5 Ways to Make Learning More Interactive!

Soooooo thankful for this very refreshing Christmas Break! I sure needed it! I already feel
re-energized and ready to take on the New Year!
Nothin' like a little THROWDOWN THURSDAY to get me back into "school mode". So, I am linking up with "I'm Lovin' Lit" today to start the New Year off with some reflection and new practices. Today's post is about ways to make learning more interactive.
Thanks to a few wonderful teachers and bloggers that I have met along my teaching journey, I am finding new ways to make my lessons fun for my students. This year (teaching in the intermediate division) I have had to look at being interactive in MANY different ways. 12 year olds are not amused by much, but hands on activities and anything technology, usually does the trick.

Here are my 5 Interactive Ideas that I will continue to embrace in 2014!

Interactive Idea #1
Setting my class up with Mytools2go (Google Apps) has been a lifesaver. In the past, my students were saving their documents to the desktop computer that they were working on and would have to go back to that exact same computer to get it back if it wasn't saved properly. Or if they emailed the doc. to themselves at home, they may not have the correct program to open it! It was a mess!
MyTools2Go is GOOGLE so it's accessible to all of my students.

What I love most about it is that this tool has made "Revising" and "Editing" so much more easier for my students. I no longer have them write out their work, have it checked over and then transfer it to the computer. Instead, they complete their work on the computer (Google Doc.) and share it with 2-3 classmates to edit.
As you can see, the other students can highlight a portion of their work and make comments in the margins for changes that need to be made. The quality of writing has improved because the "paper/pencil" has been eliminated and it's very interactive! 

Interactive Idea #2
I love using music and music videos in my classroom. In Literacy, I have been using the lyrics as a shared read and it has been very successful.
For example, we have been learning about figurative language and how to enhance our writing.
Recently I used Taylor Swift and One Direction Songs to highlight various uses of figurative language such as hyperboles and similes.

When we head back to school I am going to be discussing messages in songs (Media Lit). I am going to have the students choose one of their own to dissect, summarize and determine the message.
Using songs such as Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up" and using the trailer to "Inconvenient Truth" we will discuss our role on earth and how we can help create a healthy and safe world for the future. We will also focus on intended audience and purpose.

Interactive Idea #3
Create an Interactive Notebook (when you can!)
I am a believer that paper and pencil is still necessary, but I am also a realist and know that our kids will be very dependent on computers and technology. With that being said I try my best to make any paper/pencil activity interactive. For example, using a flip book instead of a flat piece of paper can change the entire assignment! :)
Here are a few interactive ideas I have used this year. I love using I'm Lovin' Lit's ideas on TPT and other teacher/bloggers such as Look to Him and Be Radiant & Create, Teach, Share. They are all incredible and have inspired me to make my own interactive notebooks in all subject areas.

 Interactive Idea #4
I have REALLY tried to get my kids to love reading this year. MAJORITY hate it! :(
My mission this year is to change that.... even just a little.
With that being said, interactive reading has been the way to go! If you follow our blog, you know I love using the 3:15 app. on the iPad. See HERE.
Here's how it works:
1) Watch and listen to the video introduction online.
2) Read the story.
3) Watch the conclusion of the story online.
The 3:15 stands for 3 components (the three I have above) and 15 for the fact that it takes about 15 minutes to read the story.

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When we get back to school in a few days, I will be changing up our independent reading and shared reading a bit--- Thanks to my blogging friend Catherine from Kentucky! She introduced me to News ELA!  News ELA is a website that offers free current events and news articles for teachers and students. With hundreds of articles {that are updated weekly}, articles on War & Peace, Science, Kids, Money, Law, Health, and Arts are all featured. Once you sign up for an account, you can view the articles online or print them out. Some articles also have quizzes to check comprehension.

I will be assigning the students specific articles and also allowing them choice and use our specific curriculum focus in literacy. Soooooo pumped to use this! Thank you Catherine for sharing!

