It seems every time I turn around, there is always some great new app or software online that is geared towards math. What about ELA? It can be a struggle to find applications that you can have your students use in order to grow in the areas of reading and writing. That’s why I have worked to find the best platforms that will help support literacy instruction. Let's dive in!
First up, let's chat about programs that aid in the student's learning process and also benefit the teacher when it comes to planning instruction.
1) Blooket: This is a web-based quiz game platform for group competition or solo study. The best part about this platform is that you can either play as a team or solo. You can share a link and have students play independently as review practice. This is a great way for my students to come back to skills and review.
Things to know:
You can register for a free account. This allows you to access the quizzes created by other members and it gives you the ability to play with up to 60 students.
Now, you do have the option to purchase a subscription to gain access to other features. One of the features that I really like that you can add voice recordings to your questions. This will really help your students if they need this form of accommodation.
In the paid version, you also have the ability to make a copy of premade blookets and make any edits.
The paid feature does run 35.88 a year which, when you add other subscriptions can get costly.
2) Boom Cards: These are digital task cards that exist exclusively in the cloud. Boom Cards are purchased separately from memberships or are created from scratch by teachers. I love that it gives immediate feedback and that students can practice as many times as they need to.
Things to know:
The platform is free to join, however you can only have one class and up to 5 students to join.
Most teachers will benefit from the essential plan. You can have 17 classrooms, 150 students and 5 self made decks. The cost is 25 dollars for the year and it is a subscription.
If you do not plan on making your own decks then this is a great option, but if you want to make your own, I recommend going to a premium plan which gives you the same number of classrooms and students but an infinite amount of self-made decks.
As for the marketplace, you can find Boom Cards both on TeachersPayTeachers and on the Boom Card Marketplace.
Your students will have to have a link to access their boom cards. I have placed my links for both my classes in Schoology.
3) Nearpod: This is an online presentation tool that allows the instructor to integrate activities (such as multiple choice quizzes, interactive videos, and 3D models) with content delivery. It can run asynchronously as “student-paced” or as a synchronous session (in-person or remotely) where the instructor controls the pace.
Things to know:
With Nearpod you can integrate your presentation slides and build in quick responses to check the understanding of your students.
You can add videos to your nearpods which is an added bonus as this will keep your students engaged throughout the lesson.
The platform is free for users however, you get only some of the basic features for engaging students during a lesson.
Also the Google Slides integration, which is highly important for me as all my resources and activities are in google Drive , is not something you get with the free plan and this requires you to purchase.
Now, this would be best if your school would purchase this plan because it is rather pricey.
To have the Google Integration and the added features, the plan costs a whopping 159 dollars a year. Definitely not something I recommend teachers paying out of pocket especially since there are so many other great platforms that will do the same functions as Nearpod.
But I do still like using Nearpod and it allows me to have some variation in the types of lessons that I am using with my students.
Next, we are going to discuss apps and platforms that are based on the teacher lens. Meaning, your students may not use these as much, but it has really helped my instruction the past two years.
1) Explain Everything:
Explain Everything has two forms. There is a web-based form that allows you to collaborate with others and then there is an app.
I used the Explain Everything Basics which is on iPad- and iPhone-only where creations are saved locally on the device. It DOES NOT include: online collaboration with voice chat, cloud-based video rendering, online video hosting, dedicated cloud storage, and group management.
I love the feature especially if you have limited whiteboard space or you do not have a smartboard in your classroom.
I can easily project using a dongle to HDMI connector or I can use an Apple tv to mirror my screen to a projector or tv.
Basically I use it as a fancy whiteboard, but I also have the ability to make recordings and share these with students.
2) Parts of Speech:
This website is completely free and it does not require you to create an account.
This site allows you to paste sentences and it will create tags allowing you to recognize the parts of speech that are in the sentence.
I am able to run my mentor sentences through this site and it will help me identify all the parts of speech.
This was especially helpful when I had complex sentences and I wanted to double check that I was correct.
This has gained a ton of traction within the education community, and there are some great ways for you to use it as a classroom teacher.
ChatGPT is an AI chatbot system. You can ask countless questions and often will get an answer that's useful.
It is a free platform that requires you to login so that it can track the questions you ask and its responses.
Basically, you can ask it all sort of questions and it gives you answers.
Here are some ways that I am using ChatGpt.
I have used Chat GPT to create short passages. I have recently used this to create main idea passages, text structure passages, and short stories for theme. There are some adjustments that I have had to make to the final version but it saves me so much time from having to write these myself.
I have also used it to create sample sentences or figurative language. You can simply ask it to write 10 compound sentences for fourth graders and it will give you the 10 sentences. Again, it saves time! I’m completely capable of writing my own sentences but when you only have 30 minutes to plan, it comes in handy.
Conker. AI can generate quizzes, fill-in-the-blank activities, true/false questions and more that can then be easily exported to a Google Form.
You have two options to choose from. The first is a topic idea that you might want students to demonstrate their understanding. Here you can select the type of assessment (quiz, fill in the blank, or a read and respond). You will then select the number of questions and grade level. Type your topic, for example the American Revolution into the space and click generate. You will need to login before it generates your questions but this resource is completely FREE!
It will automatically generate a quiz with the correct answer already selected. Click on the assign or export and you can have students use the code to take the quiz or you can export it to Google Forms. It will even make sure that your answers are selected!
You can also choose reading materials as an option. You can paste the text you would like students to read and it will automatically generate questions based on the passages.
Hopefully the break down of these resources is helpful to you! If you want to learn more and hear me discuss them even more in depth, watch here!
Here are the links to all the resources I mentioned above:
Blooket: https://www.blooket.com/ Boom Cards: https://wow.boomlearning.com/ EdPuzzle: https://edpuzzle.com/ Nearpod: https://nearpod.com/ Explain Everything Basics: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/explain... Chat GPT: https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt Conker.ai https://www.conker.ai/create?type=top... Parts of Speech https://parts-of-speech.info/