Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Share Alike

With two young boys, it is the word that I find myself repeating (sometimes shouting) more times than I can count each day - share!  It is one of the most important lessons that as parents we hope that our children learn early and practice often throughout their lives. It is also the lesson that as teachers, whether you work with kindergarteners or university students, you hope your students have retained.  Share your thinking. Share your reflections. Share your mistakes. Share your resources. Share. So as I have been putting together my lesson plans for my PA Writing and Literature Project course next week on Writing with 2.0 Technologies, I have been thinking about the best ways not only to share the my resources, but also how to engage other teachers in thinking about how we share resources and information with our students.

Below you will find a LiveBinder of resources that I put together to help introduce teachers not simply to online bookmarking, but to how sites like LiveBinders, Evernote, and others can be used to collaborate with students. Online bookmarking sites are fantastic tools for curating information with students, not simply for them.  

Take a peek!  I would love your feedback.

Photo by Carlos Maya

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I'm Flipping

I'm so excited about taking some of my more traditional lessons and flipping them to interactive online assignments for students. Having just read Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams' book Flip Your Classroom, I've spent the last few days reflecting on where I can move some of my more didactic lessons on writing over to the web in order to open up time in my classroom to write with my students. Last semester I did a bit of this with students and saw improvement over years past. I created online videos to introduce writing assignments, walking students through the grading rubrics and particulars of an assignment through online videos posted to my class website. But I wouldn't say that the improvement came because of the videos. Instead, I attribute some of it to the fact that the students and I were working on the drafting and revising together in class. And writing teachers have know this for years. Writing gurus like Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher have been writing about writing with our students for years. And writing with my students last semester helped students not only because I could act as a coach, answering questions in the moment and giving suggestions, but also because students could see how their peers tackled writing assignments.

So right now I'm taking all my grammar mini-lessons out of workbook format, creating interactive videos for each concept with the idea that students can move through lessons at their own pace while taking notes on the concepts and work through practice activities. Once the students finish a section, I've linked online quizzes for them to take at the end of each section. This will give me time in class to actually work with improving their grammar IN THEIR WRITING, which is the point! They will be able to retake quizzes as many times as they want, and they will need to take a online grammar final test to demonstrate their learning. Whoo hooo! Flipping and mastery learning all in one.

Okay, and all of this is being done while I'm still a bit loopy from the anesthesia I had earlier this morning when all four of my wisdom teeth were removed. So when the pain meds wear off in a few hours, this will likely be a hot mess!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm Flipping Excited

In preparation for my upcoming PA Writing and Literature Project summer course for teachers on writing with 2.0 technologies, I read Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams' book Flip Your Classroom. I've been doing a bit of a blended learning approach in my classroom, assigning students to watch videos that introduce assignments or vocabulary outside of class so that I could spend more time writing with students in class. Reading Bergmann and Sams' book really helped me think through why and how I was using technology to engage students outside of class. It is a fantastic resource for the teacher just learning about this approach as well as for those of us easing into the ideas of a flipped mastery approach to teaching.

As a resource, I put together the presentation below to link to the wealth of research that I've found in my studies of the flipped approach. Enjoy and pass along!

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