Last week, Bob Sprankle, gave explicit directions that we can use to promote student’s making comments on blogs, student publishing, student learning and student results. That post offered me a chance to reflect on my first trimester. I work with challenged learners and provide them with opportunities to share their learning. Here are a few examples from my high school students.These moments do not happen frequently, however, we have to be in the right place at the right time in order to facilitate them, or not!
For the first trimester, in our Skills Cafe, at our high school, we have been teaching students how to use various Web 2.0 tools in their own learning and how to add tools in their own specially designed toolkits. Once we teach a student how to use the tool, then they decide if the tool actually works for them, their learning style and produces results.
One student, Mike, had failed his English vocabulary test. I shared how he could use Quizlet and study then take the test again. He created his own word list in Quizlet over the weekend, studied, came in Monday and passed the vocabulary test with 100%. He sought me out between classes and told me how he got 100% by using Quizlet! Student Success.
Last week, I was out at a department meeting. You now how hard it is to schedule a department meeting for special educators, get all the necessary substitutes and then hope for the best. This prompted Scott, to be in touch with me while I was out of the classroom. The previous day, Scott was studying for his vocabulary test, he had written them on paper, read them over and over, I quizzed him, he knew all but 4 of the words and definitions. Now, here is the part about our Special Education Department meeting, I was out of the building. Scott had my cell phone number, because he likes to receive texts from me as reminders. He hates email!!! So, frequently I text him reminders, questions, suggestions. Guess what? During my meeting I received a text, and a photo of his success!
Scott's photo used with permission
This is a story about Morgan. As we introduced the webtools to our students in the first trimester, we gave them tools and a placeholder-a google doc. We showed them how to share google docs and that it could later be published as a website. We shared our links in a google site. Through experience, Morgan made her own google site and published her Animoto’s, strategies, research tools all as her own toolkit. If we model good strategies for publishing, share the tools and monitor our student work , give our students choices, they will make good decisions.
Another student, Kaitlin, had to be out of school for two weeks. She wanted to have school work. I shared an online opportunity for her to complete work and stay in touch. Each week, she completed an online course of study and emailed me the results. Nice job! She was able to keep up with her classwork while she had to be out of school.
I have told these stories over and over again to other adults and students. Why? I am proud, my students are proud. We have flattened our classrooms. We no longer only teach between 7 AM and 2 PM. We have given our students the tools, they are collaborating, they are problem solving, they are coming up with new ways to use the tools and they are personalizing them. Isn’t this what instruction for digital literacy is all about? Please share your stories about changes in your classrooms.