Traditionally, Christmas, the most well-known event in the Christian religious calendar, is all about giving. It’s the time of year when people pause and reflect on what they can do for others. Friends and family get together and exchange gifts and cards. We think of others all year round of course, but Christmas, like the festivals of other religions, is a special time.
Now, if you’ve read our first Popplet Christmas article, which was more about getting more than giving, you’ll appreciate this second set of Popplet Yuletide activities, where we focus on what is for many, the true spirit of Christmas, and how it can be of value inside and outside the classroom.
Do you believe in Santa Claus? You remember: a rotund distinguished gentleman with white hair and a big white beard who favors red suits with white fur trimmings? One of the world’s largest employer of elves, who is known to ride a sleigh driven by celebrity reindeer. He also goes by multiple pseudonyms: Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Papá Noel, or just plain old Santa for short. No? Best you take a close look at this Santa Claus popplet.
Jingle any bells? Well, if doubt has pushed tender childhood memories of Dear Old Father Christmas from your mind and you have forgotten him, he hasn’t forgotten you! Dear Old Father Christmas. So fear not! To participate in these traditional festive Popplet activities all you really need is Christmas Spirit, Good Cheer if you will, and presents – let’s not forget the presents, they’re important. You’ll also need Popplet. So let’s make that the first thing on our list shall we?
Get Popplet, It’s a Gift
Making a Christmas popplet is just like making any other type of popplet. First, you’ll need a Popplet web account, which you can easily get by signing up on the Popplet homepage. You will discover that Christmas has come early at Popplet and Santa has left you a gift of ten Popplet boards. Alternatively, download Popplet Lite or the Popplet app and create Christmas popplets using an iPhone or iPad. If you don’t have one of those, you could ask you know who!
Now, we know what you’re thinking: Does Santa even own a computer or a tablet? Does he use Popplet? Well, don’t worry about any of that stuff because even if you don’t have Santa’s email address you can print off your Popplet Christmas List when you’ve finished it, and mail it to Lapland in the traditional way.
Christmas is coming soon, that means Santa is getting ready, so let’s get started.
Brainstorming Christmas Present Ideas
Before we begin writing to Santa with our lists of presents, it’s best to give some thought to the whole matter: What is it that I really want for Christmas? Almost certainly your students have something special in mind. But even so, it never hurts to speak to classmates and share ideas. Teachers could begin a Christmas list activity by brainstorming Christmas present ideas. Have the students work in groups, alternatively project one big Christmas present popplet for all to see and prepare to be overwhelmed by expectation. Students could even all collaborate on the same Popplet. Be warned, this activity will generate much excitement!
Now, teachers don’t worry if you feel a little out of your depth at this point, you don’t need to know what any of these things actually are. The toy world is not what it was when you were writing to Santa. It’s now a complex maze of things understood only by children and those who work in marketing. Rest assured your students will understand it all perfectly well, and if they don’t immediately recognize their partner’s choices they’ll soon find out all there is to know. Trust your students! Talking seriously about toys in class, how cool is that? Very soon the whole class will be aware of what’s on offer and some may even begin revising or increasing the length of their lists before this part of the lesson is over.
A Letter to Father Christmas: A Letter Writing Activity
From what we’ve heard, Father Christmas, like most other distinguished gentlemen, is a lover of tradition and appreciates the protocols which govern written communication. As such, a lesson in formal/informal language and letter writing could make the difference between a gleeful, fulfilled 25th of December and one which is, well, not so gleeful. Best to err on the side of caution we say and demonstrate to students the ancient art of letter writing. There are a number of ways to do this, depending on the level of your class. Below is a popplet template you could use followed by some classroom ideas:
The teacher could supply examples of formal/informal language and ask students to choose which statements or phrases are more appropriate.
Or teachers might elicit the correct language from the class for a formal letter.
Popplet can also be used to show how a letter should be structured. Again the teacher can supply a structure (above), or ask students to create their own, then correct their work.
Another possibility is to turn the activity into a popplet puzzle by asking students to organize the different sections of a formal letter.
Be sure to have students include everything that they have done right this year, and why they deserve to have their wants fulfilled. Let’s avoid any negativity, Father Christmas already knows everything!
Creating Popplet Christmas Lists For Santa
Now we’re prepared for the main event: The Christmas List for Santa. Of course, students could just set to work with pen and paper, but even if that is how Santa is to receive the student’s lists, you can still use Popplet to help you out. Popplet can help you create cracking Christmas lists, guaranteed to grab Mr. Claus’s attention. Here’s how:
Create a Popplet with your name: “Petra’s Christmas List” in this example
Next, create a popple for each item on your list (most wanted things first of course). Using the text feature, enter exactly what it is that you want
Then, add an image of the present. This will help the elves locate your gift (after Santa’s approval of course). Santa’s helpers are pretty busy at this time of year and will be grateful for anything that reduces their workload. For this to work, you will need to have the image stored in your computer or camera roll beforehand
To add an image click on the square with the two triangles which will say upload things when you hover over it with the cursor:
Select the image that you want to add:
Now, if you really want to help out the elves, you can add a link to the list entry:
When that’s done, repeat this for every item on the list. You’ll end up with an astonishingly attractive, informative Christmas list sure to catch the eye of everyone in Lapland.
Finally, students might add a photo of themselves and use Popplet Linker to include the letter that they wrote in the previous activity.
What more could you ask for? What are you waiting for? The sooner Santa gets those lists, the happier the world will be!
If you have created any Christmas lists or done any Popplet Christmas activities in your classroom we would really love to see them. Share your ideas with the Popplet community on Twitter, and on our Facebook page.
