Five “Do Now Activities” Students can complete on their smartphones
Type of Technology: smart phone
SAMR Model Rating: Augmentation: Technology Acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement.
Grade: Junior high or High school
Subject area: all
Cost: FREE. Only need smart phones, Studyblue app
Last year, I became a traveling teacher. I had a 10 minute window to wrap-up one class, gather my belongings and truck-it to another classroom where another teacher was wrapping-up and making space for me. This situation was not ideal, but as our school population has grown, it is an inevitability for some teachers. Necessity is the mother of all invention and the necessity of becoming a traveling teacher moved me to create “Do Now Activities” that students can accomplish with their phone.
What is a “Do Now Activity”? A Do Now Activity is the first activity that students do in your class. At the ringing of the bell, a teacher has many tasks to complete: there is role to be taken, hand-outs to distribute, homework to collect, notes from the office, etc. The “Do Now Activity” allows students to complete a task while the instructor is accomplishing all of those teacher responsibilities; it allows students to focus on learning from the very start. When a whole school staff is committed to DNAs, it creates a culture of powerful teaching and learning that runs from bell to bell.
Here are 5 ideas for Do Now Activities that students can complete on their phones. I hope this inspires you to create even more.
Agenda and learning objectives on your “Welcome Page” of EDU (now NEO). The San Marcos staff is committed to posting our agendas, learning objectives and “Do Now Activities” on our white boards everyday. Traveling from room to room, I simply did not have time to write on multiple white boards. So I posted all of these on my EDU/NEO Welcome page of each class, and directed students to read it as the “Do Now Activity”.
Five question quiz on EDU/NEO. One of my favorite features on EDU/NEO is the quiz assignment. Quizzes end up graded in your grade book, and it is easy to look at the analytics to see what percentage of your class mastered different questions. As a “Do Now”, I would create a 5 question quiz about their homework, concepts from the previous day, etc. On low-stakes quizzes (not very important), I like to allow students to see the results of the quiz and retake it. In this way, I use the quiz not as an assessment, but as a learning tool. Sometimes I will upload a pdf to the quiz, invite students to read the pdf, and then answer a few quiz about the information on the pdf.
Discussion activity on EDU/NEO. Discussion questions can also be a fun activity for our students. On EDU you can create a discussion activity. It may be about a video students are watching, a quote, photo, etc. For example, if you want your students to do a quick write about a photo, upload the photo to the EDU/NEO discussion activity and ask each student to post on the discussion thread at least once. Have the students read each other’s post and agree or disagree with their fellow scholars.
Polleverywhere. One of my favorite websites to use in the classroom is Polleverywhere. Accounts are free, and basically teachers can post a multiple choice question and see the results change as the students use their phones to text their responses. My students enjoy it when I mirror the site while they are voting so that they can see the results change as they contribute to the poll. You also can create a discussion poll with open-ended questions. Students can text in their responses, and see their different text bubbles. There is a very humorous video on the polleverywhere website.
Studyblue. Teachers can create custom sets of flashcards in the Studyblue app and then share them with their students. Classmates can work together in a classroom community by sharing note cards they create. As “Do Now Activity”, students can work alone or together to create new flashcards, or practice with a set of flash cards that the teacher has created. See a 3-minute youtube review of the the app here.
To keep your “Do Now Activity” more interesting, I suggest rotating through 3-5 of these activities. So instead of asking students to put their phones away, at the bell ask them to take their phones out and complete one of these suggested activities.