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9May/130

The Sunflower Project

One of the requirements of being a Google Certified Teacher, is to develop a "personal action plan." The idea for mine came during a discussion with our middle school language arts teacher, Deb Kuhr. Deb told me that she had been reading and discussing Simon Wiesenthal's book, The Sunflower, with her 8th graders. The Sunflower recounts Wiesenthal's personal dilemma (whether partially fiction or entirely non-fiction is apparently the source of some debate) around "the possibilities and limits of forgiveness."

The Sunflower is a book in two parts. Part one is the story of Wiesenthal's experience in a concentration camp as well as a request for forgiveness from a dying Nazi soldier. Part two is a symposium of responses."

"Among respondents to the question are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, former Nazis and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. " (Wikipedia)

In our meeting I learned that the students, moved by the deathbed scene, wanted to create a video re-enactment of that part of the story. I thought it would be interesting to crowdsource the symposium, also through video. We shared the idea with the students, showing them the It Gets Better Project as an example.

 

Next we created the "Would You Forgive?" Google site as a home for the project. The students worked on writing the descriptions for the various pages of the site. They continued working, as part of their language arts class, on the script for the reenactment which was filmed after school and edited by one of the students over spring break. The students also wrote essays articulating their personal responses to the dilemma. Additionally, they video- reflected on the meaning of the entire project.

 

The Sunflower- Student Reflections from MJGDS Classrooms on Vimeo.

At the recent edJEWcon conference Mrs. Kuhr and the 8th graders shared the project and the re-enactment with educators from other Jewish schools, requesting that these teachers show the video to their students and solicit video responses. It was impressive to hear the students speak so articulately about their work.

 

 

From my perspective, working with a small class of "seniors" has had its highs and lows. There have been some real "blah" moments, some confusion around project management and productivity, even some questions as to "why are we bothering to do this?"

The edJEWcon session was a high point. The students watched others watch their video. They were able to see and hear outside appreciation for their quality work. This had an impact that surpassed any amount of teacher feedback.

 We still have a lot left to do and not much time left in the school year. The students are excited to promote the site and the re-enactment, to receive and review responses. It is our hope that this work will reach people, touch them and inspire them to think.

 

 

5Feb/130

Learning in the Modern Classroom

I have seen learning in the 21st Century modern classroom!

The learning just oozes through the cracks of the physical classroom walls.

Learning is amplified by the amount of people who are collaborating, participating, communicating and creating. The learning is NOT about the technology tools, but what students can DO with them to learn in new ways. The learning is about an authentic tasks, that allows students to contribute in a individualized and personalized manner to make them realize that their work matters in the real world.

It all started out with a conversation between Mike Fisher and me. He had written over 40 children poems and was in the process of wondering what to do with them? I was looking for an authentic task for 9-11 year old students. We felt we had a perfect match! How about getting the students Language Arts and Art teacher involved? The initial idea was to make a unit of poetry come alive, study Mike's poems and visualize the poems by creating illustrations.

Great plan... it snowballed from there...

A quick Skype call between Mike and the teachers, helped flesh out each of our expectations and a timeline for the "project". A critical component was the participants' willingness to be flexible and see where the students would take "the project".

What if...

  • ...Mike allowed students to alter his original poems if they felt inspired to remix them, making the creation process fluid and embedding new ways of looking at forms of copyright?
  • ... Mike offered to write a new poem to additionally created illustrations by students, flipping the collaboration roles?
  • ...we published a poetry book on various platforms? (hard cover/eBook)
  • ...we had student run a marketing and advertisement campaign?
  • ...we involved the Math teacher to support students in calculating how much the book should cost, what would the profit be, how would a profit be split?
  • ...allowed the class to handle the entire business venture?
  • ...we incorporated Alan November's concept of the Digital Learning Farm and leaving a legacy?

Each student was "given" a poem from Mike to be responsible for. We set up a first Skype call with Mike, the author, for students to meet him, ask questions about "their" poem.

skype

Part of our job as teachers was to observe students as they were taking on the roles outlined in the Digital Learning Farm. We were/are looking to identify NEW FORMS of assessment, since our "project" was not to be an add-on to traditional assessment tools.

