Teachers, you are visionaries of learning in your classrooms.
You work hard to develop lesson plans that will create learning pathways for each of your students, making modifications according to need (i.e. English Language Learners, students with special needs, highly capable students, etc), and ensuring that your students have opportunities to collaborate. You envision that by the end of a strong lesson, or series of lessons (unit), there are positive outcomes for each of your students and the potential for increased progress. By incorporating technology, a strong lesson can become a dynamic one. When that technology is in the form of games, that lesson becomes a dynamic, motivational, and memorable lesson. Learn more about how OKTOPUS Game Zones can be incorporated into your traditional lesson plan using your interactive board.
Essential Parts of a Lesson Plan
Introduce the lesson with a “hook” that will grab hold of the students’ attention. For example, if the lesson focuses on Parts of Speech, play a quick game of “Parts of Speech” where students can sort adjectives and nouns or adverbs and verbs. Students can come to the interactive board as partners and work together, or one student can act as the “sorter” while the class tells where each of the words go.
- Direct Instruction
This is the heart of the lesson where explicit teaching of the concept or skill takes place. For example, if the direct instruction focuses on comparing large numbers close this part with a game of “Comparing” where the greater than and less than symbols are dragged to correctly describe the inequalities. Use the “Think Aloud” method to work through a few of the inequalities, then invite students to complete the others, encouraging them to explain their process as they complete each inequality.
- Guided Practice
Students are expected to practice what they learn, with your assistance. In this part of the lesson, direct students to work with a partner or in small groups as you walk around and observe their collaboration and understanding, providing guidance as needed. For example, to help students through understanding government, have teams work together to play “Branches of Government”. Students will place descriptions in the appropriate boxes for the branch of government, its members, and their responsibilities. You can clarify misunderstandings as students work together.
- Independent Practice
This is the time that your students will show how much and how well they have learned a concept or skill. They will complete activities independently, with limited assistance from you. As a motivator and “sponge” for when students complete independent work, they can start a game focusing on the target skill. For instance, after a student has completed a math workbook page on finding the area of shapes, they can play “Area” and work on their own or with a friend to calculate the areas of different rectangles.
- Whole class wrap-up
Conclude the lesson by briefly summarizing the concept or skill learned and ask students what they have gleaned from the instruction and activities. Encourage them to share what helped them learn the skill. Play a game together to reinforce the learning. To wrap up a lesson on the human skeleton, play “Skeletal” where parts of the skeletal system are identified. Once labels are in their correct places, a new blank diagram is loaded for additional practice. Game Zones has a number of games to support Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, and Science concepts and skills.
- Extension Activities
Extension activities can help students build on the objectives of a lesson or series of lessons (unit). With Game Zones, students can work on one game together or split the screen to play up to four games independently. Touch panels can be set to table top mode so teams or individual students can play games you have chosen. This is a great way to extend four different concepts and skills in one area!
Click here to watch a video for more on Game Zones.
Yes, games can help children learn! Integrated into a traditional lesson plan, games can help create a positive learning experience. Besides the obvious motivation factor, games focused on specific concepts and skills can reinforce what students have learned and provide a scaffold to the next concept or skill. Games can also keep a class focused, providing you with the opportunity to engage the class in a different way. Reflect when you were a student and games were used in the class. Didn’t you look forward to the weekly spelling bee, Heads-up 7-up on rainy days, or board games for indoor recess? Instead of games for only rainy days or as a “special treat”, incorporate gaming into the instructional landscape of your classroom.
Technology can take gaming to another level and Game Zones includes over 90 educational games to engage even the most reticent learner in your class. Try OKTOPUS Game Zones for free in your class, comment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram on how you used a Game Zones game, and you might win a $50 Amazon gift card for that comment!
*Please see Game Zones (Social Media) Comment Terms for rules. Contest runs between February 5, 2019 to February 7, 2019.
OKTOPUS Preschool, Kindergarten Lessons and More
For this month’s blog I wanted to give you some ideas on how you can use Qwizdom OKTOPUS with your Preschool – 4 Grade students. Did you know that there are free activities available online? I will walk you through how to download and edit these premade lessons. I also created a couple of fun, sample lessons for Kindergarten and Preschool students that include songs, counting and reading practice. Last but not least, I created a 4th Grade Math Lesson that lets students practice identifying triangles.
