Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Students Thrive When Given Choices in the Classroom!

     Having the opportunity to access technology has given my students the chance to shine!  We studied idioms, adages, and proverbs before our state test and the kids seemed really interested in the topic, so I wanted to continue it.  Each day we would review a power point, talk about the idioms, what they meant, and if they had ever heard them.  Then, they did a worksheet...  About halfway through the curriculum lessons, the students were to start an "idiom project" by making an idiom book.  I thought about it, and quickly decided that I could take this project and really integrate technology and just give my students the chance to go with it...  Our state test was over (for now), so what better time to give them some freedom? 

      I gave them fairly lax parameters:  They had to include two idioms and two adages/proverbs with the definition, a sentence using the phrase, and an illustration to show the understood meaning (or the literal meaning) in some way.  I figured it would be better this way, as the students could research and find the phrases and meanings on their own.  From a list of a million, they could determine which was relevant to their lives and in turn, which they would present to the class. 

       Through the format of this project, everyone learns...A TON!  If each partnership presents 4 different phrases, that's 48 new phrases that each of my students could be exposed to through an engaging lesson designed and taught by their peers!  How exciting!

       My students were able to choose the media format in which they presented their idiom project;  Prezi, Picsay, or Video and they were also able to choose the idioms that they wanted, except they could not choose one that we did in class together.  I told them I was looking for new stuff!  They researched and googled idioms and adages/proverbs and found ways that they could illustrate the meanings of these phrases.  The students worked with a partner to write and create a presentation to teach new phrases to their peers.  When it was time to present, students scanned a QR code which linked them to a Google Doc where they could sign up for a day and time for their presentation.  When the day came, I gave students 10 minutes prep time at the beginning of class:  I also used this time to upload any videos/pics the students were going to use to present.  Hopefully soon, we will be getting the HDMI cable so that they will be able to directly connect their tablets to the projector and be able to project their work, without going through Dropbox etc. 

     Long story short, my students have amazed me with their presentations after day 1.  They are engaged in and proud of their creations... and the students who are watching them, are just as engaged- beats me standing up there and preaching to them any day!  Their ability to manipulate technology and get up and present a Prezi to their class is ingenious... my mind quickly reverts to the black screen with green type that I used to work on when I was in elementary school.  I am so honored to be at the head of this new frontier in education...

Partnerships working on Prezi.com

Students had to complete a "planning sheet" before they began to create their presentation.

These students chose to use the video software on the Samsung Galaxy Tab2.

Students using video to teach what they know...

Presenting their Prezis!

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