What it was: Fifth Grade students in Laura Hitt's classroom recently used ChatterPix Kids to demonstrate Greek and Latin roots. Students created an image/took a picture that demonstrated the meaning of the root and included their explanation.
What I love: students authentically demonstrating their knowledge AND students creating a classroom resource!
Leave your sarcastic gasps of "really" at the door. This is what I learned being a classroom teacher for a day.
Let's just start with "Yes, I know. Aaannnnnddddd, I know that you know". And then my mother reminded me that not only do all of you know, but she knows too. She is the OG of knowing.
I had an opportunity to be a teacher for a day (I almost signed up for two days, but then had a rare moment of brain working faster than mouth). And out of the best intentions I said don't worry about sub plans. We chatted about what they had going on, and ideas for what they could do. Thankfully she left an outline of sub plans anyway.
Things that we did:
- took attendance with a quick game of Would You Rather and at some point did a version of this brain energizer (scroll about 1/3 of the way down)as a transition between math and ela
- used Desmos Classroom Activities and Nearpod to review and explore multiplication
- gave Glows/Grows to ourselves and fellow students on a piece of sensory writing that we are developing
- began a collaborative book on the regions of Texas that will be pulled together in Book Creator
It was messy and fun and we all lived to learn another day. Success!
Things that I learned:
1) Community Building and Relationships are still THE. most. important. thing. My favorite types of learning environments are a bit wild and messy. These are also the types of environments that require lots of trust, kid training, and tribe building. None of which happen over night. Attempting wild/messy learning experiences when you weren't the one developing that community (and that person isn't there) is a real challenge.
2) My effectiveness is built on partnerships. I can build castles in the sky all day long, but castles that can actually be lived in require partnerships of brains. I know that co-planning results in better learning experiences for students as well as builds the overall capacity of those planning together. Sure it takes longer and sometimes just doesn't happen, but when possible it pays off. This experience has kept me committed to that principle.
3) Spending a day teaching keeps you grounded, calibrated, and aware. I will admit that my ideas on teaching and learning usually fall in realm of lofty with shades of idealism. And while I am in front of kids often, it certainly isn't in front of the same 22 kids for an entire day (there is a difference). Being a teacher, lunch duty and all, is a fantastic experience that highlight the critical, but often subtle, nuances of "being in the trenches" that are faded and smoothed over by time.
Bonus: You can make it through a day with just 4 cups of coffee and two snickerdoodle cookies. But you won't feel great.
With all of that - I will do it again - later. I probably will still say don't worry about sub plans. I am sure I will re-re-realize all of the afore mentioned things, but I know that I will start with "tell me about your community of learners".
I went back today and the kids didn't groan. Yes there were other wins, but that was great.
hAPPy Friday y'all! As the process of providing apps through Self Service (EISD version of the Apple App Store) continues to be refined and improved, the Elementary EdTechs will be featuring a new app each week while including some ideas for curriculum integration. This Friday's app is Canva, a web-based tool for creating graphics of all sizes and types.
Check out the App Integration Snapshot and watch the video above for a quick start to using this app in your classroom. Additionally the first time you access the app on your iPad it has a terrific how-to-step-through session!
Hoarding can be a great thing, especially when it pays off as delightful exploration by children. Thanks to several cabinets of old technology, a retired maintenance employee, and a general lack of warehouse space the kids of Forest Trail Elementary were able to gleefully dissect and disassemble a range of technology dating back to the days of VHS and wall phones. Planned jointly with Sherrie Johnson (FTE's GT Teacher), we guided students through the process of figuring out how things work.
Despite having just 30ish minutes with third and fourth graders we were able to partially take a part 2 VHS players, 2 analog wall phones, 1 old speaker, a dell monitor, and a usb keyboard.
Throughout their exploration students creating drawing, parts catalogs, images, and videos. We hope to have the same group of students back in October to finish their dissection and draw conclusions on the purpose of the componentry they uncovered.
Students were engaged, collaborative, inquisitive, and most importantly diligent in solving their problems (taking things apart without breaking them is harder than it seems). We look forward to bringing more awesome, hands on, open ended, explorations to The Trail!