Hello! I was a little reticent in last week’s posting about the lab. I think that reflected some of where I was at then. The first week is about establishing routines. Every year, the kids get cranky because I insist we review the rules, and wait to let them on the computers and Internet. Also, I have to do a lot of direct instruction going through the rules. The classes are short, due to the short week (four days, and I don’t take classes on day one, so I cut the periods down to 30 minutes, rather than 45). It’s grueling, and not much fun, but it has to be done.
This week, the corner was turned. We got on the computers, and we started creating stuff, and the kids were doing the work more than me. This is what it should be like, and I and they are much happier for it. I don’t have much work to share at this point, because I have to sort through the hundreds of permission slips to see which students’ work is publishable, etc. I do have the Alphabet VoiceThread I’m making with first graders, so I’ll share that below:
I had the students pick words and pictures to include for the “sound” of the week (short “a” this week). I did the writing this week with my bamboo pad, but I’m going to have the kids come to the SmartBoard next week and do the writing themselves.
What is behind the curtain of the other grades?
- I had second graders do story maps as a class, and we’ll be continuing with that next week. The maps are of video stories we watch. Last week it was episodes of Peep in the Big Wide World, next week I have a really great visual only story about a mouse traveling around town that I’ve used before. We’ll move on to cause and effect for that one.
- Third graders are working on Friendship, and have started adding pictures to a Voice Thread (I may share that one next week). We were supposed to do Skype conferencing with an ASL class at a high school in Florida, but they had Skype blocked recently. We’ll likely use Voice Thread instead to communicate asynchronously.
- Fourth graders started commenting on our class blog. Some of them are having issues with the dreaded “posting comments too quickly” problem, but they did pretty good considering I did NO preparatory work on this last spring (as I had with third graders the year before).
- Fifth and Sixth graders came back to commenting, and did a bang up job. They are now comfortable with the “posting comments too quickly“, and other technical issues. I saw one student using the right click to get spelling suggestions on a misspelled word! I’m especially proud of the work of some of our former SDC students who are “pushing into” regular classrooms this year.
- I used my doc camera to explicitly show students how to use the shift key, and avoid ALL CAPS YELLING! or the all lower case alternative. I think this helped a lot, from what I can see, and kids were asking me to show them more.
I’m now planning for next week, and I’m excited. I’ll be returning to the Marshmallow Experiment with upper grade, and incorporating how to analyze prompts and write a better sentence from the school-wide writing program. On the whole, things feel more cohesive on campus in terms of curriculum, and a lot of things. I’m in a happy place, but still cautiously look to the new year. There is a lot ahead of us.