Monday, December 19, 2011

Bloom's Taxonomy and Poll Everywhere

I had an exciting lesson with the iPads this morning. As a class we read a couple chapters from Keeper in a Socratic Seminar. Then students were given a copy of Bloom’s Taxonomy Question Stems and were asked to create two questions for each of the six categories: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.

Sampling primarily through the higher order questions (Analysis, Synthesis & Evaluation), I created a short-answer poll on “PollEverywhere” for each exemplar question. The students did a fantastic job with their questions by use of the stems.

Today, every three students were handed an iPad 2 and I gave instructions on the lesson. I projected the polls one question at a time. The groups of three were required to discuss the question for two minutes amongst themselves and to come to some kind of agreement. Once they had an answer to the question students accessed the poll on the iPad by use of Safari. Students typed their free-response answers which were then posted on the poll which was projected by the LCD for all to see.

Because I selected the “colorize” theme on PollEverywhere to display the answers, the collection of responses create a sort of animated “collage” of replies. We then discussed their responses as a class before moving on to the next question/poll.

Some of their questions were, “List three words to describe The Keeper”, “Rewrite the contract so that everyone is happy”, “Create a rhyming verse that describes Gato’s soccer skills,” and “What questions would you have for the recruiters if you were Gato?”

To me, this activity combined Socratic Seminar, Fishbowling, and Chalktalk. The students were highly engaged. I heard classroom talk that consisted of phrases like, “That’s not entirely true…do you remember when Gato said…”, and “Ok, I’ve compiled our ideas…”, and “Remember? The mother had never seen him play before…”, and “Why didn’t Gato speak up when they were making this decision?” Excellent classroom talk.

--Post by Geoff Crosson

Monday, December 12, 2011

iPad Pilot Glog

Earthquake News Report

This week, students will be developing a news broadcast that incorporates concepts learned from our studies on earthquakes. Students will be interviewing survivors, developing scripts, using IMovie to film and edit their broadcast, and will present their work on Friday. The various features of IMovie will allow students to develop a project that simulates a live broadcast. Students will have assigned roles with each job having criteria to follow.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Earthquakes through IPADS

Today, my classes watched a video on the earthquake that struck Japan this past year. Students then researched ways that buildings are retrofitted to withstand powerful shakes. After a class discussion on how buildings are constructed in various parts of the country, students used several materials to construct a tower that could withstand vibrations for 10 seconds without falling.

Twitter Chat

This morning, Jody Dixon's AP US History students engaged in a Twitter chat to discuss a chapter from the history text they're reading. His students tweeted summaries of the text, asked and responded to questions about issues raised in their tweets, and used a common hashtag to tag their tweets. Below you can view a few of his students' tweets. If you'd like to read the entire conversation, do a Twitter search for #chpt16.

Socrative Assessments

Today I used the Socrative Teacher and Socrative Student apps for assessment.  I created a pop quiz with 20 questions to assess the reading they did for homework.  One iPad was given to each table of three students.  Students worked on the quiz together.  They were given instant feedback from the app and a score report was automatically emailed to me after their completion.

We read a chapter from the book together as a class while discussing.  Students then read another chapter independently.  After reading, each student took a quiz via Socrative’s “Space Race” feature.  Again, scores and feedback were automatically emailed to me upon each group’s completion of the quiz.

Scores were then entered into Engrade immediately for parents and students to see.

--Post by Geoff Crosson

Exploring Literature

Yesterday I had the kids using the new iPad 2’s. We’re reading Keeper by Mal Peet which goes back and forth between two settings; The Amazon Rainforest and San Juan, Argentina.

I posted questions on Edmodo relating to character development, foreshadowing, Character Motives, and Figurative Language. Students accessed the questions and turned in the assignment via the Edmodo app.

Afterwards, students were given some “directive play”. I knew they would have extra time and since some of them had never held an iPad before I wanted them to continue to familiarize themselves with the operating system and the general feel of the iPad. Students were asked to launch the Google Earth app and zoom in to the Amazon Rainforest and look at the photos that were posted. For comparison, they were then asked to pan to San Juan, Argentina. They were to take notes on the distance between the two settings, and to take notes on the clear contrast of the two settings (one a lush rainforest and the other a major metropolis).

The last part of the “directive play” was for the students to launch Safari and perform a Google search for images. The keyword combinations they were suggested were, “Amazon rainforest bugs”, “Amazon rainforest wildlife”, and “Amazon rainforest logging”...all of which pertained to the chapters the students had read the day before…something to give them a realistic visual of what kinds of things the main character was seeing and talking about when he walked through the jungle.

The students were highly engaged because they were using an attractive and innovative tool to prove what they had learned from their reading…but the level of engagement was also high because they were simply EXPLORING new things; the tool itself and a far off land.

--Post by Geoff Crosson

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Easing In

Now that we're back from Thanksgiving break, our iPad pilot classrooms have really hit the ground running. Our students have used the iPads in so many different ways already:

  • Word web in Popplet
  • Word sort in iBrainstorm
  • Responding to discussion questions in Edmodo
  • Solving algebraic equations using Magnetic Alphabet
  • Journal entries in Pages
  • Recorded a video of how to find the least common multiple using Screen Chomp
  • Recorded and edited video of themselves in iMovie
  • Reading quizzes in Socrative
Our iPad pilot teachers are using the iPads continuously as a teaching, learning, and assessment tool. I love how easy it has been to share a student's work by simply hooking his/her iPad up to the projector. Our teachers are using tools like Edmodo, Socrative, and Screen Chomp to assess students' understanding. This on-the-go assessment feeds back into instruction effortlessly because the iPads contain both the instructional content and evidence of learning in one place. Next week our 5th grade pilot teacher is going to be setting up digital portfolios where her students will upload, reflect on, and share their work.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kids + iPads = Happy Day!

On Thursday, November 17th, the iPad carts were delivered to our pilot classrooms. Because of the great deal of teaching and preparation that had already taken place in Ms. Simpson's 5th grade classroom, she and her students were ready to rock-and-roll on day 1. On the first two days with iPads in their classroom, the 5th graders did the following tasks with their iPads:

  • word study
  • algebra - solving for X based on clues
  • science - reading an online fact sheet on groundwater, responding to questions, and highlighting answers in the text
  • posted on Edmodo

On day 1, a group of 62 men and women from local businesses toured the school and visited Ms. Simpson's classroom. I was so proud to see her students engaged with the iPads from the moment they took them out of the cart and to see the looks on our visitors' faces. What a great day!