Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Final Blog

I feel like the Inspired Writing Class has truly inspired me to use more technology in my classroom. I believe students are writing on their computers with more purpose than simply word processing. Additionally, I believe my students are using the computer for academic reasons with more confidence than in previous years. Both this purposeful use and confidence helped them be more successful in a number of settings.

For one, there was a big transition this year to state testing being computerized. I feel like the work my colleagues and I did related to our Inspired Writing Class helped our students to be comfortable and ready for that change. Having had all of our major reading assessments online this year, where students had to respond to prompts writing on the computer, as well as scroll through text, helped them work on those skills before they were state tested. I don’t know how their results will fare, but I know they were not worried or freaked out about the testing at all. They were excited for it, in fact.

Secondly, my students did better on the end of the year district writing assessment, because of the work they did with the computers this year. They were better able to add text features to their informational writing. Also, their writing was longer, with more detail than last year. I believe their daily use with the computer and their efforts at learning more about the available tools, helped them a lot.

In closing, participation in this course made me a better teacher, but more importantly, it helped my students be more successful. This was especially evident when they created writing in their very own Google Presentations, and shared their learning with their parents at their Student Led Conferences.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

January Blog

(January Blog)
Yay! With the help and encouragement of my colleagues, I have started Google Classroom, and I love it! I have used it a lot in a very short amount of time. It was easy to get started, and easy for the kids to figure out. Not having to go to their folders to find things is a time saver for me, and not having to make copies of everything is a time saver for them. We also used the Google Classroom to do our Spring Student Led Conference Power Points, and it was a great format to allow me to track progress and give feedback to the students along the way. I also find it very easy to provide comments to students on their work through Classroom. I am looking forward to learning more about this tool.

November Blog

(November Blog)
This month was our second attempt at taking our end of unit reading tests online. We decided to change it up a bit and try a form next to the writing, since we knew this would be PaRCC format. Personally, I think the students were naturals at going back and forth from the reading to the form and it took very little instruction on my part to direct them. As for grading, it was nice having all the responses in the same place and not have to go searching in each of their student folders. It was also apparent to me, that I continue to have a group of students who struggle taking multiple choice reading tests on the computer, and I have created a small group to work with them on this skill. I think the technology is helping all students, proficient and non-proficient, attach this test with confidence. They don’t seem to mind assessments as much when they are on the computer.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

(October) Individual Blog Post

(October) Individual Blog Post
This was an amazing month for our work with computers. We created a Student Led Conference Presentation. The students then made copies and went in to the slides to make them their own. They added personal assessment data, links to their writing, links to the reading assignments, as well as color-coding words they are working on in word study. The students then used their presentations at their Student-Led Parent/Teacher Conferences, and via Smartboards, shared their work with their parents. I had 100% attendance by both parents and students, and I think it was because we had the students so involved. Their presentation skills need a little work, but they were so proud to let their parents know of all they have been doing. Most impressive were some of my bilingual students who translated as they presented, giving their parents a direct- clear picture of their work at school.

This month we also used the computers to create some short mystery/fiction stories inspired by Harris Burdick Mysteries. The students logged on to the Burdick Website to look at the pictures and chose one to download and create a story about. They were very excited to create and share these pieces, and the technology definitely played a role in their enthusiasm.

(September) Blog Post

(September) Individual Blog Post
We put our first Integrated Theme Test (ITT) for our reading program online and it worked quite well. We decided at our reading planning meeting, that taking our ITTs on the computer would be great practice for the PARCC assessments in the Spring, so we typed it up and linked it to our website. The students then made a copy of it, took the assessment, and shared their work. No paper! I then read and scored them, leaving students comments. It went very smoothly and we intend to do our other ITTs a similar way.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Getting to Know our Computers! (August Individual Blog Post)

My class has spent quite a bit of time on the computers the first month. We can all log in to Google Docs and Discovery Education fairly quickly and efficiently. In addition, we have bookmarked the Inspired Writing Page, Field Website, and Class Website. We have explored these sites to see what is available to us. We have also opened and made copies of two different plans- the story worm and a bubble map. We used our story worm to summarize the shared reading story we had just finished. We used the bubble map to brainstorm Summer ideas for writing topics. I think this time we’ve spent on nuts and bolts will help us greatly when we actually try to use these tools to advance our learning.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A day full of new technology learning!! Crazy, yet fun!