AI and the classroom

AI is going to find its way into education one way or another. Understanding what it can do for you as an educator is a great way to better understand the technology and prepare for both its use and misuse in the classroom. For instance, is one such tool that aims to help teachers improve their classroom experience. Offering Google SSO, it offers an easy entry to the use of the tool. Log in, select your subject, select the appropriate grade level, then make a choice on how you want the site to help you out. They offer science, social studies, math, language arts, and enrichment options. With my ELA background, I chose language arts and middle school. I selected the Lesson Seed option, scrolled down, and entered one of my favorite novels The Cay. Tapped Add to Workspace, and tada! Lesson ideas for the novel that will be a huge help to beginner teachers and possibly shape some new ideas for veteran ones. This is what it provided me for lesson ideas:

Lesson Plan: “Exploring Themes and Characters in The Cay”

Objectives (scaled to Bloom’s Taxonomy):

  1. Remembering: Recall the main events and characters in The Cay.
  2. Understanding: Analyze the relationships between characters in the story.
  3. Applying: Apply critical thinking skills to interpret the themes and messages in the novel.
  4. Analyzing: Compare and contrast the characters’ experiences in different settings.
  5. Evaluating: Formulate opinions about the choices made by characters in the story.
  6. Creating: Develop alternative endings or solutions to the challenges faced by the characters.

Teaching Strategies:

  1. Think-Pair-Share: Students think independently, discuss in pairs, and then share their thoughts with the whole class.
  2. Socratic Seminar: Facilitate a student-led discussion by asking open-ended questions.
  3. Literature Circles: Divide students into small groups to independently read and discuss assigned chapters.

Cue Sets:

  1. Anticipation Guide: Present a series of statements related to the themes or character traits in The Cay. Students respond with “agree” or “disagree” before reading the novel.
  2. Visual Images: Show students images related to the setting and characters in the story to elicit their thoughts and predictions.
  3. KWL Chart: Activate students’ prior knowledge by asking them to share what they know about World War II and shipwrecks. After reading, they complete the “What I Learned” column.


  1. Character Analysis: Students create a character profile for either Timothy or Phillip, including physical appearance, personality traits, and significant events in the story.
  2. Theme Exploration: In small groups, students identify and discuss the themes present in The Cay. They support their ideas with evidence from the text.
  3. Role Play: Students reenact a scene from the novel, focusing on a significant event or conflict. They analyze the characters’ motivations and reactions.

Assignment Ideas:

  1. Reflective Journal: Students write a journal entry from the perspective of one of the characters, discussing their experiences and personal growth throughout the story.
  2. Book Review: Students write a book review of The Cay, summarizing the plot, discussing their favorite parts, and recommending it to others.
  3. Creative Writing: Students develop an alternative ending to the story, considering how different choices would impact the characters’ lives.

Encouraging Real-World Skill Use:

  1. Research Skills: Assign students to research and present information about the historical context of The Cay, including World War II, racial segregation, and the Caribbean.
  2. Communication Skills: Engage students in group discussions and debates about the moral dilemmas faced by the characters and the author’s message.
  3. Empathy and Compassion: Encourage students to reflect on the experiences of the characters and consider how they would respond in similar situations.

Closure Questions:

  1. How did the relationship between Timothy and Phillip change throughout the story? Provide examples.
  2. What are the key themes explored in The Cay? How do they relate to real-world issues?
  3. If you were in Phillip’s situation, how would you have handled being stranded on an island with someone like Timothy?
  4. How did the setting of the story impact the characters’ emotions and actions?
  5. What lessons can we learn from The Cay about the importance of understanding and accepting others?

Now jump in there and try some of the other great options like Unit Plan, Rubric, Learning Target & Success Criteria, and more. I will highlight other AI sites I find interesting and useful in the future. Just be sure to review what it suggests and make sure it aligns with what your state requires and what is fitting for your classroom and students. AI can be helpful, but by no means is it perfect.

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