Create Accessible Games for Elementary Students with Tiny Tap

Games are a great way to provide students with valuable practice or assess their understanding of content. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right tool for elementary students in particular. I found a great free resource called Tiny Tap for students in elementary school to practice a variety of skills in math, language arts, social studies, science, and more. If you have ESL students, this could be a great resource too! 

I like it for several reasons because it provides accessible ways to access content through video, audio, and hands on activities. Secondly, it provides you with an easy way to share activities with students via Google Classroom, your LMS, or assigning it through Tiny Tap. Finally, it is easy for students to understand and navigate. You can embed audio instructions as a way to help students with understanding directions. 

Whether you want to create your own game or use an existing game, it is a great tool to use in your classroom!

Want to see it in action? Check out my video below:

Better Writing Responses with Slides

I have been spending a lot of time working with elementary teachers on infusing technology into a new ELA curriculum. It has been a valuable experience because I have learned so much about how students use language to communicate.

Writing is an essential skill that all students need to master; however, many of our students struggle with the structure associated with writing. Have you ever considered using Google Slides to provide students with the scaffolds and supports they need to construct a writing piece? 


I recently developed the following Writing Prompt template in Google Slides for students in our elementary school; however, this could easily be adapted for use in secondary classrooms. Students read a writing prompt, brainstorm ideas, and then construct their paragraph - all in one place. 


First, students read the writing prompt. We have found that many of our students struggle with some of the vocabulary terms in writing prompts, so we added an opportunity for students to dig deeper into what a specific term means. This helps our students overcome the "vocabulary gap" which may prevent them from fully understanding the prompt. 

Then, students begin brainstorming their response. Brain research tells us that students often need to use their senses and different representations and media to formulate understanding. The following section provides students with a structured way to begin brainstorming about their topic.


Finally, students use Google Slides to construct their writing response. Students have all of their resources and ideas in one place to begin writing. 


BONUS 💡 : Want to practice reading fluency? Perhaps consider using Mote for students to read their responses and embed them into their presentation. Not familiar with Mote? Check out my blog post.





Google Classroom Discussion Organizer Tool

 Remote learning has transformed how students participate in class. The shift to virtual environments has introduced students to online skills, such as using Google Classroom to foster online discussion. Although some may consider online discussion self-explanatory, many students need structure to successfully master this skill. 

Building skills for effective online discussion begins with helping students understand my expectations and the structure to complete the assignment successfully. Therefore, I have developed the following Google Classroom Discussion Organization tool to help students:

  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Write an effective response
  • Edit their responses
  • Respond to classmates

Tip: It might be helpful to share an individual copy of this document with each student so that they can edit, add text, and check off each box on the checklist! 

Click here for your own copy! 

Brainstorming 

First, students begin with copying and pasting the discussion question in the document. Then, students brainstorm their ideas, based on what they know or their thoughts. I like to emphasize that this does not have to be in order! Plus, it might be helpful for students to use tools like Voice Typing to get their thoughts on paper. 

Writing Response

Next, students begin writing their responses. When students are finished, they have a checklist to ensure that they have followed instructions, checked their grammar and spelling, and completed the assignment to the best of their ability. 

Responses to Classmate

Finally, I have found that students need a framework for responding to classmates. I enjoy using the TAG framework, which I originally found in a Seesaw webinar. You can read more here. Students tell what they liked, ask a question, and give a suggestion. 


Conclusion

Online communication is quickly becoming an important workplace skill, as electronic communication increasingly becomes a staple in face-to-face and virtual environments. Therefore, it is important to prepare our students to organize their thoughts through electronic discussion. Providing students with a framework and expectations for electronic communication is an important skill we can all use to prepare our students for success inside the classroom and in the future workforce. 


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Matt Bergman (2021)


Check out Matt's Podcast



  

Create and Assign Virtual Math Manipulatives with Mathigon Polypad

Mathigon is a very helpful virtual manipulative tool that you can use to make math more engaging and exciting! It contains free tools, games, activities, and resources for all students to use! Not only can you use the activities, but you can assign assignments to your students directly from Mathigon or import your students from Google Classroom. 

Here is a quick 4-minute tutorial to learn more about the Polypad feature!  



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Matt Bergman (2021)




Check out Matt's Podcast


Notion: A Dynamic All-in-One Workspace

Are you looking keep yourself organized, take notes, upload documents, bookmark key resources and add notes to them, develop and utilize note templates, and manage a to-do list all in one place? I recently came across a free tool called Notion, which is an amazing workspace tool that can be used across any device. 


You may see some of these features in some tools like OneNote, Evernote, Apple Notes, etc.; however, very rarely can you find them all in one place! Notion has solved the dilemma of many educators and business professionals across the globe. 

Not only is this a great tool for adults, but it can be a helpful way for older students to reflect, take notes, gather resources, collaborate with classmates, and more. 

Want to see how this works? Check out my tutorial below: 



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Matt Bergman (2021)




Check out Matt's Podcast





Update

 Hello Learn Lead Grow Readers! A few weeks ago, I had mentioned that I was planning on retiring from blogging. The outpour from you has bee...