Popplet offers a creative and almost limitless canvas for ideas and information. Sometimes though, it’s just not productive to all that much information displayed together in the same place. In fact, the same could be said about most other things, which is why we have files, and more files – to keep things nice and tidy! Well, Popplet doesn’t have files, instead, it offers an efficient, visual solution for storing and connecting Popplet work – we call it Popplet Linker.
With Popplet Linker, popplet boards of any size and complexity can be effortlessly linked and added to other popplets as popples. The two main ways people use Popplet Linker are:
To organize popplet work: think visual files, when you need to keep stuff together and keep your work ship-shape – as in the popplet above.
To create links to popplets and add these to other popplets, saving space and creating a more enhanced visual, with the the option to add more information: think multidimensional.
Popplet is a mind-mapping app, which offers a limitless canvas that lets users capture ideas then organize and connect them in a multitude of ways. It’s no surprise that vocabulary building and Popplet are such a good fit. A language might consist of millions of words – a daunting prospect for the language learner. Fortunately, getting to know each and every word is not how vocabulary building works. The key to understanding a lexicon is to navigate its vastness through its connections. Popplet is the perfect tool for this.
In our previous article, we introduced some ways to teach language learners vocabulary by employing Popplet’s user-friendly features. We hope we gave some indication of Popplet’s potential as an adaptable, effective application for the ESL classroom. Next, we are going to examine more vocabulary building strategies by focussing on:
Simple, intuitive and effective, the results of using Popplet in the classroom are often immediate and remarkable. Popplet’s ease of use combined with an impressive set of features: text, images, drawing, presentation and real-time collaboration mean that Popplet has applications over a broad range of subjects and classroom activities.
So versatile is Popplet, that its usefulness has attracted educators of all disciplines, from kindergarten teachers to college professors. A true all-rounder, Popplet can be put to work in every part of a lesson:
Lesson Planning and Objectives
Checking and Demonstrating learning
Homework and Further Learning
Lesson Planning and Objectives
Popplet can work for teachers even before a class begins as an uncomplicated graphic organizer for lesson planning. Add images, text and links. Take notes and make visual connections, always keeping learning goals in sight, as in this EFL lesson plan:
With Popplet there are not one, but two ways to transform Popplet boards into impressive presentations. Both modes are easy to enable and equally effective in the boardroom, the classroom or the living room.
Everything you need to give the perfect Popplet presentation can be found in the view menu, just open the popplet you want to present, click on the cog menu (1), then select view (2) and you are given three options (3):
Presentation mode – display each and any popple, one at a time, in any order you choose
Presentation mode 2 – display multiple popplets in the same frame
Hide nametags – useful for public sharing and presentations
Dear Ivan, Blanca, Mark, Big Andy, Mum, Stephen, Carla & Logan, Brian and Karolina, Barry and Tim, Gabi, June and John, and Paul, Lesley, and the kids,
Once again summer holidays are hovering enticingly on the horizon of the not-so-distant end of our working year, and I know you’re all thinking what I’m thinking: long lazy nights, trips to the beach, and yes, of course, our annual Summer Garden Party!
This year – as you may have already guessed – the privilege of hosting our traditional fun get together has fallen to me. So allow me to take this opportunity to inform everyone that I am taking this responsibility with the same gravity I take all responsibilities I am assigned, and I fully intend to do my duty to the best of my ability, thus ensuring a fun time for all. One thing. I have initiated a small change in the planning process this year – well, quite a big change actually! – but fear not, my goal is to amplify our amusement not dampen it, and if could have your undivided attention for a couple of minutes I’ll tell you about it. Cast your eyes on my latest creation, a Party Planning Popplet:
You’re all impressed, I know you are! No? Well, allow me to acquaint you with Popplet’s finer features. What you’re looking at is a Garden Party Popplet, but that’s of little consequence, what’s really important is that it’s our Garden Party Popplet and it’s going to help us have the best time ever. Excited? Let’s begin… Continue reading →
For much of the Popplet community, embedding images and videos into personal popplets is a great way to map ideas and keep track of the resources that facilitate learning, planning, collaboration and understanding.
While this is perfect for private uses of Popplet, from time to time, we come across school policies that require that all images used in classroom popplets, access only images that have a clear copyright statement allowing the images to be republished. Occasionally, we also get asked by business users about how to best source images that can be published in a popplet aimed at their commercial audience.
If your school or workplace has a strict policy on the reuse of images – even in Popplets! – this blog post outlines some key considerations and sources for copyright free images and video materials.
So, you’ve had a few ideas and your screen is starting to look a little bit cluttered. Like your thoughts, it’s time to get your popples in order. Maybe you are seeking fresh perspective, just cleaning house or perhaps you feel that your creation is approaching completion: whatever the reason, Popplet’s Organize Menu contains the tools to bring unruly popples into line.
Popplet’s Organize Menu is found by clicking on the cog menu, then organize as shown below. A list containing all the organizing tools appears:
Writing is more popular than ever! Sure, the infamous selfie and the spontaneous snap of a restaurant meal might be getting all the notice, but sharing our prose and poetry is more commonplace than ever before. The Facebook comment, the 140-character tweet, the Tumblr or WordPress blog, and many other platforms offer almost everyone who can write a potential audience numbering in the billions. Never before has so much been written by so many for so many.
In technology-assisted classrooms — and in the wider connected world — opportunities to write, to communicate, to develop, and to grow are now widespread. We took a look at how Popplet is being to put to good use by teachers of writing and how young scribes are shaping up in the digital world. Continue reading →