Category Archives: google classroom

Final Thoughts About My Google Classroom Course Prototype

Hello classmates and blog followers, I figured I would present you the final product, My online course that my group developed for this class. Oh yeah and this is also the world’s longest blog post!!I wanted to walk you through information about our prototype, our rationale, curricular links, assessment, and common concerns. I will also provide you links to previous blogs that contain information about how our group decided to go with the LMS Google Classroom and also other elements that influenced our design. Our group came together and rectify a few changes that needed to be done and also a composed a response to feedback. I will end the blog post by providing you the link so you can check out the course if you are interested.

http://www.edulastic.com

About our Prototype

This blended course is suited for grade 3 elementary students of all backgrounds. It is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. For a learning management system (LMS) we choose to use Google Classroom, as well as various content creation tools. Students and teachers will communicate using Google Docs and Google Classroom, through the creation of questions and announcements. The assessments will contain a specific rubrics for each assignment that are aligned with outcomes in grade 3 social studies, arts education, science and English language arts.

Curriculum Connection

Image result for office e of treaty commissioner
http://www.otc.ca/

We are using the new Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) treaty education documents to create this course. We are addressing the inquiry question: how have the lifestyles of First Nations people changed prior to and after the signing of treaties? The outcomes and indicators covered in this course are as follows:

Treaty Education:
TR3.1: Examine the relationships between First Nation peoples and the land, before and after the signing of treaties.
Indicator: Describe the lifestyle changes of First Nations, prior to and
after placement on reserves.

Arts Education:
CH3.1 Compare how arts expressions from various groups and communities may be a reflection of their unique environment (e.g., North and South Saskatchewan, urban
and rural)
b. Share information about an artist working in own community through
individual research or collaborative inquiry.
a. d. Describe how an arts expression tells something about the community
and culture in which it was created (e.g., heritage harvest dances).
e. Describe ways that people of various cultures in own and surrounding
communities participate in the arts and discuss why they do so.

Science:
PL3.2 Analyze the interdependence among plants, individuals, society, and the environment.
n. Research lifestyles (e.g., farming, fishing, and logging) and jobs (e.g.,
florist, crop scientist, landscaper, gardener, fruit grower, ecologist,
logger, and nursery worker) that depend on understanding and working
with plants and plant-related products.

Social Studies:
RW3.1 Appraise the ways communities meet their members’ needs and wants.
a.Speculate upon various challenges faced by communities in meeting
needs and wants, with evidence gathered from examining pictures,
viewing media, and interpreting stories using a variety of fiction and
non-fiction texts.
b. Identify how individuals and communities meet needs and wants.
c. Describe ways in which communities help ensure basic human needs
are met (e.g., food and water, shelter, clothing, education, safety).

Assessment

Photo Credit: Cayusa Flickr via Compfight cc

Our assessment strategies include using the Saskatchewan Curriculum Project Chrome extension to create rubrics specific. Formative assessment would be done using EdPuzzle. informal assessment of Google Classroom posts in a forum style is assessed on participation in the area of interactions with other students and the teacher.

Common Concerns

Photo Credit: Hurca! Flickr via Compfight cc

We have considerations for common concerns. Low bandwidth is a common challenge for any educator using technology in the classroom. Typically, each student will open up a lesson from their own device, but in the end that could be as many as 30 videos simultaneously streaming on a network that might only be able to handle a few. We have no real solution for a school that has similar bandwidth as the average home, even though obviously there are so many more times people at school as there are at home. Students can have access to devices such as school ipads, personal devices and computer labs during school hours. Since it is online students who are absent can access Google Classroom from home. 1:1 devices would not be required to complete the artifact creation. Flipped classrooms can be used so assignments are done in the school where students have access to programs, and videos can be watched at home or during breaks. We account for differentiation through various levels of assignments in Adobe Spark, as well as audio versions of stories.

Photo Credit: jpappsdl Flickr via Compfight ccRationaleRational

Rationale

Why did we choose our LMS? Google Classroom is used in Regina Public Schools, as well as many other divisions. It is free and is easy to use. It is an LMS that students in grade 3 are able to use with lessons. Google Classroom allows students and teachers to interact. Assignments can be posted and completed on Google Classroom. Student progress can be tracked and teachers can assess on Google Classroom.

Why did we pick our topic? Treaty education is meant to be integrated into numerous subject areas, and is a topic that everyone teaches (or should be teaching). With the creation of new and updated treaty education lessons from the OTC, we decided to work with one grade area to become familiar with the updated format. We developed this course to reflect recommendation #10 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:10. We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:
iii. Developing culturally appropriate curricula.

