Technology Pursuit

Blending Technology Into the Language Arts Classroom

Tag: Curriculet

Big News! Curriculet and USA Today Join Forces!


Curriculet new current eventsAny of my blog or Twitter followers know I’m a huge proponent of Curriculet.  Every time I use it, I marvel at its effectiveness.  Students can read extra annotations to point out inferences or allusions they may not pick up on their own or watch related videos.

And just when I think it can’t get much better, it does.

Curriculet and USA Today are working together to create current event Curriculets!

First of all, they are cross-curricular.  Not only is this for social studies teachers, but for arts, science, physical education, health–articles are available for any subject area.

Plus, they’re premade.  No questions to make up, no annotations to add on.  All the work is done for you.  Need a quick subplan?  Want to integrate more non-fiction reading into your class but you don’t have time?  Everything is done for you.  The questions are well-written and correspond to Common Core standards.

Curriculet current events 2

Many of them link to videos, infographics, or other articles for the students to read, so not only are students reading one article, but they’re “reading” other media that enriches and deepens their understanding.

It’s a huge win for digital literacy.

Interactive Tools that Rock My Classroom!

For my multimedia class this week, we had to compile an annotated list of interactive web tools to use with students.  Of course, Google rules the roost with their suite of apps–enough to write thousands of blog posts on.  But for this assignment, I decided to focus on some others out there:


Pear Deck:

Free for up to 5 uploads (unlimited decks made ON SITE), $100 for unlimited PDF uploads)

Grades 2-12

Any subject

I started using Pear Deck, an interactive presentation app, in August, and it’s been amazing.  I’m a huge supporter, proponent, advocate, and everything else for this site.  You can create a slideshow deck right on site or upload a Google presentation or PowerPoint.  Then you can add multiple choice questions, open ended questions, drawing, or draggables.  Also you can embed YouTube videos and link to websites.  I love presenting a mini lesson, then using it for formative assessments.  It’s great for quick reviews or to go over problematic questions from tests or worksheets.  I had a Google Hangout with one of the Pear Deck gurus this Friday, and they’re wanting to start a Pear Deck library for slide decks created by teachers.  There’s not a lot of bells and whistles with fonts, colors, transitions, etc., but it makes the deck creation very simple, quick, while still looking sharp and attractive.  In teacher view, you can see every student’s screen and how they’re doing for instant monitoring.  What I love most about it is it saves right in your Google Drive, so if you are in a GAFE school, there’s no limit to the storage.  I’ve blogged quite a bit about Pear Deck here:


Grades 2-12

Any subject


Students LOVE this app.  An easy quiz/poll app that also creates leaderboards for each “game”.  Fantastic for reviewing information.  I’ve also had students create their own quizzes to review for tests Create your own quizzes or search the huge library for already made quizzes.

Curriculet Mac Stick spot

Grades 2-12

Any subject


I LOVE this app.  You can use texts already in the Curriculet library (some newer ones must be purchased for a minimal price) or upload your own PDFs or link to websites.  Any news article online could be used in this app!  Then you add questions, annotations, and links to the Curriculet.  Best of all, the app will track your students and automatically grade the multiple choice questions, as well as record how long students spent on the assignment.  This is SO great for flipped classrooms–I can give credit for students reading the material, see what they’re struggling with, know by the time if they tried or just clicked through quickly.  I blog more about it here:



Grades 6-12

Any subject!

Free for 2 weeks; $70/quarter or $120/year

Earlier this month I started experimenting with gamification with the use of this LMS-type site.  If you’re interested in using game mechanics–quests, badges, awards–in your classroom, this is an excellent tool.  Some students loved it, some hated it.  The ones who loved it were either gamers or ones who enjoyed working at their own pace.  The ones who hated it either 1) were gamers who just wanted to play Halo or GTA all day, 2) had senioritis and didn’t want to learn a new piece of technology, or 3) were students who would rather just be working outside with their hands and not stuck in school.  (Maybe that’s the same as the #2 students)  I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use this next year, but I’m definitely planning on using quest-based learning with these same principles.   More blogs about this site here:


GlassLab Games

Grades 2-10

Multiple subjects


An up and coming site partly funded by Bill and Melinda Gates as part of the game-based learning movement.  There isn’t much for high school here (yet), but lots for upper-elementary and middle school.  A great middle-school game I downloaded to my ipad is Argubots, used for teaching argumentation to grades 6-8.  I plan to have my 5th grade daughter start playing this soon.



