This week was all about striking balance. The bad news? The classes were loud! The good news? Most of the discussions centered on the lesson. This was only a problem because their discussions led them to miss instructions, other parts of the videos they needed to see, etc. It’s all about making sure I have just enough control for things to run smoothly, and not enough to get in the way. Here’s what happened…
…continues to add to their VoiceThread on sounds and letters. I’m having the kids write the words using the SmartBoard. I showed one of training specialist what I was doing, and she liked it. It is a bit “klunky” writing the words with the doodle tool in VoiceThread on a SmartBoard. The kids want to rest their hands on the board (which registers as a stylus), and the way I have it projecting is a bit awkward. Still, we have enough now that we can begin to share it with others, and maybe use it as a teaching tools with students who haven’t mastered letter sounds yet. Anyway, I’m proud of them!
…is proceeding with work on storytelling, by diving into fairy tales. I showed really nice version of Rapunzel available on DiscoveryStreaming from Scholastic/Weston Woods. It was based on Paul Zelinsky’s picture book of the story. It has a very Raphael-like artistic style, and the kids noted the sad tone (but they still loved it). I was working on author purpose as shown by the “lessons” in fairy tales. This particular story has a pretty “opaque” moral, so it was good to have them work on it.
…is making progress on their friendship unit. We haven’t been able to get together with our “buddy” class in Florida yet. Instead I’m having them work on modeling friendship by acting out vignettes. I’m going to use this as the basis for work I will be doing with EL students who need more intensive oral language development in the primary grades.
…did some of the foundational work on their risks and consequences unit. It’s a strange unit to teach in some ways. Students are usually of a mind that anything risky is bad, but as one really great fourth grade teacher pointed out, you have to teach them about good risks that they need to take, so that’s what we did at the beginning of the week. I then did the obligatory bad risk lesson with a video no smoking and how bad that was. This ties in nicely with the lessons on goals and self-control from the week before. Next week, we’ll tie it back with a look at Obama’s speech to students.
…proved my point about cultural relevancy being important. We watched scenes (not the whole movie, so definitely in the fair use realm) from Akeelah and the Bee to show how cooperation is a part of competition. Many of the students had already seen the movie (even though it’s a few years old now), and already LOVED it. Made my job so much easier, and it really is a great illustration of these ideas. I had a small group of students taking notes using Stinto, an instant messaging program that Larry Ferlazzo recommended. I want to work them towards note taking collaboratively. This was the first step in that process. My one problem occurred when the sound went totally wonky playing it with Media Player Classic. If anyone has tips on what the audio settings should be playing commercial DVDs using MPC, drop me a comment.
In the first step towards making a Motivator poster, students picked out pictures for perseverance posters on Flickr. Here is what they came up with:
One class did pretty good on making sure they were logged in and checking Creative Commons boxes for searches, but the second class seemed to see this as optional. They will feel the weight of this, since I’ve cleaned out all copyright protected images they favorited (which I warned them would happen). Even if they get the pic through, when they go to Motivator to make their poster, it will come up with a small black dot instead of a picture, meaning they will have to start over from the beginning (also warned them about that). Sigh…it’s all part of the learning experience in teaching them about intellectual property rights.