This summer I was introduced to a new form of technology called Padlet. Basically, it is a bulletin board that the students can post on to record their thoughts on any matter of subject. They can add pictures or website links as well. After using this myself, with a group of teachers, I knew that my fifth graders would LOVE to us the forum as well.
So once a week, for a total of 15 minutes, I have been doing what I call "Book Brag Padlet".
I give my students the Padlet link and access password, and they are faced with a blank bulletin board. At the top, I have a reading response prompt. So far, I have done three with my class. The first was a regular "brag". The students had to tell me about their book and convince me to read it. The second one asked the students to discuss the setting of their book (since we are using the Setting in 5 Days lessons right now, it fit perfectly) and the last was to tell me an "Aha Moment" in their story as well (since all of my kids, coincidentally, are reading fiction books....AND we are using the Notice and Note strategies)
What I love about this is that the kids are so invested in using the platform. They are just pulled in. They really like seeing each other typing at the same time and reading about each other's books. They are learning about not just their own setting, but the setting in 33 other books. I also love that I can instantly tell if someone is reading or not. They are writing "on the spot" and that is very hard to do if you have nothing to write about because you aren't reading anything.
I have also used Padlet as a sort of group brainstorm outlet. When introducing my students to the idea of European exploration of the new world, I showed each group a painting that captures the moment when the Spanish met the Native Americans for the first time. I wanted them to write down all of the things they saw going on in the painting....the emotion, the body language.....so I had them create a Padlet with only the members in their group. Then, instead of just one person writing and everyone else sort of sitting back, each group member could be writing down their own ideas while still discussing with their group mates. More people were actively involved than the traditional paper and pencil activity.
To set up the group Padlets, I simply set up 6 individual Padlets through my account. I then created 6 assignments, with the links to each individual Padlet, in Google Classroom. I told each group their number, and that is the assignment they clicked on in Google Classroom.
All in all, I am so excited about this new form of technology I am using. I know there are SO many more ways it can be used in class. I have only hit the tip of the iceberg.
Have you used Padlet before? How do you implement it with your students?