Celebrating Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month

We at Voki are always considering how to help you make learning more meaningful in your classroom. We know that your goal as a teacher is to foster a love of learning through an engaging curriculum. If you are already following along with us here on the Voki blog, you know the importance of seeing through your students’ eyes  and understanding what makes them tick. That is why so many rockstar teachers are always looking for more ways to use tech in everyday classroom routines. It is our goal to help, and make it easy & fun. It may seem intimidating, but it can be quite simple with the right technology.

 

An increasing number of studies have shown “increased student engagement and motivation when students have the opportunity to use tech for authentic learning experiences. Students find technology more engaging because it bridges the gap between their digital lives outside of school and their too often non-digital lives inside of school”. (More about this here.)

Many teachers are looking for more ways to bridge that digital gap in their classrooms.

That is why we are excited and honored to present to you with these new historic figures for Black History Month! Presenting…

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was a leader of the abolitionist movement and a former slave. He spent his life fighting for the betterment of the lives of African-Americans. He was also a supporter of women’s rights. Among other things, he was a self-taught scholar, wrote several books, and acted as Abolitionist advisor to Abraham Lincoln.

 

Coming Soon… Thurgood Marshall!

Thurgood Marshall successfully argued the Brown v. Board of Education case that would make segregated schools no longer legal.  He was the first African-American Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was an activist from the South whose courageous choice not to surrender her seat to a white passenger and her subsequent arrest sparked outrage and led to the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. Parks’ decision to defy this segregation law in the 1950s was a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was a non-violent anti-apartheid activist who became the first black president of South Africa. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his efforts to abolish South Africa’s oppressive infrastructure.

 

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader and minister during the Civil rights Movement. He was an advocate of peaceful protest and employed this strategy in his fight to gain blacks equal rights. He is well-known for his “I Have A Dream” speech.

 

We know that you strive to bring learning to life in your classrooms. We’ve seen how you dress up like the characters in books, write songs about fractions, put on plays about greek mythology. You are constantly doing your best to create excitement around the topics you teach. We admire your dedication, but more importantly we want to help you imbue your lessons with the kind of energy that gets your students excited about coming to school everyday.

 

This month we’d love to see how your students delve into history about leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela and their fierce and peaceful movements to bring equality to the oppressed. Will your students feel empowered by Rosa Parks’ courageous choice to break the law for the civil rights of many?

Here are some ideas we have for how you can integrate Voki and these heroic figures into your lessons this month (and hopefully beyond.)

 

  • Play “Black History Month Jeopardy” using our new historical characters as the question askers as shown here.
  • Ask students to create avatars explaining history quadrants of before and after each historical figure’s contributions to society. See a teacher’s similar project here
  • Create healthy competitions amongst these icons with our brand new product, Voki Hangouts! Have students debate (representing themselves as these heroic avatars) which historical figure facilitated the most change in their communities. Never miss a valuable student comment or discussion with Voki Hangouts!

 

We can’t wait to see you expand the historical narrative in your classrooms. If you’ve created a rock star lesson using Voki avatars, we’d LOVE to see it. We love featuring videos and pictures of teachers and students who use and love Voki. Send any videos or photos to feedback@voki.com

 

Warmly,

The Voki Team

 

 

 

Student Choice in the Classroom

Student Choice in the Classroom

student choice

Welcome Karianne Politowski as this week’s guest blogger! 

 At Voki, we love more than anything sharing the authentic ways in which teachers are using Voki to enrich their classrooms. See how her students used Voki! Take it away Karianne! 

Voki is a tool I can use no matter what grade level or subject I am teaching.  My teaching career thus far has been anything but boring. I have rarely taught the same thing two years in a row. Voki is a great tool to use with my students because it is both easy to use and a great way for students to demonstrate learning. This year I used it for the students to describe the differences between pioneer schools and our schools.

karianne ss

http://kidblog.org/WASE3Blue/bd731dec-0cfc-4dc2-ba86-c97772c30bda/pioneer-school-facts-6/

For the first project of the year using Voki, I let the students choose any backgrounds, and characters they want. This way they get a feel for the options that are available. As they get more comfortable, they are asked to use characters and backgrounds that match the content they are sharing.karianness2http://kidblog.org/WASE3Blue/eb52c2ab-a709-420e-a2ba-76c2cb70895d/pioneer-school-facts-7/

Another reason I love Voki is because the students can easily embed their projects on their blogs. Then they can get feedback from all over the world on their work. Feedback from authentic audiences motivates students to do their best work. Constructive criticism from outside sources is taken much more seriously than if it just comes from their teacher.  karianness3http://kidblog.org/WASE3Blue/9f342e0b-2d7b-4e88-ba3c-3b7cc7afe772/pioneer-facts/

I am trying to incorporate student choice into my classroom as often as I can. Online tools like Voki are a great way for me to do this. I introduce each tool at the beginning of the year. By mid-year, students are allowed to choose which tool they want to use to show me what they have learned.kariss4

http://kidblog.org/WASE3Yellow/2540f434-155c-458b-9d09-2499e6c4ca1d/my-pioneer-voki/

kariss5

http://kidblog.org/WASE3Yellow/8ea0418d-5d8b-486d-b75b-11d97ccd7df0/pioneer-facts/

Thanks, Karianne! 

class selfieKarianne is a 3rd grade teacher at Wallenpaupack Area South Elementary School located in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. In her past 6 years here at WASE, she has  taught 3rd, 4th and 6th grades. She has a Masters in Educational Technology!