What an amazing video about the power of revision and peer support. This video shows the value of redrafting and peer "editing" to make student work better. I love how the kids learn how to speak the language of revision and to value the process. It how redoing something can make it better. It also shows how to give specific feedback to help people improve their product.
I spent the day creating a Thinglink for a presentation I am doing next week. Thinglink is a presentation format where you start with a single picture and then add media links to it so that they are all on one page. I tried to use this with my students earlier this year when they were putting together their research presentations, but found it wonky because you need to have a URL for every link. This was difficult on the iPads but it would not have been too challenging on computer since you can upload everything to Google Drive and then share a link. Yes, I know you can do that with the Drive App, but some Google genius locked the share link function so that only those people you have specified can view the document. Yes, you can reset it from your computer, but it takes WAY TOO MANY STEPS to do this. Google needs to fix this!
I created this Thinglink on my computer, not on the ipad. The search function makes finding videos and images very easy, but still took longer than I wanted. Below is the end result. Teachers can easily get an edu account. I can see the possiblities, but the time it took makes it not in my top 10 list.
For the Notability training this week I have created a file in Notability and uploaded it from the app to Dropbox and then downloaded it.
On my To Do list for the break is reading Jane Mcgonigal's book Reality is Broken. I am very interested in using games in class to promote learning and engagement. And while doing some research on the subject I found some fabulous resources. Games Learning Society is working on games that teach. Explore the site. There is quite a variety of games available for free, my favorite word. Most of the games are science based, and Progenitor, the Zombie game, definitely looks like my cup of tea. Here is what they say:
Progenitor X is a game developed to teach players about the relationships between cells, tissues, and organs, including the basic scientific principles of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell research.
From one of my favorite blogs, Mind Shift, comes a selection of games that use persuasion. The first one on their list, Quandary, is an open ended critical thinking game where students sift through facts and opinions to solve a crisis in a village. I love that there is no right answer. This game comes with lessons and downloadables and they even have a free app for both Google Play and Apple.
I'm in the mid year slump. Maybe games will make it all more lively. That's my plan.
Here's a link to Jane McGonigal's videos. Make sure to watch the one that adds 10 years to your life. Now what will you do with that extra time?
My teaching partner and I just finished a Narrative Writing unit. From our district Literacy Coaches we were tasked with having students write narratives in an urban setting. The performance task the coaches wrote had students researching Philadelphia, New York or Chicago and then writing a story set in an urban setting of their choice.
Our tech take on this idea was to have students research a city (San Francisco or New York City) as if they were planning a trip there. (You can see the websites we built on the Students tab of this blog.) They had to interesting places to see, restaurants, transportation, hotels etc and create a budget. Once they finished researching we had them create a blog, one each day, for the seven days of the trip. At the end of the "trip" we added a fantasy aspect of the trip on day 7 when the zombie apocalypse happened and they had to survive.
You can read the blogs here. If you do, feel free to make comments to the students. Just like everyone, they like getting feedback on their work.
I am currently grading the blogs, and so far I have been very happy with the writing I have seen. It is far and away better than any personal narrative assignment I have had to assign and read. I think by giving students setting, characters (the friends who went with them), and problems (Every day we spun the wheel of problems which was just a random name generator that I had filled with issues like theft, illness and random people) students were free to write an interesting story without having to invent everything or regurgitate the same personal narrative they have written since 4th grade.
This all leads to what might be an exciting addition to this assignment. Google has added a feature to Google Earth which allows people to map and then tell their stories. Here is the link for that video. I have not tried it yet, but I can see it being a great addition to this assignment.
I am going to be introducing word study next week. I am going to ask these question:
Where do words come from? Where did the first English word come from?
I will be curious about what students will postulate. I found an interesting video which shows an animated video on the beginnings of the English Language.
It is in chapters so I can show relevant parts as we work on the word study.
I thought as I was teaching roots/ suffixes that I would have students put parts together to create new words.
I also want to discuss how new words are created and how new words are chosen for the dictionary every year.
Just some thoughts...
Today for advisory I showed a great video from one of my favorite blogs, Teach Thought. It was a video about a 4 year old from Africa and what he had on his bucket list. The video goes on to discuss how 1 in 5 children die in Africa because of a lack of clean water and would be a great discussion or charity to have students work on.
I used the video as a starting point for creating their own Bucket List, brainstorming what they want to do before they die. I found this great list of sentence starters online as well.
I am giving a talk on Tech tools I use in my Language Arts class. Most of the tools are on this site, but I put together a Powerpoint for the presentation. Enjoy!
Did you know that the Universe smells like raspberries? This fact and 1226 others are included in this new books that I just bought.
Now this in itself is an interesting bit of knowledge, but I am usually trying to figure out how to apply new ideas in my classroom. This one seems like a perfect way to practice Close Reading. Present a fact and have students discuss and write questions about the fact. Then look for answers and evidence to support the fact. This would be a great warm-up for start of class or a great sponge activity.
EFF has kindly written lessons to teach students about fair use and fairly using copyrights. There are 5 one hour lessons. I am going to break it into smaller increments and teach these. We need good digital citizens.http://www.teachingcopyright.org/curriculum/hs