Pump Students Up with Digital Icebreakers

Play Plato

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” by Plato

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

Throughout my teaching years, I’ve struggled with getting my students or trainees to readily participate. Learners are shy about exposing themselves to peers, especially if they do not know them well. Icebreakers can help alleviate our learners’ hesitation, because they relax the atmosphere, allow learners to share without the pressure of being graded, and help our learners get to know each other. In the slide presentation below I share some digital icebreakers I have used with learners of various ages. Find more in the bookmarks that follow the presentation. Find some of these icebreakers and other digital activities in my ebook, Learning to Go, which is currently $5.99. Learning to Go also contains editable handouts and rubrics that are mobile-friendly.

Icebreakers

Here are a few of the ideas I talked about during my presentation:

  • Mobile Show and Tell- Divide students into small groups (3 to 5 students). Each student spends about 30 seconds sharing a personal photo from a mobile device and the anecdote behind the photo.
  • Recreate a Photo- Students choose one of the Mobile Show and Tell images to recreate as a group. They share the original then the newly created photo.
  • Selfie Adventures- Pair students or divide them into small groups. Show them the Animal Selfies Tumblr or the Selfie Animal Tips video. They choose a favorite and write down reasons they liked this selfie. Then give each pair a stuffed animal, doll, character, or sock puppet. They will have to create 2 or more awesome selfies of this character.
  • Draw and Dash- Each student will need to use a piece of paper or a drawing app like Tackk, Educreations, Magic Paintbrush, or Sketchbook Express. Name a category like favorite dessert, cartoon, sports team and so forth for students to draw the answers to on their tablets. Give them 30 seconds. When the time is up they should lift up their drawings and run to a peer they believe drew a similar choice. Give them 1 minute to talk about their drawings and exchange one fact or experience related to the choice. Find the Knowledge Swap handout that accompanies this activity in Learning to Go.
  • Mobile Me Pictionary- Give each student 3 notecards. Students write on one side a category like a talent, hobby, dream job, or favorite place. On the other side they write down an answer but show no one. Divide students into small groups. Each group will need to use a drawing app like Tackk, Educreations, Magic Paintbrush, or Sketchbook Express. Students stack all the cards with the categories facing up. When you start the timer, one student chooses a card and draws the word(s) on the app. The group tries to guess the answer and who it describes before the time runs out.
  • Avatar Bucket Lists- Students write down 3 activities they want to complete within their lifetime. They get into pairs and discuss their lists. They choose one bucket list activity to animate in a short video or comic strip. Useful web tools include GoAnimate, Powtoons, Little Bird Tales, ToonDoo, and Makebeliefs Comix. Useful apps include BuddyPoke 3D Avatar Creator, Tellagami, Drawing Cartoons, Comics Head, and Friendstrip. Find more activities and ideas in this lesson plan I wrote, A Visual Bucket List.
  • Goal Collages/Vision Boards- Students can use digital poster and scrapbook tools and apps to create goal collages and vision boards. In the poster they include learning goals, personal goals, inspiring images, motivational quotes, and sayings to support them in achieving their goals. Try any of these tools: Buncee, Tackk, Biteslides, Smore, ThingLink, or Pic-Collage.
  • 3, 2,1 Introduction- Students use a web tool or app to create a video, comic strip, poster, book, or slideshow that includes the following: 3 things we should know about you, 2 hobbies, 1 dream job. This idea came from Nicky Hockly.
  • Avatar Introductions- Students can introduce themselves with a Voki avatar or try one of these free avatar creators! Find several student examples here.
  • Name Poems- Use a word cloud tool like Tagxedo or the Image Chef app. They can also do this as a digital poster using tools like Buncee, Tackk, Biteslides, Smore, ThingLink, or Pic-Collage.
  • My Timeline- Students create multimedia timelines highlighting significant moments using a tool like Capzles or Popplet which both have free apps for i-devices.
  • Icebreaker Mingle- Find my lesson plan that uses the Icebreaker question app here.
  • If you have icebreaker handouts like Human Bingo, use Nearpod (accessible on any device) to get students to fill them out digitally. Download my Human Bingo handout here.

