Abolish hand raising. Asking questions and having students raise their hands limits the number of students participating. In fact most students opt out of hand raising activities. Instead pose your questions as problems students all must try to resolve or have them partner and tell their idea or answer to a neighbor, then switch. When you ask for sharing don't ask for their answer, ask them to share what their partner shared. This way they need to genuinely listen to each other.
"Tap Roulette" - This app a very simple but fun way to decide who to select in your class to answer a question, who gets to work at the board, who gives their speech first etc. Students simply touch the screen with their finger and the app randomly selects a student (finger). It may seem silly or a waste of time, but you will be surprised how excited the kids get to use it, how more engaged the students will be, and who you might get excited to participate. The best part is they cannot blame you for selecting them! This app is available on iPad or iPhone or iPod for FREE.
Turn and Talk - It's just that simple! Ask a question and have the students "turn and talk" about it to a neighbor. Every student has to answer the question, not just the one who raises their hand. You can then ask random students what their neighbor shared (this way they need to both talk AND listen to their neighbor). This can be used in any classroom regardless of subject or setting and be used many times in a class period. Yes it may get noisy for a few seconds, but it's the noise of students engaged!
"World Book - This Day in History" - This is an awesome app! It give important events in history for each day. Births, deaths, battles, discoveries, etc. A great app for daily facts or questions for bellwork or just fun facts to share as an exit activity. Not just a Social Studies app! You may find important events in science, math, music and technology! This is a FREE app for any iDevice!
http://www.freerice.com - This is a free vocabulary game! For every correct answer they donate ten grains of rice to the World Food Program to help feed the hungry. The questions will adjust to the player's ability, get an answer correct, you get a harder question, get it wrong, get an easier one, etc. You can never get enough vocabulary instruction!
Classroom Guest Speakers - Bring in outside experts. Connect the classroom to the community. Bring people in to teach, share or speak about a curriculum related topic. This mixes it up and gives students the opportunity to make the connections between the classroom and the outside world. Examples; weather station visitors (science OR math), history professor from BMCC or EOU (they would likely come to help support the Eastern Promise Compact), local contractor (math, tech ed, geometry, etc), health dept. workers, Inter-path lab technicians (Health, life science, etc). Often is only takes a quick e-mail or phone call and many of our local resources (forest service, watershed, ODFW, ODOT, etc.) would jump at the chance to do something new during their work day! It may also give you a much needed break!
"QRC Elements" - This app is a simple game to test kids on all of the elements! They simply drag a path from the element to its correct position in the element chart. Level 1 tests the first 20 elements, Level 2 the first 30 element, and Level 3 tests all of the elements. It will even keep track of who has the highest scores at each level! This app is available on the iPhone, iPod, or iPad for FREE!
www.plinky.com - Online writing prompts! Hundreds of writing prompts for journals or bellwork. It took me less than five minutes to register for a free account and I now have access to the writing prompts. You can also have students register and they can write their responses to the prompts online! It's free and just what kids are doing with technology today! See me if you need help!