Bazinga as a review game

Bazinga is a simple review game that I saw played in a classroom when I was student teaching. The class is split up into teams and the teams take turns answering questions. Each question is worth one point. When a team gets a question right, they get the change to pull a card from one of the pockets on the Bazinga board.


(picture of Bazinga board:


These cards have game switch-ups like trading players from team to team or stealing points. This keeps the students interacting more since it bit of variety to a fairly standard review game.


I can easily see myself using this review game each time a lesson is finished in a certain subject, or possibly on Friday afternoons for a bit of a break for the class. The cards all stay the same; they just get shuffled around when you set it up. That way, all I have to do to prepare is write up the questions. It’s important to keep the energy high in the classroom as the game is going on, so the students stay interested.


Directions for setting up different versions of this game are fairly common online. The version I am most familiar with can be found here. It includes all you need need for setting up the game in the classroom, including all the cards that you use. For the more high-tech classroom, a powerpoint template is available here. I think having the students pick the cards out of the pockets makes the game more interesting and interactive, so that’s what I plan on doing with my students.


Autobiographical Narrative

An autobiographical narrative is a great way to get to know your students. It incorporates technology and allows for some creativity. Adobe Voice or another presentation format is used to create a digital autobiography. These autobiographies are shared online with the class so students can get to know each other (and I can get to know them too!).


This could be a great first project. I plan to use this as one of my assignments during the first week of school. I will have a brand new set of faces and this will help me get to know my students and challenge them to improve their presentation and writing skills. I can also prepare a presentation about myself that I am able to share with my students. This will help them when preparing their presentations, as well as serving as an introduction to me as their teacher.


Some of the resources I have found to be helpful for this project include MindMaple and Adobe Voice. The students start off by organizing their ideas using a idea map like this or this. Depending on the age group, a digital mindmap like MindMaple could be used. From there, the students start to make their presentations. The format can be whatever they want it to be. If they want to make a traditional presentation, they can use apps like Adobe Voice or Haiku Deck. ThingLink could be a different style of presentation. It lets students add pictures to a page and link the pictures to websites, more pictures, videos, or other multimedia. This way, if a student mentions fly fishing (or some other specific hobby), for example, the other students can click the picture to learn more about the topic.

Gorgeous Grandma(PowToons)

Taking online classes for me is a challenge because I am not a computer person although I think computers are a great way to engage your students.  Children young and old love them are intrigued by them and become quite fascinated with them.  To be honest they still make me a little nervous, stupid I know!  But what’s a grandma to do so to make a long story short I had to get with the program if I wanted to pass this class.

So, I jumped in head first and I’m glad I did we were given another lesson tough for me!  But had too get it done.  This lesson is called Historical Figure Event or Law Topic this involved researching a given topic or you could select your own, given all your research you are now able to put together a presentation using a selected application.  I selected PowToons and this application offered a variety of ways to present researched information.  Powtoons allowed me to set-up a presentation using music, images, figures, and different ways the words appear or disappear on and off the page.  I used specific information like location, statistics, important people, or contributions to tell the story.

Again, great lesson for younger students.  Students could read a book or learn to research something as well, like a historical figure or famous person in history then let them have fun creating a presentation perhaps they could work in pairs or groups of three then let them present. What a great way for them to learn strategies that will help them improve comprehension skills.

Joyce Swopes

Soc. Foundations k-12


Gorgeous Grandma (Autobiographical Project)

I really enjoyed this course and learned a lot from navigating through the course to completing assignments and projects with the quickness no time for delay. We literally have 1 day to breath before it’s back to business.

One of the assignments I enjoyed the most was the autobiographical narrative.  Let me start by saying I am a visual person I literally will need to see an example, then I can go with it.  Explaining is good and the directions were clear but it’s something about the finished product that gets my juices flowing .

We were asked to use Adobe Voice(now Adobe Spark) and create a slide presentation about you, your family, and our connection to education, why do you want to teacher? Etc. We were instructed to use the voice prompt to tell our story using your voice.  We used personal photos, images from the internet or maybe a funny story to give the viewer an idea who you are and what type of person you are.  I considered this a “getting to know you project.”

I will use this for sure, I think the kids will enjoy doing something like this. I want to work with 5th or 6th graders so this would be a awesome way for them to get to know each other and a great first project also a great way to incorporate technology in your lesson.         Loved this!

