ClassTools.net

Do you ever wonder how teachers create all those games that get students excited about learning? Are you worried that as a teacher you won’t be able to find enough innovative ideas to keep your students engaged? Check out ClassTools.net for endless activities and ideas for you and your students!

Many internet users, such as Alan A. Lew, have already discovered this useful tool and in his blog post  written on January 25th, 2009 entitled Free Flash For Online Teaching Lew discusses background information on the site and what kind of purpose he thinks it serves in the classroom. The post talks about what classtools.net does and what it offers to students and to teachers. Lew explains how the tool was created by a history teacher in Deluce, France and how it provides free templates to embed into websites, wiki pages, and blogs that students can later access. For teachers, the tool offers many different template options to use and allows you to create everything from Venn diagrams, to animated books, to timelines. Teachers can fill in as much of each tool they want and then challenge students to fill in the rest of the information, testing what they can recall from memory as well as making learning a cooperative partnership between the teacher and the student. Finally, the blog post explains how when using classtools.net, students can save their work for up to twelve months at a time.

I think that this makes the website a great option for storing large amounts of classwork and content information online. This gives teachers the ability to create units with different handouts, activities, quizzes, and tests over the course of a few weeks during the school year. By creating it online, all the information about a unit is in one centralized location and gives students something to refer back to as a study tool for cumulative tests.

The website gives teachers all the tools, literally, that they need to use it successfully in the classroom. After watching a video of students using the tool, the students seem to remain engaged throughout the class period because they see learning the information as a competition between their classmates giving them more of an incentive to learn the information. Teachers use it as an alternative to traditional lecture style methods, using it as a supplemental instructional tool to present information to students. The following is a brief promotional video about what the tool has to offer:

After exploring the tool myself, I learned that it is very easy to use and makes learning easy for students by utilizing tools that they connect with such as fakebook (based off of facebook), and arcade games that are driven by certain educational topics. I tried some of the different options like “ Lights Out” which allows you to hide an image on the screen wherever you want and asks the viewer to use the mouse to find where it is. This symbolizes the lights “going out”. Then the objective is to use the flashlight to find the image on the screen.

Screenshot of Lights Out activity

Shakespeare Lights Out

You could use this on a test to have students identify important people or ideas as well as during class to spark conversation and discussion about the importance of certain people in history or connections between ideas. As you can see, the website allows you to enter in the information you want to focus on into game format so students are excited to test their knowledge using the different activities that you have created. The website also gives you a lot of classroom management and time management tools to use such as a random name generator where you can enter in the names of your students and press the button to call on a random student each time. This will give your students more opportunities to participate and eliminate the stress on the teacher to make sure they are calling on every student equally. The picture above is an example of how students could identify William Shakespeare using the Lights Out tool. The image will enlarge when clicked on.

Classtool.net is a great place to start when planning a lesson or activity for students. It is easy to use and can create a lot of variety and excitement in the classroom. All teachers and potential teachers should explore its opportunities. How do you think you could utilize it in your classroom? After exploring the site, what is your favorite tool on the website? Do you know of any other tools similar to this one that would be useful for teachers? Feel free to comment on these ideas below!

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18 Responses to ClassTools.net

  1. Sarah C says:

    Elizabeth, I really like your post because I know I’ve definitely worried about having enough opportunities to keep my students engaged. I like that students can save their work for reference for up to twelve months, allowing them to return to work from earlier in the year or even from the previous school year in some cases. This resource has a lot of activities and opportunities in it and I’m looking forward to exploring many of them. Great post!

  2. Hilary S. says:

    Elizabeth, I loved reading your post-I had never heard of this website. I agree with Sarah, this is a great tool that teachers can use in all different grade-levels. This is not only a great tool for creating games that I could introduce in class, but I could also imagine myself sharing these links with my students so they can study at home. I think providing a fun, engaging activity such as these is a great way to help students learn. I remember learning the states in 3rd grade and I think using some of the tools available at ClassTools.net could help students memorize geography! I look forward to learning more about all that this website has to offer to teachers, thanks for sharing it!!

