Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Little Pre-Planning Goes a LONG Way!

One of my big goals that I am trying to work on is pre-plan and post conference with teachers about content and how we an incorporate technology into their lessons. I think I have been making progress in that area, although everyone's comfort level in using technology is different. The teacher that I have been working with recently is new to the grade level and was a bit hesitant to let me work with their class because it is "STAAR Grade." Putting myself in their shoes, I think I would be very reluctant too! Knowing this, I didnt want to jump off the deep end and do anything tech "crazy." I just simply wanted to include an iPad with Explain Everything into the upcoming lesson. During the pre-planning phase, I had shown this teacher "Virtual Manipulatives" in which students could manipulate fractions, etc. It in itself can be very powerful- however this teacher wanted students to record themselves talking about HOW they came to solve the problem. We talked about the drawbacks of VM and how it did not allow for recordings. I then recommended the app "Explain Everything." I told them how I can custom create a faction chart to where students can drag pieces if they needed to.

Fast forward to today. I went into this 5th grade class and told the students what the plan was. I also introduced how to make a duplicate of a fraction piece.  (By them doing this, it saved me TONS of time trying to create each individual piece!) For this particular assignment, students had to add / subtract fractions with unlike denominators. To add to this, the problems were also two step, which tended to confuse the student at times. Honestly, the first group that I worked with had a hard time grasping the concept of all of this- so what the teacher and I decided to do was to have the student work it out correctly on a piece of paper first. Once we checked the answer, students were then allowed to go into EE and record their work on the iPad. I told the students could take full advantage of the room and go where they like. They really liked this cause they could "get into the zone" while recording.

I didnt have any "fast finishers" on the morning class, but I did have quality work, which to me is far more important than finishing quickly. (Below is a video posted of a student's work.)


My afternoon group completely blew me out of the water! This particular class is really challenging to motivate and has a hard time taking responsibility when it comes to their work. However, the trade off is that when they are interested in doing something, they will go above and beyond to make it happen!

I started off the same way- we set our expectations and let them get started. This class understood the concept of least common multiples, etc, so that really wasnt an issue. I was surprised to see so many people finish their work on their paper first! They had finished MUCH quicker than my first class. Before we knew it, everyone was spread out across the room screen casting! I was completely blown away! I had NEVER seen this class excited about learning, much less about math! The teacher and I were very excited for the students- they were actually taking ownership of their learning! In my post-conference with this teacher, she told me that she had never seen kids as engaged as they were in this activity! I was so proud of her and her kids!

We decided that we are going have 4 students from each group create this screencast videos for their class. They will then post them on the website- (actually that will be my job.) This will be for a student's reference just in case they do not know what to do. The awesome thing about this is the fact that students will be able to watch these videos from home!  So excited for what the future holds for this teacher and her class!

Below are some candid photos from today's lesson:
Teacher Example

Solving on paper first, then explaining via iPad.

I told students that the closer they are to the hotspot, the faster it uploads!

Student's work being uploaded to T's Google Drive!

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