Sunday, July 28, 2013

Flipping the Classroom

I've had a fabulous summer! It is surprising to me that there are only 3 more weeks left!
This next school year has already been on my mind as to where I want to go as a teacher this year.  A teaching colleague of mine suggested I read the book Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams since she knew I was interested in flipping my classroom.

Last year I had all intentions of starting this endeavor during the second semester with my math curriculum. I quickly felt overwhelmed and not sure where to go.
Fortunately, the same colleague that suggested the book is also a teammate. Armed with our own desire to improve our teaching and the classroom for our students, assistance from an expert mathematician (a.k.a. Ricky Mikelman), a flip camera and tripod we set to work.
Our beginning seemed slow--not sure which videos to record first, being camera shy, technical difficulty, etc, but quickly we began to gain confidence with each video. (Huh, it's good for a teacher to suddenly remember what it is like for a student when presented with something that is new and possibly intimidating.)

We now have a great start to our videos for this year that will be starting in a only a short month away! This will be a learning process for me as a flipped teacher this year, but I already know it will be well worth the days of summer I've spent video taping. Here is a little glimpse into some of the fun that we had while video taping this week.
Thank you to Theresa for the snapping the pictures for us! Go visit her blog!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Welcome to Tech Snapshots

This blog was originally used for an online class I did for staff development with my school. I thought about scratching the post and beginning fresh and new. However, while thinking about what I wanted to do with this blog I realized that the previous posts might actually be helpful to others.
Since my purpose for this blog is to have a place to post teaching ideas, connect with other teachers, to post resources for my flipped classroom experience and other classroom technology ideas, I decided keeping the past postings would be beneficial to anyone wanting integrate technology into their classroom and teaching.  Please feel free to look through the previous posts. I hope you can get a few ideas.

This year I will be flipping my math instruction. What does that mean? It means that students will watch videos of lessons for homework and then do activities in class that would usually be sent home as homework. The "usual" classroom but FLIPPED!  I hope you will join me on my journey this year. This will be a learning experience for me that I'm sure will bring a lot of new challenges. I look forward to blogging about the successes and of course any mishaps. I hope that blogging about what I find works and doesn't work will help anyone that is interested in flipping their own classroom.
I will do my best to blog each week about how it went--lessons, class activities, videos, etc.
I welcome any questions you might have, but please remember I'm just beginner in flipped classrooms.
I look forward to a great year of learning--flipped learning that is :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

11 Tools #11- Self Evaluation

My favorite tools are all of them. I think they are fabulous! This year I will use the trading cards and wordles again. I start out the year with a wordle with their learning buddies as a get to know you activity. This year I want to keep up with creating library rings--creating a trading card for each book we read in class. Also allow kids to make recommendations to their classmates and create a trading card to add to our library rings.
I am excited to use Skype in the classroom this year. This will be new--kind of scary to jump into but I'm excited for the chance to expand my classroom beyond the classroom walls.
Since I have been fortunate to have some technology hardware and the passion for learning about new technology I think I have done a good job already fostering 21 century learning in my classroom. I look forward to continuing this learning, not only for my students but for my self as well.
I did not have any surprising outcomes through the 11 tools. I enjoyed learning about some new websites, apps and finding new blogs to follow. I am thankful that my school was able to do this during the summer. It consumes more than 9 hours of your time. In order to really learn and understand each tool a person needs to spend time to explore and understand each tool. I'm thankful that I was able spend that time on it during the summer vs. having to juggle school in full force in addition to the 11 tools class.
Excited to say I'M DONE!!! Now I can start planning how to expand on what I have already done in my classroom.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

11 Tools #10- Digital Citizenship

I want my students to understand and keep the following in mind when using technology:
  • Always use kind words and treat others how you wish to be treated
  • Don't email, write down, or post anything that you don't want everyone to see/read. (from the words of my father "If you wouldn't want it on the front page of the paper then don't share/write it down")
  • If you aren't sure about something being appropriate it probably isn't, if it is a question about a website always ask a teacher or parent before clicking!
  • Don't ever give out your personal information!
I would use the videos and quizzes on BrainPop to help teach digital citizenship. They are short and to the point. Many of these can be worked into different subject areas as well. The videos on Internet research and on plagiarism will be good to use when starting our research projects. The ones on Cyberbullying can be worked into our Character Education lessons. There are also ways to differentiate the instruction on BrainPop with the various follow up activities.

The best way to teach anything is through modeling and also being aware of what the students are doing. As they gain more knowledge they gain more responsibility and flexibility. The only way to teach them is through doing. There is so much out there now for the kids, many are wonderful resources, however there is so much that is very inappropriate for them as well. I do believe that the only way is to teach them the responsibility that is needed. They can't fully understand that if everything is blocked to them. There also needs to be some common expectations at school AND at home. This will make the expectations more clear and easily understandable to the student.

