Monday, March 23, 2015

Now that the "work" is over...let's play!

As you can tell from my previous posts we have been working on United States President reports.  They have worked so hard, I thought it would be nice to let them create something.  Here is my lesson plan  so they can create a PowToon presentation.  I have a video in there that I used to explain some of the directions to them.  They loved listening to me through headphones instead of in person.  I'm just hoping they all kept the volume on. ;-)  I also linked some of their presentations.  They did such a great job, they quickly picked up how to animate their presentation.  I was impressed.  We also created a document that we put our best resources all in one place.  Our plan was to share it with other 4th or 5th grade classrooms that did president reports as well.  Hopefully it would be helpful to another class. The knowledge that I learned from trying to share a document with 29 kids and have them write on it at the same doesn't work out too well.  Total chaos! It's better to have 1-2 students on at a time.  

Friday, March 13, 2015's a hobby!

I love to talk, chat, text, email...the list goes on.  

I communicate with students, parents, my principal, PLC coach, and my colleagues at my school site everyday.  Each of these people I communicate and collaborate with in a different way.  I see my kids everyday and we talk, and when they have their email up, they email me.  We post questions on our Google Classroom and comment on each other's posts.  I use Class Dojo with my parents and they have a messaging feature I use all the time with certain parents.  Most of my parents are signed up, but some don't check my messages.  Some parents I only talk to at conferences because I have a translator and that is how we communicate.  Or I have to communicate with them through a 3rd party.  I talk to my principal and we are in email communication.  My PLC Coach and I collaborate in many different ways: email, text, chat, Facebook messenger, or phone calls.  I communicate with a few colleagues everyday.  We make time to talk and check in with one another.

The most surprising thing about the way I communicate and collaborate with all these people is that it happens EVERY day, yet I also feel like I don't get to communicate with my colleagues enough!

Asynchronous communication has to do with taking you time to respond to something, like email or texting.  I do these things all the time.  I like texting because you can can get your message to someone rather instantly.  You don't necessarily have to respond right away, but you receive or send a message instantly.

Asynchronous collaboration has to do with collaborating with a colleague when it's convenient to you, the time frame is very flexible. I don't feel like this is something I do with regularity.  With my Teaching in the Digital Age Class, I have these collaborations more often then if I was doing this on my own.  It's something that I would like to do more.

Synchronous communication I love this method!  It's real time chatting.  I like that it's instant.  My kids love to chat with me on Google Classroom. Every Monday I post something that they can chat with me and each other.  They love it, we are in the same room, but it's cool to chat with each other.  I like to chat with my colleagues as well.  It's nice to get an instant answer to a question, or vent quickly.

Synchronous collaboration collaborating instantly.  I use this kind of collaborating with my PLC coach.  We use messenger all the time to bounce ideas off each other.  I have also used Google hangouts for PLC meetings.

I have realized that I am really good at Asynchronous and Synchronous communication, but both my collaboration methods need work.  I think for the Synchronous collaboration I just need to expand my colleagues I chat with and bounce ideas off of.  I am always up for learning new things and trying different ways to collaborate and communicate.  So if you see me online, start up a conversation!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Symbaloo...and the US Presidents

This week I created a Symbaloo about US Presidents.  We are two weeks away from being done with our reports and I thought this would be an awesome topic my kids can relate to.  You can see my Symbaloo about US Presidents here.  It has all sorts of resources for you to use.  Not just great websites, but different web tools the kids can use to create all sorts of amazing things for their President reports.
I am going to share this list with my kids via Google Classroom.  One of their assignments will be to explore the resources I put in it. I will share it with my colleagues via Google + and my blog.

In addition to sharing my Symbaloo, my kids will be watching two videos I got on YouTube.  Here is one of them, Fun Presidential Facts.  That way they can see not just their own president, but the president their friends are researching as well.

I also found a Kid President video where he is meeting President Obama and getting to tour the White House.  I love this kid and he has some great messages for my kids to hear.  I will also share this video with my kids through Google Classroom.  I didn't choose to make my own video because I am very camera shy.  I thought these videos could be fun and educational for the kids.  If I made the video, I'm not sure how much fun my kids would have watching it. Maybe if I were reporting on something like my love of M&M's and not the Presidents of the United States.  There are advantages of me making a video though, I have to admit.  Like my students getting the exact information I want them to.  I will be more adventurous...maybe just not today.  My kids have worked hard on their reports, so I hope they enjoy looking at my Symbaloo and watching these videos.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My kids are so cool...

I have been showing my kids my blog and we had a long lesson today about Netiquette and their Digital Footprint.   One of them was so inspired by my blog, they started their own!  How cool is that? Check his blog out, way to go Silas!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Data and the Digital Age Learner

If I asked you to design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments, could you do it?  It can be done, but it takes a lot of time, work and forethought. 
If I were to rank my abilities on the ISTE Standards for Teachers Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments sub-standards  B-D, they would be as follows.

1. Provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards, and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching

2. C Customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources

3. B Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress

I would say the D is my strongest sub-standard.  I use varied types of assessments through out my day with my kids.  I am trying to use not just the exit tickets, white board or teacher observations that I'm used to.  I recently got my kids on Google Classroom, so I'm trying to be more digital age with my assessments.  I made a few Google Forms and also an assessment in Google Docs they will have to read 2 stories and write their responses.  For those who finish early I'm going to have them try to make a Venn Diagram in the drawing program.  I am going to just let them create and see what happens. I also use DIBELS data all the time to guide my teaching.  From that data I see who needs interventions with me, who needs enrichment and who I need to pull a little bit more above that line.

I think my use of DIBELS falls in sub-standard C as well.  I can customize what they need by using that data.  I also use Front Row Math and the kids work at their level in whatever standard we are working on at the time.  (I had a sub on Friday afternoon and they were going to go to the computer lab to work on FRM.  I told them they could work on any standard we had already covered and I got a unanimous "Yesss" from the whole class.  I usually take that as a good sign. :-))  I have heard of Newsela and I want to get my kids on this site. From what I know it has customized stories for them at their reading level, which is fantastic. 

Now, for sub-standard B, I really feel like we do this but not at the level we could be at.  I have Data Folders for everyone and they look at them every week.  I have put our "I Can" 4th grade standards in these folders and we look at those standards all the time.  I would love to take this to the next level having the standards in a Google Doc or something where they can put checks next to the ones we have covered or rank their level of proficiency.  I also want them to create a spreadsheet with data from their multiplication tests, Lexile Levels, DIBELS data and anything else we can track.  I think these are great things to learn and do with the kids, but on the flip side I think they will take some time to get up and running.  Most kids are very capable of completing these task with out my help, but there are quite a few I will have to help extensively.   It's a time factor and also a device factor.  When I do get these devices, is this the best use of my time with them?

Infographic on DIBELS Data

Here is a cool infographic I created with the data I had from the DIBELS testing. We are improving! Good job 4th graders! See our data here...Benchmark #2