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Thursday, May 19, 2016

30 Demo Lessons in 30 Days: Week 3 Reflections

Week 3 was a little rough. I was tired, more so than when I taught in my own classroom. Likely because a lot of energy goes into running from one site to the next, not knowing where each teacher keeps their things or what their reward system is, planning lessons for students I know nothing about... Yes, I was typically tired as a classroom teacher this time of year, but this has been a little different. Made it, though, and this next week is a little quieter in terms of teaching, so I can take some time to reflect, revise, and refine some of my fails from week 3.

Day 1:

Big picture learning today = 5 sites in one day is too much... that is all.

Seesaw & WODB in 1st grade
WODB on Seesaw
  • I had a whirlwind 30 minutes in 1st grade at the start of the day...we were interrupted by morning routines, school announcements, and the pledge of allegiance... so really, I had 20 minutes for a lesson
  • This teacher also scheduled me to come in for two more 1 hour blocks in a couple weeks, so I figured I could use this first lesson for a quick Which One Doesn't Belong (WODB) activity to gauge their problem-solving abilties
  • We also got started on Seesaw... even with all the tech problems...ugh. Most were at least able to record each other (they worked in partners) and post to their Seesaw account.
Awesome Kinder lesson using Strip Design 
  • At site 2 for the day I repeated a Kinder lesson using Strip Design that I'd done the week before
  • Students created a number in as many ways as they could using manipulatives and anything else they had at their disposal
  • The students loved it, the teacher loved it, and I loved it... nice when it's the 3rd or 4th time you've done something... I have pretty well figured out how to run this lesson fairly smoothly and model flexible thinking about numbers for teacher
Wrapped up Coding Project in 2nd grade
  • Returned to the 2nd grade classroom that was making repeated addition animations in Scratch Jr.
  • They'd already gotten started when I reached the classroom-- the teacher read my mind!
  • Several students were able to complete an animation, accurately demonstrating repeated addition, equal groups and multiplication properties... yes!!
  • I taught a couple of early finishers how to use the Screencastify extension to create a video of their animation... double yes!! 
  • The teacher expressed quite a bit of interest in using Scratch Jr. again and was really pleased with the work outcome... love when I can show somebody a tool or strategy that they fall in love with!

Snafu with 1st grade demo plans
I was able to show up to my next site a little early. Good thing, because when I got there the teacher mentioned that it wasn't her day with the Chromebook cart that she'd told me she usually had. I was a little confused, as she picked the day for the math/tech demo, so I asked if we had any other options (nope-- the iPad cart was already checked out and her teaching partner was indeed using their Chromebooks at the time I was scheduled to teach). No go. We ended up rescheduling for later in the month. 

Note to self-- make sure to confirm, and reconfirm, lessons before showing up.

Collaborative meeting with 1st grade teacher... getting Zearn going!
My last site visit of the day was for a meeting with a 1st grade teacher that wanted to get her students set up on Zearn (a digital math program aligned to Eureka Math). This was a quick and easy meeting, and one of the most fulfilling because she's really trying to shift her practice into more of a blended model to allow for more differentiation and one-on-one time with students. I'm super excited to see her taking these baby steps to really change instruction and find ways to support her students!

Day 2:

1st grade WODB & Padlet
Padlet & WODB
  • I started off day 2 in a 1st grade classroom with students who had access to Macbooks and had not done much with technology this year. 
  • I had to defer to the site coach on this one, and get some help brainstorming... what could I do with 1st graders in math, utilizing technology, and make it something that a not-so-tech-savvy teacher could potentially do again on her own?
  • We decided on a Padlet something... so how about a Which One Doesn't Belong (WODB) task on Padlet?
  • Teaching students to type the URL into the address bar was a little tricky, but doable.
  • Students loved using Padlet! They were so excited to see each others' responses popping up on the screen.
  • Students did well with the WODB task-- it was fun to do something different and gave them a chance to think a little more openly in math, which is not something that they're used to doing
2nd graders on Scratch to model equal groups/mutliplication
  • This was my first try using Scratch with 2nd grade-- I was a little nervous about how this might go
  • I showed students my example project and gave them my example code
  • They just ran with it! It definitely helped that this particular room had a parent helper available, and the teacher jumped in to the learn the program as well, but still, they did really well!
  • At clean up time, students did not want to log off of Scratch... good sign!
TK & Scratch JR.
  • This was probably my favorite of the week... the TKers were too cute!
  • I showed them briefly how to use some of the basic tools in Scratch Jr. and then we set them loose
  • The classroom teacher jumped in with the students and the site coach and I and worked on learning the program with us... she pulled me aside a few times to thank me for working on training specific to TK... something, she said, that we've been lacking in this district. "Please, can we do more TK-1 specific trainings??"

