* Were you born to be a blogger?

Qzzr rocks!  I created my first quiz with rapid assistance from the Qzzr team.  (I wanted to embed the quiz here but the plugin only works on WordPress.org, not.com.)  There is no registration, it takes a minute or so, and that’s it!


What did I learn?  Qzzr forced me to think and rethink both my categories (outcomes) and criteria (questions), a terrific learning process as I consider making a social skills quiz for kids on the autism spectrum.  I started off with a graded quiz but I created far too many possible outcomes, from being a born blogger to avoiding technology at all costs to all shades in between.  I explored single choice versus any choice responses, adding images to my questions, and weighting answer choices.  My dearest widower was kind enough to take the quiz himself, which helped me see that the quiz does not really suit non-bloggers at all!

I think Qzzr could be a powerful tool for students to use, especially gifted kids in upper elementary grades and students in middle and high school.  Teachers could use student-created quizzes as an evaluation of understanding or inclusion in digital portfolios.

5 stars for Qzzr!

* Arcademic Skill Builders

Arcademics 3Arcademic Skill Builders is a free online game site for students in grades 1 through 6, with an option for teachers to upgrade to Arcademic Plus for a low yearly fee.  The games cover a wide range of topics, primarily in math and language arts.  Here’s a list of options:Arcademics 2

The games feature an interesting and broad scope of graphics, from puppies to koalas to racing cars.  The site was originally conceived at the University of Kansas School of Education; 3% of every upgrade purchase is donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

These online games have two primary features.  First, they are typically timed games, with a goal of improving automaticity and fluency in skills.  Second, many are multi-player and allow kids from all over the world to compete against one another (although there is little chance of determining a student’s identity).  With the upgrade to Arcademic Plus, teachers can assign groups or entire classes opportunities to compete against one another or to better their own performance.  The upgrade also allows teachers to track accuracy and rate of responses for individual assignments.

As a special education teacher, I have mixed feelings about the competitive aspect of the games.  I use timed measures of performance to improve student awareness of progress and know that achievement is correlated with automaticity and fluency. A few of my students relish an opportunity to win “first place” and earn a trophy.  On the other hand, many of my kids are so weak in fluency that their game scores are always dismal.  There is an option to play against the computer but sometimes “last second” players jump in, so my kids end up below third place.

I have signed up for a free 30 day trial to see if the monitoring feature is worth an investment.  My experience suggests that this is a site better suited for regular education kids who can handle competition without a blow to their self esteem.

What do you think?  Have you used this site?

* Edmodo and Group Collaboration

Edmodo is a teacher- and student-friendly technology tool for class collaboration and sharing. This post describes it well. Read on….

Teacher Talk

2014-09-18 10.36.25 2 middle school students read and prepare to collaborate as a group using Edmodo.

Today one of my middle school literacy classes worked on continuing to read the story “The Ransom of Red Chief.”  While they did that they prepared to ask each other questions using Edmodo (a social media tool).  I’ve talked about this resource in a previous post, and it is a resource that I love to use, and my students also enjoy it a lot.  Click here to see the conversation that has been started about the character “Red Chief.”  As the teacher, it is important that I keep the conversation going, so I’ve prompted them with a question to help them continue the conversation the next time they are in class.  Today is the first time they have used this tool to collaborate, so I only expected 1 response from them so they can get…

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