Digital Tools to Use as Warm-up or Extension Activities in the Classroom

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     What an amazing school year it has been! My ESOL kids had lots of fun with their International Day projects.  I was able to use a number of digital tools in my classroom that my students truly enjoyed and shared the resources I used with my colleagues in one professional development session.

     And so my Summer vacation officially begins. This is the best time to do some gardening, to clean out closets, to get rid of the clutter in every nook and corner of the house, (which I hope I never have to do!), but most of all, to spend some quality time with my family. But not quite, because right now, I am in the process of compiling some apps and sites that I thought would be useful in my class, either as a warm-up or an extension activity. This, however, requires that students have access to a mobile laptop or a tablet. Here is a list of five digital tools that I thought any teacher could use in his/her class:

1. AnswerGarden – This is best for brainstorming activity where you ask one question and students answer in 20 words or less. To create an AnswerGarden, type a question, then share it with your class via a direct link to your AnswerGarden so that they can post their answers.

2. Tagxedo – turns your text into a word cloud with different shapes, which is perfect for visual learners. For example, you might ask them to list down synonyms of the word “love,” then turn these different words into a heart-shaped tag cloud!

3. Wordle – This is another word cloud-generating digital tool that is similar to Tagxedo, but without the shapes.

4. Padlet – This tool lets you build a wall for your students to post answers live in the classroom. This is perfect if you want to immediately gauge their writing skills as they post their answers in one sentence or two. All they have to do is double-tap on the wall and type in their answers, which everybody can read.

5. Popplet lite – This is a mind-mapping tool that allows students to sort out their ideas visually using texts, drawings, or photos. I am quite sure students would enjoy thinking about words or ideas that are associated with a certain concept and sorting them out using this app as compared to just using a traditional concept mapping template on a worksheet.

     So, whenever you’re ready to plan for the next school year, visit their websites to find out more details about how to use them in the classroom.

     Let’s all enjoy our Summer!

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