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Curipod #AI Tool for Teachers

While I’m talking about AI tools such as ChatGPT for teachers, let’s take a look at Curipod, a freemium web-based tool for creating interactive lesson presentations. The free version allows you to create 5 free presentations, but from my limited practice using it, you can delete previous presentations. You can’t export them, at this time, though. So unless you screen record them they will be lost forever after 30 days in your trash folder. Here is the pricing (Curipods are presentations):

Curipod is similar to Peardeck and Nearpod in that it allows your students to follow along on their own devices and interact by drawing, or answering polls and open-ended questions. One different interaction takes student responses and creates a Word Cloud based on them. What really sets Curipod apart from other presentations tools so far, though, is that you can input your lesson focus and learning objectives and let it create the interactive slide show for you.

It is definitely not perfect, of course. The idea shows promise, though. I tried an atypical prompt not based on any core curriculum standards to see how a presentation about S.C.A.M.P.E.R. would look. For the learning standards I typed in, “learn what the different letters in S.C.A.M.P.E.R. stand for see examples of applying each word of S.C.A.M.P.E.R. to innovation of the phone ask students to practice using S.C.A.M.P.E.R. to create a new pencil.”

The result was a presentation that began with a Word Cloud question:

You’re seeing it in editing mode above. All I did was put in the cartoonish picture of the pencil. After that slide, there were some informational slides about my learning objectives, the acronym of S.C.A.M.P.E.R. that weren’t quite complete, the “Concepts” below, and a slide giving “Fun Facts” about the pencil.

There were then a couple of repetitive open ended question slides similar to this:

and then several polling slides asking for their understanding of the acronym.

As the editor, you can change the headings, titles, and some media as well as add your own slides and import Powerpoints or PDF’s.

These are actually quite a lot of features for a free product that generates an interactive slide show on your topic in seconds. Although there aren’t a bunch of templates to choose from or some of the other bells and whistles you will find in other products, this could be a a great launching point for anyone who is creating a lesson from “scratch,” and save you quite a bit of time. Give Curipod a whirl and see what you come up with! Or, discover something in the gallery to save even more time!

Language Arts, Teaching Tools

Using #ChatGPT for Differentiation

With all of the recent debates among educators regarding the AI tool, ChatGPT, it was no wonder that we would find sessions about it during this week’s TCEA Convention in San Antonio. I’ve been playing a lot with it since I first wrote about it in this post a few weeks ago. Because I was going to be presenting on Digital Differentiation with my colleague, Amy Chandler, I decided to test the limits of ChatGPT when it came to offering differentiation ideas — something that can really be time-consuming for teachers. I’d already seen demonstrations of it doing lesson plans and IEP’s, so coming up with Choice Boards or Learning Menus seemed like an obvious extension.

I won’t go through all of the iterations that I tried before landing on some substantial suggestions from the AI tool, but suffice it to say that if your first attempt yields gibberish, you may need to refine your wording. It did not escape me that I was trying to generate activities for the novel, The Giver, in which the fictional dystopian community places such a high value on precision of language as I kept correcting and adding details to my initial prompt. In the end, though, this is what I was able to coax out of ChatGPT:

In my estimation, this was not bad, perhaps needing a few tweaks here and there, but certainly far better than I could have come up with in an hour, much less the 5 minutes it had taken me and the tool to arrive at this point.

From there, I wanted to make the menu a bit more “palatable” for student consumption, so I turned to Canva where I found a free menu template, copied and pasted my activities from ChatGPT, replaced a couple of images to go with the theme, and was done in less than 15 minutes total from start to finish. (Want a free, editable Canva template of the menu below? Be sure you’ve subscribed to my newsletter!)

Andi McNair (follow her in Instagram @a_meaningful_mess!), one of my Genius Hour heroes, was in the audience, and decided to play around with it, too. She had the tool generate a Choice Board, which she posted on Instagram as you can see below.

