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Engaging Every Student

August 1, 2018

Make a Back-to-School Splash with Pear Deck

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Pear Deck Team

Peary floats in an innertube in a pool while sipping a drink

Back to school is such an exhilarating time, don’t you think? I always get such a rush from the prospect of a clean slate. Back when I was teaching, by the time August rolled around I would have heaps of new ideas about how I was going to make the new school year the best year yet.

And yet, the end of summer is bittersweet. I mean, August is definitely still summer, but all those delicious summer activities have to come to an end. No more lake weekends. No more family vacations. No more lounging by the pool.

To ease your transition from pool parties to prepping lesson plans, I’ve put together some pool-themed inspiration to bring you the best of both worlds as summer and school collide. And Pear Deck is here to ensure your classroom is the coolest, even as August heat rages on.

Make a splash

Whether you’re brand new to Pear Deck or a seasoned #studentengagement veteran, using Pear Deck within the first few days of school is sure to make a splash in your new class. Pear Deck is a great vehicle for ice breaker activities. You can ask questions that will help you get to know your students better and you can facilitate activities using Pear Deck that can help students get to know one another as well. Or, use Pear Deck to breathe new life into your syllabus. This summer, a teacher shared with me her engaging, interactive class syllabus she created with Pear Deck. Y’all, it was fire. I’m sharing a slightly modified version with you here that you can use as a jumping-off point for your own.

A slide where students draw lines to match the picture to the name.

Dive in and go deeper

Once you’ve dipped your toe in the Pear Deck waters, use Pear Deck to facilitate a deeper dive into class discussions. Remember that with the Projector View you can display students’ answers anonymously on the projector, creating a safe environment for students to share their true feelings and sincere opinions on the topic at hand. Use Pear Deck to ask open-ended questions or to introduce controversial topics. In math class, you might ask students to describe a real-life scenario where they could apply the concept you’re covering. Or, use this template to thoughtfully dig into a potentially inflammatory or polarizing current event topic.

Make it a freestyle event

Fun fact: “freestyle” is not, in fact, synonymous with the popular swim stroke officially known as the “front crawl.” It is, rather, a swimming event wherein the swimmer can choose his or her stroke for the race. It’s really just the swimming pool version of a student-paced app-smash project, and you can use Pear Deck’s Student-Paced Mode to promote student choice through app smashing. The learning objectives are the same for every participant, but the “freestyle” structure allows students to choose their strongest “stroke” to reach the finish line. Check out our full guide to app-smashing with Pear Deck here.

Keep the lifeguard on duty

Pool parties are the best parties as long as everyone is (more or less) following the rules. When it’s a Pear Deck party, use the Teacher Dashboard to monitor your swimmers and make sure no one’s gone off the deep end. With the dashboard you can see each student’s name associated with their response so you know if someone is in over their head, and you can adjust pace or remediate accordingly. If someone gets too rowdy or offensive in their responses, you can hide their answer using the Dashboard, and even remove them from the session altogether if they refuse to play by the rules.

Illustration by Kate Moore

This week’s blog post was written by Teacher Advocate Risa Fadenrecht.

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Pear Deck Team

Helping teachers deliver powerful learning moments

Pear Deck

The many members of Pear Deck's team strive to bring interesting and useful articles to our readership. Check back weekly, or subscribe to the blog to get notified when new content is published!

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