Last month I prepared my first Kahoot for a presentation on Carnivorous plants. As a newly hired garden club advisor for a near-by school district, I agreed to do a limited amount of in-classroom presentations for teachers on topics related to the environment and/or gardening. So as not to create a great deal of extra work for myself, I decided to try and make the presentations on the topic that our garden club meeting was on for that particular month.
For example, in early December, garden club students studied the Poinsettia. We took a close look at this tropical plant that we bring into many of our homes each holiday season. We learned about its cultural history, horticultural requirements and peculiarities, and the legends behind this plant. Then, a couple of weeks later, I spend a half hour in each of five classrooms, ranging from 2nd-5th grade, making a similar, but abbreviated presentation on poinsettias. All the presentations seemed to go well and be appreciated.
The December presentations were the first set of four in-classroom sessions planned for the remainder of this school year. I like to keep things fresh, so for the January presentations, I made a Kahoot on carnivorous plants. My carnivorous plant unit is one that has been very popular with students in the past at my “old” school where I held a garden club for 13 years. I wanted a way to engage the students in the topic without having time for a “hands-on” lesson and less that my usual time for the club presentation.
I found Kahoot easy to use. However, my first time around I did make a few mistakes. I put it in jumble mode not realizing that this was more for sequencing questions. So, unable to switch the content to the traditional mode. I had to retype (not rewrite) my fifteen questions. This was not a problem, just part of the learning curve one expects when using a software.
Two weeks ago, I presented in three classrooms on Carnivorous Plants. In he first class – a combination of two third grades – the lead teacher and I decided not to use the Kahoot due to her students never having used one before. I had a back up plan and made a presentation with interactive discussion and two brief – two minute video clips. It went well.
The second class was a combined 4/5 Spanish Immersion classroom. The kids enjoyed the Kahoot and most of them answered the content questions accurately. But, there were enough inaccurate perceptions to allow me to give some new information to the students and enlighten their thinking on these unusual plants.
The third classroom was a disaster! It was a third grade. We used the Kahoot. The teacher assured me her students were familiar with it. In both this classroom and the 4/5 classroom, students used iPads as their 1:1 devices on which to play the “game.” The difference in this third classroom was two-fold. 1) Once the Kahoot started – controlled on the classroom teacher’s computer – it ran fast and continuously! Unlike the 4/5 classroom, during which we paused after each question to discuss the answers, this time the Kahoot jumped right to the next question! I found myself having to explain too quickly or be cut off by the new question. This, of course, led to a raucous environment in the classroom. 2) As a “guest”, non-formal educator, I expect the classroom teacher to take the responsibility of her student’s behavior. But, nothing was done! So, I found myself having to jump in and reprimand a bunch of students I had never seen before in my life. The content of the Kahoot sped on and the presentation ended slightly before it was supposed to! No wonder!
I am not sure exactly what happened in this classroom. My first experience with using a Kahoot was variable. However, I was not in a classroom space of my own and I was not the one controlling the technology (computer). I learned from this experience and while I enjoyed the Kahoot, as did the older class of fourth and fifth grade students, I will not go out of my way to make another one any time soon. And, I know if I decide to use one again, I will either control the computer myself or be very clear with the classroom teacher that we need to stop (pause) the game after each question to discuss the answer. I thought I was clear on this point. But, obviously having it work that way in only 50% of my presentations last month, I need to be clearer with the educator who has invited me into their class.
What is your experience with Kahoot?
Do your students become rambunctious when playing?
I’d love to hear your experience! Thanks!
This post is for Day #2 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by the TwoWritingTeachers Blog.