One of my favorite parts of planning my lessons and reflecting on them was reviewing my students exit tickets, what I called “Ziel des Tages,” or goal of the day. Before my students raced out the door to meet their friends or get out of the parking lot as fast as possible, they completed one these, it was our routine. Each day I posed specific questions to reflect on our lesson and goals. In addition to those questions, I included a place for students to tell me what else they’d like to know and anything else they’d like to share. This closure routine created a lasting impression on the students, provided me with invaluable feedback and gave students a safe place to use their voice.
What was this routine? How did I collect their feedback? Initially this was a paper process, but when I became part of our 1:1 iPad pilot program, I switched to a digital format. I chose Google Forms, because it provided me feedback in a spreadsheet which I could manipulate to focus on whatever data point I wanted. I linked the form to a QR code which I printed on card stock. Each seating group had a container that housed various manipulatives for class. The QR code was included in that container on a ring of cards, one QR code card for each class. As part of our closing routine, students would scan the QR code which led to their exit ticket. Because I wanted to track their learning and engagement over time, students responded to the same questions each day. While I used Google Forms for this, Microsoft Forms would also work in a very similar fashion.
Google Forms and Microsoft Forms aren’t the only tools available to use for lesson closure. Padlet and Flipgrid are also some of my favorite tools for gathering student feedback. While I specifically used Google Forms for end of class reflection and feedback, end of lesson feedback can be done during the period or for homework.
There are many digital and paper tools that can be used for closure activities. Here are some of my favorite digital feedback tools:
Using video tools in the classroom doesn't have to equate to a full-scale movie production. Video tools give students voice and allow them to demonstrate what they know. You don't have to be an expert in the tool, you don't need to develop a full-scale production rubric; just let the students turn on the tool and let them show you what they know. Students use their own voice, in their own words. Here are some examples:
Have your students submit their work through Google Drive or Showbie and enjoy experiencing what your students have learned!
Click here for my post on how to make using iMovie easier.
These last weeks of the semester before winter break move so fast! There seems to be so much to do: managing grades, final exams and keeping students engaged. In addition to an extra cup of coffee or two, we can all use a few tips as we move forward toward the end of the semester.
Let’s look at some tips and suggestions gathered from the sources listed below.
Keeping students engaged:
Maintaining your own sanity:
As a School of Innovative Learning and Technology, our Site Plan calls for innovative, technology-embedded programs and experiences for our students. Does that mean that everything we do needs to be surrounded with technology? When is digital the right choice?
The use of digital resources in instruction needs to support best instructional practices, further your learning target, and promote deeper learning. We have amazing digital resources literally at our fingertips every class period, but not to use merely because they’re present.
Digital resources do have the ability to increase personalization, aid in differentiation, provide immediate formative feedback, increase engagement, and provide access to authentic materials (VanderArk & Schneider). Research shows that digital learning can increase achievement by as much as a grade level (Anderson). Thoughtful implementation is essential (Schapiro) in the planning process for this to occur. Merely using the technology without monitoring student use does not increase student achievement (Jacob). Our instruction has to be founded in best instructional practices. Technology shouldn’t replace the teacher, the standards or the learning targets.
As we move forward on our 1:1 journey, consider the instructional practices you are using. Is there a digital alternative? Is that alternative a substitution? Does that substitution offer additional possibilities for differentiation and application? Does that alternative actively engage students in the learning process? Does that alternative encourage collaboration? Does it encourage students to build upon prior knowledge? Does it provide for an authentic experience? Will you receive timely formative feedback through its use? Is it an additional activity or something embedded into your lesson?
Do you need help answering these questions or knowing what possibilities we have? Let’s work together with your collaborative teams to explore the possibilities.
Quizlet IS a flashcard site, yes, but so much more! It’s cross-platform, that means that students can work on their iPads, their iPhones, their Android phones and desktops. Create your own card sets, search for set already created, search for a set from your course materials, or have you students create sets as part of their own review and practice.
It’s not just flashcards, either. There are a number of games students can play as part of their practice (the desktop version has more options than the mobile versions). The “Learn” activity is my favorite for spelling reinforcement. Targeted spelling feedback lets students know where their errors are. When students are having a difficult time with terms, adaptive training helps them focus on those items. You can even have the cards “read” to your students.
Create a class and track student progress when students “join” your class. Go a step further and embedded sets into ALEC, Schoology and other sites. Have students take notes by creating cards for key points. Use the Quizlet Live feature for a collaborative race to learn the material.
Use this as an assessment tool and let Quizlet create quizzes for you! Multiple choice, matching, true/false, Quizlet will create the quiz and let you proofread it before you print. Are you interested in going paperless? Save the PDF version of the quiz and upload it to Showbie*.
