Sunday, August 14, 2016

3 Ways to Engage Students with Technology During the First Day of Class

It is that time of year again! School has started or will be starting for many of you. How can you build community and creatively infuse technology into your classroom? Here are some of my favorite activities to try on the first day:

1.  Collaborate on Expectations in Google Slides 

Instead of speaking at your kids, why invite them to collaborate on your classroom expectations? You can easily create a Google Slides presentation and share it with your entire class (make sure they have "editing" rights). Break your students into pairs or small groups, then assign them a specific slide. I usually assign group 1 to slide 1, group 2 to slide 2, etc.

Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Have students create their top 10 list of classroom expectations 
  • List one specific expectation on the top of each slide. Have your students describe what that particular expectation means to their group.
Have students use text, pictures, and videos to explain their assigned expectation. At the end of your presentation, make it "view" only and have each group present their expectation. You can add any content to each group's slides (as needed) because you have editing rights.  Check out a sample that I have used in the past here. 

2. Gamify Your First Day of Class with FlipQuiz.Me

Instead of talking your class to death on the first day, why not gamify your class with FlipQuiz.me? Share information about yourself, syllabus, and class expectations in a game-like manner. FlipQuiz.me is an online website to make your own online Jeopardy game. 



3. Create Community with Google Forms

James Comer once stated, "Learning cannot occur without a significant relationship." In the classroom, knowledge (about your students) is power. Why not create a Google Form with questions aimed at getting to know them better? You may want to ask about their hobbies, learning styles, interests, etc. Here is an example I have used with teachers for PD. 

If you do not have technology in your classroom, it may be helpful to link your Google Form to a QR Code to allow students to use their mobile devices to enter data. Once a student fills out a Google Form, their data is automatically compiled into a private Google Sheet. 

I like to continue adding to the Sheet throughout the year as I get to know more about my students. This information can be very helpful at strengthening relationships or getting through difficult times. 

Conclusion:

As the first day of school approaches, it is important to find engaging ways to share information and expectations with students. Start your school year with highly engaged students and see the difference! 

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