Challenge:

Try any of these icebreakers with your students to motivate them to share throughout the year.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

More Resources

Find many more ideas, apps, and tools in my Pearltree bookmarks. Click the box to enlarge that resource.
Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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6 Second Learning with Vine: 22+ Ideas & Resources

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 2.41.35 AM

Part of the Byte-sized Potential and Mobile Learning categories

The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera. – Yousuf Karsh

Most of our students love learning and creating even if they do not express this in our classes. Millions around the world read, create, produce, direct, summarize, translate, edit, and share outside of learning institutions everyday on their mobile devices or through the web. I’ve been studying the various new social networks and apps that are gaining momentum. I was excited to discover the creativity and imagination taking place on Vine, a social network with over 40 million people creating and sharing 6 second videos. We can use this popular free mobile app and social network to engage our students and get them to connect with our subject matter. With Vine you can create 6 second videos with your Android, Window or IOS devices. You do need to download the free app to create the videos, but you can watch the videos on the web. Currently, Vine only allows those 17 years-old and up to create personal accounts but don’t let this deter you from creating a class account. If your students create accounts, they can now send you their assignments via the new direct messaging feature.

Why use Vine? Vine was one of the top social networks this past year. The most followed and popular users are teens and college students who are now making $10,000 to create these videos. The most followed Viner is 16 year-old Nash Grier with over 7 million followers. Each of his videos are shared by 75,000+, receive 150,000+ likes, and get 3000+ comments. He has a lot of byte-size potential to influence people and has probably had very little guidance from teachers on what to do with it. We need to be guiding our students on how to spread meaningful messages on the social networks and texting apps they use. They all now have audiences and I’ve seen students as young as 9 years-old with viral Youtube channels. Below, I have listed lesson ideas and resources to help you teach with Vine. Click on the idea to see an example of that lesson in action. You can access my recorded webinar here and download my slides.

22+ Resources & Ideas

  • Set-up a class account that you can make private for parents and students. You can post their class work, homework, assignments, important announcements, videos of their games/ events/ ceremonies, and more.
  • Post regular weekly challenges in which students find real world examples of the topic. For example, if you are studying chemical reactions they create a Vine showing an example and explain what is happening. Check out #6secondscience videos inspired by General Electric’s Vine account.
  • Students can post predictions. Vine has a feature where you can stop recording and continue later. Students choose a live event or experiment to record. They start the first 2 seconds with a prediction of what will happen, then record the event or experiment in action to see if this occurs.
  • Who said it?- students take any quote or dialogue from the text you are studying. They repeat it in a Vine and peers have to guess who said it and the context surrounding the quote. If your book doesn’t have a lot of dialogue then assign them important characters/ historical figures you are studying and they can look up quotes. Make sure they don’t reveal ahead of time who they are assigned.
  • News bytes- students report a current event, world news, local news, or school event.
  • Create examples of idioms. See these examples by students in Barcelona. Feel free to introduce your lesson with these Vines.
  • I Spy- students record close-up shots of objects and their peers guess what it is. They add 2 hints. Do this to review vocabulary. If students are learning about geometric shapes, then their videos should be close-ups of these shapes. Peers guess what the object is and the shape.
  • Charades- same as I Spy but they record themselves acting out something related to the topic for peers to guess.
  • You can introduce them to new topics dressed as an important figure associated with the topic. For example, you can talk about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as Frankenstein.
  • Voiceovers- express what an animal or object is saying. Check out this grateful squirrel.
  • Create videos sharing their haikus or short poems.
  • Create how to videos like this recycle one.
  • Share a tip for passing an exam, doing well in a project or students can share tips for future students.
  • Reflect on their learning regularly by sharing one thing they learned in your class each day or require them to do one a week.
  • Critique or review a piece of art, literature, restaurant, or movie.
  • Define a word and record a real world example. Here’s a Word of the Day Vine.
  • Share a fact of the day with students or assign each student a day when they share a fact through the class Vine. Check out this student sharing a fact about America.
  • Have them create Public Service Announcements like this one on bullying.
  • Vines of most interesting observation during a fieldtrip. Check out this Vine of someone feeding a giraffe a carrot.
  • Various Vines that show an ongoing observation of an animal, plant, insect or phenomenon. For example, you might have them observe a plant’s growth for a week or month or specific bugs that visit your area during a season. In Texas, we get visited by Monarch butterflies. Check out this Vine of butterflies. Students keep track of the progress and embed the Vines on a blog in which they share what they discovered during their observations.
  • Students can do book trailers. Here are examples from Larry Ferlazzo’s students.
  • Students can host a regular video cast with class announcements. Assign different students to do the video cast each day.
  • If you’re going to flip the classroom, why not do this with Vines? They are only 6 seconds and you can embed/post them easily in a blog, Edmodo, or Wiki.

