Make AI Work for You as You Prep for Fall
By Kathleen Palmieri
As educators begin to embark on a new school year, new technology has made its way into many lesson plans. Artificial intelligence, known simply as AI, has become a new buzz word in the education world.
One tool I’m specifically trying out is ChatGPT, the generative chatbot from Open AI. ChatGPT can be used to create activities that require a text response, help to compose an email, or even help you create a back to school introductory letter.
To get started go here to sign up for a free account. It’s easy to sign up using your Google account and simply creating a password. There is a paid version, but for now the free ChatGPT-3.5 account would be all you need to try these ideas.
Once you’ve created your free account, you’re ready to provide an input, such as a question or task, to prompt this AI tool. This is what I started with (click to enlarge). Notice the examples and cautions at the top.
What happened next was amazing to watch. Within seconds the AI began to list 15 ideas with this caveat: “Remember that everyone learns at their own pace, so patience and encouragement are essential when helping students refresh their math facts. Tailor the approach to each student’s needs and preferences for the best results.” Here are a few of the ideas generated:
You are also given the option to regenerate; e.g., “Give me 10 more ideas.” Or 20 or ??. It seems endless!
Another helpful use of this AI tool is to create activities for the first week of school. Again, simply provide the prompt and several creative ideas will generate. I’ve refreshed my scavenger hunts for supplies, reviews, textbooks, and getting to know students, as well as revamped my “This or That” game.
AI can also be helpful in creating a “Meet the Teacher” letter, which you will still personalize. You can type a prompt such as, “Draft a meet the teacher letter for a (grade level inserted) teacher to send to families at the beginning of the school year”. It will generate several paragraphs for you to choose from.
This letter can be copied and pasted into a document from which a template can be made to use in the future. ChatGPT can also translate your letter into another language, offering diversity in reaching out to families, which is a wonderful option.
Creative planning all year
Moving forward from the start of school, ChatGPT can be very useful in helping to batch-plan lessons for a quarter, trimester, or even crafting a year long plan. Use subject area topics, such as natural resources, geography, rocks and minerals, math concepts, etc.
It could take seconds or several minutes to have your responses load, but it is amazing to see the creative ideas that appear. (An available option is to save and share the many ideas that will be generated by copying the link to the prompt. These links can be placed in a digital planner, an email, a slide, or a document.)
A powerful break-through tool
In all interactions with ChatGPT, be specific in the input you provide so you get the most relevant responses. Experiment with different phrasing. As you continue to use the software, you’ll gain the knack of making richly worded, focused requests and get better and better results.
ChatGPT does provide a disclaimer stating that this tool is not intended to give advice. You’re also cautioned to always read through carefully as some information may be misleading. Be sure to check any links ChatGPT may generate – it’s been known to make them up.
As with any new tool, there are pros and cons to be had. If you’ve not checked out ChatGPT, I encourage you to give it a try. Visit https://openai.com/chatgpt to create your free new account. Also check out Larry Ferlazzo’s growing list of AI resources for educators.
Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher and NBCT Professional Learning facilitator. She is a fifth grade educator in upstate New York who reviews and writes regularly for MiddleWeb. With a passion for literacy and learning in the classroom, she participates in various writing workshops, curriculum writing endeavors, and math presentations. As a lifelong learner, Kathie is an avid reader and researcher of educational practices and techniques. Collaborating with colleagues on Twitter and expanding her education adventures at www.kathleenpalmieri.com are ongoing practices.