Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Its A Digital Learning Day for 12-12-12

Once again Twitter comes to my rescue. About 2 weeks ago I encountered a post by one of my connections, Paula Naugle, 4th grade teacher and who also leads the #4thchat discussions. She created a global activity where students from all over the country would share their 12 Favorite Things stories, blogs, digital projects, you name it! I of course jumped on it and decided to join all the others across the globe. So I began designing lessons that would not only be engaging but also content rich. Last year, my students began using Kidblog with author Bryan Chick. I had started reading his book series "The Secret Zoo" which took us into a world full of rich technology. The students right away noticed the change of the homepage and quickly thought, "now what do we do?" No surprises I noticed on their end. They logged in and did a great job posting their 12 favorite things I had assigned to them the night before. They chose the categories and created a list of 12 things. They got the chance to explore with color, highlighting words to enhance the readers eye and play with various fonts. Here are their postings! hope you enjoy them as much as I did reading them:) Thank you Paula for creating such a fun digital day of learning!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Google Templates Bring A Little Disruptive Learning

As my students continue to work on various projects for the book "The One and Only Ivan" that we read back in October, I began to introduce them to sharing documents in google docs and the power behind real time collaboration. Last week, I had shared a 4 square template that was shared with me originally. Students continue to explore characters by describing them in one or two words. I used the 4 square template with names of the 4 main characters in the story and I asked the students to write down one or two words to describe each of the four characters. Frustration quickly began to show as students realized that their words were being deleted by someone else in the class. I noticed some were getting upset which showed me that they cared enough about the assignment to feel a sense of ownership (made my day)! Our district tech trainer was in the class with me and saw this first hand. So she asked the students what could make this assignment better? They very quickly said, "we need some lines for our text so we can read each others words and our words won't be deleted?". So she created a spreadsheet in google docs and shared it with the students and the students began to type in their words. Several said that this was much better and that they would be able to see all the responses. The lesson learned here is that when working with young learners in google docs it is important to create templates, in this case, that cater to young learners. It was a great activity and the students worked on their first class google spreadsheet as they collaborated in real time. Below you will see the template that caused some "disruptive" learning and the spreadsheet that brought smiles to our faces! Thanks to our trainer Mrs. Bartlett who came to our rescue. I am reminded that young learners care about the outcome of their product and that a little "disruptive" learning every now and then brings great joy to our hearts!