Shanna Martin 0:19
Thanks for listening to the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast, where each week we talk about a free piece of technology that you can use your classroom. I’m your host, Shanna Martin. I’m a middle school teacher Technology and Instructional Coach from my district.
Fuzz Martin 0:32
And I’m a producer and husband, Fuzz Martin. And I think my puns are HISS-terical, but usually their CAT-astrophic.
Shanna Martin 0:44
Wow, yeah, that’s pretty amazing. That is
Fuzz Martin 0:48
you set it up easy this week, because we have a tool that has called Pink Cat. Cat puns are so easy. I could do. I could do. I could do another one right meow if you need me to. Wow, I was going to go with. And whenever we have an episode that features games, yes. It’s cat-astrophic, because I usually end up playing them while you’re talking. And so it will happen today.
Shanna Martin 1:22
So episode 164. We are moving through the school year. So episode 164. We are in November already. I don’t know where September in October. But we are here. Yeah. And November. Is fabulously going to move very quickly?
Fuzz Martin 1:41
I think Yeah. Well, with Thanksgiving here in the US and all the
Shanna Martin 1:45
holidays coming up and your weekend breaks. All the fun things go up. I will note for anybody who’s not in Wisconsin listening, which is many of my listeners. We had snow. Last week on Halloween already got three inches. And I will also point out right now because it’s Wisconsin, there is no snow. And we don’t even need jackets outside right now. So there’s that yeah,
Fuzz Martin 2:11
By the way for our friends who listen, that’s about 7.62 centimeters.
Shanna Martin 2:16
Yes. So with all of that, we’re gonna talk about some games this week. So there’s a couple of teachers that I work with on a regular basis that are working on creating some new choice boards for their students. Those of you that practice UDL and do all kinds of modifications for your students and giving students lots of opportunities to learn. They’re looking for ways like to build in choice boards, it’s not that same things that they’ve always been doing. So we were working on some looking for some new resources and digging out some old ones and finding the best way to have students be able to practice independently, and also have some fun, and just reinforce some of those basic skills. So the two sites we’re talking about this week can be used further up the ladder. So k-6, k-7, you could definitely use them with middle school, if you are looking for some language challenges, which I think is pretty cool, because one of our sites can be put into several different languages, which I thought would be kind of fun to work with students, if they’re enrolled language class are some of our ELL students. So games that make learning fun. Our first website is called Pink Cat Games.
Fuzz Martin 3:29
I thought it was a green cat. But nah it’s a color colorblind.
Shanna Martin 3:35
So in Pink Cat Games, it’s pretty cool. The setup as a teacher, there’s both a free version and a paid version to like upgrade things. But there are plenty of things in the free version that help you as teacher support your students. And then if you’re really loving it, then I say to go ahead and upgrade. And just some cool things. So it’s pink cat, games.com PINKPINKCATGAME s dot. Alright, so Pink Cat Games, when you’re home, there’s little monsters everywhere in various little creatures, the monster is underpants on and rollerskates, which is kind of amazing. So, in pink at games, what you can do is you can have kids just go on and play. So they can go ahead and just choose from feature lessons that are already there, which is an option. What’s kind of cool about that is that you can go off their featured as a teacher, you can create your own questions, so the games are set up. But as a teacher, you can create your own content, which is awesome. And it just like plugs into their games, which is pretty cool. And so if you want to just have your students play, you can do that, based on games that are already created, that are created by other teachers so they have things from articulation to addition and subtraction to rhymes to blends of war words, they have spelling, they have expressive language. They have all different types of subject areas that you can cover, which is great. Do they have math, it’s language arts, and whatever you want to set up your own questions on, you can do that as well. But mostly math and language arts in a variety of ways. You can go to my questions, and that’s where you create your own questions. And then they load them into the games. So you can base things from multiple choice, or a word list. So you can choose how you want to set up your questions. So if I’m going to do multiple choice questions, you go that route, you give a title, description, grade level that you’re testing, or quizzing or practicing with, I suppose subject area. So you can put in language arts, math, science, social studies, speech, therapy, specialty, or other subcategories they have in there that you can pick and choose from. And then languages, which I think is awesome. You can choose those over, I don’t know, probably 40-50 different languages, from English to Vietnamese to Welsh, they have all kinds of languages in there, which is awesome that you can choose from, and then you hit play, or save or Add Question depending on which area you’re going to be written. So you add your questions, but all that in, click Save, and then kids, can you hit play right away, and you have access to your own creation, and then it loads it right into their games. So you have created the questions, but the gaming they’re done is created by them. The free games that are offered is build a monster where as you as you answer a question, the monster gets a new accessory, which is really funny. And it swaps out the accessories. So even though it’s like seven hats, you don’t finish until he’s worn all seven hats. He’s got different pairs of shoes. He has little like accessory like sports equipment, things like that. And so by the time they answer as we went to the room for like, you know, it’s like 20 questions or so that monster has worn all the outfits, and then you’ve completed the game. So it’s they take some time, which is nice. They will feed the shark so you can work your way through and feed the shark. Which one are you playing?