Grades 2-8 (customizable for high school)

Multiple subjects

Free (Can purchase games with already made questions)

Still a startup,  but keep an eye out on this.  The app’s mission is to gamify tests.  Students get to personalize their avatar, and as they complete questions, they move along in the race.  Right now it’s only one running race/game available.  A few sample tests are available, but teachers can also customize their own tests.  I love the idea of this site and having students be able to see their success, but I’d like to see more games, particularly games that aren’t encouraging a fast pace.  Currently the running game would work well for basic memorization facts–multiplication tables, periodic table elements, vocabulary, etc.–but I wouldn’t suggest it for questions that you want students to take their time, such as critical reading or multi-step math questions.  I may play around with this more this summer and use it next year with my vocabulary quizzes.

Garden   Memrise


Grades 3-12

Any subject

FREE (Can pay for premium, but I don’t see much bonus to it)

My students LOVE this site for vocabulary usage.  Teachers type in the words and definitions, and when students log in, they are presented with two flashcards, then rapid-fire questions about those words.  By starting with just two words and then building after students show mastery of those, the kids very quickly get used to the definitions.  Their vocab quiz scores SKYROCKETED  on this last test.  The students also love the leaderboards that come with this system.  Sure, students who are naturally quick learners will garner points quickly, but even students who struggle can work their way up the leaderboard if they wish to spend more time on the site.  It’s very non-threatening and does not take away points for incorrect answers.  This created a very heavy competition between two of my students, who apparently both stayed up most of one night competing with each other over VOCABULARY words!  (It goes without saying that they both ACED the quiz!)  But as more proof:  my students have started using it for other classes, such as Spanish and anatomy!  They put in the words from those classes themselves and set up their own “flashcards” and quizzes.


Any others that you’d all recommend?  List them in the comments below!  I’m always on the lookout for cool web tools and apps!

Linking to Images in Curriculet

Martletstick spot



Curriculet is such a great resource that I’ve found to use while teaching Macbeth.  Shakespeare uses so many metaphors and allusions that students don’t understand–such as the martlet on the far top and Lady Macbeth’s reference to the “sticking point” in the lower top.

With Curriculet, I can embed those images directly into the text, so students can see and understand the reference visually.  Extremely handy!

Curriculet has become my go-to app for assigned reading.  Instead of spending classtime reading the text with the students, explaining it, and helping them with the basic understanding, they can read it on their own here, follow my annotations, answer my reading check questions, and gain that basic level of understanding.  Then I can spend class time with deeper, richer activities, such as the Institute of Play’s Socratic Smackdown that we did earlier this week.

I also love the fact that students move at their own pace.  The ones who have questions I can work with one-on-one.  I also link the PBS Macbeth film to the Curriculet, so students can view the film while reading the text.  I love how students can see the play come alive with professional actors; seeing the film version simultaneously with the text also scaffolds their understanding.

Teach Macbeth Through Curriculet

Curriculet MB A1S3,4


In between parent-teacher conferences today, I made a new Curriculet for Act 1, Scenes 3 & 4 of Macbeth.  If you’re planning to teach Macbeth in the imminent future, you can check it out here.

The great thing about Curriculet is I can embed video links that allow students to view the scene before they read it.  Or, if they resize windows, they can watch it side by side with the text.  This allows for 1) students to pick up on body language and non-verbal cues and better understand the text, and 2) consider the lines that aren’t included or are rearranged in the film and why the director made these choices.

