Thursday, March 14, 2013

Progress Report Yr 2 Innovative Designs For Learning

As spring break approaches and I plan for Term 3, it is time to reflect on class goals in Integrating Technology for Year 2 of our Innovate Designs For Learning Project.  Below are my goals and our progress to date in Year 2.

This year I want to find new opportunities to support my class and new resources to individualize learning for each of my students. 

1. In year 1 of the Project we dabbled with Pinterest and although we only managed to dip our toes in and bookmark our work to share, I can see now that there are other great possibilities for this year. I want to set up separate boards for each child:
  •  to post links to their online blogs, movies and to post photos of their artwork;
  •  to pin the resources they find and the photos they use in their creations. This year we used dropbox but Pinterest makes it much easier to bookmark and collect resources because it is so visual.
  • one reason for me to post resources and links to new projects. I make webpages for each of our projects with video, links and instructions and I think Pinterest will help me organize and make them quicker to access. Also the class can add new links they find that we should use or share Then they become part of the assignment creation phase. 
    • I am exploring Surrey Schools new web site to build a class wiki that will connect student blogs and websites in one space. I would like to find a way to connect through district resources. I am working on an exemplar site to see if this is a possibility. So far I am finding it much more difficult to use in comparison with online resources, but I am going to complete the site and see how it turns out. When done, it may become a space to link students to all their books, blogs, and videos.
    • I am still using Pinterest to collect my own resources and have a class site set up for this year too. However we have been so busy creating content that I have not had time to  get students pinning. I will work on this in term 3.
2. I will continue to make movies with the class. Last year we made two.  Both were follow up projects to novels. The class loved making them and it helped them develop a stronger understanding of setting, character, key events, and plotlines. They said it made them become the characters and they learned to work together and value each other. This year I would like to open up opportunities for them to use this format to make documentaries of our First Nation's workshops and research Owls. Now that Book Creator can hold videos we can embed our videos and then write about making them. Or perhaps create a book that contains them all and allow a question and answer  or comment section to go with each video. Lots more possibilities.
  • We are in the midst of making our first movie. We have written legends and are working to produce them. Students have created the legends, written the scripts,  and now that they are bringing heir own devices we can work in smaller groups of three instead of four. We have also used Animoto this year and Book Creator so in term three students will have more ways to present their learning. We will start a research project on Owls and students will choose from making books or a web page to present their work to the class. We have been using book creator and blogging extensively this year and  have been getting them to produce their own illustrations or take photos so we do not need to depend on Google for pictures. However this is more time consuming and next term we may end up using royalty free photograhs. 

3. I would like to find more opportunities to give students choices. They love to take charge of their own learning. I think that after they have tried a variety of presentation and research projects they should have the opportunity and the confidence to decide which ones they want to try again.
  • We are now able to make slideshows, ebooks, websites, blog and are just starting to film our movies with the iPads. Now that we have the skills we can have more choice. In term three  students will have at least two choices for presenting their research on Owls and Explorers.
4. Sharing. Last year we shared our books and videos at assemblies and through YouTube and our blogs but we did not have a partner class to work with to get feedback.This year I will involve at least one other class and help them to start their own class blogs,  publish ebooks and I will mentor other teachers as they work on their own class projects. Also I will find another class that is blogging and link up with them to comment and share our work and give my class an opportunity to appreciate the work of others. I want to set up groups to share online resources and ideas with others on our new Surrey Schools website and I hope others will add and share theirs with me.  I would like to find a way to meet with some of my twitter colleagues  to share,  compare, plan and engage in collaborative projects together.
  • We joined the Global Read Aloud and were able to skype, Twitter and post our Animoto predictions with others from Surey and around the world. We enjoyed reading along with so many other students and blogged about the book as we went.  We have started to work on commenting on our class blogs and on others as a class. 
  • I  attended the Dinner Series and tried to implement ideas between sessions.  For example 
    • After Digital Stories dinner we made 6 word stories for our Global Read Aloud predictions. We started with the picture then we made twitter predictions and then honed them further into 6 word predictions which we shared using Animoto.  I usually start with the writing then move to illustrating but this session made me re-think my lessons and emphasize the importance of the picture 
    • Bill Ferriter's talk on engaging students in real work was already an important part of our classroom. However, after attending that session I revised my math program to have my students create books to teach others the multiplication tables. Instead of drills, they created Math Raps, and illustrated, wrote and recorded them to create an interactive book.  Making Math Raps was a great idea but making the books became a cumbersome project so next year we will make them into videos to share instead of books. It will require more practice and less time illustrating. This is not Kiva, but a step. We still would like to introduce Kiva in Term 3, still a goal to work on. We have been too immersed in projects to find time for everything. It is sometimes hard to decide which ones to take on next. 
    • I have set up online resources and helped a group of grade six students that are working with video and slides to make presentations at  assemblies. They participated in the City of Surrey Anti-Bullying Public Service Video Contest.  We are working with our buddy class to make ebooks,  I presented at CUEBC's fall technology conference, and mentored teachers at school with book and blogging projects as well.  

5. Assessment:  Last year we did school wide writes and as I looked at the fall and the spring writes I was amazed at the growth. The new writing is focused and far more detailed. The students edited more,  their stories had better overall structure, and their voice shone through. I will need to see if the same is true next year.  When they published their research on the CPR with Book Creator they were able to publish their findings in their own words - a big step for grade four. Was this just a one time event or does blogging make such a major difference in student writing? Some of the most dramatic changes were made by my lowest students. 

  • This year I looked at the writing results on two fronts. First, I have been watching our blogs evolve over the last term. In the beginning, I had to encourage most of my students to write more. Now they write freely, and seem to enjoy the process more. They are taking on the persona of the characters they write about as well. 
  • Secondly, I compared their two school wide writes and found changes in writing, similar to last year. Students that wrote only a few sentences are now writing pages and their writing is becoming more fluent. However, many still have not improved their editing when writing on paper. They are more likely to do so when blogging though. Perhaps they see writing on paper as drafting.  
As we enter term 3, we have Legends to finish and new projects ahead. Students now blog, make books, and Animotos. They are currently making videos so they will have the skills in term three to make choices in presentation formats. They are used to working in teams and are becoming more independent in their work habits. They understand how important everyone's role is when working in a group and are becoming more reliable as well.

I am looking forward to term three. The year is slipping by, and as usual we will run out of year before we run out of projects. I would like to find time for more online collaborating so we are going to try Wonderopolis next term-or perhaps Mystery Skypes. Perhaps we will get to try them both.

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