Here is a brief summary of how this lesson unfolded.
I was able to be in the library these last two days to witness a most amazing Social Studies lesson on Christopher Columbus by our Third Grade Teachers: Maci Shannon, Drew Watson, Natalie Higby, Helene Smith, and Kaley Coffield.
Here is a brief summary of how this lesson unfolded.
All five of the teachers covered the ground rules for the activities of the next 2 days.
Mr. Watson began by reading a book on the subject.
The students made note of their "thick" questions for the debrief.
Ms. Coffield recorded the students's questions.
The next day, the students participated in a Socratic Seminar in which yesterday's student generated questions were answered by their peers.
Students in the audience showed their agreement or disagreement with silent signals.
This is the first full week of October so it is amazing to think of where these teachers will lead their students by May. Well done, Third Grade, well done.
We were fortunate enough to once again have visiting educators from around the state on our campus this May. Folks who attend the iLeap Academy are here because they have just launched an iPad initiative or are considering doing so. They spend 3 days in Austin, most of which are in a classroom setting led by Carl Hooker, Tim Yenca and Lisa Johnson. For 2 hours each day, attendees visit campuses across the district where they get a chance to see iPad integration in action. Here is the schedule we followed:
Our visitors saw a wide variety of activities. In Elisse Newey's room, we observed the 4th Graders making Stop Motion Videos. In Maci Shannon's room we saw a variety of apps being used for Formative Assessment: including Plickers, Nearpod, and Notability. We spent awhile Monday in Carin Champion's Kinder class visiting with students about projects that they had created with their iPads this year. On Tuesday, we talked to Mary Ann Simmons's students about the work they were doing in Google Classroom. Wednesday Second Graders let us observe and ask questions about a Mother's Day project they were doing using one of the following apps: Pages, Popplet, or Book Creator.
As I told Tim afterwards, the highlight of these visits for me is that the amazing teachers on our campus have a chance to shine and shine they do! I couldn't have been prouder of and more grateful to the 5 teachers that opened up their classrooms to us.
Kelly Van Meter and I had the pleasure of attending a 2 day PLC workshop with some First and Third Grade teachers from Eanes Elementary this summer. We all left at the end of Day 2 with a laundry list of ideas that we wanted to take back to our campus and implement in the new school year.
One technique that we were all impressed with was the Critique Workshop developed by Ron Berger as a means of inspiring students to do excellent work. On his website, Berger says the following about developing a culture of excellence in your classroom;
"The student work in my giant black suitcase is exemplary -- beautiful and accurate, representative of strong content knowledge and critical thinking skills -- but it's not from "exceptional" students. It does not come from gifted and talented classrooms or from high-powered private schools. It's the work of regular students in typical schools around the country. The difference is that these students' teachers have helped them develop the skills and mindsets necessary to produce work of exceptional quality, and have built classroom and school cultures in which exceptional work is the norm."
Click here to watch a video of Berger implementing the critique workshop in a First Grade class.
Last week, I was able to be in Drew Watson's class as he introduced his students to this process. The students were to design a prototype of a puzzle piece that illustrated who they were. Drew defined the word and then led the class in the development of a rubric for their final product. Drew patiently outlined what his puzzle piece contained, which not only set the standard for student work, but gave his new 3rd Graders a brief glimpse of his own history.
Students were given a prototype sheet with 4 blank puzzle pieces on which to develop their ideas. They dove into their work quietly and with intent - actions which were a direct result of the importance that Drew had placed on the quality of the work that they would be doing.
The answer is yes! Especially when you use a website like Kahoot! Kahoot is a free, game-based classroom response system that Laura Wright heard about from some fellow EISD teachers. Laura set up an account and created a STAAR Math review for all of the Third Graders. All 5 classes joined her in the cafeteria on Friday to participate in what turned out to be more like a STAAR party than a test review.
The set up was simple.Just like Nearpod, students are given a code that gives them access to the review. Once the students are in, they are asked for their name and then the first multiple choice question appears. After all students have replied, a bar graph is created with the correct answer and the percentage of students who selected each of the available answers. The next screen is what keeps the students focused and raises the energy level in the room to something totally uncharacteristic of a STAAR review. It shows the names of the students who currently have the top 5 scores. That one aspect of this site makes it stand out amongst all of the other response apps and websites we have encountered. It leads to a friendly, enthusiastic air of competition and a good time is had by all...especially the adults who are looking on.
Side note: In the 30 minutes or so that we were in the cafeteria, only one or two students lost their connection to the site. That speaks volumes about the possibilities for this site in our 1:1 environment. Good stuff for sure.
Third grade teachers spent a fun and festive week playing Holiday Minute to Win It! games to practice skills in measurement and graphing. In the “Face the Cookie” challenge, students had to get a gingerbread cookie from their forehead to their mouth without using their hands. They timed each other and then created bar graphs to display their data using the Numbers app on their iPads. Other games included the “Reindeer Nose Dive,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” and “Holiday Card Cliffhanger.” What a fun way to practice math skills and practice working together in the classroom!
I love this creative use of Gmail that Laura Wright told me about today. Here are the details:
#1. The class spent about 30 minutes adding their parent emails into the "contacts" on the iPad, and adding Laura as well. Those are the only people in their contacts.
#2 Everyone puts in "mom" as the first name of their mom and "dad" as the first name of their dad, and Laura's first nam is "Miss". This makes it easier for students to autofill their parents's names when sending an email.
#3 Laura is "CC'd" on every email that goes out.
#4 Students cannot hit "send" without Laura's permission. They use their paper dictionaries and ask Laura to help with spelling, so editing is an important part of this process.
#5 The class checks email everyday quickly at a certain time. They usually don't respond, unless it is a special project. For example, she has her students send reminders to their parents before a field trip so parents don't need to respond to them.
#6 They use this as a writing grade. They read something, such as Time For Kids, and take a photo of something in the article and email it out. They have to write 3-4 sentences about it what they have read.
#7 Laura prints out the email and grades it for spelling, grammar and punctuation!
#8 Parents respond and the best part of all of this is the questions that the parents are asking their student about his/her writing and the answers that those questions evoke in her students.
Not only do these activities promote good writing, but they are a great means of parent/teacher/student communication.
Thanks for sharing, Laura!
Aurasma is an augmented reality platform and is an app on all of the student iPads. Aurasma uses advanced image and pattern recognition to blend the real world with rich interactive content. Laura Wright's class used this app this work as a culminating activity for a Science Unit on Landforms.
The landforms were created and labeled and each of them contained a volcano. Part of today's activity was to watch as the 3rd Grade Scientists added the correct ingredients to make their volcanoes erupt.
Here is a List.ly of some great Aurasma resources:
One of Laura Wright's strengths is that she is very comfortable combining the world of technology and the equally important hands on learning activities that are so much a part of the elementary classroom. The result is always a thing of beauty. Last week, Laura's students, in conjunction with their unit on the ocean, made dioramas highlighting the issue of pollution in our oceans. When the dioramas were complete, Laura decided to incorporate a little bit of Augmented Reality to the project by using the Aurasma app. Here are the steps in her process:
1. Open the library in the Aurasma app.
2. Search for an ocean animal.
3. Take a picture of your diorama to use as a trigger.
4. Position your "aura" ocean animal over the trigger image.
5. Save your aura.
When each student completed their aura, Laura invited Lisa Johnson and me to view the projects. Thanks to Lisa for taking the majority of the photos and videos that I used in this iMovie Trailer!
Mrs. Phi told me today that in years past, the Third Grade had done this simple machines project by taking the pictures with the classroom cameras, importing them into their Home Folders in the computer lab, and then using Publisher to create a brochure. Now that they have the iPads, they can do the entire project on the iPads in their classrooms. According to Mrs. Phi, it is much more engaging.
I got to see the students in action today as they were finishing up their projects and they were all so very excited to share them with me. They were most definitely engaged in their learning!