The Digital Learning Farm

 

As I was watching students talk to Mike Fisher via Skype, Will Richardson's call for Thinking Differently About Learning, which includes Learning to Talk to Strangers came to mind. As students interacted, I was watching their body language, paying attention to their vocabulary, ability to articulate an idea, their conversation etiquette and ability to follow a conversation and interaction. Stay tuned for the publication of a Taxonomy of Skype Conversation to facilitate assessment of video conferencing.

skype-taxonomy

As the Skype conversation was happening in the foreground, other students were busy documenting and collaborating in backchannels. A Google Doc was opened and shared among all students, teachers and Mike Fisher. The multi-tasker Mike is, allowed students to Google Chat at the same time as he was talking to students via Skype.

googledoc

Other students had taken on the task to tweet the Skype call

twitter

Take a look at the 4th and 5th grade Twitter feed, documenting the skype call. Students are exhibiting understanding of Twitter grammar, syntax and etiquette. They are showing progression by starting to add value, links, citations and they own thoughts. They are summarizing and articulating thoughts in 140 characters or less. They are directly communicating, disseminating, collaborating and connecting via social networking. We are using Twitter and HOTS as a way to assess these skills.

4th-twitter-2

4th-twitter-1

4th-twitter

5thmjgds-twitter

5thmjgds-twitter-1

5thmjgds-twitter-2

5thmjgds-twitter-3

5thmjgds-twitter-4

We had other students use different tools to take notes too. The notes app on their iPad or traditional paper and pen

notes

notes2

One student chose to summarize what he heard during the Skype call by mindmap doodling. He was able to re-tell the different poems that were discussed between his classmates and the author.

mindmapping

mindmap

Take a few minutes to peek into the classroom as students were debriefing from the Skype experience.

Poetry Book Skype from langwitches on Vimeo.

So, where do we go from here? The students are very excited and are taking ownership. There is no talk about what kind of grade they will be receiving for their work. An authentic audience will decide if they were successful. Students will volunteer to take on different roles in the publishing, marketing, finance, communication department. We will allow them to take the lead, consulting, coaching and modeling if needed.

Stay tuned as this "school project" unfolds.

.

 

5Feb/130

How Does iPad Workflow Fluency Look Like in First Grade

As first graders are learning about the butterfly life cycle, we wanted to stay away from usual activities such as coloring in a pre-printed coloring page. INSTEAD of such an activity (created by others) and a quiz about recalling the different stages of the life cycle as assessment, we decided to have students built on their knowledge and fluency of creating a collage and CREATING a visual of their learning. The digital visual was to become an artifact for their student portfolio.

Our first graders are working weekly on a Hebrew visual dictionary on the iPad PicCollage app. They are very comfortable with the app itself. We were ready to spill over from Jewish studies into their General Studies class and push them on their workflow (fluency) with the iPad.

butterfly-cycle

  1. we reviewed the stages of a butterfly
  2. showed students a National Geographic video of the life cycle
  3. modeled the creation of a PicCollage Butterfly poster by breaking down each step
  4. embedded digital citizenship (images copyright issues)
  5. emphasized the workflow of :
  • choosing appropriate tools/apps (critical thinking)
  • navigating to website ( workflow, information literacy)
  • searching for images (information literacy, critical thinking, creativity)
  • saving images (workflow)
  • switching apps (workflow)
  • browsing for images> importing images > editing images > adding text (workflow)
  • designing (creativity)
  • saving (workflow)
  • emailing final product (workflow, communication)

picollage4

I was impressed by our 6 & 7 years olds to get to work, able to follow along the workflow path, some having a little trouble with spelling some of the words, but ALL comfortable with tapping, swiping, switching between apps, pinching in and out, editing, saving images and simply knowing that these images will be waiting for them in their Photo Album to be used in another app.
picollage

picollage2

picollage3

This activity was NOT about using the iPad app, it was about creating a visual of their learning. It was about workflow, skills and creativity.

The emailed collages, will be placed on student blogfolis with a written or audio reflection of their creation or learning process.

butterfly4 butterfly2

talia masha

 

 

5Feb/130

How Does iPad Workflow Fluency Look Like in Kindergarten

Recently, I tried to explain to a teacher from another school how we are trying to use iPads BEYOND apps. We have over 100 apps on our school iPads and introduce our students according to age level to a variety of them, but the focus of the use of the devices NEEDS to remain primarily as a tool for:

  • exposing students to skills, characteristic of a "modern learner"
  • critical thinking
  • personal learning
  • transformative learning
  • workflow fluency
  • anytime/anywhere/anyhow
  • creating

There is nothing wrong with using apps for isolated skills practice, such as multiplication, spelling, memorization, taking digitized quizzes or substituting otherwise traditional analog activities. These purposes should not be the only reasons of using iPads though. As students are being exposed to different apps, the focus needs to remain on the purpose, creation, workflow and sharing of what they can "do"with the iPads. They should "do" what they could not conceive or accomplish without them before.

