Start Fresh: New Year’s Lesson Plans

Start Fresh: New Year’s Lesson Plans

It’s 2012 and school is back in session! Instead of forgetting about the happy holiday moments you and your students  experienced, extend the joy just one more day and try out one of our informative and fun New Year’s lesson plans.

With this new set of lesson plans, you and your students can talk about class resolutions and make a pact to work towards your new goals and be supportive of each other. You can also learn about different calendars used around the world and their New Year’s day celebrations.

Remember: The grade level we assign to each lesson plan is not a requisite – 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.

What is your New Year’s Resolution? (Elementary, Public Speaking, Writing, Other) – A new year can bring a fresh start to your class. With this New Year’s lesson plan, you and your students can reflect on the last year in class and how this year can be better. Students will learn about resolutions and be introspective in order to bring out the best from within.

Calendars Around the World (Middle School, Social Studies, Other) – Students will learn about other calendars that exist in the world and about the cultures that observe different New Year’s days. Each student will create a Voki that teaches the class about the history of a different calendar. They will also use Voki to talk about when and how certain cultures celebrate their New Year.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve (High School, History, Geography, Social Studies, Other) – Students will discover more about the history and traditions associated with the New Year’s Eve celebrations in other parts of the world. In this interactive lesson, students gather into small groups and use Vokis to give an in depth oral presentation about the history of different culture’s New Year’s traditions. They will also do a show and tell with a visual that the students construct that represents the culture they studied. After the presentations are complete, the class can have their own New Year’s party using all of the customs and traditions they learned about.

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 2012!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

Say Goodbye to Writer’s Block: Writing Lesson Plans

Say Goodbye to Writer’s Block: Writing Lesson Plans

Another year has come and gone and so has the winter vacation. Students may be coming back to class clinging onto the remaining visions of sugarplums and fairies; but instead of trying to overcome their rapacious imaginations, work with them! Now is the perfect time to engage your students in exercises that bring out their excitement and indulge their enthusiasm.

Below are a few Writing lesson plans that will enable students to write freely and use their imaginations with confidence. Many middle-schoolers consider writing a dreaded task, and tend to suffer from Writer’s Block. Too many times, students are required to write technical and analytic essays, at the expense of developing their creative writing skills with prose and short stories.

The lessons below are designed to help students gain confidence writing out their thoughts by using repetition and creative topics. Each exercise encourages individual perspective, unique ideas, and thought with little imaginative constraint. By introducing students into an atmosphere that is largely dictated by their free thought, writing will hopefully become an approachable subject that will enable students to handle writing assignments ease and fluidity, no matter what the topic.

Remember: The grade level we assign to each lesson plan is not a requirement – 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.

Paragraph Practice (6th Grade Writing) – Students gain writing practice with a regularly scheduled, one paragraph writing exercise using Voki. By doing this exercise once a week, students will write in different styles and voices and will also be more accustomed to writing without preparation. At the end of the year, students will be able to listen to their paragraphs and evaluate their improvement in class.

Creative Writing Crunch (7th Grade Writing) – Students draw a prompt from a bag and have 15 minutes to write a creative narrative. Once the 15 minutes are over, students will use Voki to introduce their creative story and then take turns sharing their Voki and reading their work. This exercise will help students develop confidence in writing and technique. By using light-hearted prompts, students will have fun using their imagination.

Character Guess Who (8th Grade Writing) – Students will create a Voki and write a paragraph that describes their favorite book or movie character in detail.  Students will be encouraged to write using imagery and descriptive details with the goal of painting a picture with their words. After each Voki presentation is given, the classmates will try to guess who the character is.

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 New Year!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

Season’s Greetings: Lesson Plans to Spread Cheer

Season’s Greetings: Lesson Plans to Spread Cheer

You can feel it in the air and see it in every shop window. The holidays are here and there is a lot to celebrate! Students are already itching for Winter break. Now is the perfect time to indulge in those happy thoughts and wishes, and learn a little along the way!

We have created three Voki lesson plans that can be used for any grade level. These lessons will give students a chance to discover the perfect winter wonderland in lands unknown, find out how different cultures celebrate Christmas, and learn about Chanukah customs and traditions.

Remember: The grade level we assign to each lesson plan is not a requisite – 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.

Christmas Around the World (Any Grade, Geography and Social Studies) – Students will research Christmas traditions in different countries. They will prepare a presentation for the class that will consist of an oral presentation, a PowerPoint and a Voki. This activity will give students a chance to learn more about different cultures from around the world and how they celebrate one of the most important days in the Christian religion.

The Story of Chanukah (Middle School, Social Studies) – Students will learn more about the customs and traditions associated with the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. Students will gather into groups and be assigned a Chanukah research topic. Once the groups have completed their research, students will make a group presentation using Voki.

The Best Winter Vacation Ever (Any Grade, Geography) – Students will write a paragraph that describes a book or movie character in detail.  After the paragraphs have been written, students will be able to design their Voki according to the description and present their Voki character description. Classmates will try to guess who the character is based on the description.

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 Holidays!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

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