Padlet: Why we love it and how we use it

Padlet has become one of the most used web 2.0 tools in my classroom in the last few months, and the students love it.

Padlet acts as a ‘real time’ wall, where students can simultaneously post comments.  Images can also be added to a padlet wall.  As a teacher, all you need to do is create the wall in Padlet, and have students access it using a unique url.  They do not require a username/login to post (though you will – it’s free!)  Only you have editing rights, which enables you to delete any comments, shift them around the board etc.

Here are some of the ways I use it in my classroom to enhance learning:

Creative/independent writing stimuli

Often when my students are engaging in ‘free writing’ (when we are not studying a genre), I find that many of them tend to get stuck with a starting point or topic.

I’ve started placing an intriguing image on a Padlet wall, and the students use their netbooks to record their initial thoughts.  We then brainstorm some possible titles for pieces of writing.  Sometimes we also link the titles to type of writing, such as a narrative or a persuasive piece:

Students can then keep the wall open on their netbooks as they begin planning and drafting their writing pieces.

Reading

I team teach reading with a colleague, and we often have our students reflect on their reading using ICT.  A few weeks ago we were learning about making connections when reading (text to self, text to text, text to world), and we created a Padlet wall for pairs of students to reflect on:


SW-PBS (School Wide Positive Behaviour Support)

At my school, we implement SW-PBS, and as a result spend at least 50 minutes per week targeting behaviours that we identify as needing improvement to support our students’ wellbeing.  This term, we have been focussing on being on time to line, as we were noticing students were either arriving late in the morning, or not lining up in time for the bells throughout the day.

In my classroom we used padlet to brainstorm and reflect on our own behaviour and think of ways we could be on time to line. I posed the three questions below: When do we need to be on time to line? Why do we need to be on time to line? What do we need to do to make sure we are in time to line?

How do you use Padlet in your classroom?

Enhancing curiosity and learning through classroom ebooks

A dear friend of mine, Sigal Magen is truly inspirational. After a long career in IT, she began writing children’s books, as well as engaging in co-creating books with schools and local councils.

She approached me a couple of months ago, looking to collaborate with my class on a series called ‘Kids around the world‘, which involves connecting with and creating ebooks with children in different countries across the globe.

From our first discussion about the ebook project, my grade were extremely enthusiastic; they loved the idea of creating their own ebook, and were both excited and proud that they would be getting published!

The process

The first thing we needed to do was research Australian landmarks.

I placed the following question on our Apple TV to guide the students in their research:

‘If you were hosting an overseas visitor, what sites would you recommend they visit?’

Curriculum engagement

Throughout the project, my students used and developed their skills in many areas, including:

* elearning and creativity – as they began to sketch their drawings, many of my students researched and found great websites and tools such as Drawing Now, which has hundreds, if not thousands of videos showing step by step instructions of how to draw different animals, people, landscapes and much more.

* Writing – each student was required to write a (preferably rhyming) sentence to enhance their drawing.

Here are some photos that document our ebook creation…

**Shameless plug**

If you would like to download/take a look at our ebook, it is available at http://amzn.to/15HOhFl

 

Running Records made easy with ‘Explain Everything’

I work in a lower socio economic primary school in Melbourne, Australia, where reading has been a focus for a number of years now. As a result, teachers are expected to complete running records at least once per term for each student (and more regularly for at-risk students).

Luckily, we are fortunate enough to use what I find to be an incredibly rich and purposeful reading program, called  Fountas & Pinnell benchmark assessment system.

Whilst I do appreciate that the texts within these kits are readily available and generally at a good standard for my students, I found that I was spending valuable planning and assessment time photocopying pages upon pages of running records throughout the year.

I searched far and wide for a running record specific app, but to no avail.

When I raised my frustration with one of my elearning coaches, he recommended I try an app called Explain Everything. It costs about 4 dollars, but is definitely worth every cent.

I have been using this app for the past couple of weeks (as the guinea pig in my team), and have generally found it to be invaluable to both my time management, planning and assessing.

9 Reasons I’ve loved experimenting with ‘Explain Everything’ for Running Records

1. It is extremely time effective – all you need to do is take a photo of each book from the running record teacher resource book, and you’re ready to go.

2. The text from the levelled book can be inserted from Photos, iTunes, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and some other platforms.

3. It allows you to create a ‘book’ for each individual running record – as soon as the student finishes reading a page, you simply flick over to the next page in the sequence – quick and easy!

4. You can record the students’ voice as they read, to review later, play back to them, share with parents, etc.

5. It allows you to choose between writing using text through typing, or to write by using drawing tools.

6. You can move the text around the page, as well as increase/decrease its size.

7. The ‘image’ of the running record can also be zoomed in and out easily, which makes it simple to insert notes while the students are responding to comprehension questions or when you’re noting an error or self correction during their reading.

8. The running record can be saved as a PDF, image or video.

9. Each running record can be individually exported to a wide variety of platforms, including Evernote, ibooks, iTunes, Dropbox, Google Drive, Youtube and many more.


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