What devices do we have?
This past year we had 1-1 laptops. They were 5 year old HP computers. Next year we get new Touch Chromebooks so I’m very excited.
I will definitely need to take time this summer and check it out.
We don’t have any iPads or android tablets, but sometimes the kids are allowed to bring their own devices if we need them and the parents give permission. I let them bring them on Friday when we have Genius Hour.
My assistant teacher and I often use our iPhones for taking photos and videos.
I have one iPad that I rarely use.
When do we typically use technology?
My students use their computers everyday throughout the day depending on the activity. They use them in our classroom and often take them to their music class or modern language class.
Sometimes it looks like this:
But this is their favorite way to work together:
What they usually do?
This year I have a large group of boys who love to write. I have found that boys are more motivated to write when they can talk through their ideas with other boys and collaborate on stories together. Their favorite way to write their stories is on Google Slides because they can add images and use the comment function. I cracked down on pointless and hurtful comments early on by teaching my students the THINK acronym. They often share their stories with me, giving me opportunities to give feedback. Students also often publish their best work using Google Docs or Google Slides which can be converted to PDFs.
Next year I want to introduce the students to Storybird which has beautiful artwork to inspire writing. It also allows for the writers to share their writing and receive feedback along the way.
Our reading workshop time is for reading. After a 15 minute mini-lesson, students spend 45 minutes reading books of their own choice, at their independent reading level. In addition to reading their real books, they read books and articles in Raz Kids, Newsela, and Epic.
- Students have access to many approved websites. I let students request curation of websites that they think will be helpful.
- I curate videos and create playlists of videos for them to watch.
- We have a BrainPop account that students are allowed to access.
Usually these projects are related to our science and social studies units of study or their Genius Hour projects.
Practice Basic Skills
We use online programs like Spelling City, IXL, and Front Row Math to practice basic skills. We do this for 15-20 minutes each day depending on the skills we are working on.
Digital Citizenship in our Classroom
I spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year helping my students understand that a good digital citizen is someone who responsibly and safely uses technology to create, collaborate, learn, and share. We use the Common Sense K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum. When issues come up during the year, I reteach and model my expectations. The students know which websites they are allowed to use. The expectation is for them to stay on task and always be able to articulate why they are doing what they are doing. Most students stay within the boundaries (and those that don’t learn quickly)
What I want to try next school year:
My big goal for next year is to have my students document and share their work through creating digital portfolios.
I want to teaching students to self-assess through the use of digital portfolios. I will use Google Sites as a platform. These are some artifacts that could be included:
- Pre and post on-demand writing assessments
- Reading notebook samples
- Recordings of their reading (beginning, middle, end of the year)
- Samples of mathematical thinking
- Whatever else the students choose to include
- Student reflections on each piece
Thank you to Avra Robinson for some great ideas on how to use GAFE for creating digital portfolios.
And thanks to Kathy Cassidy for ideas on how to give students choice in what they post.
I also want to thank fellow COETAILer Andrew Grover for his post “E-portfolios in Your Classroom: Results and Analysis” It was very insightful to read the results of his research and get a feel for how digital portfolios are being used in the classroom.
I am thinking of making this my COETAIL final project. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!