Matt Miller is an amazing educator who I have had the pleasure to meet several times. He is passionate about students and meaningful technology integration. Matt has written countless blog posts about technology integration and the book Ditch That Textbook. I have read the book and found a number of great ideas. I share this background as I plan to share some of Matt's ideas with you throughout the year, but also wanted you to be able to peruse his resources for yourself.
Integration IdeasBell Ringer Activities
The following is taken from Matt Miller's 10 digital bell-ringer activities to kick start class posts.
I have modified Matt's two posts about bell ringers below to include activities that use approved tools. Please take a look at his original for more details and ideas that you could use with your students that could be modified to use approved tools.
BELL RINGER ACTIVITIES
1. Add speech bubbles to a historic photo. Add a new twist to a lesson by letting students speak — or think — for the characters. My favorite way to do this is with Google Drawings (for creating individual images) or Google Slides (for having each student create a slide in a shared presentation). Do an image search for a historic photo and add that photo to the drawing or slide. Then add speech bubbles. (If using Drawings/Slides, it’s in the shapes under the “callouts” category.) This is higher-order thinking! Students must know their facts and understand the people involved very well to be able to think for them. Kick the Depth of Knowledge level up even higher by having students justify their thinking and explain why they wrote what they did.
Example: Washington crossing the Delaware. Find the historic painting and add a thought bubble for Washington. (Then, add a thought bubble for a soldier too!)
2. Ask a character/historic figure a question. What if students could ask someone they’re studying a question? What would they ask, and how would that person likely respond? This is another that can be done quickly and easily in Google Slides or Drawings. Let students take a photo of themselves using Insert > Image > Take a snapshot. Then, use the image search to find a photo of the person to whom they’ll ask the question. Add speech bubbles to ask questions. Students could ask one question with one answer from the character/historic figure, or they could do a back-and-forth with several photos.
Example: Asking Sir Isaac Newton a question about how he concluded that gravity was due to the pull from the earth.
3. Create a flowchart. Sticking with the Google Slides/Drawings idea, have students express their understanding of a concept with a flowchart. This can easily be done with shapes and arrows (found under the line tool) in Slides and Drawings. A single line throughout a flowchart makes for more of a timeline and less of a flowchart, so any time it can branch off, the flowchart is made more interesting! (Pro tip: copy (Ctrl+C) and paste (Ctrl+V) the shapes and arrows to save time.)
Example: Go through the process of deciding what to have for lunch and all of the decisions made in that process.
4. Make comic strips out of webcam photos. Those webcams don’t have to be just for selfie-style photos (especially those with peace fingers and duck lips …). Have students back away from the camera and pose to recreate scenes of what you’re studying. Or, have them sit side by side and have a discussion. This makes the students the stars of their own comic strips!
Example: Recreating a scene from a story or having a discussion about something they’re learning in class.
5. Create a quick animation.Google Slides (or PowerPoint or any presentation slide tool) can be turned into a simple stop-motion animation tool. Create the first slide in your animation, then duplicate it, then move something slightly in the second slide. Duplicate the second slide and move something slightly in the third. Continue duplicating and moving until your animation is complete. Once your students have the hang of this, they can make animations pretty quickly.
Example: Recreating historic battles with moving maps (here’s a brief, incomplete example of the Battle of Little Big Horn) or showing how a math problem is completed.
6. Shared slide presentations.Google Slides doesn’t have to be used just to do presentations in front of the class! Create a slide presentation with enough slides for each student in the class. Then share that slide presentation with the class using the blue “Share” button. (Be sure to use the “Get shareable link” button and choose “Anyone with the link can edit” or “Anyone from <your school district> can edit” from the dropdown menu.) Each student gets a slide where he/she can do his/her own work. But you’re also creating a whole class file. Students love to see what each other has put on the other slides, and it’s a great place to interact through comments. Here’s a shared slide presentation I did in a workshop where participants wrote about their ideal vacation destination.
Example: Finding quick facts/photos online about a topic you’ll discuss in class that day.
More Bell Ringer Ideas
7. Tweet for someone. What would happen if a character in a story you’re reading tweeted about an event in the story? Or about an event in current events … or in another story? What if a scientist or mathematician or notable character in history tweeted? Now, you can let students create those tweets as bell-ringer activities. Use this Google Slides template. (Make sure you make your own copy.) Create a slide for each student. Then share the slide presentation with your students (through Google Classroom, through a learning management system, with a link using the blue Share button). Make it “Anyone with the link can edit”. Students jump on their own slides and add the following: a photo, the name of the person tweeting, the Twitter username (start it with @), and the tweet. Ninja tip: To turn the photo to a circle, click on the photo and use the dropdown button next to the crop tool to select a circle as the crop shape!
8. Create a “What do you know about …” Padlet. Padlet (padlet.com) is like a digital bulletin board. Use it to tack digital notes to it with push pins. Those notes, though, can have links, files, images and other multimedia attached to them — much cooler than a regular bulletin board. Kick off class for the day by creating a collaborative “What do you know about …” Padlet. Pose a question: “What do you know about dolphins?” and encourage students to add whatever they can — personal experiences, facts, images, videos, whatever. This is a great way to activate prior knowledge.
9. Record a short explainer video. Sometimes, it’s just easier to show someone what you’re talking about than to write it. Students can fire up a screen recording video with WeVideo. Teachers can use WeVideo or Screencastify (screencastify.com) in moments using the tool’s extension for the Google Chrome browser. Students can quickly record their screen, record with their webcam and/or record audio with their microphone to kick off class. It’s easy for them to share those videos with others after uploading them to Google Drive — or to turn them in with Google Classroom.
10. Write blackout poetry. Have you ever seen those poems written by marking out all of the words in a news article or book page except a few with a black marker? This is blackout poetry. This can be a fun — and creativity-provoking — way to kick off class. Have students take a photo of a page of text (or a screenshot of an article online). Paste that image into Google Drawings or Slides. In Google Drawings, they can use lines or shapes (long skinny rectangles work great) to black out words. (Do a web search for “blackout poetry” for examples.) Students could create them on their own individual slides of a shared Google Slides presentation (see No. 7 in the previous bell-ringer post). If each student has his/her own slide, the whole slide show becomes a big gallery of blackout poetry!