Tag Archive: cross curricular

Jun 09

Course 4 week 2-How Deep is the Integration?


The SAMR model

The SAMR model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, has been a useful lens for looking at tech integration.  In my language learning classroom, have I been merely substituting electronic flash cards for the hard tag version?

One example (for this post)

I still give out vocabulary flash cards printed on hard tag.  We do different activities and games with those sets of flash cards.  With the use of Quizlet, students have been offered another choice of study and another layer reinforcement for the learning.  Quizlet has allowed me to augment the learning experience for kids with the ability to add pictures and use games as a way to enhance the practice ritual.  In addition, for upper grade levels, I have had students create their own flash cards after evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses.

TPACK diagram

Once again, we have an additional acronym to add to our educational vocabulary.  Below is another example of the TPACK diagram.  This is the result of a group work exercise at one of our COETAIL classes.

From diagrams to reality

So what does successful tech integration look like?  Watch the video below.

A Commitment to High Tech Education

It is surprising that this article was originally published in 2003.  (The video was later added to Youtube in 2010.)  It was impressive to see the integration of technology at this high school redefining what students were doing.  The tasks were relevant and meaningful for the students.  With clear purposes for the use of technology (in this video), students were motivated and challenged to interpret and produce results for use in the community.

Reflective questions

In Jeff Utech’s blog post, Evaluating Technology Use in the Classroom, Jeff presents four questions that could be used when observing a classroom activity, or watching a video such as the one from Edutopia.

  1. Is the technology being used “Just because it’s there”?
  2. Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in Old ways?
  3. Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in New ways?
  4. Is the technology creating new and different learning experiences for the students?
I like the way that Jeff has organized the questions starting with superficial use and gradually “peeling away at the onion”, digging deeper and deeper.  These are questions that I ask myself.  These are questions that I have had  my colleagues ask me.
Tech integration needs to start with the outer layers of the onion.  It is natural for us to explore and play with something that is new (just because it is there).  However, if I only tasted the outer skin of the onion, I do not know if I would continue to cook with onions.  The challenge is to continue to peel away at the onion in order to have a taste of the meaty, juicy part.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/06/09/course-4/

Oct 23

Cross-curricular Connecting and Collaborating


For this final project, I feel fortunate to have been able to collaborate with Carl (art teacher) and Naho (counselor).  The process of creating the unit combining art, guidance and Japanese was an exciting time.  Working in the elementary program where students run through a 6-day cycle to include the many “specials” such as PE, music, library, art, guidance and Japanese, this cross curricular project allows students to interpret and apply their learning in a broader sense.

The cross-curricular approach is a win-win situation.  The students can increase their exposure time to the topic of emotions, approach emotions from different angles and make greater connections, and hopefully deepen their overall understanding.  We as educators, learn more about each other’ s programs and also benefit from understanding the what knowledge and common experiences students bring to the classroom.

YouTube Preview Image

Start with the end first…

Here is a little on Backwards Design (please note the easy to understand visuals)

The main idea behind the backwards design model centers on the design process beginning with identifying the desired results and then “working backwards” to develop instruction.  Since I joined the group after the art and guidance section of the unit had been pretty much solidified, it was initially more of a challenge to engage the backwards design.  In the end, I wanted students to use the vocabulary to communicate.  One possibility I thought of was to have the students interpreting the photos taken using Voicethread.  My initial thoughts were students could view the photos that were previously taken in art and then make a comment in Japanese.  Visualizing what students might be able to produce orally, I started to realize that students would not be able to produce much language.  What they produced via Voicethread probably would not have been very communicative and applicable to the students’ own lives.  I also thought of the idea of using the Wiki (Wikispaces.com) and including Japanese there.  Again, the students would possibly write down the word and a sentence or two and that would be the end of it.

While I thought that I wanted to use the Voicethread to have students use their Japanese speaking skills, I later realized that I actually wanted the students to have a communicative dialogue with one of their peers.  What would students be able to use with one of their friends?  As a result of talking with one of my colleagues more experienced with Voicethread, I was asked the questions…

  • What do you want the kids to be able to do?
  • Who do you want the final product to be viewed by?
  • How do you want feedback to be given?  Oral?, written?

I was told that asking these questions first make the end product and selection of the proper software, website, or application easier to select.  Yes, this is Understanding by Design.  If we want to know what we want the students to do in the end, we can then plan the lessons that need to occur in order for the students to be successful.

This is what I thought the students might be able to use an example.

Sample dialogues:

A:うわあ、うれしい!(Yeah, I’m so happy.)

B:どうしたの? (What happened?)

Aひゃくえんをみつけた。(I found 100 yen.)



A: どうしたの?(What’s the matter?)

B: さびしい。友達がアメリカに帰りました。(I’m sad.  My friend went back to the US.)

A: だいじょうぶ。(Are you ok?)


Students could use the example dialogues, or work on substituting or adding to the dialogue according to individual level.

Once they had decided on a dialogue, they would work on completing a simple storyboard for the project.

storyboard example 1

Storyboard example 2

Storyboard video

Also, I would give students a brief introduction to using iMovie with the iPad 2.  I would use a simple Apple movie demo in Japanese, and also have students view the movie demo in English to enhance their understanding.  Using these resources and guiding the pairs with some ways to individualize their videos, would help produce short, communicative examples that students could share with their classmates.  Best of all, they could practice the language from the examples and have a greater chance of being able to apply it to a real-life situation in the future.


All in all, it was fun collaborating with Naho and Carl.  I definitely learned more working with my team members than if I had worked alone on the project.


Unit Plan




Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2011/10/23/cross-curricular-connecting-and-collaborating/