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Working With Words

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of Popplet creativity as the beginning of the academic year in North and Central America, Europe, and a lot of other places gets into full swing. New teachers, maybe some new classmates, definitely a lot of new things to learn. For a large number of learners, Popplet is one of those new things! 

Popplets on every subject from every place are appearing thick and fast on our Twitter feed and Facebook Page. We are seeing great work from experienced Popplet users and great work from Popplet newbies, both students, and teachers. Educators working with words in their classrooms are creating some pretty impressive Popplet activities at the moment so we thought we would feature the best of them. You can create a popplet about anything, but here we have:

  • Adjectives of Character
  • Prefixes
  • Word Webs
  • Phonics
  • Spelling
  • Word Families
  • Grammar

If you are looking for ways to use Popplet in your classroom, then take a moment and see what is possible.

Adjectives of Character (Peter Pan)

Word work is certainly a lot more fun if it’s related to a good story, or even better, an upcoming production of Peter Pan. The famous “boy who never grew up”, from the classic tale by Scottish novelist, J.M. Barrie, needs no introduction. Neither we feel, do any of Peter’s friends or foes. However, a vocabulary lesson which uses Popplet to increase learner understanding of the main players, and ultimately the plot, sounds almost as exciting as the story itself. That’s exactly what Sana Noor, Technology Coordinator from India, has done. Check out the fantastic popplets her students made in her tweet below:

Words Beginning With…

Popplet is a simple and intuitive app and that is what makes it so popular with lower-grade classes, especially kindergarteners! It has some powerful features which are child’s play to learn, but that can create memorable learning experiences for students. Text, images, and videos are easy to add, you can even draw in a popple.  Take a look at what the students of Ammi Lönnmo, a teacher from Sweden, created when they were asked to create popplets containing words beginning with the letter “t”:

When it comes to young learners solving the language puzzle, words-beginning-with-the-letter activities will always be a favorite, no matter how far technology advances!

Grammar (subject/verb agreement)

Grammar is not the most popular word in the English language; some even doubt the validity of teaching grammar at all. Fortunately, Renee White, First-Grade Teacher, Technology Advocate, and a constant source of fantastic-classroom-activity ideas does teach grammar (as do any other teachers following Common Core Standards in the USA). Calling it subject/verb agreement does make it sound a bit more friendly, we think. Renee also has her young learners employ a host of other apps – Brainpop and Seesaw in the following activity – to maximise their learning experience. In the process, she achieves with technology what a great many past educators of grammar must have surely failed to do: make grammar lessons fun!

Prefixes (and suffixes)

Words are how we teach our students to express meaning. Words are flexible, and adding a simple prefix such as “re-” to a word changes its meaning. Specific prefixes (and suffixes) as a rule affect the same change in meaning no matter what word of they are added to. Learning a prefix in context opens up a big part of the language puzzle. Anna Barba recently did a prefix brainstorming activity with her third-graders with outstanding results:

Popplet is also an awesome tool for collaborative brainstorming activities and presentations.

Word Webs with Images

Word Webs are a Popplet staple in the language classroom. They can be complex: containing synonyms, antonyms, example sentences, definitions, and etymology. Or, they can be a little less complex, like the ones below about dogs created by second-grade teacher Janie Hachen’s class. A hard-working group, they also took the opportunity to learn how to add images of dogs to their popplets; lessons are so much more effective if they contain a visual element. They’re a lot more fun too!

Word Families and Adding Images

Word Families are a bit like Word Webs except they focus more on a particular characteristic of a group of words Take this example from Serina Sota’s first-graders:

The students are investigating words that end with “-an” and “-at”, then comparing and contrasting the results on a popplet board. They searched for images and added them to their Popplets, connecting them to the words. Searching for images that are age-appropriate, and that can be added to a student’s work without copyright issues is something that the Popplet community often ask us about, so we published this article on the subject. There are a number of options, and it’s worth doing some research to find a search engine that meets your needs, but if you’re in a hurry try Photos For Class.

 Phonics and Spelling: Long “a” Patterns Word Sort

“Total Engagement”, is how third-grade teacher Kristyna Crenshaw described the following concise and effective word activity enjoyed by her class.  Students made use of color-coding in Popplet to show the three most commonly used spellings of the long “a” sound. The results speak for themselves:

We would like to say a big thank-you to all the educators and learners who contributed to the fantastic work featured in this article: Thank you, students, for creating, and thank you, teachers, for sharing. Thanks for choosing Popplet!

Are you using Popplet in your classes yet? If you aren’t and you would like to know more, sign up for a free web account on the Popplet Homepage and you will receive ten complimentary Popplet boards to get you started. There are group subscriptions available for schools and classes.

There are Popplet apps available for the iPad and iPhone. You can choose between Popplet Lite, which is free; and the full version of Popplet.

To see more Popplet ideas, or to share your work with the Popplet community visit us on Twitter, and on our Facebook Page.