Are you looking for a new way to brainstorm with your students? What about making graphic organizers? Try Popplet!
Teachers like you understand that graphic organizers are an important part of our lessons. They create a visual that allows the students to “see” the information or their thinking. I know that after a while, my kids weren’t exactly excited about using them in class. Are your kids like mine? Are you looking for a way to integrate technology and make the creation of graphic organizers more engaging? If so, Popplet may be just what you are looking for. The possibilities with this tool are limited only by your imagination.
Popplet is a program on which students can capture and organize their thoughts through the use of graphic organizers. It helps them by giving them a visual way to organize their thoughts and ideas when they are brainstorming. So the kids can come up with ideas, jot those ideas down in separate Popplets, and move them to organize them into groups.
Popplet gives students the options of drawing pictures, adding text, or uploading pictures from the web to show their thinking. The kids can look for images online, or you can create a folder of pictures in Google Drive for the kids to use. You may want to use a folder if you teach younger students. Also, you can do this if you have limited time and don’t want the kids spending time looking for the perfect picture.
I created the image below to show what a Popplet looks like. The boxes connect and can be moved around, resized, or deleted as you wish. The entire Popplet can also be zoomed in or zoomed out. Zooming is useful when you need to add more boxes, and the screen is full. You can also use this as a presentation tool and zoom in to focus on a particular area of the organizer during a lesson.
I made this Popplet on my laptop, but Popplet can be used either on the iPad or the web. The kids can draw right on the iPad, or they can use drawing tools if they are using a computer.
A Simple way to incorporate 21st-century skills
Critical 21st-century skills seamlessly fit into lessons using Popplet. Let the kids collaborate on an organizer. As a teacher, I like that when they work together, their names will show up as part the box. Now I can tell who created each box and make sure everyone is participating. When they’re working together, communication, another 21st-century skill, is necessary. Make the communication more relevant by letting the kids share their Popplets with other groups or on the web for those outside of the classroom to see.
Popplet lends itself well to many higher order thinking skills. Students are categorizing, mind-mapping, linking ideas, and organizing their thoughts when they are using Popplet. They also may have to defend their ideas because they may see relationships you didn’t consider. They may have to revise their maps if their connections are not clear. Sometimes you may give them more freedom in the design of the Popplet, and they will get to design one based on the connections they find.
Popplets also enable teachers to use technology in a different way than just replacing what we’ve always done. On the surface, it seems like it’s just like a paper organizer, but it offers so much more. The chance to use pictures from the internet to explain definitions or the ability to move boxes around if the kids find a better way of organizing the information are components of the lesson that you cannot do with a paper organizer. That puts the use of Popplets “above the line” as a modification lesson.
Ways to use Popplet in the Curriculum
In Reading and Language Arts
- Cause/effect–After reading a text, the students make a Popplet showing examples of cause and effect from the story. More than two boxes could be linked together to show a causal chain as well. Any of the other nonfiction text structures (description, compare/contrast, sequencing, and problem/solution) would work too.
- Vocabulary web–Put the words on the Popplet and have the kids make connecting boxes showing information like the definition, part of speech, picture, and examples.
- Breaking words into syllables–For students working on reading multi-syllabic words, have them clap the word’s syllables, then make that number of boxes on the Popplet. Review the use of syllabication rules to break the word apart. Write or type one syllable in each box and sound the word out.
- Story maps–Show the kids how to create a story map with a box for each of the elements you teach in your grade level. Then students fill in the details to show understanding.
- Writing organizer–When you give the students a writing assignment, let them use Popplet to organize their thoughts before they begin writing.
- Grammar parts of speech organizer–Place one of the parts of speech in the center box and ask the children to add examples.
- Recording manipulative results–During a lesson including manipulatives, let the kids take pictures of their models, insert them into Popplet boxes, and use the text tool to explain what it means.
- Ways to make a number–Write the number in the center box and then attach boxes to show different ways to make a number. The kids can add text showing the equations, draw in the boxes to show it, or take pictures of manipulatives to add to the organizer.
- Word wall for test prep–make a separate Popplet for each category, such as geometry or measurement, and add new boxes with the math terms you need the students to remember. For each term, they can use options for illustrating or writing to demonstrate their knowledge of that word.
Science & Social Studies
- Recording results of experiments–Instead of illustrations to record the results of a science experiment, let them take pictures and include them on a Popplet based on the scientific method.
- Steps in a process–Working on photosynthesis or another scientific process? Try having the kids use Popplet to illustrate and explain each step.
- Timelines–Popplet makes great timelines. Younger kids could use this to create personal histories. Older students can use them to make historical timelines showing exploration, wars, or other events.
- Biographies–After studying an important historical figure, ask them to create a timeline of the important events in that person’s life.
My former district had a character education component running from K-12. Similar language is used at each level to teach specific character traits. Even if you don’t teach a formal character education program at your school, using a Popplet would be a wonderful way for the kids to show understanding of character concepts you cover on your own. For example, you could ask the students what respect means to them, and have them add text and pictures to connected boxes to explain it.
Assessments Using Popplet
- E-portfolios–Students could use Popplet to document projects or other assignments into an e-portfolio. They can take pictures of the work and upload it to Popplets divided into groups such as different subjects.
- Print it–The kids can also print their Popplets to take home or for you to assess.
- Save it–Popplets can be downloaded as a PDF and saved in your students’ Google Drive or other document storage.
What about a Class Group?
There is a way for teachers to create a class by using Popplet groups. The cost to create one of these groups is anywhere from $2.00 per student down to $.50 per student depending on how many accounts you need. Popplet asks for an email for students, but you can also use it with kids who don’t have school emails to use.
Do need a little more support in using a Popplet? Check my member downloads page for step by step directions. These will be useful for both you and your students.
Are you looking for even more ideas to utilize Popplet in your class? If so, check out this blog which is strictly for the use of Popplets.