Summer break in the United States, Europe, and a whole lot of other places is drawing to a close. Students, teachers, and parents are turning their thoughts towards the fresh academic year and its challenges. And for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to be shaking off the summer holidays, this is still a good opportunity to learn about Popplet Group Subscriptions, which were originally created for schools for the sole purpose of putting Popplet into the hands of as many learners and teachers as possible.
For more information on Popplet Group Subscriptions for your school, select Popplet for Schools? in the Popplet Plan window that opens when you sign up for a free Popplet account on the Popplet homepage:
Here’s what you need to know:
Popplet Group subscriptions are open to everyone: schools, colleges, businesses…and make purchasing Popplet much more affordable
The minimum group/class size is 15
Subscriptions offer each individual student unlimited popplets for one year
There is a sliding price scale: the more you buy, the less it costs
Is there life on Mars? Do aliens exist? Where did we come from? How big is the Universe?… an infinite number of questions. The questions which scientists, philosophers, theologians, writers and possibly every sentient earthbound creature that ever looked upwards has been seeking answers to since the beginning of time. Popplet doesn’t have any answers, but it can help knowledge hungry learners to solve some of these Universal mysteries.
With futuristic hi-tech features, Popplet boldly goes where no app has gone before, allowing its users to create star maps, document planetary facts, and study stellar phenomena. All the while encouraging them to think big – Universe big!
There’s a lot of light years to cover, so let’s get started by setting our sights close to home on our planet’s nearest celestial neighbor: The Moon. We know it well, we’ve even visited, although admittedly not for a while; moon travel doesn’t come cheap!
Mapping the events of the past is an investigative process linking people, places, and other significant information to moments and periods in time. In an ideal climate, historians seek the truth by shining a light back across the years and show us what they see. It is a constant, continuous process that helps us understand who we are. History, like the sciences and the arts, is an indispensable and natural part of anyone’s education. It’s where children learn about traditions and cultural differences and gain an understanding of why our world is how it is, what their place in it is, and where they want to go.
Popplet has features that make it especially helpful in the History classroom. The addition of text, images, and video; connections and color coding; collaboration and presentation features; all combine to make Popplet a first rate tool for recording and presenting historical facts. We have put together a few examples from History educators and students that demonstrate how they are finding Popplet useful in their classrooms.
We have had a number of requests recently from the Popplet community for more math work. It was even suggested that our most current blog posts displayed a literary/language bias. We did the math, and the results spoke for themselves – time to balance this content equation we think.
So, using a string of examples, we will now set out to prove that Popplet is a popular and effective tool in the math class. We will even show our working!
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:
English teachers know what words are. Of course, we do! If we don’t, then we might as well all pack up and go home. We might need to read up on our grammar from time to time, but words – we are good with words. In fact, everybody over a certain age knows what words are, so as ESL educators, we should probably know a little more than the average. Consider this question, however: “How many words does an English Language Learner (ELL) need to know to achieve Proficiency Level?”. The answer is not so straightforward, and English teachers know why.
Does knowing the plural of a word count as one word or two? Should we count the comparative forms of adjectives or the various verb tense inflections as separate words? Well, yes we could, but language experts and those who teach and study English rarely do when answering questions like the one above. They understand that a lexicon is a fluid, dense, organic network, made up of a world of connections. Embracing this complexity and this connectedness is the key to success in vocabulary building.
The mind-mapping application Popplet, a user-friendly graphic organizer, has a set of powerful features: text, images, video, connections, URLs, formatting, and collaboration. All of these, combined with an infinite, multi-dimensional canvas make it a formidable tool for exploring vocabulary in the English classroom.
As the digital classroom becomes an everyday reality, Popplet is proud to be part of the Education Technology progression. Bringing together ideas and information from many sources, through Popplet’s intuitive but powerful features: text, images, videos, colors, and combining this with the capacity to collaborate, all adds up to an enhanced visual learning experience, much favored by educators of all disciplines.
Popplet is already highly thought of in the literacy classroom: a workhorse in reading and writing activities, Popplet is a big fan of books. Or more correctly, educators often employ Popplet to open and excite the minds of young learners to the life-long rewards of becoming active book readers. For the teacher, this carries with it the added benefit of achieving certain Common Core Standards in the process.
Popplet’s strong community of learners, educators and librarians do great work with books. Let’s take a look a closer look at some of what they are doing with books and Popplet.
Few areas have produced more debate in the field of English language learning than that of grammar instruction. What most language teachers agree on is that at some point language learners fare far better if they develop a firm grasp of the working rules that govern the use of the English language.
Where language professionals might differ is in “how” to teach grammar. Traditional methods initially used to teach Latin and Greek, consisted of learning grammar tables and rules by rote, and included a lot of painful repetition, which students rarely remember fondly. As for their effectiveness, since 17th & 18th-century learners were never expected to actually speak these ancient languages, it’s hard to say. Most would certainly remember verb conjugations for the rest of their lives!
With the popularity of modern languages such as English and the possibility of actually being able to speak the language being learned, methods gradually changed, albeit surprisingly slowly. Nowadays, a more communicative approach is favored in most language learning classrooms, and the emphasis on a precise knowledge of grammar is much more relaxed.
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:
For learners of English, there’s no getting past the past simple and irregular verb forms. Learning and confidently reproducing the most frequently used forms such as went, made, got, have… is something that English teachers should strive for early in a learner’s development. Shortly after, comes the introduction of the perfect tenses and irregular past participles, which students must also learn.
Irregular verbs can and should be studied contextually, however, learners will also benefit from studying this vocabulary by rote, and flashcards are a tried and tested method of doing this. Traditional paper/cardboard flashcards work well, however, digital flashcards created in Popplet have some advantages:
Less teacher time investment – students make the flashcards!
They are permanent so don’t get a tatty over time
They don’t “get lost” and end up incomplete
You can create a Master Popplet, and this will serve all levels – there’s no need to shuffle or use a separate pack for different levels
They live in your device
Students learn a new and useful technology – Popplet
So, unless you’re unlucky enough to lose your iPad or laptop, it’s all good – even then, your flashcards will be safe and sound until you get your device back! Here’s what you need to do to create Irregular Verb Flashcards with Popplet
With irregular verbs, there’s always a list, and you will need one before you begin to create Popplet Flash Cards. Irregular verb lists are as common as clouds, and a simple Google search will yield many. Any decent coursebook will contain an irregular verb list in its reference material, or you can create your own. The only advice is that the verbs should match the learner’s needs and level: Advanced students tend to have longer lists than Pre-intermediate students for example.
Creating a Verb Flashcard Popplet
The teacher can do this, but I prefer my students to do it for themselves because as they engage with Popplet, they also engage with the target language. They will also end up with their own copies of the flashcards for revision.
First, demonstrate how to create an Irregular Verb Popplet. It should start to look something like this:
Larger verb lists are more difficult to format and are best split into two or even three column groups. To help with this, or simply to create more elegant Popplets, refer your students to the Popplet Formatting tutorials.
When your students have their Irregular Verb Popplets, with corrections made and formatted to their satisfaction, you might want to add the translations of the verbs in the learner’s native language. I do this by using Popplet Comments. The translations will not show in the main popplet board but are always handy for checking when a student is stuck. To add or view a comment, click on the speech bubble in the top right-hand corner of the popple:
Using the Flashcards in Class
Popplet has two presentation modes and both can be used to present the verbs:
Presentation Mode – which allows individual popples containing a single word to be displayed full size in a predetermined order.
Presentation Mode 2 – which lets you display groups of popples and good for displaying the past simple and past participle on the same slide.
I have found that the first presentation mode is the most effective for drilling irregular verb forms:
Preparing a Popplet Presentation
Access the Popplet, click the cog menu, select view, then choose presentation mode:
Select record from the pop-up, number the popples in the order you want them to appear by first selecting add:
Select present to display the verbs one by one:
Drilling the Verbs
In class: devices off, books closed, make sure all the students can see your irregular verb popplet
Show students the first verb, say it, and ask them to repeat it:
Next, ask the students to pronounce the past simple and the past participle, if they do it incorrectly, give them a chance to try again
Finally, toggle to the past simple and past participle and have the students repeat the verbs, then move on to the next infinitive and repeat until you reach the end of the list:
When students are studying the Past Simple or the Present Perfect, they should repeat this exercise at the beginning of each class, when they aren’t, once a week is usually enough. If you like, you can use Presentation Mode 2 to show the Past Simple and the Past Perfect together at the same time. The list can be divided, students can focus on 10 verbs each class.
Another advantage of Popplet Flashcards is that students can study them on their devices, using Popplet Presentation mode as they do in class, at home. Of course, flashcards can be created in Popplet for any topic.