Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"I'd Rather Stay and Work on my Project than go to Recess!"

Wow. Where to start?!? There has been so much awesomeness going on at my campus it isn't even funny! To make it better, majority of the ideas have come directly from the teacher! I was there just to help facilitate what was going on.  This blog post contains many more pictures than my usual posts so I will try and tell the story behind each group of pictures rather than do individual blog posts about each one.

The project in the two pictures below are of a 3rd grade teacher who wanted to take an expository text article and have students track their thoughts along with talking about what the main idea the story is.  This teacher had a great idea of having students take pictures of various articles and track their thoughts on the side. Once they were done they had to type the main idea of the article. What makes this task interesting is the fact that they had to save and retrieve their work every day using Google Drive! The final day of this project will include the student talking about the main idea and then exporting it to the T's Google Drive as a video file!

 This next project happened today. I knew it was going to be a great day when my 5th grade teacher told me, "Hey, I want to use iMovie today in my Science Projects." I literally got chills when she told me that! This teacher has progressed A LOT over the course of the year with tech integration! For her to ask me to incorporate iMovie all on her own was a special feeling! In this project students were using play-dough, sand, sludge and all sorts of other things to build glaciers, valleys and other types of landforms. She wanted the students to video each step of the process and have them take pictures of the different steps. I had never seen students so engaged! Literally! I couldn't believe how many perfectionists were in the class! I kept hearing comments like, "How do I crop this video?" or "How do I re-arrange the pictures and video clips?" The awesome thing about this project was the fact that technology played just a small part of the project, yet had such a positive impact in student engagement.  Once the students are done with their videos, they are going to post them on the teacher's YouTube Channel so they can watch later on. Two side notes about this project: when the teacher mentioned the word "iMovie" the student's eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning! The other great moment was that we had students wanting to skip their conference and work on their projects! (I told them after all of this excitement, their teacher needed a break!)

One of the focuses that my 2nd grade teacher and I have been talking about is beefing up his small groups with technology driven activities. We talked about creating word sorts on the iPad to where students can easily move around the words (and eventually recording their voices while they say the word.) Since this class is GT, we gave the word sort list to a student and had them create the template along with typing out the words for the word sort. Today was our first day using this in a small group and the students really enjoyed it. I think the plan is to start recording voices next week. 

Today we also rolled out Edmodo to our 5th Grade ELA kiddos. For some odd reason, I have always been very resistant/hesitant to use Edmodo. There was just something about the interface that I thought might be too difficult for the students to use. Needless to say, I was wrong!! In small groups, I met with students to set up their accounts. Today I followed up again with them to see if they remembered their log-ins. Sure enough, most of them did! I had the teacher post a "poll" so that students could practice replying to one another (this totally blew up her mailbox!) Students picked it up pretty quickly which was awesome! Next week, I think she plans to post her first official assignment on their for the kids. Props to this teacher! She has been doing some really awesome things and I know that she is going to progress even farther over the next few months!

In 4th Grade, I have a teacher who is about to start her Master's in EdTech in a few weeks. This teacher is already comfortable designing her own lesson templates in Explain Everything and wanted to do everything on her own. She just wanted me to help facilitate the technology which was more than okay with me! She was teaching her students about comparing fractions with different denominators. She put together about an 8 page template which explained the process. Students then had to work out a few problems on their own in partners. Once finished, they had to submit their work via Google Drive. Major props to this teacher for putting this all together all on her own!

In 1st and 2nd Grade, they are covering weather. We had talked about the idea of students having to research cities on Once they identified the city, they had to look for information (city name, weather condition, and temperature.) From there, they used Pic Collage to record this information and take a picture of what the weather condition was (ie: cloudy, sunny, etc) The students really enjoyed this project! We had to go back and tweak how this was done in 1st grade, but the second time was a charm! I think the students really enjoyed the challenge of having to multi-task!

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