Other Resources

Find many, many more ideas and examples of teachers teaching with Vines by scrolling down and clicking on any of the posts.

Challenge:

Try Vine to engage learners and their parents and let us know how they respond.

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Byte-sized Potential: Can Compassion & Citizenship Go Viral?

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 4.44.59 PMPart of the category, Byte-sized Potential

The number one benefit of educational technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential. – Steve Ballmer

A thousand years ago, books were accessible to a select few. Often, you needed to be part of a certain social class, ethnicity, and profession. Knowledge was not available to the majority of the world. I feel incredibly blessed to live at a time when technological developments continue to strive to provide access to the entire world. The most powerful learning and communication tools are in the hands of millions worldwide. Individuals can take classes from MIT professors or connect with the greatest minds, like Neil Degrasse Tyson, through social media.

Byte-sized Potential

In addition to having access to incredible learning, we have the potential to impact the world through social media. Each tweet, Instagram image, Vine/Youtube video, and status update has the potential to go viral. It will be shared. It will spread. If our messages and digital behavior have an audience, then we need to make them matter. What will our students do with this potential? We need to get our students to realize their byte-size potential and feel the weight of this potential. They need to realize the responsibilities that come with their digital actions and also realize they are privileged to live in a world of access where they can truly pursue their passions and make a meaningful impact.

What are learners currently doing with their access? 

Anyone, anywhere in the world has the potential to be viral. They can be the next Idol, X-Factor, Youtuber, Viner, Meme, gif, trend, or hashtag. Kids and teens already use their access to impact millions with the messages they spread. They have the power to incite their followers to action. For example, the most popular Viner is 16 year-old, Nash Grier, with over 7 million followers.

The education system has failed them. Even now as they craft their next 6-second video, tweet, snap, post, status update, hashtag, and meme they won’t carry the weight or compassion of their privilege and position to be the first generation able to create viral action and messages. The movements they incite have the potential to heal, inspire, or destroy people. We will feel this as another cyberbullying incident or sexting scandal arises. Teachers have the ability to change these behaviors by teaching citizenship daily. We can inspire our students daily to publish, post, and spread in meaningful ways.

Join my movement with these free resources

I realize many teachers face barriers when teaching citizenship. They may not be allowed to teach with technology, have proper training, lack a digital literacy and citizenship curriculum, and be short on time. My goal this year is to help teachers inspire their learners to make their digital behavior matter. Currently, I am working on a book with 50 ways to get our students to spread compassion, caring, and kindness on the web. The book is based on Ed Lorenz’s Butterfly Effect and also my 30 Goals Challenge for Educators experience. Right now I’m sharing these ideas in various ways. Find them in my recent Reinvent the Classroom Keynote: Byte-Size Potential. Below are the slides to download and a Youtube video of the keynote. You can also access the recent Twitter Chat transcript for the #Edtechchat I hosted, which is full of resources from over 400 teachers. I also have created a new category on this blog, Byte-sized Potential, full of ideas on how to get our students using their access responsibly. You will find free digital citizenship and literacy resources as well as ideas like teaching with Vine, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Will you join me this year in getting our students to help spread compassion and citizenship?

Video Recording of the Keynote

Edtechchat Transcript
Special thanks to all #Edtechchat moderators and participants for a lively conversation this past Monday, May 5th. Join #Edtechchat every Monday at 8pmET.

Challenge:

Join me in giving our students the mission to spread compassion and citizenship.

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Passion, Potential, & Heroes That Fail Us

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 11.35.32 PM“The number one benefit of educational technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.” – Steve Ballmer

Passion

Some of you have heard my story. Yesterday, we celebrated my father’s birthday. My father’s passion was that his daughters be part of the first generation of Sanchez to graduate from college. We grew up in a poor neighborhood speaking Chicano English (CHE), in a city with the 2nd highest teen pregnancy in the US, in which Latinos at the time rarely graduated from high school. My grandparents dropped out by 3rd grade. My father has never had money and still struggles. For him to achieve this dream meant he had to cheat the system. My sisters and I all have our degrees. We broke a generation cycle and perpetuated new ones.