*For quizzing situations like this, I would recommend requiring the students to complete the quiz in Showbie and not allow them to open it and complete in Notability. Students are able to expand the PDF in Showbie for easier writing. When the quiz is over, lock it so students can’t share it with others.
e-Hallpass is an electronic hall pass system that allows us to continually monitor our students whenever they leave our classrooms. No more writing out passes on scraps of paper or Post-It notes. "Pin" students out of class from their iPads, their phones, your iPad or your desktop. Use your normal classroom policies regarding when a student can leave the room; students may generate a pass, but it's your decision if they can leave. When it's appropriate for them to leave, they generate the pass, you pin or approve it. Their pass changes color depending on its state: waiting, approved, or complete. The visual is great! Is the student just going to the bathroom or getting a drink? Have them leave their device on the chalk rail, on your desk, or somewhere else visible - you know they're still out while it's sitting there.
Visit this link for additional information and a pass creation video.
Interested in a tool that provides for easy, instant communication with students and parents? Try Remind! Remind is a cross-platform tool designed for education. It allows you to send messages to your students or parents that can be accessed via web, iPad and phone (Android or iPhone). Use it for class or club. Remind provides for so many communication options. You can chat with students and parents. Send direct messages, images, voice files, attachments and links. Remind students of upcoming due dates. Update parents on class happenings. Send quick positive notes. Students can message you with questions regarding assignments. You can even set your availability so you don't have to answer questions at odd hours.
Using a Green Screen to Demonstrate Learning
We have so many ways for students to demonstrate learning. Often we ask them to present their understanding using tools such as PowerPoint, Prezi, posters, or other 3-D visuals. Students may have even started creating movies using their iPads and iMovie. Now we can add another tool to our box, the green screen app.
By using a green screen app, one can place their subjects into virtual backgrounds, animate digital backdrops, or transport them to another place and time. You can even shrink or grow the subject or make it fly.
Green screen photography and videos have so many possibilities for the classroom! Here are just some possibilities:
Green Screen by Do Ink is a green screen app to add to your toolbox. Are you interested in seeing how it is working in the classroom? Check out Do Ink's Twitter feed!
Taking Instruction out of the Textbook
It’s Friday afternoon, a time when so many students (and some of us) are counting down to the weekend. Keeping students engaged is often a challenge. Jeff's Algebra 2 classes were working on the Law of Cosines on just such a day. In this case, however, they weren’t counting down the moments until the weekend. They were engaged and having fun and so was he!
Jeff had the students take their practice out of the textbook and into the building. He challenged his students to find or create angles that couldn’t easily be measured. The students then took pictures of those angles, imported them to Notability, and solved their problems by writing on the pictures themselves. “What is great about this activity with iPads, is students can write all over the picture and see what the sides of the triangle actually represent.”
His students were being creative, and innovative with their thinking and problem solving. They collaborated in groups to demonstrate their learning. What a great example of our vision!
“The vision for digital learning at Pine Creek High School is focused on students as learners and teachers as their partners in the learning process. Here we use digital tools to create products, innovate design, collaborate with others inside and out of the classroom, and demonstrate learning. Our learners will be globally connected creators, communicators, collaborators, contributors, and constructivists.”
Students use Sphero Balls to Develop their Programming Skills
Did you find yourself watching small white balls rolling around the hallways a couple of weeks ago? Well, one of Denise's programming classes was responsible for that. Using the Sphero app and an iPhone or iPad, students collaborated in small groups to program those balls to light up and roll around the hallways. The goal was to race each other’s Sphero Balls around the hallways. Races, competition - how much fun is that?! Add in creativity, innovation, collaboration and a fun way to demonstrate learning and everyone wins! That’s not where the learning ended with this project, however, but only the first steps. After establishing those foundational skills, the class moved on to programming their own retro-style games on desktop computers.
Digital learning takes many forms throughout our school. Students and teachers are partnering to create, innovate, collaborate and demonstrate learning. Share your stories with each other (and with me). Talk in the pods. Visit each other’s classrooms. There are so many amazing things being done with our students and Denise’s example is just one. Let’s celebrate these moments!
I am a Digital Learning Coach by title, but lifelong learner by practice. An Apple Teacher, Google Certified Educator and Microsoft Innovative Educator, my goal is to assist educators in investigating, exploring, and investigating resources to embed in their instruction. I also hope to be a part of their journey toward an innovative and transformative practice that empowers learners and strengthens their own craftsmanship. I spends my free time with my family, my dogs and a good cup of coffee.