Thursday, July 9, 2015

Differentiation in the classroom...Summing it all up

My first five week course is about to come to an end. Who would believe that I have used Twitter and Google Hangouts this summer? It was really a lot easier then I had expected.  Everyone should give it a try.  They are great for collaboration and giving out bits of information.   I have learned many new web tools to implement into my classroom. I did not just learn about a wide variety of web tools, but I also learned how they can differentiate in the classroom.

The school corporation that I work for has a wide variety of options for the students.  Our students have a wide variety of chooses to choose from for their high school diploma. They can choose to attend classes in the career center.  They can take AP and Dual credit classes.  They can join the STEM program, Honor program, IB program, or the 1:1 program.  This coming school year every high school student will have a school issued laptop.  I only hope that we have enough bandwidth to hold 2,000+ students and staff with access to the internet.  

I have many ideas and ways in which I have differentiated in the classroom in the past. Very few of my ideas have been with the use of technology.  I have gotten many compliments over my approach to my learning needs students that I work with.  Primarily because I take the time to get to know my students.  I then use what I know about them to apply Earth Science to the world. Through this summer course I have learned more than I had ever expected. I have changed my mind on a few of my teaching views through this course.  I can see how using technology in the classroom can be very beneficial to all students.  I plan on using many of the web tools that I learned and to seek out more that would be appropriate for my class.

I believe that if we vary the types of activities used in a week we have the best opportunity to meet the needs of all our students.  I can see that this really would not be a difficult task to achieve.  Yes, it is going to take some experimenting and additional prep time to begin.   However, as a teacher, I want my students to succeed and if I need to spend a little extra time with planning it would be well worth it.

I created this little PowToon to represent ways to differentiate.

Differtiation in the classroom 

(You can click this link or it is at the bottom of this blog page.)

<iframe width="480" height="311" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe>

The best advice I received through this class is to provide a variety of web tools for projects to choose from.  Students will choose the type of web tool that best meets their educational needs.  The second best advice I received was to let the students have do-overs.  I have been more against this issue than for it. I have felt that at the high school level the students need to be prepared and do the best that they can on each assignment.  When they go off to college there are not any do-overs.  That has been my main reason behind this thought.  I think now that having them redo an assignment helps them to learn what they missed the first time.  In that respect it is helping them prepare for college. I also think this would help many of my learning needs students succeed better in school.  It would lift there spirits and make them feel proud for getting a better grade on an assignment.

I hope you enjoyed my video.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Back to School video using Animoto

I have been taking two college classes this summer. This post is on my second college class.  Today I was asked to learn about and create a video using Animoto. We could create something personal or something school related.  We had to have at least 7 slides, music and add one text.  It did not take me long to think about what I was going to create.   At the beginning of the school year we like to tell the students a little about ourselves. Typically we do a slide presentation. I have been learning all about technology this summer.  I just had to make my introduction more exciting for the students.   I used Canva to create some posters with information all about myself. I then uploaded those to Animoto and chose some music to go with it.  If you have not used Canva, you are missing out!  I absolutely love using it.

I really did like using Animoto.  It was  very easy to create this video.  You will see the watermark in the video.  I do apologize for that.  The only way to get rid of the watermark is to upgrade to a subscription.  Which I may do once school gets into session.

I hope you enjoyed my creation and are inspired to create your own.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July

I learned how to use this web tool this summer.

So I wanted to express ...

Happy 4th of July everyone!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Do you use Warm up and Exit Tickets?

Do you use Warm-up and Exit Tickets? 

I know exactly what warm up tickets are.  Our school system has used them for many years.  A warm up ticket is an activity that can be completed without teacher direction and takes about five minutes. Warm up tickets are partially used so that you can get attendance done and other things ready for the lesson to begin.

On the other hand exit tickets are a quick assessment and used at the end of the class. They should take about two minutes and help to improve students retention.  This is something that I have not experience or have heard of teachers using in my school corporation.

I believe that these activities should be a type of formative assessment.  By adding warm up and exit tickets as a teacher one can get a better understanding of the needs of the students.  Our goal is for each student to be successful in class.  I think that using a variety of tools would help in assessing the students needs.  It would also give a teacher a more accurate picture of what students know and understand.  After gathering the information we can quickly identify any problems or misconceptions that students have and address them immediately or the next day when information is fresh in students minds.  All of these things would help each student to be successful in class.

There are a lot of warm up and exit activities that can be used.  A few ideas that I have used include:

  1. Quizlet
  2. 3 Statements - where you give the students a subject or topic and they must tell you three things they know about that subject or topic.
  3. SOS Statement - Give a Statement, Students provide opinion (agree/disagree), Support their opinion with evidence, facts or examples.
  4. Post it questions - Students post a question on padlet or some other device relating to the lesson that they didn't understand or want to know more about.  The next day students can try to answer Post it questions that were posted.
  5. Art Photo - Students are shown a photo and tell what they see or feel about the photo.  They can predict what happened before or after the photo. 
  6. Current Event article - Students find a current event article and summarizes it on blog or somewhere the class can access.  
  7. Read an article provided and answer questions related to the article.
  8. Answer Poll or Survey in Google docs, Edmodo, etc.
A colleague, Lisa, and I created this list

More Ideas

What have you used for warm up or an exit ticket?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Games and simulations in the classroom?

What do I think about games in education?

I have always looked at them as a way to brush up, improve upon and even learn new skills.  I have heard my own children talk about using Starfall when they were in the elementary school. They would come home and get on Starfall and play.   I myself purchased many Reader Rabbit games and other games from the learning company to help my kids learn at home.  Two of there favorites were the Putt Putt and Freddi the Fish series.  They would play these games for hours.  Both of these are adventure puzzle solving type games.  As they got older they wanted Sims and other games to play on the computer.  I was skeptical at first on what my child could learn from games like Sims.  Once I learned and actually saw the product I changed my attitude about them.   My children now play Sims, Minecraft, World of Tanks and DC Universe to name a few. People of all ages can learn from games.  Yes, there are mindless games out there where it is purely for enjoyment.  The key is to find a game that is fun and engaging while learning at the same time.  Often you are learning without even realizing it.  That is what is so appealing about games.