Details about my Module

Photo Credit: wuestenigel Flickr via Compfight cc

In creating content for this module a variety of tools were used, the tools are appropriate and easy to navigate for young learners. For each step of the lesson I have tried to be thorough in explaining how students should complete tasks with tutorials for each new medium. For the introduction to the lesson students create a collaborative Google Drawing. I added a brief Screencastify as a tutorial for Google Drawing. I also chose to have students create Google Docs so that they could submit their assignments to me, again I created a Screencastify to familiarize students on how to create a new Doc. I created a Voice Over PowerPoint for students to respond to using an Adobe Spark page. I also made a Screencastify to help students in creating their Adobe Spark Page with instructions about adding open commons pictures. For the extension activity I created a Screencastify to teach the students how to use Story Jumper to create a Digital Storybook. I feel that this variety of content creation tools will enhance the student’s learning outcomes for this unit on Treaty Relationships. After completing module one students will be able to recognize the land provided everything the First Nations people needed to survive.

The Creative PROCESS: Links to my Previous blog post that outline the phases

RESPONSE to Feedback

Overall our feedback was quite positive. Our fellow teachers enjoyed the topic we choose. They commented on the variety of content creation tools we used to bring our module to life. They thought our organization was great and everything flowed together. Our reviewers thought our prototype was a great starting point for them explore treaty relationships.  Our reviewers mentioned they could take the components of our modules and would be able to incorporate this resource in their own classrooms.

However, we did find some themes that  we need to change such as difficulty level, LMS issues, assessment, adaptations and interaction.

Difficulty Level: One of the concerns addressed in our feedback was around the reading difficulty. Some reviewers were concerned with the amount of text for Grade 3 students.  This course is a synchronous blended course that would allow for teacher to facilitate the course face to face and guide students through modules perhaps in a center type rotation. Students will already know how to use google classroom and tools being used such as procedures for the computer.

LMS issues: Another concern that was addressed was the choice of LMS (Google Classroom) that may have not been the most easy to use with Grade 3s. Google Classroom is being used as the central hub for a variety of tasks.  Students complete very few assignments on Google Classroom, so in terms of visual appeal, it is meant to be less distracting.

Assessment: The amount of rubrics provided to the teachers for lessons within the modules was also mentioned by our reviewers. Students will receive both formative and summative feedback, and the rubrics are part of this feedback.  As this is a blended course, students will have many opportunities for feedback from the teacher.

Adaptations: Some adaptations were not addressed (EAL, attendance issues). Additional screencasts could provide verbal an explanation of the assignment for low readers, perhaps working in pairs would support low readers, also simplified versions of assignments for EAL students. Module 3 involves reading a text, and this allows for differentiation for diverse learners.  This differentiation is built into the assignment as is with the books that are listed. Students with attendance concerns could complete assignments at home if needed.

Photo Credit: marneejill Flickr via Compfight cc

Interactions: Lastly, some reviewers remarked about ways students would interact with others. Teacher-student and student-student interactions can be done on google classroom. With the age of the students, we needed to address also the abilities that they have and the forums that would allow young students to share with an audience. Interactions needed to be controlled and monitored to ensure there were no violations in privacy and terms and conditions.

We did receive positive feedback asking us to expand on our course prototype. We think finishing the whole prototype would be awesome. As we focused on just one of the grade 3 key questions provided in the OTC document, the course would contain more themes if the other three questions were included.  If we were to expand on this course, the remaining inquiry questions for grade 3 are:

    • How were the historical worldviews of the British Crown and the First Nations different regarding land ownership?
    • How do First Nations and Saskatchewan people benefit from Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10?
    • How did the use of different languages in treaty making present challenges and how does that continue to impact people today?
Photo Credit: cogdogblog Flickr via Compfight ccCourse LinkCourse Link

Thank you to those who reviewed and critiqued our prototype and provided us with helpful feedback!  If you would like to check out our course, our Google Classroom code is: 9yhj6c


Treaty Education ready to launch in 5,4,3,2,1!!!!

Photo Credit: jurvetson Flickr via Compfight cc

Wow, hard to believe that my course prototype is ready to launch.  It is even crazier to think that the semester has flown by so quickly, when it’s over I will have another 2 classes under my belt.  I decided that I wanted to finish up Grad School before I returned to teaching in August from my maternity leave.  I will also attempt a spring and then a summer course and tada, I will be finee, I will level up with my Masters Degree. On a side note I can’t believe my baby is six months old, where have the days gone.

