Monthly Archives: June 2014

Classroom Blogging and the Slump

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Our grade 2 blogging wall – complete with QR codes for class blogs, info on how to write a great comment, and rules of the competition.

This is the second year I have been blogging with my class. I started it because I wanted the grade to have a way to share what we had been doing with parents (and the wider community, if possible) and  a way for students to reflect on their learning and achievements.

Have a look at this year’s class blog  & last year’s class blog.

Last year’s class needed no motivation to blog! They would walk out the door and be blogging 10 minutes later when they arrived home. We had comments written by students and parents, or assisted by parents (meaning the parents were still reading the blog). It worked like a dream! The next step would have been taking the blog to a wider audience and connecting with other classrooms, schools, experts, anyone!

This year a few kids are excited, but there is nowhere near the amount of momentum and interest that I experienced last year. The teacher in the class next to me has begun a class blog and is experiencing the same thing. There’s been discussion about if what we’re doing is worthwhile. We needed something to get it moving so we decided to try and reinvigorate students with a little competition!

We are pitting one grade against the other in a battle of the blogs! Students will get points for:

  • A comment = 1 point
  • A correctly written comment = 5 points
  • A comment on another blog besides their own grade’s = 2 points
  • A comment written by a family member or friend outside of the school = 10 points

As you see we have set it up so that students are encouraged to

  • treat it as they would any other writing piece (use correct format, writing for a purpose etc.)
  • contribute to others’ learning communities
  • engage their personal community in their learning and use them to learn more

We will also be selecting superstar bloggers who will be the students with the most points accumulated each week. These superstars will be allowed to write their own guest blog post on the class blog about anything they like.

We also discussed options for students who don’t have internet at home so that they can participate (FREE MACCAS WIFI! was a somewhat popular option for reasons unknown).

After introducing the idea today the kids seem to be pretty excited… time will tell if our little plan works.

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Yes – I know there are 3 Gs. It’s laminated.

 

iPads as tools, not toys: Teaching fact families

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My class has been working on fact families (seeing how numbers relate to each other using addition and subtraction) for about a week. I gave them a task to see how they were able to use what we have learnt so far and put it all together. 

They were asked to work with a partner (only due to not having 1:1 iPads available). They chose 3 numbers to work with as their fact family for the task. Some chose a new family they had recently learnt and memorised (e.g. 5, 7, 12), some chose two find parts and find out the whole by adding them together, and some rolled a dice to find a part and a whole  and some just got a stack of unifix and broke them into two pieces!  I was impressed to see the range of ideas they had to make and show their families, just at this stage. 

Then, I gave them a choice of out of three familiar apps to use to show their fact family and the related number sentences. The choices were Popplet, Educreations and Skitch. Each of these apps allow for adding text, inserting images and some drawing, but each with differences that allowed students to show their learning in their own way.

Every. single. group. nailed it and I was really impressed to see the way they tailored the task to suit themselves… some used materials and took a picture of them, some arranged it into a house to reflect a task we had done earlier, some labelled with the part-part-whole language we have been using.

To collect their work at the end, I had them all screenshot their work and Instashare it with me.

Let me know if you try something similar and tell me how it goes!

Here are some examples:

Beautiful popplet by some students who wanted a challenge with their numbers.

Beautiful popplet by some students who wanted a challenge with their numbers.

These students used Educreations to show a few different fact families.

These students used Educreations to show a few different fact families.

These students wanted to show what they'd done with materials and inserted a picture of their work into Educreations.

These students wanted to show what they’d done with materials and inserted a picture of their work into Educreations.

These students used the labelling function in Evernote's Skitch to show their understanding.

These students used the labelling function in Evernote’s Skitch to show their understanding.