We are always looking for other ways to have students express what they know or what they are thinking. The use of memes in the classroom is a great way to accomplish this. It allows for self expression and gives the students a chance to use their voice in unique ways.
The truth? A meme is perfect for expressing sarcasm, predicting what will happen next, summarizing an event in one phrase, and sharing how a character’s feelings are being interpreted…to name a few. I can tell you are already thinking how some of your students will excel at this!
You can also use memes in a more general approach by creating vocabulary cards.
They are great as a reminder for an upcoming event or an often forgotten rule.
I’m sure you are asking yourself, “How will I use memes in my classroom?” Well the first step is to find an easy way for you and your students to create them.
I have 2 favorites that are my go-to apps when creating memes.
||Mematic is the app I use the most. It has different meme templates you can use, and there are stock images and gifs to use right within the app in case you don’t have an image of your own. The app is free, but there are in-app purchases to give you even more options. It is worth the purchase if you plan on using this a lot.
||Photo Editor by Aviary does way more than just create memes. There are many image editing options available that you can use to transform images. A simple meme creator is included however. The app is free to download from the app store.
Both apps are easy to use. Mematic walks you through the process in 4 steps. Aviary has tutorials for many of its functions right within the app. Just click on the gear. The meme option is the last option on its ribbon at the bottom.
Give memes a try. I am willing to bet both you and your students will love them!
We are all looking for those little things that can make our lives easier. Classroomscreen.com is a site that may do just that. This free site combines many different simple teacher tools/widgets into one site. This way you can access all of them without switching between sites or programs.
The toolbar is located across the bottom of the screen. You can toggle each tool on/off by clicking the icon. Tools available include:
- Language- There are a number of different languages you can use for the site.
- Background- Choose from an assortment of images stored on the site.
- Random Name and Dice- Enter names into the widget. A random name will be chosen from your list. There are also dice available. Choose from 1-3 dice to roll.
- Sound Level- There is a bit more set up for this and you will need to have a built in or plug-and-play microphone for this to work, but it will recognize noise level in the room. Set your threshold and your sensitivity.
- QR- Enter a URL into the address bar in the widget and a QR code is created for that link.
- Drawing- It’s a whiteboard for your screen. There is a small window and full screen option.
- Text- write notes, reminders, whatever you need in this widget.
- Work Symbols- Show the students what is allowed in the class at the time: silence, whisper, ask neighbor, or work together.
- Traffic Light- This can be used for noise, movement around the room, etc.
- Timer- Both timer and stopwatch are available.
- Clock- Set to 12 or 24 hour and click the icon for a calendar.
||As a bonus there is a simple exit poll you can utilize as well. It is located in the bottom right of the screen.
As you can see, you are able to have multiple tools open on the site at one time. They can be moved around to create the look you are wanting.
Give Classroomscreen.com a try! It can be a valuable tool in your teacher toolkit.
I ran across this site last week: BigHugeLabs-ID Badges. It seems to me like this would be a quick, easy way to summarize your learning. We are often looking for ways to get students to get their information down to the bare bones. What do we REALLY need to know about the subject you are researching or learning more about? Give me the facts…just the facts. This little tool can fill that need. Title it, add an image, give about 3-4 important facts, and you’re done. It could be that 15-20 minute project you are often looking for.
What can it be used for? How about:
- Historical Figures
- Character Traits
- Chapter Summaries
- Vocabulary from all subjects
- Living Museum
That’s just to name a few!
Creating the badge is pretty simple as well. Just follow these steps.
- Upload your image
- Choose the badge style (portrait or landscape)
- Choose your color
- Header (main title)- This is where you name, concept, or vocabulary term would fit nicely
- Footer- Name of book, profession, vocabulary examples, etc
- Text- Here is where you can add your 3-4 important facts
- Member Since, Expires, Birthdate- These can all be used for quick facts or something else that fits your subject
- Check the box if you want a barcode on your badge
- Create the badge
From there you can use the snipping tool or copy/save the image. It depends on what your students will be doing with it next. Quick, easy, fun. 3 words teachers and students love to hear!
Twitter is a great resource for educators, but it can be a bit overwhelming when trying to focus your attention on a certain group of people or activities. Twitter makes that a little easier for you by allowing you to make Lists.
A Twitter list is a collection of specific people you follow on Twitter. For instance, I have a “Top Educators on Twitter”. When I am trying to focus solely on educational tweets, I can select that list and it filters out all of my other followers. You can create as many lists as you like to help keep you organized and allow you to focus on a specific area.
The video below will walk you through the process to create a list. Keep in mind you can create a list from your followers or from someone else’. You just need to start looking!
Thousands of educators swarmed Austin, TX last week for the TCEA18 Conference. There were educators from all over the country, and even some outside the U.S. I had a great conversation with some new friends from Canada! You could feel the energy in the Convention Center as a ton of collaborating and communicating was happening between educators that either just met or maybe run into each other every February when TCEA rolls around again.
