So one of the more popular ways that “millennials” spend money these days is on something called Escape Rooms (I should know, I technically barely fall into that age group). For those that don’t know, you pay someone money to lock you into a room and they give you a clue that will help you escape. You get an hour (or so) to figure out all of the clues until you can escape.
I recently tried this in the classroom with paper, and it had mixed results. Then I found a way to do it on Google Forms and I am so excited that you guys get this bonus round!
The blog linked above describes how you can make your own “escape room” in google forms. Students can only complete the entire thing if they have each answer exactly correct. If they persevere, they should be able to “Crack the Code” as I have called it.
A Word of Caution
Remember that students must have the answer EXACTLY right! That means capitalization, punctuation, etc. That means, as the teacher and designer of the form, you MUST test it before sending it out to students, otherwise you will simply invite frustration. I liked to give hints when I put the “Try again!” message so that students could use that to figure out any clues that were a bit strange or I thought they might type in incorrectly.
Combatting Learned Helplessness
My purpose with this is to defeat the idea that one can just write down any answer before continuing. They actually have to figure it out in order to continue! Now, for some students, it will invite immediate frustration and giving up. However, if you make it optional, you can work on getting them hooked in. You could also start it with super easy questions that they would be foolish to give up on.
I just assigned it to my students via Google Classroom (yes, at 8am on a Sunday) and I already have one student’s parent messaging me on Remind saying that her daughter is halfway through it! Now, she isn’t a helpless learner, but at least I know I have at least one student trying it out! It will be extra credit for them and I made it HARD. After all, the prize is a “Free 100” on an assignment of their choice!
My First Attempts
I hope you found this as interesting as I did! Enjoy!
Bloomz is currently invite-only for parents. If you’d like Bloomz to help with your child’s classroom communications, and connect with other parents at school, please tell your teacher about us.
Join your child’s teacher and other classroom parents in a closed environment. Your child information’s security is paramount to us, so their name and image are protected and teachers control parents’ access and verification.
Easily track and manage your child’s activities, classroom events, field trips and more. Bloomz online scheduling syncs your busy day with your child’s school day.
Save time by keeping all parent communication in one place.
Bloomz empowers teachers and administrators by giving them a single app for communication, coordination and community building. In today’s digital world, apps engage users and keep them coming back. Best of all, Bloomz is safe and works on any internet-enabled device.
How it Works
Bloomz for Schools features all the great classroom-level tools teachers and parents love, plus administrators can:
See feeds in every class in your school
Connect with parents, teachers and staff individually, in groups or school-wide
Coordinate events, signing teachers and parents up for volunteer help
Share school resources and multimedia
Getting started is easy.
Schedule a call with our team
Watch this short demo to familiarize yourself with Bloomz
After our call, we’ll set up your school and administrator account
Done! You can now get your community and communication started
You know how kids today are obsessed with video games like World of Warcraft and Fortnite? Why not tap into that obsession and get the kids motivated to be in your class? Now, this is not just playing games in class but actually gamifying the classroom experience.
What is it?
Much like Classdojo, this is a classroom management tool to motivate the students to do better. It incorporates getting points for good behavior (XP) and losing points for bad behavior (HP), as well as bonus currency for extra good things! It also allows the students to use “Powers” to get privileges in class such as handing in an assignment a day late or eating a snack in class.
Unlike Classdojo (aside from being more appealing to older students), this is also a very cooperative program. Students are encouraged to protect and heal each other because everyone not “falling in battle” is good for the team. If someone does “fall,” the entire team could domino into falling.
Free vs. Premium
You can use this program completely free and can even try the premium edition for a few months to give it a shot. If you do choose to upgrade, you can also use it for formative assessment (Boss Battles), choosing random students and team (The Wheel of Destiny), timers, and entire unit plans (Quests).
Even the free program is completely compatible with Google Classroom and students can use those accounts to create their account. If students are using this program in more than one class, they can connect them and “multi-class” in order to get a fair amount of points.
“Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We’ve also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.”
You’re joining a global classroom
“Millions of students from all over the world, each with their own unique story, learn at their own pace on Khan Academy every single day. Our resources are being translated into more than 36 languages in addition to the Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese versions of our site.”
Here’s an example of my page on Khan Academy when I log in. You can login as a teacher, parent or learner.
Once you are logged in you can choose the subject area and grade level you are focusing on and assign assignments by clicking on your name at the top right hand corner of the screen.
