I love using technology in my classroom.
I love using technology in my life!
Technology shoots up the engagement factor. It makes teaching a little bit easier. In some ways, it makes teaching a lot easier!
Our school only has 2 class sets of IPADS for all grades to share. While that isn’t much, I’m very grateful. I remember the days of having only one set to share. I even know what it feels like to have NONE!
Which is why I love using Plickers. It allows the use of technology without IPADS or tablets. All you need is a teacher computer, a way to project your image, and a phone with the Plickers app (also free). You can use a SmartBoard, Mimio set, or a projector.
Step 1: Set up your free account on Plickers (which is super easy).
Step 2: Plug your students’ names into the system.
Step 3: Create lessons in folders that stay in your ‘library’ until you are ready to use them.
Step 4: Print your Plickers and Play!
Here’s the magic of Plickers: the system creates QR codes for each student you assign. These are numbered and track student responses.
As an extra measure of happiness, I hot-glue them on thick popsicle sticks making it easier for students to hold up their Plicker when they answer a question.
WARNING: Laminating your Plickers could cause a glare like the one in the photo below; this has never been a problem for me scanning them with my phone, but some teachers have had problems with it. Just a heads up!
I assign a student job for the week to pass out, take up, and keep the Plickers organized. Here’s how my student helpers remember their weekly jobs.
They live in one of my file folders where they fit neatly and are easy to manage.
I type in questions for lessons during my lesson planning and display one question at a time for students to answer.
Plickers keeps track of who answers and who doesn’t. The app on my phone shows me who answered correctly or incorrectly—but this information isn’t displayed for students to see. (Can I get an amen for quick informal assessment!?! And a hallelujah that the informal assessment is low, low prep for the teacher!?! Thank you Jesus!)
Now for more fun! I have taught 4 different grade levels over the years (no, not by choice…it’s a long story that you can read about here). Every grade level or subject area I’ve taught works with Plickers.
Here are ideas on how it works for me:
- Plug in math equations for students to solve (works with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division-even long division)
- Add images of geometric shapes for geometry review
- Ask about math vocabulary words to match with definitions
- I even throw in INCORRECT equations on purpose and have students explain what went wrong (Hello deeper level thinking skills AND math talks)
- Pictures of fractions for quick review
- Images or equations with money that students need to solve
- Put some pictures of clocks on there and ask students to tell you the time
- Build deeper concepts with measurement by putting a picture of an object on Plickers and asking students what unit of measurement would be the best to use
- After you sing my FAVORITE Order of Operations song to the tune of Rihanna’s Umbrella (Oh, please tell me you’ve heard of it! If not, you MUST check it out here!!!), then you can review with a Plickers equation on order of operations
- Put up pictures of objects for students to match with its beginning or ending sound
- Use the True/False feature to ask if a word is spelled correctly
- Display a word that DOES NOT follow the particular phonics rule you’re learning for that week or unit (the English language is filled with rule-breaker words!) then have students choose the description of WHY that word doesn’t follow the phonics rule
Let me park on this one real quick; I am BIG on digging deeper in learning to discover the WHY behind a concept. I don’t just want my students memorizing ‘stuff.’ They need to KNOW the reason behind the spelling rule, phonics lesson, math rule, etc. So I incorporate examples like that last point to give my kiddos a chance to think deeper.
These mini discussion breaks may seem like time-wasters, trust me beautiful butterflies, they DO WONDERS for learning!!! (Awkward, yet still appropriate CRITICAL THINKING plug here) Ok, park break over.
- Use the multiple choice feature to have students choose the correctly spelled word
- Add a picture that defines a vocabulary word that students must match using their Plicker…
- …OR put up the word and just have students choose the correct definition
- Flip that baby around and show the definition first, then have students tell you which vocabulary word matches
- Fill in the sentence blank for spelling or vocabulary words
- Type a jacked up sentence and have students choose the correct version of it. (To expand the learning, have another one of those mini-discussions on WHY that’s the correct way to write that sentence.)
- Match the correct homophones/homographs (don’t be ashamed if you forgot the difference, that’s why I included links for you to brush up your skills…#IGotYourBack)
- Match the correct Synonyms and Antonyms (this could go under Vocabulary too I suppose)
- Ask students to identify the preposition or prepositional phrase in a sentence
- Display a sentence with an underlined word and have students identify its part of speechI also use Plickers with my Daily Practice Grammar Strips.
- Show a noun for students to match its plural or possessive form
- Show a verb for students to identify whether it’s linking or action
- Type sentences and ask students to choose the subject or predicate
- Underline nouns in the sentences for students to choose the best pronoun
Here’s a post with other ideas for teaching grammar.
- Use it as a faster form of K-W-L by having students answer True/False questions about a story or about its background information
- Review genre details by matching characteristics of each genre you display
- Complete story review by posting multiple choice questions about whole class stories/novels read
- Feature True/False questions about things good readers do. (Great quick review before reading centers, Daily 5, literature circles, or whole class reading procedures)
- Use Plickers to help students develop questioning skills. Put quick passages up and ask the 5 W’s and 1H for that passage. See this post on how I deepen reading comprehension skills using questioning.
Here’s a post with more goodies on reading comprehension in the upper elementary classroom.
Social Studies & Science:
- Learn and review geography by putting up images of landforms for students to match with its correct name
- Practice state capitals with multiple choice matching
- Learn state abbreviations with multiple choice matching
- Plickers can be used to review the steps of The Scientific Method
- Use Plickers to reinforce science vocabulary
- Whatever themed unit you are studying for science can be reviewed using images or definition examples
- Display images of various regions for students to identify that region
- Use it to review continents and oceans
- Post historical facts/dates/people and have students match the correct information. Use the multiple choice or True/False feature for this
- Show a picture of someone important in history that you’ve studied and have students match their picture with their name
- Use Plickers to reinforce social studies vocabulary
- Show a picture of an important place or landmark in history that you’ve studied and have students match its picture with its name
I also use Plickers with my Social Studies State Project.
All the Just as Important Extras:
- I feature facts about my kiddos like their favorite color, food, hobbies, etc. for other students to choose the correct answer. This builds community by showing that getting to know each other is important
- We begin using Plickers right away to learn each other’s names. I post their pictures up and have students match it with the correct name. Doing this simple activity is also how I introduce the procedures for how we use Plickers in class
- Review class procedures and policies that are established during back to school/first days
- Reinforce recess/playground rules
- I have even used it as a voting system in class when I give students choices that they make as a whole group
I need to park again. Plickers allows you to set an answer as being correct. OR you can leave the answer choices neutral. Without a right or wrong answer, the system just records responses and puts all the results in graph form for you to see. I often use this feature to collect info for surveys or as a voting tool.
- Use it as a survey tool with parents during Open House night to collect quick info (AND to impress everyone of course!)
- Use it as a survey tool with students also (ex. field trip review)
Whoa mama, this list is long! Yet, there are beautiful butterfly teachers out there transforming learning in even more ways using Plickers.
Grab this awesome free printable checklist with links of everything I mentioned so that you can keep it as a handy reference for using Plickers.
How do you use Plickers in your classroom? Have any tips or tricks I didn’t mention. As Angie from Lucky Little Learners says, “We are better together.”
So let’s get better with using Plickers together!