Top of The Popplets! – April 2016

April has been and left its customary showers, and along with the welcome spring rain came floods of attractive new Popplets. We won’t go so far as to say that it was raining popplets, but we will say that the Public Popplets, Twitter and Facebook pages were positively drenched in energetic and innovative Popplet creations. From a character analysis of a well-known pushy pigeon to a challenging study of homelessness, we picked out some of the best this month had to offer.

Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus: Describing Characters

What’s blue, funny, begs and really, really wants to drive the bus? Yes? No? Pigeon of course, from the award-winning children’s book, Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems. An image of the infamous bird takes the center spot, surrounded by simple description words that provide some savvy insight into the character of the pigeon protagonist. A fun and earnest introduction to literary analysis. Thanks again to Kara Bunch and her Kindergarteners for sharing this on Twitter and Instagram.

Describing Characters

POPPLET TIP: This popular Popplet activity is adaptable for all age groups. Students could even upload a video of the character, or add text (take a photo of the relevant sentence or paragraph in the book) to support their descriptions.
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Top of The Popplets! – March 2016

With batteries charged and everyone well and truly back from the Easter break, it’s time to check out what’s been happening in Popplet world over the last four weeks. The month of March,  like every other month,  has witnessed generous and unrestrained sharing of quality popplets from the four corners of the globe. So spoiled for choice were we that heated discussions simmered, healthy debates raged: Precisely which amazing popplets – shared by the Popplet community on Twitter, Facebook Public Popplets… –  would be selected for this month’s very public viewing? From pirates to polygons, hippopotami to sloths, and a very professional Popplet presentation about cats, we bring you Top of the Popplets! – March 2016.

Piratas! (Pirates!)

Piratas

Part fun, and part historical fact we have Pirates: a very colorful contribution to Public Popplets from Rachel. We say fun, because the identity of the female member of this jolly band of brigands – the “very attractive” Raquel from Veracruz, Mexico – isn’t a real pirate at all, but a fictional character. Raquel’s companions on the other hand are real pirates, and they really were a bit scary in their day. Realistic “likenesses” of the pirates themselves, maps of their origins and a few important details all combine to make this an attractive and interesting visual, which could easily be adapted to other areas of historical interest. Thank you Rachel.

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Top of the Popplets! – January 2016

Welcome to the first edition of 2016 for our roundup of all the great Popplets shared by our users each month. If you are searching for inspiration, looking for something specific, or just want to see what Popplet is all about then this just might be the place for you. A useful, varied and impressive display of Popplets, and a fit beginning to a whole new year. An inspiring beginning! Well done everyone.

Rees Parent Technology Night

So impressed were we with the Rees Parent Technology Night popplet, that we were especially careful in uncovering its true creator just in case such masterly work be misaligned. The creator is no other than  Paul Baez, experienced educator and Principal of Rees Elementary School, Houston.  This Poster/Flyer type Popplet really is a beautifully presented, bilingual bonanza of ideas, the sum of which is an enticing invitation to the Rees Parent Technology Night, where parents are being asked to get to know the technology their children are learning with. Essential information in text popples, QR codes linking to Youtube videos making it interactive (fabulous!) and if that wasn’t enough, there are prizes too! Great work, nicely done. We wish we went to this school. Thanks Paul, we hope the Parent’s Night goes well.

POPPLET TIP: Finished popplets can be saved as pdf, jpeg or png files and they can be sent by email or printed for display or distribution. You can make perfect Popplet flyers or Popplet posters for an event, or to display your Popplet work. Continue reading

Popplet People: Claire Brown, Kindergarten Teacher

When I tell you that our featured Popplet Person is a Kindergarten teacher, you might be forgiven for rightly jumping to some easy conclusions: a dedicated, devoted, hardworking and supremely motivated individual…and of course busy, so very busy! So busy and hardworking are kindergarten teachers like Claire Brown, that when they choose apps like Popplet for their students to use in the classroom, then those apps have to work as hard as they do!

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Claire came to our attention through sharing her student’s Popplet work on Twitter and her very cool blog, where she regularly posts her student’s classroom activities. Both are fine examples of what can be achieved by embracing technology in the classroom.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am in my tenth year of teaching an I’m originally from Lafayette, IN., where I went to Mayflower Mill as an elementary student, and that is where I started my teaching career and where I work now, graduating along the way from Purdue University with a degree in Elementary Education with a Reading Specialist focus. I love going on vacations anywhere there is a beach and the ocean. Continue reading

A Spooky Popplet Halloween

Halloween is rich in tradition and steeped in superstition; a genuinely sacred night for some, and a traditional night of warm family fun for many others. This is the one night a year when Scary Ghosts, Wicked Witches, Evil Spirits and all manner of Creepy Crawlies roam the Earth with impunity  – so watch out, stay home, be safe! Should anyone (or anything!) knock on your door, be nice! Because we all know what happens to people who aren’t nice on Halloween, don’t we?