  3. Maddy R. says:

    This is a great post! ClassTools seems like a great resources that teachers of all grades can use to teach their students in all subjects, too. As a high school math teacher, it is so difficult to find fun and interesting activities and games to utilize in the classroom. Most high school math classes are done the same–the teacher teaches up at the board, showing the students how to solve problems step-by-step and then giving them practice problems to do. Using different tools from ClassTools.net is a quick and easy way to make math fun and interesting for my students through matching games, jigsaw puzzles, and arcade-like quizzes. I really like the Dustbin game because it is a great way for students to get practice with definitions and in math properties of different concepts, and it has the students try to match up the correct definitions as fast as they can. It is fun and practical. This will be a great website for me to use if I want to create fun games for students and show them that math really is fun and enjoyable!

  4. Kyle W. says:

    I think this is awesome! As someone who wants to teach high school English, I worry about ways to get students engaged with the literature and material. I think having games and variety of multimedia approaches can be a great resource. I am thinking that this might be especially helpful to male students, who are (generally speaking) more engaged by competition and interaction; appealing to the gaming side of their brains might be a great way to make sure they’re getting into whatever book or topic we’re thinking about. I’m envisioning this as a great way to get a young boy into Romeo and Juliet, for example, as he might ordinarily just think that it’s a “girl’s story” and not be interested.
    Thanks for the post!

  5. Holly G. says:

    I really like the idea of this website. I like that, even though it seems geared towards younger students, a lot of the activities, such as the graphic organizers and flash cards, could be used by older students as well to study. I also love the fact that students could save their work for a year, so they could frequently reference their previous work to help study for tests. I think this will be very useful to my students, especially as an History teacher. The tool I think I would use the most, though, is the random name generator. I think it will be good to make sure I call on a variety of students so I don’t show favoritism or bias towards specific students. By using a random word generator, I couldn’t be blamed for bias. Also, the random word generator provides another idea that I think would be great in my classroom for in a review or testing situation. Instead of names, I could use terms, such as events and important people, and have students define the term or provide a definition and have them guess the term. I think this sounds like a great tool to use in my future classroom, thanks for sharing!

  6. Anna H. says:

    I have never heard of ClassTools before, but I think it sounds like a really great tool to use in the classroom. Like Sarah mentioned, I too have worried about keeping students engaged. By learning about and using this tool, I feel as though it would be impossible to be at a loss for things to do with students! Being able to use this in lots of different curriculum areas, and having it come directly from the class material, seems like it would be a fantastic way to apply the material in an interesting format that would definitely capture the attention of the students!

  7. Christiana C. says:

    ClassTools seems like such an awesome resource! As an aspiring teacher I am always trying to find new and cool ways to use technology in the classroom and this seems like a really different and creative tool I could use. As a student myself I am very aware that traditional ways of teaching such as lecture and note taking can be monotonous and sometimes boring, with ClassTools there are so many cool games and interactive activities that students can engage in and have fun with learning. I feel like teachers these days are often strained trying to find new ways to teach material to students, and this site has so much to offer. ClassTools is great for all curriculum areas, I think it will open a lot of doors for current teachers and future teachers such as myself!

  8. Emmie C. says:

    Elizabeth, I had never heard of ClassTools.net before reading your post. The thought of maintaining my future students’ engagement throughout the year, has come across my mind several times. It is extremely important to not only be informative to your students, but make sure they are having fun and interested in what they are doing. ClassTools.net is a great way to keep the students engaged while learning. I enjoyed reading about all the activities it offers, along with the cool tools, such as the random name generator. ClassTools.net sounds like an excellent way to keep your students engaged in the classroom, and make your work as a future teacher less stressful.

  9. Meagan W. says:

    Great post Elizabeth! I had never heard of ClassTools.net before but am interesting in using it in my future classroom. I, like you said, worry about how I will keep my students engaged day after day and this is a great stress reliever for that! ClassTools.net will help keep the students engaged and having fun but also, the most important thing, learning! I can also see this being very valuable for when you finish a lesson early or have some free time in the classroom, having a few backup activities on ClassTools.net will allow the students to get extra help even for a short period of time. I love that you can save your work for 12 months. Thanks for sharing! ClassTools.net has a lot to offer teachers!

  10. Rebecca S. says:

    In elementary school, my classmates and I always got really excited when our teachers decided to let us play a game. Students often get wrapped up in the idea that they’re playing a game and don’t realize that they are learning–but they are! I, personally, think games and other fun activities, like the ones on this website, are great ways to reinforce learning and get all students involved. This seems like a great resource to use to create fun and unique activities to use in my future classroom. I also really like that you are able to customize the activities to your particular lesson or subject and aren’t stuck with an activity created by another teacher that does not quite match up to what you want to teach or what you want your students to learn. ClassTools.net seems like it would be a hit with students, as well as teachers!

