Emojis in the classroom?

I was unable to attend this presentation in Chicago at ISTE 2018 but the author of this blog generously shared his findings and presentation.

I am now sharing this article with you as well but also what I will try out in class. As an ESL teacher, I see lots of possibilities but also see possibilities for my other colleagues as well.

My favourites:


This game is played on a mobile device and asks students to quickly find the object that is named and place it in front of the camera. The artificial intelligence involved will determine if the article is the right one and if it is the case, show the matching emoji. The game is in English so it’s a great way to review vocabulary and have fun!


This site is not necessarily an emoji website but offers many possibilities in using them. It allows students to create a fake conversation that appears on fake mobile phone image. I see many possibilities with literature when students could be asked to imagine a text conversation. Students could also add to a story by adding a technology aspect to their writing. I will also check out how I can use this website as an exit ticket. I may ask students to imagine the conversation that would have followed what we have just done in class.


This website generates random emojis that can be used as writing prompts. It can generate up to 280 emojis at a time! A teacher could project this site or students could use it independently.


This website allows students to type a text and see it transformed with emojis. Students could then send that version to another student and see if the text is still understood!

To introduce emojis, I created this presentation that I am sharing with you. Please note that the text included is not mine and comes from the article mentioned in the introduction and that the source is also cited on the last slide of the presentation.


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No Zero Policy: My personal reflections

I recently came across this article from a great website teachers should check out: Edutopia

Edutopia had sent out a debate question on social media asking teachers what they thought of No Zero policies. Here in Quebec, it is also an issue. Urban Legends that say the ministry’s program says that zeros are not possible or that a grade cannot be lower that a certain percentage have some teachers upset and saying that we are creating a generation of lazy, entitled students.

Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

Zeros were no big deal when I was student. Well, they were to my parents if I got one but I don’t remember any student or their parents going to the principal’s office for getting a zero. After all, if a student did not complete the work, that’s what they deserved… or was it?

The first question is ask is why we grade in the first place. The objective of any evaluation is to see if a student has reached the objectives of a task, developed a competency or acquired the taught knowledge. The grade itself is based on a rubric or evaluation grid of some sort with specific criteria linked to each letter or number. Giving a grade a not a punishment for not getting the work done… but what CAN be done when the work is not completed.

When I started teaching, I applied the same rules I had seen as a student and gave zeros…but it did it not always feel right. There were always exceptions that made me feel like giving a zero was not at all the human thing to do. I have seen students struggle with family life situations, having to testify in court agains a parent on the day an assignment was due. I have seen students battle depression and just not be up to it… Adults would take a leave of absence from work, yet these students came in and were expected to battle depression or anxiety and still perform. An adult battling these issues would get a doctor’s note and would be prevented from being fired (at least where the law is respected and human compassion is present). Yet it was ok to ”fire” this student with a zero?

The equity argument always comes up: but other students had to do the work and hand it in on time. The equity argument can easily be answered by: and do the other students have the same issues to deal with? Students are not the sum of  a list of assignments. They are children and teenagers developing. If a competency is not achieved, teachers need to figure out why and find a way to help them.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

It can be frustrating when a student has the potential, is totally capable but is not doing the work. That’s when other methods should come into place… but grade as a punishment? Fairness is a tricky thing.

In my English as a second language classes, I have students who come in and already speak English. They had parents who spoke English or English speaking family in the States or Ontario and my English class is very easy… Should I give them a zero if they don’t make an effort for an assignment?  Would that be representative of their competency in English? Or should I take a look at how I can differentiate the task to motivate them?

I love this quote at the end of the Edutopia article and it speaks to me. I teach humans after all… not content, not English as a second language really… I teach students and I want them to like what I teach them and I want them to succeed…Giving a zero? It’s possible… but hopefully a last resort!

“If you hand me an essay that’s really lousy, do I say ‘F, do better next time,’ or do I say ‘I’m not going to grade this. I expect a much higher quality of work from you. I wrote comments on it. Come to my room at lunchtime, and we’re going to work on it together, and then I need you to turn it in next week’,” Duncan said.

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My Simple Show

Belle découverte!

-on peut importer et animer nos PPT
-peut servir de storyboard pour la planification d’un texte narratif 
-connexion avec compte Google possible (pour prof et élèves) -tutoriels simples qui nous guident pas à pas -suggestion d’images selon les mots clés de notre texte
-possibilité d’importer nos propres images
-sélection de voix et de vitesse de lecture
-possibilité d’importer sa propre voix ou musique
-partage facile lorsque la vidéo est terminée
-certaines options payantes, mais possibles avec la version gratuite.
-version classroom: gratuité pour 50 élèves

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The Innovator’s Mindset Blog Post 1

I am reading an amazing book titled The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. The author has challenged readers and asks them, every week, to blog or post about their thoughts on the book.

Although I am a little behind, here are my thoughts for week 1. We were asked to reflect on the two following questions. So here are my thoughts. 🙂

  1. What do you see as the purpose of education?  Why might innovation be crucial in education?

I think our role as educators is to make students life-long learners. To make students curious to learn even more as they leave the classroom. It is impossible to prepare them fully for what will come later in their lives. We can only give them the tools to be able to find the solutions by themselves.if-students

With technology, finding the answer to your question is so easy… Why not simply teach them strategies for finding the answer they are looking for instead of feeding them what WE think is the correct answer.

