Updated: Jul 21
I'm teaching a US Culture class this fall 2021 semester and love to use Padlet to construct knowledge together with students. We use colorful pictures illustrating information that students pick out from the class readings and the internet. Sometimes I ask students to work in groups focusing on a particular section assigned to them. Padlet allows you to create different boards or "padlets" with different organizational structures. Contributors click on the + sign to add information organized in a box (see below). They can add a title; a picture, gif, or Youtube video; and text to their box.
Today we learned about different holidays celebrated during the holiday season (December - January) in the US. The students read a chapter in our course book, and I used what you can call progressive brainstorming to ask them to share information about different holidays introduced in the book. Traditional progressive brainstorming is explained here. I have 7 sections on Padlet as can be seen in the picture below. I have 11 students in the class, so I asked them to count from 1 to 7 and contribute ideas to a section corresponding with their number. After they worked on their section for about 10 minutes, I asked them to work on the next section in line. They added 1 to their original number, and those with number 7 would work on Section 1. When the students finished their Padlet contributions, I drew their attention to a few important points, especially those that they didn't share. Below is a screenshot of part of our Padlet about Holidays.
In the next activity, the students were divided into two groups to prepare for a Charades game focusing on words and phrases from the reading and Padlet. You can read more about Charades here. In this game created in advance, I chose over 80 words and phrases related to the holidays above and entered them into Wordwall's Random Cards (see picture blow).
In this version of Charades, a student from each group comes to the front of the class and faces their group members so that he/she can't see the screen. The group members, however, can see the word displayed on the screen as the cards are dealt. The group members will need to explain the word they see, and this student has to guess it. The goal is to try to guess as many correct words in two minutes as possible. After two minutes, it's the other group's turn. The game can be played in multiple rounds. In this case, my students had four rounds. Those who had to guess the words were sometimes nervous and couldn't guess even simple words, but each group was allowed to skip a word/phrase twice in case they were stuck. Overall, my students could guess a fair number of words in those rounds, and the explanations generated a lot of laughter. Click here to the Wordwall game I created.
Of course, this activity is just one of many in the class, which allow them to not only learn some new knowledge about aspects of US culture, but also make connections with their personal experience and express their opinions on some critical issues.
Here's a link to a different Padlet about the Mid-Autumn Festival many students and friends of Eduling International Academy contributed to. Read my other blog posts on teaching ideas and see my latest technology application with the Eduling Speak app.