  11. Allie W. says:

    ClassTools seems to be yet another great way to incorporate technology into learning! I agree with Rebecca when she says that students are often so excited to be playing a game that they don’t even realize that they’re learning. Its important to connect fun activities with learning in ways like this because it makes kids associate learning with positive feelings. My biggest goal as a teacher is not to just feed kids information, but to have them love learning in general and this seems to be a great way to do it!

  12. Alex H. says:

    ClassTools looks really cool. I liked the idea that I found on the website of creating QR codes with questions, and then posting them around the school to create a scavenger hunt. I think it’s a great to come up with ways to get students out of their seats and even moving around the school. When I was younger, I always liked those computer games that incorporated learning some sort of skill, and the shooting game shown on the promo video reminded me of that. ClassTools seems like a great way to engage students in ways that will get them excited about learning!

  13. Kaitlin L. says:

    Oh my goodness I LOVE this. I hate the idea of a lecture classroom (it never works with English anyway) and so I am always trying to come up with actvities and groupwork that will keep the students interested in the materials. Since I am only moderately tech savvy, this is a great resource for me to create games and activities for class or homework that will engage students and cut down on the paper pile. I can’t wait to play around with the site some more and create some practice activities.

  14. Hannah D. says:

    This is a really awesome website to use, Elizabeth! I really enjoyed reading your blog! There are so many great aspects to this website that would be really useful in the classroom. I like how the activities are engaging, and you can create your own, that way you are really working with the material you are teaching. It definitely inspires me to think of different techniques to use in the classroom and I think this is a great place to start! I think students will like this because they will be excited about all the games, like Rebecca and Allie said. This is definitely something I will keep in mind for the future!

  15. Patrick C says:

    Elizabeth, this is a great post! I have never heard of ClassTools before. This seems like a great way to keep students engaged in the material. As a future high school history teacher I definitely think that this will be a great way to break up monotonous lectures and give students a better way to learn the material. Like everyone else that has posted I think this is a great tool that I can use in the future when I teach.

  16. Hollyz says:

    This is really great Elizabeth! I loved how many options the site had for activities. I had never heard of ClassTools before either, but like the other Holly said I love how the site has activities for a variety of ages. These are the kinds of activities I loved most when I was in school and it’s so great that you found a site that can provide so many options. Also like Kaitlin mentioned I am not the most tech savy person either so this site makes it easy for me to look at the activities and let my students explore the site. Tools like this could be used for test prep, or presentations. I also love the feature of storing things over time so that the students have the opportunity to return to old work and create something over an extended period of time. Great Job!

  17. Kate H. says:

    Last semester I worked in a second grade classroom at Harvey Newlin. The teacher I worked with was very big into games because her students loved them so much (what student doesn’t?!). She would create all different types of games and every day that I was there the children would all cheer when she said it was time to play. Like Rebecca said, students absolutely love games. They do not realize that they are learning because they are so enveloped with the idea that they’re playing a game and having fun. Elizabeth, this is an awesome tool that would be extremely useful in the classroom. I like how you can also save what you have created and use the website as a storage center as well. That makes it very easy to keep your activities organized and in one place. I’m excited to use this tool in the future.

  18. Kendall C says:

    Classtools.net looks like a really good site because it would allow for three things in particular: multiple forms of assessment, aid to first year teachers, and making an interactive classroom. I think it would help with multiple forms of assessment since our goal as teachers is to try to understand what students know, and we can do that through different ways with different activities. For example, you mentioned how venn diagrams are available on the website, which would be good for comparing and contrasting information and used in any type of classroom (elementary, middle, secondary, English, math, science, etc). I think this website is good because it allows teachers to cater to a myriad of different learning styles, which is so important since no one learns the same way as someone else. Additionally, this website helps aid first year teachers because we don’t have all years worth of handouts and creative activities for our classrooms made yet to just pull out and use. When I was reading your blog, I was relieved because these activities seem to facilitate learning really well. Finally, I think classtools.net was a cool blog topic to write on because it makes an interactive classroom instead of a more boring, traditional one where a teacher just lectures. These activities ensure that students will be engaged and take more responsibility for their learning. Well done! This is great!

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