Are you looking for another fun way to open up class or review material? Kahoot is the way to do it! You will need internet access and at least 1 device for every 4 students. Kahoot is especially easy for schools who are one to one or bring your own device allowing all students to be involved individually but it is still effective if you can rent a school computer lab!
Kahoot is most often used as an interactive and competitive online game offering multiple choice or “put it in the correct order” timed questions though there are options for survey type questions as well. There are thousands of pre-made kahoots you can use! Start by logging in to createkahoot.it. You can search by using general keywords or by just browsing through popular kahoots. Can’t find one you like? Make your own! Kahoot is well organized for new users but you can look for a step by step tutorial coming soon!
Once you have either created or chosen a Kahoot you’d like to play, choose “play kahoot”. The screen will then display a pin number for students to use to enter the game at kahoot.it. You have the option to kick students out if they enter a “bad nickname” before starting the game. When you have everyone in the game, begin the Kahoot!
You’ll see bright colors and hear intense music that your students will learn to know and love. Students will try to answer by choosing the correct answer as quickly as possible in order to earn the most points. After each question there is a 5 person leaderboard on the screen everyone can see while each individual student or competing group can see their placement on their own screens. When the Kahoot is complete, there is a podium with the top three students as well as an option for students to give feedback on whether they liked the Kahoot and/or learned from it.
Something Kahoot added this past year was “Ghost Mode”! You can play the same Kahoot (all the same questions) but you are playing against your previous entries. Throw in some retro arcade music and twice as many users answering and you have a great way to review the material one more time!
Use Kahoot to review with your students, conduct PD, or even as a pre/post assessment. With a competitive setup, editable content, and engaging screen design and music Kahoot is an easy and fun tech tool to implement!
Every teacher knows that the arrangement of the classroom contributes to the environment of the classroom. Different styles and arrangements serve different purposes. If you want things to be structured or you are testing, you pick rows. If you want to do projects and cooperative learning, grouping your seats or using tables is the way to go.
Lately there has been a lot of articles popping up about flexible seating in the classroom. The concept being that you have different types of seating arrangements in the room for students to choose from. You could have different types of chairs, tables, couches, bean bags, etc. The goal of this is to create different zones for students so they can find the most productive area for themselves. Edutopia has put out some great articles on the benefits of flexible seating and how it can be done. Check them out here:
Here is my classroom and I still consider it a work in progress.
You can see that I have a small section that are rows. I use this for testing and students that want to work individually on activities. Then I have partner desks in the center of the room and groups of 3 to 4 around the edge of the room.
Right now my students tend to sit in a section of the room based on progress. Students that are working on reading material and notes tend to sit in the rows. Students working on other parts of the content are grouped in the other sections of the room. This is not a perfect system and it is done partly as a classroom management tool. It breaks up certain groups of students that are having a hard time progressing through material because of the people around them. It also is nice for me when it comes to working with students because based on the zone they are sitting in, I already have an idea of what section of content they are working on. I also use the 4 person table at the back of the room as the place where I work with students on pull-out sessions.
When thinking about the self-paced classroom and room arrangement, it really comes down to giving students good work spaces that meet the needs of your content and allow for some freedom of movement based on student and teacher needs.
My classroom set up is very similar to Danielle’s room. The biggest difference between the coursework set up in our classrooms is that students have to constantly be quizzing in my class to demonstrate their knowledge. You can see I have two different sets of rows of individual desks. One of these is specifically designated as a testing area. When students move to this section of the room, it is a visible signal to me that they are attempting to progress through the content by testing and it also means I need to run over there and type in an access code for one of the quizzes.
I also have three pairs of desks and three tables that can seat up to six students. On some days I group them based on the lesson they are working on. For example, all of the students who are studying for a cumulative test would sit together and others who are on the first section of the next unit would sit together. This can be incredibly helpful for the students who can help each other out when they get stuck on a problem. It also provides a targeted small group I can work with for intervention or enrichment.
There are days where this just doesn’t work depending on the students and I need to rearrange them so they can stay focused. I just try to be as flexible as possible with moving students. That has been a big change this year I didn’t realize until writing this blog. While in past years moving a student during class may have seemed like a punishment, this year I hear myself saying, “Why don’t you sit here today?” and they just grab their stuff, move, and get back to work...at least 95% of the time that’s how it goes. I’m still teaching real live students just like everyone else so it’s not this easy ALL of the time but it has become part of classroom culture for the most part! :)
I think a large part of it is that I don’t typically have assigned seats, students have the option to work alone, in a pair, in a small group, or in a large group, and I brought in a couple of bean bags.