Download Free Lessons and Add Interactive Widgets
There are free Math, Science and Language Arts lessons available online. The majority of activities are geared towards Kindergarten – 5 but some can be used for Preschool, too. To access these lessons, follow the instructions below.
Step 1: Create a free online account.
- Open OKTOPUS, go to the Settings / Login To My Account.
- Click ‘Not Registered.’
- Complete the form, including choice of state, district and school.
- If you have a product key, click Yes and enter your key, if not, click No.
- Agree to terms and click ‘Submit.’
- Click ‘activate account’ link in the verification email.
- Re-open OKTOPUS, go to Settings / Login To My Account. Enter username (email) and password setup in registration.
- Check the ‘Save Credentials box.
Step 2: Search for Lessons
Now that you created an account and are logged in, go to the ‘Lessons’ tab and select the Lessons Search icon.
Type a keyword into the search field. If you would like to refine your search, click on Advanced Search, select
Grade, Subject and then click ‘Go’.
Here are some helpful search terms for free content:
Counting, Alphabet, Greater Than, Ordinal Numbers, Measurement, Patterns, Classifying, Basic Shapes, Calendar, Telling Time, Fractions, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Capitals, Consonants, Vowels, Parts of Speech, Nouns, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Plants, Trees, Seasons, Animals, Temperature, Earth, Electricity and Dinosaurs
There are 2 types of content: Free Content (available to anyone with an OKTOPUS license in the US) and
Premium Content (which requires a Blend subscription).
Use the page numbers to scroll to the free content.
Step 3: Preview and Download Lessons
Click Preview to quickly view all instruction and question slides. Answer slides are not available for preview.
Click ‘Download’ and the activity will be downloaded to your computer. In OKTOPUS, go to the File menu, select Open and
browse to the newly downloaded activity (.qap).
I downloaded an Alphabet lesson and then added some interactive slides to the end of the activity so students can practice their ABCs. Such activities include building words and matching.
Preschool Circle Time Activities
For preschool, you could use OKTOPUS to bring your circle-time songs to life or create simple interactive games. I created a short lesson that includes ‘There Was an Old Lady, 5 Little Monkeys, Frog Counting Game’ and more. Click on the link below to download the activity and add your favorite circle time songs and activities.
Calendar, Attendance, Weather and More
You could use OKTOPUS as a way to start the day. You could have students check in, add dates, report the weather, practice the days of the week and learn about seasons. Here is a lesson that you can download and modify to work with your morning routine.
Here is a fun lesson where students can measure angles and sides of a triangle using a protractor and ruler to identify the triangle.
What types of activities have you created? Do you want to share your work? Email email@example.com your favorite OKTOPUS activity or share it on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t forget to tag #Qwizdom #QwizdomOKTOPUS. Happy teaching everyone!
We are excited to announce our latest, Windows Oktopus release.
Introducing Game Zones, multi-touch and multi-player games designed for touchscreens. Access over 90 educational games for Social Studies, Language Arts, Math, and Science. Create up to 4 game zones so students can work on different games simultaneously. Teacher Tools support front-of-class teaching. Available for English language only.
A new App Launcher provides quick access to collaboration, Premade Lessons (available depending on geographic location and board provider), Game Zones and Online Learning. Tutorial walkthroughs guide you through each app. Available for English language only.
Traditional Glass Mode is back and now you have an option that supports fast pen usage when a background is applied for 4K Screens. Pen performance in Glass Mode may vary depending on your system specification.
Google classes are automatically imported into Oktopus Blend. Oktopus lessons can be directly posted to your students’ stream. (Blend license is required. Available depending on your geographical location or your OKTOPUS software provider.)
A new truly-4K performance enhanced version of OKTOPUS is now available to download!
We’ve made our pen super-fast, even on 4K displays with limited spec hardware and integrated graphics. This should also make a difference to the pen speed for all our users, no matter what type of display or other hardware they are using.