Photo Credit: codehobbits

Aimee, Justine, Rochelle and I decided that we wanted to focus our course prototype on Treaty Relationships. This subject can sometimes become difficult for teachers to implement in their classrooms. I personally think that now is the time for reconciliation because there is so much ignorance and mis-education when it comes to First Nations and Treaties. Also, working in a school that is home to 97% First Nation students is reason enough to explore First Nation culture.

Photo Credit: *Ken Lane* Flickr via Compfight cc

I am looking forward to exploring another groups course prototype in just a few short days.  It will be very helpful to receive some constructive criticism about our prototype, this will help us improve.  I am not worried about being evaluated by my colleges as we are the guinea pigs for this EC&I 834 course, this is the first time that it was offered by Alec  and Katia.

I have definitely learned a lot in terms of how to get a LMS up and running. I had never worked with Google Classroom before and found it very simple to use.  I was even more shocked that I could have been using it for awhile with my Division but was never given any training on it or was it even mentioned as an option. My school uses Google Docs and Google Forms quite often but again I was unaware of Classroom.  However, my step daughter spoke about using it in her high school. Perhaps, I should have just Googled it and I would have figured it out for myself a year ago.  I mentioned in a previous blog about how I was using Google Docs with my students and it was becoming redundant in terms of creating Docs and having them share assignments with me, and basically my email inbox busting from student work. After this course I am very comfortable working with Google Classroom and feel that I will continue to create courses with it.

Photo Credit: derekbruff Flickr via Compfight cc

After we decided to use Google Classroom as our LMS, it was just a matter of how and what I wanted to do with my module.  I had a few ideas in terms of lessons and just like my life I tend to overthink it and make it very complicated. My module grew to be something more than one lesson, maybe one lesson with four parts.  It just seemed to flow so nicely together, I could not stop. I decided to make a few Screen-casts to familiarize students with Adobe Spark, Google Docs, Google Draw and Story Jumper, as for original content I used a Voice Over PowerPoint. I had never used some of the content creation tools myself so doing screen-casts allowed me to gain more experience in it. After I got the hang of all the new stuff that I was dabbling in, it wasn’t all that terrifying. In fact, I was even excited to use Screencastify, and show off my new learning to my step daughter, she wasn’t as excited as I was.

I think that my group did an amazing job tackling Treaty Education. It will be awesome to find out what other think about it too.  If you are interested in taking a peak at our Grade 3 Treaty Education Prototype in Google Classroom send me an email at Chalyn_s@hotmail.com and I  will provide you the classroom code.

 


I see Google Classroom in my future, do you?

The plan
zoomlogosmall After a brief Zoom meeting with my project group we decided that we would use the blended learning platform Google Classroom to complete our prototype project.  I know that it is early on to make the decision, but Aimee, Rochelle, and myself have access to Google Docs and we thought that was a start, a place to share and organize information. It was just a matter of adding Justine.

You mean to tell me…  google-class
Now for Google classroom, last class Katia provided user access to U of R’s Google Classroom account.  I already have access to RBE’s google apps, but I did not know that I could have been using Google Classroom until just a few days ago. Last year I was creating assignments for my students using Google Docs. I would create an assignment duplicate it and share it with the students.  My students loved using technology, they would have to find my assignment, follow written instruction and complete the task, then share the document with me. in the mean time using my email address to share it with me, one student is still emailing me about his high school experience. Wow, now if I would have used Google Classroom my shared documents and google drive would have not been a disorganized mess.  My repetitive method of instructing students to name the assignment with a certain title would just clutter my drive and I couldn’t decipher whose was whose on first glance.

32005426070_4929caf7a1I wonder if all RBE teachers know that they have access to Google classroom, did I miss the memo.  Someone should have provided some information on this. Not a single teacher in my building was using Google Classroom last year, I can’t speak about this year I am at home on a mat leave with a new baby.  How did other RBE teachers find out about the availability ???

Photo Credit: USEmbassyPhnomPenh Flickr via Compfight cc

Google Classroom it is!!
Our group plans to work together to create our modules, lessons while also uploading evaluating methods  onto our Google Classroom site. The Google Plus Community clarified that we need to use the university’s Google Classroom as Justine is not in the RBE division and would not have access to RBE’s platform.  By each having access to our Google Classroom, we will be able to collaborate ideas even though we are physically apart.

