Ideally, students spend most of their time working on their own, creating their own writing, progressing through their own lessons. Sometimes you need a direct instruction lesson, though. Sometimes a concept is easier to teach–and more importantly, to learn–through direct instruction.  Sometimes seeing each other’s ideas in real time is beneficial. And sometimes, after several days of doing an in-class flip, we all feel the need to learn together and interact.

But using direct instruction doesn’t have to mean pure lecture. I use Pear Deck as a way to keep my students thinking actively, whether it’s about a video we’re watching, a section they’re reading in a text, or a concept I’m presenting (or reviewing.)

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Today I used Pear Deck in three classes. First, my Applied Communications 12 class learned about revising for tactfulness and preciseness. After showing some good and poor examples on Pear Deck, I gave them a couple statements to revise through Pear Deck’s text option. In a minute, the class could see everyone’s revision on the projector screen. When there is more than one way to revise, it’s good for students to see how others did it and talk about it.

With my Applied Communications 11 class, we analyzed advertisements for loaded language. I had uploaded images of ads, and students were able to use their laptop mouse pad to circle the loaded words in the ads.  Then we were able to look at everyone’s circles and compare.

Finally, we watched the infamous Macbeth banquet scene. Four times during the scene, we stopped and students either answered a question I posted for them or wrote their own text response. I then revealed everyone’s (anonymous) responses on the projector screen. This allows for all students to share what they’re thinking without the fear of others knowing which response was theirs.

Pear Deck is a phenomenal resource for direct instruction. Although some of the features (such as drawing) comes with the premium version, anyone can still do text responses and multiple choice questions with the free version. And you can’t do any better than free.