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What Does This Mean For The Students?

October 22, 2011

For the past two days, I’ve been at ECOO: a conference in Richmond Hill, Ontario. This was a fantastic professional development opportunity for me, where I not only got a chance to share what I’m doing in the classroom, but I also got to hear what others are doing in their classrooms too.

As much as I love conferences, I always find it hard to be away from the students, so after arriving home today, I really started to think about the past two days. Was it worth it? Absolutely, positively, yes! How will this conference make a difference for my students?

Here is my Top 5 list (in no particular order) of new ideas/activities to try out in the classroom based on what I learned at ECOO:
1) Create “thinking books” for students for math. Students can only use marker in these books. The idea is that if they make a mistake, you can still see what they were thinking at the time, as they may be able to cross out their work, but they can’t erase it. This thinking book is not marked, but just a safe place for students to share their thinking and pose their questions. What a fantastic idea! (A special thank you to @team_jellybean, and the amazing teacher sitting with us at lunch, whose Twitter name I don’t recall, that taught me all about thinking books.)
2) Add captions to photographs of students demonstrating skills. Use these photographs in the classroom as anchor charts to help the students remember what to do at different activities or in different situations. For example, take a photograph of students listening to each other. Add text bubbles to show which student is the listener, and which one is the talker. Highlight what the talker and listener are both doing in the photograph. (A special thank you to @rajalingam for sharing this idea during his fantastic workshop!)

3) Have students put their writing through Wordle to see what words they use the most often. Have them make changes to their writing based on the Wordle results. What an easy activity, but what a great one too for word choice! This could really help the students add more variety to their writing and make them more aware of what words they’re using too. (A special thank you to @shadiyazdan for this great idea during her Pecha Kucha presentation yesterday.)
4) Have students add an audio comment over their glogs to explain their thinking on why they chose the images and videos that they did. I love this metacognitive addition to Glogster, and I think that this would help take a great media literacy activity and make it even better. Some of my students remember how to use Glogster from last year and are already using it, and others will be introduced in the coming months. I’m going to have my students try this out for sure! (A special thank you to @misterpuley that shared this wonderful idea during his presentation today with @faulkneronline.)
5) Use Twitter to help students summarize the books that they’re reading. They can summarize various amounts of the books based on they reading level and comfort. I was also thinking that, if necessary, they could use other tools (e.g., video or the Livescribe Pen) to record their summary and tweet out this recording too. What a great way to get students to really focus in on the main idea of texts and to engage in conversations about the books that they’re reading too. (A special thank you to @shadiyazdan for suggesting this idea during her Pecha Kucha presentation.)
I know that I could add many more ideas to this list, but these are the ones that come immediately to mind. I can’t wait to try them out in the classroom! What would your “top 5” list be? I’d love to hear about your learning at ECOO too!

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  1. Hi Aviva
    What a great list. You might also consider allowing kids to write on windows. Yes, you read that correctly. For those who may be hesitant to write with marker because they can't rub out, and some kids need to be able to do this. It provides them with an opportunity to work on a surface that's different while allowing them the freedom to rub out because they know it's not permanent. It's also fun to solve problems on windows. They could then take a photo of their work and put it up on their blog and explain their thinking. Just a thought. Mine love writing on the windows. We use dry erase pens or you could actually use window markers.
    It's a surface that isn't so intimidating as paper and pencil. I think for some students paper and pencil is so permanent and it inhibits their thinking causing them to not always put down their best thinking.
    I like the Wordle idea as well. I'm going to have them try writing a short story in Wordle and see what happens.
    Thank you for your thoughts. It's always nice to read what you are learning about.

  2. Thanks for the great idea! I never thought of writing on windows before. This could be fun, and a great way for students to still “write.”

    I always love the great ideas that you share! Thank you, April!


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