Technology Pursuit

Blending Technology Into the Language Arts Classroom

Category: British Literature

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


New Google Read and Write Highlighting Tools!

We tried out a new add-on in my Brit Lit class today:  the Google Read and Write highlighting tools.  The current highlighting tools in the Google toolbar aren’t exactly the easiest to use, but this add-on made highlighting so much easier!

Highlighting Tools

We’re smack in the middle of a Jonathan Swift/satire unit, and we’re prepping to read “A Modest Proposal.”  Today we watched a Stephen Colbert clip that happens to be formatted just like an essay.  After watching the clip, I showed the students a transcript version (slightly altered to be more for the PG-13 crowd) and we reviewed essay structure.  Last semester we practiced highlighting thesis statements in green, main ideas in yellow, and supporting details in pink.  This strengthens both their understanding while reading non-fiction texts and helps them structuring their own non-fiction texts.

Instead of the clunky Google toolbar highlighting, we used the Read & Write tools–so much easier!



With color coding, students can see the patterns in non-fiction writing, which increases their reading ability as well as their writing ability.  Since my objective the next two weeks is to help them develop ideas in their writing, we did a reverse T-chart of this writing, analyzing the main points and then analyzing the different supporting details for each of the four points.  We did the T-charts the old-fashioned way:  plain old pencil and paper.

But today was truly a hybrid class period:  Reading (hard copy books, and ebooks on phones, and iPads),Vocab review on Pear Deck, online video, online text & highlighting, and the classic pencil to paper & whiteboard modeling work.  And to be honest, that’s the way I like it.  A little something for everyone, and it keeps them moving and always doing something new that appeals to their style of learning.

Embedding Video and Forms in Google Sites

Last summer at the Great Plains Google Summit, I learned how to embed video into a Google form.  I’m sure a million people knew how to do this before me, but what a great trick–especially on a substitute day.  All the students have to do is go to their gmail, click on the link, watch the video, and answer the questions.  Bing, bang, boom–great lesson plan!

Until I tried it for the first time.  Our school has youtube locked down tighter than the Hope Diamond, so the video was unaccessible.  I asked our tech coordinator extraordinaire to open up the video, but still no luck!  Alas, I ended up playing the video on the projector and they answered the questions on the form.  Ever since, I’ve put a hyperlink into the directions on the Google form, so students can go to YouTube, watch the video in one tab, and answer the questions in the other.

Is it a big deal that they have to separate into two windows to do this?  Not really.  It’s just…not as spiffy.

This week, I’m trying a new workaround.  In my goal to gain more experience with Google sites, I created a Jonathan Swift Intro page (The Brit Lit kiddoes will be reading excerpts from Gulliver’s Travels and “A Modest Proposal” over the next two weeks.)  After creating my slideshow, recording my voiceover, and uploading it to YouTube, I embedded the video to the page.  Then I created the form (with my fancy schmancy custom Gulliver’s Travels banner) and embedded that to the page.  It’s almost as slick as embedding the video directly into the form.  (BTW, here’s the video)

I haven’t had a chance to check its efficacy, but I’ll find out in the next two days.  I’ve embedded YouTube videos to my classroom blog before and, once they’ve been opened on the filter, they’ve worked.  Hopefully this will, too.

The overall site is EXTREMELY rough–it’s a summer project plan.  But if you want to check out my Jonathan Swift Intro page, go here: Jonathan Swift Intro

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