Badges & Brag Tags– Interested in offering incentives in your classroom but want to get away from giving kids more “stuff” like candy, small toys, food, etc.? A number of teachers are using badges and “brag tags”– virtual or physical stickers/tags that signify when a student has accomplished a skill, behavior, task, or proficiency level. Doing some looking into this idea, I came across this post on www.facultyfocus.com that does a great job of explaining badges, why you might use them, and how to get started.
Kasey Bell (@shakeuplearning) has a great blog post where she recommends a number of tech tools for getting started with badges. Jeff Peterson (@petersonjeffrey) just tried out https://credly.com/ and was pleased with the end product, but said the technology was a little cumbersome. Though there was a bit of a learning curve with the technology, Jeff created a badge for each Essential Learning that students are expected to be proficient in by the end of the year. Jeff plans to use these “merit badges” when a student reaches proficiency of an Essential Learning. He is turning them into stickers for students to add to their interactive science notebooks as they progress through the course. Though Jeff is using actual stickers in his class, there are a number of tech options available– even ones that are supposed to integrate with Canvas. Take a look at Kasey Bell’s post that was mentioned above.
I’ve also heard this similar concept called “brag tags”, which might be more prevalent at the elementary level. There are loads of resources, Pinterest boards, Teacher Pay Teachers templates, and posts online if you’d like to give a physical incentive vs. digital. A quick Google search will give you tons of ideas and resources.
Collaborative Google Slides– Last Spring I attended the Ditch That Homework workshop with Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) and Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) where using Google Slides as an interactive way to lead a class period was shared. I have noticed that I love using all of the Google Apps but often struggle with utilizing the best part about them– the ease of collaboration. Here are a few ideas that Alice shared that might kick-start some collaboration and feedback in your classroom:
- Feedback Loop– Alice demonstrated how she has students work on an assignment in a Google Slides presentation that is the “template” for their work. All students share the same presentation but add their own slide. She sits with a few students and provides feedback while looking over their shoulders and then goes to her computer and posts comments on slides for a few more. She repeats this process and attempts to provide personalized feedback to as many students as possible. She talked a lot about providing quality feedback and even teaching students how to do the same. Since the presentation is shared students can also leave feedback for each other. To get started, be sure to make a copy of your Slides presentation then share the copy (with editing rights) with your students. This can be done directly by inviting them to edit or making the URL accessible to them.
- “Post-its”– Create a slide in your presentation that poses a question or task that requires a response. Then create an empty text box, change the fill color, copy & paste it a number of times. During class, students will then drag and drop a text box on the slide and type their response. The end result looks a lot like Padlet, but the comments button allows the teacher (and students) to push or guide thinking. Students can also be asked to comment on other students’ responses.
- Polling– Want to ask a super quick question but don’t want to exit out of your presentation or use a polling app like PollEverywhere? Pose a question at the top of the slide and create a large text box for each possible response (such as “yes” and “no”). Choose an image or icon and copy paste that image a number of times into the slide. During class, students will show their response to the question by moving an image into the appropriate response box.
To access more ideas, step-by-step instructions, and templates visit Alice’s website http://alicekeeler.com/.