The key to arranging your room is to have options while keeping classroom management/behavior expectations very clear.
Still looking to improve...
Danielle: I am looking to create a ‘break zone’ in my room because I know if sometimes I need a brain break from my work, the students probably do too. I am looking to pick up some different types of chairs and tables so there can be even more flexibility in how it is set up. My struggle is class size and making sure that I have enough spaces in my room 26-34 students I have in my classes. This concept is leading me to think it is time to get rid of my teacher desk and find some new ways to store classroom materials. I am honestly not sure how things will change and evolve as I explore the self-paced environment. I am sure that my room next year will look different than it currently does. I promise to keep you posted on changes!
Becca: When Danielle told me about getting rid of her desk, the first thing I thought was that it would be the perfect way to add another flexible seating option to our classes. Something great about the desks we have is that the height can be changed. While I currently have a couple of bean bags for students to get comfortable closer to the ground, I have some student who like to stand. Some of them just use a clipboard and stand in the back of the classroom but it would be fantastic to move my desk to the standing height and place it either against a wall or in the back of the room for students who prefer to stand or use stools rather than the standard chair. I also love the brain break idea. While I expect my students to be working from bell to bell, I understand needing a break from a specific task. I am looking into setting up an area with some logic puzzles, geometric coloring pages, puzzles, legos, and maybe some play-doh. Obviously it would be expected that students don’t spend too much time at this station. It will require some self-regulation to know when they need the break. The expectation would be that students do not visit the brain break area more than once in a class period and that they spend no longer than 5 minutes at the station. There are so many fun hourglasses or timers out there now, I am sure I can find one or a couple to keep at the area for students to track their time!
To sum it up...
“Zones” are an easy way to get students up and moving throughout a class. Whether you have a 46 minute period, a 52 minute period, or a 96 minute period (we have a combination of the three!), students will need to get up and move in order to really stay engaged in any curriculum! When creating your zones, try to create as many options to fit your students’ needs as possible but you should anticipate needing to review class rules and expectations regularly.
We’ll keep you updated on what we are trying out! Let us know what works for you!
What is a learning management system and why should you use one?
A learning management system is a software application that a teacher or school can use to house and deliver all educational materials. A teacher can give assignments, tests, content, videos, messages, and receive analytics on all of those items to students in the course.
Many schools and teachers are turning to LMS systems to provide organization, consistency, and analytics for themselves and for the students in their school. The big decision teachers and schools have to make is what LMS system to choose.
Our school started our 1:1 program a little haphazardly because of our circumstances, so we did not begin with a specific LMS system. Most of us started with creating websites and using those to deliver content along with Google Drive. It worked but it wasn’t really consistent and had some limitations with free versions of websites. Then teachers began to experiment with different software systems that we could get for ourselves and not pay for it.
Most teachers I know that used this LMS, used for organizing class materials and as an easier way to have students turn in assignments. Our teachers liked that it somewhat resembled Facebook.
This program I actually used as my first website and communication tool for parents. I know that they have expanded their features since I have used it, but I honestly like it more for the parent communication. It was almost like a newsletter for me to let people know what was happening in class.
This was my favorite LMS to use on the free version. I was able to send announcements, collect assignments, give quizzes, have discussions, and receive analytics on the students. I also like to social media look it had which made it easier for students and allowed me to interact with other teachers and groups around the world.
This is popular college LMS system. I have used it a lot as a student in college and my district experimented with using as our LMS as a school. The issues most of us have had with it is that it is not really that user friendly in terms of navigation and in terms of creating and sharing on the teacher end. Students seemed to have a hard time using it as well.
This seems to be becoming more popular. I have not used this, but I like that it seamlessly works with the google suite. Most schools are moving to using a google suite which makes sense. The question I have with it is whether or not it has good analytics, and what kinds of test security it has.
This is the learning management system that we use at my school. I have to say that I really love it! It is very easy to create material in and allows the teacher a lot of options of how to put material together and organize it for your classes. Another great thing about it is the apps and programs that be put into the course. It has great analytics for data use on tests and student engagement. Another function that I really like is the communication abilities to message students in the class and have reminders.
Overall benefits of using a LMS.
Honestly in this post I am really just trying to encourage teachers to explore their options when it comes to LMS options. If you are going to a 1:1 setup in your school, you definitely need to consider using some type of LMS and encourage your school to look at one incorporating one for the entire building.