In order to achieve this, we have unfortunately been required to make a major change to our software surrounding Glass Mode. For more information about how this will affect your OKTOPUS usage, please see the Glass Mode section of our user guide.
However, do not fear, we will be bringing back Glass Mode the way you have been using it with another update in the very near future.
In other really exciting news, OKTOPUS now has brand new interactive activities. Find the link for these in your toolset selector. They support dual and quad screen layout, and each section can run its own activity! And for tabletop users, there is even better news – they can be rotated for up to 4 users around your screen!
Download right now from https://qwizdomoktopus.com/downloads
Thanks again to everyone who has been in touch with us with their latest feedback and requests.
With 4K / UHD flatpanels now being sold over 1080p / FHD flatpanels, we get a lot of users asking us about 4K support. We actually added in native 4K support last year, so when you run OKTOPUS on a 4K flatpanel, it means:
- OKTOPUS runs in native 4K out-of-the-box – no additional config required
- 4K content is fully supported – ie images and video
- The OKTOPUS user interface is perfectly sized – every icon and button looks as it should
- The OKTOPUS canvas (drawing area) is native 4K – you can use every pixel available
- There is no pixelation – everything is sharp
However, there is one sticking point for our 4K users. The current hardware requirements to run OKTOPUS in 4K – which a lot of users simply don’t have – means that a lot of users experience a slow pen. We are committed to fixing this and giving the best 4K performance we can, even with integrated graphics cards such as the entry-level Intel HD520.
In fact, our recent development tests have shown that on a standard OPS module (i5 processor, 8GB RAM, Intel HD520 and a traditional hard drive), OKTOPUS deals with the pen in 4K effortlessly!
We can’t wait to get this new version out the door – keep your eyes peeled!
A new version of Qwizdom OKTOPUS is now available to download!
We’ve implemented the Smart Notebook import improvements as requested by our community, we’ve made that change to the Periodic Table that was reported to us, we’ve implemented a new touch-friendly Presentation Setup screen, and we’ve also brought a whole list of other improvements and bug fixes to the table!
All the changes are in the Change Log below.
Download from: https://qwizdomoktopus.com/downloads
Our Smart Notebook import functionality has been well received and we have been hearing about some missing functionality that people would love to see.
These include: better shape import support, background colours and images, ordered and unordered lists, adding .notebook files to the “open recent” area, and reading in the filename as the OKTOPUS project name. We’ve got all of these on our to-do list for the next update, so please keep an eye out for that.
We’ve also received valuable feedback from a chemistry teacher who let us know that the element “Gallium” should be listed as a solid at STP. Thanks for the info, we’ll get that one updated!
In addition, we’re planning to add a touch-friendly Presentation Setup window for our polling and collaboration, and we’ve got loads of other improvements and bug fixes on the way.
We have released a new bug-fix release of OKTOPUS.
This update resolves two issues which affects our “OKTOPUS with Connect” version.
Download from: https://qwizdomoktopus.com/downloads
We’re delighted to announce that our latest and greatest version of OKTOPUS is now available!
We’ve made some major changes to our polling support, by now making it possible to set up each slide as a specific question, with answer options and correct answer specified.
We’ve also added in nested slides, so you can add a subset of slides to any standard slide.
Based on community feedback, we’ve also added in additional shapes and set up a limit for significant figures.
Download from: https://qwizdomoktopus.com/downloads
We have some exciting new changes to OKTOPUS which we will be able to share more of once released, but we also have some new feature requests from our community which we’d like to talk about here.
Our users have asked for new shapes, so we will added a plethora of new shapes to choose from. Right now you can draw a rectangle/square, a circle, a triangle, or a freehand shape. But we’ll be adding in stars, shapes, and a bunch of random shapes too! All of these shapes can be edited to change their line colour, fill colour, and opacity.
For our maths teachers among you, we have added in the ability to set the number of significant figures when creating OKTOPUS sums. This will be set through the Preferences screen under the Settings cog. By default, it will be set to 3.
We’ll be getting both of these in for the next update, so keep an eye out!
Also coming for the next update is a brand new audio playback tool design for a better audio experience within OKTOPUS.