Sunday, April 5, 2009

Assignment for SFU - I actually learned something!

Lesson Make-Over - LTT - March 25, 2009

When given this assignment, I really had to think about how and most importantly, why I would change an assignment. To me, this was a difficult task as in our school, it is difficult to have access to technology, period. We have three labs in the school. There is one in the library which is difficult to get into. Then we have the main computer lab where you're lucky if you have 10 computers that work. Finally, we have the tech-ed lab. Good luck getting in there as the tech-ed teacher always has it booked. Therefore, I decided to make use of my virtual classroom site. This has been one of my main goals for the first term of LTT. I have worked really hard and played really hard trying to get this set-up. If I was able to post this assignment on the site, my students would have to begin to explore it. As of that time, there were only a handful of students who had requested access to the site. This, to me, meant that I was not utilizing it very well. The kids just looked at it as a homework site. I posted a wiki on there and began to ask questions. Once I decided to post my assignment on-line, the kids really started to use the site.

I have a very rambunctious group of grade 6's who are very hard to motivate. In the fall, we did the novel Holes. I wanted to look at the character of Stanley in our final study. We spent a lot of time discussing his philosophy and how he grew as a character throughout the book. We talked about the social aspect of his character and how he fit in with all the other characters. I had the students complete posters to show their work. The grade 7's did an outstanding job. However, the grade 6's didn't get it. They had a really hard time putting together a proper presentation and were unable to think in terms of the character. We had been working on writing in first person, so I decided to do another character study just for the grade 6's. Before Spring Break, we had completed a lit kit on bullying. This was a perfect opportunity to play around with an on-line assignment.

The first thing I did was to do some research on the web as to appropriate sites the students would be able to access. I decided on Read/Write/Think. I really liked this site as it was extremely clear with it's instructions which was perfect for individual work at home. Once I decided on the assignment, I realized that I was going to have to do some sort of tutorial for the kids to remember instructions with. I decided to use Jing for this. I also used Jing to freeze a page on the web that I had found to use as a reference for thinking about characters in first person.

This is the page:

Here's the Jing tutorial I did so the grade 6's would remember what they were supposed to do:

The next task was to paste the link to the character profile I wanted the grade 6's to complete. I thought that this was an excellent assignment to begin an individual on-line assignment with.

Here's the link:

My next step was to take the students to the library lab to show them the assignment (it was actually available that day...also, the teacher/librarian wanted to see how I used Jing). I went through the assignment. Their initial reaction was very positive. They were very excited about working on their own on-line. Then they realized that there was no way they were going to remember everything. That's when I showed the Jing tutorial. After they finished laughing because I sounded like a stewardess, they loved it. I had pretty much the whole class send for requests for access to my site that evening. It was probably the first homework assignment everyone got in on time.

I enjoyed putting this together, simply for the fact that I actually could. If you had asked me in September to do this, there's no way I would have been able to. I am very excited at what I've learned in this short time and can't wait to learn more.


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