Yo! Teach Backchannel Chat for Elementary Students

Yo! Teach Backchannel Chat for Elementary Students-Great Alternative to TodaysMeet

Yo! Teach, the alternative to Today's Meet, is an excellent backchannel chat digital tool for elementary students.

Back in August Richard Byrne blogged about Yo! Teach, a back channel chat digital tool that is similar to TodaysMeet. I was so bummed when TodaysMeet shut down this past summer since I use that quite frequently with elementary students for a variety of activities.

Every year I LOVE to play a context clues game that involves using a backchannel digital tool with 2nd-5th graders that I created years ago. It is one of very few lessons/activities that I can implement over and over with any class and it never gets old. I truly look forward to it every year. Therefore, when I was talking to a 4th grade teacher about coming to her room this week to help assist in their learning of context clues, I knew I was going to have to find a new tool to serve as the chatroom where students would submit their guesses. I pulled up Richard's post and knew I had to give Yo! Teach a try!

How to I set up a chatroom

To get a chatroom set up all I did was visit the Yo! Teach website (click HERE to access). No sign-in is required for the teacher or student. Hopefully they will add this feature for the teacher in the future because I liked how I could set up an account and access all of the boards I had ever created in Today's Meet, all in one location.  

You can choose to create an entry password and also enable admin features but for my lesson I just added the room name, description and clicked Make Room.

Accessing the Chatroom

Students could access the chatroom two different ways using any device with a web-browser. 1. You can share the url to the room that is generated once the room has been created. 2. Students can visit the Yo! Teach website and search for the name of the room in the search box (just don't select Avoid Search when you set up the room). We ended up just posting the direct link into Google Classroom for students to easily click on. Once the link is clicked students enter a nickname and then they are taken right to the chat.

Responding in Yo! Chat

I LOVE the different options for student responses. You can see in the image below that students can submit text, a drawing or an image!

When students click on the pencil icon, they will be taken to a digital whiteboard that looks like this:

A really nice feature is the ability to draw on images that you can upload when you select the camera icon:

When students submit their responses, it sends their text, drawing or image to the left panel and includes the nickname they provided when entering the backchannel as well as the timestamp of when their response was submitted.

My Thoughts

All in all, this was an excellent alternative to TodaysMeet. We did notice that it took the website some time to load on the Chromebooks but once we were in the room everything seemed smooth sailing. I will definitely be using this again! I noticed that Yo! Teach has a backchannel chat available for users to join who have questions and they are very responsive. It seems like they are currently working on improvements. My first wish is an option to delete posts that have been submitted. 

Ideas for Using Yo! Teach in the Elementary Classroom

Some ideas for using backchannel chats with elementary students include:
  • Guessing games like my Context Clues Game
  • Digital conversations/discussions
  • Book study discussions
  • Show different ways to solve math problems 
  • Writing activities (types of sentences, similes/metaphors, parts of speech)
  • Sharing work (images created..create something in Google Drawing and save as a jpeg)
  • Labeling diagrams
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Brainstorming
How else could we use Yo! Teach in the elementary classroom? Leave a comment below!
Yo! Teach, the alternative to Today's Meet, is an excellent backchannel chat digital tool for elementary students.

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