May 05

Course 5 Final Project

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I have finally finished my course 5 project. Check it out and learn how I used video analysis to help my students improve their reading fluency.

This was the first time I have used video to analyze my students in any curriculum area.  It was such an amazing tool for really helping my students improve their reading fluency. I already have ideas of how I will use video in other curriculum areas. Now, I just need to convince my boss to buy my class a set of iPads!





Apr 27

Course 5 Final Project – Flipped Classroom

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I have been working on my course 5 final project for a few weeks now. My project goal is to use video analysis and feedback to help my students improve their reading fluency.

When I introduced the project to my students I told them we would use Readers Theater to help them improve their reading fluency, but we would also video them practicing and performing their Readers Theater scripts. Then analysis the video to help them improve their reading fluency.


But with this time of the year being so busy with camp, CTP4 and WRAP testing a lot of instructional time was eaten up. So I decided to flip my classroom and produce 4 mini lessons videos the students could watch at home. Each video (lesson) modeled a different aspect of reading fluency I wanted the students to learn. I was a bit nervous and not sure about teaching the mini lesson this way, but it worked well and the kids love it. It really was a fun and motivating way for my kids to learn.

Check out the videos.



Dec 16

Course 5 Project Ideas

Option 1: Electronic Portfolios

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

• For the past few years (as long as I have been teaching at my school, 11 years) the students have always kept a paper/binder portfolio. This was show cased to parents during conferences, twice a year.

• I want to get away from a paper portfolio and have an electronic portfolio; a place where the students can post work, comments and reflections. A place where parents, peers and others can view and provide feedback to the students any day, time or from any place in the world. I want the parents to be able to see what their son or daughter is doing at any time of the day or year.

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

•I have two concerns, tech problems and time. Both of these go hand in hand. We have a cart of 12 netbook for 24 kids and although they are OK there are many little problems that occur daily. They are getting old and tired and even logging on can be time consuming. Also they are not the greatest for doing any sort of video editing, making movies etc… They are good for word processing! This brings me to the computer lab, which is fantastic and all kids would be able to have their own computer, but booking times outside of the two schedule days every 10 day cycle is tricky.

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

•Moving away from the tradition paper and binder. But using technology instead, as the tool for students to work, create, reflect, post and present.
What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?
•There will be the tech skills that they will have to learn. Also they must be willing to explore, create and have patience’s and perseverance when things don’t work or turn out the way they thought they would.

Option 2: Flipped Math Unit

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

• I would like to take a math unit and flip it. I would like to take the mini lessons in the unit and have the students view these at home. When they return to school the next day we go straight into the practicing of the skill they learned via video or power point the night before. Thus giving me more time to confer, work with small groups, extend students who get it etc.

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

•Will it work?
•Will they watch the mini lessons?
•What if they don’t watch the lessons?
•What if it does not work and the kids totally bomb in the unit?
•Right know they kids are doing great in math and getting excellent results. Why fix a wheel that is not broken?

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?
•Teaching my mini lesson via power points or video and not having them in front of me when I teach them.

What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

•Diligent: they need to make sure they watch the mini lessons each night.
•Access to the internet every night. I always have a couple of kids who can’t get on a computer or have trouble with the computer.
•Parents: I may have to convince a few parents. What do I say when they ask me why are you no longer teaching my kids the lesson in class.

I am very keen to try this and give it a go.

Nov 24

Management and Strategies for use of Devices in the Classroom

My grade 4 class is not a 1 to 1 class. We have a cart of 12 net-books for 24 students. When I need more I borrow another cart from a team mate.

In my class the use of net-books happens mainly during our writing workshop time, which is first thing after lunch. Before the students go to lunch they spend 5 minutes getting net-books out, starting them up and logging on. They will then put the net-books to sleep while at lunch.

When they return from lunch they look at the instructions on the smart board to see if they have to get to work on the net-books straight away. Nine times out of ten they come to the carpet for our mini-lesson, then get to use the net-books during their independent writing time.

So far this year the students have used the net-books for word processing, power point presentations, drawing (using Animation-ish), recording audio, blogging and Google docs.

At the beginning of the year the expectations for the use of the net-books were established by me and the students. Consequences for inappropriate behavior or mistreatment of the net-books were also established by both parties. So far this year I have only had 1 student lose their net-book rights for a short period.

Occasionally I get a student who changes the screen saver, but 90% of the time the students are very responsible. They often monitor each other and will let another student know if they are doing something they should not be doing.

When the students are using the net-books I am constantly walking the room conferring with them, so I have a pretty good idea who’s on task and who is doing something else.

When I want my students’ attention or I have something to share I will ask them to lower their computer screens or put their hands on their heads. But most of the time I ask them to come to the carpet.

