Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Awesome New App Makes Us So Appy!

Feb. 23, 2015

Technology is supposed to make our jobs easier, but often teachers find it can be more hassle than it's worth. Take assessment. There are lots of student clickers or responders that gobble up so much time logging in that there is no time left to assess! But now there is a better way that is so easy, I had to pass on the good news! Plus I wanted to share 3 ways I found to extend this app beyond the classroom. 

In her blog Minds in Bloom!, teacher/entrepreneur extraordinaire  Rachel Lynette recently wrote about an app that I just had to try out with my fourth graders. Plickers is a free app that gives teachers instant assessments for the entire class. How is that possible?

Once you complete the quick registration, you are ready to go. Set-up is as easy as 1-2-3! Print a class set of the unique cards, register, and add in student names. The teacher must have a smart phone, but that is all. Rachel Lynette gave a great overview along with fabulous suggestions for use in the classroom. Be sure to read her blog entry!

I was so inspired that I started to look for more ways I could incorporate Plickers into my school day. Here are some ideas beyond the classroom walls:

  1. Field Trips   Why do students think that a field trip isn’t a school day? Plickers puts the education back into field trips. By making lanyard name tags with the student name on one side and the Plickers code on the other, you can easily assess your students in front of an exhibit, while riding the bus, or after a demonstration!
  2. Outside the Classroom Learning shouldn't stop when students exit your classroom. Plickers offers accountability no matter where your kids happen to be. If they are wearing their Plickers name tag, the library, auditorium. school garden, computer lab, or even the P.E. field becomes a opportunity to question, assess, and even re-teach. For example, in P.E. I can tell who can correctly identify the rules of a game. Or in the school garden, I might ask about the life cycle of a butterfly. At the library, I can check for understanding by asking the location of fiction or  biographies.
  3. Wait Time  Have you ever been stuck in the auditorium waiting for other classes to arrive and the program to begin? This is a great opportunity for some quick review-if your students have their Plickers name tags. I’m always drilling multiplication facts. Now I can ask the whole group instead of one student at a time. That means 34 kids are engaged instead of one. I like those numbers!

Those are a few of my ideas to extend Plickers outside the classroom. I’d love to hear yours!


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