Interactive Idea #5
With 19 boys and 6 girls I need to keep my kids moving!
Recently I have found a great YouTube Physical Education Channel that explains cooperative phys. ed. games step by step. I am always looking for new interactive games to get us moving and this one is GREAT! If you press "videos" you will see them ALL and if you press "subscribe" you will receive all new game updates! I use this A LOT and every game has been great..... Depending on your class, you can make your own adaptations if needed.

Here are a few of our favourites!

Thank you to I'm Lovin' Lit for this Throwdown Link Up. Press {HERE} to connect to other teachers/bloggers and check our other interactive ideas for your classroom!




  1. Lots of great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm going to have to use some of those videos!

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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  2. I love using videos in my class with my students. They love music and lyrics. It really speaks to them. Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful ideas.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I came back over here to reply to your question because your email came through as "no-reply blogger". :( My whole district has a BYOD policy. The students are logging into our school's wi-fi network, so anything that would be blocked at school would also be blocked on their devices. We don't have any issues with lost or stolen devices...not in the several years that I have been doing it at least...knock on wood! I make a huge point of going over the rules and they tend to follow them. We house them all over the place during the day..wherever they are working. Tables, floor, etc. They put them in their backpacks at the end of the day and know they can't take them out again until they go home. I wrote a blog post this summer about devices...if you're interested in reading: http://www.rockinandlovinlearnin.blogspot.com/2013/07/tune-into-technology-linky-ipads.html :) Alison

    1. Thank you, Alison! Loved that post and saved it under my favourites! :)

  4. Love your ideas! Especially the News ELA. I'm going to totally go overboard with that one. I pinned it so I can't lose it!
    :) Erin
    I'm Lovin' Lit

    1. Thanks, Erin..... especially for your positive words and inspiration! And yes, New ELA is a keeper! :) Thanks for hosting such a great linky!

  5. Hi Kaitlin! You should check out Nick's blog Sweet Rhyme Pure Reason. In the summer he did a Tunes Tuesday link which uses songs to teach literacy. There are 21 links of activities there. http://sweetrhyme-purereason.blogspot.ca/2013/07/tunes-tuesday-linky-time.html Have a great Friday!
    Grade 4 Buzz

    1. Awesome! Thanks, Lisa. I will check that out :)

  6. I love the idea of using the videos to help teach similes and hyperboles - I will have to check those out.

    1. Thanks, Kelly :) And thanks for stopping by!

  7. Hi Kaitlin! I'm happy to have happened upon your blog! (I'm your newest follower!) Thanks for the great tips for using music in the classroom. I really need to do more of that, as I know students would really relate to it. Thanks - and I look forward to future reading at your blog!
    Crafting Connections

    1. Hi Deb!
      So glad that you stopped by! I am a big fan of yours :)
      Have a Happy New Year.

  8. You rock, just saying :)
    Happy New Year!!!

    1. You rock too, Jacqui!! Miss you, girl!
      Happy New Year and have a great start back on Monday :)

  9. Thanks for sharing! I love that you have a partner teacher blog! We have just started one--literally like last week--but it's been a long time in the making! I love seeing collaboration! :)

    1. Hi Jenny!
      Welcome to the blogging world! It's awesome!
      Partner blogging is also great because you learn from each other, which just makes us better teachers :)
      Thanks for stopping in and best of luck with the new blog.
      Happy New Year.

  10. Kaitlin! I am so glad that I found your blog. :) Thanks so much for the shout-out! I am in love with News ELA and so glad others are hearing about it. I love the idea of Google Docs. It seems like a streamline way of doing things. Unfortunately, my school blocks everything Google except Google search - say what?!?!? I know - ughh.

    Thanks so much for the awesome figurative language videos. We are reviewing it the first week in February, and my kids will be SO excited for the videos. Thank you!


    1. Hi Catherine!
      So glad you stopped by!
      That's too bad your school blocks everything Google. They have so many school apps now for kids that are pretty neat.
      Have a great start back to school :)


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