Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Quizalize Introduces New Differentiation Tools

Quizalize is an excellent platform through which you can create and distribute online quiz games. Your students can play the games as a group in your classroom much like Socrative or Kahoot. You can also have your students play the games at home. In fact, Quizalize offered the "play at home" option long before Kahoot did.

Earlier this year Quizalize added some features that gave you insight into how your students are doing on the games in realtime and after the game is over. Today, Quizalize introduced a new feature that builds upon those insights.

Quizalize now lets you give assignments and practice activities to students based upon how they performed during a quiz game. For example, you can specify that any student who answers less than 75% of the questions correctly has to watch a video or read a review sheet. This new differentiation feature isn't limited to just one score trigger. You can specify that students scoring 50-60% receive one type of review activity and students scoring 60-75% receive a different review activity.
Applications for Education
I think this new differentiation feature pushes Quizalize to the top of the heap in the category of quiz game platforms. Your students still get the fun of the review game and you get the benefit of the insights and the option to immediately provide your students with the kind of review materials that they need.

Microsoft Adds New OneNote and Teams Features for Teachers and Students

This week Microsoft announced a handful of new OneNote and Teams features. These new features were all developed for the purpose of improving collaboration and transparency.

Rubrics in Teams 
Back in February Microsoft acquired Chalkup. One of Chalkup's primary services was to provide a platform for creating, sharing, using rubrics to grade assignments online. Chalkup's capabilities are now found in Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams now lets use rubrics to grade assignments. Students can see the rubrics used for grading an assignment before and after completing an assignment. Read more about rubrics in Teams right here.

OneNote Class Notebook Page Locking
Page locking in OneNote Class Notebooks will let you lock an individual page within a notebook. You can also lock a page as read-only after giving a student feedback on a page. As usual, the location of these setting options varies between versions of OneNote Class Notebooks. You can find the directions for each supported version here.

Team Join Codes
In an effort to make it easier to have people join a team you can now share a join code. A similar feature is available in Google Classroom. That feature is quite popular and I think the Microsoft Teams join code feature will be popular too.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

PBS Kids Summer Adventure Math Lessons

Summer is here (in the Northern Hemisphere) but that doesn't mean that the learning has to stop. PBS Learning Media recently published set of resources designed to help you help the learning going throughout the summer.

PBS Kids Summer Adventure is a set of eight online and interactive activities designed to help kids ages 4-8 acquire and practice new math skills. Each activity should take roughly an hour to complete. All activities are aligned to national math standards as listed here.

PBS Kids Summer Adventure activities include online activities and hands-on physical activities. For example, the Sid the Science Kid Outdoor Adventure includes video segments for students to watch to learn about measurement as well as plans for taking kids outside to measure plants. The Wild Kratts Outdoor Adventure has students watch a couple of videos about animal habitats before making wildlife journals of their own.

If you're looking for more outdoor learning activities, take a look at my on-demand webinar titled 5 Ways to Blend Technology Into Outdoor Lessons

Theme Poem Lesson Plans and Interactive Module

Read Write Think is one of my all-time favorite resources for free language arts lesson plans and interactive activities. I've written about and published videos about many of RWT's interactive tools over the years. But somehow the Theme Poems interactive has escaped my attention until now.

RWT's Theme Poems interactive provides students with 32 pictures to use as the basis for writing short poems. To write a poem students launch the interactive then choose a theme. Within each of the five themes students will find related images. Once they choose an image students are prompted to write the words that come to mind as they look at the image. Students then create poems from those words. The finished product can be saved as a PDF and or emailed to a teacher from the RWT site.

Applications for Education
As mentioned above, every RWT interactive has related lesson plans. Visit the RWT Theme Poems interactive page to find a handful of lesson plans appropriate for use in K-5.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Five Things You and Your Students Can Make With Canva

During the weekend I received an email from a reader who was looking for advice on host to make a logo or graphic for her class and to use on social media. My recommendation was to try using Canva. I'm never going to be mistaken as a graphic design artist and even I can make a decent graphic on Canva. I've been using it for years in the web browser on my laptop and iPad. Recently, I started using Canva's Android app too.

Five Things You and Your Students can Make With Canva
  1. Logos and icons. Canva has a huge gallery of free templates for making logos and icons to use online and in print. Have a classroom mascot? Make a logo that includes that mascot and post it on your classroom website to add a little customization and familiarity to your site. Or add it to your header in your Google Classroom.
  2. Infographics. Having them represent data in a clear infographic can be a good way to make students analyze that data in order to best present it to others. Take a look through the infographic templates in Canva and you'll see that infographics are more than just pie charts and bar graphs.
  3. Slides. Use the slide design tools in Canva to break out of the rut of standard templates found in PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides.
  4. Greeting cards. Have your students use the card templates to design greeting cards. After designing the cards your students can print them and write in them. Watch this video to learn how make greeting cards in Canva.
  5. Simple webpages. Many of Canva's templates, particularly the presentation templates, can be published online as simple stand-alone webpages. Click here to watch my tutorial on how to do that. 

Can I use Canva with students under 13?
Yes, you can. I reached out directly to Canva's CEO with the question of use by students under age 13. You can read his response right here.

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