I have shared last week, how our first graders are showing first signs of fluency when working with the tools at their disposal. How do we approach the workflow fluency with Kindergarten students?

We chose four apps (Doodle Buddy, Skitch, iMovie, ExplainEverything) to introduce our 5 and 6 year olds to the workflow:

import>create>save>share

Doodle Buddy

  • Students listened to a story (about dinosaurs and Hanukkah) without seeing the illustrations in the book
  • in Doodle Buddy, they visualized the story by drawing the imaginary images in their heads.
  • they saved the images in the photo album
  • emailed the images to their teacher (to be inserted into student blogfolio under categories: Art, Writing)

dinosaur-visualization.png

Skitch for iPad

  • We started out by having students use Skitch to take a picture of themselves (some of them asked a buddy to take it for them, which they then reciprocated)
  • by using the pen tool, they chose a color and then wrote their name on the image
  • from Skitch, their "annotated" images were emailed to the teacher (to be inserted into student blogfolio- Category: Kindergarten, Me, writing samples)

Kindergarten-skitch

iMovie

  • Using iMovie students created a new project
  • recorded a buddy telling them about their "favorite part of Kindergarten".
  • they played the movie back, re0recording if necessary until the movie clip was to their satisfaction
  • students saved and named their project
  • the movie was sent to a school vimeo account (to be embedded into student blogfolio- Category: Kindergarten, Me, Oral Language)

 

Kindergarten-iMovie

Explain Everything

  • The Kindergarten teacher set up scenarios and took photos in the classroom, demonstrating the Math concept of "fewer, more, equal".
  • the images ( different scenarios with different groups of children) were emailed to each iPad and saved in the Photo Album
  • students looked at each image and chose the scenario, they wanted to "explain" (all students chose an image they were part of!)
  • using Explain Everything, they then imported the image
  • chose the pen tool and color
  • recorded, paused, and drew their explanation
  • the project was saved and mailed to teacher to be uploaded to classroom vimeo account (to be included in student blogfolio under Categories: Kindergarten, Math, Oral Language)

K-explain-everything

 

As we were using the above apps, we continue to ask and reflect:

  • How is the app used to directly support curriculum content?
  • How are we allowing students to demonstrate evidence of their learning in this moment in time?
  • How are we/they documenting their learning process?
  • How do we provide opportunities for students to think about and reflect on their own learning?
  • What skills of a "modern learner" are we exposing our students to and how are we supporting the development of new literacies?

 

22Nov/120

The Making of a Story in Kindergarten and Amplification Thoughts

Kindergarten time is storytelling time: Listening to stories, telling stories, acting stories out, learning how to read your own stories and creating your own stories!

Learning about a holiday, like Thanksgiving in the USA, is the perfect time to cloak the historical origin into a fascinating story for five and six year olds. Who is not excited about a story with Indians, interesting people named "Pilgrims", a ship named Mayflower and a huge feast with "yummy" food?

Our Kindergarten teacher upgraded a traditionally created paper bound class booklet of the students illustrations and text of a Thanksgiving story to creating a TechnoTale. What is a techno-tale? A techno-tale is a digitally told story

By creating a movie, the teacher AMPLIFIED

  • the original reach her students' work had
    ...by embedding the video on the classroom blog, allowing family and friends to watch the movie, regardless of their geographic location and the amount of physical booklets that were available.
  • the learning style
    ...by allowing students to learn through and express themselves in a variety of forms.
  • using different communication media
    ...by giving students the opportunity, not only draw illustrations and add text, but by recording their voices over the illustrations.
  • home-school connection
    ...by allowing students to share something created in the classroom with their families at home, opening doors to further conversation about school and classroom happenings.
  • repetition
    ...The video is personalized (student's voice, student's illustrations) and motivates students to watch over and over again.
  • dissemination
    ...by using different strategies, we actively and strategically share and disseminate our students' work. We blog, tweet, promote and talk about their work with others.

In addition to the TechnoTale video you see above, the Kindergarten class also created a bilingual iPad eBook (Hebrew/English) of their book.

