"I Don't Get It" - How to Get Your Students Thinking

Presenter: Dennis Grice


What do you do when reading the book and completing the worksheet doesn't work? It's time to get creative! Discover some technology-infused lessons, activities, and projects that motivate students to think and express their creativity.



Elementary & Middle School - Writing

Designed for elementary and middle school teachers who want to provide each student with their own, unique blog. Allows students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs.

EXAMPLE: Mr. Coley’s Room 34 Book Blog


Elementary - Writing

Rapid fire progressive stories. Students start at one computer, select a set of art and create the first page depicting the setting of the story. After 5 minutes, SWITCH! Students move to the computer next to them and add a page to their classmates story introducing the main character. SWITCH! Give the main character a problem. SWITCH! Explain how the main character solved the problem. SWITCH! Come up with an ending for the story. EXAMPLE

Middle School - Spanish

Students practice language and vocabulary skills by using Storybird to write stories in Spanish.

NOTE: Storybird also lets you create classes and individual student logins  - and it doesn’t require students to have e-mail addresses! This is also FREE! Using this feature you can have students pair up and take turns working on a collaborative story. It can be students in the same class or students in two different classes across the country or the world!


Get Creative!

Elementary - Social Studies

Native American Posters EXAMPLE

Middle School - Language Arts

Book reports. Add information about theme, setting, character study where students dress up a character and use web cam to let character explain about themselves.

Middle School - History

Renaissance. Make a glog about a specific invention/innovation, artist, scientist. EXAMPLE


Get Creative!

Primary - Reading/Writing/Art

Hungry Caterpillar Book. Students draw their own page for the book. Pages scanned/imported to Voicethread. Students add their voice narrating their page of the book.

Elementary - Science/Writing

Animal Riddles. Students create animal riddles with PhotoStory3. (Tutorial) Then teacher uploads each riddle to Voicethread for online sharing and comment. EXAMPLE



Immediate class feedback on a discussion topic. Students post thoughts and see immediately what others are saying.

Brainstorming ideas on a topic.

How to Use WallWisher (a VIDEO explanation)

Need ideas? Here are 21 Ways to use Wallwisher in the Classroom.

Wacky Web Tales

Elementary - Language Arts

Students practice parts of speech using this tool to create “Mad Lib” type stories.


Primary - Math

Students use the money mat to play “Money Hungry Pigs” Take a dice and replace the numbers with letters P, N, D, Q, H, & S for Penny, Nickel, Dime, Quarter, Half Dollar and Sweep. Students open blank money mat and stand at their computer. Roll dice. Stamp the coin for the symbol rolled. If an S is rolled, the students must sweep their maps and start over.

Money Hungry Pigs Score Sheets (PDF document)

Spelling City

Spelling & Vocabulary

No Prep - Students type in their spelling words and can then play games with spelling and word definitions.

A Little Prep - Register as a teacher. Enter your word lists for students to choose from. Just enter the words, spelling city finds definitions and sentences for you.


Typing Games

Primary & Elementary

Is 15 or 20 minutes, once a week in a computer lab really enough time for students to truly learn keyboarding skills? If they’re going to pick it up they need to practice at home too. Here’s a list of fun Fun FREE web tools for keyboarding practice.

Lure of the Labyrinth

Middle School Math (Pre-Algebra)

This is an interactive adventure game where students must use logic and solve problems that require Algebraic thinking. Teachers can setup a class, track how many puzzles students have solved, how many attempts it took them to solve it, and how long students have spent playing the game.

Science Pirates

Elementary Science

This is a FREE download. Developed at New Mexico State University through a grant from the USDA, this game is designed to teach middle elementary kids about the scientific method and food safety. All the pirates on the ship are sick with something the game calls “the curse of Brownbeard”. Students must explore the island searching for the cause of the ailment.

Mission US

US History - Revolutionary War

This is a role playing simulation. Students take on the role of a printing apprentice and as meet people and learn about the causes leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Students can play online or the game can be downloaded and installed if you have limited bandwidth. (Internet connection still required to access saved games.)


Create A Graph

Elementary - Math

Students use this tool to learn parts and types of graph by creating their own graph.

Paper Slide Videos

Elementary/Middle School - Multiple Subjects

Help students learn by making them the teacher. Students put in groups of 3-4 and given a concept to teach using paper slides (pre-historic PowerPoint) and FlipCams. Videos are then uploaded and posted online for other student to use for study and review.

EXAMPLES: Paper Slide Videos made by teachers at Nov. 10th TechNet Meeting:

Positive and Negative Slope by Larry, Blake, and Sandra (Youtube)

Multiplying by 11 by Claudia, Melanie, Patty, & Kim (Youtube)

Positive and Negative Slope by Greg, Cheryl, and Jesse (Youtube)

Fractions to Decimals Using Powers of 10 by Epic 10’s (Youtube)

Fractions to Decimals Using Powers of 10 by Epic 10’s (Screencast.com)

Map-A-List / Google Forms

Elementary - Social Studies

State Reports. Create a Google form (EXAMPLE) and have students complete the information for their state. Use Map-A-List to create a collaborative map of all the students’ state information. EXAMPLE

Elementary - Math/Social Studies

Have a class work together to create a survey using Google Forms including location information. Send that survey out via Twitter, e-mail, word of mouth. Use Google Forms to study results of the survey. Use Map-A-List to see results based on location. EXAMPLE Discuss results and look for relationships between answers and geographic location.

How to make a collaborative map using Google Forms & Map-A-List.


Primary - Phonics/Reading

High frequency words, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day

Elementary - Reading/Lang. Arts

Copy & paste Book Report. Print and post. See if students can guess your book. Same thing for President reports.

Middle School Literature/History

Copy and paste sections of text into wordle. See which words are empahsized. For History examine presidential speeches. For literature copy poems or selections from books to examine the voacbulary and writing styles.


Jen Wagner’s “Guess the Wordle”



Upper Elementary & Middle School

Students can take a picture of an animal or person and “make it talk.”  Would be great for an animal report or a biography project.


Elementary & Middle School

Students can create their avatar and use it to share an idea.  One example would be for students to record their voice explaining a math concept or a book summary.


Elementary & Middle School

Prepare your kids for a world of social networking with this “walled-garden” Twitter/Facebook designed for use in schools and classrooms.

Oh! And for those of you who asked for it, here is the Jeopardy Template for PowerPoint.