Sunday, September 20, 2015

Teaching From the iPad: What I'm Learning

It's the end of September. I totally knew that I was terrible at blogging!  I have so many ideas and not enough time.  As stated before this is my first year teaching on an iPad team, however I've had one to one laptops most of my career.  This has thrown a learning curve into my teaching though for sure!

What have I learned?  
I'm a substituter:
I've been in two trainings where the trainer has referenced the SAMR levels of technology integration. Here's a great graphic organizer I really like which shows the various levels: SAMR Model.  I realized that for years on the laptops I have been stuck a the Substitution level and the Augmentation level.  The laptops have always been great for using Word to write all papers and essays, using PowerPoint and Prezi for presentations, using Publisher to create newspapers and brochures, but it's always been very basic. I don't believe a teacher can be in the Modification or Redefinition stage every day, but now that I have a better understanding of the technology available. I would like to be there at least once per unit.

Don't reinvent the wheel:
We know this as educators.  We are not paid well enough to spend our time stressing about one more thing, especially when someone else has already done it and now it just needs tweaking. I bought a QR codes lesson on TeachersPayTeachers.  It said for 4th grade and I just thought I'd use it as a preview to my Plot unit, but I didn't get to it. However, now I have ideas on what I can do with my future lessons!

My most recent accomplishment:
Now that I'm on the iPad team, I feel like I need to step up my game. But how? Also, how do I integrate more collaborative technology while still teaching the standards that I need to teach and assessing each student individually on mastery of content? It's crazy tough!  I started with my lit. circles.  I found them online last year some time and edited them to fit my needs of using choice novels in the classroom.  This year to move more into the Modification level, I created a Google Doc for this process.  The students can hold each other accountable throughout the week by seeing if they have accomplished their task as they work on their own.  Also, I can access the documents I created to hold the students accountable as well.

If you are like me, and you're a Google Doc novice, here's how I went about this process:
1) Create the Doc, or make a copy of mine and edit away.
2) Create a folder in your Drive for this assignment. Mine was simply called Lit. Circles
3) Create a million copies of this file, one for each group change the title and make sharing available (is this too advanced?).
4) Share the links on your assignment platform whether it's Schoology, Google Classroom, or Sharepoint

5) Have each of the students in the group select their link, and now they have their group document.

For an earlier task, I originally tried having students create a copy, then share in a group, then share back to me, but that was SO much hassle. Inevitably, I was hunting down students to share back to me, or one student in the group would claim to have not received the document to edit. Doing more work on my end to start the process helped it to run smoother later on. Also, after the first lit. circle meeting I could go in and delete the unused pages, then add in blank pages for the following week.

Looking back:
I have some ideas to make this better for our next novel unit where I actually have 5 common novels instead of choice.  I want to use links at the top for each job so the students don't need to scroll through 1000s of pages to find their job in week three of the process.  This is a simple fix that I didn't think of until we were finished with lit. circles this quarter.  Another reflective moment, teach your students to work instead of play.  During work time I heard a lot of, "Mrs. Adams, Blah Blah just turned my text pink." or "Stop writing in my area! Work on your own page."    It would be good to review with them that this is an assignment, how to work appropriately within a group on one document, and how to be appropriate digital citizens. We definitely had to have that talk and will continue to have it throughout the year.  

Any ideas from other veteran teachers on improving this?  What else should I try to implement?

If anyone is reading this, Thanks!!

Check out my TeachersPayTeachers store for some ready made lessons, especially if you need some sub plans!