Not only is Nearpod great for engagement, but it's great for integrating all four language domains for your Emergent Bilinguals virtually or face-to-face. At first, Nearpod was just another thing on my list of digital tools to check out and I kept putting it off. I definitely had more important things to do like figure out ELLevation (our district just got this!), figure out Microsoft Teams, and figure out virtual teaching in general.
However, I am extremely grateful that I took some time to figure it out slowly but surely, because even if my high-schoolers don't want to turn on their cameras or unmute some days, they can participate live in my Google Slides presentation by just joining in with a code or a link. And for my newcomers, I can enable the immersive reader in my settings for them. Bonus score!
I make my lessons in Google Slides and I got the Nearpod add-on, which you'll have to download. When you open the add-on, it opens up all of your engagement opportunities to the right for you to add in to a particular slide. When you finish editing your slides, you can go to Nearpod and it will sync your lesson into their website. You can also organize your lessons by folders to keep things easy to find.
Below, I have categorized these opportunities by language domain and also by scaffolds and checks for understanding. Some of the tools may overlap into other domains, but by using Nearpod, you can definitely get all of your language domains in one lesson.
Listening: BBC video, audio, regular video
Nearpod offers video from BBC with many different topics, and also offers videos from Nearpod itself as well as YouTube. You can also upload your own video and audio for students.
Speaking: add audio, Flipgrid
Adding in your own audio can be from the teacher, or you could have students send you a video file for you to upload. I'm personally a huge fan of Flipgrid, so I would personally go that route with speaking.
Writing: collaborate board, fill in the blank, open-ended questions
The collaborate board is one of my favorites right now. They can write responses to your prompt in little sticky notes and students can also see each other's writing. This lends for great whole-group discussion.
Fill-in-the-blank is also pretty cool and super simple! Type in your sentence and Nearpod will ask you which word(s) you want to be a blank. That's it!
Reading: matching pairs, collaborate board, fill-in-the-blank, memory test
In both memory test and matching pairs, teachers can insert an image to match. However, matching pairs is your choice whether you want an image or not. I like to use matching pairs with a grammar focus we have been practicing.
Built-in scaffolds: visuals (draw it), take a field trip, Nearpod 3D, simulations for math at all grade levels and science for elementary
Aren't our students always asking for field trips? They can take one in virtual reality! There are so many options to choose from and of course, so many opportunities to engage in whole-group or small-group discussion after the field trip.
Draw it is helpful for my newcomers too. I love any opportunity to add in visuals whether they are student-made or straight from the internet.
Check for understanding in real-time: open-ended questions, polls, collaborate board, fill-in-the-blank, matching pairs, memory test, quiz, time to climb
And finally, students always love a friendly competition. If I even mention Kahoot to them, they are fired up and ready to play! Try out time to climb to watch students compete against one another to answer a question.
To me, the possibilities to integrate a language focus into lessons are endless in Nearpod. I highly recommend this digital tool for every teacher I coach. What are some ways that you have used it in your classroom? I'd love to hear!
To learn more about strategies for incorporating language into your lessons, check out my course, My EL Mentor: Creating a Language-Rich Classroom! And if you are a high school teacher, consider joining my membership, My MLL Mentor, to discuss ideas like this with other high school ESL teachers!
I support middle and high school teachers through monthly lesson plans, coaching, and guest speaker offerings in our Secondary ESL Teacher Membership.