Public Speaking? No Sweat!

Public Speaking? No Sweat!

Public Speaking, like any other subject, takes practice — lots of practice.  Just think about the most common nightmare experienced by children and adults worldwide: You’re palms are sweaty. You’re feeling nervous. You finally take the stage to make your speech, then from the audience bursts laughter from corner to corner. You wonder what is wrong and you look down…

Luckily, that scenario rarely happens in real life, but the fear is real. Avoiding anxiety can actually be easy if you practice public speaking regularly. Students may not know it now, but the truth is, feeling confident speaking in front of a group will help them tremendously later in life.

From a professional atmosphere to an informal gathering, the skills acquired in a Public Speaking class can be a great personal asset. Below are a few lessons we have created to help make the subject more approachable by students. By using Voki and recording their voices (instead of using the text-to-speech feature), students will be able to deal with public speaking with greater confidence. As time goes on, students’ will develop their own style and techniques.

Remember: The grade level we assign to each lesson plan is not set in stone – you can use Voki lesson plans from a higher, or lower, grade than the one you teach – if you think they fit! Also, remember that you can adapt Voki lesson plans to fit your style, or your students’ abilities.

Personal Introductions (6th, Public Speaking) – Students will break the ice in their public speaking class using Voki. In an informal introduction, students will talk about who they are, what their goals are for the class, and who they admire. After presentations are done, classmates will know more about each other’s personal lives and in turn feel more connected and less shy.

Impromptu with Voki (7th, Public Speaking) – Speaking on the spot can cause anxiety and sweat but by practicing impromptu speeches with Voki, students will ease into a difficult task and remain calm. By using this lesson as practice once a week, students will become more adept at thinking on their feet and develop a personal style. Who knows, maybe your next student will run for president…

The Leader of the School (8th, Public Speaking and Writing) – In this exercise of imagination, students will have 60 seconds (90 seconds with Voki Classroom) to convince their classmates to elect them as leader of the classroom after being stranded on an island. The idea is to form a compelling written speech and then use Voki in order to present a concise redaction of the speech that emphasizes the main points of the student’s reasoning. Students will have fun using their imaginations and learn about persuasive speech techniques.

As always, we would love to hear how you are using Voki in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki (or that can be adapted to incorporate Voki) and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

Happy learning, and have fun!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

English Rules Are Cool for School with Voki

English Rules Are Cool for School with Voki

It’s time to give English grammar and writing the appreciation they deserve! Often considered to be a difficult language with more exceptions than rules, English has the ability to mystify students and teachers alike. In order to cultivate young minds that can distinguish the subtleties of the English language, teachers and students must be open to connecting many rules, in order to understand how they work together to form one language. With this in mind, we have dedicated this week to English grammar and all of its glory. From homonyms to helping verbs, we’ve got you covered on the basics.

Our new English Grammar lesson plans are now live in the Voki Lesson Plan Database. As always, Voki lesson plans are provided to teachers free of charge!

Remember: The grade assigned to each lesson plan is not set in stone – you can use Voki lesson plans from a higher, or lower, grade than the one you teach – if you think they fit! Also, remember that you can adapt Voki lesson plans to fit your style or your students’ abilities.

  • Helping Verbs (4th Grade) – In this lesson, students will learn the 23 different helping verbs and use Voki to make lessons for their peers. In order to gain an understanding of what separates a helping verb from an action verb, students will be asked to act out verbs that the teacher says. After the actions (or inactions) are done, students will have had first hand experience dealing with the two forms. The idea of verbs with no singular meaning may confuse some ESL students, so it helps to be fully prepared for this lesson in advance. By the end of this lesson, students will understand the grammatical importance of helping verbs.
  • Capitalize that! (3rd Grade) – In this lesson students will be in charge of exploring a capitalization rule out of the many in the English language. Students create a Voki that informs classmates of a capitalization rule, and then give an example. The Vokis can be combined on a webpage to serve as a reference for students before a test.
  • Homonyms (5th Grade) – Students will discover the subtleties of the English language by familiarizing themselves with the 5 categories of homonyms. Utilizing various homonym jokes, Voki avatars, and formal instruction, students will become more attuned to the details of English and hopefully never write ‘to’ in place of ‘too’!

When it comes to teaching English grammar rules, the power of repetition and an interactive atmosphere is not to be underestimated. If one student understands the rules, ask him or her to explain it to the students that need help.

Each of these Voki lessons contain tasks that ask students repeat what they learn, through various activities, before creating a Voki. Doing so will help students remember the rules and link what they have learned to other grammar rules they encounter in the future.

As always, we are interested in hearing about how you have used Voki in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki (or that can be adapted to incorporate Voki) and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

We hope you enjoy!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

Rediscovering America: Columbus Day Lesson Plans

Rediscovering America: Columbus Day Lesson Plans

The ways in which we have celebrated Columbus Day have varied greatly throughout American history. Some use this day to honor Italian-American immigrant ancestors and others observe the achievements that have been made in America since it became a place on the map. On the other hand, many people don’t think about anything at all! Today’s Columbus Day celebrations, like the man himself and the stories that followed his ‘discoveries’, are wide-ranging.

Although we can’t tell you what to do or think (or celebrate) on Columbus Day, we are here to help you plan your class with ease! So, let’s make this Columbus Day a day of rediscovery. With a fresh new batch of lesson plans, we aim to break down some myths that surround American history and rediscover these same histories with a different and more inquisitive lens, using Voki of course!

Below are the Voki Columbus Day Lesson Plans, which are now live in the Voki Lesson Plan Database!

(Remember – the grade assigned to each lesson plan is our best guess – you can use Voki lesson plans from a higher, or lower, grade than the one you teach – if you think they fit!)

  1. Who was Christopher Columbus? (5th grade): Columbus and his voyages are investigated using primary sources and critical thinking.
  2. Discovering America (4th grade): Who did the Europeans encounter when they landed in America?
  3. Deconstructing the American Revolution (7th grade): Students learn about the policies that led to the American Revolution and analyse their effects on a society on the brink of chaos.
  4. America: Before and After the Industrial Revolution (10th grade): Students learn about how American industry became more efficient and modernized after an industrial invention boom.

Rethinking what are often considered to be facts is a great exercise for students. By questioning history, students will discover for themselves that this subject is one that has been passed down from human to human through many different perspectives. By combining primary sources with critical thinking, these lessons bring history to life and show students that various stories make up each historical event or period.

Along with helping students analyze the murkier parts of history, the lessons will help students discover new ‘facts’ for themselves, which is a valuable tool for developing thought processes and is essentially related to Christopher Columbus!

Each lesson contains the intended grade level and subject(s), the time recommended for completion, resources needed, as well as a list of objectives and activities. The lessons are easy to follow and can be adapted according to your own personal teaching style.

As always, we are interested in hearing about how you have used Voki in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

Happy Columbus Day and have fun rediscovering America!

Lesson Plan Preview – Conjugation Practice with Voki

Lesson Plan Preview – Conjugation Practice with Voki

Learning a second language can be tough for all ages. Making grammar practice fun can be just plain difficult. Here at Voki, we have been working on creating lesson plans that can bring seemingly mundane subjects to life and make learning fun!

One lesson in particular is focused on making grammar and conjugation more engaging – more than just written repetition and paperwork. By using Voki to practice conjugation and sentence structure, students will get the chance to interact with language through sight and sound.

The lesson plan “Conjugation and Sentence Practice with Voki” calls for students to choose a verb, conjugate in the tense being studied, and create a Voki. Following the conjugations, students type an example sentence. The Voki can then pronounce their conjugations and example sentence in the language being studied and in the preferred dialect. Once students feel comfortable with the pronunciation and conjugations of a verb, they can record their own voice for the Voki.

If the teacher uses Voki Classroom, a webpage is automatically created for the lesson. If the lesson is conducted using Voki (and not Voki Classroom), the teacher can use a class blog or webpage to display the Vokis. By creating a webpage, teachers and students have access to an online audio-visual database of verbs that are fully conjugated and pronounced correctly. The webpage can serve as reference and extra practice for the class.

Conjugation and Sentence Practice with Voki” is one of many new lesson plans that we have added to the Voki Lesson Plan Database. As always, Voki lesson plans are free for all to peruse and use. Happy conjugating!

The Voki Team

New Lesson Plans for the New School Year

New Lesson Plans for the New School Year

School has already begun and we are sure you have a lot on your to-do list. Here at Voki, we are working hard to help you prepare for the new school year on the technology front! We have added many new lesson plans that do not take long to complete, and don’t require much prep time. These are great for re-introducing your students to Voki and to your subject (in case they forgot anything over the summer…it happens).

The new lesson plans cover a variety of topics and span from kindergarten to 12th grade. Below are several examples of new lesson plans, now available in Voki’s Lesson Plan Database:

  • Discovering Your Intelligence: Students create a Voki to elaborate and speak about their favorite hobby.
  • Classroom Topic of the Week: Students follow a current event and create a Voki presentation. Perfect for Social Studies!
  • The Meaning of a Poem: Students analyze a poem by using their intuition and personal opinions. This allows them to feel more engaged with poetry and more confident with literary analysis.
  • Guess Who with Voki: A fun game of guess who? with historical figures will keep students entertained and informed.
  • Elicited Opinions of History: Students form concise arguments based off of their opinions of the current topic or debate in class.

Each lesson contains the intended grade level and subject(s), the time recommended for completion, resources needed, as well as a list of objectives and activities. Each lesson is easy to follow and can be adapted according to your own personal teaching style.

Remember, Voki lesson plans are completely free – and are our way of thanking you for using Voki for education.

As always, we are interested in hearing about the Voki lessons you have used in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

Happy teaching!

The Voki Team

Technology: It exists. Make it come alive!

Technology: It exists. Make it come alive!

At its most basic level, technology is the advancement of knowledge through the use of new tools, trades, and methods. This in mind, we can say that technology is not, and has never been, a new concept to society, or to school districts. Here’s a short video to illustrate the point:

Before we had ball point pens, we had fountain pens and before we had wood based paper, we had the costly and elusive rag-based paper made from textiles and linens. Today, we have paper, pens, desktops, laptops, smart phones, touch pads and much more. It is now time we maximize each item’s potential as our predecessors did when paper was no longer an item of the elite, but could be used by everyone.

The speed at which new educational tools are introduced is staggering, and it can be overwhelming for educators to think about maintaining an up-to-date classroom on top of everything else. For this reason, we have created Voki Classroom. Serving as a platform for teachers to manage all of their students’ Voki assignments, Voki Classroom makes integrating technology and education a breeze. To make things even easier, we have also been adding lesson plans created with Voki Classroom in mind. We’ll continue adding new lessons, for both Voki and Voki Classroom, throughout the year.

Keeping up with the technological Joneses may seem daunting but Voki Classroom, along with other online tools, exists to make the transition very smooth. If you are interested in Voki Classroom, you can get all the info – such as features, pricing, and so on – at www.voki.com.

Also, check out these links below for technology tips for teachers:

Ten Tips by Jose Picardo

Ronn Waters, Technology Proponent

Until next time!

The Voki Team