Technology provides new tools that are unbeatable in education. My advice for teachers is: Don't be intimidated by them; just jump in and use them. A few years ago, I remember working on creating a school magazine to publish the exemplary writing by our students. In this website I am doing just the same thing, but just as magazines are becoming obsolete and being replaced by web publishing, so is my teaching practice. Please read our newly published response to literature essays and use them with your classes as anchor texts. Printing a school magazine was a lot of work, not to mention the expensive amount of paper we used to print them out. This web magazine was much easier; I just copy/pasted most of it from the digital copies the students handed in.
There's something to be said how Web publishing encourages students to bring their work to a whole new level. This month my Language Arts students completed their compare/contrast essays. This year the quality of the work was much improved from last year. One of the reasons for the improvement is the motivation that my students felt because they knew that their work might be published. Furthermore, they were able to benefit from reading the work of the student essays that were published last year. I am so proud of the work they did. Please follow the link and enjoy reading these exemplary essays. Feel free to use them as mentor texts with your own classes.
Also visit the Book Blog and Book Clubs links on the navigation bar. My students have been posting book recommendations on these pages. They have commented to me that by reading these recommendations they have been encouraged to read books that have been reviewed by their peers. This collaboration has created a unique culture in my classroom that I have rarely seen before. It says that independent reading is an authentically enjoyable, worthwhile experience. Reading is something to brag about!
There's something to be said for re-dos. This second set of students in my Technology class is really benefitting from the experience I got from the first set. The projects we are doing will be the same but everything is going so much more smoothly and quickly. Also, the quality of their work shows a great deal of improvement over the first class.
First of all, these students already had their Google Docs accounts when they came in, so I didn't waste any time in giving them their first assignment. I gave them the task of writing an autobiography, in order to teach them how to format a document properly following conventional spacing, paragraphing, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Next, I created free accounts on Alfatyping.com so they could increase their keyboarding skill and accuracy.
The next big assignment is the Book Club Presentations. The students have selected their partners and they have begun reading their books together. Each club will be designing a presentation using Google Docs. We should begin posting some of these around mid April. Hope you will come back and check them out.
Bye for now!
Wow! I can't believe that this is week 24 of the school year! My first Technology class completed their final projects, click here to see their video commercials. They are now in Robotics and I have a new group in Technology class. I learned a lot from that first group and my new group will benefit from my experience. I will repeat many of the projects that the first group did, but this time I can tweak the projects so they run more smoothly.
My goal is to give them a rounded education in word processing, keyboarding, presentation, spreadsheets, and video production, on Google Docs and other software. Right now, the class is working on keyboarding on a free Web site, alfatyping.com. They are also learning how to format essays on word processing software in Google Docs. They can work on these at school or home because they are saved on the Internet. The students have also begun to form their Book Clubs in preparation for doing PowerPoint type presentations on the books they have read. As usual, engagement and the fun quotient are HIGH!
My motto for January was: "Let it go!" I'm talking about letting go of my need to control the class. That is the biggest lesson I am learning regarding project-based learning. This month the students have been working on their final projects for the technology class. The students were to create a fictional product, then produce and create a video commercial promotion for the product using iMovie.
The students selected a partner to work collaboratively with on the project. Their first step was to interview peers, teachers, and family members in order to find out what kinds of products and inventions people feel we need and would be likely to buy. They came up with all sorts of useful ideas like flying cars, devices for switching their teacher, popularity rings, and many other useful inventions. Next, they had to complete a worksheet on which they could list the details about their product like the creative product name, target customer, slogan, and a detail of the scenes in the comercial.
This first phase of the project required mostly seat work and was easy to manage, but in the next phase I actually had to let them go and video tape their scenes. As you can imagine, I had students all over the place outside the computer lab and at various places around campus acting, directing, creating props, and working on various stages of production independently. I expected to have a lot of off-task behavior but I was amazed at how my students only required a minimum amount of redirecting. There are 38 students in this class and that meant there were 19 video projects going on simultaneously. As I looked around, I could tell my students were all engaged in their projects or helping others with theirs.
The whole thing reminded me of why I became a teacher in the first place--to make school meaningful and memorable for my students. During my own fifth grade year, Mrs. Booth at Corona Ave. School in Bell, California had our class produce a play about American history. It was one of the fondest memories I have of my own school experience. I know that when my students grow up and remember Los Alisos, they will recall their experience in creating their video commercial projects.
Come back and check our site soon to see the final cut of our video projects.
Welcome back to our MIT project showcase Web site. The first trimester was finished in November just before Thanksgiving Break and now you can see the projects the students completed by clicking on the navigation bar links. Go to the Book Blog link and see the books the students have been reading for independent reading. Their recommendations may entice you to read something you will enjoy. Or, click on the Book Clubs link to see a detailed book report created on Google Docs and watch a PowerPoint-style presentation to find out more about the books the book clubs read together. As we studied many different authors' crafts this trimester, we picked up tips on how to write our own stories. Check them out by clicking on the Narratives page. Be sure to leave comments about the stories you read so the authors in our class will know how much you enjoyed them. Happy Holidays!!
What an amazing bunch of students I have this year! I am so impressed with their work. We are posting and sharing some of the best on this Web site. First of all, take a look at the Welcome Page and see our engagement as we counted Skittles candy to prepare to learn how to create simple Google Docs Spreadsheets. Next, check out our Book Blog on which our students are encouraged to share their book recommendations each month.
Our students formed Book Clubs earlier this year. Now you can see the Google Docs Presentations these creative groups have prepared by following the Book Clubs link on the navigation bar. Recently, the students have written outstanding original narrative stories. I can't wait to publish these for your enjoyment. You will be as impressed and proud as I am.
I can't believe this is Week 5 already! Time flies when you're having fun! Things are really clicking in my Technology class. Last week my students got their Google Docs accounts. Now they can work on their group projects, the Book Club Presentations, from their own computers. It feels like we are simulating a real life workplace collaboration, where a team is working on a project and each member is contributing from his/her own station. My satisfaction is in seeing the pride in their faces. Watch this space. I will be posting their projects as they are completed.
Excited, thrilled, motivated, these are the emotions I am feeling and want to convey to my students and their parents as we kick off a new year! My second year at Los Alisos Middle School promises to be an adventure. Last year I dove head first into a new school and a new grade, after transferring from teaching 3rd grade at Edmondson Elementary School. It took a few months to adjust but the struggle made me a better teacher and now, I can't wait to get started.
During summer, the Model Integrated Technology (MIT) teachers got together to plan the new year and we are definitely kicking it up a few notches! I know the students are going to love the new, increased technology integration. I am excited about using Google Docs. The students will be able to share documents on the Google Docs Web site to collaborate on projects. They will be able to work on these at school and home, contributing their ideas from any computer as they hone and perfect the project. We are planning to have at least one such project every trimester.
Through this Web site, Lobo Tracker, my students and I will be sharing our Journey and progress through educational technology highway. We are proud to share it with the world. We invite you to post comments and suggestions below, to encourage us and push us to do better.