Steal Like a Teacher: Where to find quick teaching ideas

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Friday, October 28, 2022

Steal Like a Teacher: Where to find quick teaching ideas

We teachers are the BEST at stealing things.

And I don't mean that in a criminal, nefarious way.

I think Austin Kleon explains it best in his book, Steal Like an Artist ...

Every artist gets asked the question, "Where do you get your ideas?" The honest artist answers, "I steal them." 
How does an artist look at the world? First, you figure out what's worth stealing, then you move on to the next thing. That's about all there is to it.

I mean, it only makes sense. We teachers are notoriously short on time. (When you plan your bathroom breaks in advance, it's a good sign that you're time-strapped.)

Here's another thing about us teachers. We're also super generous. We share ideas with fellow educators, students ... really anyone who can benefit.

That means there's a lot of good stuff out there, but it isn't perfect for exactly what we need to do.

So, what do we do?

We steal.* Then we remix, reuse and repurpose. We assign it to our students.

Then we move on to the next thing.

Want to get better at this essential skill -- something that helps you get more done AND serve your students?

In this post you'll learn ...

  • How to find good material you can use in class
  • How to steal it (copy, remix, adjust, and assign)
  • How to cut WAY down on flashcard sets and review games you create
  • How to find pre-written lessons in popular apps
  • How to find "copy, adjust, and assign" lessons to use right away

Know of more resources? Please share them in the comments below.  Because, you know ... we're generous ... and we like to enable other teachers' stealing habits! 

*Note: Please always give credit to the original creator. We absolutely do not mean for anyone to steal other educator's ideas and pass them off as their own. Take, borrow, steal and remix as you like, and is allowed by CC and/or the creator, but give a shout out to the original creator when you share or present.

Kahoot logo

1. Kahoot!

About the resource: Kahoot! (kahoot.com) is the name that often comes to mind when you think of game show-style review game. In a standard Kahoot! game, questions are displayed to students on a projector or display. Students respond on their own devices.

How to steal like a teacher: There are over 50 million public Kahoot! games that have been created by users all over the world.

Some of those games are perfect for you to use in class right away. To use those, you can just search the Discover section of Kahoot! and play the game.

Others, though, are nearly perfect and just need a few adjustments to make them work for your class. That's where you can duplicate an existing Kahoot! game, making an editable copy that lives in your own personal Kahoot! library. From there, you can edit any or all of the questions -- and add your own.

2. Microsoft Flip

About the resource: Flip (flip.com ... formerly Flipgrid) is a social learning platform that allows educators to pose a question or a prompt, then the students respond in a video. Flip understands the power of community and educators connecting and becoming better together. 

How to steal like a teacher: Flip makes it easy. Click the “Disco Library” tab (aka the "Discovery Library" but with a little extra funk) at the top of your Flip educator dashboard. You will find over 20,000 Flip topics ready for you to add to your topics. These topics are practically pre-written lesson plans, created by generous teachers who had success with these lessons and wanted to share them with you. Once you select a topic to add, you can update and make any changes to the topic before it is added to your grid.

Quizlet logo

3. Quizlet

About the resource: Instead of students answering individual questions on their individual devices, Quizlet (quizlet.com) puts students in groups. All possible answers are divided amongst the devices of all students participating.

How to steal like a teacher: With more than 500 million flashcard sets on Quizlet, there's tons of potential for remixing and stealing. Here are a few:

  • Play a Quizlet Live review game with your class using someone else's study set. Example: whenever I lead professional development about Quizlet, I'll have teachers use this U.S. state capitals Quizlet set to learn how Quizlet Live works. I didn't create that set, but I use it all the time.
  • Add other people's study sets to your Quizlet class or folder. You can create a class on Quizlet that your students can join. You can add practically any flashcard set to it, whether you've made it or not. Also, you can create folders (general ... not tied to a specific class). Same deal ... add any set to it, too. (Exception: If you're a free Quizlet user, you can't add sets that have premium features.)
  • Combine several Quizlet sets into one. Combining sets doesn't delete the originals. It just creates a brand new combined set. You can do this with your own sets OR with sets others have created. Example: When I taught etymology, I had individual sets for each new batch of root words. But I also combined all of those sets into a cumulative flashcard set for the whole semester. That way, students could study the current set of root words -- and be ready for the semester test with all of them.
  • Make a copy of an existing set. If you find a set that isn't quite perfect, just make a copy of it and adjust it by adding, deleting, or editing what's there. Just use the copy/duplicate button when you view the set. The video below shows you how.
quizizz logo

4. Quizizz

About the resource: Quizizz (quizizz.com) can be used as a simple multiple choice review game. It's student-paced, meaning that students answer questions on their own screen and only advance after they've answered a question personally. But it's much more than that! Quizizz has leveled up the game experience with fun power-ups and lots of response types (draw, match, poll, video, audio). 