My father has always referred to me as his “pioneer.” I was his first born. I’m used to not having precedents, paving the way. I inherited passion and drive from him and I’ll always be incredibly grateful.

Potential

I, also, feel incredibly blessed to live at a time when technology strived to achieve the noble goal of putting the most powerful learning and communication tools in the hands of all people. Each day, we are starting to see that anyone, anywhere around the world has the potential to impact the world. I am the result of that potential. Fifty years ago, I would not have been able to share my passion with the world as a member of my race, gender, or social class. I am the first in my generation to have the access and the tools to inspire my world. I don’t take this mission lightly. My passion, sharing, and collaboration are the reason movements like The 30 Goals Challenge, #Edchat, and the Reform Symposium E-Conference exist. Each year, I am blessed to be able to inspire 100,000s of educators worldwide.

I’m Sorry, I Failed You

I am one of the pioneers of my profession, as an educator, female, minority, and technology leader. My passion and sharing have paved the way. Mostly, I get it right. Sometimes, I get it wrong. This year, I’ve gotten it very wrong. I’m sorry. We hold the weight of the messages we spread. No matter how defeated or broken we feel, we do not have the right to share messages that wound or hurt. I’ve seen too many of my heroes fall and never apologize or take the responsibility for their actions. I’m still healing from a very tough year, one I will gladly take, because I’ve also experienced so many magical moments. They say you learn best from failures and mistakes so I feel more confident in continuing this journey.

I want you to know I will commit to continuing the edumovements I help organize. And I will commit to inspiring. However, you should also know today begins one of the toughest trials for my family. I’ve made decisions to enable me to go through this. As my community and friends, please don’t ask questions or make colored assumptions.

A Generation Lacking Heroes

Now is the most critical time we need heroes and role models to make us feel the weight of our potential. Anyone, anywhere in the world has the potential to be viral. They can be the next Idol, X-Factor, Youtuber, Viner, Meme, gif, trend, or hashtag. They carry that potential with them everyday. It’s a staple of our digital society that shapes our routines, habits, and communication. Kids and teens already use it to impact millions with the messages they spread. They don’t have my 50,000 followers. They have 100,000s  to over a million. The most followed Viner is 15 years-old with over 6 million followers. They have the power to incite their followers to action. Their followers create memes and videos they spread. I struggle with my public role and choices everyday. I can’t imagine what a teenager or child in my position experiences.

The education system has failed them. Even now as they craft their next 6-second video, tweet, snap, post, status update, hashtag, and meme they won’t carry the weight or compassion of their privilege and position to be the first generation able to create viral action and messages. The movements they incite have the potential to heal, inspire, or destroy people. We will feel this as another cyberbullying incident or sexting scandal arises. Our schools don’t care. Policies and curriculums don’t change to include digital citizenship. They rather waste time on teaching to tests, banning devices, and filtering. We have taken one of the most noble experiences and achievements in history and turned it into something ugly. Schools did this, not technology.

Justin Beiber, is the most famous pioneer of this digital society. He took on his leadership role at age 12, being discovered on Youtube. In one of his earliest interviews, he shared, “My world got very big, very fast and based on a lot of sad examples—people expect me to get lost in it.” Sadly, his words  became the prophecy of his generation.

References

BIO. (1974). Justin Bieber Biography. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.biography.com/people/justin-bieber-522504 [Accessed: 31 Mar 2014].

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This Week’s Reboot (3rd Edition of the TRC Newsletter)

This is the 3rd issue of the new Teacher Reboot Camp eNewsletter. In this issue find free apps, web tools, resources, lesson ideas, professional development opportunities, and more.  Be inspired by the latest Edugems, discover a few of the top posts at Teacher Reboot Camp, and keep posted about The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators and the Reform Symposium Free E-Conference. You can subscribe for free at https://tinyletter.com/shellyterrell. You will get 1 to 3 newsletters per month.

Below, I have posted the current newsletter. Download this as a pdf file by clicking  https://app.box.com/trc2014news. This issue’s Edugems are: Jeffery Heil, Joe Mazza, Daniel Brown, Tom Whitby, and Esnart Chapomba. Thank you so much for your support!

Challenge:

Thank one of the Edugems for their resources!

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates or subscribe to the Teacher Reboot Camp free  eNewsletter to receive resources like these and updates on free professional development events!

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