Week in Lab for Week Sixteen 2011

January17

Sweet 16

As the middle of the school year approaches, perhaps the best thing I can do is reflect on and assess the year so far. We’ll see if I have the stamina to do an in-depth look at what’s happened this school year or just do the accidental tourist version.

First Grade

As usual, my best efforts have not come out of here. I started strong with the ABC VoiceThread, but it sort of petered out in my indecision about how to proceed once we got through our short vowel sounds. They are the one group where I really need to make more effort, especially as most of them are showing signs of growing maturity, so their ability to do more complex work is increasing.

Second Grade

No complaints here. This is where some of my most cutting edge work is underway. I am doing Skype conferences (3 so far) with a class at Kevin Jarrett’s school. The teacher is new to technology but has been FANTASTIC! That being said, I think we are still at the getting to know you level, and I am hoping to have more depth in the work I get from the kids, and in the relationships between students.

Third Grade

I feel like I could be doing more. At this point I’m usually onto the Imagination unit, but they have been doing an extended unit on animal habitats. This is interesting, and a great topic for the lab, but I feel a little stale. Looking forward, I should be transitioning the kids to typing and writing online in the Spring, but I’m wondering about the investment now.

Fourth Grade

This is a very challenging grade level from a general developmental level, and with this group in particular. The thing is, any success feels like I’ve scaled Everest. The good news is those not so great days are not that different than with other grade levels and don’t leave me feeling like the grey hairs are coming in by the minute. I would like to see more higher level work from them as far as writing on the blog, but I’ve got them doing sentences, and that is a good thing. I can feel and see their ability to cope with frustration expanding, which is a VERY good thing, since they had a very low tolerance for this at the beginning, and would easily give up. This is the sort of class that makes the “Marshmallow Test” lessons a necessity.

Fifth Grade

I would have liked to be doing movie making and podcasts, but the class I planned to do this with has been changed around a bunch of times. With the regular classes I’ve had, they just finish working on writing, and recently, we’ve added using Diigo. If I can get them to effectively do research, I’ll be happy.  On the writing, if I had it to do over, I’d just give them their own blogs, or do it in Google docs.

Sixth Grade

As with fifth grade, I would have liked to be doing movie making and podcasts, and as with fifth, the class I planned to do this with has been changed around a bunch of times. With the writing work, I’ve come to same conclusion that doing process writing on a class blog is not effective, even with threaded comments.

I started an abortive project involving research skills and got to introduce Google’s Wonderwheel. Now that there is another research project, I’m going to be adding Diigo. Once again, I’m looking for a successful research project.  So far, I would say that check ins on what the kids are doing is the most critical element. You can let em feed on the Internets, but if you aren’t doing check-ins they are not “free-range” but “feral”.

Photo credit: Sweet 16 by bignoseduglyguy, on Flickr

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“Week in Lab for Week Sixteen 2011”

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