29408279342_80ddd18259

My Thoughts on Google Classroom
Before I even ventured to check out Google Classroom Roxanne’s Blog caught my eye.  I like how she added the video that gave a brief overview of Google Classroom.  Her video had me searching for others, perhaps I could learn more about Google classroom by video.  I really liked Jamie Keet‘s video.

 

After watching the video’s I am feeling pretty safe about my choice of platform.  I can’t believe that I was using Google Doc’s when I should have used Google Classroom all along. The setup is very basic if you are familiar with Google Drive then it’s very similar. I love the simple layout with the options of customizing themes but still keeping it neat and tidy.

Take a moment to watch the video and then jump in and try it out using the login info from last class if your division does not have Google Education Apps.  Share your experience with me by leaving a comment!

 

 

 


Omg too crazy, and ohh I have an idea!!!

Okay about the OMG too crazy, it all started when Danielle commented on my blog post last week about being a new mom and collaborating this semester.

chalynI replied to her  and mentioned adding her to a Regina Facebook group for fall babies, as I just recently added Justine. Danielle’s stealthy skills allowed her to find me on Facebook. Last night we chatted through Facebook messenger and we quickly learned that our babies are the same age. Danielle put it together that they actually share a birthday, and we were at the hospital at the exact same time. The babes were just born 12 hours apart. She then went on to say that she was already in the Facebook group for fall babies.  Danielle connected that we are even taking the same Wednesday night class together.  This gal totally gets me, talk about collaborating!!  danielleThen I checked out her Blog.  Danielle has been blogging for quite some time, it is apparent from all her categories and tags.  She is even blogging about our EC&I 814 class. I am sure if anyone has any questions about WordPress, Danielle has the answers.

Side note, this old laptop surprised me with how easy it was to capture a print screen.  At first I used my googlecell phone to take pictures of Danielle’s and my blog but it looked like garbage.  Then I did what anyone would do, I googled. I managed to make my pictures way more appealing to my audience, woohoo! A huge upgrade from some of my other blog posts last year, where I would upload cell phone picture. Yay me!

Now for my idea for the course prototype project.  I asked a colleague of mine Aimee if she would like to pair up, I then asked if Justine would like to join us. Aimee, Justine and I are all Elementary teachers and wanted to incorporate a First Nation focus. A few days later Aimee asked if Rochelle could join our group as she had some neat ideas for us to explore.  I told the gals that we would jump in the Zoom room rather than meet up.  I liked the idea of a Zoom meet as I have a lil babe who likes to keep me at home and I know Justine also has a wee babe and lives about an hour away.
treaty During our Zoom meeting we decided to explore a unit on Treaty Relationships. I personally think that now is the time for reconciliation  because there is so much ignorance and mis-education when it comes to First Nations and Treaties. Also, working in a school that is home to 97% First Nation students is reason enough to explore First Nation culture. Rochelle mentioned that she did some work with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner this summer, breaking the lessons in the treaty kits down into big ideas. Our group is going to tailor the unit for a grade 3 group.  We figured that Google Classroom would be a great platform for us to use as it offers a blended learning environment.google-class

Well that is it for now.  If anyone has tips on Google Classroom, please share as I have never used it before.  Also please share any experience in teaching the treaties in your classrooms.


Encouraging Teachers to Open the Door to Digital Literacies in their Classrooms

Last week I had written about the need for teachers to adopt strategies into their classrooms that would allow for students to have the opportunity to build a proficiency in ‘new’ literacies that will undoubtedly be an asset in their future education, as well as in a workplace environment. (See: Four Strategies Every Teacher Needs…)

The best part I felt about Kist’s list was that all the strategies he recommends do not require any teacher to jump blindfolded off a cliff in the hopes something will catch them from plummeting into a techno-distopian pit of stress and uncertainty, because, as you all know (you’re all teachers reading this right??) teachers have reservations towards everything. And rightfully so.

That pit is deeeep….

I think teachers like to question 1) any new initiative being brought in as to whether how successful the new strategy is in terms of students actually benefiting, and; 2) “How much extra work is this going to add to my plate?”  The second reason sounds so selfish compared to the first, but honestly, this happens. And it’s not so selfish when you think about how much work every teacher is putting into their lessons, classrooms, students, extra-curr., etc. I can’t think of a single teacher, except for Harry Wong, who doesn’t stay before or after school to finish work, and still brings things home to work on later that evening.

