Chartify: Create Great Charts in Minutes

WHO: Teachers that are looking for an easy-to-use program to make data visually interesting in the classroom.

HOW: Head over to https://chartify.io/, no need to create an account. Click the “Try It for Free” button.  Select which type of chart you want to use first, there are a variety of options. Give the chart a title/subtitle and input the data.  The graphics will adjust accordingly as you enter the numbers. You can change the colors by using the selections on the left. The toolbar across the top allows the use to adjust a few settings such as, light/dark mode, number mode (number or %), aspect ratio, display subtitle, and add/remove data blocks.  It seems that each chart type allows for a different amount of data selections, so be sure to check out which one will work for you. When finished, simply click the “Generate Chart” button in the top right corner and then share a unique link, share to social media, or download the image file.

WHEN: Chartify could be used by the teacher in class to demonstrate data. Students could use it for projects of all sorts. As no account is required to create, any grade level could easily use this tool. As we move forward in this day of data analysis and instant gratification, charts and infographics allow teachers to show and explain information in an instant.

 

Currently Chartify is free but ad-supported.  The pricing page states:

Chartify is 100% FREE.

We will explore how to monetise this service at a later stage.

Enjoy ; )”

Five Tools for Classroom Review in 2018!

As the calendar year winds down, many classrooms are switching from covering new material to reviewing past content. As teachers are gearing up for semester/midterm exams, they may look for ways to create engaging classroom review.  Here are a few tools (new and old) that could prove useful.

GimkitIn the past few years, formative assessment has boomed in the arena of engaging classroom tools. Gimkit takes the lead by adding strategy to the mix.  Teachers can make their own questions/answers or import from Quizlet.  Students then receive repetition through the activity while using power-ups to increase their score.

Play4A: Teachers can use Play4A to create arcade-style games using material from the classroom.  Students will have the choice between a wide variety of game styles to can repetition of questions while trying to complete the game.

Classtools Arcade Game: Much like the above, the Arcade Game Generator by Classtools allows teachers to use questions and answers from class to create classic arcade games like Pac-Man. Teachers can make games rather quickly but adding questions can prove to be tedious.

Factile: There are many ways to create “Jeopardy”-style game shows for the classroom now.  Factile is another one of these.  The downside to factile is that many of the great features are only for paid users, such as “buzzer mode”.

Pear Deck: Are you a teacher that frequently uses slideshow presentations in the classroom?  Pear Deck allows teachers to add interactive questions into their Google Slides presentations, engaging students in the lecture while also capturing important checks for understanding.  This could be useful for everyday lessons as well as classroom review. Students simply open a web browser on any device, head over to joinpd.com and type in the unique code given for that session. This allows students to follow along during the presentation while also answering questions that have been adding beforehand or asked on the fly by the teacher.

 

These are just a few great options for review tools in the classroom.  Kahoot and Quizizz are always tools that grab student attention and spark their competitive nature.

PLAY4A: Convert Multiple Choice Questions Into Interactive Games

WHO: Teachers interested in an engaging platform for classroom content review.

HOW: Head over to https://play4a.com/ and select “Create A Quiz”.  You will be prompted to create as a guest or to create an account.  Add multiple choice questions and answers then share when you are finished.  You will be given a code to share with your class.  Instruct your students to head over to the same website, but they should select “Play A Game”. Next students will enter the code you have provided and choose to play as a guest or to create an account. Upon entering, students will have the opportunity to play 15 different games using the questions that you have entered.

WHEN: As it currently stands, this website does not record any results from the games being played. Due to this, I would not recommend this option for formative assessment, but rather an option to reinforce fact-based content.  As the only question type is multiple-choice, teachers are limited to low-level questions. Students will find the games to have a wide variety and engaging.

Book Creator: Creation Tool for All

WHO: Teachers looking for tools to let students demonstrate their knowledge.

HOW: It is a rare occasion that I come across a tool that I believe is fully capable of being used at all grade levels and across all content areas.  While I have known of Book Creator for quite a while, it wasn’t until recently (August 2017) that it became available for all through use in the Google Chrome web browser. The best part to me is how easy and intuitive it is to create with.  While it may not have sophisticated tools like an Adobe program, it has everything students need to get creative and demonstrate their knowledge through a variety of means.

Head over to app.bookcreator.com, sign up with your google account on the “teacher sign-in” tab. Complete a short questionnaire about your grades and subject areas, then get rolling! Below you will find an awesome presentation by Jon Smith (@theipodteacher) that will have you up and going in under five minutes.

WHEN: The potential of this tool revolves around projects and journals.  The ability to record voice and video allows students multiple approaches to demonstrate their knowledge and skill sets. This could be used in Health/P.E. class to journal, music class to write musical notations while recording sound/video, as well as all the other content areas.

 

JON SMITH PRESENTS BOOK CREATOR AT #OETC18:

Teach Like a Pirate: A Book for All Teachers

WHO: New teachers, teachers in the later stages of their career, and those feeling the grind.

HOW: Discussing books is not something I normally do on this blog, but this book is something special.  I have never been one for reading, but after picking up a copy of “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess, I found a spark to innovate again and developed a passion for reading books by teachers.  I would recommend this book to new teachers to learn ways to develop amazing lessons.  Teachers that may be feeling the grind over their career will walk away from the book refreshed and remember why they got into the passion to start.  The main focus of the book is developing “hooks” to grab students attention and engage them in the lesson.  The biggest take away for me is the adage: “Do students run TO your classroom, or AWAY from it”?

