16 Creative Ways to Use PebbleGo Next in the Classroom
Ready to take your students' learning to the next level? You've come to the right place! With a tool as robust as PebbleGo Next, there's truly no limit to what you and your students can do! Check out these 16 tips, tricks, and creative ideas for creative ways to use PebbleGo Next with grades 3-5!
1. Set Up Research Stations
PebbleGo Next is an excellent tool for students to explore independent research in a safe and controlled environment. Encourage independent inquiry by setting up a research station in your classroom, or as part of a station rotation. Have students find a topic they are interested in, such as an animal or an influencial person they'd like to learn more about. If students aren't sure what they would like to research, have them try the "Random Article Wheel." Once they have read the article, have them share thier learning in PebbleGo Create, or another tool.
2. Discover a "PebbleGo Next Fact of the Day"
As part of your daily class activities, create a class role, “PebbleGo Next Fact Finder.” That student should find something interesting in PebbleGo Next to share with the class. It could be something that was just interesting to the student, or it could be a whole-class activity where the student creates a question and the rest of the class tries to see if they can find the answer together. If you have one-to-one or multiple devices, you could have the students race to see who can locate the answer first, or time how long it takes the entire class to successfully find the answer.
3. Share Interactive Choice Boards
Students become more engaged in their learning when they have an opportunity to exercise their choice and take an active role. Empower students to choose their own learning path by creating a choice board. It could be focused on a particular unit or theme, or be contain a wide range of topics. Start by designing your choice board in PebbleGo Create or Google Slides, and add the links to different PebbleGo articles. You could even include additional links to other resources and activities if you choose. When you’re ready, share your choice board with your students. Students can then choose which articles and activities they want to explore!
4. Write eBooks Based on Research
Having students write a book about their learning is a great way to increase retention of information, as well as an excellent opportunity to practice expressing key concepts and summarizing information. Direct students to explore a PebbleGo Next article, then create an eBook based on what they learned. They could write a nonfiction ebook, or build a fun story inspired by their learning. There are many wonderful apps that allow students to create their own ebooks to demonstrate understanding. For example, students can get creative with PebbleGo Create or Book Creator, using a variety of media assets to write, illustrate, and even narrate their own eBooks.
5. Master Key Vocabulary
Students can gain a deeper understanding of key terms and concepts by keeping a vocabulary journal. Provide students a list of key terms to keep an eye out for as they read through
a particular PebbleGo Next article. Additionally, you can encourage students to keep a list of words they don’t know or fully understand as they read. When they’re ready, they can use the dictionary function to look up the definitions to these words. Students can then record their words and definitions in their notes, or in a vocabulary journal. Or, they can also use a tool like PebbleGo Create to illustrate their vocabulary words. When students visualize key terms and practice illustrating them, it can aid in retention, and promote stickier learning.
6. Create a Research Journal
A research journal can be a fun and engaging way for students to keep track of their learning. Students can use a traditional pen and paper notebook, or choose from any number of apps to keep notes using a variety of media assets. Students can follow a research journal template, or create their own. They can use their research journal for class research projects, as a place to organize and collect their thoughts about their learning, as a place to record questions they want to research later and a space to record their findings, or as a space for them to record new information about topics that interest them.
7. Engage in Free Reading Time
PebbleGo Next is an excellent choice for free reading time. Students can follow their interests, or find out more about the subject of a book they are reading. Have students write down a topic that interests them. At library time, or when students have some free time, have them search for an article to read about that subject. This is an especially effective technique for reluctant readers, because they are choosing what they want to read about.
8. Create a Comic Strip Based on Research
Encourage students to create a comic based on their learning. Create a simple template with space for text and pictures. This activity is a fun opportunity for students to get creative and express themselves as they demonstrate what they've learned in their own way.
9. Play Classroom Games
Many of the embedded games in PebbleGo Next modules lend themselves well to classroom games. For example, play the Quick Match game in the Biographies unit as a class. Project the game for the class. In small groups, have the students race to find where the information appears in PebbleGo Next. Once they raise their hands to show you the article and tab, they can answer the question and earn a point for their group.
10. Interview a Historical Figure
The Biographies module in PebbleGo Next is full of important figures from history and modern day. Put a fun twist on a traditional research project by having students “interview” an individual of their choice from the biographies module. You can have your students choose their own questions, or create an interview template for students to follow. Students can then conduct their research on PebbleGo Next, and answer the questions as if they were the interviewee. Not only is this a fun way to learn about important figures, but it’s also a great opportunity for students to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, especially if they are researching someone from a time period they’re not familiar with.
11. Create a Geography Brochure
PebbleGo Next can be your ticket to virtually explore our world! Have students learn about a particular landmark, or landform, or choose a US state to research from the States module. Then, students can pretend they are a travel agent, and they have to design a travel brochure encouraging others to visit this place. Using their research, they’ll be able to highlight fun facts and noteworthy features about their place, as they create their brochure. Not only will this project enable students to demonstrate thier learning, but it’s also a great opportunity for them to practice persuasive writing.
12. Dive Deeper into a Topic
Many state and national standards for grades 3-5 are covered in PebbleGo Next. When you are studying ecosystems or forms of energy, pull up an article from PebbleGo Next Science. Read it together, talk about the academic terms, and watch a video explaining the topic further. When you are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, pull up his biography article in the Biographies module. Look at the timeline of important events from his life, then watch the video of an excerpt of his “I Have a Dream” speech.
13. Practice Citation
Citation support is built into every article within PebbleGo, so it’s the perfect place to have students familiarize themselves with correct citation. Encourage students to search for 5 facts that interest them in PebbleGo. Then, have them practice using the citation popup, copying the citation for each fact they find, and collecting them into a works cited page.
14. Conduct Experiments with Hands-On Science Instruction
With PebbleGo Next, reading about a topic is only the beginning! Students can achieve a more comprehensive view of a topic when they further engage with key concepts through hands-on experiments and activities. Plus, when students actively participate in creating something related to their learning, they’ll retain what they learned and feel confident come test time! Within the Science module, you’ll find a number of activities and experiments that students can do individually or as a class. These hands-on activities can also be performed at home with a family member, if students want to explore further outside of class.
15. Practice Inquiry-Based Discovery
Create a simple graphic organizer with four sections: “I Know”, “I Want to Know”, “I Predict”, and “I Learned.” For Example, introduce a topic, like “cells.” Have students write 3 things they already know about cells. Next, have them write 3 questions about cells in the “I Want to Know” area, and make one prediction based on a question they have. Then, have them conduct their own research in PebbleGo Next as they strive to fill in the “I Learned” section. If you wish, you can use PebbleGo Next as a starting point, and have students add in library books, other digital resources you have, and hands-on experiments.
16. Compare Fiction and Nonfiction, Realistic and Not Realistic
Teach critical thinking skills with PebbleGo Next. Read an article, or find a current social media blurb as a class, then “fact-check” it in PebbleGo Next. You could also explore the question: “Are there some kinds of fiction that are more fact-based than other kinds?” Choose a book, or books you’ve read as a class, and use PebbleGo Next to discuss realistic aspects of the story, characters, and setting, vs aspects of the story that are fictionalized. This could be an interesting way to explore fictionalized stories featuring real people, realistic fiction, and historical fiction.
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