Dressing up, trick or treating, going to parties and having fun are just some of the things us mere mortals do to entertain themselves when evil is loose.  For a great many others,  Halloween also means making stuff: costumes, masks, lanterns and decoration, and yes, Popplets! We took a look at how Popplet people were busying themselves by getting into the spirit of Halloween, but be warned, what we found is not for the faint hearted. Continue reading

Eight Examples of Popplet in the Biology Classroom

There is definitely something cellular in nature about the humble popple – the irreducible building block of all the Popplets ever created. Cellular not only in shape, a single popple also mirrors its organic counterpart in that it contains the vital information necessary – text, images, video –  for the formation of things far greater than the sum of their parts – Popplets!

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Building Blocks in Autism Education: Minecraft and Popplet

In our article published last month Mind Mapping to Minds Meeting: Popplet in Autism Education, we talked about how new technologies were fast becoming powerful and invaluable tools in autism education. Young learners on the autism spectrum experience fewer difficulties when presented with new technology and have different needs to conventional learners. So certain technologies such as the iPad and apps like Popplet play to the strengths of autistic learners.

These technologies are not without their drawbacks: mainly the repetitive and inappropriate use of games and some social media apps. But that’s a problem not only found in the classroom! This is why people with autism, parents of individuals on the autism spectrum and educators involved in autism education use reliable “evidence-informed” information when choosing which technologies to use.

One organization that provides information for parents and educators is Autism Spectrum Australia (“Aspect”) – “Australia’s leading service provider for autism and other disabilities”. Two of their community leaders recently published a detailed guide demonstrating how the game “Minecraft is being used to address the special interests of those in the autism classroom”.

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Six Examples of Popplet in the Math Class

Like any other subject, math has its gifted students who thrive on any problem their teacher sets, but in the main, kids find math difficult – so much so, they often start to question it’s usefulness quite early in their academic careers. This can also carry over into the teacher’s experience, with math being one of the subjects causing the greatest anxiety for teachers planning lessons and seeking to engage classrooms in math challenges.

As digital technology is introduced into more schools, apps like Popplet are reinvigorating the math classroom from an early age, so that it is not quite the dreaded place it once was for many.

Ways To Make 5

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In Miss Smith’s 1st grade math class, students use Popplet and their iPad cameras to learn addition. Continue reading

Back To School iPad Ed Tips with Popplet

Picture 94For many in the northern hemisphere, it’s Back To School week! September marks the start of a new school year in North America, the UK and throughout Europe. And this school year, more than ever, tablets and bring-your-own-devices are becoming the norm, meaning there are many students using iPads in the classroom, and teachers working to make educational technologies useful as an aide to learning and skills development.

Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress found that despite the growing use of tablets in schools, they are not being harnessed to help students achieve learning goals in the most effective ways. Their review found that, for the most part, education technologies are being used to replicate basic drill tests rather than empowering students to develop new skillsets in knowledge management.

For example, we increasingly live in an era of big data and instant access to all the world’s accumulated knowledge. As a result, being a subject matter expert is becoming less a sign of educational achievement than the ability to navigate knowledge systems and to acquire a skillset that makes use of all the information that is on offer. At Popplet, we believe this trajectory will continue and hope that students and teachers can use our visual thinking and ideas mapping app as a way to build core competencies in how to manage information, collaborate with others, comprehend complex concepts, and uncover new connections between seemingly disparate ideas. Continue reading

Popplet in the Classroom and Setting Up a Global Online Community: An Interview with Kinderchat Co-Founder Heidi Echternacht

It still surprises us that Popplet has as much of an eager following amongst kindergarten students as it does amongst creative professionals and business users! It really shouldn’t be such a shock to us:

  • The ease with which you can start thinking visually with Popplet
  • The ability to add your own text and images as you go
  • The way you can incorporate links and content from around the web, and
  • The collaborative features that make it so easy to work with others and share your ideas…

So, on reflection, the uptake of Popplet amongst kinder teachers and their classes makes sense. Last school year, the use of Popplet in kindergarten classes jumped dramatically, as those involved with the kinderchat peer network began to share lesson plans and classroom activity guides on using Popplet.

Kinderchat is a global network, with 17 international moderators who work together in teams to select topics and guide weekly discussions. It is already one of the most popular edu chats on Twitter (try searching for the hashtag #kinderchat), and is listed as 5th most ”liked” online community overall according to the US Dept of Education Connected Educators Directory.

heidi echternachtWe spoke with Heidi Echternacht, Co-Founder of Kinderchat about how the online community has grown and how Popplet is being used in kinder classrooms around the world. (For those not involved in education or are involved at other age range or education modalities, we hope the story of Kinderchat provides some great insights into how to grow any online community.) Continue reading