Today I decided to push my boundaries a bit more, thinking it would be nice to have the choices on my Learning Menu somewhat correspond to ability levels. Here is what I got for Tuck Everlasting:

Again, not perfect, but I can definitely see differences in difficulty levels for the tasks. As Andi pointed out when we were discussing ChatGPT over lunch, it is basically gleaning information from all over the internet, so we are going to find that much of the wording is familiar to things we’ve seen in the past. ChatGPT is like a hyperfocused internet search that filters out all of the things you don’t need to give you as close to what you specify as it can find.

Now, keep in mind that this tool is not going to stay free. And, yes, there are plenty of ways it can be abused. It’s not perfect, and we still need humans, of course. But when we can get machines to do the time-consuming tasks that will then allow us to to do what we do best — guide, teach, and empower our students — why not take advantage of those tools? We can be thoughtful and critical thinkers and manage the resources available to us at the same time.

Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, K-5, Math

Valentine’s Day: Some “Heartfelt” Resources for Teachers

If you’re looking for some “heartfelt” Valentine’s Day resources for teachers, this post has got you covered!

In the process of trying to update and collect my downloadable resources from over 11 years of writing this blog, I decided to start a “store” (located under “Downloads for Teachers” in my top menu) hosted on my website. The purpose of this store is not for me to make money, but to make it easier for teachers to search and filter through my resources. It has been a slow process, and I haven’t worked out some of the kinks. But I think it will be worthwhile eventually.

You do need to create a free login in order download items from the store. The majority of the items are free. However, I’ve decided to sell bundles of items for a low fee, donating $1 out of every $5 earned to teacher projects on Donors Choose. I am slowly removing my items from Teachers Pay Teachers and will eventually host everything I create on my store with the multiple goals of giving teachers easy access to free resources that are good for students and hopefully earning money to give back to teachers who have amazing ideas for which they need funding. Currently, all of my S.C.A.M.P.E.R. resources are available in the store and I am now working on getting my Visible Thinking Routine resources added.

Would You Rather Valentine’s Day Math for Elementary

While working on my store, I recently updated my “Would You Rather Math?” for Valentine’s Day using a cute Canva template. You can download the new PDF here. For the old versions (including Google Slides and PowerPoint), as well as a more detailed explanation, here is the post I originally wrote when I made this resource based on the work of John Stevens and his WYRM website. Want the free Canva template link so you can edit it and make your own? I’ll be posting it in this week’s newsletter, so be sure to sign up if you haven’t already!

I haven’t had a chance to update and upload this next Valentine’s Day resource to the store, but if you like to give out something other than candy for Valentine’s Day (or any time of the year), these QR Code Coupons that I made way back in 20212 are a cute option to insert into an old chocolate box or into Valentine’s Day cards for your students.

If you are looking for more Valentine’s Day Resources, you can check out my Valentine’s Day Wakelet here.

Student Products

Join Me at #TCEA23 for Digital Differentiation!

My colleague, Amy Chandler, and I will be presenting for TAGT, Digital Differentiation:10 Tools That Will Help Your Gifted Learners at TCEA in San Antonio next week. You can see us on Monday, January 30th, at 1 PM in Room 225C, in the Convention Center.

Here is the summary of our session: “Learn about a myriad of digital tools, most of them free, that will allow you to create lessons in your classroom that will empower gifted learners to leverage their own interests and abilities. Work smarter, not harder, to include every student in every lesson.”

As many of you know, I like to make sure that my presentations include tons of free resources teachers can access immediately, and this one is no exception to that rule. Additionally, Amy and I will share examples of these tools being used in the classroom and offer ideas that will hopefully be new to you. In fact, we just added a couple of last-minute “surprise” tools that should be fun! Of course, I also like to keep my presentations interactive so you will have the no-pressure opportunity to offer some of your own suggestions as well.

