Daily 1:1 Instruction: Bubbl.us and Weblist.me

My last post dealt with the problem (and solution) of starting class in a 1:1 room.  This post picks up where I left off – what to do the rest of class.  Ditching the textbook and paper notebooks wasn’t too big of an issue when we first transitioned over to 1:1.  I had used the textbook sparingly the past few years and always had any class notes posted online.  What I had only loosely recognized before this year however, was that a large chunk of my students (50% or more) did not have home internet access.  Online notes, diagrams, games, or project assignments are hard to complete if you can’t access them.

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Even if all the students had access at home, the information and resources I wanted them to use were often spread out on various blog posts, google documents, and various websites buried in my delicious bookmarks.  The content I shared with them or had them research became disconnected over the course of a unit.  I finally sat down and thought about a better way to tie it all together and make it as accessible as possible to all students.  Bubbl.us was my first stop.

Bubbl.us is a great way to make online bubble charts.  The 2.0 version is much slicker than other alternatives, but now you only get three charts for free (previously it was unlimited).  Nevertheless, I’m willing to pay because it has really helped me organize my units and provide more resources for students with and without home access.  Before each unit, I make a bubble chart with all the main points connected to central bubble.  Extending from the main points are blank bubbles that we fill in with terms or conclusions we draw from labs we complete during the unit.  On the back of the sheet, I put a vocabulary list where students fill in more detailed explanations of things we add to the bubble chart.  Now, students have one sheet that they use the entire unit and only one thing to bring to class.

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The other improvement I made was storing all the sites that we use, along with some supplementary sites on a weblist.me.  There are a lot of sites available to store your web resources in one place with visual thumbnails, but none of them compare to weblist.me.  I used to use Sharetabs.com to accomplish this task, but it went down this year.  Weblist does what sharetabs used to do – it provides thumbnails of all your sites, but also allows you to view and interact with those sites without leaving the weblist.  You can also add and subtract sites from your weblist at any time.  If you sign up for an account all your lists are kept in one place.  The other neat feature they have is an “open all” button.  Just click it and all the sites in the weblist are opened in new tabs.  This is great if you want students to have instant access to a group of sites for a lesson.

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