Featured Teacher Sheila Slawiak Transforms Her Classroom with Voki

Featured Teacher Sheila Slawiak Transforms Her Classroom with Voki

featured_teacher_canva

This summer, we asked our Voki community to submit their stories on how Voki has changed their classroom experience. We’d like to share with you the story of Sheila Slawiak, our featured teacher winner, who transformed her students’ attitude, engagement level, and integrity in their work using Voki.

Last school year during Q4 I tried out Voki for the first time.  I teach inner city struggling urban middle school students at a Level 4 school and before Voki, no project impressed them!  Then I found Voki and tried it!  To my surprise, all of my students loved it (from special ed to honors); I had 100% student engagement; and I had a student focused class!  It was a huge WOW! For me and for my students.  Even my most  highly risk students produced their product using my project requirements.  Never did I hear, “this is too  much work!”

I do have to admit, I used a lesson plan from the Voki blog as an idea.  Our school requires monthly written essays that show “citing of evidence”.  I took the idea of writing a persuasive essay about the importance of healthy snacks.  I gave my students a text set of 3 articles regarding the pros and cons of healthy snacks so they could synthesize their essay.  I also told them that their audience were 5th graders so they could feel important sharing what they have learned about healthy snacks.

To my surprise, they were so involved with all the activities in order to produce a talking persuasive avatar.  For the first time, there were no moans or groans inundating the lab, or piercing eyes staring at me. For the first time, I was able to facilitate peer reviews where each student really took an interest in their partners’ work.  For the first time, each student wanted to present their findings. For the first time, each student either scored a 3 or a 4 on my rubric vs. 0-3s. And for the first time, I was rated with high evaluative scores from my principals!  We all won and I attribute these wins to Voki!  Next school year, I’ll invite parents!

Thank you Voki for being so imaginative and for not ever settling!

featured_teacher

Sheila is an Instructional Technology Teacher for grades 6-8. She is passionate about teaching educational technology to both her students and colleagues. Shelia has expressed this sentiment on teaching: “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you can encourage all students (no matter what their challenges are in learning) to express their thoughts by utilizing audio applications like Voki that allow students to imagine greatness!”

The Benefits of Hooks

The Benefits of Hooks

How many of you have found yourself in this situation: it is Saturday night and you are watching TV.  All of a sudden, this intriguing movie trailer comes scrolling across your screen.  It is a teaser about this amazing movie coming out this summer.  You are captivated and memorized.  You have to find out as much as you can about this movie that has captured your attention.  You are hooked, line and sinker.  You will be buying tickets online to see that movie as soon as they are available.  Effective classroom hooks are the same in regards to exciting movie trailers.  A great hook gives students a preview of what an amazing lesson is getting ready to be taught and learned. It can make the difference between the best lesson ever and the worst.

Student engagement during lessons is an area in education that teachers are battling on a daily basis.  Dorit Sasson, author of “7 Ways to Start a Great Lesson”, emphasizes that “the most important part of the lesson occurs during the first five minutes.” What is the trick to engaging students? According to “Shooting for Success!  Madeline Hunter Lesson Cycle”, written by the creator of the “anticipatory set” or “hook”, “the hook should excite students about the subject matter.” Hook activities are short introductions at the beginning of a lesson or even a project.  A hook can be a song, rap, dance, game, acting skit, art activity or even a technology-integrated activity that is directly related to the lesson’s topic. Ms. Hunter also states that the hook should “grab the students not focused upon learning. By having an activity related to what will be learned, it shifts their attention to the learning process. Anticipatory set can also establish a readiness or anticipation for what is to follow. For the “hook” to do so, it must pique students’ interest. Otherwise it might do the opposite and turn students off to the topic.”

I have talked about what hooks are and what purpose they serve during a lesson.  Now let’s talk about the benefits of hooks.  Hooks provide engagement, excitement and a gateway into the lesson’s objective that can prepare and motivate students to learn the content being taught.  Students can focus on creating more productive work and hooks make the learning environment fun right from the start.  These activities can tap into the multiple intelligence approach to learning simply by allowing teachers to be creative with the type of hooks used to kick off the lesson. For example, in Using Hook Stations to Engage Students in a Lesson, Hillary Mills, a 7th grade Science-Geology teacher, uses hook stations to kick off her geology/biology lesson.  The stations are set up just like small group learning stations but incorporated at the beginning of the lesson.  Each of the stations incorporates different hands on activities, with the students acting as geologists studying fossils in each case.

Before I became the Voki Content Development Manager at Oddcast, I was a classroom teacher for twenty years with a Master’s degree in Integrating Technology in the K-12 Classroom from Walden University.  When I reflect on the years I taught in the classroom, the lessons that resulted in the best student engagement were always the ones that kicked off with an awesome hook.  I would always use different style hooks that would touch on the variety of learning styles in my class to meet all of their learning needs.  Of course I was passionate about integrating technology as much as possible into my lessons!  I really wish I had the opportunity to use Voki Speaking Characters as hooks when I taught. It would have been one of the top software integration tools incorporated into my lessons. I truly believe Voki Hooks capture and engage the 21st Century learner.  There are a variety of ways to use these speaking characters and Voki Hooks are just one way.  The Voki Hook activities guided by the Voki speaking characters provide top level engagement at the beginning of lessons. There are over 250 speaking characters to choose from and some fit perfectly into themed units of study. There are also hooks created to celebrate special days of the year like Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, St. Patrick’s Day and National Pencil Day!  Here are some examples of exemplary Voki Hooks—feel free to incorporate them into your classroom lessons:

March Madness Multiplication

http://www.voki.com/presenter/playPresentation.php?id=0eb178c5581f651876fadae5a8980899

Tell a Fairy Tale Day

http://www.voki.com/presenter/playPresentation.php?id=57d2108c6efd565d5bd6b27e4c7e747a

Phases of the Moon

http://www.voki.com/presenter/playPresentation.php?id=494ad0d24e15c7da81c7ea265c7f4cb4

Pencil Day

http://www.voki.com/presenter/playPresentation.php?id=29ec8066dea8748449b852688c46ee5a

Voki also has a product called Voki Teach.  Voki Teach is a library of Common-Core aligned lessons, hooks, and tech project activities in the areas of ELA, Math, and Social Studies. Science and Foreign Languages are coming soon.  Learn more here: http://www.voki.com/teach/home

 

the goldfish and the hook

 

 

Christy_Pic

 

Christina Bazemore is the Content Development Manager at Oddcast.  She was an elementary, high school, technology lab teacher and soccer coach for twenty years.  She received her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University and her Master’s Degree in Integrating Technology in the K-12 Classroom from Walden University.  She is fulfilling her lifelong dream of working and living in New York City.  She has one son, Andy and a dog named Shadow!   Christina is a big Georgia Bulldog football fan!

Voki Teach: Making Lesson Planning Easier

Voki Teach: Making Lesson Planning Easier

600x414a_text

It’s Sunday, but instead of being out and about, you’re perched over your screen opening new tab after new tab. You’re hoping that you’ll land on the site you’ve been looking for, and that your endless hours of research will prove fruitful. But as the clock hands fly in their circular orbit, the only answer you’ve arrived at is, “this is going nowhere.”

For a teacher, weekend lesson planning can quickly replace #SundayFunday with #teacherproblems. Hunting for the right activities to fill your curriculum likely includes a fact-checking process where too many marks are missed: standards aren’t met, technology isn’t integrated, methods are out of line with your teaching style.

But before you peg yourself as a lead-less investigative journalist, we have something that might just solve the problem. Our New Voki Teach Library hosts lessons, hooks, and tech projects all in one spot on voki.com. Voki Teach not only eliminates the blind search in the thicket of the World Wide Web, it allows you to specify what grade and subject area you are interested in. To make your selection process even easier, all of our content is rated by fellow teachers so you can curate the material that is liked by your peers.

Think about your potential school day using Voki Teach. Say it’s National Grammar Day. You can kick off your Language Arts lesson using the National Grammar Day hook and have your students create grammar superheroes that wield special powers and rescue sentence errors (our Voki avatar Fragment Eliminator and Comma Man will show you how it’s done). Having engaged your students with this activity, you can then transition into the other objectives you have prepared for the class.

Fourth period bell rings. Some students are cowering at the thought of learning new math techniques. Our Voki Teach Math lessons incorporate games into the lesson, so multiplying is not so meticulous.

Science time. Learning the states of matter can be confusing. How does a liquid transform into a gas again? Our Voki Teach tech project outlines how a teacher should demonstrate the different properties of matter, and prompts the student to recall what he knows by designing a Voki avatar at the end of the lesson that reiterates the material.

The Voki experience is everything but dull. Research shows that technology integration in your classroom boosts student performance, and talking avatars are proven to engage all types of learners across age groups. Voki activities get students hands-on with their work, customizing their own avatars to deliver the knowledge they’ve obtained.

Wouldn’t you rather hear a lesson from an avatar? Or better yet, have one give your answer?

FullSizeRender (3)

Catherine Alvino is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Oddcast. She holds a BA in English Literature and a MBA with a concentration in Marketing. She loves to write and is proud to work for a company that adds value to learning.

National Hot Dog Day, Kindergarten Math, and More

National Hot Dog Day, Kindergarten Math, and More

National_Hot_Dog_Day.png

 “I’d rather hear it from an avatar.”

Who’s with us? We know the millions of teachers who use Voki worldwide can agree, but we’ll speak for ourselves—avatar technology rocks. No doubt about it, a new chapter of teaching and learning is making an indelible mark in the classroom—and Voki is helping write the story. Read on to learn our ed tech developments—it’s a page (er, paragraph?) turner.

Character Analysis Meets the Techie Teacher’s World

ELA was never so animated. This four-step lesson plan—story selection, graphic organizer completion, written reflection, and Voki creation—will get your students analyzing character development on a whole other level.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Avatars Teach Kids About Democracy

Bring current affairs discussion into the classroom using the Voki Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton avatars. It’s never too early to teach the merits of democracy.

Kindergarten Math: Shapes and their Characteristics

Can you classify a shape without using its proper name? Learn how to use your observe and describe skills in this all-new Voki Teach lesson for your kindergarten kiddies. Geometric vocabulary, including ‘side,’ ‘corner,’ and ‘curve,’ is discussed.

National Hot Dog Day is July 23!

You don’t have to tell us twice. In this hook activity, lend your ear to our Voki hot dog avatar and support his cause—post a picture of a frank on July 23 with hashtag #NationalHotDogDay!

Voki 2.2 Coming Soon

Did you like the above hook activity? Well, there’s good news for more than just our frankfurter fans: our Voki 2.2 edition is due out later this summer. What does this mean for you? More time, less search. Voki Teach will now house all Common-Core aligned lessons, hook activities, and tech projects organized by subject area and grade level and with the same layout as our favorite video resource, Youtube. Share links to these resources, and Level 3 users, edit lessons and hooks to your liking.

The Voki App is Now Available in the iOS App Store

Create Voki avatars at your fingertips with our Voki app. It’s the perfect tool for students to work on projects and assignments. Download it here.

Tune in for Live Coverage of the School Technology Summit, NYC

Voki is attending the Department of Education School Technology Summit on July 27! Catch live updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages to get the scoop on ed tech news from inside the event.

Has Voki had a positive impact on your student’s life?

If so, we would love to hear about it and inspire others! Please email feedback@voki.com and share your story with us. If your story is featured, we will provide your classroom with a free, one-year level 3 subscription valued at $100.

Stay cool, Voki fans!

Sincerely,

Catherine Alvino, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Character Analysis Meets the Techie Teacher’s World

Character Analysis Meets the Techie Teacher’s World

“You have to be willing to meet them where they are and take them where they need to go.”

I’m not really sure who said this to me, but it has been a statement I return to often as I attempt to guide students into the future, toward careers—some of which do not exist today.   What we do know as educators is that students will need to be able to analyze, problem solve, and communicate in increasingly diverse manners. Analyzing characters in literature provides an opportunity for students to practice those skills that they will later transfer into the workplace.

Meeting Them Where They Are

The students we meet in the classroom today have never known a world without technology. As educators we cannot ask them to power down in order to function in our classroom.  We must power up to allow them to experience a classroom that is a meaningful authentic experience or we will never get the buy in we need to move where they need to go.  One of the many ways my teaching partner and I attempt to meet them where they are is through the use of web lessons.

Taking Them Where They Need To Go

This summer, my teaching partner, Angela Drake, and I began to explore a way to improve student mastery in regard to analyzing how a character changes or responds to the plot as the story moves toward resolution.  We decided that a good starting point would be to engage students in familiar picture books and charging them with analyzing the characters as they move through the plot elements.  Together we created a web lesson that would allow students to select one of three stories to analyze.  You can find our web lesson at www.characterschange.weebly.com.

How_Characters_Change_Over_Time.png

Step One Selecting a Picture Book

The SAG Foundation offers a wonderful site called www.storylineonline.net which features popular actors reading a variety of picture books.  This allows students to engage with the story of their choosing in a new and exciting way.  Every student loves choice and Storyline Online offers something for everyone.  We selected three books which offered students an opportunity to analyze how and why a character changes as the story progresses.

story_online

Step Two The Graphic Organizer

The second tab of the web lesson provides a link to the graphic organizer we would like the students to use to gather their evidence to support their analysis of how and why the character changes.  Read Write Think offers a wonderful graphic organizer specific to our purpose.  You can find this resource and many others at www.readwritethink.org.

read_write_think

This is the graphic organizer we selected from www.readwritethink.org.

graphic_organizer_hinkle

The direct link to this organizer is http://goo.gl/zCJYPo.

Step Three The Writing Plan and Google Docs

Google Drive offers a variety of tools and the best part is it’s all free to use and you are given the extra benefit of your documents, slides, forms, and spreadsheets being at your fingertips wherever you go.  Upon finishing the reading and finalizing the details in their graphic organizer, students are then instructed to create a Google Document to record their analysis of the character.  Students are expected to describe what the character is like at the beginning of the story, how they change, why they change, and then finally, a description of the character at the conclusion of the story.  They then meet with their peer editing partner to review conventions, make suggestions for revision, verify they have met the expectations of the assignment, and review the piece to make sure it makes sense to the reader.  After final revisions have taken place, students can then move on to the next step—creating a Voki to share their analysis.

google_docs

A Brief Digression

Teaching students to communicate in diverse ways is an important part of our instructional goals. Using a talking avatar of their own creation gives students the sense of choice and control they need and provides even the quietest student with a voice to share their knowledge.  In fact, Voki became my hero last year when a student who seldom spoke in class created a Voki Book Talk that left me astonished at the insight and depth of knowledge he possessed, but had been previously unable to express.  Here is that sweet book talk  http://goo.gl/CEU5PL.

 

smilie_hinkle

Step Four Creating Your Character Analysis Voki  

The final step in our web lesson instructs the student to create a Voki to share their analysis.  I’ll let my Voki avatar tell you about this step. http://goo.gl/q9xzSj

hinkle_Voki

Using the Vokis created by your students as a formative or summative assessment of the CCSS RL 6.3 standard is an excellent example of “meeting your students where they are and taking them where they need to go.”
Where to Find Me

Please join me on Twitter @cariehinkle and visit my website  at www.cariehinkle.weebly.com to hear about the latest adventures in this techie teacher’s World. Also, look for me on Instagram at carieh5 and periodically, as a featured class on EdTech Baton.

A Thank You

Special thanks to my teaching partner, Angela Drake, who is always willing to join me on any adventure.

 

Beverly Burks Shares a Few of Her Favorite *Voki* Things

Beverly Burks Shares a Few of Her Favorite *Voki* Things

howdy

In my position as a district-level trainer, I get to experience and use Voki in a lot of different ways.

As a technology trainer, I use Voki to add interest to my presentations.

Vokis are great because my audience gets to experience different personas when I present, not just me.

I also create and demonstrate Voki to teachers to use in the classroom. I encourage teachers to create and have their students create Vokis that go with a variety of subject areas.

For ELA, my Gramma Eula Voki is a Voki where Gramma Eula speaks about her “Chicken Sunday” character.

For Social Studies, a Voki was created to tell about the Alamo.

We use Vokis in math to demonstrate and explain math problems.

Each one of the Vokis created for “Chicken Sunday”, The Alamo and the math demo contained corresponding lesson suggestions. If you are a Promethean ActivInspire user, you can download the flipchart with the lesson idea here. https://goo.gl/JEQNNH (the giveaway on this flipchart is over).

Here’s a static copy of the flipchart in PDF form. https://goo.gl/JdkkT8

The uses for Voki are limitless. My last newsletter for this school year was pretty much devoted to Voki.

http://beverlyedtech.weebly.com/uploads/1/1/0/5/11052784/may_newsletter_beverlyedtech.pdf

I believe the introduction of the Voki app is only going to make Voki more popular. Being able to create Vokis on mobile devices is a big step forward. I am looking forward to diving deeper into Voki Presenter so that I can share those features with our teachers next school year.

When the school year starts back up, I am thinking that will be a good time to have a create a “Back to School” Voki challenge.

beverly_burks_pic

Beverly is a district level technology trainer with the Fort Worth Independent School District in Fort Worth, TX. She has an undergrad degree in Education from Western Michigan University and a Masters of Technology and Cognition from the University of North Texas. Beverly is a longtime Voki user and is very excited to be a Voki Ambassador.

The Voki Weekly: June 16th Edition

The Voki Weekly: June 16th Edition

 Voki_logo.png

“I dwell in possibility.” –Emily Dickinson

Hey Voki friend! 

We’re kicking off this edition of The Voki Weekly with a quote that resonates well in the ed tech community. You can say that poetry was to Dickinson what technology is to today’s classroom—both are vehicles to endless possibilities. Let’s take a look at all the things Voki has made possible this week with its avatar technology:

  • Press. If you’re looking for a well-written read on what it’s like for a company to enter the ed tech arena—the challenges and the excitement—and that also covers the new legislation springing up in an age where students are now accessing technology in the classroom, this article is for you. A special behind-the-scenes look, this article showcases some of the pioneering brands in the biz—and what their products specialize in. We’re thrilled that Voki received a spotlight in this kidscreen news.
  • Trump and Hillary Vokis now available. Have you seen the new Trump and Hillary Vokis yet? They bear a striking resemblance to their Republican and Democratic counterparts. Now’s a good time to start thinking about how you will be teaching about the election come the beginning of school.
  • Voki for Education app now available. Looking for a convenient way for you and your students to access Voki? How about from our new app? You can download it for free in the iTunes App store onto all iOS mobile devices. It’s a perfect way for your students to work on projects in the classroom and at home, and it’s also a great assessment tool.
  • Hooks. Print cards are getting a little old, aren’t they? Have your students make their deserving dads a Voki card for Father’s Day (6/19). Did you see our Flag Day hook narrated by President Reagan? If you haven’t, you can check it out here. Be on the lookout for the Summer Solstice (6/20), Don’t Let Nouns Get You Down Day! (6/23), and Camera Day (6/29) hooks. We’re especially excited about the hook coming out soon honoring the birthday of Eric Carle (6/25)—you know, the tissue paper illustrator and author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Remember, all our hooks are posted on our Facebook, Twitter, and G+ pages.
  • Lessons. Last week, we published 4th Grade Social Studies. The topic was New York: The Early Years. Check out the free lesson here. For Level 3 Subscribers, the entire unit is available on voki.com. Today, Kindergarten Science will be going live on the site. The topic is The Five Senses. Be sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and G+ pages today for the link to the free lesson.

Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and on our blog. We love engaging with our Voki community! If you have any questions, ideas, or feedback, please feel free to email us at feedback@voki.com .

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

Catherine Alvino, Digital Marketing Coordinator

fathers_day_3.png

facebook.jpgtwitter.jpggoogle-plus-icon-png-transparent.png

Oddcast Inc
25 W. 36th St, 5th Floor
New York New York 10018
United States
You are subscribed to this newsletter as [Contact.Email]. Please click here to modify your message preferences or to unsubscribe from any future mailings. We will respect all unsubscribe requests.