I always begin the year with clear expectations for the students. I share these expectations with the parents during open house and also in a handout in case a parent doesn't make it to open house. This year I'm going to use the video  Too Much Information that I found through my Librarian's blog to begin my digital Citizenship and expectations to the parents.

11 Tools #9- Incorporating Devices as Learning Tools

I thought the video about schools changing to meet students needs was very interesting. The statement about ADD/ADHD being "fictitious" was eye opening to me. It was also interesting to see that as the amount of testing has risen so has the amount of kids diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. So why are we still insisting on more and more testing each year if this is not helping our students?  In my years of teaching I have had many students come through my classroom that had been tested by doctors that were "diagnosed" with this and some were medicated, some were not, some where on strict diets to help, etc. However all the children in my class they were more engaged when there were different elements to the lesson besides sitting and listening to a "lecture". Luckily I am not a lecture type person in the way I teach. Now when I go to classes for myself I prefer a lecture format with time to explore on my own. This however was the way I was taught and it is most comfortable for myself. I liked how he illustrated the way our outside environment has evolved but our schools have not necessarily evolved to fit our outside environment. I'm so glad that I already use--small groups, individual assignments, large group and many other forms of teaching all in one lesson. I feel like I'm on the right track. Collaborative learning is something these kids will need to know how to do when they get out of school. As teachers we have to collaborate with each other, it is only common sense for  us to model this for the students now so they know how to collaborate effectively when they graduate and are working.

I have been very fortunate to have 2 iTouches for my classroom the last 2 years. These have been great devices to use during my Literacy Daily 5 Sessions and during our Math Tub time. I am excited about having additional devices because this opens up more options for my students. During Literacy time they use the iTouch to practice sight words, vocabulary, and for listening to audio books. At this time I used the 2 iTouches for apps and then had 3 personal CD players that played books on CD. This next year I will use some of the iTouches as the listening station to replace one of the personal CD players that is at the end of its life. Since my listening sessions are so popular, using the iTouches in this manner is very useful because it allows more children to participate during each session.
I like that I will be syncing all of my devices. This allows me more flexibility to set up the devices to benefit my students better. I also used a recording journal to track the apps and time each student used the device so I had a record of their work. I would like to do more menu activities to have a greater accountability for the students. These simple menus were used during the math time however they focused on the apps that were applicable to math instead of language arts. I also had a few students that had these devices at home and were very good at trouble shooting, remember passwords, etc. I called them my Tech Gurus and they were the go to person if there was a problem if a student needed help.

I can't wait to have the netbooks in my classroom. So many of my students this year enjoyed taking their books to a full publication by typing and formatting their work into books that they could then illustrate and and place in our classroom library. This will give them the option to do research for their nonfiction books, access their Google Docs, and also be able to produce their work through some of the tools I learned about in lesson #5--like Storybird or Storyjumper.

This summer I plan to work on Menus for my class for our various units in LA, SS, Sci, and Math. These menus will incorporate technology and other non technology assignments. This will give the student freedom to choose activities he/she is interested in but give me the tools I need to see how far this child's knowledge reaches. Since these menus are still in the beginning stages of being created I unfortunately don't have any examples to share. When I do I will update.
I liked the matrix--Luckily I feel that my classroom fell mostly in the Infusion columns. There is still so much for me to improve on though.
I can't wait to get the devices to get them set up and ready for student use! They have proven to be great resources for my students the last 2 years and I look forward to the additional devices to take my classroom and my teaching from Infusion to Transformation!

11 Tools #8-Devices in the classroom

I will be receiving iTouches and Netbooks for my classroom. I really do wish that 2nd grade would also be receiving an iPad or two. I think these would have been very useful for additional apps that are exclusive to iPad, to use as research stations, etc. I hope that as new materials are purchased in the future this is considered for the primary grades.

That being said--I have been fortunate to have had 2 iTouches the last two years in my classroom.
I also was able to use the netbooks in the library for a whole class lesson.
Since I am familiar with devices I'm ready to go!

11 Tools #7-Online Digital Projects

This year I plan to use Skype to bring more experts in to share their knowledge with my class. I hope to implement this early on in the year by beginning with Skyping with other classrooms within my school to set up practice time. This will help to model the expectations I have for the students before we get to our bird project the 4th 9 weeks.
For the final collaborative project my class will Skype with another classroom about their Bird Projects.
They will begin with using Google Docs to collect their research notes, write their rough draft, submit to me and then complete their Final Report.
After their Bird Presentations they will Skype with another classroom about their bird. I think that the format a teammate of mine used this year was a great way to organize the discussions. She and the other teacher grouped students by types of birds--birds of prey, song birds, etc. Then each group had a time to discuss their birds with the other class.
I look forward to developing this lesson over the year and finding a classroom outside of my school that would like to participate with us.