Sunday, January 3, 2016

Welcome back. Now take out your cell phones and let's get to work.

I've had one goal this school year and it wasn't initiated by any New Year's resolution.  That was to find ways to use technology to engage and inform my students.  Related to that is transforming how my students think of their cell phones.  I want them to think of them as learning tools, not just communication devices (or toys).

What if students don't have devices?  They can share or borrow from me.  I'm the lender of last resort.  I've let students use my laptop or iPad without any problem or stigma.  If things were really tight I could borrow a school laptop from a cooperative next-door colleague.  This worked flawlessly before break so I'm going to just march on forward.

Now that we're planning for our return to school after winter break, I'm recommitting to that goal.  But I want to modify and improve upon it.  Through research and investigation, I have learned about lots of easy and incredibly powerful online tools available as formative assessments to measure student understanding in real time.  So after welcoming my students back to school on Monday, I'm going to ask them to take out their cell phones and get to work.
Image result for january 4 calendar
Here's my workflow for some of the lessons that will begin on Mon., Jan. 4, 2016.  That week we're going to be studying Gilded Era industrialization and urbanization.
  1. Scheduling/reminder app: I'm going to have them register to use WhatsDue.  WhatsDue lets me create a to-do list of upcoming due dates on my laptop that appears as a calendar of upcoming assignments on their student devices.  I blogged on that reminder app here.
  2. #OTD warm-ups:  I'll consult Today's Document from the National Archives and  EDSITEment's January calendar for on-this-date-in history materials.  Either would become the basis for a short primary-source skills activity.
  3. Review activities: We're going to do some review with an online quiz-game platform called Triventy.  I blogged about Triventy here.
  4. My presentation: I have a way-too-long PowerPoint presentation that I'm going to scope down to about 10 minutes.  I like it a lot (pride of authorship) but the goal is for me to create opportunities for them to act like historians, not like an audience.  Once I cut it down I'll present the presentation to my students using Nearpod.  I blogged on Nearpod here.
  5. Primary sources: I'm going to search for primary sources using Primary Source Nexus.  Searching under Asian Pacific American resources in their Culture Themed Link Set brought me to a feature curated by the Library of Congress called The Chinese in California, 1850-1925.  Further searching brought me to a Primary Source Spotlight on Immigration that had a comprehensive listing of classroom materials on topics like Ellis Island and Chinese Immigration.
  6. Timelines: My students will use their devices to learn about the rise of the American labor movement using timelines from the AFL-CIO and AFSCME.
  7. Textbook reading: I will set up a GoogleDoc that every student can edit.  They will have DEAR time (about 20 minutes in a 90-minute block) to read their textbooks and take notes (which ordinarily is their homework).  I will change the permissions of the shared document to "read only" and republish it in our class Google Classroom for at-home studying and review.
  8. Formative assessments: I will plant formative assessments through every lesson.  Nearpod lets me embed quiz and poll questions into my presentations.  It also a Draw-It function that allows students to use their device screens as a marking pad and their fingers as markers.
  9. Individualized review: BrainRush meets the needs of each student.  I create an activity (there are four to choose from, but the vocabulary matching and hotspots activities work best with smartphones) that each student works on.  If they stumble, BrainRush gives them extra practice on that particular topics.  I blogged about BrainRush here.
  10. Maps: My students will plot the industrial America's impact using this map and annotate their map with resources like this about the Haymarket Riot, the Pullman Strike, the Homestead Strike, and Great Railroad Strike (here and here).  The blank outline maps for this activity will come from D-maps.

No comments: