Saturday, May 28, 2011

More on how I use Angry Birds in the classroom

I've written before on how I use Angry Birds in the classroom, and today I want to share another project I use with students to get them engaged in learning.

Below is a project created by Tonia (not her real name). Tonia is a very angry little girl who has a heightened sense of anxiety and an acute fear of failure. Her reading and writing skills are quite weak, and she has very little interest in allowing others to see how much she struggles, so learning for her is a repetitive exercise of either fight or flight in order to maintain her dignity. To say she is unengaged from school would be a gross understatement.

When I first met Tonia, I asked her if she wanted to try an iPad.

She quickly said no.

I've had an iPad in my classrooms for over a year now, and in that time, I've never had someone say they didn't want to try the iPad. Never.

Needless to say, I was a little shocked -- but I quickly rallied.

As I turned on the app, I asked Tonia if she had ever heard of a game called Angry Birds.

Her face lit up and she replied that her dad plays it all the time.

I breathed a sigh of relief now that the ice was broken. I had an in.

So I let her play for 10 minutes and then said How about I show you how to do a project with Angry Birds.

She recoiled and said No. I don't know how to do that. You can't make me.

I backed off.

10 minutes later I asked again. She stood, said fuck off and left the room.

The next day I tried again, and thankfully she was in a better mood. Here's the project she created:

angry birds

And here's a short video showing how this project can be done on the iPad using Angry Birds, screen shots, Keynote and text boxes:

The beauty of a project like this is that the student starts with a blank page and constructs something from scratch that they can call their very own. And it can be as simple or as sophisticated as you wish to make it.


  1. Wow - that is cool. I have an ipad and I don't do anything with it. I need to take the time to learn more about how to use it! I am glad the little girl gave this a chance.

  2. I love your tenacity and persistence to find the ‘hook’ for your resistive learner! I also LOVE your analogy at the top of your blog! I'm going to use that one! I bookmarked your blog! Thanks!

  3. Please tell "Tonia" that I loved her project. I have never played or seen Angry Birds but am now very interested in playing it, thanks to her. And, well done to you for your persistence!

  4. Loved the Angry Bird presentation. I was wondering...what did you use to embed the presentation into your site? I just loved it.

  5. Thanks for the great lesson idea! My grade 2/3 class just finished exploring powerpoint, will be using your idea to present sequence, comprehension etc. as next project! Also, so glad to have found you. I am passionate about intrinsic motivation to learn, NOT extrinsic pressures.

  6. Please tell Tonia that she did a wonderful job! I did not realize how amazing an ipod really was! I will be hoping to learn as much as Tonia knows ! Teacher from Anaheim.

  7. Just woke up in a cold sweat from a dream that I want to share. I dreamt that I was the guy that had to try to encourage Tonia. She told me to f*!# off at first. I went away and for some crazy idea decided - hesitantly - to hand her a copy of "The Little Prince". No immediate reaction, but then she spotted the name of the author, smiled, and said: "Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - great - my Dad reads his stuff all the time."


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