Rant aside, teachers have been burned in the past with board initiatives that don’t mesh with their own teaching style, or are a passing fad that doesn’t have the same positive effect as a different approach.

I recently attended a screencast presentation where, due to technical glitches, much of the presentation was unintelligible. During the presentation, the screencaster had mentioned that the following day he would have an updated version and a step by step pdf available on his website that anyone has access to. This experience had me wondering, is this something that those attending mandatory tech PD are likely to experience? Woudn’t it have been better to make a more polished version the first time around, offer the pdf, and not hold a specific time, often outside of school hours?

The great thing about our current tech is that we have the ability to offer PD on anyone’s own time, without the restriction of place. This keeps teachers in the classroom, but opens up the debate as to whether this new freedom also places further pressure on teachers to use more time outside of school hours to commit to learning new strategies; time which is likely already allocated into PLC times, or PD time during school PD days.

True dat…

Here’s the viable option I came up with. Thanks to the flexibility of webinars and screencasts, instead of locking teachers into a specific time that doesn’t fit into an already busy work schedule (which undoubtably breeds contempt towards the new pd being introduced), why not instead offer pre-made tutorials that teachers can access and interact with during times that are set aside for them? As my major project I have taken on the responsibility of rolling out the digital citizenship curriculum for my school. As part of this, I have started creating a series of screencasts that will allow for the different PLC pods in my school to learn how to set up tools like Google Drive and Google Classroom in their own classrooms. I have started at this point because, going back to Kist’s article, integrating digital literacy into the classroom needn’t necessarily rely on technologically savvy individuals; rather it should be something that is easy to implement, while at the same time supporting the more ‘traditional’ literacies that are already the focus of classrooms everywhere.

Giving teachers the opportunity to try out these new classroom tools, in a straightforward way, in a way that fits with their schedule will hopefully provide a stress free way for teachers to try and see that the tech isn’t as intimidating as possible.

The first tutorial I made was on Google Drive. This has recently become very easy to access, thanks in part to RBE synching up our work webmail accounts with Google. Suddenly, getting students (and teachers) to memorize TWO user names and passwords isn’t a problem; anyone logging into Drive only needs to remember the one password that gets you into the RBE network. In the past this has been the biggest hesitancy with teachers, as it used to be a huge pain to try and get every student logged into their accounts. I made the screencast as streamlined as possible, and purposely tried to keep it brief, only showing the basics, along with some editing options. Since sharing it with my staff, I have had some positive feedback from teachers who haven’t tried using it in their classroom, and said that the tutorial made it a lot easier to understand, and that they will try using it as well.

The second tutorial was around Google Classroom, and again was short, streamlined, and catered to teachers. I focused on how to set up your Classroom, and how to set up assignments, along with some of the benefits I have found since using this tech in my classroom.

The next tutorials I will be making will be a screencast on Read & Write for Google, as well as a easy to understand video for teachers about the SK Digital Citizenship Curriculum.

Through the making of the screencasts, initially I felt very uncomfortable, but slowly have come around to it’s use. I think that, going back to getting teachers to buy into incorporating these tools, and the curriculum, videos are going to be the best bang for my buck. Throwing on a video seems to offer more interest, and it’s condensed nature will allow for more teachers to give it a try, even if while they watch it while marking, or multitasking in the ways teachers are best at.

Would you prefer this over a set meeting? Would you still buy in and do the PD? Let me know what you think!


Four Strategies Every Teacher Needs to Meet Necessary Future Literacies for Students

In the past week, my understanding of digital literacy has changed dramatically, due in part to the excellent readings by the NCTE and the IFTF on new and emerging digital literacies that all students need to have in order to be relevant with future workplace needs. I’ve realized that a much more meaningful focus, using the focus of Essential Skills for the 21st Century, as beautifully laid out by collaborators Jen Stewart-Mitchell and Genna Rodruigez, may provide a better start for instructors to understand how to authentically incorporate meaningful instruction in new ways to meet these needs, while at the same time not feeling like they’ve jumped overboard the ship traditional teaching practices.  

In William Kist‘s 2013 article New Literacies and the Common Core, he provides four strategies for assisting in integrating new media literacies in the classroom. This was a great eye opener as it offers excellent suggestions that will help transition teachers not comfortable using digital technology, as well as to encourage teachers to branch out and to embrace all forms of media in their instruction. So without further ado, here they are:

Give Students Practice Reading Screen-Based Texts
“Some of the new media classroom activities that I’ve observed focus on helping students gain practice in a key skill advocated by the Common Core standards: the ability to read texts closely—to be text detectives. As students enter a world in which they will do much of their reading and writing on a screen, it makes sense to start by looking at non-print texts, such as in the genres of video, music, and visual art.”