By creating an eBook version, we further AMPLIFIED the original paper booklet and technotale movie by:

  • adding language tracks
    ...by adding a second voice recording in the target language.
  • classroom learning time
    ...by giving students the opportunity to read and practice the target language (Hebrew) beyond the contact time in the classroom.
  • parent-school connection
    ...parents or grandparents, who are native target language speakers are included and encouraged to read the eBook with their children.
  • accessibility
    ....by making the eBook available to download on the classroom blog, we allowed more family and friends to read and listen to the story.
  • distribution
    ...duplication of the book does not cost anything extra, distribution is easy and instant.
  • reach a global audience
    ...by making the file available for download and sharing the created eBook freely, we are encouraging a greater world wide audience for our students.
  • students' legacy (definition of legacy: Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past)
    ...by creating an eBook, which is saved in the school's iTunes account and available on all school iPad iBook shelves for years to come, students in subsequent years, can read, listen and learn from this year's Kindergarten class.

If you own an iPad or iPhone, you can download the ePub file and directly drop it into your iTunes library. Once you sync your device with iTunes, you are able to read our ebook.

If you are reading this post on your iPad or iPhone, simply click on the ePub file and choose to open in iBook.

The above can give you a pretty good idea of the amplification possibilities, a "traditional" analog project, "upgraded" to a digital version can bring. I do want to close, not with more transformative skills or goals for further amplification, but with the LEARNING behind the scenes that went into the production of the TechnoTale and eBook. Take a look...

14Nov/120

Quality Tutorial Designers Checklist

Helping students become quality Tutorial Designers has been on my mind and agenda. The reasons are plentiful, from the train of thought "if you can teach it, you know it", being a vital skill in the 21st century, Alan November's work "Who owns the Learning?"/ "Digital Learning Farm" to tutorials being an important piece in the self-motivated and self-directed learning of our times.

Teaching, nor creating (digital) tutorials, may come natural to everyone. There are are several skills involved. which are valuable for our students to learn.

  • communication
    not only understanding content and process, but being able to express and communicate them to someone else. The communication can be accomplished in a variety of media.
  • collaboration
    curating all student created tutorials in one place (ex. wiki) will create a hub, where students can search for tutorials of content, that they need a refresher on and it creates a depository for students in future years to come.
  • writing
    writing a script is an essential part of tutorial design. Tutorial writing could be considered part of the expository writing and technical writing genre
  • vocabulary
    using specific vocabulary related to the content explained
  • storyboarding
    "Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing"~ Wikipedia
  • digital storytelling
    a tutorial is a special type of story. It requires the "teller" of the story to engage the "listener" via different digital media
  • networking
    tutorials are meant for others to learn from us
  • digital media
    creating, editing, and mixing of a variety of media forms (text, images, audio, video, etc.) and the fluency to work with a variety of media and switch effortless between them
  • empathy
    the ability to understand and share the feelings (ex. not know how to do something or understand) of another

In addition to supporting students in gaining competency and fluency in the above mentioned skills, we  emphasize QUALITY work. It is about depth of content knowledge and  emphasis on showing evidence of learning, not just using a specific technology tool.

In an effort to support teachers and have a handy list for students when creating tutorials, I created the following checklist. The checklist is divided into three parts:

  1. Steps
  2. Technique
  3. Quality Considerations

Each part is divided further into different sections

Steps:

  • storyboarding
  • creation
  • dissemniation

Technique:

  • screencasting
  • audio
  • movie
  • images
  • text
  • comics
  • miscellaneous

Quality Considerations:

  • audio
  • video
  • images
  • text
  • content
  • strategy & procedures

10Oct/120

State of the Blogging School Address

State of our School Address (regarding Blogging)

3 years ago, we created blogs (WordPress platform) for ALL classroom teachers and resources. There was an expectation for teachers to be at least on the first step of the blogging ladder, illustrated in the image below. Their classroom blog needed to be, as a minimum,  a replacement of a weekly folder filled with parent-school communication and homework assignments. Teachers were expected to learn how to update their blogs (at least on a weekly basis), insert images and videos and categorize their blog posts. (Getting to Know your Blog- A Beginner’s How To Guide)

This was a steep learning curve for some teachers. In addition,  it was extra time consuming, as it was taking teachers longer time to learn and be comfortable with uploading and inserting images, creating photo galleries, creating links, posting, etc.

Then the question shifted from How to We Did it… We Built It…Will They Come? Some teachers continued to email parents weekly, pointing them to the blog to look at images and news, others resorted to “bribing” students with extra credit if their parents went on the blog, yet another class created a  Blog Tutorial for Parents & Grandparents video.

