What a week this has been! This has been the most thrilling and motivational yet frustrating weeks for myself and perhaps my students. We really took the plunge into technology integration this week. And I do mean we. We worked together as a class to discuss objectives, help each other, problem solve, and assess our learning.
I started out this week with a list of objectives on the board. We had to review syllables and spelling patterns, finding and comparing character traits in stories, writing a persuasive argument using information from a text to support our case, and review figurative language. To accomplish each objective, we would integrate technology. To assess if we were successful, we were required to take an online unit test established by our reading publisher.
First I established the students’ blogs. This is where we would publish all of our created material. If you can in any way, please visit and check out some of their blogs. This was probably the greatest motivation the students had all week. They knew their work would be published “World Wide”, and they were thrilled.
We incorporated Wordles to review our spelling words and uploaded those into our blogs. We wrote persuasive paragraphs directly onto our blogs. And I must say the students were extra careful with spelling, punctuation, and grammar. I also allowed them a chance to create a Voki character to talk about what they loved about third grade. My goal there was to teach some of my more “techy” students how to embed and to help others.
While all of my students had the opportunity to create a cartoon demonstrating their ability to locate information in a story and ask questions, only a few were able to complete that assignment. They were too anxious to play with the technology and they rushed through the preparation part of the assignment. In retrospect, I should have allowed the time for students to play with the technology first, and then assigned them a topic.
Our formal assessment went well. The class average for the unit test was around 77%. I would have liked the average to be higher, but I learned a few pointers this week too. Some of my students still need that extra support of more concrete assignments before assigning creative or abstract written work. For example, a few of my students had trouble writing questions or turning their statements of information they read into a question. I had to work with them on that before they could make the cartoon.
I have always believed in what some may consider a busy classroom with students working together collaboratively. This week was even “busier” than ever. I had students at different levels of technology knowledge, hardware issues, content questions etc. One of the most pleasing things I noticed about this week were that the students did not need to be assigned a partner or a team. They really worked together, offered to help each other, and walked around the room asking each other questions. That was awesome! However, I did have maybe one or two students who took advantage of this time and did not work. I am going to have to work to decrease this response.
With only a few weeks left of school, I am so eager to try all of this with my class. I knew going into this week I was introducing more technology tools than should be started in one week. I would not advise anyone introducing so many different technologies at one time unless you have either a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of patience, someone to help, or some serious down time when you get home. But I have a good clue of where I am going starting next year.
I can’t stop now! Even if I wanted to stop and go backwards, my class would not let me. They are having fun. They are learning. They are helping each other. And isn’t that what school should be all about?