Bored of your Borders?!

 

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I like adding borders to my class handouts.  See some of my work here:  Everybody Walk the Dinosaur. For those days when there is just no extra time in your teaching-packed day, the built-in borders from Microsoft Word are a great way to spice up an ordinary handout.

Follow the example below, and you’ll see that it is really easy to made something special!

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Send in the Interactive Word Cloud!

 

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Start the year off with an interactive word cloud!

I am always looking for fun ways to generate classroom participation.  If you can relate to my quest, take a look at AnswerGarden.ch.    The site lets you create a word cloud with audience responses in real-time.  I am a big fan of word clouds as you know – remember my post on  Dreaming of September Bulletin Boards

With  AnswerGarden,  you post a question and  watch the magic happen as your audience responds.   It is a great tool for opening a lesson, brainstorming, or  a quick assessment check.  No time in class?   Set it up on your online platform.

This is a free site  with no login requirement!

Watch this tutorial and you will see how easy it is to use!

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Powerful PowerPoint AIMS

AIM. The GOAL. The “here’s what we are about to do today folks, so get ready!” moment.

When I first started teaching the recommendation from the “higher ups” was “ELICIT THE AIM”. Elicit the AIM? Spend 5 minutes and WASTE my class time having my students GUESS what we are going to be talking about. No thanks, talk about being “ineffective”!!

Instead I give them something to think about as they are entering my classroom. Unpacking their bags. Waking up from their long journey in. My AIMS have to be interesting or my students will not be invigorated to “discuss amongst themselves!” Here’s how I find success every morning. Please note: you can do emulate these ideas on a whiteboard, chalkboard, a smart-board anytime of board you please as long as you are not BORED!

  1. Try to add an icon or graphic or GIF to your presentation.
  2. Think of a question that relates to the lesson but is not easily answerable by a YES or NO.
  3. Try to draw synthesis to other lessons you have taught over the past week, month or year.

Here are some of my favorites from my US History course. What AIMS have you tried?

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Discuss amongst yourselves (Online that is!)

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“Hi, this is Linda Richman. I’m verklempt ! Talk amongst yourselves! Here, I’ll give you a topic: The Holy Roman Empire. It wasn’t holy, it wasn’t Roman, and it wasn’t an empire. Discuss!”

Just a little Saturday Night Live Humor for you.

Now – If you have some students who are super quiet in class, you might be surprised at how they come to life online. I have seen such a change in my students when I ask them to join in on an online discussion. Usually a week-long discussion board is all you need as a great assignment to bring them out of their shells!

Here’s how – Choose an exciting or controversial topic to motivate participation, similar to how you would choose one for a great debate, or socratic seminar in the classroom!  One possibility is to post a difficult problem or debate question and ask students to write a multi-paragraph response.

Later in the week, they can respond to two or more of their classmates.   You can also ask students to post a document or video to enhance their response.   I have found that group assignments work especially well online.  It is harder to free-ride on your group when all your work is displayed. Continue reading “Discuss amongst yourselves (Online that is!)”