In preparation for our students to become actively involved in contributing on the classroom blogs, as a school, we needed to Update & Upgrade Our School’s Media & Publishing Release in order to reflect the shift from students as consumers to students as producers.

Some teachers felt ready sooner than others, to climb the next step on the ladder. They opened their classroom blog up for comments to their students. They started to shift from merely pushing out information to parents and students to see the opportunity for a conversation. Teachers were learning to, not only post information, but posing questions for students, encouraging them to think and to participate in a virtual conversation. – Preparing Students for Commenting with Wall Blogging.

Once students were well on their way to begin. They were comfortable in logging into their accounts, reading posts and submitting a commenting, the next step was to focus on the QUALITY of their writing. What constitutes a quality comment? One class answered this question by creating a newscast- Quality Commenting Video by Third Graders

The next step on the classroom blogging ladder was for not only the teacher to produce content/posts, but for students to take ownership. For one teacher, it meant the realization that her classroom job list was in need of a 21st century update What is… What Will Be Obsolete…in Second Grade?

Some teachers:

  • had daily  student “bloggers”,  who were in charge of updating the classroom blog, being the Official Scribe of the day.
  • had students take (handwritten notes) summarizing the daily learning during each subject area, to be then typed and uploaded on Friday to the blog (younger grades).
  • highlighted best work from students as it was produced.
  • put students in charge of photographing classroom/resource activities and learning taking place during the day, the class discussed and voted on the final images to be uploaded at the end of the day and write a short blurb to each image. – Let’s Ask the Kids: 2nd Grade Bloggers

Some classroom blogs were growing beyond homework assignment, as teachers found opportunities to amplify the use of their virtual spaces to get kids involved and engaged in conversation

As commenting and posting to the classroom blog became the routine, especially in the upper elementary grades, students were eager to “earn” their own blogs. It was up to the teacher to set the criteria for students to earn them (ex.5 quality posts moderated and published on the classroom blog).

Once having earned that promotion, students became administrators of their own blogfolio , a combination of an online portfolio and a learning blog. Students were able to choose their own theme from a variety of pre-approved themes available. They chose their own title and tagline, and wrote their About Page.

It takes time for the faculty to see that the students’ blogfolios are NOT a project from/for the Language Arts class. We are not there yet.Teachers, still need to take advantage of pulling in resource teachers and student experiences. Non-Language Arts teachers still need to realize that the blog is a platform for learning for THEIR students too. All this is a process for teachers and students to work through.

We had Professional Development workshops helping teachers subscribe to RSS feeds (Subscribing via RSS & Google Reader to Classroom Blogs) in order to streamline the process of reading AND giving feedback to all their students. This is a daunting task for many teachers, as they are feeling overwhelmed. I have met too many teachers (at other schools) who, precisely for that reason, gave up blogging with their students. It was simply too much work to read and sift through all the writing and commenting (!!). We are committed to working through this at our school though. We are concentrating on finding new ways to embed the reading, the writing, the commenting, the conversation into the “way we do things”, not something we do in addition.

I created the following infographic to demonstrate the flow of blogging in the classroom. The hope is to deflect from the emphasis on technology and the “translation” from analog work to digital work during the blogging process.

You can download the infographic as a pdf file.

There is so much to consider when blogging with your students. You will be able to read about some, some you will hear from teaches who are already blogging and some things you will just have to experience and go through for yourself in order to make it work for you and your students. What we do know, is that no teacher can attend a 3 hour workshop on blogging and is ready to blog with their students the following Monday. I wrote extensively about the process for Stepping it Up- Learning About Blogs FOR your Student as a guide for teachers who want to see blogging as a platform for their own professional development and as a medium for student learning.

Ann Davis, on her blog wrote a post titled “Rationale for Educational Blogging“, an article (and the following comments) worth reading! David Jakes responds in the comment section speaking directly to the teachers “who have kids write for the refrigerator”.

Ann Davis’ quote of “It is not just a matter of transferring classroom writing into digital spaces”, resonates deeply with me. It is a challenge, that we are continuously reflecting on in school, as learning and literacy coaches, but need to do a better job in helping faculty work through this as well. Tough questions need to bubble up  to the surface:

  •  Where it the Authentic Audience?  by Andrea Hernandez
  • What does it mean when students, teachers, parents feel “blogged out”?
  • How do we prevent student blogfolios from becoming an accumulation of “Homework for Thursday”, “Homework for Friday” posts?

