Monday, April 18, 2016

From Vicki Davis ( to help you finish strong)

From my email this morning- from Vicki Davis (coolcatteacher)- you can read her blog here.

As you plan your week next week, here are five quick, cool ideas:
1. Student Created Test Prep
If you have lots of vocabulary or concepts to review, split them up among your class. Try the PacMan Quiz Generator or Arcade Game Generator at (both free). Have the students make the games. Then, set your timer. Let students play each other's test prep games, switching seats every 5-10 minutes. Make it a game and have fun.
If this doesn't work for you or you don't have enough devices. Have students createKahoots in pairs with questions and pictures. Younger kids could log into a test prep account you create. Older students can make their accounts and share it with you on the share tab. (I did this with SAT prep a few years back. The kids ask to do SAT words on the last day of school! What a blast!)
2. Test New Procedures
My friend Angela Watson has a fantastic show where she talks about why this time of year is the best time to try out new procedures. I've been doing this and IT WORKS. Improve your procedures NOW and let your students give you input. You can solve behavior issues and improve things for next year at the same time. Genius idea!
3. Teach Film Making with This Quick Project
When I did this project, it changed everything about how I as a teacher understood filmmaking and taught my students at the same time. Start with a film glossary. Using a highlighter have students highlight the kinds of shots mentioned. Have them research each shot. For younger students, you could have them draw illustrations or take photographs.
For my eighth graders, I have them make a living shot dictionary using film. They take the shot with their phones, upload and edit it to put the type of shot in the movie. We pull them together and have a film to show future classes about the camera angles and film shots. The practice of shooting different angles gets them to think this way. Our living shot dictionary is a fantastic, fun, end of year project that I do every single year with my eighth graders.
4. Test Gamification
Now is the perfect time to try out a tool like Classcraft or test a game-based curriculum like Zombie-Based Learning (try their free Geography Lesson.) Or listen to teacher Michael Matera talk about how he gamified his classroom and pick up his book and try some new ideas. After testing is a very good time to test this emerging and very fun strategy that I now adore.
If these sound like too much, just have some paper plate awards. Get paper plates, markers and review some of your work you've done this year and create random, fun awards on the spot. I do this with film. Kids love them. [Listen to how I do this.]
5. Plan a Portfolio Project

Here's a sample of one of my portfolio projects. Take a look at my older students' personal website projects. The year end is a perfect time for portfolios! [Listen to Suzie Boss talkabout good project based learning as you design yours.]

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