Saturday, September 6, 2014

2 birds...1 stone

For the first few days of school this year, I tried to "kill 2 birds with 1 stone" so to speak.  First days are usually for going over classroom rules and teacher expectations, and most teachers conduct some sort of icebreaker activity for everyone to get to know each other.  This year my goal was not only to do these standard activities, but to use this opportunity to introduce and familiarize my students with some of the technology we will be using throughout the year.

Day 1 goals:  
  • explain my rules and expectations
  • introduce Nearpod

Day 1 activities:

My students participated in a Nearpod presentation in order to become familiar with the format of Nearpod and the various types of interactive activities that can be included in a NPP.  The first several sides displayed the same information that in the past I had presented with PowerPoint, such as my contact information, how much I LOVE math and hope they will too by the end of the year, supplies they will need, an overview of my teaching methods and classroom routines, and my favorite quote:

Created with

Then I had a slide which instructed them to put in their earbuds and watch the following video, reminding them to pay close attention because there would be a quiz afterwards.  (I purchased a class set of cheap earbuds at the dollar store so every student will have them whenever they need them. They are all in ziplock bags labeled with each student's name and do not leave the classoom.)  They all seemed engaged in the video (which I created last year with VideoScribe).

Screenshot of the final frame of my video

When everyone was done, the quiz began!  I created a question to go along with each of the nine expectations that had just learned about.  Some of the questions were fill-in-the-blank, some were multiple choice, and others were draw-its.  My hope is that when we do our next NPP for a content topic, I won't have to go through explaining how Nearpod works because they should all already be familiar with it and this will save some class time. 

multiple choice question in Nearpod

Day 2 goals:

Day 2 activities:

For the second day of school, I had the students interview their partner and then create an Explain Everything video about their partner.  I did this same activity last year and you can read my blog post about it here for more details.  The only thing I changed this year was the order of the activities.  This year I started by showing them the video I made about my partner (my roommate Mr. Basso).  Then I had them interview each other.  When all the interviewing was complete, I had them follow along with me in Explain Everything as I demonstrated what each tool did.  I gave them a few minutes to try each tool before introducing the next one.  This allowed them to become comfortable with the app before they had to use it to create their video.  Once I felt they were ready, I explained how I wanted the final product to be organized (I had them answer 2 of the interview questions per slide, with a total of 5 slides altogether in their video).  Then they all went to work.  Most students only completed 2 of the 5 slides, so we will be completing the videos on Monday.  But the next time I ask them to use Explain Everything they will know exactly what to do, and this was a perfect way to get to know my new students!

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