Below, you can see the side-by-side windows that I encourage my students to use when they’re “reading” Macbeth.  This method is a great way to “flip” our classroom, especially when I have several student-athletes who plan to be gone.

Next week, we tackle Lady Macbeth’s opening soliloquy in  Scene 5–then I’ll be testing out the Socratic Smackdown.  I’ll keep you posted with how it goes.

Side by side Macbeth.jpg copy

Flipping a Classroom with Curriculet


I guinea pigged my students with a week ago, and I absolutely love the results.  The website allows teachers to take texts and embed questions, annotations, and videos into it.  Teachers can then track students performance and check their mastery.  It’s a great flipped-classroom website, as this allows teachers to look at a glance whether students understand the material and then move onto more critical thinking activities during class.

In addition to adding your own texts, you can also use texts and “curriculets” from other teachers with questions already embedded.  This site is still young and growing, but what a great resource it has the potential to become for all curricular areas.

Curriculet: A Love Continued…

Yesterday I posted about my anticipation for using Curriculet with my British Lit students today.  If you want to check out my Curriculet, click here for my (abridged) “A Modest Proposal” Curriculet.

So now…the results!

Overall, I declare a success with our maiden voyage with Curriculet.  So far, I’ve heard no complaints about the site.  (I did field some complaints about the content, as they read “A Modest Proposal,” but as I told them, if they weren’t at least a little disturbed by Swift’s suggestion of 18th century cannibalism, I’d be worried.)

I’m not sure how to organize all my thoughts, so I’m simply going to enumerate them.

1.  The one major problem I encountered was linking my Google Classroom to the Curriculet website.  The link directed them to the “Log in” screen rather than a “Join” screen.  Note that this problem is ALL ON ME.  Once they were on the “Join” screen and I gave them their enrollment code, they were golden.

2.  I also found problems with the embedding of the YouTube video.  Again, likely had NOTHING to do with Curriculet and EVERYTHING to do with our school’s filter.  Even if a video is open on the filter, I find they still don’t open when embedded on Google forms, Google sites, Versal–pretty much anywhere.  I simply copy and pasted the code into the annotation so they could still watch the video at YouTube directly.  (But if they’re using any other wi-fi, I bet they’d love the embedded videos right there next to the text.)

3.  Curriculet gives great data of both in-progress and finished students.  Check out the first screenshot:

Curriculet student scores


I didn’t give a “quiz” but only individual questions, so there’s not data there.  However, I know at a glance how long it took students on average to read the essay and how many are finished.  Then I can see their individual scores (names are blurred) followed by how many questions they answered correctly, how long each took, and whether he/she is finished or still in progress.

Curriculet question results


On another tab, I access data about individual questions.  I can see that I need to review questions 5, 6, 7, 8, and 12 during our next class.

I’m very pleased with how it went.  As with all inaugural website adventures, there’s extra time spent helping some students get to where they need to be, but once they were “in” the Curriculet site, they navigated it very easily.  I’ll definitely be using this again (and again, and again, and again.)  And so, my tryst wtih Curriculet continues…


Curriculet: A Crush Destined for True Love?

Two days ago, I happened upon Curriculet thanks to Kate Baker and her blog.  Immediately, I fell into a hard-hitting crush with the website.



At Curriculet, you can choose among texts that are already available in the “store” or upload your own text.  Then comes the magic.  In those texts, teachers can embed annotations, multiple choice questions, open-ended questions, quizzes, and even YouTube videos.

Today, I made my first Curriculet using a text I abridged of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modern Proposal.”  I inserted lots of questions, annotations about historical facts, and a modern-day interpretation of the essay on YouTube.  Tomorrow, my students will start read it, get immediate feedback from the multiple choice questions, and watch the modern-day interpretation all in one place.

Here are screenshots from my Curriculet.  I’ll let you know tomorrow how it goes!

Curriculet annotation Curriculet MC 2 Sample cirriculet page Curriculet question


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