Student activities do not solely focus on reading online texts. Rather, the term text can be multi sensory and non-print in nature, going from video, music, visual art, video games, etc.

William Kist’s excellent suggestion for integrating different text into a lesson ultimately focusing on print based text.

Often looking for details in a video, such as watching for the way a movie may use edits and types of alternating shots to establish a momentum or tempo, is easier than pulling out similar literary devices. As a precursor to analyzing a print based text, looking at a non-print text will both refine the student’s ability to be a text-detective in any format, with the added benefit of helping the student to recognize the differences and similarities in the creation of those different texts. The following video,  Speilburg’s expertly directed chase scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark is the de facto example of how control and precise execution of editing, shots, and soundtrack (establishing shot, close up, etc.) create tension and tempo to an already exciting scene, making it that much more engaging to watch. 

Give Students Practice in Digital Writing

“Anyone who has ever written for online publication knows that screen-based writing presents different challenges from those involved with page-based writing. For example, online writers need to understand when adding a hyperlink assists the message and when it detracts; they also need to consider graphic design and layout. The teachers I have observed spend time teaching their students to understand writing for online publication, including all the opportunities that such writing provides.”

The activity proposed by the author is a multi-genre autobiography, where students pull in a wide variety of different texts (print and non-print) into a digital powerpoint type program, such as Google Slides, Prezi, Slidecast, etc. Students then have the opportunity to analyze the similarities and differences of how each text influenced them. It also provides students the opportunity to work on digital writing, in both a print and non-print fashion.

“Going through this exercise is a kind of postmodern adventure as we demystify various kinds of texts and help students see our commonalities and differences as human beings who have grown up with a huge smorgasbord of texts.”

This sounds like an excellent activity for students to work on, especially in terms of seeing how our identity is largely informed by the external influences on our lives. Being able to understand this will allow students to be more judicial when choosing what to post online, knowing that these things may go against what they want to be associated with.

Give Students Practice in Collaborative Writing

Both the NCTE article on 21st Century Literacies and the IFTF article on Future Work Skills 2020 focus on the need to be able to work collaboratively with others across cultural and physical boundaries through the use of digital technologies. While this may seem like science fiction to many, the reality is that with many businesses being internationally based, with offices across the world, having the toolset to work in this fashion, as well as the ability to interact non-judgmentally with others will be a huge asset, or may even be the expected norm.

Giving students the opportunity to work with other classrooms around the world on projects would be of great benefit to improve student worldview, as well as to see the benefits and the ability to workaround or adapt to any possible limitations such technologies and interactions would enable.

Collaborative writing can be even done within the classroom, through use of a Google word document that all students in the classroom can edit or add to on the fly. I have found this activity to be a great motivator for students, especially when the document is also projected in front of the classroom, so periodically we can all stop to reassess the working document, and to provide praise for student work.

Give Students Practice Working with Informational Texts

The use of non-fiction texts in the classroom are becoming more and more prevalent, in part, thanks to the ability to find vast amounts of relevant information through the internet. Gone are the days of looking through the encyclopedia, or even accessing similar tools through CD-rom. With all this information available, it’s important students have the ability to sort and process this information into something relevant to their task at hand. So, what better time to teach these meta-cognitive strategies than now. Teachers need to be explicitly teaching these strategies to their students, then giving them the opportunity to practice them in a safe supportive environment.

Accessing these informational texts through online collaborative projects, as well as the aforementioned multi-genre autobiography are two excellent ways of authentically incorporating. Having students create their own wikipedia pages about informational content will also have them sourcing and compiling relevant information, citing the sources, and working on presenting it all in a aesthetically and purposeful fashion.

Having the foresight to integrate these four strategies into the way you approach your instruction meets a litany of technological and literary goals that students will need to be an active member in our future competitive workplace, as well as providing them the ability to be a much more open-minded and empathetic individual. And best of all, it’s really not too tough to integrate. Our school board actively encourages use of Google Drive and Classroom, and once these are comfortable to the instructor, they provide the opportunity for all the above listed activities.

Featured image: Otomo Katsuhiro’s Tetsuo, found in the seminal cyberpunk work Akira
http://www.wall321.com/thumbnails/detail/20120711/akira%20tetsuo%201280×1585%20wallpaper_www.wall321.com_78.jpg