Kami for english classroom
Case Studies,  Teacher Tips

Kami for English

English is a core subject – and for good reason! Reading, writing and the creativity that brings them to life are arguably the keys to all human knowledge.

With Kami’s array of tools, you can make the process of English language learning more accessible as well as adding some all-important flair and fun to the mix. Cultivate classroom collaboration, enthusiasm for reading, and provide instant feedback with Kami today!

 

My students would sit back while I worked under the projector…Honestly, it never felt like they were really with me as I modeled highlighting and annotating under the large projection screen. Then, I discovered Kami, and my lessons transformed.” Alexander L. Samia.

 

We teamed up with Alexander L. Samia, ELAR educator at Salyards Middle School and Kami Hero, to give you some great ideas to get started:

 

 


Warm-up grammar and writing exercises

Getting your class settled and ready for work is a challenge for everyone – so how about starting up with a quick 15-minute writing exercise? With Kami you can get everyone in ‘the zone’ as well as exercising those vital writer muscles as regularly as possible.

In Alexander’s classroom he does just that:

 

Every Wednesday students access assignments through Google Classroom and respond to the writing prompt in Kami. In the ten minutes that they have to write, I can load each student’s writing sample and check-in on their progress in real-time while they draft. 

When students finish, some can volunteer to share their samples on the big screen. I project their work onto the front board, and as a class, we can provide feedback to help them transform their technique. As we read a volunteer’s writing we collaborate as a class on the document in question. Each student highlights interesting elements, anything from a catchy hook to a thesis, using the Kami Mark-up tools, offering the writer positive feedback as we do! 

 

 

For the students who don’t want to share, I’m able to access their writing at a later time, and they can check the file next lesson for my feedback. 

 

Kami tools required:

  • Google Classroom integration: Kami integrates seamlessly with a number of Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Google Classroom, Schoology and Canvas. This allows you to set up and send Kami assignments straight through your LMS. Even better students can turn their work straight back to your teacher portal – so work is never lost!
  • Markup (highlighter, underline, strikethrough): You can mark up any PDF text using the Highlighter (or box highlighter for big sections), Underline or Strikethrough tools. Simply click on the Markup tool and select whichever one suits your fancy, along with the appropriate color. Then you’re free to let loose in any file and show off your knowledge of key themes in rainbow color.
  • Autosave: Kami autosaves files and their annotations to your Google Drive every minute to make sure you never lose a vital edit. The history of changes to the file will also be saved on Google Drive. Syncing is automatically turned on for premium accounts, but for free accounts, it can be easily turned on by heading to account settings and ticking the allow autosave option. 

 


Replacing the accident-prone notebook

Let’s face it, traditional workbooks or subject files have a lot of downsides. Pages, or even the whole book, can be lost, damaged, torn out or simply neglected. Once completed, work in a physical book is also uneditable preventing further insights or interaction. 

So what’s the solution? Kami based notebooks of course. Here’s how it works in Alexander’s classroom:

Using Google Classroom, I pushed a notebook assignment, assigning it for each student to get a copy. This way, students can access their notebooks digitally for their research binder project, collecting information on a chosen topic, and presenting it in text.

Students use all of Kami’s tools to add images, videos and color to illustrate what they have discovered on their chosen topic. They even have the opportunity to customize font, add color, and links. Students love the way they can explore and share what they have learned. 

What’s most inspiring is watching the students explore topics that they genuinely care about and report on them. When they are ready to present I am able to access their digital notebooks easily from my own device and keep their projects for reference or further work throughout the whole school year. Since implementing a program like this, I’ve had the opportunity to watch my students grow, and it is incredible!

 

Kami tools required:

  • Google Classroom integration: Kami integrates seamlessly with a number of Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Google Classroom, Schoology and Canvas. This allows you to set up and send Kami assignments straight through your LMS. Even better students can turn their work straight back to your teacher portal – so work is never lost!
  • Image: To insert any image on to your Kami sheet simply select the image tool at the bottom of your toolbar. You can then select the location of your file (choose from Google Drive, your device or a Google Image safe search), then select the desired image and it will appear on your document.
  • Markup (highlighter, underline, strikethrough): You can mark up any PDF text using the Highlighter (or box highlighter for big sections), Underline or Strikethrough tools. Simply click on the Markup tool and select whichever one suits your fancy, along with the appropriate color. Then you’re free to let loose in any file and show off your knowledge of key themes in rainbow color.
  • Comment: You can insert additional thoughts or reactions to a text using the Comment function. Students can type their thoughts, record voice comments or even use their webcam to make a short video. These comments can be specifically linked to specific words, lines or paragraphs of text.
  • Insert video: You can also insert relevant Youtube videos into Kami as a comment. Simply click on the Comment Tool, selecting Text Comment. Place your comment wherever it makes sense to you. Then paste your chosen Youtube video link into the comment. The Video should appear, ready to play.

Truly interactive reading

What English language class would be complete without reading assignments? One of the most important skills in any student’s armory, reading is essential, but how can you push students to dig deeper into their texts and bring them to life? Alexander found Kami:

The resources available for my reading instruction, made possible through Kami, offer endless possibilities. First, I’ll load a reading into Kami and assign it straight through Google Classroom. 

Note: Recently, Kami started adding a designated Google Classroom topic dropdown, which saves time and helps to keep my instruction organized. 

When students open their reading assignments, they have so much fun playing and exploring the text through Kami’s tools (think Highlight, Underline, adding colored Text Boxes and Comments). The first time we did it, it felt like chaos, but I soon realized my students were doing something with reading that we weren’t doing before – they were exploring, and actively engaging with our text! 