Joyce Swopes

Soc. Foundation k-12

Building Roots by Branching Out


By: Kaelin C. Shuck

Giving Tree

In some way shape or form every person has values and beliefs of some sort or a code by which they live their lives. These beliefs are molded by many factors throughout a person’s life and often changing linearly or exponentially based on life experiences. Being human we try to rationalize what it is that makes us tick and try to understand who we are so that we can better understand the world around us. Knowing who you are is determined by beliefs and values that direct your life and your interactions with others. An educator’s duty is to spread/bring light or truth to his students and thereby influencing his/her community and life.


Personal/Educator View

In chapter 3 of the sourcebook there was an emphasis on philosophy that really changed my perspective of how there is an underline chain of principles and beliefs built up in a classroom. In a classroom nothing trumps knowledge for an educator, and in a profession based on wisdom there are few things as important.  Digging deeper with a focus on philosophical values allowed me to look closer at my own roots that were laid in philosophy. Each philosophical school of thought has its use in and out of a classroom, whether it be idealism or axiology the use and applications are limitless. Studying these values and ideas brings in new ways to access and measure students in different methods. Philosophy is not only a way to view the way you go about work as an educator but a way to self access and adjust your focus.

Why is Philosophy Important?

Philosophy Matters

In a classroom I can see myself being pragmatic (pragmatism) and constantly changing an bettering myself to ultimately better my students. The world and education are constantly changing in so many aspects; so I by example must be the one to show that change is necessary and achievable in my classroom. In many ways some courses for example Science are based around the idea of epistemology and building a scientific inquiry. In science every theory is always tested and tried to be made something as close to truth as we can get, and same is for the students in class upon learning new concepts.


In the Class

Upon reading for this course there was no greater philosophy than “Existentialism” and its importance to a classroom. We (teachers) are being put in a situation everyday to judge and monitor the importance of students work, behavior, ethics, and moral code. We don’t grade, fail, or access students on their personal lives outside of school but we that doesn’t mean that those experiences aren’t everything. I see a way in which I can build curriculum and find a hook with students that I didn’t before, and a way that I can use their lives to strengthen the classroom.


There have been times in the classroom in past years where having this tool in my bag would’ve made the difference to both the individual student and the classroom. I’m not going to say that I’d be able to relate with every philosophy we’ve covered but having a deeper understanding of them now it definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities and opportunities I have to make a difference.

Wait, so why does France hate us?

This morning I, Will Heck, was on my way to the Rec Center when I heard a report on National Public Radio about terrible floods taking place in Paris.  As I listened to these Parisians discuss the troubles they were facing I thought about a question I have asked my self a few times in new language, “Why is it a prevailing cultural narrative that the French hate people from the United States?”

Now, before this class, (and to be honest a few other classes, and podcasts about white privilege)  I would have both asked, and answered this question very differently then I would today.  I would have asked, “Why does France hate us?” My answer would have been somewhat incoherent, and probably included something about George W. Bush and Freedom Fries.  Currently, I would attempt to look at broader social context and the idea of “American Privilege”.

I use this example because it relates to a Postmodern practice of critiquing and examining culture and institutions that I would like to incorporate into my future classroom.  This process entails looking at specific practices, traditions, and values within ones cultures and asking deep probing questions about them.  Questions like; Why do we do this, what is the history behind this, why do we value this, who decides that we value this, is this normal, and who gets to decide what normal is? These are just a few questions that need to be asked in a quest to get students to critique their own culture and institutions.  The goal of this critique is broaden perspectives, as well as point out discrepancies and inequalities.

Within my future classroom I will strive to incorporate this method.  I would like to spend the beginning of at least one class a week asking these types of questions about existing institutions, and our broader culture.  I would later like encourage students to present their own examples to be critiqued in such a fashion. This is a method that will promote critical thinking, as well as help train students to believe they can change the world. It will be a difficult task to start out with, but I am a strong believer that Middle Schoolers are competent enough to engage in such practices.

Reading, Writing, Arithmatic, and Dance? Using Multiple Intelligence In the Classroom

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By Melissa Lanning

Multiple Intelligences have become almost a buzz word in education today.  In our course work we studied multiple intelligences and took a quiz to see what ours were.  Knowing how you learn is important for your own learning but even more important for your student’s learning.  Why?  How does knowing how I learn make me a better teacher? Because if you can identify what motivates you it can change how you motivate others.  After reading the chapter on intelligences I watched the coffee talk and though it was one of our shorter talks it was jam packed with information.  As Dr. Perez said ” The more you can get them to use their intelligences it gives you so much more to build upon.”  I feel this is absolutely true.  The more we can tap into their interests the better foundation we can form and create concrete learning and a love for lifelong learning.

