This morning as I listened to the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast with two of my favorite teacher encouragers, Vicki Davis and Steve Dembo, it finally sunk into my thick head that sometimes the best tool to jumpstart a lesson isn’t a new tool at all. I must admit that my tried and true tools for looking at old lessons in new ways do not match theirs. I have had too many bad experiences with Padlet in middle school to go there again. I like my posts tied to a login and a name. I must admit I do really like the idea of using Padlet and just allowing an up or down vote like this example, so maybe I will need to reexamine that. The new year is always a good time to consider new uses for old tools.
I do really appreciate the tools that have been around for a while are really taken for granted or forgotten by those of us that like to play with new things. Wordle is definitely a case in point. It is not flashy and it hasn’t changed in a long time, but if you want to focus on content,
that is exactly the kind of tool that is needed. Wordle is still an excellent way to focus on key vocabulary without boring your students.
My personal list of smart tools to use in the new year:
Google Apps of all sorts (I teach in a Google for Education school system and also there are always new add-ons to explore.)
The fact of the matter remains that Google Classroom will continue to be my main instructional organization tool in the elementary building and Moodle will be that tool in the middle school because they work. I don’t need the newest shiny thing to excite my students. All I need is the excitement of new learning.