In the age of digital, one might be tempted to diminish or even forget the importance of the written word in education. Fortunately for our learners, their teachers most certainly have not and literacy skills, along with other valued core skills, continue to occupy their rightful place in the curriculum despite and because of the growth of the digital classroom.
Literacy isn’t just restricted to the study of books. However, analyzing a piece of quality text or even a well-known story can reveal much about what’s great and progressive about reading and writing, and also provide endless opportunities for more in-depth study and learning, for example:
Story building – how a narrative is constructed and how this impacts on the reader.
Themes – the exploration of a book’s main elements.
Character analysis – who are the main characters, what shapes them, why do they do what they do?
Cause and effect – who or what makes things happen. Events are connected.
Quotes and other memorable pieces of writing – why do they affect the reader so, why are they memorable?
Significant events – what are those happenings that determine the outcome of a story or the fate of a character? What matters?
Language study – focusing on grammar, parts of speech (adjectives, adverbs, nouns…), technique.
Identification – gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves and others from the people, places, and events described in a story.
Popplet is present in many classrooms. Fortunately for us, teachers and learners often publish impressive examples of their Popplet work. Popplet’s easy-to-use and powerful features make it a very useful addition to any lesson, especially in the literacy classroom, as you will see.
Picture the scene: the ardent lead detective questions his team – anxiously huddled close by – about any new information in the hunt for the criminals. He pushes, he prods, he orders, he pleads with his fellows to think hard; time is running out. Now cast your eyes to the wall behind the lead detective, what are the detectives staring at?
Images of suspects or “persons of interest”, significant events in date order, addresses, car registrations, any and every piece of information that will help the detectives crack the case. This is the timeline, an interactive representation of the facts, and from it, if they look hard enough, they may just glean enough information to catch the bad guys and save the day. Of course, this is what we see in films and on TV, but it’s obvious enough that timelines such as these are used by real-life detectives. They could just make lists on A4 paper and discuss their findings this way, but that’s not what they do – why not? Elementary: a visual representation of facts like a Popplet, for example, sets neurons firing and makes for a highly effective investigative tool.
It’s not only law enforcement who benefit from using timelines. Timelines are a useful and even essential tool in many different types of situation:
Studying events – any event can be broken down and its parts placed in the order they happened.
History – any historical event or fact can be visualized on a timeline
Biography – leader, writer, artist…
Projects – from going on holiday to setting up a new company
Autobiography – all about you and the milestones of your life
Process – any process that benefits from the recording of significant events
Books, stories, films – explain and understand what’s going on
Writers use Popplet to create timelines for their work
Are you back to school or college yet? Maybe you never went away – depends where you are in the world. Anyway, if you are returning from a well-earned break, it’s now time to shake off the summer holiday routine and get back into the school work rhythm. A painful process for some, but you’ll be raring to go in no time and Popplet might just be able to help.
Learners often find themselves with new classmates at this time of year: going to a new school, moving onto college from school, beginning to study new subjects… and this is a good thing. Differing relationships is important as we grow and learn from each other. However, making friends with your new learning buddies can take time, so for teachers, it’s a good idea to have a few “icebreakers” on hand at the start of the academic year. Here are a few simple Popplet activities that will help new classmates get to know each other quickly.
Getting to Know You: The Self Popplet
Popplet lets students add information to create informative and imaginative visuals. A good activity to begin the new school term, when not everyone in a class or group may know each other, is to have students create popplets about themselves and compare them in a mingle activity with their classmates. Have a look at this Popplet from 5th-grader Heather:
Many students use digital devices that contain tools to enhance their learning, a bit like the traditional pencil case that most students still carry. Limited space means only vital tools can fit in the pencil case. Same should go for digital equivalents: tablets, smartphones, Chromebooks… but that’s not the norm. There are currently so many learning apps available that devices often become cluttered in a way that the traditional pencil case can’t. So, to get the most out of your digital pencil case, you need to choose your tools wisely.
There are a lot of solid, useful educational apps out there and choosing what’s best can be a perplexing decision. From what and our users tell us Popplet is a valuable addition to any digital pencil case and well worth having. If you’re new to Popplet or even a bit of a digital novice then there’s no better place to start. Here’s why.
Do you know that anyone who signs up for a Popplet web account gets ten Popplet boards absolutely free? No strings attached, no publicity (we never do that). Ten free popplets to do with as you please – that’s the deal.
If you aren’t sure why you might want ten free popplets, enter “popplet” or “popplet….” followed by any topic you can think of into a search engine then click on images for a random samples of amazing Popplet creativity such as this:
Let’s take a quick look at what Popplet users have been sharing. Multiple languages, the global nature of Popple, and the sheer scope of the subject matter meant we had no problem at all in bringing together ten of the best Popplet ideas.
Summer is well and truly here, and it’s time to put those important finishing touches to those perfect vacation plans. Or, you might just be throwing caution to the wind this holiday season, surrendering to mood or fancy and striking out towards the unknown. Whatever your outlook or stage of vacation readiness, packing Popplet on your trip will add a new dimension to your travel adventure. Be it a short city break or a grand Amazonian adventure, before packing, by your side throughout your journey, and after your return, Popplet makes a trusty holiday buddy. Some ways Popplet can be helpful to the traveler or holidaymaker
Brainstorming holiday ideas – choose the place you really want to go while collaborating with holiday companions.
Itinerary – plan, plan, plan…if that’s your thing. A little bit doesn’t hurt anyone!
Holiday blog/postcard – record and share your experiences and send a “digital postcard” to friends and family.
The holiday photos – create a Popplet Presentation for yourself or to bore your friends on your return!.
There is a lot going on in the early stages of a child’s formal learning. Those amazing years when learning and fun are inseparable. Kids turn up to class happy and raring to go, open to all we can give them.
As every early-years educator knows, the amazing, overwhelming potential that little learners bring to the classroom, can quickly become simply “overwhelming” if the little minds are not fed a constant diet of captivating creative activities.
Not surprisingly, many Kindergarten and First-grade teachers are embracing digital technologies like Popplet and making them a part of their daily classroom activities, nurturing and educating early-learners. We could explain, but it’s far better that you take a look at their amazing work.
Sometimes we say that people are “born writers”. But just as the naturally talented often do, we are employing the written word for artistic effect because nobody is really born a great writer. It’s true that some are destined for literary and artistic greatness and take more naturally to the written word than others, but at some point, they will have had to learn how to write, as we all do.
Like reading, writing is a core skill and must be taught. And as with reading, Popplet is a valuable teaching tool, always handy for working on both fictional and informational texts or easily providing that much-needed inspiration when the dreaded “fear of the blank page” has struck our young scribes wordless.
Educators frequently include Popplet in their writing teaching strategies, here are some of their latest ideas.
There’s a lot to learn and learning begins on the very first day of our lives! It might even begin before birth, but since nobody has ever been born with the innate ability to read and write, we know that these well-known signature skills of a civilization must be acquired and nurtured.
There are many other essential skills that a fledgling human learns: eating with a spoon, getting on with others, getting dressed… and most do so at different rates. However, when a child reaches classroom age, understanding the symbolic representation and reproduction of language becomes of primary importance – with good reason.
Almost everything we know about everything is written down somewhere: restaurant menus, The Dead Sea Scrolls, some traffic signs, this blog…
Learning about our own culture, other current cultures, and previous cultures informs and lends intelligence to our perception and decision-making process. Directly affecting in a big way everything around about us. Reading has resulted in enormous changes in how humans have evolved and will continue to do so.
Gaining knowledge of and progress in any area, academically or otherwise, requires a firm grasp of literacy skills.