I believe that by incorporating multiple intelligences it hooks students into learning.  It also allows for us to tailor lessons to our students.  For example, I am an Auditory learner, because I know that is my strength I can write lessons that accommodate this strength for others.  But wait!  Everyone has different intelligences and not just one but multiple ones how do I bring that in?  We incorporate more than one intelligence in a lesson.  For example, if I am teaching a lesson on the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill.  I would start by having different ‘centers’ then group the kids in pairs (one boy, one girl) the first pair would go to the first ‘center’ and read ‘Jack and Jill went up the hill’ and there would be a ‘hill’ for them to go up.  At the top of the ‘hill’ there would be a pail and the students would take the rope tied to the pail and lower it to another group on the other side of the hill.  The group at the bottom would then ‘fill’ the bucket with ‘water’ (blue paper) then they would have to find a way to communicate that the bucket was ‘full’.  The group on top would then pull the bucket up and read ‘to fetch a pail of water’ and would have to define what the word fetch means.  Then they would come ‘down’ the hill and fill the bucket for the next group before going on to the tumbling mats area where they would ‘fall down’ tumble and then they would have to draw/ make their broken crowns.

This seems silly and like a game but it is indeed using multiple intelligences.  It is using kinthetic for the movement, interpersonal for the groups, auditory for the reading, visual spacial for drawing, and musical for singing the rhyme itself.  By using all of these intelligences I have not only engaged the students but made it fun solidifying the information and encouraging continued learning.

There is SO much information out there about multiple intelligences that I can’t possibly show all of them, however, I did pick a few that I thought were interesting and informative.

Here is a great quick video about how everyone is made up of several intelligences. I liked this one because it not only was a great video but it incorporated using multiple intelligences in teaching you the video!

Another great video is this one; which shows using different intelligences to teach math.  Sorry for the potato quality of the video but it really has some awesome ideas!

Then I came across this article that had a wealth of links to ideas on how to incorporate multiple intelligence in your classroom.

Finally, really defined multiple intelligence and broke them down for easier understanding and to help you find ways to incorporate it in our classrooms.

I personally, love incorporating multiple intelligence in my lesson plans.  When I taught art this year I wrote the final to incorporate the different intelligences.  I’ll post a copy of the lesson.  I plan on incorporating multiple intelligences into all of my lessons.  Simply because by engaging students we encourage learning and retention and besides learning should ALWAYS be fun!

art final

personal eval

peer eval

art finalpersonal evalpeer evalteacher eval

By allowing students to choose not only their medium but also the information and the way it was presented it incorporated all of the intelligences.  I also had them reflect on themselves and their peers.  It was a fun project and the kids did awesome.

You help me make the Rules

My name is Will Heck, and I am absolutely fascinated by the practice we studied  in the Progressivism chapter that had to do with letting students establish their own rules in the classroom.  This practice seems to exemplify the Progressive virtue of partnering with students.  I was also fascinated by it because it is an excellent example of student centered classroom where the teacher is more of a guide/coach than an expert.

I first learned about this practice in a KNEA-SP meeting here at Kansas State University.  We were in a presentation about classroom management theories, and this practice instantly caught my attention as something I could resonate with, and will attempt within my own classroom.  It will involve meeting with the students early in the school year for a detailed discussion of what makes a safe,welcoming, classroom where they feel they can learn, and also feel safe to share their opinions.  Once this discussion is complete we, as a class, will attempt to formalize these rules into a coherent list.  After this step is complete I will personally review these rules and see if there are any glaring omissions. Present these rules in a contract form for the students to sign.  I will keep these rules posted in the classroom, and will discipline my class according to these rules.

As I hope to teach middle school social studies I hope to link this practice to a discussion about the different forms of government that exist in the world, and the processes those systems use to pass laws.  I think that this process of creating class rules in this environment will help student by in, as well introduce some key ideas about civics, and government.