Fuzz Martin 7:06
I’m playing the race.
Shanna Martin 7:09
The smarty pants animal race? Yeah. Cute.
Fuzz Martin 7:12
Well, you’re supposed I think you’re supposed to play that in a class with multiple kids. Some
Shanna Martin 7:15
of them are team. So if you read on the bottom, yep, the quiz wheel game. It’s for teams or players up to six teams or players. So you can have kids play against each other. And the one that you’re playing also is a competitive, so there’s two individual games. And then there’s two team games that you guys can play as
Fuzz Martin 7:33
a class, I’ll know that they do have sound effects, but you don’t have to have sound on in order to play the game. So Correct.
Shanna Martin 7:41
Yep. So you can click on mute or things like that. So you have those options are always in there for the free version. And you can swap out your questions with those games as you want to, then as they if you want to have the paid version, then you have more game options. So that’s just something to keep in mind that if you want to play the fancier games, then you need to have a subscription, sure, but you’re able to swap out the questions of any of the free games however you want, which is kind of cool. That’s cool. And then you can also have students practice off of other teachers. So if you don’t want to greet them, you can use other teachers and then play within those games too. So there’s a condition practice, like I said before, there’s all kinds of different things that you can practice from. And it’s just a great way to have students review and have access to more independent work. So you can just take the link, whether you’re doing individual students, or if you’re playing in groups, because you can load your class in there, which I also appreciate. So like I can put my class and their group description. And then I will have a class that I can always drop by links into. So if students have access to that, then then they can choose whatever games are in that space. Or you can assign them like assigned before like choice boards, individually. So you can assign an individual game to a choice board. And then students can have their skill practice it whatever they’re doing. So can cat games. It’s really cute. Yeah,
Fuzz Martin 8:57
there’s a lot of distance learning kind of stuff you can do to or at
Shanna Martin 9:00
home practice those types of things as well. Or like I said before, into those choice boards where students can practice the content that you want them to, and you can direct them specifically to the content that you want them practicing. Yeah, and
Fuzz Martin 9:12
it also works on iPads on Chromebooks or on computers so or on smart boards. So
Shanna Martin 9:18
yeah, so just a lot of options Pink Cat Games, you can make the content whatever you want to our youngest doesn’t know yet but I loaded her week spelling lesson today. She will be practicing her spelling words later.
Fuzz Martin 9:32
Great idea actually was wondering when you when you started what you told me we were doing this one if it was for spelling practice for the little one this week. pnkcatgames.com is the URL Yeah,
Shanna Martin 9:45
for easy? Yeah. Fun. Okay, so our second games that make learning fun site is called, SentencePlay. And this is all kinds of work with building and And fixing sentences, it’s great sentence practice. So sentence s en te and si eplay.co.uk. So SentencePlay in the UK. So what’s cool about SentencePlay is there’s like there’s Teaching Tips for teachers. So like, here’s some specific things to help you teach structure and grammar and punctuation within sentences and making like little teacher help, which we always appreciate, brush up on your knowledge, and it gives you some book recommendations and things like that. Then you have the games. And I think you were really excited before I’m sure gonna be very distracted. Are you going to play sentence Doctor currently playing? Because when I brought this up today, he was excited doctor, okay, so there’s sentence laboratory, where you get to make sure that the like science experiment doesn’t overflow. And it’s right writing sentences and checking out to make sure that you are reading them properly. And then there’s Sentence Doctor. And that one, you get to spot mistakes in sentences, and then you go through and correct them dropping in one of the other games is going to have you work on clauses in sentences, then there’s definitions, which helps you like keep definitions clear, so that way you understand them. And then there’s sentence magic, which helps you improve sentences and build on them. So each game also comes with a set of teaching tips, which is pretty cool, almost like sets you up, like lesson plans, but it gives you some examples and some ways to teach things, which is always helpful to hear other sides and other other things that you can practice. Or you can just assign students like sentence doctor, and then you click on it, and you drop that right into, like your choice board. So students can practice doing that. Or again, you can do it as a whole class on the smartboard, that type of thing, you can go ahead and click start. And then you choose, you click next patient when you get a poor, get up poorly sentence. And then you can go ahead and fix the sentences that are better.
