Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgivings - Digital Style!

The Thanksgiving holiday provides a great opportunity to have students write with purpose and for an audience. So across our school, like most schools across the country, students are writing to and about the people they love. This year, with a fresh infusion of devices in our building, teachers took the opportunity to have student write their thanks in a digital format. Throughout the school, students used Padlet & Seesaw to record their thanksgivings and share with their classmates and parents. Here are just a few examples!

Monday, November 21, 2016

1st Graders Demonstrate Their Learning With Help From The SeeSaw App!

This week I was privileged to be a part of 1st grade digital math lessons. Mrs. Johnson's class was working on math stories. Students were asked to make up subtraction story problems.  Students selected two number cards and imagined their math stories. Once they were ready with their stories, they logged into SeeSaw using the class QR code.  

Students used the SeeSaw app to video tape their math stories and submit via SeeSaw.  Once Mrs. Johnson approved their videos, students could view and comment on each other's math stories! What a great way to share their math and learn how to make appropriate comments to encourage each other. Seesaw really helped to streamline this lesson for maximum efficiency for student learning and teacher assessment.

Mrs. Hegg's class was working on sorting.  Students were given groups of picture cards and asked to sort.  This was fun to watch. There was no one way to sort the cards, so students were able to find common elements between the pictures on their cards.  Once they had their cards sorted, student logged into SeeSaw using the class QR code.  They took a picture with their cards and then used the voice recorder to describe their work. Mrs. Hegg was able to approve each submission to the class feed and students could see each other and comment.  This feature is one of my favorites within the SeeSaw app.

I am continually amazed at how many ways the camera can be used in digitally infused classrooms. There are so many fantastic education apps & web tools, including the SeeSaw App, but it is the built in camera that seems to offer an endless array of options for our students to learn and grow.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Students Create Character Webs About Grace Using The Doodle Buddy & Popplet Lite Apps!

Today, Mrs. McCollough's 3rd Graders demonstrated their learning about the main characters of two beautiful books by Mary Hoffman, Amazing Grace and Boundless Grace. Students were practicing Minnesota Benchmark ELA - Write routinely for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes and audiences. 

Mrs. McCollough read both books to her class.  They discussed the stories and analyzed the main character, Grace.  After their discussion, students used Doodle Buddy to draw a picture of Grace.  They exported their picture to Photos.  Students then opened the Popplet Lite App and created a character web putting their newly drawn picture in the middle.  

After creating the character web, students will be tying in their supporting evidence. What textual evidence do they have that supports the assertions about Grace? This is where we really see students digging deep!  Finally, students share their character webs and evidence with each other.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Student Voice - 4th Graders Share What They Would Do If They Were President

Election Day 2016.  What better day is there to ask our students the question, What Would You Do If You Were President?

Fourth Grade Teacher, Mrs. Warfield, invited me into her class to help her students with a writing assignment in Schoology. She wanted her students to share their thoughts on the presidency.  The learning objective was Minnesota Benchmark LA.4.W.4.6 - Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer's purpose.

Students did a great job of writing their thoughtful answers and along the way, they clearly demonstrated that they have been paying attention this election season. They may be young, but they have been listening and forming their own opinions. They were eager to share their voice!  I couldn't be more excited to share their thoughtful responses!

Monday, November 7, 2016

3rd Graders Debate Using Social Media Style Discussion In Schoology!

Third graders have opinions! Third graders like to share! Third graders are curious about social media! What a perfect time to schedule a debate using the discussion feature in Schoology!

Last week, 3rd grade teacher Mrs. McCollough invited me to team teach with her and she had several standards that she wanted her students to practice.
Minnesota Benchmark EL - Use technology to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Minnesota Benchmark EL - Write an opinion on a topic and give reasons to support it.  
Mrs. McCollough thought of a topic that she knew would hook her students.  Should we be able to wear costumes to school on October 31st?  (Students don't wear their costumes at OHE on Halloween.) She knew that this was something that mattered to her students. Once we had a topic, students logged into Schoology and wrote their opinions.  The room grew silent as student took this opportunity to share their voice very seriously!

Schoology discussion settings allow the teacher to have students see only their response until they "Post". After students posted, they could see each other's posts and make comments.  We encouraged students to make comments to their fellow classmates.  Students were thrilled with this option! They felt like they were on social media. It was the perfect teachable moment. We discussed the need to validate each other even if we disagreed.  Student shared their examples of appropriate commenting. One student asked if it was okay to "like" their own comment. It was a great opportunity to discuss what it would feel like to other people if you like your own post. We wanted them to think about it in terms of having a discussion face to face with a friend and complimenting yourself. This seemed to resonate with students. 

A sampling of student comments:

You made a good point but I dont agree all the way because everyone can just take of there costume when they get hot. 

That's a good idea because it can rip, break, or you may not pay attenchon, and other stuff

You are right. Some people don't celebrate Halloween.

As much as believe that this opportunity gave student a chance to write for a purpose and share their voice, I loved that students got to try commenting in a forum. Several years from now, when students begin using social media, they will have had an chance to practice their commenting skills and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls.