Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Technology + Higher Level Questioning = One AMAZING lesson!

One of the big-pushes that one of our teachers has been striving for is the level of questioning in the activities that she does with her students. Her goal is for STUDENTS to ask higher level questions but first the teacher wants to start asking them so that students can get a feel for what they sound like and how to respond to them. We are both thinking of ways to get ideas so that students can start asking these questions but that is a work in progress. When we planned the activity her original plan was to start out with a Kahoot in which students would gather knowledge background knowledge, however she decided to do this at the end which turned out even better! (More on this in a minute.)

So the actual activity had to do with measurement using non-standard units of measure. She wanted to have her kids lie out on a piece of paper and have their partner trace them. Once they were finished with tracing, students would take random items such as markers, pencils, etc and measure the size of the drawing. Once they were done, they would gather information via pic-collage. The teacher did a great job of using a rubric to help the students along their journey.

Once the students were finished, they came back inside in which the teacher had her Kahoot ready to go. This was the first time the teacher had ever ran a Kahoot so we had to explain to the students how it was used and not just to press any response. They had to talk it over with their partner first and then respond. We both found that Kahoot was the gateway to asking open-ended / higher level questions! She was able to call on a few students so that they could defend and explain their answer! This one student was asked why he chose and answer and he was like, "Oh because my partner told me to!" The teacher probed until she was able to get a response from that student! I was very proud of this teacher for going the extra mile and really "reaching" to get answers out of these students!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Real Life Application with Angles

Every so often I have the chance to work with teachers who do not use technology in their classrooms on a regular basis. Today was one of those days! This particular teacher is extremely passionate about her students as well as their learning environment. This particular lesson was previously done in a different classroom but the teacher was still covering the same unit. Students were learning about measuring and identifying angles. For this activity, the teacher was presenting her lesson via a Nearpod. Students had to try and figure out what the measurement of the angle was by using a protractor. (Side note- protractor and iPads really dont play nicely together, but we made it work!) Long story short, I showed this teacher the basics of how Nearpod worked and she did the rest! She loved having "absolute control" over the other iPads! The students worked in partners and were really engaged. I was so proud of her and her class for taking a risk!

2nd Grade Writing Project in the Books!

My second grade teacher has really taken off with using technology in his classroom! It seems like every time I pass his room he is up to something with the iPads! I checked on him about a week or so ago and he told me this grand idea of having students compose a story on paper, then into Explain Everything. While it sounded simple, there were MANY steps involved. Students had to organize their thoughts, create a graphic organizer, write it out on paper, draw on paper, proof, re-write, etc etc. Long story short, today was the day that it all came together! This teacher had it going on! Students were outside in the halls, with their work spread out, taking pictures, recording, re-recording ALL ON THEIR OWN!! Basically the teacher (and myself) were floating around taking care of minor tech issues along with asking higher level questions! Students are still finding these higher level questions kind of awkward, but they are getting the hang of it!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Converting in the Real World

About a week and a half ago I talked to my 5th Grade Math Teacher about what was coming up and to see if technology might play a role in it. She had mentioned that she was in the middle of unit conversions.  We spent a while trying to come up with an activity that would both challenge the student as well as be "real world." After coming up with a couple of ideas that were pretty blasé, we both had an idea and really built on it! The teacher had decided that she wanted to break her classroom up into multiple stations that had various types of real world unit conversions. For instance, in one station, she had a gallon of Chic-Fil-A tea (emptied) in which students would have to find the number of Liters and convert it to Milliliters. Another station included a center in which students had to go to Google Maps and get the distance between our campus and NRG Stadium and covert it from Kilometers to Meters! In a group, students would have to convert the items and then put them into Pic Collage. Students would rotate to different stations when they finished converting their items. The first time we did this activity, things didnt go quite as planned, however, we talked during break and made a few adjustments. By the time the afternoon group rolled around, things went much more smoothly and it was really clicking with the students! It was so great to see students use "real world" items to help transform the learning!