I so enjoyed writing stories in elementary school. Writing was an outlet for creativity and my imagination. I’ve found the following resources which may help with writing projects in your classroom.
Archives for April 2011
Yesterday (sorry, no pictures!) I visited Mrs. Dinger’s classroom at Randolph Elementary School. Mrs. Dinger is one of the teachers who volunteered to help us with our iLearn Project using iPod touches in the elementary classroom.
Students had already been using some of the apps for drill in math, but I am very interested in the devices for book replacement (they seem ideally sized for students’ smaller hands). So we used a text from Story Nory to read in class using the iPod Touch devices.
The lesson started, however, with another app, QR Scanner. By displaying a large QR code on my iPad, students scanned the code to get a personal greeting from me. It was akin to a magical event, watching them take notice that an entire paragraph could be embedded in that wacky design.
I next made rounds in the room with a second QR code, which took them to the story online in Safari.
I was really impressed with Mrs. Dinger’s students’ ability to follow along and take part in the reading, adapted from the Iliad. The QR code simply enabled us to quickly get to the page we needed to get to without students having to fill out a long, tedious URL.
The next time I visit, I hope to utilize QR codes in some other ways… stay tuned.
Through the years I’ve been a fan of visual diagrams that can show us where we are. They can also be used as aides in helping us decide where to go next. The TIM from Florida has been updated and is now one of several “classic” tools for educators to use to see where they may fit in the technology continua for integration and usage.
Another scale which I still use as part of our G21 is the LoTI scale (which uses 7 levels versus 5 in the one listed above), and their newer HEAT scale I have borrowed as part of our G21 plan assessment. I love that HEAT really focuses on good teaching, versus getting too detailed with technology. HEAT is something we can assess with a walk-through, or in a more formal observation.
Lastly, we need to move towards looking at how we evaluate twenty-first century skills, and which pedagogies are most effective. G21 has been an experiment towards improving instruction. I’m anxious to go to something along the lines of what’s in use in Henrico in regards to their Reflective Friends process and the use of a matrix (of sorts), expressed in several charts for twenty-first century skills.
My hope is that our instructional leadership team can take on this role moving forward, to look at instruction critically in regards to twenty-first century skills independently from the formal review process in place for teaching.
I was told yesterday that I’m a “procedural thinker,” plus my observer said “I think you see everything as a series of steps.” This was a little new to me, as I never considered myself planning out life’s events or tasks in my job as discreet steps. But when I think to using certain software, especially Google Sketchup or Scratch, I definitely see how procedural thinking comes into play.
We might view “procedural thinking” as a means towards solving problems… if not in project management, at least it’s good for knowing what you need to do and how you might just accomplish your goal. I had the opportunity recently to re-visit Mrs. Spessard’s classroom at RES where students were using math time to develop a game involving a Volkswagen Beetle.
And come to think of it, what we covered in those 50 minutes was something akin to a procedural technique. “Of course,” you might add, “because Scratch is programming.”
In some parts, programming has a stigma attached, like it’s too hard, or too foreign. But these students did a great job at figuring some solutions out. I look forward to returning again to see what direction their car game has gone!
The tech team will be making rounds later this month to explain the details behind our technology refresh. This session will detail how we will migrate from the current teacher laptops to the new ones, and we also plan to highlight some of the new software tools.
Among the coolest of the new tools is iMovie ’11 (version 9)! Included in this release is a tool (that includes a story board) for building movie trailers. I hope to demonstrate this new iLife ’11 component when we visit.