Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kindergarten students blogging

Three days ago my students were introduced to blogging, using the Kidblog app. It is one of my new favorite things and now theirs too!

I think their blogs and comments on each other blogs speak for themselves! Here is one of my favorites about Macarena's goal for 2014 and her classmates response. Macarena blogs "My goal is to be at school every day and on time."

Corene comments (below) "Wow, I ges you want to ern the i pad" ("Wow, I guess you want to earn the iPad." She is referencing an attendance incentive we have at school).
Ella then comments (below) "Maybe you should wake up early."

The students are really excited to read each other's posts and then comment on them. One of my student's parents came up to me and told me after school that she asked her son how the field trip was. He said, "Read the blog." She prompted again. He said "You can read my blog to find out." She read the blog and commented on his post.

I truly believe that the power of peers promotes strong academic improvement and achievement. Students want to perform for and like their peers. When I use the iPad or introduce new apps, my focus is on higher order thinking skills (Blooms) and peer interaction. I know this focus is paying off because academically students are making large (bigger than normal) gains per quarter.

Here is some information that I have learned while beginning kidblog. Hopefully this will help you too.
1.  Currently, I must approve all comments that are made by students or adults. I can also choose to trash it, edit it or unapprove it if needed based on content. Right now, I want to make sure the students use the blog appropriately so having the control over this feature is really nice.
2.  The teacher can edit the students' blogs. I do not change the content and I let the students write phonetically but I have added the topic of the blog if it is not written in. I may change the spelling of one or two words if the word is sounded out incorrectly and makes it difficult to read. I am not changing words because of spelling but rather for students to understand other's writing.
3.  For children to read a child's blog they have to click on the title (topic) of the blog. This can be difficult if the screen is very small. I have taught them to increase the size of the screen and showed them how to click on the topic.
4. When giving access to the parents, I gave them instructions to write their username as child's mom or child's dad (i.e. Carrie's mom, Carrie's dad, Carrie's grandma, etc.). The username is what is seen by the students and if parents use their first names, the students will not know who is commenting on their blog. You have the control to edit their names if need be.
5. I have had students comment on the teacher's blog. For example, I asked the students a question from our social studies unit, "What traditions do you follow in your family?" Then the students responded to my blog through writing a comment. OR. I also have given the students the topic written on the board and they blog independently (not comment) on their blog. They retype the topic and begin their blog. Other students then comment on their blog. So there may be 28 blogs with the same title.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Same Test-Different level of Students-Ensuring all students can do their best!

The math test! How do you give a math test to all your students without dragging it out for those students that can quickly complete any task or for those students who just need to take their time to get it right? What about those students that can read and understand every word? What about those students that can't read the math test completely and you know that you can be testing reading on the math test?

Well, a video is the answer! We created a video that focused on each question. The video is created on the Doceri app but the Educreations app would work as well. We read each question and the multiple choice answers (where applicable). We taught the students how to pause and work the problem and then touch play when they were ready to go on. This provided students the ability to work at their own pace. My residents and I went around to the different tables of students as they were working. At times, we provided moral support and assistance. This also allowed my two students that were absent to take it without my assistance or reading of the test when they returned the next day. It allowed me to continue instruction for the rest of the class. This video can be used year after year as well.

So we checked and/or graded all the tests.

Here are the results. Each question is listed and the students that missed the questions or did not complete the question. We found that some students didn't complete the whole problem. A few students answered the first part of the question and not the second part. I wanted the students to complete each problem before grading the test.

 Now I need to go back and make sure each of those students finished the test. This could take a long time to individually call or pull in small groups for a few missing questions.

We also noticed that some students made simple errors that were not characteristic of their previous work and knowledge of math. Some students made errors that we wanted to go back and reteach. I planned the day after the test to go back and reteach what the students missed. BUT, I didn't want to reteach to students that did not miss that concept. It didn't make sense to do a whole class reteach when not every student needed the reteaching. I wanted to target JUST those students that needed assistance with each concept.

Therefore, I created individual videos for each child. Here you can see dropbox where all the girl's videos are located on folder B. The boy's videos are located on folder A. (The only reason they are located on two different folders is to make it easier for students to find their names; i.e. find their name out of 14 names compared to 28 names.)

The students then went to their own video and listened to their personalized video. The videos had the following purposes:
  • Reteach specific concept(s)
  • Guide them to finish a question(s)
  • Explain how to tackle a problem
  • Teach students how to exceed expectation (and not just meet the standard) on specific questions
Each student had the opportunity to work with me (via the video) and to reteach and learn something they had missed or didn't know.

4 examples of videos

I found that this helped the students with the concepts that they had missed or did incorrectly. We saw results in future math work that the students did.

Even though this was a lot of work creating videos for each student, I really BELIEVE this was the best thing to do to meet each student's individual needs. The videos ranged from 1 minute to a couple of minutes.