This week I played five different games or simulations.

  1. Gravity & orbits on the website Phet interactive simulations.   
  2. The Hunger Games Adventure on Facebook. 
  3. The Hunger Games Skills 
  4. Lemonade Stand on Cool Math Games
  5. Electrocity 
My thoughts and on a few of these games.

The game Gravity & Orbits on the Phet interactive simulations website was a nice game. It is a free website.   It really would teach the students about Revolution and Rotation when talking about the sun, earth and the moon.  You can visually see the relationship between the three and how they move.  You also had the option of viewing in different ways.  Even being able to view a satellite orbiting the earth.  A student could choose to look at the gravity force, velocity, mass, and the path as choice to view in the model. This site is great for the visual learner.  I know that many of my students did not understand what revolution and rotation meant. I could use this web game to teach them.  Last year I took a pencil and a pen to represent the objects, so they could understand the concepts.  So this for me would be very effective website.  They had many other games that would work for my Earth Science class.  The site itself has Science and Math simulations to choose from.  I did notice that some of the other simulations were more difficult.  I would definitely pair up my students on these projects. For example the Radioactive Dating game they have on this site.   I would place a student who has trouble learning concepts with someone in the class who is more quick to pick up problem solving skills.  All of these games seemed to be fairly quick and could easily be incorporated into a lesson at the high school level. 

I found Electrocity to be a very educational game. The basics of this game is to build a city that is run by electricity that you build in 150 days.  At the same time you have to keep your city green friendly. For example if you build a power plant you may need to offset the disappointment of your citizens by building a national park.  You can chop down forest to bring in money. You can prospect the land and look for coal and gas which you can use or sell.  Keep an eye on the market and know when to buy and sell these natural resources.  The main goal is to have a very populated city with little environmental impact to the land.  There are some nice teacher resources that you can use.  They give you examples of ways to use the game in your class.  There are fact sheets about the natural resources that generate electricity.  As a teacher you can sign up and receive a code to give to your class and the kids do not have to sign up at all.  It is a free website.  What I did like was that at the end of your 150 days you were given a grade. 

Energy Management B-
Popularity A
Your environment A+
Overall Score 74/B

I did not do as well as I thought that I would.  I found myself trying again and again.  I believe that the students will do the same.  We always like to strive to do better when playing a game. I mean how can there be any learning going on?  Shhh...that's our secret.

I would love to use Electrocity in my classroom.  I am trying to think of where in the schedule that we could put this. There are times when we have make-up days and students who are all caught up could play this game.  I feel that this game is good for all types of learning styles.  It is a trial and error type game.  You get a new town layout each time you start.  You wouldn't ever get 2 students towns looking the same.  This game suits the needs of the visual and hands-on learners.  You can easily incorporate those who learn by auditory by grouping students together.  Once the game is saved, students can share a link with there parents email for them to view their finished city.  How fun would it be to get an email at work showing what your child just completed at school?  I can visually see parents and students talking about it over dinner.

Lastly I am going to talk a little bit about the Hunger Games. I know that some of the English teachers have used the Hunger Games series in class.  I first started out looking at the Facebook game.  It is very similar to all of the other simulation games on Facebook.  It sort of follows the plot of the book and go along doing all the different task.  Once completed you move on to the next chapter forever and ever it seems.  You do learn along the way as long as you are reading what is on the screen in front of you.  I know that many students would just click it away and move on.  One challenge maybe could be over come by having them answer some specific questions at different times during the play of the game.  Then I moved on to find another Hunger game to try on website.  I did like this one. You can choose from two different ways to play.  Both of them do not take long and would fit perfectly into the time schedule of middle school and high school that switch classes. 

The first game is called "The Tribute Trials".  In this game you are given a screen that scrolls left and right with pictures on it.  When you click on the picture it gives you a question and 4 choices to choose from.  Then it will tell you if you are intelligent, courage, charisma, instinct, strength, speed, to name a few.  You will answer 8 questions then you are given a percentage score of which you either win or lose.  

The second game is called "Trial by Fire". You need to read a short paragraph and chose how you would respond.  You must respond within 30 seconds or the game is over.  There is one path to survival and you have to be quick in this game!  I can not count how many times I have played this game and changed my path.  You will too! Give it a try.  

The Tribute Trials would be an obvious choice for all kinds of learners.  I found it nice to choose pictures that were appealing to me.  There is not a time limit to this one, just 8 questions.  The Trial by Fire would be more challenging for those students who have difficulty reading.  You could pair them up with someone, but the partner is going to have to read quickly.  So this game does have some set backs for different learners in the classroom.  This is not a game I would use in my Earth Science class.  I just wanted to learn more about the Hunger Games.  

I hope you have learned something from my blog today.  


Friday, June 19, 2015

Collaboration on Auditory Webtools

I realized that I did not share my collaboration with Lisa on the auditory learner and the web tools that we used.  So I am posting this so that others in my MTI563 class and others who follow my blog can review it.  I hope that this helps if you are contemplating between what web tool to use in your classroom.

Feel free to add any comments / opinions if you have used any of these webtools

We all learn by sharing,

In Honor of my Duaghter Word Cloud

In Honor of my Daughter going off to Purdue in the fall.  I just had to create something that represented her.  I am so very proud of her accomplishments.  I can not wait to see what the future holds for her.

Proud Mom,

 Word cloud made with Tagul