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Spent: Social Justice Simulation

What it is: I learned about Spent from my friend @ianchia last week on Twitter. Spent is a collaboration between McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham to show students how the decisions they make affect their lives.  The Urban Ministries of Durham serves over 6,000 people every year.  Students have the opportunity to accept the Spent simulation and challenge to see if they can make it through a month of living expenses.  They have just lost their job, their savings are gone, they have lost their house, and they are down to their last thousand dollars.  Students must find a job, make decisions about housing, food, emergencies, and more as they try to survive one month on minimum wage. How to integrate Spent into the classroom: Spent is a social justice game simulation that helps students understand the tough circumstances that so many face that have caused them to be homeless and in need of outside assistance.  The game uses scenarios that are true to life and shows students how each decision that they make has consequences.  Spent would be a great game for students to play in an economics or social studies class.  Students can play the game individually and come together at the end of the game to discuss how the decisions they made affected their ultimate outcome.  Which students made it to the end of the month and which failed?  What decision(s) led to that outcome?  If you don’t have the ability for students to play the game individually, play as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  Make decisions together as a class weighing the pros and cons of each decision as you go. Extend this online game by moving to a place of action.  What can your students do to help those in need?  Can they hold a school fundraiser to donate to the Urban Ministries of Durham? Can they create compelling call to action videos and post them to YouTube?  Let your students be creative and come up with their own solutions for making an impact. Tips: There are some great ethical scenarios in the simulation that should spark some interesting discussion and debate among students. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Spent in your classroom!

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Answer Garden

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Character Education, collaboration, Evaluate, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 26-07-2010

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What it is: I learned about Answer Garden from an interactive post on Suzanne Whitlow’s excellent blog, Suzanne’s BlogAnswer Garden is a “new minimalistic feedback tool.”  It can be used as an online answer collection tool or embedded on a website or blog.  An Answer Garden is created as easily as entering a question and clicking create, no registration needed.  Embed the Answer Garden on any blog, website, or social network page using the embed code provided.  You can also give students a direct link to the Answer Garden. Students can post answers to your questions by entering their own answers or by clicking on and submitting existing answers.  All of the answers are represented in the form of a word cloud.   25 answers are visible per garden but as students submit the same answer, that word will grow bigger.  Creating an Answer Garden is SO simple.  Just type in your question or brainstorm statement and click create.

How to integrate Answer Garden into the classroom: Answer Garden is a fun way for students to brainstorm, plan, and work together.  Pose open-ended thinking questions on your classroom blog or website for students to answers.  Use Answer Garden to host a classroom poll.  Create a geography Answer Garden that gives students a place that they can describe a state or country they are learning about.  Use Answer Garden during reading as a place for students to reflect on different characters, plots, settings, and themes.  In history, give students a date range, event, or historical figure and let them add words to the Answer Garden that describe.  In the primary classroom, type in a phoneme combination and have students submit words that fit the phoneme rule.   Create an answer garden to recognize VIP students in your classroom where each child can answer with a character quality that they appreciate about that student.  The possibilities are endless!  This tool is SO easy to use, try it out in the Answer Garden below.

Where will use Answer Garden?… at AnswerGarden.ch.

Tips: The default settings on Answer Garden only allows students to submit one answer.  You can check the optional “Unlimited Answering” to give students multiple opportunities to submit answers.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Answer Garden  in your classroom.

Comments (9)

WOW there are a lot of uses for this embed-able tool… WAY beyond just the class room… However this would be an awesome way to encourage feedback in real time. I hope college professors grab on to this concept… it could add a lot of value.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely, Gina Hartman, Kristen Swanson, Tracy Mercier and others. Tracy Mercier said: RT @ShellTerrell: Answer Garden is a cool poll/answer collection tool turns answers into word clouds http://bit.ly/bmiYXs #edtech via @k … […]

[…] 1. Answer Garden. I stumbled across this one in a new blog that I just started subscribing to called iLearn Technology. […]

Immediate feedback is vital for learning, so this is a terrific tool.

Yes, lots of applications beyond the classroom but I love the collaboration it provides for the classroom!

Anyone have success embedding their AnswerGarden into a WordPress blog?

Hi Deb, this is a WordPress blog and I had no trouble embedding the Answer Garden above. Anyone else struggling with a WordPress embed?

Only issue with classroom use is if someone writes something inappropriate- it’s there for everyone to see until you’ve realised and deleted it.

Yes Jacqui, this is an issue when introducing any web 2.0 tool. Another reason it is SO important to teach proper use!

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