How to steal like a teacher: You can copy and edit any of the millions of publicly-available Quizizz games. Search for one in the Explore section. Open it and use the "Copy and Edit" button to add questions, change existing questions, or delete questions.

When you create a Quizizz game, you can "teleport" questions from other quizzes and lessons. Search with a keyword and use filters to narrow down your results. Click a quiz/lesson to see its questions. Then find questions you like and click "Add question" to put them into your quiz/lesson. The video below demonstrates teleportation. (Of Quizizz questions ... not real teleportation ... yet ...)

5. Pear Deck

About the resource: Pear Deck (peardeck.com) is a way to turn your presentation slides into interactive activities for your students.  (It's similar to Nearpod below.) Create slides in PowerPoint or Google Slides for Pear Deck -- or import slides you already have. Add interactive features like multiple-choice questions, drag and drop questions, drawing questions, and more. Engage your students with these questions on their own devices during instruction.

How to steal like a teacher: When you open Pear Deck in Google Slides or PowerPoint, it features a template library. These are pre-made slides you can add to your slide deck for free -- whether you have Pear Deck premium or not. Choose a slide from lots of categories (beginning/during/end of lesson, subject areas, critical thinking, SEL, etc.). Add it to your slide deck. Adjust it if you want -- everything is customizable!

Find lots of pre-made slide decks in the  Content Orchard, Pear Deck's content library. It contains lots of editable pre-made slides on a variety of topics. This isn't like Kahoot! or Quizizz where you're searching all of the content that users have created. Rather, they're hand-selected lessons Pear Deck has chosen to share. They also feature lots of slide deck collections from Pear Deck's partners.

6. Nearpod

About the resource: Nearpod (nearpod.com) uses interactive lessons, interactive videos, gamified learning, formative assessments and activities in a slide deck-style presentation. (It's similar to Pear Deck above.) Upload from PowerPoint, Google Slides, PDFs, videos and more ... or create new slides just for Nearpod. Add a variety of question and media types to your lesson. Then go through the lesson live with your class or let students complete it asynchronously on their own.

How to steal like a teacher: Find pre-created Nearpod lessons by searching. There are more than 22,000 ready-to-teach, standards-aligned lessons there. You might find exactly what you need.

Need to adjust a Nearpod lesson you've found? Want to use an existing lesson as a template -- but change all of the content around? Just hit "duplicate" to make an editable copy of it. Then go in and change as much as you want.

You could even make a whole lesson just out of Nearpod's interactives. They include 3D objects, PhET math/science simulations, VR field trips and more. (Note: some of these may require a premium account.)

7. Edpuzzle

About the resource: Edpuzzle (edpuzzle.com) is an easy-to-use platform allowing you to insert questions into engaging videos for your students. Students watch the videos and are prompted to answer the questions. Edpuzzle gathers data so that you can see what your students learned and differentiate instruction.

How to steal like a teacher: Edpuzzle Originals are a library of professionally-made, standards-aligned video lessons with built-in questions. Copy them and use them with your students. See the video below to learn more.

Find an Edpuzzle activity from the community section by browsing or searching. Hit the "Copy" button to duplicate an activity you like. Then, go to your content to edit the copy, customizing it to suit your needs.

8. HyperDocs

About the resource: HyperDocs are purposefully designed digital lessons and can transform your class. They truly are so much more than a doc with links. The creators of HyperDocs — Lisa HighfillKelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis — describe them as a transformative, interactive Google Doc replacing the worksheet method of delivering instruction, the ultimate change agent in the blended learning classroom.

How to steal like a teacher: You can browse  HyperDocs Samples to find one that fits your needs. Go to File > Make a copy to get an editable version saved to your Google Drive.


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