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71st Annual Convention 2018: GIFTS Sessions

Great Ideas For Teaching Students (GIFTS) Sessions

Friday, March 2nd, 8:00 – 9:15am

The Professional Development Committee has arranged for a number of the highly popular “GIFTS” sessions to be held at the TCCTA convention in Dallas-Frisco These brief programs offer specific ideas for teaching and are designed to be of practical use to educators in all disciplines.

Each session will last approximately 10 minutes, allowing participants to sample a variety of useful teaching techniques.

Coordinator of the GIFTS Sessions is Pam George, Amarillo College


“Engaging Students Creatively”

Presenter: Dovie D. Dawson, Central Texas College

Innovative technology captivates the interests of college students of today and professors have an obligation to incorporate these innovative methods into their curriculum. This will result in enhancement of the learning experience and increase student engagement. But, with so many platforms on the web, a challenge exists in selecting the correct method. This 10-minute GIFTS presentation will share a couple of successfully utilized technology platforms that can be integrated into any topic to increase student engagement. Along with creatively using game shows by substituting course content results in effectiveness and eagerness among students. Every attendee will receive a handout for future reference.


“Kahoot It! – A Great Way to Engage & Motivate Students”

Presenter: Ellen Falkenstein, Central Texas College

The software program Kahoot! is a user-friendly, free way to engage and motivate your students in the classroom. In the GIFTS session,  a quick introduction to Kahoot! will be presented and then everyone will “Play!” a quick Kahoot! game from their cellphone/tablet. Kahoot! is:

  • Game-based learning platform with quizzes/discussions/surveys created by you or shared
    by others users of Kahoot!
  • Great way to review, reinforce information, test knowledge, gather opinions, etc.
  • Easy to use with the ability to add images and videos
  • Played in class as individuals or in teams or can be played at home as homework
  • Quick access to games using a PIN with cellphone, tablet, or computer
  • Anonymous for students (no need to “enroll” – just give a quick nickname to play)
  • Competitive — The quicker the correct answer, the higher the score! Questions are timed
    between 20 seconds and 120 seconds.
  • Capable of saving the scores. (If you are tracking scores, students must enter their name
    – not a nickname)
  • Located at www.kahoot.com to enroll and create Kahoot! games
  • Located at www.kahoot.it to join a game using a PIN from the instructor

“Using Instant Feedback to Engage Passive, Shy, or Reluctant Students”

PresenterErin Mahoney-Ross, Tarrant County College, Northwest Campus

Goals: 100% of students in the classroom will contribute meaningfully to a class discussion.

Rationale: Some students are reluctant to participate in discussions or volunteer answers in the composition classroom. This might be due to “imposter syndrome,” cultural differences, fear of failure, or even simple shyness. This activity is designed to create a safe, low-pressure environment where
students can contribute to class discussions and get feedback from one another.


“How to Energize Your Class and Reach Every Student”

Presenter: Karan Thetford, Retired Special Education Teacher (Lewisville ISD) and Teacher Consultant

If we teach a student and they don’t learn the lesson, then we teach them again the very same way, who really needs the education? Student motivation and engagement is a method that reaches all of the students in the classroom. There are five components, or goals that we want to accomplish in our classroom. We want to promote positive feelings, promote attention and interest, promote connectedness and relevance, promote self – efficacy and share best practices with other teachers. Students learn in different ways and the more diverse the approaches and the more opportunities the student is given to respond to a variety of learning modalities and learning intelligences, the more chances for student success. There are research- based instructional strategies that touch upon different learning styles and intelligences and that restore wasted time to teachers and students and make learning simple, fun, engaging and motivating.


“Incorporating Technology to Create an Interactive Lecture”

Presenter: Megan Johnson, Temple College

This presentation will be a demonstration of how to use NearPod in your lectures to create an interactive lecture that provides real-time assessment data. In this demonstration, an existing government lecture will be shown to illustrate how it is possible to incorporate quizzes, opinion polls, short answer questions, videos, virtual field trips, etc. into a lecture. Audience members will be able to participate in the lecture/demonstration from a student’s point of view while they are shown how the professor receives data throughout the lecture! NearPod is wonderful tool for community colleges who use Interactive TV or Collaborate (Blackboard) types of courses where gauging understanding of material can be difficult because it provides instant data through assessments. NearPod is also a great asset for face-to- face classes! In addition to creating instant data, the instructor can create activities that take in class discussions to a higher level.


“Five Minutes for Fluency”

Presenter: Sara Gottardi, North Central Texas College

One of the skills second language students struggle with is the ability to create questions. Students spend a lot of class and homework time answering questions, but studies have shown that language learners lack confidence and practice creating questions. Another very necessary skill is circumlocution. When a language learner is speaking and forgets a word, they need to be able to describe the idea or use a synonym in order to keep the conversation flowing. Spending just five minutes each class period doing activities that focus on developing these skills can improve grammatical accuracy and fluency.


“Thinking Out Side The Box”

Presenter: Gladys Scott, Houston Community College

Participants will create a beautiful box and discuss how it can be used in the classroom. During the 10 minute activity, participants will create a box and there will be a robust discussion of how the box can be used in the classroom. For example, a math class can measure the box and find the perimeter, area, volume, and surface area. In other classes, notes can be placed in the box of empowering words. Or stories can be created about the box in a speech class. The possibilities are enormous!! Let’s all think outside the box!!