Rebecca and the students have created a Digital Toolkit display for the classroom wall and it is a great reference tool for students who are not sure what tools they can use. This will grow as more apps and programmes are added to it.
Drafting and Mindmapping
The classes are writing autobiographies at the moment and the students have been drafting in their writing books. I showed Rebecca a way that she could use Inspiration to map out the draft and pull more ideas out, then the students can use this to help them write their drafts.
Students were using a variety of publishing tools today.
We talked about how to give students choices at reading time. I suggested creating an Options Log where they can indicate by typing in the day they do each option. This way the teacher and the students can see what options they like the most. You can put in a compulsory component where the students know that they have to do the minimum of each option each term.
Rachael from the other class is doing something similar using the Daily Five. She uses a tumble where she teaches a group, has a related activity and the 3rd choice is one of the Daily Five. She is going to incorporate the above idea and add different ways students can do the Daily Five in the same way.
Sharing great ideas
I suggested that the teachers make a point of letting the other one know when there is something great happening in their classroom. They could do this via Skype or send a messenger between the rooms. I think it is important that teachers see what is happening in other rooms so that they can share what works well.
Maths and management
Rebecca made a Keynote slide that had a Place Value chart on it, students retrieved it from Dropbox and she used it as a group teaching moment.
I suggested a time management technique for students getting ready in the middle block. Rebecca has a warm up maths activity where students have to solve 20 problems in 5 minutes. I suggested that she sets the timer for 3-5 minutes and in that time students have to get ready for the subjects in that block of time, like getting books, pens, rulers, pencils, iPads etc. Once the timer stops, restart it for the 5 minute math activity, if the students are not in their seats ready to start then they will have less time to solve the problems. They will very quickly learn to get organised early as they will not want to record a lower possible score due to being unorganised.
What has been interesting to note over the last week?
- students are opting more often to use laptops rather than choosing iPads all the time
- Dropbox has been an invaluable tool both to teachers and students for moving files between computers and iPad, students are teaching each other how to use it
- not all of the children have the 'paid' apps yet, which means they have less options to choose from
Today Rachael started working with the children on their 'Peer Editing'. She made sure they knew what the focus was and students displayed the drafted/edited work from their iPads on the screen. All the students made suggestions on how to improve the writing.
She then left them to carry on, on their own. It was interesting watching their reactions to this type of learning, they were engaged, reflective and taking ownership of their work.
Later she used Showme in the same way where students had to show her a place value strategy on the screen. The advantage of the plasma is that the screen is very bright and clear and works really well in a group situation.
What works well?
- students using Notes and Notability for their long vowel work
- Students are using Notability for their Homework Diary and their weekly spelling words are recorded in there
- the Plasma and Apple TV is a great 'Learning Zone'
- all children need to learn how to troubleshoot their devices see Crashing Devices
- all children need to come to school with iPad updates, otherwise some of the apps won't work and will crash