Five minutes before I want my students to start logging off and shutting down I tell them… “You have 5 minutes to finish up, save and start logging off.” They also get a 1 min call telling them they should be out of their seats and walking their net-books to the cart. At the end of the 5 minutes they should be on the carpet ready to begin the next lesson. They earn point if they can do this quickly.

I do have a smart board which is constantly used by me and the students as a presentation tool and white board. Having recently bought an Ipad I would love to get a class set for the students to use. There are so many great apps I could use in the class. I have put these on my Christmas wish list!

Nov 23

Technology Learning Theories and the Future of Learning

I think I would be a brave and perhaps a foolish person to say that education will not change because of technology. Yes I do believe it will change.

Where and how will it change? If I had a crystal ball I could tell you but I don’t. I can only speculate. For me I see technology has changed and will continue to change education in two big ways.

1.The delivery of the content to students. Not so long ago the teacher stood at the front of the room talking, and the student sat listening taking notes. Most students were present in the room. Today you don’t have to be in the room, city, or even country to learn. This course is proof of that. Another example that Jeff gave us is the University of the People Tuition Free Online University, a globe online higher education university. I think technology has made education a 24 hour global event. It is available to anyone with a computer and connection.

2.The second way technology has changed education and will change education in the future, is the different types of technology devices available to use. For example: A couple of years ago I would train for a triathlon by going for a swim, run and ride. I read books about swimming techniques, nutrition, and training. Today I still read the books, but now I have a GPS watch which counts my swim stroke, monitors my heart rate, and maps my runs (times, distances etc). Technology has allowed me to train smarter, be more efficient and improve my performances on race day. I can only see technology doing the same in the classroom in 5, 10 and 15 years’ time.

So how will technology change education in the future? I have no idea! What I do know, is the way I deliver the lesson (flipped classroom) and the technology I am using to deliver the lesson will change!

Nov 23

A Flipped Classroom

Before today I did not have any idea what a flipped classroom was. After completing several readings and watching videos I think I have some understanding of it.

If I were to tell my grade 4 students that our class will become a flipped classroom I would say… “A flipped classroom is when I will no longer stand at the front of the class and deliver a mini lesson. From today I will video all my mini lessons for math, science, reading, and writing. I will then post all the lessons on our class blog. For homework each night you will watch the mini lessons for math, science, reading, and writing. So, when you return to school the next day and it is math time you would have already had the mini lesson via video. Flipping the classroom means you can spend the entire math class working on activities, assigned problems, and I can spend more time interacting with you instead of delivering a lesson. What do you think of that?”

Initially I image the students would be stunned. Then hands would shoot up and I would have a million questions. Finally I image my kids would be excited and open to the idea.

I could see the biggest benefit would be removing that lesson time and giving my kids more time to complete activities, work in groups, experiment and discover. Plus it would give me more time to work with students in groups and individuals (conferring).

The biggest negative for me is that I would not be able to give my students immediate feedback and answer their questions. Also I would not be able to identify those students who understood the teaching point of the lesson or those students who did not get it and need extra teaching straight away.

As a grade 4 teacher I think I could flip my math and science, but I’m not so sure about readers and writers workshop. The whole active engagement part of the mini lesson would be gone. You couldn’t have the kids practice the teaching point nor would they be able to turn and talk and have partner/class discussions.

A lot of the readings and videos about flipped classrooms seem to center on middle and high school students. I did a Google search for flipped classrooms in the lower grades and came across an article called, Modified Flipped Classroom in 2nd Grade with Nearpod. A grade 2 teacher was using an apple app Nearpod to teach her students the Common Core math standards. It seems like a great tool to use to flip you classroom in the lower grades.

Am I convinced I should and could flip my classroom? For certain subjects I think I can give it a go. For our next math unit I might try to I flip some lessons to see how it works.

My own theory on technology in the classroom is that as long as it benefits the students then let’s give it a go. BUT there also needs to be the professional develop and support for teacher to embrace it and learn how to use technology as it was designed to be used.

Nov 22

Technology Integration

I have just spent time reading all about TIM and examining the matrix. Then thinking how would I evaluate my own practice of technology integration?

I used the matrix and read the exemplars of what teach integration looks like at each of the five different levels in my classroom. After doing this I would have to say I am not as integrated as I thought I was. The matrix was very helpful in doing two things.
1. It made me see where I am currently at with integrating tech into the classroom.
2. It gave me clear examples of what the next step of integration would look like for me and how I can get there.

The videos at each level of the matrix, in different subject areas are excellent. These allowed me to see the difference between integrating tech at each of the different levels as well as providing excellent ideas on how I can do it.

As a teacher I float somewhere between the Adoption and Adaption Constructive level. I would also place my kids in those same levels, only because that is where I am. Reflecting on it, I have students who might be in the Adaption level and maybe beyond. The only reason they are not there is me. TIM has allowed me to see this.

