have access to this market, and you can get there without even having to put on reals pants while you sit on the couch this Saturday stressing about what you’re going to teach Monday morning (because again, we’ve all been there).

What I Like:

  • can search assignments by subject, grade, and price
  • THERE’S FREE STUFF
  • once you download something it saves it so you don’t have to keep an extra copy from year to year
  • they update you if a product you bought changes
  • free to join
  • free* to sell (*they do collect a fee, or you can make a professional account with a yearly fee)
  • if you find a teacher who has amazing stuff you can follow them and get to their stuff faster

What I DON’T Like

  • My first sale was for a $2.00 foldable, I only got $0.90 of that

I have a few things for sale if you want to check them out, or view my freebies!

Interactive Math Glossary

So I went to a PD last week and it was for online Math resources for 8th grade. Well, the website that I want to share with you guys works for any subject or grade level, so long as you’re in Texas, that is.

Okay so right now, open up a new tab and go to www.texasgateway.org

  1. Click the blue Sign Up button on the top right
  2. Enter your Name, district info, and email
  3. I think you might have to go to your email and confirm the address, and then you’re good!

Once you’ve created your account, click on search at the top. On the left side there’s some boxes that you can check to narrow down your search to grade level and subject area. Select Math, and as long as you teach K-8, then what I want you to find will work for you!

You are going to be looking for the Interactive Math Glossary. Click the link, and on the right there’s a green plus sign that says “Add to list” do that and add it to your favorites. When you click on “Dashboard” at the top right later, it’ll be there waiting for you. You are going to have to click on the blue “Interactive Math Glossary” link that will open the glossary in a new tab. But once you’re there feel free to search around and click the list of words on the left.

 I love, love, love the interactive glossary, because it has a definition, key characteristics, an example and a non-example. Sometimes there are even some quick videos put in there to help explain things (hence the interactive).

Have some fun with it, play around, and let your students know about it!

Kahoot

I first learned about Kahoot from my least favorite professor in college, so I was very skeptical about it at first. After getting to play with it, it is by far my favorite classroom technology to use (and the kids love it too).

What is Kahoot?

Kahoot is an online quiz that you can make, or borrow from other users. Students can either download the app, or go to Kahoot.it and enter the game pin. They then pic a user name (if it’s inappropriate you can remove them from the quiz).

How to play

Each question has a time limit and students answer by picking the colored tile that corresponds to their answer choice. Whoever answers first correctly wins the most points. The game keeps track of everything and you can even save the results at the end of the quiz. I like this because it’s a competition so it motivates my students to get involved. Just a little side note, to increase competition and further motivate students it’s also a good idea to bring small treats for your winners. Secret teacher rule #1 always have a bag of fun size candy hidden somewhere in your room for occasions such as this.

Creating an account

To access the site as a teacher, you need to go to getkahoot.com. Making an account is easy, all you need is an email address. I always use my personal email account, mostly because I made all these things when I was still in college, but also because if I ever move districts, or get married then my school email changes and then I lose all the stuff I had stored on that account. From there, you can either search for quizzes made by other users, or make your own.



Making your own

After you sign in, it redirects you to your profile page. Now I’ve only messed with making quizzes, I have no idea about the discussions or surveys. That might be a later blog post when I’ve had time to investigate, or you guys could investigate and tell me how it works in the comments. If you’re ever searching through Kahoot and decide that you have to make one right then and there, at the very top left there is a purple button that says New Kahoot which will take you into making your own quiz.

Once you have your idea, it’s time to create! You have to have a quiz title, a description (use lots of #), maybe include some pictures and then make some questions. I always recommend adding your own pictures, so that way there’s no extra distractions, or to add a diagram that goes with the question.

Searching for other user quizzes

At the very top of the page in the gray bar there’s something that says Public Kahoots. Click on it and it takes you to any Kahoot that has been made that isn’t marked private. There’s also a handy search bar so you don’t have to scroll all through the 10.3 million some odd quizzes on your own. JUST MAKE SURE YOU FAVORITE  THE ONES YOU WANT TO USE so you can find it later (in my favorites).

Hope I made that easy enough for everyone to follow. If not, Kahoot also has great tutorial videos to watch. Thanks for reading and happy teaching!