Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Livescribe Sentences for ELL

I used the Livescribe pen with a student who had just arrived in Canada, around two weeks before this video was taken. When she arrived she did not know any English, not even hi or bye. I thought she needed to learn certain phrases to at least help her in her first few weeks in Canada. I wrote a few sentences and showed her how to use the pen. After she used it a few times she asked me, using a translator program, if we could write a few more for her. I was very excited that she really enjoyed using the Livescribe pen. She typed a few different sentences into a translator program and I recorded them using the Livescribe pen. After this she became completely independent using the pen. She would go to the pen and paper, and click on the sentence she wanted to say. She would listen and repeat the sentence, then come to me and say the sentence aloud for me to respond. It was perfect! This helped her to feel more comfortable in the class and able to ask the questions that she wanted to ask.

Sentences for RH
brought to you by Livescribe

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First Week of School!

The first week of school has come to a close. We had a very busy first week of school!

Tuesday – Students and I were all very excited to get to school in the morning and meet each other. I shared with students my Prezi welcoming presentation and reviewed what my expectations are. We did a couple of getting to know you activities because students in this class are coming from four different schools. We brainstormed questions for our upcoming Skype call with Matali Perkins, I was really happy that students were curious about her writing process. We played dodge ball in gym class, and students had a good work out as a result! We played some math multiplication games and talked about how big one million is in relation to objects in the world. Plus, forms, forms, forms! Students were given many forms for their parents to fill out, so I thought, in order to help their parents, I had the students fill in the forms with the information they knew. It worked really well!
Welcome to Grade 6!

Wednesday – The day began with all but 5 students returning their filled out forms! I was very happy because students would be able to use some programs that I had set up. I reviewed internet safety, and talked to students about how you really don’t know who you are talking to when you are on line. I hope they remember this as they use the internet. Students began using some programs such as:
Kidblog – to tell the class about themselves and what they did over the summer
Destination Learning – learning about making connections with what you are reading
Bitstrips – creating their aviator and a comic to tell the class about them
Livescribe Pen – write short stories in a group taking turns with creating sentences
Smart Board – students used this to read newspaper articles and write about how they connected to this article.
Students will continue to use these centers for the rest of the week.
We received a Skype call from Matali Perkins and students were so excited to learn from her. Students asked questions such as what is her writing process, where does she write and what inspires her to write. After the call students were asking me when we were going to do that again, they loved it and learned not to be offended when someone edits their work because they are just trying to make it better!

Thursday - I read a short suspense story to students, and explained that we will be working on making connections through our suspense unit. We created a shared writing piece on our connections with the short story that was read. This was difficult so we first make an anchor chart on how to answer questions and this seemed to help students with focusing their attention. The regular gym teacher will assist me in teaching my gym class once a week and I am very happy about this because I am going to learn how to be an excellent gym teacher with his guidance!

Friday – As a class we created a rubric for our suspense unit using Google documents. For some students this was their first opportunity using Google documents and it was a great demonstration for them. Students were split into groups and were assigned a specific expectation to change into kid language and write what each level represents. I think that some of them were a little shocked that I was putting the “grading system” into their hands. They were talking about how they couldn’t believe that they were able to decide how they were going to be graded. I felt this gave them a sense of true understanding as to what is actually expected of them. I look forward to having them create many more rubrics as the year continues. We ended the day with DPA, a running game called Spider.

It was a busy week that went by very fast! The highest compliment I received this week was when a student asked me when is lunch, and I told her school is over in 20 minutes. She said.” Wow, the day went so fast I thought we still had one nutrition break to go!”.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Talking Word Wall

I made a talking word wall using the Livescribe pen. So far the wall, and the video below, contains words for the grade 6 Biodiversity Unit. I wrote out the words on index cards, with definition and pictures on the back. Each card has a piece of the Livescribe paper taped to the card. The tape covers the dot that I made using the pen, because it is on an index card the card should be removed before trying to activate the recording (other wise the pen will go through the card). Students are able to remove the card from the wall, bring it to their desk or work area and listen to the recording. As the year progresses words will be added as we are working on new topics.

Flip cards with the Livescribe Pen

The following video is of a student using the Livescribe pen to learn Enlgish words and phrases. I made the flip cards for this student to practice before I had the Livescribe pen. When she was practicing I noticed that she did not always pronounce words correctly, so I would practice with her or she would practice with other students. Once I had the Livescribe pen I decided to make her flip cards easier for her to practice even when no one was available to assist her. I cut the Livescribe paper into squares then pasted these squares onto the cards. Then I would make a dot while I said the word or phrase. This made the flip cards so much easier and more engaging for the student to use. Now she uses them independently and is able to hear the correct pronunciation of words while she practices pronouncing the words herself.

The start of a new year 2010/2011

The beginning of a new year is always filled with excitement and some fear. I am very excited to try new tools such as kidblog. I have set up my class and I can’t wait to see students blogging
regularly. I want to see what they are thinking and what they are passionate about. I am excited to continue to use some of the tools that I used last year, which will be new to most of my class. I have some fear that I will not be able to fit everything into our schedule, such as trying to organize computer use so that everyone has an equal opportunity to use them.
During our PD we heard the new buzz words, “Passion based learning”, I hope that I am able to elicited what my students are passionate about, or if they don’t know, I hope to guide them to find things to be excited about in life. Engaging students through their interests seems so obvious, so now the trick is to somehow create projects that are diverse and can and will interest all students. Here is to a wonderful year, and I am going to hit the ground running!