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.

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.

5 Innovative Ways to Use Voki in the Classroom by Guest Blogger Tyler Hart!

5 Innovative Ways to Use Voki in the Classroom by Guest Blogger Tyler Hart!

5 Innovative Ways to Use Voki in the Classroom

Welcome our guest blogger for this week… Tyler Hart! Tyler is an avid user of Voki and a total techie teacher! Here are 5 innovative ways that he has used Voki in the classroom!

Voki is a great website that allows you to create speaking avatars. You can embed these Voki characters into your blog page to play later for your students or use directly from the site. Voki has also expanded their brand to make the learning experience even more engaging with Voki Classroom, Voki Presenter, and Voki Teach. While these options are amazing in their own right, the free version of Voki can be utilized in many fun ways to help engage your students. Below are five innovative ways you can use Voki in your classroom right now. If you’re  interested in other ways to integrate Voki into your lessons, check out Voki’s Lesson Plan Ideas Page!

1. Presenting on Researched Content

Having students research their own topics or content is great, but many times finding time to have them present their findings to the class can be hard. Using Voki can be a great way to post students’ research. Students can write up a script about the most important facts about their content, and record themselves reading their findings. This one was a particular favorite of mine because the partners created Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty to report the information!presenting on researched content

To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/voki-research

2. Content Review Center Activity

Students don’t have to be the only ones to join in on the fun. I love making Voki Characters to help students review content or to give an assessment for me. Students would listen and pause the character when needed to either comment on our blog page for answer, or they would fill out an assessment sheet to turn in. This was a great time saver since I was able to use this as a center as well!

content review activity

To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/content-review-activity

3. Historical Figures

Want to spice up history class when learning about historical figures? Have students identify important moments from the life of a historical figure. Using their research, have the students write a script in a first-person narrative and have them record themselves reading their scripts.

historical figures

To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/historical-figures

4. Mystery Voki – Who am I?

Another fun idea to use with historical figures is a Who am I game. Have students create their script about their about person in a first-person narrative style. Instead of having the students record the information saying who the person is, they read their information and end with the question, “Who am I?” This could be a great review game do use with the class.

mysery voki - who am i

To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/mystery-voki-who-am-i

5. Autobiographies

Have your students write an autobiography about themselves. We used a simple question starter template with the students to help them with certain things about their life to write down. After filling out the information, the students wrote their paragraph story about themselves, created their Voki, and recorded themselves. The students will have a blast learning about each other!

autobiographies

To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/autobiographies

Tyler Hart has worked and taught in elementary education for 13 yeatyler hartrs at Henrico County Public Schools in Virginia. This school year will be his second in an administrative role as a Resource Teacher at Sandston Elementary.  Previously, he was an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for two years, and before that, he was a 3rd grade teacher. In his last year as a classroom teacher, he was honored by being nominated and selected as one of the Henrico Citizen’s Top 20 Teachers in Henrico County.

Teacher Easter Basket! (Sorry, no chocolate…)

Teacher Easter Basket! (Sorry, no chocolate…)

teacher easter basket

The Easter Bunny hasn’t forgotten about the teachers or Blended Learning!    He (or she, for that matter) has delivered  a list of online interactive games (and a read aloud) for you to use!

Not only that!  She (or he) has included ways to use these games and activities as teachable moments and classroom culture builders!

Happy Gamification! And Easter!

Find the Easter Eggs

Capture

Teach your students how to work together by supporting one another during this game.

  • What do we do if our classmate makes a mistake?
  • Why is it important to wait our turn?
  • If we lose the game how should we react?

This is a great way to strengthen your classroom culture with games!

http://www.softschools.com/games/puzzle_games/easter_egg_hunt/

Easter Egg Designer

eastereggdesigner

Get your students’ creative juices flowing.  This activity is great for students who get frustrated with drawing. This activity allows for creativity by just clicking, dragging and dropping!

  • Let your students design their own Easter eggs in pairs (to practice  taking turns)
  •  On the smartboard to make a whole class created Easter egg
  • Or individually (if you have enough screens in the  classroom)

http://www.primarygames.com/holidays/easter/games/eastereggdesigner/

 Easter Egg Candy crush

eastereggcandycrush

Most of your students all probably know the game “Candy Crush”  Use their previous knowledge of this game to build excitement in the classroom. Have them practice teamwork by splitting the class into two groups  and helping them come up with systems to make group decisions.  Then let them compete against each other. Talk about how the competition played out. What did they do well? What could they do better next time?

http://www.primarygames.com/holidays/easter/games/eastereggs/

 Dye Easter Eggs in the Classroom!

virtualeasteggmaker

 

Teach your students how to make  Easter eggs and an Easter basket – virtually!!

Some of your students may not get a chance to dye eggs this Easter. This activity allows your students to engage in this activity without all the mess. Have your students take turns. You could even turn this into a writing activity and have your students write a “How – To”  make Easter Eggs writing piece!

(*IMPORTANT NOTE: Remind them not to boil water/ go near the           stove without an adult!)

http://www.primarygames.com/holidays/easter/games/easterbasketmaker/

“Happy Easter, Curious George”  Read Aloud  

curiousgeorgeeaster

Pop in some think aloud questions/comments, and some turn and talks to get your students thinking during this read aloud. At the end of the read aloud, do a whole class conversation (or grand conversation) about the book to assess your students’ listening comprehension and to observe their level of critical thinking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ATdGIp4V-s

I– I mean, “The Easter Bunny”, hopes you enjoy your basket!

Until next time,

 Heather 

HeatherBio: Heather is the Community Manager at Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast.  Before she joined the Voki team, she was a teacher for 7 years!  She has taught in charter, private, and public schools all across NYC. With her teacher hat on, she will create meaningful, engaging, and relevant content that can be implemented in your classrooms.  She is excited to partner with you to engage and educate your students! 

Test Prep: Can It Be Meaningful and Fun?

Test Prep: Can It Be Meaningful and Fun?

canva

Heather here.  I want to start today’s blog post with that enormous elephant in the room: Test Prep.

Oh,Test Prep. It strikes fear into the heart of students, teachers, and principals alike. It certainly did for me.

Some teachers believe testing is important. Others believe it takes away from authentic learning time. Whatever your beliefs about testing, we have to come to the understanding that, for the time being, these tests are here to stay.

So, what can a teacher do to help his/her students feel confident during the testing months?  One way is to utilize relevant content to teach test sophistication and critical thinking.

What does that look like in a real-world class setting?

Let’s say your first grade class has been learning about animals and their habitats for the past month and you want to know if they can use what they’ve learned and transfer it to an entirely different task.  What you can do is make your test prep questions all about the different habitats you’ve studied. Not only are you teaching meaningful content, but you are also giving them more time to explore the content and possibly acquire additional knowledge on the subject. Yay!

Now, let’s tackle the second problem with Test Prep– its boring factor.

Test Prep is widely recognized as the epitome of boring. Teachers hate teaching it.  Students hate doing it. Nobody wins.

Unless, of course, you can utilize a stimulating and engaging vessel from which to deliver said Test Prep strategies, then maybe, just maybe, your students are in for a treat.

Today I’d like to share with you a presentation (created in Voki Presenter) that I believe is engaging and fun and teaches precise listening skills. The NYSESLAT is an ESL state exam that my students used to take.  So, I used this exam as fodder for my presentation.

First,  I downloaded the NYSESLAT  sampler for grades 1-2.

I picked one question type that I wanted to practice:

L1

And then created my objective based on the strategies I wanted my students to practice and master: Students will practice great listening by scanning the pictures and listening for keywords.Capture I began creating my lesson on Voki Presenter. I made sure to choose an interesting and appropriate Voki so that my students could make a connection with the character. If your students love robots, choose a robot. if your students adore cats, then that’s the character you should choose. I chose an adorable puppy. Let’s call her Lola.puppy

On each slide, Lola guides the students through the lesson. On my second, slide Lola does a “Think Aloud” to show the students how she looks at the pictures and draws a conclusion from what she sees. The students can then easily mimic how Lola uses the pictures to help her narrow down what the keyword might be about.

Listening pg2

Once Lola does her Think Aloud, then Lola and the class listen for the keywords. The question will be repeated twice: Which picture shows a boy using his sense of smell? Which picture shows a boy using his sense of smell?  Lola then launches into a second Think Aloud. Students listen as Lola models her thought process.

listening pg 3

Some students will know the answer right away.  Some will need more practice. Take the time to reveal the answer so students know if they’re headed in the right direction.

listening pg 4

Now it’s time for the students to try it with you. You and Lola will guide them through a parallel listening activity. The topic of this second question should be a relevant topic. This way you are using content that is part of the curriculum they’ve already been learning through out the year.  Maybe in science class they’re learning about the life cycle, or space. Here is where you can infuse those topics into Test Prep questions. Remember, during this slide you (and Lola) are asking open-ended questions to guide the students’ learning.  i.e. What is different about the pictures? What is the same?  What are the boys doing? Guide them through the next three slides.  Do a few  “Turn and Talks.” Ask your students how they knew what the keyword was? Listen in to assess which students seem to be getting it and which aren’t quite there yet.

listening pg5listening pg6

listening pg7

 After you try one together, create some additional slides with the same kind of listening questions if you feel your students need more guidance. Once you feel they are ready to try some on their own, You can send them back to their desks to try this technique by themselves. Circulate the room and conference with students that you noticed were struggling during the Turn and Talks. Ask students to Think Aloud and ask themselves questions just like Lola did.

Here is the link to this presentation.  Modify as you see fit! I recommend pausing before each slide plays so that you can read the slide and share with your students what they will be doing next.

http://www.voki.com/presenter/playPresentation.php?id=f5aa4bd09c07d8b2f65bad6c7cd3358f

Please comment and tell me what kind of presentations you would like to see.  What topics? Which subjects?

 Let Me Know!

Cheers,

Heather

Heather

Bio: Heather is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast.  Before she joined the Voki team, she was a teacher for 7 years!  She has taught in charter, private, and public schools all across NYC. With her teacher hat on, she will create meaningful, engaging, and relevant content that can be implemented in your classrooms.  She is excited to partner with you to engage and educate your students! 

Heather Joins The Team

Heather Joins The Team

Hello Voki users!

My name is Heather Brown and I am the new Community Manager at Voki. One of the reasons why I joined the Voki Team is because—as a teacher– I see such potential in Voki. It truly is a groundbreaking tool for students and teachers. I believe that if Voki and educators work together, we will be able to revolutionize the way students engage with curriculum and the way teachers engage with students.

So, let me backtrack for a second and tell you a little bit about me. I am a New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan. My mother is a teacher, my father is a teacher, and my sister is a teacher.

One might say teaching is my family’s “family business.”

I’ve taught in schools all over NYC for seven years. During my travels, I noticed a few harrowing things:

  1. Many students weren’t engaged
  1. Many teachers were overwhelmed
  1. New curricula and common core standards were making numbers 1. and 2. even worse.

It’s clear that we can’t possibly solve these issues overnight.

But, it is my belief that a good first step is helping teachers feel more comfortable with what technology can offer them in their classrooms.

It can be scary to try something new. It can be hard to see the benefits of utilizing the digital space as an academic tool.  It can feel like just another new task to add to the pile of duties you already have. All of these feelings are very real and understandable.

But, I’ll share something I learned my first year as a teacher.  A phrase I still whisper to myself seven years later– “You have to lean into discomfort.” Besides, this is something that we ask our students to do every single day! Shouldn’t we lead by example and show them that even as an adult it is okay to be fearful of failing as long as you push through that fear?   Well, you know what my answer is. Of course, we must show our students that we, too, are learners who fail and fail again, until we succeed.

And you won’t be alone. There are so many teachers out there who are learning just like you, how to integrate technology into the classroom. Let us help. Voki and your fellow teachers are prepared to be your guides through the educational digital landscape.

Now, to those of you who are already taking advantage of the benefits that being a technologically savvy teacher can bring, BRAVO!  Keep doing what you’re doing.  Your students thank you for engaging them and bringing learning to life. But, remember, you have a responsibility to share your digital experiences with other educators who may need some guidance. Take them under your wing, share with them, and support them.

As for me, I am here to make teaching just a little bit easier for you.

  • I will post meaningful content across all of the Voki platforms—including this one.
  • I will listen to your needs, wants, frustrations, and feedback.
  • I will keep you abreast of the changes occurring at Voki Headquarters.
  • I will motivate you during your most challenging times.
  • I will facilitate the sharing of innovative ideas within our community.

At Voki, we believe that a close-knit community of teachers sharing their knowledge, technological expertise, and creativity, is a MUST in the movement to educate and engage.

So, are you with us?

BioHeather: Heather is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team  at Oddcast.  Before she joined the Voki team, she was a teacher for 7 years!  She has taught  in charter, private, and public schools all across NYC. She is excited to partner with you to  engage and educate your students! 

Talking Technology Presentation at GaETC: Voki

Talking Technology Presentation at GaETC: Voki

It was a huge success for the Talking Technology session lead by Lisa Collins at the Georgia Educational Technology Conference last week. The session took place on November 8, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The GaETC is an annual event dedicated to helping educators understand the role of technology in classrooms.

Lisa Collins and her partner, Heidi Johnson, presented Voki to a crowd of teachers that day. They have some great giveaways that day.  Some cool Voki t-shirts were given away and two participants received Voki Classroom subscriptions!

Just take a look at how much fun they had:

If you are presenting Voki at a conference, make sure to use our Voki PowerPoint and Brochure! Remember us any pictures of the conference to feedback@voki.com!

Until next time,

The Voki Team