It's seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It's seeing what other people don't see and pursuing that vision no matter who tells you not to. Howard Schultz
For my last post, I wanted to share some things I have learned this year.
Get to know your students
Too often we plunge into a project and do all kinds of activities we think students will love then realize that we have not taken the time to understand what the needs of the students are and if these activities will meet their needs. Getting to know your students through needs assessments, multiple intelligence surveys and interest inventories will help you tailor the activities to better suit their needs.
It can be very overwhelming to try to do it all from the beginning. I have to remind myself to start slowly and add more strategies as I get more familiar with what I have learned. When I want to try a DI strategy, I first decide on the purpose and how it will be used in my class.
Folding the Green screen
The first time I had to use the green screen was at the beginning of December when I worked at Westlock Elementary with Mr. Weiss and his grade 3 class. We had worked on movies all day and the time came to fold the green screen. We decided to watch a you tube video to see what to do. They made it look very easy and so we tried. When it was evident that this would not be easy, Mr Weiss left me there to do it and went back to his class and I continued on. After many tries and 45 minutes later, Mrs. van Ramshorst and I were able to fold it away. After using it so many times with the Social 5 project it is no longer an issue for me. If you ever need to fold the green screen use this video. Its EASY.
Build relationships based on trust
Before working with teachers and students I realized how important it is to form relationships based on trust and mutual respect. It allowed us to collaborate more effectively. Steven Covey has wisely said' With people, if you want to save time, don't be efficient. Slow is fast and fast is slow.
I would love to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, Shirley Craig, Colleen Toews and Wendy Hood for a terrific year. What I have learned from you this year is immeasurable. I appreciate your friendship and support and I know we will continue to support each other in the future. I would also like to thank all the teachers who have allowed me to work in their classes. Your hard work and dedication to both teaching and to your students is inspiring to me.Margaret Benham
How is differentiated instruction going to help my students when they sit down to write a standardized test?
Dear Miss Examsrule,
This is a question that many teachers find themselves wrestling with, and I think it is best answered by an old Chinese proverb:
“Tell me, I’ll forget.
Show me, I’ll remember.
Involve me, I’ll understand.”
Differentiated instruction requires that we plan learning activities that cater to the needs of all of our learners, and Universal Design for Learning guides us in designing tasks that allow all of our students to actively engage in learning. These two elements both place our students at the forefront of our decision-making and look to provide students with learning experiences that are meaningful for them. When we design lessons, we do so keeping in mind the types of learners we have and the strengths they bring to our learning community.
Returning to the proverb above, we know that hearing and listening are not our strongest senses, but visual stimuli is one of the most powerful for learning. When we consider a learning activity that requires us to use multiple senses, when we are involved, the experiences we have and memories we develop will strengthen our understanding. As teachers then, we look for as many opportunities to ‘involve’ our students in their learning as we can; seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, smelling, etc. It is these experiences which allow for deeper understanding and application of content.
For example, if students are learning about hormones of the body, there are many ways they could learn the material. If I am considering what might be asked on the standardized test relating to this content, I will focus very carefully on vocabulary and factual items related to the concept. However, if I am truly interested in having my students understand the concepts, rather than know the content, I will want them to experience it! I will likely teach the essential front-matter, and then I might have them conduct research to:
- write a RAFT, from the perspective of a hormone to it’s target organ
- write a resume for a hormone
- role play a day in the life of a hormone
- create an interview between a hormone-replacement therapist and one of their clients
Through these tasks, I am hopeful that my students are questioning the content, communicating their thoughts to others, and taking themselves beyond the factual points into the more global ideas around the concept. When faced with a knowledge-level question, my students would now have a context to relate their understanding to that they can apply to reasoning through the A, B, C, D choices. In addition, there are choices in how they wish to explore the content to show me what they are learning. There are opportunities for individual or partner work, high-tech or low-tech activities, creativity, communication, collaboration, artwork and movement within the options.
I do not want students who have memorized every factual point in my course, I want students who can problem solve, think critically and innovatively and challenge themselves and others around them. I want to light a flame for learning, and help them learn to use their strengths most effectively. Jennifer Katz posed a question, along the lines of, “How often in your daily lives are you assessed using a multiple choice exam? You’re not, you are measured according to your performance in your role.” Whatever role my students have when they leave my classroom, I hope they are able to do so as creative innovators and strong communicators, and so, I will plan my learning activities accordingly.
5 Senses Image taken from: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/07/humans-have-a-lot-more-than-five-senses/ Colleen Toews
If we teach
|Click here to access this unit|
|Help wanted ad for NWMP|
The menu was explained and students were able to choose the activities and begin their work. The menu has many interesting activities such as making a model, writing a song, or making a word cloud.
After the menu activities were completed, students were able to start planning for their green screen project. Working in small groups, students decided on a historical event that was well-aligned with the Alberta program of studies for grade 5 and wrote and produced a short video of the historical event. This piece will serve as a summative assessment for the unit.
|Celebration of learning|
|Model of Iroquois village|
What`s next for this project?
The classes involved will be meeting through video conference to show their green screen projects to each other.
Global Read Aloud
Inquiry Based Learning
Project Based Learning
Text To Speech
Universal Design For Learning
This blog and resources website has been developed through the work of various AISI coaches in PHRD. The lead collaborative teachers for the 2015/2016 school year, Cheryl Frose, Christine Quong and Tammy Tkachuk will continue to update this site. If you have resources you would like to share or would like to contribute to the blog, please contact us.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.