Well… take that blogosphere!
I remember seeing a statistic a while back about how 95% of bloggers quit. And yes… I have started two other blogs in my past that died a quiet death but not this one baby!
I kicked this blog off in April of 2015 as I was thinking about changing my role as a classroom teacher into something different. Since that first blog I have had many changes and experiences and tried to document some of them along the way.
Now in my blogging journey did I often feel like this cartoon below?
Although writer's block is often a struggle, probably the biggest hurdle of them all is the same one which all educators find at every turn - NOT ENOUGH TIME. But for now... I am liking my writing pace and looking forward to the summer for time read and write. For those of you who taken the time to read any of these posts... I truly thank you!
I used to teach an intro to technology course for freshmen and part of the class was trying to get students to learn about what the internet is. Now although we all think we "know" what the internet is, it is difficult to really define since its both a physical and a conceptual thing. You may be thinking to yourself, "well I KNOW what the Internet is"... if so can correctly answer this question:
"what is the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web"?
Because... most people can not. Its not as easy as you think.
If you can't here is a quick read about the difference, which has my favorite analogy, "the Net is the restaurant, and the Web is the most popular dish on the menu"
And for a fantastic look back for both you and your students, check out this incredible, and yes REAL, video from the 90's teaching kids about the Internet. My favorite line I think is: "it looks just like in our history books, just more real"
As I was watching this, that quote though got me thinking as I am writing this blog post:
Here we are almost 20 years later; are we farther than we thought we would be with making classroom experiences more real?
for me... I don't really know
Its kind of YES and NO
NO) I grew up watching the Jetsons with the mindset that one day our world would have flying cars and would be radically different. So why are we still having kids sitting in rows, reading textbooks and assigning worksheets? The Internet of the 90's talked about what massive shifts and changes but has it changed really that besides better graphics and more folks sharing on social media?
YES) Just think about how slow human progress has been over the past several thousand years, and here we are now with my daughter (as you can see below) having a completely immersive learning experience using Virtual Reality (btw, that is Brian Briggs and his HTC Vive. Got questions? reach out to him about this incredible tool). These tools are changing the way we learn and interact and we are only the cusp more innovation. People also are connecting with others outside their normal circles more than ever before and education is shifting from having schools be places where knowledge is GIVEN to where teachers and the facilities are there to guide children in their learning.
And now back to what is the Internet...
Check out this modern clip from Code.org which is a great intro for anyone to understand this most revolutionary invention which changed the world.
With the end of the year students in classrooms throughout country are gearing for countless exams. From AP tests to end of year finals, the coming of summer seems to always have a big exam as a hurdle right before it. For years, I have tried to make review sessions before these tests and I’ve tried to make them as engaging and fun as possible. I’ve created a series of TV Game Show inspired review games that you can find on my Game Shows section of this website.
But one other review tool I, and my students, have really enjoyed is BINGO. Yes, that BINGO. Now it is still is the staple of county fairs and retirement homes but by creating your own, customizable BINGO game you can make your reviews Fun, Active, Student Centered, and Fun (oh… I think I said Fun twice)
Here are the steps on how I have done BINGO. Please reach out if you have any questions or ideas.
1) What's Your Subject?
Not just thinking about your unit of study you should also decide what you want the focus to be for this review. Like, is this going to be about Terms or People To Know.
2) Create your master list.
Do this in another document like your study guide. For example here is one I have used for my AP World History review. It is a list of 99 people to know. Feel free to use my list here to practice with.
3) Now you need to create your Bingo Board.
I have used many different programs in the past but this newest one (which I stumbled upon thanks to Tony Vincent) is called Bingo Baker. It is an online Bingo creator which is free but also has a premium feature too. You should find most of what you will need by just using the version.
The key to playing Bingo is that each student needs to have their own card and Bingo Baker allows you to do just that. You will need to decide if they are going to have PAPER copies of to play on or will they have a device and play DIGITALLY. If you are doing paper you will need to use the Print feature and choose the number of cards to match your number of students. When the game is played the student will simply mark on the paper bingo card each time one of their terms is called. If you are going to play digitally, have each student create their own card but doing the following by simply clicking on the link which you will provide them. You can get this link from under “Play Online”. It should look something like this: https://bingobaker.com/play/1174751
What is really fantastic about this is that this link will RANDOMIZE EVERY TIME YOU REFRESH THE LINK. That way every student will get a random card every time you play!
4) Lastly… you need to be the Bingo Caller and start the game.
But before you begin you need to think about how you can best make this truly a learning / review tool for your class. There are a couple ways you can do this.
First, you can simply just use the link in Bingo Baker called “Call List”. With this master list you can print them, cut them up and pull them randomly from a hat.
If the students are playing on a device they can even click on the names once they have been called as you can see here:
If you want something a little more exciting and dynamic try this Random Name Picker from ABCYa.com. It is quite the step up in name calling. It scrolls, has fun colors and even has “game show” style sound effects. After a name has been picked, you should choose “remove name” to take it out of the list and then spin again.
But even with this color and sound you need to think about “How can this be used as a review tool”? By just calling the names there is not much educational value. So here is my recommendation to kick it up a notch; Instead of calling the name (we will use my history example above of “Napoleon) how about reading a summary or giving clues. For example, I could pull the name Napoleon, read it to myself, and then ask… “who is this person; they came to power claiming to restore the Enlightenment and the French Republic, but in reality became more powerful than any past French King”. Then you can call upon a student for the right answer. If no one knows, you can give further clues. Then once the name has been called, players with that name can check it off their list. You can also ask follow questions… ones that can help them on future tests, for example, “what are some examples of how Napoleon SAVED the values of the French Revolution”? This way your game will become more of a conversation and dialogue.
5) Lastly, games and prizes.
Anytime you play a game you need to think about the rules so with BINGO you need to clearly give the rules about which game you are playing i.e. regular, “T”, Blackout, etc. Also I HIGHLY recommend giving prizes. Think about food… kids LOVE candy. Or you can throw out stickers, extra credit, etc.
In the end try to have fun but also think about HOW this can drive conversations!
I am re-posting my blog post from last year and adding a few other ideas well I've stumbled upon. This post is all about some fun and interesting ideas on how teachers can use Star Wars in their classrooms.
ORIGINAL POST FROM APRIL 2016:
Here are some resources that you may find interesting in using Star Wars with your students....
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Complete with iambic pentameter these works bring us Star Wars but in Shakespearean language
Star Wars in the Classroom: The next two ideas come from THE NUMBER ONE RESOURCE ONLINE about using Star Wars in education. This is a treasure trove of ideas, resources, lessons and a robust community all interested in sharing. For example check this out. Below is a screen shot of search on this site for "hero's journey". This brings up many examples of teachers in this community who have shared lessons on this subject.
From Democracy to Dictatorship. Here is a blog post I wrote for the "Innovate My School" site about how used Star Wars to help my students understand how historically some nations simply allowed dictators to rise like Caesar, Napoleon and Hitler just like the emperor's rise in Star Wars
8 Things Star Wars Can Teach Us About Writing. This post with ideas like "Even the Death Star Had a Weak Spot." and others helps would be writers by channeling lessons learned from Star Wars.
Star Wars Teaching Ideas. A Pinterest board from John Adamski
NY Times Post: Lastly, this blog post from the NY Times gives links to lesson ideas from everything from Yoda grammar on Grammar Girl's blog to the issues behind the Physics of Space Battles.
Oh, did you know that May 4th is the unofficial Star Wars day simply because of the pun "May the Forth Be With You". There tons of puns and memes floating around social media. But there is actually a page at starwars.com about this day and what people around the world do to celebrate.