Innovation in education should be every teacher’s goal. I am amazed that teachers are able to teach the same way, with the same material, year after year! Life changes all the time. We evolve, we learn from our mistakes, we change… we innovate! Shouldn’t schools be the same way?

  1. “Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.”  How are you embracing change to spur  innovation in your own context?

changeI try to be open to anything. I fight my own mind when my first reaction is: this would not work in my class… and try it! I let students show me new ways of doing things. I accept that their final product will not be exactly the same as what I intended in the beginning.

I am willing to have things crash and burn during a lesson and tell students that this is OK. That we tried something and it did not work. Using technology in the classroom has taught me that to innovate using those tools, it is possible that nothing will work… or that everything will be wonderful and that both options are OK. I am willing to learn and not just teach!


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Using Plickers in my ESL classroom

I discovered Plickers last year after attending a workshop and fell in love. What an easy way to add interaction to the classroom, to workshops or even to conferences. Here is an overview of what Plickers is. In the next few weeks, I will add tutorial videos, as well as ideas for using Plickers in the ESL classroom!

What is Plickers?


Plickers is an interactive tool that allows you to quickly survey a group or a classroom. It works with an app that you download to a mobile device. The app is free and works across platforms.

After downloading the app, you will need to print cards for your students. The cards can be downloaded for free in a PDF format and printed on cardboard paper or laminated. Be careful however, to laminate your cards with a matte finish, so that your mobile device is able to scan them.  It is also possible to order the cards, already laminated, from Amazon.

The last thing you will need is to launch the Plickers website and project it either on your Interactive Whiteboard or a simple projector. The website and the app from your phone will ”talk to each other” and that’s where the magic starts to happen!

Scanning Cards

The Plickers app on your mobile device can easily scan 10-15 students at a time, maybe more! You do not need to individually scan each card (which would be way too long!). You will need to allow Plickers access to your camera and you are ready to start scanning.

Students or participants get to see a blue checkmark next to their names on the computer screen when their card is scanned and know that they can put down their cards. It’s that easy!

Building Your Questions

The questions you will ask your students can be created in advance. The site allows you to create folders to gather your questions together. It is also possible to ask questions without having created anything in advance and simply asking the question orally.

You can ask multiple choice questions or true or false questions. Great for grammar review, vocabulary review or even just checking how students are doing!

The Data!

The greatest thing about Plickers, apart from the interaction and the fact that your students will get super excited, is that it allows you to collect data on the group or on individual students.

When you are done scanning your students, choosing the graph option  will allow you to show the results of the survey. In your teacher account, you also have access to all of the statistics of your group or of individual students. Anonymously, you can find out if a student has been struggling with a concept or if your entire group needs extra help.

A great way to check if your students are ready to be evaluated or if they need an extra class to practice a particular concept.

Plickers Ambassador

I am very happy to announce that I will be a Plickers Ambassador this year. This means that not only will I spread the word on Plickers being an amazing tool, but I will also have access to information on new features coming up. I will regularly update you on what is coming for Plickers and share with you new ways of using it in the ESL classroom.ambasadorbadgewhite

I also invite you to join the Facebook group: Plickers ESL that I have created so that ESL teachers can share new ways of using Plickers in the ESL classroom. You will find this group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/206795226401095/

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Quote Posters

Here is a quick activity that I did with my secondary 3 students this year. We had just finished a unit on success. We read about people who did not give up and discussed their opinion on what it really means to be successful.

Posters done with recite.com
Quote posters create by students with recite.com

One C1 activity had students analyse quotes on success and failure. They had to read the various quotes and then express their own opinion of it. The second part had students create their own quote about success from their opinion, the texts they read and the various discussions done in class. All of this was done collaboratively, in teams of four.

For weaker students, you could give them a list of words to work with. Stronger students can come up with the quote after reading a text about success.

Quote posters create by students with recite.com
Quote posters create by students with recite.com

After coming up with their quotes, students presented them to the class and I had the posters printed in colour, using www.recite.com. You could also decide to use any image and add text using Word or another software or website that allows adding text to an image. One more option would be to have the students create the posters themselves (if you have access to computers, of course).

I posted their posters around the class. The posters became nice, personalized decorations for the classroom! Bonus: students were proud to see their own quotes on the wall 🙂

Having students come up with quotes is a simple writing, speaking and collaborating activity that can be done with any subject. It takes only a few minutes and it is a great C1-C3 activity. Let me know if you tried it!E

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Un nouveau blogue

Bonjour à tous,

J’ai, depuis quelques années, un site internet. Malheureusement, j’ai commis l’erreur de bien des débutants et j’ai négligé ce site. Bien qu’il me servait de vitrine pour mes conférences, je ne l’animais que très peu.

J’ai donc décidé de me lancer avec l’interface WordPress. Par le passé, j’ai créé des sites internet grâce à Joomla, qui permet de créer de très beaux sites. Je suis d’ailleurs la webmestre de www.esdhs.ca si vous voulez voir à quoi ressemble un site fait avec Joomla.

Je tente donc l’expérience d’un blogue, créé avec WordPress, et je vais tenter d’animer celui-ci le plus régulièrement possible.

Vous trouverez des suggestions d’applications pédagogiques, d’apprentissage, de réseautage, de marketing, d’utilisation des réseaux sociaux… et bien plus! Je me lance également dans la création de tutoriels vidéo, autant pour les petites et moyennes entreprises, que les étudiants et le public en général.

Alors me voilà, je me lance!

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