Where do we go from here?

We will continue to seek the following through our blogs:

  • quality writing and commenting
  • documentation of the learning process
  • hub for learning artifacts
  • reflections
  • meaningful discussion
  • metacognition
  • authentic feedback
  • global awareness and connectedness

We will encourage, support and participate in activities that will foster the above goals.

Examples:

  • quad-blogging
  • commenting mentor program
  • blogging buddies
  • professional blogs for our educators to build reflective teaching practices, connections to a global network of educators and building a personal brand

23Sep/120

Tweeting with 4th & 5th Graders

Guest post by Stephanie Teitelbaum, our 4th & 5th grade Language Arts teacher.

You can follow @4thmjgds & @5thmjgds on Twitter.

Students have been enjoying tweeting weekly in class.  Mrs.Tolisano has been coming in each week to teach the process of tweeting.  She developed this info-graphic for us to follow.

We are developing a routine in class so that students are able to tweet on a regular basis.  We start with a “paper tweet”.  Students write down their tweetable moments on an index card.  We check our followers (3 times a week), then we check who has mentioned us.  If we have a question, we answer it, and then, finally, we write the tweetable moments.  We have twitter directors in class, and it is their job to type in the tweets.  We have to be sure our tweet  is 140 characters.  It is a new way of writing, and the students are improving each week.  We are working on developing tweets that target a global audience.  We have discussions in class to determine if the tweet is geared to our audience.  Recently, we tweeted a teacher in Singapore who will hopefully make it possible for us to tweet students regularly in Asia.  The students have been intrigued and motivated to connect with other classes globally.

27Aug/120

Kitah Alef Shares Tips to Take Care of the iPads in School

Kitah Alef, will be using our school's iPads regularly during the school year in general and Jewish studies. The first step was to learn how to take care of them. Students were excited to be the actors for the video clip.

First Grade is Taking Care of their iPads from langwitches on Vimeo.

28Jun/120

Kindergarten Math on the iPad…Many Questions…

It all started with a weekly reflection our teachers leave on our school’s closed Professional Development Ning. Mrs. Y, our Kindergarten teacher pondered how her five and six year olds were learning and practicing subtraction:

We blew up balloons last week to demonstrate subtraction! Then popped them one by one – our way of subtracting! The kids enjoyed it but now it’s a little more difficult transferring that idea to the paper. Though we have used cubes, counters, bears etc. and taken some away…

My first suggestion was:

How about using the “ShowMe” app on the iPad to have your students record themselves writing AND narrating a subtraction problem. They could then switch iPads and listen to a classmate explain.

You could also share these screencast videos on your classroom blog and parents and students can review together at home.

Mrs. Y. was game to use the ShowMe app with her Kindergarteners and learn right along with them to use it. She immediately knew that it would be too much to ask for her little ones to draw AND speak at the same time as the app was recording them. We came up with the alternative of students drawing their math story on a piece of paper, taking a photo with the iPad and inserting it into Showme app to record their voices over the image.

Note: We could have done the same in iMovie app, but then would have lost the ability of directly uploading the movie clip with one tap to get an embed code for the classroom blog.

They drew the illustration and then were called up, one by one, to the front of the class to take the picture, insert into ShowMe and record their voices.

Note!: We used the Reflection app to wirelessly project the iPad screen to the SmartBoard for the other kids to see and follow along. The bigger screen for all to see also helped with taking “just the right” picture of their illustration.

Note2: With a little more time available to us to practice, kindergartners are perfectly capable of going through this process (take picture>insert>record>save) by themselves.

Below you can see a few examples of their work.

As you are watching, ask yourself:

  • What changed by using, in this case, the iPad and ShowMe app?
  • Could the same [learning] have been accomplished by keeping students’ illustrations analog?
  • Was there differentiation potential?
  • Can this type of “activity” be used as an assessment to replace/upgrade traditional assessment?
  • Are the movie clips potential artifacts for digital portfolios?
  • Could these movie clips be part of a variety of student work at a parent-teacher conference?
  • Was any learning amplified by placing it on the classroom blog to share with families?
  • What skills were practiced?
  • What literacies were supported?
  • Was it worth the extra time investment, the learning curve?

I believe that teachers need to be AWARE OF, SEE and UNDERSTAND the difference an upgrade could make (or not!)  to their traditional methods.