I have spent this past year with an Amazon Echo in my classroom. At first, I wasn’t totally sure of how we would benefit from it, but each day I found new and exciting ways for its use. Before moving on, I want to make two things abundantly clear:
- The links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through any of the links, a tiny percentage of that goes to my family and my classroom. (And is greatly appreciated!)
- I do not use the Echo DOT at school (but I totally do at home). The sound on the dot sucks and we just can’t have that in the classroom.
I introduced Alexa at the beginning of the year as our “Class Robot.” I made her sound amazing and bragged about how lucky we were to have one. I explained to my kids that they cannot say her name with a command, unless I okay it first. I have NOT had kids abuse this in my class. However, one day I took a class of 5th graders (Lord, help me) and they were definitely like, “Hey, Alexa! Hey, Alexa! Hey, Alexa” and asking her to play inappropriate music. I literally unplugged her and told the kids that she is so fun, but we can’t do that without asking because then no one can have one in the building. They actually got right into shape and we plugged her back in. No issues since.
I have so many great uses for this device and have been waiting to share this post all year!
When the kids arrive each morning, we have some downtime because of the
dysfunctional bus system. So, we have a dance party. We shuffle songs on my “kiddos” playlist and dance our hearts out. It’s a great way to get me out of my morning funk and start the day with laughter and love. 😊
*ALL of these videos are from my Instagram Stories, which I made into one long HIGHLIGHT.
Click this image to watch them all at once.
I made or I follow Spotify playlists for Welcome, Morning Meeting, Independent Reading, Transition, Clean Up, and Goodbye. Instead of using a Boom Box, like I did for years, my students or myself give the command, “Alexa, play the playlist on Spotify called “…”
For example, during Morning Meeting, we sing “Days of the Week.” The Morning Meeting helper gets to request the song as part of our routine. Another piece of our MM/Calendar routine is asking the students what the weather is like today. After one student makes an educated guess, the Morning Meeting helper asks Alexa, “What’s the weather like today?” Alexa then gives today’s temp, highs/lows, etc. The Morning Meeting helper then confirms the answer and turns our weather wheel to the corresponding picture. Check it out:
There are so many other ways that we use our Amazon Echo in the classroom:
- If a student asks a question that I do not know the answer to (e.g. What is the speed of light?), I give him or her the opportunity to ask Alexa.
- As we quietly read, I have a student ask Alexa to play “Classical music.” As we have quiet time after lunch, we ask her to “Shuffle songs by Enya.”
- In fact, when I want to rip my hair out during prep and am shame-eating Peanut Butter, I beg Alexa to play Enya, too.
- When the end of the year is approaching, and my students are getting more and more curious about reading the clock, I have them make educated guesses after learning the basics of telling time. They confirm their prediction with Alexa.
- Have you ever tried, “Alexa, tell me a story!”??? It’s amazing and gives you some time to breathe. It’s also great for checking comprehension since there are zero visuals.
- When we have book checkout at 11:00am every Monday, I forget. So, we set an alarm for 10:55am every Monday and now the librarian isn’t mad at me.
- Try, “Alexa, tell me a joke.” The kids. Will. Love. It.
- As we rotate through small groups, Alexa keeps us on target by setting 15-minute rotations.
- When we have indoor recess, we play 20 questions with Alexa.
- Math? No problem! She’s like a calculator who talks to you.
- Spelling Tests? Check your answers with Alexa!
- When it’s FUN FRIDAY and the kids are having too much fun, they know to expect the timer sound for cleaning up. This way it’s not me yelling, “Time to clean up! Fun’s over! 😉
- One of the requirements during our formal observations is using technology in the classroom. The leaders in my district have been so impressed with the way my class uses this technology!
- When it’s time to go home, kids play the clean up song and the goodbye song.
- It’s a great behavior management tool! When the kids are being cray, I’m like, “Taniya, will you ask Alexa what time it is?” or, “Jordan, you are being so kind to your friends, will you ask Alexa to turn on the morning songs?” or “Leon, thank you for sitting so nicely. Will you choose a friend who is also being his or her best self and you guys can play 20 Questions with Alexa?” I also have them set the timers, that way they are actually excited for the clean up or transition.
- AND FOR THE RECORD, I call Alexa our “Class Robot.” Otherwise, every time I say, “Alexa” she lights up and gets confused.
My favorite part of having an Echo in the Classroom? The amount of time that it has saved me! I used to set alarms, mess around with CDs, go to websites for music, etc. Now, it’s not only a simple verbal command that needs to happen, but my kids can totally take lead and responsibility.
So, here’s the one that I have and LOVE:
However, this one is new and cheaper and the reviews are FAB!
Whichever you choose, don’t forget to save the receipt because this is a TAX WRITE-OFF (up to $250) for classroom expenses.
Do you have other ways to use this device? Reach out to me and let’s collaborate! firstname.lastname@example.org