Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘educators engaging students’

“Fungagement” is Necessary in Our Classrooms!

This was shown at our workshop by the presenter, John Kuglin , I think it is so appropriate. What happens when you take the same old thing and make it fun? What happens when educators find another way to engage our students? And just because something is fun, it doesn’t mean it is not useful. Let’s “fungage” our students, let them enjoy learning. I’m not saying 24 hour party in your room,  I’m talking about educational “fun”.It’s a different generation, and no matter how much we debate this point, we have to meet them where and how they are.

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Yawn, Yawn, Go Away! Little Johnny Wants to be Engaged!

I sat with my small group today and listened to my students, and smiled. They had  finished sharing their writing prompt about an imagined device that would make their lives easier. I listened to stories about a teleporter , a robot, and a pen, that can do the unimaginable.  After they shared their stories, and asked each other questions, they began an animated conversation about how they could market their inventions through a partnership. I sat and listened to their imaginations go wild!

We have to engage our students,  understanding that there is a difference between engaging students and entertaining them. I am not an entertainer, I do not sing and dance.(Well, not all the time anyway) My job is to teach, but to teach in a way where my students can wrap their minds around a subject in a way they are used to. My students are bored easily, they spend a lot of time in front of  a television playing video games. Therefore,  every day I make it my mission to  find a way to engage them.

Teaching volume? I used the video  Volume Song to supplement the curriculum. Boy, does that song stick in your head! Learning about Leonardo’s Horse? I located a video that mirrored the selection in the anthology, “The Story of Leonardo’s Horse“.  I added an image of Mona Lisa to Collaborize Classroom, and asked my students to post why she is smiling. And to my delight, I found a video on WatchKnowLearn, “How Mona Lisa Got Her Smile“. We are studying Ecosystems, and I have two wonderful opportunities to make it real for them.  We are participating in a contest offered by the Philadelphia Zoo, and I have registered my class to join the Polar Bear webcast being offered on the Edmodo site.  And, of course, in order to provide access to my students, I post all of these wonderful items on Edmodo, so they can be accessed at home.

Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that all I do is put my feet up while my students watch videos.:)  Not at all, each video incorporates learning, this has to take place. For example, after watching  the video,  “How Mona Lisa…”, the students and I discussed  story elements and sequence. It’s not all fun and games.  At the time I was writing this post, I was also engaged by my PLN in a  #5thchat. We discussed using drama in the classroom. Another exciting way to engage your class as they learn.  Imagine how many more students would stay in school if they weren’t bored out of their mind?

I do not like being bored, (I think back on all the PD workshops I have attended), and I try to spare my students that fate. And again, I’m not suggesting that every minute of your day be comparable to a video game.  But we have to do something to make our kids interested in coming, and staying, in school!

“Virtually Voki”

Click the Play button.  Don’t you just love it!?

It’s an avatar that has so many uses in your classroom.  Voki for Education allows you and your students to ” create personalized speaking avatars and use them in your blog, profile, and email messages.”  What I love about Voki is that it is a tech tool that is so simple to use. I had so much fun customizing my avatars, I played with the hair, eyes, skin tone, accessories, and even makeup! Adding a voice is as easy as making a phone call, text-to-speech,  recording with a microphone, or uploading an audio file. They also give you a vast assortment of backgrounds,and you can even download your own. (I found this out from my students)

And believe me, you are not on your own. Voki for Education wants to make sure that you use Voki  in a productive manner. Their website  offers  a Teacher’s Corner, a Voki Community, and even a Lesson Plan Database to help get you started. I already used it for a lesson that I was asked to add to the database. I have used it on our class blog, used it to remind students about upcoming events, we created avatars and posted them on Edmodo to our Cali pen pals, and we used them for our African-American History projects.(See an example below) What a way to change a project that had become tedious for the students.  They worked on it at home and in school, and there’s not one student who did not participate! And of course, you can use it with any topic.

I know there is so much more I can do with Voki, the possibilities are virtually endless!

“Oprah Winfrey” Voki  history project

Getting Animated with GoAnimate4Schools!

I spent part of my Saturday playing around with this site. I discovered GoAnimate a while ago, but with so many things going on, I lost track of it. Basically, it is a site where students and teachers can create animations.  They not only have state of the art animation tools, but, they also have a Lesson  gallery where teachers can view  animations created by other teachers or students.  I like it because it is so easy to use, really.  There is a tutorial on the page to get you started. Each student can have their own account, which can be monitored. I haven’t used it with my students yet, but I am looking forward to it. If anyone has used it, and has any ideas they can share, I would appreciate it!

In order to get the hang of it,  I took one of the ideas from my posts, and made a short video. So cool!
GoAnimate4Schools.com: Give Students a Fresh Start! by Lisa Mims
http://goanimate4schools.com//api/animation/player
Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate4Schools. It’s free and fun!

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