I am so excited about the use of ed tech because I think it will totally level the playing field of learning for my students. So far, my kids have totally embraced to the use of digital devices and the integration of ed tech into our daily schedule. I use blended learning in my room daily during ELA and Math, but on Fridays, we REALLY have fun!
Fridays are our Digital Learning Days. In addition to the regular blended learning rotations, we have been doing the following for the past month or so since our Chromebooks have arrived.
Here’s what a typical Friday looks like:
1. We post our Weekly Reflections on Edmodo. This is what we posted this past week.
2. We look up interesting science or social studies topics relating our current units of study on Wonderopolis, WatchKnowLearn.org or PowerMy Learning.org. Or we look up news articles of interest onYoungzine.org (the past week, we have been following news about the missing MH airplane; this week, we read about the mudslides in Washington and the Ebola outbreak in Africa.)
3. We are currently working on a Defined Stem type performance task project that my students came up with themselves after we finished our first project. For this, we are working in groups. This is ongoing and might take us till the end of the year.
Here’s the “mission” (that’s what we decided to call our projects):
My students have decided the upper grades playground is boring because it has no equipment so they are redesigning it. They have even spoken to Amanda our principal about it and she hypothetically “gave” them a budget of $5000.
So far, the three project groups have come up with 3 areas: an outdoor trampoline area, a treehouse/climbing structure with a zip line and a large swing and slide combo for older students. They are currently at the stage of researching the playground equipment to use to complete the 3 areas.
4. I have also just added a student-driven learning time called “Genius Time”, I got the idea from a pair of teachers on Edmodo who posted about their district’s Da Vinci Day activities. The students are given time to look up ANY TOPIC that interests them ( within reason and approved by the teacher). This gives them a chance to learn about something that they really interests them and which they want to know about, not just what we as educators feel they need to know. I think this is very powerful as the students learn to be independent learners and gain a deeper understanding that they can “power” their own learning and teach themselves. The students are then given the opportunity to share what they have learned with their peers in a short presentation. So far this week, we have looked up tsunamis, the solar system, blue whales, interesting bunnies, “how to” videos on drawing different things, the Titanic, clouds, etc…