E. B. (6th grader), Santa Claus, 2016
So, during the last week before break, I gave my students a couple of choices. They could work on coding, on typing practice, or create something (school appropriate) on Google Drawing. My one student, E.B., completely blew me away. He is not a student who is usually focused. But, this time, he was. I was so amazed and shocked at what he came up with! I did not help him one bit – he took his time, worked hard, and created this amazing image! I printed it out for him in color to give to his mom for Christmas. I mean, how could I not! This was truly a success from my Google Drawing lesson.
So I came upon a lesson from teacherspayteachers.com for Google drawing. I really liked this lesson because it incorporated the winter theme without specifically stating that students must create something Christmas-y (I avoid that as much as I can). I came across Computer Elementary Activities , which I really liked as they had a nice snowman, and directions on how to have students draw it. For my students, because I know their listening levels (basically 0), I instead put the important directions on the board and allowed students a bit of creativity with it. I was actually surprised by how many of my students enjoyed it! I did this with 6th grade to start. Several of my students, who are normally not the best in my class, did exceptionally well! I asked that if they wouldn’t mind if I could have a link to them to keep them, as I was just that impressed. Here are some examples. I highly recommend this lesson, especially as it gets closer to winter break and kids get antsy!
This week I introduced my son to Prodigy game. This is gamification math game at its best. Let me just say, he is hooked! To me, Prodigy game feels like a mix between Pokemon (with spells, animals, etc.) and almost a Zelda-feel (I’m aging myself with this…). I was actually first introduced to this at the Midwest Educators Technology Conference (METC) this past February. I thought it was cool, but then my focus went somewhere else. Then, we brought it to my school. I have seen so many of my students, who would usually go to ABCYA.com or other miscellaneous websites, now head straight for this game. And the final straw was my tech academy instructor showing me it. I fell in love.
So, I figured that was my cue to bring it to my son. From first glance, it was love. He loves powering up his animals, he is already on level 30 in one week, and he’s practicing math skills that he needs!
There are a lot of pros to this website. First, it’s free. As in seriously free! You cannot go wrong there! You don’t have any diminished services because it is free. To me, that is a great way to do business, since their revenue comes from parents buying the memberships.
For the teacher, there are a lot of back-end data that you get on students. This is invaluable for the teacher! I personally like the student progress and curriculum reports. That to me tells me a lot about what my son knows and what he still needs to work on.
Student progress of place values
The only con I can come up with is that kids will want to play this all the time! It has almost surpassed Minecraft in my house. Almost.
Screenshots from www.prodigygame.com.
I was cleaning off my desktop today and found this edtech gem. I’m pretty proud of it: it is reminiscent of my Instructional Designer days, and I know I worked hard getting everything right in one take. Not an easy thing! What could I improve on? What else should I add for the next one? I think I’d like to do more of these for my school at some point, for both students and staff…