Technology, Technology, Technology! This is the buzz word of 21st-century teaching. How does the modern teacher accomplish this feat of integrating technology into the classroom? Using interactive websites for student engagement of course!
I’ve put together a great list of websites that can be used in the classroom as a way to fuse student centered learning with technology. The other positive about using some of these websites is that it take the cognitive load off the teacher and centers it on the student. This is another directive I’ve heard many times.
Teachers spend a lot of time thinking for the students. You don’t know how many times I’ve observed a teacher ask the students a question and then answer it for them. Using programs like these forces the students to engage in higher level thinking.
Without further ado…
I think Kahoot is a great place to start because it can be used in any classroom, and it engages the whole class. One thing students love is competition. They want to be the best, especially in middle school.
If this is your first time hearing about Kahoot, it is a website where teachers can create a trivia game for the classroom.
What you will love about this website is that if you’re in a hurry you can find a multitude of Kahoots already created on your subject matter. But, if you have more time, you can build your own Kahoot for any topic under the sun. Personally, I love using this as a review tool before a vocabulary test.
Lastly, one tip for using Kahoot. There is a “reports” page where you can see the averages for the game. This is awesome for you as a teacher to see what content is a struggle for the students.
In a recent post I mentioned a website called NoRedInk. Quill is similar in theory. It is an interactive grammar website where kids can pace their learning.
Quill offers a teacher dashboard which allows teachers to create and assign work to a specific class. You can also give a diagnostic test to see exactly where your students are with their grammar skills. For me, anyway I can make grammar interactive and fun is a bonus.
Integrating grammar into middle school when you are responsible for teaching all the other parts of ELA can be difficult. However, switching up your class routine and including some computer time is the perfect way to engage students in a grammar lesson.
Flipgrid says it all in their tagline “video for student engagement and formative assessment”. This is a program that allows teachers to create a flipped classroom vibe in regular middle school classrooms.
What is cool about Flipgrid is that students can film their answers and comment on their peers’ uploads. This create a dynamic conversation about whatever topic you are working with in your classroom.
In the world of social media, Snapchat and Twitter; why not bring that into your classroom? Engaging students in the classroom when they have become accustomed to instant feedback can be challenging. Flipgrid eases that and helps teachers put the fun back in learning.
4. Magnetic Poetry
The ELA teacher in me had to include a poetry website. Poetry can be difficult for students to engage with in the classroom. Many times students give up before they even try to read a poem.
Magnetic Poetry is an interactive, online version of those little poetry tiles you can buy for the refrigerator. There are endless possibilities for the poems students can create. This is such a fun way for students to try poetry on their own or with your guidelines.
Let the inner poet out and try Magnetic Poetry.
Edpuzzle is a fantastic website that allows students to interact with videos and video clips. Those boring notes
Using Edpuzzle, teachers can find a video from sources
For example, if you found a 12-minute video on Shakespeare, but really there are only 5 good minutes that you want the students to
This is a great way to get background information out to students and at their own pace and make sure they are comprehending what they watch.
iCivics should be a staple in your middle school social studies class. This is a phenomenal program for a variety of reasons. First, it is an interactive way for students to engage with civics topics.
The premise of iCivics is that students play games. Every game they finish earns them points which they can use to contribute to an important cause. After every competition season on iCivics, they tally up which cause has the most points and donate $1000 to that cause.
Students don’t just interact with content but learn how to support important programs across the globe. What I really love about iCivics is that they aren’t just a game site; they stand behind the games with real civic causes.
As a bonus, there are also great lesson plans available on the website as well.
Socrative is my favorite site to use in the classroom right now. I just absolutely love all the ways I can integrate it into my room.
The website Socrative allows teachers to create questions or quizzes and have students answer in real time. They can see their progress and responses on the board as students answer. Of course, this feature can be toggled on and off at the
What this tool is great for is creating quick exit tickets. I used to have students use paper and answer a question, but the mess of 120 little papers became overwhelming. With Socrative I can type in a quick question and get students’ responses in a matter of seconds. If I want to look more in depth at the responses, I just download them to an excel document.
I cannot say enough positive things about this program and encourage each of you to try it in your classroom this week!
The ultimate goal as teachers is to get our content and message out to students. All of the buzz phrases such as “student centered learning” “technology” “engagement” are ways to do just that. These websites are more tools for the belt when it comes to your classroom.
I believe it is critical to arm yourself with as many tools as possible because what works for one student may not necessarily work for another. Explore all of these sites and keep those that work for you and your classroom.
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This post was proofread by Grammarly