Transforming the Classroom with ‘Touting’

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” By Theodore Roosevelt

There is a new social media called Tout. To Tout you capture 15 second status updates and publish them online. The recordings can be about news, gossip, places etc. When reading about Tout a month ago it got me thinking; we can use this concept in the classroom. This would allow students to be 21st century learners by communicating, collaborating, critically thinking and creating.

I decided I wanted to try this concept of creating 15 second videos first with having students act out vocabulary terms. I shared my idea with a 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Mehta (@megan_mehta) and we used her class as our ‘guinea pigs’.

We explained to the students that they were going to act out the fraction vocabulary terms (3.NF). The rules were that they couldn’t say the word and the clip had to be under 15 sec. This allowed the students to use all their 21st century skills. The students had to collaborate together and decide how they wanted to act out their vocabulary word, they had to critically think about what was most important about the vocabulary word in under 15 sec, they had to communicate this effectively so the other students could figure out what the vocabulary word was and then create the video.

Ms. Mehta model what acting out a vocabulary word looked like by acting out the ‘life cycle of a plant’ in under 15 secs. We then gave the students about 10 minutes to brainstorm in their groups while, Ms Mehta and I facilitated and asked guiding questions.


While I took the students out into the hallway to help record, Ms. Mehta continued with her math workshop and we rotated the groups until all the students recorded their vocabulary words. The students then uploaded them to their Gaggle digital lockers and added them to the class social wall. (This could also be done on an Edmodo or Schoology account) The students then reviewed each others videos and guessed what word the other groups did. They now can review these vocabulary words visually at anytime by logging onto their Gaggle accounts. Here is an example: Can you guess what their math vocabulary word is?

That is right – Fraction! We felt this was successful because this allowed students to review vocabulary words for the state test without ‘drill and kill’. The students loved the activity as well. We did decide not to tell the students about the ‘Tout’ site as we didn’t want them to go home and look it up as it does have some inappropriate videos for young students. (FYI-Tout: You should make an education version for students that is safe for them)

This activity can easily be differentiated but giving ‘harder’ vocabulary words to the higher level students and the easier vocabulary words to the lower students. This way they are all doing the same activity and it is not apparent that they are on different levels.

My next idea for this tout concept is with middle and high schoolers; I want them to ‘tout’ status updates about what they are learning and then share with friends. This will allow the students to reflect on what they are learning like a twitter status update but visually. They will also put these on the classrooms Gaggle social wall so they can view each others.

I also think you can use this concept as a way to informally assess what the students understand. I would love to hear other ideas to make these idea even better. I hope you try it out in your classroom.

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