Teaching Tip Tuesday: Fake Texts

Here is a quick & fun way to engage your students.  You can create screenshots of fake texts using ifaketext.com!  You could get creative and have fun with this!

shakespeare text

You could use this fun format in various ways: 1)  You could present new information to students 2)  You could pose discussion questions or essential questions to students  3) You could grab their attention at the beginning of a lesson 4) Students could present their understanding of a topic 5) Students could answer questions that you have posed to them

How to create a fake text:

1.Go to : http://ifaketext.com/

2.Enter your name.

3.Choose a carrier.

4.Enter the conversation (Be sure to use the format they show you.)

5. Click “Create your screenshot.”

I am not a very funny person, but I know many of you fabulous teachers could make some funny stuff. I also know that our kids are very creative, and they could create some awesome fake texts.

If you wanted your students to show their understanding of vocabulary words, you could create texts like the following examples:

function text

lil wayne function

Other classroom activity ideas:

Students could write dialogue between…

•Two characters from a scene in a story or novel

•Two concepts (including some facts about them)

•Two historic figures

•Two friends discussing a book, movie, event, or concept.

And here is a pdf of a “TableTexting” file, which does not require any technology.

What other ideas do you have? How can you use fake texts in your classes?


Teaching Tip Tuesday: Spinners

Spinners are a fun way for students to engage in learning.  I have run across a few ideas of how to use them lately.  Usually, I see them used in elementary classrooms, but with anything, they can be adapted for our high school classrooms.  Add more complex tasks to the spinner and it will fit into your curriculum and will raise engagement and rigor.  These are a fun way to mix things up in your classroom and add a little more excitement and unpredictability to your lesson.

Vocabulary Spinner for Smartboards



Students will uncover hidden vocabulary words from under the shapes. Then students will spin the spinner on the Smartboard.  The space on which the spinner lands is what task the students must complete. There will be a variety of tasks for which students must use and demonstrate understanding of the selected words. This spinner could be adapted to include other tasks: example, non-example, drawing/picture, personal connection to the word…

Check out this page, which shows you how to create your own spinner on Smartboards.  There is also a library of spinner files.


Responding to Reading Spinners

Download and print out the fiction and nonfiction spinners here:

fiction & nonfiction spinners

2 spinners

Students will spin a paperclip under the tip of a pencil. Watch this video to see how it is done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4g1FV_bhTo  Where the paperclip lands is how they must respond to the text after reading. Students could use these in small groups.  Students could stop at the end of each section of a text and respond.

spinner with paperclip

Teaching Tip Tuesday: Diffen


Here is a website that you might be able to use with your students as they compare and contrast, finding similarities and differences.


DIFFEN – A simple comparison tool. It’s a wiki, inspired by Wikipedia, that gives users basic and quick information. Enter your two topics: __ vs. ___ and see the results. Select to view all attributes, differences, or similarities.

If we search Obama vs Romney, the website displays over 20 topics and categories with information about each to show how they compare. Here is an example of what some of the comparison information looks like:

How do you think you could use this tool in your classroom?  Let me know what ideas you have, and let me know how it goes if you use it.

Lastly, don’t forget about our Tier 2 Word of the Week!

Identifying Similarities and Differences

Just to recap what was discussed yesterday, we will be focusing on ONE strategy for the rest of the YEAR.  The strategy is “identifying similarities and differences.”
Click below for the resources & ideas for implementation that were inside of the yellow folders that you reviewed with your department.
Here is the Tier 2 Word of the Week:
Your two goals:
  1. Use the activities and strategies for “identifying similarities differences” as often as you can.
  2. Use the Tier 2 words of the week with your students.
The “Caught Red-Handed” certificates will now be awarded for those two goals.
Let me know if you have any questions or need any ideas about how to make these goals fit within your current lesson plans.  I would be happy to strategize with you…. but I don’t have many days left until baby-time, so let the countdown begin!