A few weeks ago, I shared a list of my current “top five” of free or low-cost technology tools that I use in my classroom for Arts-Integration or STEAM lessons. Throughout the fall, I will focus on ideas for using each classroom tool like Padlet in the classroom. Find the original list here

If you haven’t heard of Padlet in the classroom and you’re looking to add more technology to your classroom, this is a great way to start. First of all, it allows students (or teachers) to collaborate. Think of it as a large bulletin board. Anyone with the link can place a post-it on the bulletin board. The post-it note can include a note, a picture, a video, or a website. I’ve used Padlet for teacher book studies and anything that I want students to collaborate on.

Secondly, it is SIMPLE to create and does not require many devices. It is so simple, in fact, that you can create one on the fly in response to a lesson that changes direction mid-class. Not even close to a 1:1 classroom? Leave a the Padlet open on a classroom computer and allow students to type their answer during independent work time, station time, or during transitions.5 Ideas For Using Padlet in the Classroom, Education Closet

1. Getting to know your “audience”

Create a Padlet in the classroom for students (or faculty) to get to know one another. This could also be useful at a back-to-school night. Ask students to post a note with their name and something they did over the summer or something they are looking forward to learning during the upcoming school year. At a back to school night or open house, it could be part of a scavenger hunt. Leave the Padlet projected for all to see, and have families post their name and a picture of themselves.

Here is a sample Padlet in the classroom designed for this purpose.

2. Formative Assessment

After teaching a lesson, post a “ticket out the door” question to find what students learned that day. You can post a big question, such as your lesson’s essential question, or a specific question to determine who has met an exact objective. This is a great time to figure out what students’ perceive to be the important points about their learning, and it also highlights the misconceptions. (I don’t typically project these Padlets because sometimes students are sensitive of their work when it is new learning. It is best to generate a culture in the classroom that celebrates mistakes so that students see them as the very best way to learn and grow.)

Here is an example of a formative assessment/conclusion after an inquiry lesson with fraction manipulatives.

3. Collaborative Research

Padlet can be a great classroom tool for small groups of students participating in collaborative research. To help organize the board, students can post driving questions about their topic, and as they find answers (or more questions) during the research process, they can post them under each driving question. Students can also post links, video clips, and images, making it more effective than traditional notecards.

Here is a Padlet of 3rd-grade notes from a first-time research project.

4. Book Studies and Discussion Points

Padlet is an incredibly useful discussion board for discussion. Whether it is a student-run literature circle or reciprocal teaching groups, or a staff development book study, Padlet is an effective classroom tool. The leader posts a question about the chapter, and participants respond to that question. Students can have literature discussions even when the classroom needs to be quiet, or in the evening from their own homes. Teachers can prepare for professional development book studies by posting thoughts from a chapter prior to meeting in person, which helps the leader of the book study better prepare for the focus of the next session.  

Here is a Padlet from a professional development jigsaw activity

5. Student Sharing

Provide students with an opportunity to share their work without taking the instructional time to share one at a time in front of the room. (Presenting has definite value, but realistically there just isn’t enough time to do this for everything students create.) Allow students to take a picture of what they are working on and post it to a Padlet you’ve set up for them. Have other class members view the posted items, and respond below it by sharing a “Praise” and a “Polish”– one thing they love, and one thing they would have done differently. A reminder to train students about writing effective comments, both positive and constructive, and to teach students how to use those comments once they are received. You could organize this by setting up a Padlet for each project/piece students create, or you could set up a Padlet for each student to post their creations throughout the year.

Have you used Padlet in the classroom? How have you used it effectively?