Expert Educator Columns, Featured
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Marija Petreska- Introducing My Column!


by Marija Petreska
Expert Educator Columnist, Macedonia

My column will be all about sharing tips, ideas and examples of how we use Windows 8 apps in our classroom. You are about to taste an amazing story of how I transformed a tech free classroom games into tech spiced activities. Just to make it clearer I’ll give you a sniff of what it will smell like :)

Have you ever done a miming game? It’s super fun, right? But haven’t you been in a situation where a student keeps on miming and no one can guess what he is doing? And they get so bored that they suggest playing something else. Well, I found a quick solution to this. How about using Vine for playing a mime game? They won’t be obliged to do the same mime over and over again, you just tap on the screen to record and share it with the class via Edmodo. They can guess as much as they like and keep on guessing when they get home. The best part is that the recording plays on and on until you stop it.

Or have you tried using Vine for creating flashcards? This proved to be so fun that we now have auditions to choose best actors featuring in the seven second film.

And another idea for flashcards while we are there. I love making my own flashcards with the students in the spotlight. The photo at the beginning of the post is a photo I took last year when we did clothes vocabulary. We used a Windows 8 app my students simply adore called Skitch to explain what they are wearing.

You know how teachers promise to have a fun work free dinner but end up talking about school? I’m so grateful that my weekend go outs end up with me catching notes on my OneNote app (OneNote team thank you for the free OneNote IOS app).

This is an idea I heard about last weekend. My wonderful friend a Global Teacher Prize Finalist was talking about a game she called Four Angles. You draw a four squared table that you use for teaching new  vocabulary. The upper left corner contains the unfamiliar word, the upper right corner the context you read it in, the lower left corner is for an image explaining the word and the lower right corner is for using the word in a new sentence. OneNote is perfect for this activity and the best part is that not only can students upload a photo of the word, but they can even draw a picture of it. So my OneNote mission for next semester is creating a Four Angle OneNote notebook where students will explain unfamiliar words in a unique way.

I know for sure that you have tried a chain game. My chain game is a bit complicated since I teach grammar with it. Ah, I’m a demanding teacher. What we do is create a twitter hashtag that we’ll use on the lesson. Students take turns in tweeting a first conditional sentence. That catch is that the first student’s main clause turns into the second student’s if clause. We tweet and have fun and practice tenses. But an amazing new Microsoft tool made our effort worthwhile. I can’t stop reading how much you love Sway and stop flipping trough your Sways. Did you notice that you can embed tweets chronologically right from a twitter hashtag? This is how I plan to use Sway next week since I’m teaching conditionals once again. We’ll be able to make a complete story of our sentence tweets and share it with the world.

Wherever we go, no matter how exciting it is we always check in. Most use foursquare, swarm or Facebook but in our class we use Pintrest. Pintrest has a not so new feature mapping your pins. So my students are assigned to pin a photo of the place they have visited, find it on the Pintrest map and write a short story of what they did and things they saw on this adventure. We named the boards My Map Stories.


I’m sure you all have played the game I’m about to re-envision. It’s a drawing and guessing game. Typically a student is drawing something on the board and the rest of the class is jumping of their seats, shouting and trying to guess what the drawing is about. I usually use it for practicing Present Continuous tense (ex. You are drawing a… Are you sketching … Isn’t the character sleeping… ) Making this activity is easy peasy. There are tons of drawing Windows 8 apps like Fresh Paint . But the question is how to capture the guessing moment. Here comes my ultimate favourite Win 8 app previously named Voice and Pen but now it’s iXplain . This breathtaking app not only records the drawing process in a video that you can save and share, but it also records student’s voices while they are guessing (the quick draw feature). Later on you can rewind and watch the drawing and guessing activity and pin point some grammar mistakes they may have made.

I’ll wrap up with a unique suggestion. You use PowerPoint daily, but never had you created a holiday greeting card using PowerPoint shapes and colors. Here is an idea and I’ll stop there. Take a look and we’ll discuss this topic in a future post.


If I keep on going I’ll have nothing to write about in next Tuesday. And in the well known saying mood I plan to involve you all with my blog posts. I encourage you to try out any of the activities I’ll share in any future post and share your experience on a blog post or just a simple word document and use the twitter hashtag #teachermarija to share it. I promise to sway your stories.




  1. Bozena Kraj says

    The article is really inspiring. I love Arts, so the graphic design like that in PowerPoint is for me too.

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