WHEN: This book makes a great gift for any teacher.  It is small enough to read in a weekend but it could also make for a great book-study program for an entire school.

Order a copy online!

MAGIC Potion EDU Podcast – A Sprinkle and a Dash Can Enhance Your Class!

WHO: Teachers looks for a way to learn on the go or an opportunity to multitask!

HOW: The MAGIC Potion EDU Podcast is a side project of mine.  This podcast will focus on techniques, ideas, and concepts to enhance your classroom and help build a positive culture in your school.  It can be accessed by most popular podcast channels (Anchor.fm, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc..) or by simply visiting the homepage at www.magicpotionedu.com.

WHEN: Podcasts are great for professional development during your planning period, the commute to/from work, or even while grocery shopping!  One of my preferred times is while I am mowing the lawn and doing other chores around the house.

Gimkit – Classroom Review with a Strategic Twist

WHO: Teachers looking for an engaging review activity or formative assessment opportunity.

HOW: Sign up for an account at https://www.gimkit.com/.  Users can create their own “kits” or question sets, choose from sets that others have created.  Question sets can also be exported from Quizlet to create sets.  When you are ready to play as a class, there are a wide variety of gameplay options to choose from. While answering questions, students are awarded “cash” or lose it depending on correct/incorrect responses.  As they build up a cash value, students can utilize power-ups to earn/lose more cash on each question or other bonus items.

When setting up a game, there are quite a few options to choose from.  Under the Game Goal category, users can select Time (time limit), Target (each player hits a target score), Race (first one to the target amount wins), or All-In (all students combine to a total score goal).  Teachers can also give a starting cash amount, which can help them unlock bonuses faster.  Other gameplay options include allowing students to see correct answers following incorrect responses, settings a handicap limit, background music, clapping, and displaying a Leaderboard during the game.

After completing a game, teachers have the option to look at statistics for individual and the class as a whole.

WHEN: Gimkit is a great option for formative assessment and classroom review.  Question sets can also be assigned for homework. As we finish up the school year, this is an option to do something different in your review sessions with students.

At first, I thought Gimkit would just be another Kahoot! or Quizizz.  After trying one out, I found myself fully engaged on a set of questions regarding surface area and volume (mind you my background is social studies).  Depending on what your students prefer, any of these three options are great.  As Gimkit is using question sets, allowing a timed game will allow students to benefit from question repetition that they would typically get from flash cards.

Formative Assessment Firehose Webinar – TONIGHT!

WHO: Teachers that are looking for formative assessment tools or activities that could be used for classroom review.

HOW: Visit here and register for the webinar.  This event is free for anyone interested in participating. It is hosted by the National Catholic Educational Association.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 2, 2018, at 7 PM EDT.

 

WEBINAR DESCRIPTION:

Participants will gain exposure to a wide variety of online Formative Assessment Tools. Short demonstrations will show viewers the teacher-side and student-side of each goal as well as discussing the features and benefits of each in the classroom. Tools to be explored are Google Forms, Kahoot, Quizizz, Plickers, Go Soap Box, Formative and More! Presented by Keven Rinaman, Director of Technolgy at Calvert Catholic Schools in Tiffin, OH.

Fuze Zubi Flyer – Hackable Flying Disc – Product Review

WHO: Teachers and schools interested in an engaging tool to start building computer science skills.

HOW: The Fuze Zubi Flyer can be used in a variety of stages as students progress through their understanding and interest.  Out of the box, the Fuze Zubi Flyer has twelve games built-in.  Students will be engaged using the diffraction glasses to see designs on the LEDs while they play the variety of games. Students are then able to connect the Fuze Zubi Flyer to the computer via USB cable and interact with ScratchX.  The games can be edited, giving students an introduction to text-based coding, while customizing to their liking. The board is Arduino-based, so it can also be programmed using that interface.

WHEN: The Fuze Zubi Flyer is geared towards students 8 years old and above.  It would be great to use in a STEM class or club or also a great addition to a MakerSpace.

Here is a video showing the Fuze Zubi Flyer in action! link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m70YVV0Q1MA

FieldTripZoom Zone Free Trial Event

WHO: Teachers looking to extend their classroom beyond their four walls and go on digital field trips.  This free trip involves learning about Climate Change through the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

HOW:  Sign up for an account and log in when the event goes live.  This event is April 10, 2018, at 10:10 am EST and 1:10 pm EST

SIGN UP HERE

WHEN: Field Trip Zoom is great for a wide variety of virtual field trips and each school year they offer a couple free field trips.

Description of the upcoming free virtual field trip:

Under the Weather
Think that “climate change” just means turning up the air conditioning? Think again—climatologists agree that the future might make you sweat…or worse. Join our Museum Educators in this investigation of how an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events may affect many public health concerns: drought, urban heat islands, floods, air pollutants, infectious diseases, and nutrition, to name a few. You’ll be recruited by our Virtual Triage Team to view several short video interviews with victims of our changing climate, and then asked to help sleuth out the maladies that have been worsened by local conditions. What can be done to help patients who are truly “under the weather”?
April 10th  10:10am | 1:10pm EST
Grades: 6th – 12th