Fun New Ways

I think that learning through play is very important for students. It motivates them to learn. 

Like anything that is new, technology can be scary. I personally find some technology hard and it can be intimidating learning something new and changing our practice. I usually still write hand notes and love making things by hand. Last year I was very intimidated to make our e-portfolio, but after being educated about the program and some instruction on how to navigate the website, I actually really enjoyed making my Weebly. I have also really been into making iMovies with my video footage I have been taking on outdoor adventures. I think that once technology is introduced and properly explained then it is not as intimidating as we think. 

I think there are many ways that we can incorporate technology in our classrooms but I think that taking baby steps will be important and start with easier ways.

Here are some ways we can implement technology in our classrooms (of course we have limited access to some devices):

Delivering Content 

  1. Run a virtual field trip 
  2. Preview field trips virtually
  3. Too noisy (a digital noise metre)
  4. Use videos for mini lessons (teachertube)
  5. Coordinate live videos 
  6. Play podcasts
  7. Add multimedia elements to presentations (images, graphs, pictographs, sound effects, etc.)
  8. Send adaptive content
  9. Share an online class calendar 

Helping Students Process Content

  1. Use virtual manipulatives
  2. Run learning stations
  3. Provide online activities for students who complete work early 
  4. Save time for exit tickets
  5. use twitter hashtags to take questions 
  6. Study, review and critique content on web pages
  7. Use online mind maps for class brainstorms 
  8. Gather student feedback (Socrative, Google Forms, SurveyMonkey)

Allow students of create products 

  1. Launching a wiki page for a collaborative assignment 
  2. Set up student blogs 
  3. Offer open-ended projects
  4. Use online sign-ups
  5. Base assignment on technology-focused subjects

Offer a unique learning experience 

  1. Introduce a game-based learning platform 
  2. play simulations 
  3. participate in a web quest 

This website was very informative on the ideas I have listed above. I would highly suggest checking it out if you’re interested in implementing fun new ways of technology in your classroom.


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How far ahead should I be planning?

I was originally going to make this post about my plans to implement the Six Cedar Trees into my classroom and build community. BUT then I realized I was going off on a tangent and switched my focus to get back on track. I found this great website with a Teacher Summer To Do list which has inspired me to look at Planning for this last blog post.  This website has some great ideas; some of which are reminders for areas we have already talked about and others that will give you more to think about! It focuses on your Management Plan, relationship building/get to know you activities, routines and planning the first 2-4 weeks only…..

Although I agree we can’t plan to far ahead, as we wait to begin out school year there is much to think about and I do believe that having a loose (and flexible) yearly plan is necessary. My earlier post on What To Do the First Day of the School  advised us to begin planning for academics right away… which academics should we start with? To figure this out you will need a Yearly Planning template like this one from Teachers Pay Teachers. Or of course you can just make your own! You need to be able to organize all your main units by each subject and which months units should be placed. It is important to have a copy of the curriculum close at hand so you can be sure to include all the Big Ideas and Content. Make sure to know how many instructional weeks you have per month.

Here are some ways you can organize your units:

  • Seasonally – Consider what time of year it would be best to learn about certain topics (don’t study plants during the dark months of winter etc.)
  • Plan around Holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter to use theming.
  • Focus on planning you Content subjects first then integrate Literacy and Math around them
  • Focus on areas that you are most nervous about to get that area out of the way.
  • Focus on areas that will create the most impact in your students learning.

Here are some more tips from SCHOLASTIC CANADA.

 We learned about the important of backward design last year with Paige and this situation is no different. Look at the units that you want to teach. Are there any skills that your students will need to know BEFORE you teach that unit? Put skill building units to the beginning of the year. Things like the Core Competencies, Historical Ways of Thinking and Inquiry skills are great to work on in the beginning of the year so that your students will be supported in deeper learning further down the road.

Well there you have it! We definitely won’t be completely ready when we start this journey of ours but hopefully this has helped you consider some of the things you will need to be prepared for as a classroom teacher…. *mic drop*

– Ms. S

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Formative Feedback

Lastly, one of the most important parts of feedback is when, and how you implement it. The only way students can improve in their learning, is if they have someone to interpret their work, and share with them effective strategies for them to continue learning. As Bruner said back in 1970, “learning depends on knowledge of results, at a time when, and at a place where, the knowledge can be used for correction.”

Lets unpack that a bit. “Learning depends on knowledge of results”: meaning that its not enough to just learn something, students have to then learn from the results of their actions. “At a time when, and a place where, the knowledge can be used for correction”: its not enough for students to learn, or even to be told how to improve on their learning, that all needs to happen at a time and place in which they are ready for it.

This table from Sharon Gedye’s article “Formative assessment and feedback: a review” shows Sadler’s six resources for effective formative feedback.

Gedye goes on to give some more ways to improve the quality of your feedback. She says that your feedback should be presented as soon as you can after the assignment, and should be as directly relevant to the work as possible. Additionally, the feedback should not just be about the strengths and weaknesses of the work, but also include ways to improve on the work. This feedback should also be minimal, so students do not get overwhelmed and can prioritize in the most important space.


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