Technology Pursuit

Blending Technology Into the Language Arts Classroom

Month: April 2017

The Easter Egg: The 4/20/17 #games4ed Chat

Nearly every week I participate in the #games4ed chat, and every week I am so blessed to learn new takeaways from some of my favorite Twitter peeps! Last night’s chat focused on Easter Eggs in games, and here are some of my favorite ideas:


Tale Blazer: New to me, Tale Blazer is MIT’s AR software that allows teachers and students to build mobile games around any subject. It sounds like it has amazing potential and can’t wait to play with it more!


Easter Eggs Throughout the School: I loved the concept of planting eggs for the entire student body. One very simple idea was putting Easter Eggs in the daily announcements–something that would be great for middle and high school students. Another idea shared was setting up Easter Eggs during Back to School nights or Student Orientation Days–a great way to get incoming freshmen to interact with their surroundings more!

Games that use Easter Eggs–Literally: While planning the chat, I ran across some great idea for actually using eggs, like using eggs to teach prefixes, roots and suffixes. Other uses could be for math problems or any type of game that connects two ideas together–Great for tactile learners!

Full Transcripts from the Easter Egg chat can be found here.


If you’ve never been to a #games4ed Twitter chat, come check it out! Every Thursday, 8pmET/7pmCT/6pmMT/5pmPT!





The Peer Review Process

It’s spring, three weeks left with my seniors, and time to review what worked well this year–and what didn’t. And one thing that I’m never fully happy with is my peer review process.

I’ve used myriad ways: Google forms, Google docs, plain old hard copy. This year I used, which is a handy tool and helped the organization of it all.

But still, I’ve never been content. Some students take it seriously. Some don’t. Although I know these are teenagers, and I may not get 100% engagement every minute of every day, some peer review half-heartedly.

I don’t blame them. I blame myself–at least partly. As a teacher, I don’t feel like I’ve yet truly prepared them all for peer review. In fact, there have been years I bypassed using peer review completely–after all, I decided, I’m the teacher. Shouldn’t they get their feedback from me?

Then I think back to my masters degree workshops. I learned just as much about writing reading and thinking through giving feedback on others’ papers as I did getting feedback for my own. Perhaps even more.

This past week, I read Starr Sackstein’s new book Peer Feedback in the Classroom, which gave me a great idea: Jigsaw peer review. Rather than having students assess all aspects of writing, Sackstein describes how “expert groups” focus on one area of writing, such as introduction, analysis, and organization.

I love the advantage of having students focus on one area. It’s less overwhelming to them, especially for those who aren’t completely confident in their feedback.

This is certainly something I’ll try next year–and if you get a chance, take a read of Peer Feedback in the Classroom. It applies to ANY type of peer feedback, whether it be writing, art, science projects, or any type of student creation.


Listen Up! Two New Gaming Podcasts

A few weeks ago, I finished forensics season. I was spent. Exhausted. Dare I say–a bit burned out.

What better way to get rejuvenated than to tune into a couple new podcasts while out walking in the spring weather?

  1. Legends of Edgames Podcast: The Legends of Learning crew launched their podcast this past January, focusing on #GBL in the classroom. This past weekend, I listened to Episode #4 with guest Chris Aviles, gamification guru. Anything with Chris is a great read (or in this case, listen) as he shared his insights and learnings about gaming in the classroom. Plus, if you’re a middle school science teacher, you definitely need to check out the hundreds of games Legends of Learning website now has to offer!      
  2. Well PlayED Podcast: Michael Matera and Tisha Richmond talk about gamification, game-based learning, and just plain old playful learning. Just launched, this podcast promises to be another staple in the game-loving-teacher’s toolbelt. In the first episode, Michael and Tisha share the reasons they love gamifying their learning and their overall process in how they started.


Of course, there are always amazing Twitter chats to join for game-based learning and gamification! All three of the chats are filled with great minds, always welcoming new folks and lurkers!

Tuesdays, 7pmCT: #MinecraftEDU

Wednesdays, 7pmCT: #XPLAP

Thursdays, 7pmCT: #games4ed


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