Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘engaging students with technology’

Yawn, Yawn, Go Away! Little Johnny Wants to be Engaged!

I sat with my small group today and listened to my students, and smiled. They had  finished sharing their writing prompt about an imagined device that would make their lives easier. I listened to stories about a teleporter , a robot, and a pen, that can do the unimaginable.  After they shared their stories, and asked each other questions, they began an animated conversation about how they could market their inventions through a partnership. I sat and listened to their imaginations go wild!

We have to engage our students,  understanding that there is a difference between engaging students and entertaining them. I am not an entertainer, I do not sing and dance.(Well, not all the time anyway) My job is to teach, but to teach in a way where my students can wrap their minds around a subject in a way they are used to. My students are bored easily, they spend a lot of time in front of  a television playing video games. Therefore,  every day I make it my mission to  find a way to engage them.

Teaching volume? I used the video  Volume Song to supplement the curriculum. Boy, does that song stick in your head! Learning about Leonardo’s Horse? I located a video that mirrored the selection in the anthology, “The Story of Leonardo’s Horse“.  I added an image of Mona Lisa to Collaborize Classroom, and asked my students to post why she is smiling. And to my delight, I found a video on WatchKnowLearn, “How Mona Lisa Got Her Smile“. We are studying Ecosystems, and I have two wonderful opportunities to make it real for them.  We are participating in a contest offered by the Philadelphia Zoo, and I have registered my class to join the Polar Bear webcast being offered on the Edmodo site.  And, of course, in order to provide access to my students, I post all of these wonderful items on Edmodo, so they can be accessed at home.

Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that all I do is put my feet up while my students watch videos.:)  Not at all, each video incorporates learning, this has to take place. For example, after watching  the video,  “How Mona Lisa…”, the students and I discussed  story elements and sequence. It’s not all fun and games.  At the time I was writing this post, I was also engaged by my PLN in a  #5thchat. We discussed using drama in the classroom. Another exciting way to engage your class as they learn.  Imagine how many more students would stay in school if they weren’t bored out of their mind?

I do not like being bored, (I think back on all the PD workshops I have attended), and I try to spare my students that fate. And again, I’m not suggesting that every minute of your day be comparable to a video game.  But we have to do something to make our kids interested in coming, and staying, in school!

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Using Technology to Teach to All Learning Styles!(Multiple Intelligences)

  Technology makes it very easy to address all students learning styles, auditory, visual, and tactile.  My class was studying the Bill of Rights, and technology helped me differentiate instruction.  Having taken the SMARTboard class, I created a Notebook 10 unit that contains, “Life Without the Bill of Rights” , An Interactive Guide to the Bill of RightsThe Bill of Rights Rap (Youtube),  Bill of Rights Concentration game,  , The Bill of Rights game, addressing every learning style.  It made the lessons so much more enjoyable, and gave each child a chance to learn using their learning style. Lastly, we read the SS textbook and discussed it because nonfiction reading is still important.   After completing the unit, I wanted to see if they actually understood what they had learned.

I gave my students an  assignment to create a comic strip using Bitstrips for Schools.  They had to create a comic strip that demonstrated a violation of the Bill of Rights.(See below) I thought this was much more interesting  then writing an essay. 🙂 Some of them took longer than others, some put more effort into it than others, but they all demonstrated understanding of the concept.I believe technology makes our job easier, not more difficult. It helps our 21st century students succeed!

Article on Multiple Intelligences and MultiMedia taken from the site: Technology Impact on Learning.

Glad There’s Google!

“How many of you have been to New York?”

Two students in my group raised their hand. I asked them to name some things they know about New York, and they really couldn’t tell me much.  I, of course, knew a lot, because it’s my hometown.  But I wanted their knowledge, not mine. This was the third time I had read “Chester Cricket’s Pigeon Ride”, and it needed spicing up!  If not for my kids’ sake, then for mine.

Google Maps to the rescue! My  students opened their laptops,logged on, and away we went to New York City!  We went to the section where we could look at actual photos of New York City. We viewed the city using Panoramia, the kids  took a virtual tour of New York City. It made me homesick.:(  They were so excited! As they viewed the photos, they commented on everything. The height of the buildings, how many people there were, the view at night, all those lights! We returned to our list, and I asked the question, “What do you know about New York City?” My list filled up fast.  Google Maps helped my kids go where they had never been without leaving their seats. Hopefully, it will give some of them that urge to travel outside their state as they grow,and  allow them to open their minds to other places.

Anyway, we wrapped it all up with a rousing rendition of “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra using an MP3 download found on, what else, Google! Nothing like a classroom full of 5th graders singing a Frank Sinatra song with their teacher the loudest of all. We had fun! Thank goodness, there’s Google!

Google Maps Webinar – Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Google Maps Webinar=Wednesday, April 13, 2011

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