Are any of you planning to present and/or attend TCEA? Email me (engagetheirminds@gmail.com) or DM me on Twitter (@TerriEichholz) so we can try to meet up!

serious girl in protective mask holding plush toy in mask and showing palm against steps
3-12

3d Toy Shop

I’m home sick today, and of course that leads to me mindlessly scrolling through TikTok videos. Between my interests in education and DIY projects, I supposed that it was inevitable that TikTok would eventually recommend a video from 3d Toy Shop (@3dToyShop) owner Nick Hardman. Using his 3d printers, Hardman makes customized stuffed animals for children who have medical conditions. Outfitted with the same urine bags, PEG feeding tubes and dialysis machines, or other lifesaving accessories their young owners themselves wear, these toys are each one-of-a-kind, and give the patients comfort as well as understanding about the care they are receiving.

@3dtoyshop

♬ original sound – 3dtoyshop

I had that instant adrenaline rush that I often get when I see an idea I could use in my classroom (although I no longer have a classroom) because I frequently preach about engaging students with authentic projects, and I can totally see posing this scenario to them to see if they would like to do something similar. This would be an amazing PBL unit or Genius Hour project.

You can find Nick’s website here. He also has a GoFundMe page because this incredible man is not trying to make money from his specialized toys so he formed a nonprofit instead.

image from BBC video about Nick Hardman’s 3d Toy Shop
a young girl holding her toy microphone while singing
3-12, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Language Arts, Student Products

NPR Student Podcast Challenge

Way back in the early 2000’s, I convinced my then-principal to purchase a MacBook for my classroom. Another teacher (shout out to Diane Cullen at Fox Run Elementary!) and I sponsored a media club after school designed for 5th graders who were struggling in their classes. Our goal was to get them excited about school by getting them excited by creating for authentic audiences. Our little group started playing around with Garage Band, and began producing podcasts for the school. Those, along with their iMovie commercials, not only entertained and energized all of us but also helped to build school community. It was probably one of my first experiences seeing how producing something to be heard, seen, or used by others (Design Thinking) can be a powerful motivator.

I had no idea back then how popular podcasts would become. We had no resource materials when we started, fumbling along as we learned on our own. But now there are plenty available, and the tools for production have expanded way past Garage Band. I detailed many of these resources in an article for NEO almost two years ago on “Podcast Pedagogy.” I also recently blogged about “International Podcast Day“, which occurs annually on September 30th of each year. I still think that Smash, Boom, Best is one of the best gateways to podcasting for younger students.

Now I’d like to bring your attention the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. And before you dismiss it because you don’t think your students are ready to enter a contest (submissions are being accepted until April 28, 2023, possibly March 24th according to the Podcast Guide for Students?) or they are not in the age range (grades 5-12), I would still like to recommend taking advantage of the educational resources provided. You can listen to past winners and even a podcast about student podcasting. There are free downloads for teachers and for students that are useful for helping students to prepare, plan for, and produce podcasts. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before. In fact, according to the NPR Podcast Guide for Students:

We don’t expect you to be experts. In fact, we expect that most of you are putting a podcast together for the first time.

And even though this is a contest, it’s also about learning new skills in a fun way. We want to make that learning easier — so we’ve put together a guide to help you along the way.

NPR Podcast Guide for Students

It can be daunting as a teacher if you have no experience, but it’s a good opportunity to model a growth mindset and learning along with your students. You could start by giving the option to a small group of advanced students and expand from there, or do one all together with the caveat that I always used, “I have no idea how this is going to go, but I love to learn new things even if it’s from my mistakes, don’t you?” Even if students design podcasts just for practice to begin with, there are so many useful skills students will learn such as researching, summarizing, outlining, and writing for an audience. Podcasts are just one of many great choices to give students when differentiating products so they can demonstrate learning (which my colleague, Amy Chandler, and I will be presenting at TCEA this year), so I encourage you to give it a try!

Link to Downloadable Poster Can Be Found in Teaching Podcasting: A Curriculum Guide for Educators