The good news is that I managed to beat a nascent cold that my body started flirting with last weekend. I needed my health because there was lots of stuff going on this week. In addition to doing the computer prep gig, I was observed teaching ELD “nekkid” in a classroom, instead of the lab (more on that here). I also spent time at a district level training on “cyber-safety”.
Each morning, I cover a different class as each of the various grade-level teaching staffs meet and do collaborative planning. Most of the teachers prefer that I do the morning routine they have, rather than taking the kids to the lab. This has forced me to go back to my old substitute teaching skills, being able to fill in and maintain the regular teachers’ routines. At first I was a little cranky (in a minor way) because it was a change, but I’m enjoying it a lot. Two classes in particular are really letting me stretch my wings. The first I write about more in this post.
The next class, is ELD (English Language Development period) for intermediate (grade four to six) EOs (English speakers). Despite that, this group is low academically, and needs to work on basic reading and writing, including phonics in some cases. I’m having them work on making stop motion videos with sight words and sounds. I’m working with a small group/pairs to get them to film, voice, and edit each one. They started shooting on the first one last week, and should finish up work this coming week, so look forward to seeing it in my next Week in Lab post. This group helped to create the Thank You video I did for our Donors Choose grant:
Same as last week, nothing new or innovative, so I’ll skip this one.
What’s exciting is the upcoming Skype conferencing we’ll be doing with a class at Kevin Jarrett’s school in New Jersey. We shared information about each school on VoiceThread (sorry, we’re keeping it private) but the video-conferencing won’t get under-way until next week. I’m very excited about this.
These grade ended their work on Friendship by answering questions they themselves had put up about the topic. Here is the VoiceThread:
They are starting a new unit on city animals, that will include studying ecosystems, and biomes. I’m looking forward to this because it is a fun topic for all of us.
Moved on to a unit on dollars and sense (about money sense). Since I had them cover money as a unit in third grade, I started out by having them review what they came up with last year in this VoiceThread:
They had such a great time listening to themselves and their classmates (some of whom have left our school), that it really kept them engaged. I think this was a great “into” activity.
These students are still finishing up their unit on cooperation and competition. As part of that, I had them complete this end of unit survey on Google Docs. I will do a tie-in with a writing assignment that is being using for assessment purposes by having them write their topic sentences and revise them with me in the lab next week. It feels much better doing some work like this that is directly tied to what they are doing in the classroom.
I’ve started them on research. They’ve learned about Google Wonder wheel (it is a wonder), and we talked about reliability and suitability of sites. The second is much harder to “teach” since it requires both some background knowledge and judgment, which are not best conveyed in two-45 minute teaching periods. I used the Pacific Tree Octopus to try to teach them about this. The first class, did not get it, even after we read this, because they didn’t know what “hoax” meant. I asked the other class if they watched “Punkd” and I used that as my into teach them about what a hoax like the Pacific Tree Octopus is.
The teachers have not been able to start their end with the kids, but that’s okay, they will just have better “research” skills by the time they are working on it for “real”, and they’ve already gathered some background information.