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"Alexa shoots....and she Scores!!"

Like a hockey puck poised on the edge of my desk, Alexa waits for her shot. She's better than a biscuit in the basket and undoubtedly, she scores in the classroom.  Take a look at this barn burner group of ideas that'll be sure to score a hat trick in YOUR classroom!

Using Alexa Echo Dot

Connecting Echo is fast and easy using the companion app either on Fire OS, Android, iOS or a desktop computer. I had mine up in running in less than 10 minutes and off I went exploring ways to use it in my classroom.

Here's a Round-Up of Classroom Ideas!

#1. Tell me a Pun

Of COURSE I had to put this one first. Alexa will tell you a daily pun that will start your day with a smile!! "Why don't oysters share their pearls? They're shellfish"  But don't worry, Your Smarticles will share all the 'pearls' of wisdom she has!!

#2. Play Relaxation Music

Ask Alexa to play you some relaxation music. Go ahead, boss her around if that makes you feel better. She'll even play specific music such as ocean sounds or instrumental music. A GREAT way to calm a restless class or to serve as background music during quiet activities.

#3. Set a Timer

This feature is probably the one I use MOST frequently! From silent reading time to timing Kagen activities, I'm frequently setting timers to monitor classroom activities.

#4. Pick a Random Number between 1 - 24

Not sure which student to choose? NUMBER THEM! Alexa chooses who's going next, who's going to respond and who's student of the day by asking her to select a random number.

#5. Roll a Dice (Roll Two Die)

#6. Flip a Coin

#7. Pick a Card

#8. Play Rock Paper Scissors

These four decision makers will help solve disagreements EVERY time!! Have Alexa determine the outcome of a dice roll, coin flip and even a playing card.

#9. How do you spell Pygmalion?

Have you ever had the spelling stumped student that can spell a word, find a word or even spell check a word because their spelling is SO far off? Have them ask Alexa! Using a verbal request solves issues of attempted spelling and sets students in the right (write) direction.

#10. What is 23 divided by 25?

Looking for quick math assistance? Have students use Alexa for quick math facts. Not looking to lift your pen to calculate a percentage while grading? Ask Alexa to do your math FOR you so you can grade the day away!!!

#11. How many _____ are in a ______?

Support math standards for conversion or simply assuage your own curiosity about conversions.

#12. What is the definition of assuage?
#13. What is a synonym/antonym for assuage?

Use Alexa like you'd use a dictionary.

#14. What is the Fact of the Day?

Each day have students ask Alexa a question about any (appropriate) subject the student is interested in. Have students keep track of these facts in a journal and then quiz each other about them at the end of the month.

#15.  Use Alexa like a Hands Free Search Engine
  • Alexa, Wikipedia: [subject]."
  • Alexa, how tall is [person or object's name]?"
  • Alexa, how many people live in America?"
  • Alexa, give me a 'Spongebob' quote."

But wait, there's MORE....much MORE!!!!

Alexa offers a HOST of 'skills' (similar to apps) that can be activated in any topic or subject area imaginable.  At last count, there were over 10,000 different skills.  The skills are enabled through the companion app either on Fire OS, Android, iOS or a desktop computer.  I like searching Amazon for Alexa skills as they are described, rated and can be enabled direction from Amazon.

Some of my favorite ones are:

Quizlexa:  This skill talks to your existing Quizlet card sets and quizzes students on the vocabulary sets that you've built within cool is that??!?!?
Mad Libs:  Practice parts of speech by providing this app with nouns, verbs, adjectives to fill in a digital story that Alexa recites back to you.
The Magic Door:  Sit back and enjoy a customized, imaginative (albeit silly) story using the name of one of your students.
Pig:  This two player dice game keeps students on their toes and considering probability as they risk their points an roll, or keep their points and see how Alexa fares in this digital dice battle.
Tricky Genie: Train listening comprehension skills by listening to 1 of 12 stories.  Pick the right 'sack' based on the story and win!
Would you rather:  With family friendly options, this game of choices is a GREAT getting to know you activity!
Hangman:  Test word knowledge and have FUN playing this traditional hangman style game with content appropriate for ALL ages.
Twenty Questions:  Alexa will model outstanding questioning strategies in this game of twenty questions where students try to outwit Alexa with their item choice.
Magic 8-Ball:  Ask any question and test Alexa's prediction skills as the Magic 8-ball determines your fate.

I'm sure this post will evolve and change just as Alexa's skills change,  Meanwhile, I hope you're inspired to try Alexa..... and of course I hope you're ALWAYS,

Don't forget to PIN so you can come back again!!

A Long Time Ago in a Classroom Far Away....

Putting together these colorful light saber pencils won't take Chew much time, and they're sure be a hit!

Easy to make, these little cuties required a quick trip to the dollar store for duct tape, electrical tape and colorful pencils.

Wrap duct tape around the pencil just beneath the eraser section.  Add black electrical tape above and below the duct tape section and you'll light up your student's day!

Wondering about MORE ways to Jedi-up your classroom?

Star Wars Scroll

Customizable, animated Star Scroll complete with authentic Star Wars soundtrack.  Students can write their own paragraphs and share the link with you!

Star Wars App

Disney's Star Wars App has MANY customizable features.  My favorite is the ability to create your own Star Wars selfie!

Create Your Own Star Wars Logo

Star Wars Coding!® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.  Star Wars coding has student drag and drop coding blocks to build a galaxy.

First Person Narrative Writing!
This 360 video is great with OR without Google Cardboard.  Using this 360 video: Follow along as a little mouse droid travels through a hangar.  After viewing the video, students write about the droid's experiences in first person.  Grading Rubric included.

A long time ago, in a classroom far away, someone was

The End of the Year Drag...

It's the end of the year.  The days loom long and engagement has become a challenge.  How does a teacher cope?  How can we continue to reinforce content, engage students and finish the year strong?

These tips can help make the end of the year march NOT seem so much like a Bataan Death March and a little more like a celebration of KNOWLEDGE and CRITICAL THINKING!   🙌

Stage a Crime Scene

Imagine students entering the room to the sight of a chalk outline on the floor.   a crime has been committed!  Encourage evaluation, exploration and evidence based writing by presenting students with a crime scene scenario.  ONE FULL WEEK of engaged exploration!!

Scavenger Hunts

Digital or not, everyone LOVES a treasure hunt! Goosechase and Klikaklu are GREAT apps for creating digital scavenger hunts for students.  Set them up with picture riddles, group picture challenges or puzzles to solve as they compete for bragging rights in their class scavenger hunt!

At a loss for ideas?  This bundle focuses on CONTENT as each scavenger hunt sends students from clue to clue as they gather up information to solve a riddle.  It's a GREAT way to reinforce content and provides a mystery for students to solve.

Breakout EDU

The escape room CRAZE has hit the classroom!  Rather than break out of a room, how about breaking in to  a box???  Breakout EDU provides hundreds of tested scenarios for you to use in your classroom to reinforce critical thinking and keep students engaged.  Want to create your OWN breakout??  Here are some tips to help you along the way!!

Celebrate Vocabulary Prowess

Grab some GREAT vocabulary; an adjective FILLED with meaning and head OUTSIDE. Stage a sidewalk chalk vocabulary competition.
Challenge each student to a Word Art competition where they illustrate a word via Chalk Art in some way.  Guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!!

As always, thanks for

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