I feel like weeks with a student holiday seem to be the longest weeks for teachers. I know I was out for two personal days, and only working three days felt like an entire week. It seems I was always doing something on the days I was in. On the plus side, I got well over my desired steps for the days and will achieve over 100 miles for the month of April.
Even with my short week, I visited some fabulous classrooms. Mrs. Lopez and Mrs. McDonald were using Peardeck to review the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. One of my favorite parts for the activity was the point of view slide (shown to the right). After discussion and reviewing the 13th Amendment, students then had to write a thought from the viewpoint of the North and the South. Students really had to think about how the viewpoint of the amendment would be considered based on their geographic location and how it would affect their livelihood.
8th grade Science students were focused on reviewing Moon Phases for the upcoming STAAR test. Mrs. Troy’s class used the Google Expeditions Phases of the Moon AR activity. She modified the activity by having the students pull up the Moon from an AR marker. Then, they moved around the moon and described what phase it was currently in by identifying the position of the light and dark surfaces. Many students had great conversations about the position of the Earth and the Sun in relation to the moon. Watch a student explanation below.
On Friday, I stopped by Mrs. Gilliland’s room to see what her ELA students were doing. She had them use Google Docs to write a short essay. After writing the essay, they choose a student in the classroom to share their essay with. Then, each student used the comment feature in Google to make three positive comments about their peer’s essay and to make two suggestions to improve or extend the essay. Students were quiet and on task because all of their comments were made on the devices.
“Every person I have ever met enjoys learning, but not every person enjoys school. That gap is where I think we should veer toward ‘Let’s learn something together‘ as opposed to ‘Let me teach you something.’ It focuses on the positive experience rather than the negative.” – Stuart Easton, Vista High School
I saw many teachers using Goosechase to have students review before the test or review content in a new and fun way. Mrs. Gilliland and Mrs. Harper completed their first Goosechase on Monday to review ELA concepts. Students raced around the building to answer questions about homonyms, parts of speech, etc.
In 8th grade Science, Mrs. Troy and Mrs. Wells used Goosechase to review multiple Science concepts for their upcoming benchmark. Students moved around the building in stations to make videos about each of the concepts representing their knowledge and understanding. Check out a student’s response above.
Coach Pope and I had a short training on Flipgrid. He is interested in using Flipgrid to have students response verbally about their understanding and connections of material in Texas History. His plan is to gain an understanding of Flipgrid throughout the last month and a half of school, so that he can use it to gain insight for how to use it at the start of next school year.
Mrs. Harrell invited me to her class to see her students use Kahoot Jumble. Kahoot Jumble has you put four answers in some type of order instead of the traditional Kahoot where you just select one answer. For Mrs. Harrell’s review of the essential standard on ordering numbers, she had students use the Kahoot Jumble to put rational numbers in order.
“It is critical that our students know their thoughts and conversations are valued and important. Invite conversation whenever possible.” – Dr. Jamie Lipp, Ohio State University
As I visited classrooms this week, I happened to walk into an ELA room that was starting class with 10 minutes of silent reading for both students and the teacher. I did not want to disturb the flow of the classroom, so I sat down and grabbed a magazine to read. It happened to be a National Geographic from 1994. What I found interesting was the Microsoft technology advertisement pictured to the right. It was student perspective on taking a field trip through the Human Body with Mrs. Frizzle and her Magic School Bus. As I read this ad, I spent some time reflecting on how much technology for our students has changed in the 25 years since this innovative technology from Microsoft. Our students are no longer engaged clicking through the slides or just watching the videos from Magic School Bus, but instead want to immerse themselves in VR and AR activities to decode the wonders of their education or question their world at a global level. Think about that when planning quality lessons involving technology.
This week, our sixth grade students reviewed important concepts about ELA using Kahoot. The students could work independently or in partners during the activity. After the students had time to answer their question, Mrs. Herrington would discuss and review any misconceptions that the students had about the material, such as the difference between compare and contrast.
In Ms. Baker’s class, students used the VR viewers to visit the Taj Mahal and learn more about India. Students were given time to explore and ask questions about what they could see in the viewers. If you would like to check out the viewers, check them out in the SSO (Single Sign On).
Coach Pope and I had a great meeting about using Flipgrid for student responses to open ended questions. He wants to have his students record their answers to questions and make connections to prior knowledge of Texas History. We discussed how to implement Flipgrid this year and how he might considered using it next school year with his students.
Our 8th graders are gearing up for STAAR testing in reading and math. Mrs. Gilliland used Google Classroom to engage her students with some high interest reading passages. She preassigned her classes in Google Classroom and gave them one of two passages to read. She gave them a copy of the reading selection and open ended questions to answer and return digitally. Students worked in partners or small groups to discuss the questions and make inferences. Towards the end of class, Mrs. Gilliland had students pick one of their questions and write four multiple choice answers focusing on one being the distractor.
For T3 this week, we focused on some quick and easy activities to use with students to keep them engaged. A few of the things we discussed included Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter, and Plickers. One of the favorites from T3 was Bingo Baker, which was shared with me by Shae Robinson. Every teacher at the training was encouraged to pick one of the ideas shared and use it with their students in the two weeks before our follow up T3 on April 16th. If you did not attend the first T3, you are still welcome to join us on the 16th.
“It is hard to breathe within the space created by never.”