One Spark; Ethics In Education How One Can Change Many

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By: Melissa Lanning

Ethics, Morals, Ideals, Values, everyone has them and each is different.  They stem from our childhood, experiences, and what we have been taught, but how do they apply to Education?  Ethics in Education are how we treat our students and what we envision for their future.  Simply, because their future is our future.  During our class we learned about identifying culture and differences in order to overcome obstacles in teaching.  Ethics is the art of taking what we have learned about our students and using that information to make them succeed.  Using their autobiographical narratives we can have insight into our student’s lives and experiences that in turn guide our interactions with them.  I was intrigued by this subject after watching the dynamic coffee talk about it.  Some of the things that cemented themselves in my brain were that “We have a moral obligation to provide everything we can” to our students.  Also, that it is my responsibility is to discover if the students are comprehending the information and to make accommodations to ensure that they are.  The most important thing I heard is what resonated with me and truly summed up my philosophy was “a teacher must say ‘This is what I want to do.  No matter what.'”  This is what I feel wholeheartedly that as a teacher no matter what I want my students to succeed, my accomplishments mean nothing, it is only through them that I know I have accomplished my goals.


Lofty goals, I know.  So how do I intend on bringing this star studded dream to my classroom?  First by learning about my students.  I must learn their past to help them reach their future.  What kind of home-life do they have?  What do they want to learn?  What do they want to be?  How can I help them achieve these goals?  In my classroom I want to create an atmosphere of acceptance, that everyone is equal and has something to contribute to learning.  I will do this by using peer grouping projects where I will match students with different strengths with each other so that they can have opportunities to shine.  I will also create a tangible visual that students can see what makes them valuable.  I will also incorporate my own experiences.  I will be the kind of teacher that students know will always be available and will treat all students equally.

In my research I came across an article that listed the eight principals of Ethical Leadership in Education.  Here are the eight;

  1. Personal Courage
  2. Public Interest Ahead of Self
  3. Self Control
  4. Task and Employee Centeredness – drawing from the strengths of your team
  5. Recognizing Talent
  6. Requiring High Ethics From Everyone
  7. Sensitivity and Understanding
  8. Inclusiveness

Another article explains that we should not fall into the misunderstanding that standards solve problems but that rather it is our responsibility to continue to make connections with students.  It also stated that as leaders we should encourage excellence and not just ‘meeting the average’ of testing.  Basically, I believe that an apathetic teacher is worse than an immoral one because the worst thing a person can do is not care.

A link that I highly suggest is one that was mentioned during the coffee talk Three letters from Teddy  This video is amazing, however, I’m warning you have tissues.  Seriously, it is more emotionally moving than those Sara McLaughlin starving animals commercials.


Some other great ideas to help kids deal with today’s issues and ethics in the classroom come from this article

My personal perspective: just for you to read if you want feel free to skip if you want it’s just me rambling about some of my experiences with ethics.

I want to tell you a little about me and my experience.  I am known as the patron saint of naughty kids.  When I first started the teaching program as an undergraduate I chose teaching because I never had that teacher who took an interest in me.  I wanted to be that person for someone, I wanted to make a difference.  When I started as a para I found myself placed into special education, and not just any special education, I had the behavioral kids.  I quickly found that I had a great rapport with the students and the other staff took notice.  Not long after starting I was asked to supervise detention.  It became apparent that I attracted a certain kind of student.  The ‘naughty’ ones.  I could not walk down the hall without the staff telling me about what one of ‘my kids’ did.  As the staff began to identify these students as ‘my kids’ the students themselves started calling themselves my kids.  Soon I had over fifty ‘kids’.

Soon I was being placed into the most chaotic classrooms ‘to bring order’.  I began to watch these students that other teachers identified as ‘trouble’ bloom and were some of the most incredible students I have ever met.  It didn’t take long before not only the ‘trouble’ kids were calling themselves my children but also a lot of the ‘good’ kids.  Why?  I wasn’t nice.  I wasn’t helping them any more than anyone else. So why did students ask to be in my groups?  It’s simple.  They respected me because I respected them.  I treated them all the same no matter their background, what others thought of them, or what they had or had not accomplished.  They knew no matter what I would be there for them.  Now I’m not telling this because I want to pat myself on the back.  No, I wanted to tell this because I feel this is how all students feel. They all want to be seen, not by what they do but by who they are and that is our jobs as teachers.  To see them for who they are and who they want to be not by their labels.  My joy came from seeing them succeed and that is what I will base my ethics on, seeing them succeed, not by what I do for them but by what they do for themselves when given the opportunity.

This is my favorite trophy what I look at every morning to remind myself why I do what I do these were given to me by two of my ‘kids’.  IMG_1435