On an almost monthly schedule, I meet with grade level teachers in 3 elementaries to talk about technology and 21st Century “stuff” that is happening in their classroom. Here are some cool ideas and tools that came from the last meetings that I want to share out with you.
One conversation was about Augmented Reality and how to use it in the classroom. At face value, I didn’t even know what this was. With a little extra research, it did get me thinking about how this could be exciting to use in the classroom. Read here for more details.
A teacher shared her use of the online plan book from PlanBook Edu. The advantages of this tool were that it is online and easily accessible, that peripheral files and links could be attached to the specific assignment, helping the teacher keep all parts of the lesson together and organized, it was printable and able to be saved and its cost of $25 per year gets you many great add-on features. Check out this video for more information.
Another 21C share was a teacher who is using a Google Form to have students self reflect on their work. This is a great use of Google Forms. Click here to see her example form. Could you use this idea in your classroom?
Another share was in the area of teaching students to blog and to give other students feedback and peer review. We talked about how this has to be a learned skill. Here are some resources this teacher shared for teaching this skill. Feedback is a great way to help students be responsible for their own learning and to help students learn and grow in their learning. Providing each other with feedback is even more critical and by learning how to give good feedback, they are better able to work and learn with others.
Here is a tool that I think many teachers will want to try: it is called Sign Up Genius. Its purpose is to help teachers (& others) simplify the process of managing volunteers and sign-ups of any sort. It is an awesome free tool that you should give a look if you have needs for making such tasks simple and easier to manage. This looks like a nice tool to simplify communication with parents and others in the classroom. Click here to watch on overview video.
Learn Zillion is a great website that has Common Core lessons for students. You can explore this for many different purposes. Maybe you would like to find a video lessons and resources to support a common core goal at your grade level and you would like to use this lesson to supplement your whole group or small group instruction. With a teacher account, you can access the common core standards and the lessons correlated to the standards. Lessons include video tutorials, teacher resources, and other supplemental resources and printables as needed. If you would like to enrich or reinforce individual students using the Learn Zillion lessons, you are able to setup classes and students in this tool and assign content to the students. To learn more, explore here. And…… it is a free tool which is funded by the Bill Gates Foundation. This is a great tool to use to personalize learning and make it more independent.
One teacher had an idea to use the power of Google Docs to support student writing and the peer editing and revision process in a interesting way, The idea was since Google Docs has the power to allow others to revise and edit one’s work while not sharing the same time and space…… why not utilize other grade level students in the role of writing mentors. For example, 4th grade students could be writing mentors to younger students and through Google Docs provide revision and editing feedback to these students. On the flip side, older students could play the role of writing mentors to these 4th graders. Again, the power of Google Docs is that this can occur while students are in different places and spaces. Great collaborative idea!
Google also gives our students the ability to use email to communication with others. Typically, in our Google Apps world, our students are able to email within our school domain. However, for this special project, we are going to put a digital spin on penpals and use email to communicate with students in other regions of the United States. I will keep you posted on this project and its success.
Connecting Reference Skills with Curriculum
Every year, we review reference books with the fourth grade students because it is part of the WKCE test. We are always looking for ways to make a real-life connection that is engaging and allows creativity for the students. This year we took an idea from the WEMTA listserv emails and decided to create a lesson on Wisconsin which is a required curricular piece for 4th grade as well. Students learned about the reference books, collected information and organized it into a Google Presentation. Click here to see a sample student’s work.