Fuzz Martin 12:00
I thought it was really funny that they call it a poorly sentence, because it’s, like, poorly written right on purpose. So
Shanna Martin 12:06
right, there you go. So problem with punctuation, you choose your category, because then there’s various categories to choose from, like, why are we fixing these sentences, and then you click new patient, and with each new patient, you get a new sentence, and then you show the diagnosis, diagnosis, I’m sorry, and then you can fix what needs to be fixed in the sentence. So that’s, it’s fun, it’s like fun way to practice it without always having to write it all down. And you don’t have to think of two sentences yourself, which sometimes that gets to be tiring, like trying to always write them wrong, so that when it gets corrected, so it gives them some independent practice, a sentence structure and some of those grammar pieces that that are not always easy to teach, because you don’t want to be doing the same thing all the time. So it’s a way of practicing these skills, without just saying, Alright, we’re gonna like, break down our senses one more time. Yeah.
Fuzz Martin 12:54
So I mean, I know this is kind of cartoony, but what do you think this would be okay, for middle school? Or do you think
Shanna Martin 13:00
I would say, first grade, probably through fifth grade with independent practice? Sure.
Fuzz Martin 13:06
Because it’s like talking about like, embedded clauses. And yeah, and
Shanna Martin 13:09
it can be practically through sixth grade or some review. I think the games themselves, you might lose the enthusiasm of a seventh or eighth grader, because it’s gonna get this cartoony. Yeah, but also, some of our kids might appreciate the practice, because they need it. And also like, Oh, this looks easy. And then they try like, oh, I have to use my brain. Yeah. So I think it depends on your class, and you would know what’s appropriate for your class. And for independent practice, it could probably go across the board.
Fuzz Martin 13:36
They do have some cool posters in such that you can download classroom to which are pretty cool.
Shanna Martin 13:42
And they have the printables, which is its own section, or they have like a sentence vocabulary list. So gives you additional printables to support in your classroom, like punctuation and connecting adverbs and stuff like that. So those are timeout posters, but also there’s some lesson pieces in there and like, self assessment tools names,
Fuzz Martin 14:00
subordinating conjunctions, subordinating
Shanna Martin 14:02
Fuzz Martin 14:04
don’t cheat, don’t cheat, don’t cheat,
Shanna Martin 14:05
when, while, before, after
Fuzz Martin 14:09
I see your reading.
Shanna Martin 14:12
You can start singing Conjunction Junction.
Fuzz Martin 14:15
What is the function?
Shanna Martin 14:18
Well Schoolhouse Rock reference anybody? Anybody,
Fuzz Martin 14:21
Although I will not. Nice conjunction. Um,
Shanna Martin 14:26
There you go. So anyway, and sentence play, as a lot of great ways to practice grammar and get some of that sentence practice in there digitally without always having to write them down. And it would be a great use for choice board to give students some options to play independently and practice independently, without having to write sentences all of the time.
Fuzz Martin 14:47
Right? That is again, sentenceplay.co.uk. I’ll link to both those in the show notes. Which is the description for those of you who are like, I’m not like a podcast head. What is the show? Note show notice the description of this episode, which you can look at in your, you know, Apple podcasts or Google podcasts or Spotify wherever you are. There you go or on smartened wi.com. Like wouldn’t my podcast zone smash hit that follow button?
Shanna Martin 15:18
Oh my goodness. So anyway, thanks for tuning in. This has been the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast. If you ever have any questions, you can find me on the app formerly Twitter at @smartinWI or on threads or on Facebook. And if you want to get more information on the links to the technology discussed in this episode, you can visit smartinwi.com. If you’d like to support the show, please consider buying me a coffee or to visit buy me a coffee.com/smart and wi or visit smartinwi.com and click on that cute little purple coffee cup. Your donations help keep the show going. And don’t you forget, if you’re looking for holiday presents wi.com is a shopping list.
Fuzz Martin 16:01
The ideas and opinions discussed on this podcast and the smartinwi.com website are those of the other Shanna Martin and not of her employer prior to using any of the technologies that we’ve discussed, please consult with your employer regulations. This podcast offers no guarantee that these tools will work for you as described, but we sure hope they do. We’ll talk to you next time right here on the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast.
Fuzz Martin 16:31