Green with Envy

At the start of the school year, I was contacted by a 7th-grade Spanish teacher who was looking for more ways to engage her students with the content, as well as provide them with additional opportunities to practice speaking. She was very comfortable trying new technology-so it was a win from the start!

The first thing we talked about was finding more opportunities for the students to practice speaking.  Immediately, I thought of FlipGrid.  If you haven’t caught #FlipGridFever yet…what are you waiting for?  (Flipgrid is an online video discussion tool that has many possible uses in the classroom.) I scheduled some time and worked with the teacher in her classroom to introduce FlipGrid to her students and give them the opportunity to try it out.  They were working on their first unit of study which included concepts such as their name, age, birthday, favorite color…  For their first assignment, the teacher provided them with sentence stems in Spanish to help the students with their responses.  She then scaffolded the next assignments using FlipGrid, gradually taking away the support she provided.  At the end of the unit, she used FlipGrid as a tool to deliver her assessment.  She continues to integrate FlipGrid into each of her units to provide her students additional time to practice speaking.

The next unit they were going to be working on was leisure verbs.  We brainstormed how to engage the students with the content while addressing the reading, writing, listening and speaking standards.  Since she has access to iPads, we decided to create a QR code scavenger hunt. We set everything up in the library, to allow the students more room to move around.  As we collaborated on this project, we created a shared Google Doc where we were able to organize the different stations, links and QR codes in preparation for the lesson.  Of course, one of the stations was a link to a FlipGrid! It was great! The students were actively engaged with the content, on task and had fun 😃


Most recently, we talked about an alternate way for her students to present their weather reports. In the past, she had her students create a PowerPoint and/or do an oral presentation in front of the class.  I had been seeing a lot about the DoInk app on Twitter and decided to try it out with this project. Once again we used Google to help us collaborate on the project.  We set up a shared folder for each of her classes in which we would store the images students found and wanted to use as their background images.  (Since DoInk is a paid app, we had it installed on 3 iPads and used those for the filming and students were able to access the shared Google Drive folders).  Prior to the filming, students researched cities and their weather forecasts wrote a script and many of them even made cue cards!  For the day of the filming, I borrowed three iPad stands and set up three green screens (we had one REAL green screen background, and two green plastic tablecloths as stand-ins).  Once again we were in the library, which allowed us to set up the three recording areas at one end, and then had the students who were not involved in the taping at the moment working on computers at the other end.

On the first day, I started class by giving the students an overview of the DoInk app and process for recording.  Each group chose someone to be their ‘camera person’.  This was completely student driven and the adults were available to help troubleshoot any technical issues they may have had.  All the videos were saved in our pre-made shared Google Drive folders and then they were uploaded to YouTube to an UNLISTED playlist.  This was then shared with the students so they were able to watch videos made by students in all classes.  Once again, the students were engaged, on task and they didn’t even realize the learning that was going (actually standing up and presenting in Spanish!) on because they were so focused on creating the video.


The librarian at this school was an integral part of these project as well.  Not only did she provide us with her space for a number of days, but she took a vested interest in the new technology we were using so that she could be another resource for the students.  In addition, she has been spreading the word about the different methods for engaging students with technology.  In fact, she worked with a social studies teacher to create a QR code scavenger hunt for the Revolutionary War #BuildingCapacity.

Since this project was done in the library, and there were a lot of people going in and out throughout the day.  Needless to say, there were many VERY curious teachers…and I think a lot of them were a lil green with envy




(This was originally posted on September 12, 2017)
Welcome! To my very first blog post…EVER! I never knew where to get started…until now. I am Joi, and I am starting a new position in my school district this year-Secondary Technology Coach. After 20+ years of teaching (5th/6th-grade middle school math and science), I am able to take my passion for integrating technology in the classroom, and share it with other teachers and their students.
I would like to share a few of my (current) favorite technology tools with you.  As I have been thinking about some of the things I plan on sharing with the teachers I will be working with, I realized this would be a great way to start my blogging journey. (These are not listed in any type of rank order.)


I cannot say more about this FREE tool!! How many times do you show a video in class, and wonder how many students are actually following along and extracting the information you want them to?  We know that students learn and process information at different speeds, yet for years, when we show a video, we have expected everyone to learn at the same time.  “EdPuzzle is a safe video platform that keeps students engaged and accountable while watching videos.”  Teachers are able to choose a video and then insert comments and questions as a student watches a video, which allows a teacher to keep track of their understanding. Along the way in the video, a teacher can add in either an open-ended question or a multiple choice question (which EdPuzzle will grade for you!!!). You can upload your own video or access videos that are already uploaded to EdPuzzle by other teachers (which very often already have questions added). EdPuzzle allows you to pull in videos from YouTube, Khan Academy, National Geographic, Ted Talks, Veritasium, Numberphile, Crash Course and Vimeo. Now hang on to your seats….for those of you who may use Google Classroom and/or Schoology (and there may be others, these are just the two that I am familiar with) EdPuzzle integrates with those two platforms and makes assigning the videos that much easier!!!
QuizletQuizlet (and Quizlet Live)
I have used Quizlet for the past two years and have found it to be a very useful and powerful tool to help students stay actively engaged with the material being taught. This is another FREE tool that allows teachers to either create their own study sets or find ones made by other educators (that can be edited to meet your needs).
QuizletStudyYour students can interact with the seven different games and activities at their own pace.  Quizlet also integrates with Google Classroom!
Once you have study sets made, you can then play Quizlet Live, which is a collaborative classroom game.  Both are definitely worth checking out and trying with your students!
FlipGrid is a video discussion platform.  They offer a FREE teacher account, which is a great way to get started and try out the platform and allows you to access to many of the key features of the product.  Teachers can post a topic to help spark conversations-something that I feel is at a loss these days with so many people more focused on typing into a device to communicate, rather than responding verbally.  I truly feel the possibilities for this tool are endless.  My thoughts are to introduce this, in the beginning, to the World Language and ELA teachers in my district. Speaking and Listening are integral parts of both of these areas, and FlipGrid allows students to be able to do this in a non-threatening environment.  This allows students to gain confidence in practicing their speaking skills while providing opportunities to listen and respond to their peers.  Can you say ENGAGED?!


It was very difficult for me to choose just a few things to talk about, but hey I can’t say it all in just one post!  Are you using any of these tools? How do you incorporate them into your classroom? I would love to hear what other tools you are using in your classrooms.
Thank you for visiting…I hope to see you back next week!