I was supposed to be attending our site’s academic conference, but due to a shortage of substitutes to cover our classes, I couldn’t attend. I will say that I’m getting a lot of positive feedback from my peers about the program that I’m running, and how I’m supporting their work. Right now, I’m fighting off a cold, so I’m a bit behind on reflecting, and even planning for the future.
Nothing new or exciting here.
We’re finishing up a unit on storytelling. This week we looked at realistic fiction. I found a really nice video on Discovery Streaming, “Elizabeti’s Doll” which is about a girl in Africa (country not specified) who makes a stone her “baby” after her mother has a baby brother. The kids did a great job during the checks for understanding in contrasting how different elements would be handled in folk or fairy tales.
Next week, things get exciting. They will be getting to know second graders at Kevin Jarrett’s school, in preparation for Skype conferencing, which I hope to start the following week. Wish me luck!
Finishing up a unit on friendship, I showed one of my favorite videos, a redo of the “Red Shoes” by Michael Sporn. He’s done a number of animation films that can be found on Discovery Streaming, or Amazon that feature a more multi-cultural cast of characters that I love, and kids really enjoy. I do think this builds a much stronger identification for students because they recognize the characters and families shown.
To finish up their unit on Risks and Consequences, I had students fill out a Google Docs survey about what they had learned. Most understood that risks could be good, or bad, and so could consequences, but they didn’t seem to understand that bad risks generally had bad consequences, and good risks, good ones. I don’t think I did a good job teaching how consequences go with risks.
We took a detour to Math this week. I started by showing BrainPop videos, then giving the kids online activities to do (here and here). I then pulled some of them back to use the IWB to do the online activities. They loved it! Really shows WHY you need to have the kids use the board, not just adults.
THANK YOU BILL FERRITER! I recently purchased Bill’s Book, Teaching the iGeneration, and it’s been a real help as I’m planning for teaching sixth graders to do research (something that I’ve struggled with). We started with Google’s Wonder wheel, and it is a wonder. It really breaks things down. The topics the teacher has given them are narrow, but even then it helps weed out things like tourism sites, etc. that will not be as germane.
My second big thank you is to Ira Socol, who suggested the FoxVox add-on for Firefox, when I asked for text-t0-speech tools. I have a number of SDC and IEP students that are below grade-level readers, and would struggle with the even higher lexile levels of some Internet resources. I’m hoping this will give them a leg-up on that. The default voice is British English. I did manage to change the voice on my computer, but it took a bit of work trying to hunt down folders, etc. I’m trying to figure out an easy way to push the add-on and voices out to all the lab computers.