Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Finding something new from my PLN

I've been working with 1:1 iPads in my classroom since the middle of last year.  I've been amazed by the opportunities the iPads have brought to my classroom.  The environment and learning in my classroom has completely changed, which I love.  If I were to ramble off a list of the things my students have done, the list is actually quite long, but that doesn't seem to be enough for me.  I hadn't brought anything new to the table lately, so I wasn't satisfied.  I think this is the mindset of any quality teacher no mater if they have iPads or not.  

I was going to dedicate this post to a new app I've been working with in my classroom but I'm thinking that will have to be for another time. Because, whenever I start to feel in a "slump," I spend a short amount of time connecting with my PLN on my twitter feed, and my inspiration is ignited.   

I want to share with you what inspired me in the last 20 minutes:

By following #4thchat, I have Science flowing through my brain and thinking about developing a STEM project my students could work on.  There were also some ideas on teaching punctuation and developing math journals for students.

@JenBadura shared a post about The Wrong Way to Teach Grammar.  After reading this, I found even more value in my students' blogging so I'm geared up to continue to push my students to blog.  

@lindaYollis shared the idea of students commenting on blog as if they were specific presidents.  I LOVE IT! What a great way for students to focus on the voice of their writing.

@teachkiwi shared an excellent video to explain SAMR and how classrooms should be changing.

@jdeinhammer is working with high school students to create an iTunesU course for 3-5th graders about A Healthy Body and the Immune System.  This relates directly to my Health curriculum so I can't wait to show it to my students!

@catlett1 shared a post about how his PLN has made him a better educator (possibly the inspiration for this post)

@annfeldmann1 shared a post from @shannonmiller on 18 Apps that Support Creative Process.  These are tools I could definitely use in my classroom.

@pernilleripp wrote a wonderful post titled "I am a reader."  It made me want to drop everything and read.  Something I love to do, but don't do enough of.

I ended my evening by adding a few comments to blogs posted on #comments4kids.  By doing this, I not only helped a fellow teacher and students, but I learned about gray water, the Chinese New Year, and refreshed my memory on the book The Giver.  It's a gift that keeps giving!

So I guess you could say my "slump" is over thanks to my PLN.  Now my new problem is...how do I fit it all in :)  I am always so grateful that my colleague Brent Catlett (@catlett1) introduced me to the world of Twitter.  I'm not quite sure where my classroom would be without it.  So my suggestion, build your PLN.  Spend some time using your PLN to get ideas and share your ideas back.  Keep yourself out of the "slump."  The world of education is changing and in order to stay a head of this fast moving train, you need to be an active part of your PLN. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pop Quiz using Doceri....SUCCESS!

This week my students are preparing for their test on adding and subtracting fractions.  I feel like fractions are consuming their brains!  We have discussed a variety of strategies to find a common denominator and I have realized that each student has a method they prefer.  Students love having choices and I enjoy giving them choices.  However, I still needed to know they are confident in the skill.

Today, after reviewing all of the different strategies, I gave my students a pop quiz with 5 different problems.  They were required to do the quiz on Doceri and record themselves solving the problems.  While students were doing this, they were explaining their thinking.

As I was walking around the room, I noticed students catching their mistakes and changing their answers, students asking others about problems they encountered, and students gleaming with success when they completed all of the problems successfully.  The students' work was checked by one of their peers who listened to the videos and evaluated their thinking.  During this time, I heard students reminding other students to simplify their fractions or to subtract instead of add.  My students then added these new videos to their digital math portfolios.

I love the math conversations that are happening in my classroom because of the iPads.  My students are becoming more confident in their math skills and they are explaining their learning.