So, now after looking at this matrix I am finding myself thinking of how I can integrate tech better in my classroom so both my students and me are moving toward the Transformation level. I think the obvious step is to use the matrix and other resources to allow us to move forward. Exciting times ahead!

Nov 16

The NET Standards for Students

Who’s job is it to teach the NETs standards to students and how do we ensure they are being met in an integrated model?

Not so long ago I would have said it would have been the computer teacher’s job. But today with technology everywhere in our student’s daily lives and classrooms I think it has to be a collaborative approach. I think teachers, administrators, parents and even students need to work together and take responsibility for teaching the NETs standards.

With so much technology in the classroom today the classroom teacher needs to be comfortable with integrating technology into our students learning and teaching the NETs standards through integration.

For teachers to be able to successfully integrating NETs and ensure they are being met in an integrated model, the administrators need to provide teachers with the resources and professional development support. But furthermore the administrators need to have a clear plan and vision of how they are going implement the standards. Just putting a bunch of computers into a classroom and saying “here you go” will not work.

Education does not just happen with the classroom. It extends to outside the school and into our students homes. So I feel parents have a role to play in continuing the work we are doing inside the school.

Also the students themselves are great resource for teaching each other. Every day I have students working together, teaching and learning from each other when using technology.

The way I see it teachers, administrators, parents and students all have a part to play in integrating the NETs successfully. If we can do this then we will be giving our kids the digital skills they need to work, live, and contribute to society.

Nov 12

Digital Story Telling

I have finally have finished my video project for course 3. Yes!!

This coming quarter my students and I will be doing a lot of work on writing summaries, retelling stories, reading with clarity, expression/fluently and completing reading responses. I also want my kids to learn to give book talks, and promote the books they are reading to the other students in the class; hopefully encouraging the other students to read some of the books that they are promoting.

Rather than just having the kids stand up and talk about their books, I have decided to get them to use iMovie’s and create a book trailer. My students are familiar with how to use iMovie’s, but they are not sure what book trailer looks like. So, I created the following book trailer using Mo Willems book, Can I Play Too. The video demonstrates what a book trailer could look like. Obviously my students will have their own ideas and styles on how they will make their trailer, but at least they have a starting point.

To begin with I will have my students practice making a book trailer using a picture book, like I did. Once they have experimented, I will get them to make a book trailer using a book they have just finished reading. For the making of these trailers they will have to do the following:
1. Read a book.
2. Write a summary outline.
3. Create a story board sketching out the book trailer content.
4. Match images to their words using Comp Fight, Clip Art, or another source of free to use images.
5. Place their images in iMovie’s.
6. Then finally create a voic-eover for their trailer, add background music and credits.

Their book trailers will then be posted onto the students blogs for other students to view, offer feedback, and hopefully be encourage to read the books their peers are promoting.

Initially I let out a huge groan when I saw this assignment, as I was apprehensive about creating a video. For me the hardest thing was to get this project started. Once I did get started I found myself enjoying it and having fun. I also learned how to use iMovie’s to create my video. I have to say iMovie’s is the easiest of any movie making software I have used. It really is the movie making software for dummies. Hence the reason I used it!!

Today I showed my kids my video and gave them a heads up that they will soon be making their own movie trailers using iMovie’s. The excitement in the class was great. The kids are now in a hurry to get their books finished so they can start their projects. I am also excited to see what they will create and to have them promote books in a exciting and new way.

Oct 30

Remix Culture

I have just finished watching the video Everything is a Remix: The TED Talk by Kirby Ferguson and I have to agree that everything is a remix.

I only have to look at my daily life as a classroom teacher to find many examples of remixing. A day would not go by when I and the other 6 teachers on my team would not Copy, Transform, and Combine to produce. For example: Last week I created a checklist (rubric) for my students to use while they were revising and editing their personal narrative stories. Did I create this checklist (rubric) from scratch…? No Way!! I looked at what I used last year, plus another colleague’s checklist (rubric), and took parts from both. I then added a couple of new pieces and hey presto! I had a new and improved checklist (rubric) to help my students revise and edit their personal narrative stories. The above is one example of how I can use the concepts behind remix culture in my teaching. Another example is something I want to try out next week in reading lessons.

Next week my kids are going to start promoting or presenting books they have read, to the other students in my class. The goals being…
1. I want them to talk about the books they are reading. Sharing their thinking, opinions and thoughts about books they like.
2. I want them to promote the books they have read to the other students. Perhaps getting the other students interested in reading the books themselves.

I could achieve this by having the kids stand up, with the book in their hand and talk about it. This is the traditional way it has been done for the past couple of years. But after completing the readings about remixing I have decided to take the traditional book report format and use transmedia. I want my students to promote their books via words, images and sounds. I will have the students use IMoives to create book trailers promoting their books to the other students.

I am not 100% sure if this is remixing, but I am taking a traditional format and using IMovies (words, images and sound) to promote a book.

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