Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blogging- a class changer.


The kids can't get enough. They blog their journals. They blog their poetry. They blog Jasmine's diary from White Jade Tiger. They blog as explorers, fur traders and document workshops, movie making and field trips.

We started to blog with the idea of blogging once every week or two. We now blog every day we are together. The kids are always looking for more ideas to blog. They write more now. They are more creative in their blogs and they are always busy taking pictures of their work with the iPads to publish their work in their blogs.

I struggle to keep up as now I have 29 blogs to follow and a class of prolific writers.  Blogging has transformed my classroom, taken on a life of its own, given my students a purpose and an audience.  They share their blogs with family and friends and take the time to share them with each other. They like being able to show their writing to relatives from all around the world.

Writing has taken on new importance to the class.  The students have begun to take charge of their own learning and choose to blog from home as well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Creating and Using Onine Resources For Project Based Learning

Over the past few months I have been using the iPads and Macbooks extensively in class for project based assignments. This has allowed the students to work in groups and pairs and resulted in my lower learners  participating more fully and  effectively in class.  I have created online assignments and included the resource links the students need to complete their work.

The use of video, pictures and written content together allowed my low reading level students to understand and contribute to the process of gathering information and making notes. They also used apps such as Book Creator and My Stop Motion to present their learning. 

Portion of the assignment

From this site we created books on the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway through B.C.  using iPads and  Book Creator. All of my  students were able to complete the work and share with the rest of the class. I was impressed with the resulting books and their understanding of the content. Although some of my lower students still  had problems with sentence structure they wrote more  overall and were excited to make their book.

•  took more care in editing their work
• were more involved in the note taking process
• were eager to compile and assemble their work
• understood and remembered more of the content they set out to research
• developed a more holistic understanding of the topic

When asked questions on their books they were able to explain about the building of the railway and the importance of it to the Confederation of Canada.

Another project my grade 4's worked on was the exploration of Canada and again they started with the information I assembled for them and used the resources I gave them to complete a variety of assignments including the completion of a blog as one the explorers.

One of the John Cabot blogs
Students worked in pairs to show what life was like for their explorer and although the project involved not only researching but understanding and using the information they did very well I was very impressed with the results.

One explorer blog