Unfortunately, this week is my last week in the general education setting. I have thoroughly enjoyed this placement. While I’m sad to go, I am also looking forward to my special education placement.
This week has been a little chaotic because we have been doing the ISTEP practice tests during our literacy block so we’ve had no time for literacy lessons. I have been making social studies more fun (and incorporated more technology) to balance out all of the testing. Each day I have shown a video clip about the Revolutionary War from the History Channel‘s website. (I strongly recommend this site for anyone who doesn’t already use it. It can be used at any grade level.) I included links to the videos below. I had to preview the videos beforehand which paid off because, in my favorite video, Brian Williams says “whoop ass” so I was upset that I couldn’t use it. Using the videos was a great transition tool and it got the students thinking before we started reading from the textbook. I liked have the discussions based around the video and predicting what we thought might be the situation BEFORE reading the chapter and using the students background knowledge and building on it. We then used the textbook to confirm and expand our thinking. This week’s take away was:
Technology can be used as a transitional tool, but make sure you check the content before showing it to the kids. Also, when showing a video clip, make sure to tie it in with the lesson. It can be a bit awkward if you don’t talk about it afterwards.
The Battle of Saratoga Turns the Tide
Bet You Didn’t Know: Revolutionary War — played before the “Reading Further” lesson about women, African Americans, and Native Americans in the Revolution.
I have always used resources in math and social studies class, but this week I used a lot more of them during our language arts block. I used the projector and document camera to display the journal page and filled it in with the students instead of simply stating the answers and asking the kids if they had it filled out. There were clear pros and cons to this method. The students could be held more accountable for writing the information and participation was higher because they knew exactly what to write. However, it did limit my mobility in the classroom and made it harder for me to move around and monitor specific students and it limited some students because they wrote what was on the screen and stopped thinking about other answers on their own. I also used a video from the REACH textbook for the first time. It was nice to incorporate the video because the students got to hear the vocabulary words in a different way and in a voice that wasn’t mine. It was also more engaging because students will generally pay attention to a video regardless of the content. I really enjoyed incorporating these tools into the literacy block because I felt more students were engaged. This weeks take away was:
While the doc camera is a great tool, find other ways to display and complete whole class activities so you can move around the room to monitor your students.
This week I used the MOBI a lot during math class. The kids were teasing me a little bit and telling me how much I’ve improved since my first MOBI experience. The learning segment focused on graphing on a coordinate grid. It was very helpful because I should show the kids how to graph and walk around to make sure everyone was following along and had the correct graph. It was also nice to have the projector because the kids could walk up and plot a point for the entire class. They really enjoy getting to do this and using the Pointer of Power. I did run into a couple of snags because the second lesson didn’t have the journal pages uploaded the same way as the others so I had to use the PDF version instead of the webpage version. It showed the same thing so the kids could follow along, but it was set up differently so I wasn’t use to it and I didn’t know where some of the options were. I’m getting really used to the MOBI and I actually really enjoy using it. It’s very versatile because you can use it with any computer program and it allows you to move around the room. The document camera, of course, is easier to use and adapt to but it forces you to stay in one spot in the classroom. I have notice that the kids are very aware of that and sometimes the kids that are farthest from the doc cam stop following along. This week’s take away is:
Always practice/check the technology before using it in your lesson.
This week went really well. I got more practice with the MOBI. It can be really awkward to use but I think I’m getting the hang of it. This week my supervising teacher and I talked about technology preparation and transition time. She told me how I always need to be thinking 5 minutes ahead of myself, this includes pulling up all needed technology. Actually I should be thinking about what technology I need fro the entire subject, not just what I need for the next five minutes. She told me that the teacher needing to transition mid-subject can add just as much chaos as asking the students to transition mid-subject as well. This week during my social studies lesson, I started with a discussion and then towards the end of the discussion I realized I needed the document camera. This is an example of when thinking only 5 minutes ahead of yourself technology-wise proved to be unhelpful. I then had to continue the discussion while starting the document camera. Fortunately, I am familiar with how to set it up so I was able to do both at one time, but I’m sure it was still distracting to the kids. So my take away this week is:
Think far enough ahead so that you have all your technology pulled up or started BEFORE you start your lesson (or transitional period) to cut down on chaos, distractions, and confusion.