Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Teacher Tuesdays Coming to the Apple Store

May16

At the New England Apple Tech Update it was shared that Apple Stores would begin offering Teacher Tuesdays. What does that mean? Free Professional Development!

I contacted the Apple Store at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, New Hampshire for more details. I was told that beginning in June they will be hosting Teacher Tuesday workshops. Sessions will be every other Tuesday. The time was not disclosed, but right now, the topics are as follows:

  • June: Encouraging Creativity with GarageBand on the iPad
  • July: Collaborating with Keynote
  • August: Storytelling with iMovie

I am waiting to hear more. I am hopeful that this opportunity could turn into a valuable resource for teachers. Perhaps, even a study group that takes field trips to the Apple Store for the sessions?!

I will keep you posted.

In the mean time, here’s Apple Teacher, a self-paced professional development program that you may want to check out. It’s also free and has starter guides for Apple products.

Read Aloud Book Club Idea

April25

This idea popped up today in my inbox from the Connected Classrooms Workshop Google+ Community.

Love it! What a great way to commit yourself to reading out loud everyday in your classroom and to connect with other classes anywhere in the world. It’s such a simple plan using Twitter, too.

Definitely am looking for people who would like to give this one a go OR create our own when the timing is right.

Thoughts?

Pineapple Chart

April4

I was introduced to the idea of the Pineapple Chart at a conference recently. And wow… such a simple concept seems like it could be so affective in offering PD and building community!

What is a Pineapple Chart?

Basically, it’s a chart or calendar that teachers can post an invitation to what’s happening in their classrooms. Other teachers see the postings and can visit that particular lesson/activity at the specific day/time.

A key element is that participation is not mandatory for staff. It’s also not a time for administrators to do observations. It’s all about sharing in a safe, non-evaluative way!

I’ve seen examples of physical bulletin boards, but at my school we are going to try an electronic version using Google Calendar and the ability to set up notifications. In the spirit of sharing, here’s what I have put together for our school. This resource includes links to a blog post about Pineapple Charts as well as step-by-step tutorials.

So it’s time to give this a go!

I welcome people’s thoughts, successes and failures about Pineapple Charting.

Reflection on Managing a Station or Center

March28

I have been assisting in a grade 3 classroom every Friday for the past month. My job: train students how to go through the steps of an iPad math creation station. The goals: 1) the current math student learning objective and 2) independence!

In reflecting on my time in there, I think it has been successful, and many students have achieved the goal of working on their own… and here’s why:

  1. We took the time to set expectations and to show students the process step by step. There were no assumptions that the students just should know what to do. They were shown slowly, and those that completed steps quickly became helpers.
  2. Students were empowered. Not only did we ask students who caught on quickly to be helpers, when appropriate I would be flexible and give a next step tutorial to them. Once they completed the steps, I asked them to lead the overall demonstration when other students were ready. This modeled what should be happening at the station: help each other out without doing it for someone as well as seek out friends or “experts” if you are struggling.
  3. The creation task was broken down into logical steps with a checklist so that students could keep track of their progress. Furthermore, a direction sheet for a specific app was available as a support to remind students of details. These resources have been excellent ways for me and the teacher to redirect students who come to us with questions. (Did you look at your checklist? Can the answer be found on the direction sheet?)
  4. The classroom teacher created an example each week. She showed this example to students as a part of her preview of each of the stations in the room. This preview gave students an opportunity to see expectations and ask questions like they would any of the other stations before actually being at the station. The heads-up is great for relieving anxious students, too!
  5. The teacher gave time during the week for students to do a little prep work, if necessary, such as cutting out shapes, jotting down notes, etc. so that they had the necessary materials at the station. Creating on the fly is an important skill; however, it was bogging down the station.
  6. Coordinating with support teachers to be available to work at the station with specific students has helped a lot. Students who struggle with multiple steps and reading are having their needs met, and we have found that they now are shifting toward more moments of independence at the station.
  7. The teacher did her own prepping for the station. Taking time to consult with me about any adjustments with a focus on keeping it as consistent as possible, learning how to make copies in her Google Drive in her math folder, making a physical binder for students to keep the direction sheets, having clipboards out with the latest check list and thinking about the best groupings of students to visit the station first have been extremely beneficial to the success of the station.
  8. The procedures and apps used have remained the same each week. I talked with the teacher about how the technology was not the focus. Finding a good app(s) and sticking with them was crucial. The only thing necessary to change was the objective each week. Some worry that the students will become bored. Nope… we haven’t seen that yet. A consistent workflow with no hang-ups about procedures and learning new apps is demonstrating what the students know in math. This aspect is very important for those students who struggle with multiple steps and reading, making the acquisition of the routine much easier. The station is math formative assessment at its best!

I’m sure there are many more things that haven’t even been realized yet. I am very encouraged by what I am seeing in this classroom. I feel like I am more of a coach at the station now, identifying kid’s specific procedural areas of weakness and clearing up confusion so they can get on the right course.

I hope my thoughts are useful as teachers work on setting up guided math and stations in their classrooms. Please share any of your own experiences in the comments!

BTW- this is the iPad workflow (for those who are curious):

  • Plan and create four talking avatars about the math learning objective using Chatterpix Kids.
  • Put the four videos into a media collage using PicPlayPost.
  • Share your media collage to the teacher’s assignment in Google Classroom.

A big congratulations to Mrs. Kelly and her students for an awesome job in getting this Station Rotation Model to work so well!

Ask 3

March21

A common protocol in many elementary classrooms is “Ask 3, then me.”

I’ve used this procedure from my early days of teaching. I quickly discovered as a first year teacher that there would be a line of students constantly around me seeking my answer to routine questions. By having students go to classmates for help, it has made my students more responsible for finding solutions, I think.

Recently, as I was preparing for my Google Level 2 certification, I came across a terrific graphic that reflects a much more modern take on the Ask 3 protocol:

(Poster created by Heather Dowd)

You can see that it’s no longer ask 3 peers before a teacher, but rather friend, Google and then YouTube.

This poster really struck me. How true is it that we no longer have to rely on face-to-face assistance or a person being our sole conveyor of information? That there are so many answers just a Google search away! And then to take it a step further… how many people are sharing their knowledge via videos now? If I want to learn how to do something, I will see if someone has made a step by step tutorial for me to follow on YouTube first.

Should we just let kids loose on these tools? No, not a first, but with guidance and training on how to do proper searches and sift through the information in order to evaluate what is reliable, they will be ready to follow this new thinking and find some really great stuff. We just can’t gloss over these important digital literacy skills. They have to be taught as authentically as different reading genres.

How do you seek information and answers? I welcome your thoughts.

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