Friday, September 7, 2012

Another Week in the Books

This was a short week (Labor Day holiday) and the three day weekend was a much needed break as it gave me a little time to plan this week's adventures using the tablets in the classroom.  In science I found three astronomy webquests that I plan to use for moons, seasons, and tides/eclipses.  I tried webquests for the first time last year, and I found them to be a break from the norm.  My kids from last year enjoyed them and I knew that this would be an easy way for me to implement something new with this year's group.  Two of the webquests are introductory activities and one is a higher level PBL project. 

Over the span of four days I was able to get most of the students through the webquest on the phases of the moon.  We experienced a little trouble with some of the links opening, so we pulled them up on the Smartboard for teams to preview together.  I had to omit one of the tasks (simulation) because it was impossible to get 14 groups on one classroom CPU.  I did preview the webquest ahead of time at home on my desktop, to be sure that it ran smoothly for the kids in class.  Lesson learned...but it wasn't a big deal.

Note to self:
1) Try activities out on a tablet instead of the desktop.
2) Continue to roll with the punches.

I posted my first "quiz" on Edmodo today.  It was actually a five question assessment on factors/prime and composite numbers/rules of divisibility that I will count as a daily grade.  Overall, this is a great way to assess student understanding.  The assignment is instantly graded for you, students get immediate feedback, and it's paperless.  As a bonus....the teacher is provided with an item analysis which informs you on which topics need to be retaught.  Loving it! 

Notes to self:
1) Be mindful of the timer feature if you think that time might be an issue.  I set it for 30 minutes and we had to go to lunch.  I had to ask a few kids to stay back so they wouldn't time out of the quiz.
2) Be sure that your answers are correct.  Mistakes can be corrected by cloning the original quiz and making changes, but it's always better to get it right the first time.
3) In the future, I will create the Edmodo accounts.  My kids input their user ID and password and I gave them a record sheet for this data.  They still can't seem to login, which means creating new accounts.  Real headache!

My Kidblog account is finally up and running.  The program is easy to use and I went ahead and input their UID and passwords to save a little time.  We hope to use this as a platform to openly reflect on our experiences with math, science, and technology.  Hopefully this will also serve as evidence for a successful 1:1 classroom pilot. 

Note to self:
1) Remind students that they are writing for all to read.  Proper writing mechanics need to be a focus, as others will read their writing. 


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