This alone was enough to persuade me to continue with Kami and my student’s progress over time has been nothing short of amazing. For instance, the Dictionary Tool provides a quick way to understand new words. The Comment options help students to express their understanding of the text while also collaborating and generating ideas together. 

 

Additionally, there is the use of Highlighting and Markup tools to identify information and concepts, again all done collaboratively to create excitement around discoveries. One time, while reading Captain Underpants– with it’s all exciting “flip-o-rama”– students created animated gifs of their own and added the creations to the Kami file. We all laughed while we shared, and my students had no idea that they were even learning!

 

Kami tools required:

  • Dictionary: The Dictionary Tool gives students easy access to definitions when they meet a new word or one they don’t quite understand – all without leaving the page they are reading from! Click the tool then highlight the word in question. The Oxford English Dictionary definition will then pop up.
  • Text-to-Speech: The Text-to-Speech tool comes in very handy for those who struggle to process dense text or like to read along while listening. Clicking on this tool will read the whole file from beginning to end, or a section that is highlighted. You can also choose from a selection of voices to find one with a familiar accent.

 

 

  • Markup (highlighter, underline, strikethrough): You can mark up any PDF text using the Highlighter (or box highlighter for big sections), Underline or Strikethrough tools. Simply click on the Markup tool and select whichever one suits your fancy, along with the appropriate color. Then you’re free to let loose in any file and show off your knowledge of key themes in rainbow color.
  • Comment: You can insert additional thoughts or reactions to a text using the Comment function. Students can type their thoughts, record voice comments or even use their webcam to make a short video. These comments can be specifically linked to specific words, lines or paragraphs of text.
  • Collaborative access: You can collaborate on a Kami file by sharing your access, much like on a Google doc. Simply hit the Share option in the top right-hand corner of your Menu bar, copy and paste the link that appears and send it to all those who want to collaborate. 

 


Developing writing skills

A fitting companion to good reading and comprehension is, of course, strong writing skills. In Alexander’s classroom, the main writing task for students is story journalling, made more exciting using Kami files:

This chunk of instruction reflects the students’ writing exploration, and Kami enhances my ability to help them. Similar to their research binders, their writing journals reflect a student copy, accessed through the Kami application. Students draft stories and I am able to give individual online feedback in response to their personal compositions. Each student requires different feedback, and Kami helps me to target these skills. 

Some students benefit greatly from using Kami’s Speech-to-text tools or recording their pieces via video comments that I can later transcribe – instead of being confined to just typing. By working on their devices they can also use additional tools like spell check or even word-prediction software to help them. 

Similar to reading, I’ve also found that a lot of my students like to incorporate images, which really helps them to develop original ideas. Kami also works for my students who prefer to handwrite their work in more than one way. Some choose to use a stylus and fold their laptops as if it were a sheet of paper, while others prefer to use an actual pen & pencil and I can snag a photo of their writing and store it in their digital journal. 

 

Kami tools required:

  • Image: To insert an image on to your Kami sheet simply select the image tool at the bottom of your toolbar. You can then select the location of your file (choose from Google Drive, your device or a Google Image safe search), then select the desired image and it will appear on your document.
  • Comment: You can insert additional thoughts or reactions to a text using the Comment function. Students can type their thoughts, record voice comments or even use their webcam to make a short video. These comments can be specifically linked to specific words, lines or paragraphs of text.
  • Audio comment: Students can use the audio comment feature to record themselves reading passages so that they can listen to how their work sounds out loud and improve their writing fluency.
  • Text boxes: To label your diagram you can use the Text Box tool to type in labels. Simply click the Text Box icon and then click the location on the page where you want to type.
  • Drawing: If you’re looking to spice up your writing you can add some colorful freehand doodles using the Drawing tool. You can choose the color, thickness, and transparency of your brush.

Providing feedback

Feedback is an essential element of learning. In the English classroom, technical comments about grammar and spelling need to be coupled with longer-form explanations about the direction of work or further prompts – all of which must be individualized for the specific student. Giving quality feedback can be tough and time-consuming, which is why having good digital tools at your disposal is so useful. For Alexander, Kami has helped immensely with this:

Regardless of how students choose to express their ideas, Kami helps me to provide meaningful, and individualized feedback. Using the markup and pen tool, I  am able to make revising suggestions and check for grammar rules. Additionally, I can use the Kami signature tool to store some images and stamps for quick comments, acting as if it were a sticker tool. I’ve even begun exploring with this signature tool as a means to provide graphic organizers for my class, quickly pasting them into the student’s journal to help with their organization. 

 

Kami tools required:

  • Markup (highlighter, underline, strikethrough): You can mark up any PDF text using the Highlighter (or box highlighter for big sections), Underline or Strikethrough tools. Simply click on the Markup tool and select whichever one suits your fancy, along with the appropriate color. Then you’re free to let loose in any file and show off your knowledge of key themes in rainbow color.
  • Comment: You can insert additional thoughts or reactions to a text using the Comment function. Students can type their thoughts, record voice comments or even use their webcam to make a short video. These comments can be specifically linked to specific words, lines or paragraphs of text.
  • Signature tool: Originally designed so you can drop a signature onto your PDF documents, you can also use it to stamp feedback stickers or standardized comments. Click on the Signature tool to upload an image of your choosing into your signature bank, then simply drag and drop them anywhere on your file. 

 

“My students continue to engage, explore, and collaborate in ways they would have never been able to through traditional techniques. Kami transformed my classroom, lessons, and instruction for the best!” Alexander L. Samia.

 

You can learn more about Kami and how to use it in your classroom with the official Kami Handbook. Click here to check it out.

 

Need help? Get in touch with our help centre.

Cathy Breed

Content Marketing Executive at Kami

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