Here is an example of the subjects and areas of focus for Khan Academy. Once you’ve created your class, you can assign various lessons to students depending on their area of academic focus.
Khan Academy can also be utilized in teaching in the classroom as there are videos and other resources under the Resources section. Please see above picture.
Our next blog is about ClassDojo. Please feel free to visit the site and ask any questions you may have as I have used this with class(es) in the past. Thank you for your support
ClassDojo allows teachers, parents, and students the power to create incredible classrooms!
It’s not about creating an “ideal” classroom, a one-size fits-all model that everyone must fit, because there’s no such thing. Instead we believe that teachers, parents, and students should have the power to create a classroom that is best for them.
What is ClassDojo?
ClassDojo is a communication app for the classroom. It connects teachers, parents, and students who use it to share photos, videos, and messages through the school day. They use ClassDojo to work together as a team, share in the classroom experience, and bring big ideas to life in their classrooms and homes.
Actively used in 90% of K-8 schools in the US, and in over 180 countries
1 in 3 US kids aged 5-14 have learned about Growth Mindset and Empathy with ClassDojo, see the videos here
Translated and used in over 35 languages
20% of team has a teaching background
Series B funding in 2015
Breathe Deeply: Mindfulness coming to a school near you
First of all, my apologies. This month will be something targetted towards ELA, Social Studies, and Science. Though I’m sure that Math teachers may need a resource like this occasionally too (maybe for Acceleration?). To that end, this week is focused on NewsELA.
What is it?
A news site with high-interest articles that are available to print in multiple Lexile levels so that you can differentiate to the individual needs of your students. The pictures are great, the topics varied, and you can organize the articles you have access to by Text Sets under your own account, so you can save them for year after year. They also have many of their articles available in Spanish at varying Lexile levels as well! With each article is also a short quiz and open-ended response if you choose to use it and you can also add your own!
Articles in English and Spanish at varying Lexile levels.
Can organize articles into Text Sets that you can save for later.
They have entire units of articles available by country, historical event, etc.
Can get students to sign up for their own accounts to access the articles online.
If you sign up for Pro ($$), you will have even more access to assigning articles and grades to students on the platform.
When you click on an article you like…
If you click on “Open Activities,” you can see a writing and multiple choice assignment…
And that is basically it! If you are looking to differentiate your materials for more individual student needs, this is the place to find it! It is pretty user-friendly, just experiment with it! So go to newsela.com and play around with it!
If you need any help, feel free to email Tammy on this one, as she has the most experience with this website!
Welcome to our first blog post of the year! Heather and I plan to make this a monthly thing, so stay tuned for more each month. Our goal is to get it out by the 15th of the month, but with the way teaching goes, you can probably guess what happened this month! We endeavor to be better! In any case, let’s get started…
Our first platform we will be discussing is the Remind app.
This app is great for:
Reminding parents of special events in your school
Reminding students of homework, projects, or other timely assignments
Keeping kids or adults on track for a club or other after school activity
A safe way to communicate with kids and parents after school hours (it is like texting them without having to give out your phone number)
The drawbacks of the app are:
Some students may try to message you with nonsense or inappropriate messages. Please make sure you set strict rules about it.
Some districts have a policy in place in terms of the Remind use. I would make sure you get permission from parents before hooking kids up to this (and the app requires a parent email to get started).
It can be difficult to get kids and parents to initially sign up for the app. Calling them directly, however, you can get their phone numbers or emails to sign them up immediately if you have the website or app open.
Some of the things it can do:
How it can be accessed:
It can be accessed by downloading the app onto your phone through iTunes or Play Store (Android) or by using the website at Remind.com. The app can look like this when used:
You are limited by characters, so you need to keep your messages short and sweet. Get tips from your kids in how text properly! ;P As you can see, people can also react to your announcements to acknowledge they have seen them, but you can also look at individual students/parents and see if they received the message or not. If the parents download the app, they are much more likely to see the messages as they will get the notification to their phone. If they are using email, they will only receive a notification if they have their email linked to their phone.
If you use the messaging feature, you are able to use it less like announcements and more like a texting conversation between you and the person you are reminding. You are not limited by characters in that mode. This is obviously a much more personal mode that one should use professionally and with caution.
And that’s Remind! If you have any other questions or concerns about it, see Tammy, as she has had the most experience with this particular app! Thanks for reading!