Boy writing I Love Sudoku on chalkboard
Games, K-12

International Sudoku Day

When I was looking for great links to include in my September Wakelet, I discovered that September 9th is International Sudoku Day. Of course, I can’t ignore that because I literally play Sudoku every single day. It’s my favorite “down-time” activity. I put several links in the Wakelet to help you celebrate this auspicious day, including some online Sudoku games and some places you can find free printables. There’s even a link to a free picture Sudoku you can download from TPT. And, don’t forget to check out the interactive Sudoku bulletin board ideas that you can find here.

I used to like using Jigsawdoku with my students because it allows you to choose different options in order to scaffold. For students who need some extra challenge, you can have them try Mystery Grid (click on question mark for instructions) or Inkies (also known as Ken-Ken Puzzles or Mathdoku). And if you have some students who get really passionate, you can try one of these alternatives.

For some more Sudoku-Similar Solving ideas, take a look at these posts on Donna Lasher’s blog, some of which include video tutorials.

3-5, Games, Math

Wordle Stats Slow Reveal Graph

I discovered an posted about Slow Reveal Graphs back in 2020. I love the concept of gradually divulging a bit of information at a time, engaging students with suspense as they attempt to make meaning of the graph. It immediately got bookmarked in my Math Sites That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep collection.

I recently revisited the site to take a look at the page full of Slow Reveal Graphs for elementary students, and was delighted to see one for Wordle Stats by Andrew Gael (@bkdidact). It provides a Google Slides presentation ready to go that includes a Jimmy Fallon clip where the Tonight Show host plays Wordle, apparently for the first time. This is great for two reasons: students who haven’t played can learn along with him, and he models how to learn from failed attempts as he plays. After the clip, students are shown the Stats page which many of us are familiar with, and information is filled in on each slide so that students can try to figure out how the chart will eventually be completed.

If you’re looking for fun ways to begin the school year, this could be the ticket for you. Do the Slow Reveal Graph, and then have students either make their own Wordles or try one of the many variations that I’ve collected here.

I encourage you to read more about using Slow Reveal Graphs with students, and try this routine with one of the many resources provided on this amazing site!

From Wordle Stats Slow Reveal Graph by Andrew Gael
map atlas south america
Games, K-12, Teaching Tools

Earth Day and Upcoming May Holidays

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, and I’ve added some new resources to my Earth Day Wakelet collection, including a link to some Lumio templates you may want to try. (Read my post on Lumio from last week if you’d like to learn more about this free tool.)

In addition, I’ve tried to get a jump on May, which has a dizzying number of observances and celebrations, from Eid Al Fitr to U.S. Memorial Day. Here is that Wakelet, and please let me know if you have a resource that I should add. You’ll find some of favorite Mother’s Day lessons in there as well as Teacher Appreciation and Star Wars Day (May the 4th).

With testing season here, you may want some brain breaks, so I just want to remind you that I have a Fun Stuff collection, Brainteasers and Puzzles, and Wordle Variations (to which I just added my new favorite, Hurdle)

To see my entire set of Wakelet collections, which are listed in alphabetical order, you can visit this page, and follow me for updates.

person holding world globe facing mountain
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com
Games, Student Response, Teaching Tools, Universal Design for Learning

5 SMART Ways to Engage Your Students with Lumio

5 SMART Ways to Engage Your Students with Lumio

By Terri Eichholz

This post is sponsored by Lumio. All opinions are my own.

One lesson my students learned when presenting their Genius Hour projects was that getting their audience involved in some way improved their interest in what was being taught. The experience also helped the students to understand that planning for that interactivity takes more thought than just reading from bullet points on a slide, so many of them developed an appreciation for the efforts teachers make who go above and beyond a standard lecture. After all, the students were spending the equivalent of 6-12 hours preparing each of their presentations, and that time commitment isn’t very practical for full-time teachers.

What if teachers have help, though? This is an area where educational technology can be transformative, but piecing together products from different companies to pull together an engaging lesson is time-consuming, too – unless you make the choice to use Lumio. With Lumio, students can brainstorm, play games, use a collaborative whiteboard, practice lessons, and get assessed – all in one tool. And the best part is that you can deliver a Lumio lesson with as little or as much preparation as you would like.

A product from SMART Technologies that requires student devices without the necessity of an interactive display, Lumio is free for educators and amazingly easy to use. Its simplicity is almost deceptive when you begin to realize all of the ways you can use it. Like a few other ed tech products you may have seen or used, Lumio lessons consist of slides you present to students either as a teacher-led activity or student-paced. You can import slides from other software, such as PowerPoint, use your existing SMART Notebook files, or create something from scratch. If you choose to integrate Lumio with your Google Drive, you can directly import content from there. Even PDF’s can be directly added to the lesson. There is also a growing library of resources you can choose from, so you can duplicate or customize to your needs. This may sound familiar, but as you begin to customize a lesson, you will discover how Lumio separates itself from the pack. Here are some of the ways you can use it to engage your students.

1. Maybe your students enjoy playing online quizzes, but you’ve noticed that their enthusiasm begins to fizzle when you use the same format and platform every time. This is not an issue with Lumio. There are twelve Game-Based Activity templates to choose from, with multiple themes for each activity. Game Show and Monster Quiz are two popular ones that are sure to generate some smiles with their entertaining graphics, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to those. The Rank-Order tool has the potential to generate some insightful classroom discussions, and the Word Search activity can give the illusion of “just having fun” while secretly promoting some higher order thinking skills.

2. Another way to keep your students involved in their learning is that you can present slides as a digital handout (to be worked on individually), a group workspace (where Lumio will automatically create groups of students to collaborate), or a whole class activity. And you can change this “on the fly” as you present with two clicks. This flexibility gives you the power to get a sense for what might work best and make last-minute decisions.

Convert pages in your lesson while editing or presenting with Lumio

3. As we know from Universal Design for Learning, engaging a class of students with different abilities means accommodating for as many of those differences as you can within your lesson design. With Lumio, you can add audio to your slides so your students can hear instructions, or you can turn on the Immersive Reader tool for them.

Embed accommodations for different ability levels

4. Whether you are doing a Design Thinking project and want students to generate ideas, or just want to find out what they already know about a topic, you can use the “Shout it Out” Activity. A couple of neat tweaks that you can make to this are that you can quickly turn on/off names to show on the screen as students contribute and you can also determine the maximum number of responses from each student. 

Add a “Shout it Out” activity for brainstorming

5. You can’t keep your class engaged if the material is too repetitive or too complicated. Formative assessments with Lumio give you the information you need to pivot if necessary. At the beginning, middle, or end of your lesson, pop in the teacher-led Response tool to get real-time feedback without skipping a beat. 

Activate prior knowledge, find out what’s puzzling your students, or design an Exit Ticket with Lumio’s Response tool

As you can see, Lumio combines all of the best features of other digital learning tools in one package, as well as adding quite a few extras that you won’t find anywhere else. Combined with the fact that it’s free, super user-friendly, and offers lots of opportunities to motivate and engage students, can you think of any reason not to click on this link and sign up right now? 

Dice
3-12, Critical Thinking, Games, Math, Problem Solving

Puzzles and Games from Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival

The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, which held its first event in 2007, was named after a famous mathematician. Though the festival was partially sidelined due to Covid a couple of years ago, it continued with virtual events, and it looks like it has some upcoming activities. If you are unable to attend in person, though, you can still participate by playing one of the many online games, or even downloading one of the free, printable booklets. The games include some classics, like River Crossings, and Tower of Hanoi, but there are plenty of others that will likely be new to you and your students. One very helpful feature you will find is that the instructions to each game are on Google Slide presentations, with links to the online game, and an option for Spanish instructions.

I’ll be adding this link to two of my collections: Brainteasers and Puzzles and Math Sites That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep. Got advanced learners? This would be great for them! Early finishers? Students with math anxiety who need to see it can be fun? A little extra time at the end of class or a much-needed break from test prep? These are all good occasions to check out the JRMF site!

Games, K-12, Language Arts

Fourword Word Ladder Game

UPDATE 6/19/2022: Liam at Fourword just notified me that he built a new section of the site just for teachers so you can make your own 4-letter word ladders! Click here to make a custom Fourword puzzle!

In yesterday’s post about Spellie, the Wordle variation designed for younger players, I referred to the original post by Jacob Cohen where I found that link and many more. Another daily online puzzle he made me aware of is called, “Fourword.” This is a word ladder game, where you are given a beginning and ending word, then tasked with changing one letter at a time of the beginning word to make the ending word in as few moves as possible. Each step of the “ladder” has to spell a real word. I find it to be quite as addictive as Wordle, so it’s now on my home screen as one of the daily games I do when I need a break from work or crazy dogs.

Play Fourword here.

According to this post by Ian Byrd, Word Ladders were invented by Lewis Carroll. Donna Lasher, in an article about language fun for younger students, was the first one to introduce me to the Word Ladder books for elementary students, which you can see by clicking on the affiliate link in her post. If you want to make your own Word Ladder puzzles, here is a generator (FYI, there is a minor grammatical issue when you print out the instructions). And here are some printable ones — definitely for older students. This page gives you suggested games and solutions, which I find quite helpful. Sporcle also has Word Ladder Quizes, though mostly designed for age 10 and up. Of course, it’s inevitable that you can find a way to cheat (I mean, “get hints that give you the actual answers”) on the internet, so I’ll save you some time searching for that site by linking a Word Ladder solver here.

I’ll be adding this post, along with Jacob Cohen’s “Puzzles for Progress” site, to my “Brainteasers and Puzzles” Collection. You can go there or directly to my Wordle Variations collection for links to specific Wordle games. And, visit my Wakelet home page if you’d like to follow me for updates or see my other collections.