I always marvel at the way the “4 C’s” shine through this week:
- Creativity and Innovation
- Critical Thinking
Twitter explodes with all these amazing insights and ideas. People are liking and retweeting at a furious pace. It is the apex of technology and education. Then it happens…
…we go home. Much of the excitement falls away as we get “back to the grind”. Those amazing ideas now seem distant as we are faced with “reality”. All of a sudden we don’t feel we can do any of this: I don’t have time… my team won’t come around… administration will never agree to this… the list goes on. We don’t just see this after a major conference either. It happens after every good training you have ever gone to. You are fired up when you are there, and just as quickly you are back to where you were and those ambitions seem miles away. It is time to push past these roadblocks and get to implementing what we know will be amazing activities for our students. They deserve it, and so do we!
Try using these 5 keys to help keep you on track:
- Start small. I know we often leave a training or conference with about 15 things we are going to incorporate tomorrow. It doesn’t work that way. Pick one thing to start with and follow through with it. When you see and feel success it will push you to the next project.
- Bring a partner, or at least have one that can hold you accountable. Ideally this is a team teacher or someone else that teaches what you do. This way you can push each other past those rough spots.
- Create a plan. This seems very easy, but it is also effective. Set timelines and goals for the activity. Calendar reminders work well for me.
- Put it in your lesson plans and be realistic about the time frame. If it is there, you then have to allow time for it. This can get you moving.
- Tell everyone what you are going to do. If you publicize it, people will more than likely ask how it is going. This gives you a push to keep moving in the right direction.
By following these keys you are setting yourself, and your students, up for success. Finally, when the activity is done, share it! Jump on Twitter and share out your story. Motivate others to do the same.
Here is a list the presentations I am a part of for the TCEA conference the week of February 5-9. I hope to see you there!
TXED at TCEA- Twitter Chat: Create and Collaborate
Monday, 12:00-1:30 PM
Hilton, Salon G
Meet the Txed moderators! You will learn to collaborate with other educators remotely to prepare, create questions and graphics, schedule tweets, and moderate a Twitter chat utilizing Voxer, Google tools, Canva, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and more! Start your own local or global chat on Twitter to ask questions, get answers, and grow your PLN! 1.5 CPE Credits
Premium Registration Required. Advance registration is not required. All sessions fill on a first come, first serve basis.
3D Printing: It’s Elementary!
Wednesday, 9:00-11:00 AM
Ballroom G: Poster Pavilion
Co-Presenter: Dusty Roden- @DustyRoden
The ability to take a student’s idea or design and produce something that they can hold and feel excites teachers and students alike! 3D printers can be used across the curriculum, enhancing the learning in our elementary classrooms and building the problem-solving skills all students need. SR CPE Credits
OneNote: Organize and Optimize
Wednesday, 2:00-3:30 PM
Co-Presenter: Chelsea Murray- @MrsMurryAg07
Classroom planning and organization is no small task. OneNote gives you the freedom to collaborate and share digital resources with colleagues, organize parent communication, and track student data. The classroom notebook feature allows you and your students the freedom to share and collaborate with each other while also allowing for individual student communication and assignment collection. All of this information is available at your fingertips, whether you are on a computer or mobile device. OneNote will optimize your day to day educational life. Work smarter, not harder, using this amazing tool!
Battle of the Tech Assessment Tools
Wednesday, 5:00-6:00 PM
Co-Presenter: Dan Perez- @danperez4ed
Are you tired of waving hands, blurted answers, and papers, but can’t make sense of the sea of assessment tools? Kahoot, Socrative, Quizizz, and more…how to decide?!? In this session we’ll go over more than 20 of the most popular free formative assessment tools, the devices required, the data that can be collected, and other pros and cons of each.
Tell Your Story, Your Way
Friday, 8:00-9:00 AM
Co-Presenter: Dan Perez- @danperez4ed
Everyone has a story to tell. Give your students a sense of pride by sharing that story with others through their eyes. Digital storytelling allows students to express what they have learned and any opinions they have toward any topic. Discover how we introduce digital storytelling to our teachers and leave with access to the resources we provide.
ABCYa.com has a FREE app that many of you will find useful called Word Clouds. It is a simple app that allows you to create a visual from a group of words you have collected. It is similar to websites such as Wordle, but this allows you to create it straight from the iPad so it can then be included in a presentation or video project.
When you open the app you are prompted to type or copy/paste the list of words you would like to use to create your word cloud. If you list a word multiple times it will take precedence and show as a larger font size than the other words. This will draw attention to it as being a word you really need to focus on.
Once you have compiled your list, the app will show you an example of what your cloud will look like. You have options here to change the layout, color scheme, and font. There is also a randomize button that will change the way your cloud looks. Each time you press randomize it will change the look. Click on the “3 line” option in the upper left for other options such as editing your original word list, saving your cloud to your photo library, or creating a new cloud.
As you can see, it is fun and simple to use while still creating a clean visual for any presentation or media project you are working on. Give Word Clouds a try!