Thursday, February 20, 2014


Keep students off their phones, and help a child access water at the same time!

I love technology. I often have lessons where my students use their cell phone or tablet in class. I think there are a lot of apps that give us the ability to really make students excited about class. However, not every lesson uses cell phones!

Do your students always pick up their phones in the middle of class? They want to be sure they don't have a new tweet, or see what their favorite celebrity is saying on Facebook. Sure, sometimes you can make it a teaching moment, but usually it just distracts them, the rest of the class and you!

Here's an idea. You can make not touching their phone into a game AND teach them about the importance of water.

UNICEF, with their sponsor Giorgio Armani Fragrances, is helping us realize that we don't need to be on the phone all the time.

To participate simply get on your phone and visit It will give you specific directions. Basically: 1. Set your phone down. 2. Don't touch it.

If you can make it for ten minutes without touching your phone, they donate a day of clean water to a child in need.

While you are not touching your phone the app keeps a timer letting you know how long you have gone. It also gives you random facts about water, or the Tap Project.

OK, that's nice, but what makes it a game?

It gives you specific goals. Compares your "score" to the score of other users, and showing you your own personal records! This is an easy and fun way to keep your students from touching their phones.

I won't use it every class, but it would be fun to see how much water a class could "earn" by simply staying off their cell phones during class time. If you have a lesson on resources or water this is pretty much the perfect addition to your class.

While the app is up and running now, the fine print suggests that only minutes done between March 1st and March 31st will count. Therefore, if you are planning on making this into a lesson, you have about a week to plan something amazing.

There are a few things to be aware of: It WILL drain battery and use internet, so be sure they have an awesome plan, or are tapping into a local WIFI source.

Try it out and let me know what you think! If you are looking for other water saving activities check out this post about MissionExplore!


  1. Hehe - I also use water- or at least the threat of water in my class. We have a "no devices an the table" policy - I jokingly threaten to have a bucket of water and let the phone go for a "swim"... This is more positive...
    On a more serious note - the only way I can deal with the distractions of phones is to ban them. But then I teach adults..easier maybe.

    1. Have you ever followed through on the threat to make a phone swim? Honestly, in most of my classes it isn't a problem, but I think this would be a fun option :-)


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