I started the year in a brand new grade and a brand new division. Before this I taught eight years of junior, going between grade four and five positions. This year I am teaching grade two. My first impressions were, YIKES! I mean I didn’t know if I could handle the younger grades. But here I still stand and it has been an amazing journey, with an amazing class.
Let me start this post with I absolutely love Genius Hour. I think that it is one of the best things that I have started this year. I believe this because it has allowed my students to blossom both in independent work and in academic work. My students have soared in reading, asking critical questions and in there academics.
I was lucky enough to be able to present at a GAFE summit in April on using google apps. To be honest and fair I knew about google apps but not really for education. Sure I used youtube for videos, I even used it to flip my classroom but was I fully using all of the capabilities; not even close.
Since starting this just two months ago this is what I have learned:
4) It really opens up the classroom for collaboration and practical formative assessment. For example, I was in an OFIP (in school PD) and I had my kids working on their docs. While in the session I was able to monitor my students work, comment on their progress and give them feedback in real time. Another great example is the ability to share work and comment as we go. Many of my assignments are now on Google Docs. The students can share them with me at any time and I can comment on them at any time. Also, when I finally mark them I attach a Goobric (its a rubric) to them and students have a chance to resubmit. The nice part is the rubric stays with the document and you can attach a brand new one to it. Not only does it allow you this feedback but these rubrics are kept on file for you in your drive.
5) Great programs and amazing storage. This is just a nice bonus but you also get 30Gb of storage which is a far cry from the 8 I get with 365. Google also works with any of our devices, so when I am with the iPads in my literacy centers or on netbooks or chromebooks my students have access to their drive.
6) Reflection and online portfolio: Now that everything is in the cloud, students will have access to their work for their school career (or for me as long as they are in the school). When they leave they can create their own space and transfer these docs to that new account. Now students have a real look at their learning and progress from Kindergarten to whenever they graduate. Talk about reflection and portfolios.
As you can tell I am really impressed with Google for education. If you haven’t checked it out I encourage you to take a look and try it.
It is really week three but I am a little behind. Just to recap, I gave my class a challenge to create a game for students to play within Minecraft. Our real hope was for them to actually program but it is taking us a lot longer then we originally thought so we are just having them create three worlds to showcase their learning of conservation of air and water. The first world is all about conservation, the second is on pollution and the third is a choice but must be on a water issue. The project is in it’s gaming phase (as I would like to call it). Students have completed their plan and are starting to make their plan a reality in the minecraft platform.
I would like to think that I teach through Inquiry. I really try to keep all of my work about the kids and their thinking; however, I do find myself still leading discussions more than I would like. Then I learned about provocations. WOW! I know that I have previously blog about this subject but since that time I have tried to use them more. Today in science I did just that (at least I hope I did).
Here is what I did:
1) I got a bunch of experiments working on air and water