Next week, millions of students across the globe will be participating in Code.org's Hour of Code. This year, Code.org has added new, high-interest coding activities, including Minecraft and Star Wars. Will your class participate? Contact Shaun or Renee, or click HERE to explore on your own!
Teachers at UCS used the November late start professional development time to learn about ways to integrate technology during writing instruction.
Heather Ferreira used an iPad to take a photo of student writing and stream it to the projector, reinforcing concepts from her minilesson. Using technology like this, teachers can actually create and harness the power of teachable moments.
After her lesson, Mrs. Ferreira reflected on the experience, saying "I feel like it added a new dimension to my teaching. The students were excited and invested, and so was I."
|"I feel like it added a new dimension to my teaching." - Heather Ferreira|
|Students Analyze a Fluent Reader|
|Debbie Mayer Increasing Students' Access to Digital Text|
Tagul word cloud created by Renee Barrett with the poem "A Good Poem" by Tom Zart
Chromebooks are proving to be excellent technology tools for our students. However, they do have their drawbacks. The word cloud tools Wordle and Tagxedo will not work on a Chromebook. Never fear word cloud enthusiasts; Tagul works on a Chromebook! (Thanks to Eric Hall at MMU for this tip!)
You and your students can easily sign up for free on Tagul with your school email account. For instructions on how to create a word cloud in Tagul, click here.
Let us know if you use this tool with your class, or if you would like some ideas on how to use word clouds in the classroom. Maybe you'll be one of our future "Spotlight" subjects!
"Are you interested in game-based learning? Then come play games with us during our November workshop! Whether you teach graduate students or kindergarteners, you will learn some fundamentals of educational game design that will improve engagement and retention with your students.
This workshop is facilitated by instructional designer George Haines and features guest presenter Dr. Tamara Powell from Kennesaw State University.
In this workshop, we will:
- Showcase a variety of games you can create with VoiceThread
- Learn the fundamentals of educational game design
- Brainstorm other ways to begin game-based learning
- Learn about “Correct or Scooped”, a VoiceThread game created by guest presenter Tamara Powell
- Play games
Participants will also have pre-workshop access to an exclusive VoiceThread interview with Greg Toppo, the author of The Game Believes in You.
We hope you can join us!"
Click here to register.
Over at Richmond Elementary School, Darcie Rankin does an activity that helps students prepare for blogging.
Students create "paper blogs," which consist of the same components that make up a digital blog, but of course, are simply on paper. Blog topics can be about anything, and in this case the activity remained high interest by allowing the students to create a "post" where they write about their own interests. Read more about paper blogging on the RES Enrichment blog.
In the next part of the sequence, Mrs. Rankin has the students prepare to comment using post it notes. She begins with a mini lesson on what good blog comments are like.
|Options for the "type" of comment students can leave|
Next, students get sticky notes and are sent around the room to comment on classmates' blogs.
|Lots of movement and lots of writing!|
After each blog has a good number of comments, students receive a different color sticky to respond to comments.
Structuring the activity this way gives students a great way to practice responding to the writing of others, a cornerstone of digital citizenship. Likewise, it helps young students understand conceptually what is happening when they are publishing on the internet and leaving/receiving/responding to feedback.
Here is the video from Mrs. Yollis's class in California, which originally inspired Mrs. Rankin.
Over the next few months, Mrs. Rankin's students will be blogging. They would love it if you could periodically check in and make a comment yourself! Check it out here.