Day 3:

Front Row in Kinder
I had to do a little rescheduling this week, and push out some demos, to support a 4th grade teacher who requested I come in several days to support with some extreme classroom behavior... and although I'm not a behavior support coach, she noticed that she is losing students during her math time and wanted me to come by twice a week through the rest of the year, if possible, to help her engage students during math, and to be an extra body in the room.

Kinder lunch & learn-- Front Row in math
Kinder lunch/learn... tech fail, but the Kinder teachers loved Front Row! Hoping we can get the apps to load... darn.

Day 4:

Pic Collage for Kids in Kinder
  • Another Pic Kids lesson in Kinder... it a little more of a struggle this time
  • I gave the students the same open-ended task I'd given other classes... but this class was not as used to the idea of thinking of numbers flexibly... they'd only memorized equations to show a number so we spent more time thinking of different ways to "show" a number
  • I think the most powerful part of this lesson was not necessarily the app (although the teacher did really love the app), but modeling how to work with students on the flexibility of numbers
1st grade fail with Google Slides 
  • Part of the reason that I'm trying to get out into more TK-2 classrooms is to test out some new instructional ideas with actual students... I really reached on this one and expanded on the hyperslides lesson by adding in a collaborative piece
  • Ummmmm...I may have overreached on this one....
  • I knew this particular 1st grade class has a class set of Chromebooks so I figured students were used to using Google tools, but I found that I probably should have asked more questions before making assumptions (AND we had to use borrowed Macbooks this day instead of their usual Chromebooks which were out in rooms working on SBAC)
  • The students' first task was to type in a shortened URL because they aren't using Google Classroom... that took a LONG time for the kids... and then being on the same slide deck as other students really freaked some of them out
  • In the end, there wasn't a ton that the students were able to complete except deleting each others slides... sigh.
  • I need to work on this one for next time!
Another visit with the 4th grade that requested extra support
  • More planning today, and a visit to her classroom to hang out with the students... it was a nice afternoon

Day 5:

Pic Collage for Kids with Kinder again
  • Lesson went great! This was now the 3rd or 4th time we'd try this and it was fabulous.... this is quickly becoming (again) one of my favorite apps!
Back to the 4th grade room for math support 
  • Our plan was to implement some math rotations once a week that engaged students in more hands-on and creative math applications
  • Silly SBAC hindered our plans... students needed A LOT of extra time on their SBAC tests this morning, which meant that rotations were cancelled... bummer
  • We WERE however, able to use time after lunch to work on storytelling with Stop Motion AND I got to test my Raspberry Pi with a small group of students for the first time! It was exciting to see the students get excited about computer programming with Raspberry Pi. 

Overall, this week did not necessarily run as smoothly as the first two, which left a lot for me to think about:
  • How can I better organize this process? 
  • How can I better communicate with teachers as we coordinate demo lessons and co-teaching? 
  • What type of follow-up do I need to build in?
  • How can I make follow-up with teachers more effective?

Monday, May 9, 2016

How I learned magic at #Picademy

Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd U.S. cohort of Picademy, hosted at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. A week has come and gone since then and my mind is still spinning with all the Raspberry Pi goodness I was able to soak up that weekend!

Going in to the weekend-long training, I was totally unsure of what to expect. Would I be the only elementary teacher in the room? How would my coding skills stack up against others? And would I be the only person in the room that didn't even own a Raspberry Pi yet? I was anxious with anticipation all day Friday. But as soon as our Friday evening reception began, I knew I was with my people. Teachers representing a variety of grade levels (K-20) and coding backgrounds were in attendance (and this was still only about half of our cohort) and the common thread that had brought us all together was our passion for coding and computer science in schools, and for helping students get excited about learning and making.
Saturday morning I was chomping at the bit to get going! And the opening talk by James Robinson (@legojames, one of our Raspberry Pi coaches) had me even more inspired to get Raspberry Pi into my district. "Coding is the closest thing we have to magic..." Yes! Let's let kids create, build, tinker, innovate and make. More importantly, let's inspire kids to love learning!

After the opening talk, we were off. Our Saturday sessions were a fantastic example of what instruction should look like in every classroom-- a little information, and then some doing, a little more info, and some more doing. We spent more time playing, experimenting, and figuring things out with our neighbors, than we did listening to an instructor talk at us. We hit roadblocks often, worked through multiple iterations, and usually didn't quite "get it" the first time... and that made the learning and the "a-ha!" moments that much more satisfying. I haven't exclaimed out loud in my 12+ years as a student as often as I did in just one day of Picademy. It's pretty rare that I see my elementary students jump for joy at solving a math equation on a piece of paper. What if I gave them the opportunity to experience math via coding and creating, the way that I was able to experience it an Picademy? How might their opinion of math change then?
After a day full of workshops on Saturday, our new found knowledge was put to the test on Sunday. We were told Saturday evening to design our own project, find a team, and plan to make something on Sunday. Yikes! I felt pretty confident with the Scratch stuff... I use that with students all the time, but other than that... And I had no idea what I wanted to make! All I knew was that I'd like to focus on something for my primary students... lucky for me, I spent Saturday working near two other primary level tech coaches who also wanted to work on a lower elementary level project. So, although we didn't have anything in mind at the time, we at least had a team on our way out the door Saturday evening.

Sunday morning I lucked out-- one of my teammates, Michael Luetjen (@criticalclick), came to breakfast on Sunday morning with an idea for the team. We found a couple more elementary folks and Team interFace was born!
Our project went through a number of iterations before we were able to settle on something that we thought was doable in the short amount of time that we had to design, build, test and revise a project before presentations. We evenput our coach, and @RaspberryPi founder, Eben Upton (@ebenupton) to work in order to figure out how to build the tool that we wanted to build. In the end, we were able to build a bear (RIP Babbage) who's eyes and ears lit up when young students successfully plugged in the peripherals to their computer (monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc.). It was so thrilling to present our project to the entire cohort at the end of the day-- the team was pretty proud of everything that we had been able to accomplish in just 6 hours, and the whole time that we were sharing our work I kept thinking about my students having the opportunity to feel the same way that I did in that moment.

I'm still having withdrawals from our Picademy weekend and all of the excitement, but I'm trying to turn my focus, now, to the ways that I can bring more computer science and Raspberry Pi to my teachers and students.  First steps-- a summer STEAM academy in my district where our district's STEAM ToSA and I will show teachers how they can integrate 3-D modeling, 3-D printing, coding and, of course, Raspberry Pi, into their classrooms to hopefully inspire the next generation of creators.

... Interested in applying for the next Picademy USA cohort? Visit their website for dates and to apply:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

30 Demo Lessons in 30 Days: Week 2 Reflections

Day 1

I had more meetings than demos today, but honestly, it was nice to start the week of slowly. I was BEAT after last week's mayhem...

Strip Design in 1st grade
  • After figuring things out in week 1, we started off quite a bit smoother in week 2. The site tech coach, after checking out my schedule for her site last week, had already run around loading apps as needed on the devices we'd be using at her site for the next few weeks. We had no trouble in this classroom getting up and running quickly!
  • I love watching the teachers taking notes and getting excited! I had offered this up and a chance to take a break if needed, just so I could do a little teaching, but so far, every single teacher has jumped right in to learn with us-- so proud of our hard-working teachers!
  • The students had a blast with Strip Design... I assigned them a two-digit number and asked them to show their number in as many ways as they could. Done? Great, think of some more! 
  • The task has turned out to be a great formative assessment. It's interesting to see which students are able to accurately represent their number in a variety of ways, who can think of even more creative ways, and who's not quite getting place value or how to compose/decompose two-digit numbers.

Co-planning in 1st grade... digital instructional options and Zearn
  • Last week I did a Hyperslides lesson with a 1st grade teacher who loved the idea, but could not see herself building these frequently due to all the prep. I appreciated the honesty!
  • Then she asked about Zearn... ah, yes! Zearn now has the 1st grade modules available! A number of teachers in our district have started using Zearn to supplement their work with Eureka Math and are super happy with this new product!
  • I walked her through some of the features, let her join my demo class as a student... she was super excited to find something that she feels is finally going to meet her needs in math class! We set up a follow-up appointment for next week to get her class all set up and then we'll get the kids started!

Day 2

Scratch Jr. in 2nd grade

  • Not only did I get to play around with Scratch Jr. in another class today, I also got to play around with some touchscreen Chromebooks-- suhweet! They've had them most of the year, so they weren't new to the students, but I was excited to see these new devices in action... looking like they'll be a nice addition to our tech program!
  • The task this time-- create an animation describing an equal groups, arrays, repeated addition problem
  • Just like last week in the Kinder room, students were a little distracted by the novelty of a new program to try, so we didn't get a ton of math done (however hard the classroom teacher tried to redirect them... I was a little looser with the task since I'm okay with them getting used to the tool before they can demonstrate the content)
    • I'm noticing how hard it is for many classroom teachers to relinquish control of their classes... especially newer teachers, who, even though they have a seasoned teacher coming in to guest teach, still feel as if they need to have students completely under control
    • This also signifies a larger goal for me as a coach... I need to focus some of my work with teachers on shifting their instructional practices away from leader of the classroom toward facilitator in the classroom... this need for control tells me that our teachers are still nervous about moving away from the "sage on the stage" model

Scratch Jr. in Kinder
  • I visited another Kindergarten class and decided on another coding lesson
  • This time, I tried incorporating a physical model of block coding before jumping into the digital work
    • Students lined up shoulder to shoulder and were given an index card with a rule on it (forward, backward, jump...), and when I stepping into the front of the line with a "Start" card (the event block), each student was supposed to do their task in order
    • I liked the idea of this intro activity, but I'm not sure the students really understood what we were doing
  • We tried having students work in partners in this class, mainly because the teacher only had a certain amount of iPads for us to use... I thought it would go better than it did... the Kindergarteners had a hard time working together and argued a lot over who got to touch the iPad, who's ideas to use, etc. Good to know... I'll stick to 1:1 settings for these intro activities as often as I can

Day 3

No demo lessons today, just meetings, a Lunch & Learn, and a tech training for our Special Ed department... all of which went fabulously! I got to use the information from the previous week's experiences in Kindergarten to help 1st grade teachers and special ed teachers see the potential of blended learning and digital portfolio tools.

Day 4

Book Creator in Kindergarten
  • We wrote math stories in this class using Book Creator
  • The students did REALLY well! 
  • It's interesting to visit so many different classrooms across the district the different ways students are learning and what teachers are teaching... students in this class 
Pic Collage for Kids in Kinder
  • This lesson I hadn't done in another classroom yet, so I was excited to try a little something different
  • The goals were similar to other lessons-- take a number and represent it in as many different ways as you can-- the tool was different
  • I liked this lesson a lot because the tool it self was so simple, students could focus their efforts on the math... until, of course, the students found the stickers feature... but we were able to refocus many, requiring that if they use stickers, those stickers must also represent their number somehow
Strip Design in 1st grade
  • I visited another 1st grade classroom at the site I started at on Monday, so I decided to recreate the same lesson from Monday, so both teachers could learn the tool and support each other
  • The students in both of these 1st grade classes were so creative-- it was really fun to work with this class, just as it was to work with the 1st grade room I worked with on Monday morning
  • Just as her partner teacher did on Monday morning, this teacher immediately grabbed a notebook and pen when I started teaching the lesson, taking notes on the use of the tool and our goals... it always excites me when a teacher who doesn't usually integrate much technology jumps in and wants to learn... she even helped support the students while they were working so that she could learn the tool better
  • I am also hoping the teachers are noticing the open ended tasks that I've been giving students... 
    • I used the end of module assessments from Eureka Math (our current curriculum) and tried to choose topics for students to practice based on the end of modules expectations, with a focus on low floor, high ceiling opportunities... 
    • A little different than many are used to teaching, but effective in having students practice working with place value concepts, modeling, patterns, reasoning abstractly...
  • The site coach dropped in during the lesson and seemed really excited by the task... she suggested I try this same tool in Kindergarten next week to let students work with numbers in this same way

Day 5

Pic Collage for Kids in Kinder
  • With the success of Pic Collage in the other classroom, I wanted to try this lesson again
  • Students loved it as before, and it was easy for most to learn quickly
  • I'm finding that I'm really having to push students' thinking and creativity with these open ended math tasks... a good practice that I hope some of the teachers will pick up
  • The students cheering in this class when they were able to create something was so inspiring... I think I'm on the right track :)
Strip Design in 1st grade
  • Same task, new school site
  • Again, I'm finding that visiting all of these classrooms is really eye opening for me as the district math/tech coach... I'm trying to use my experiences to plan what types of support and PD to offer next year... this group of students really struggled with modeling, moreso than other
    classrooms, so I'm thinking about planning PD around the importance of visualizing mathematics, the progression of part/whole models in K-5, and strategies for integrating these tasks into daily instruction
  • A huge success of this lesson... being asked to visit this classroom! This site's 1st grade team has been vocal about their lack of desire to integrate technology in their classroom (which I suspect is due to a lack of understanding of how to effectively integrate tech-based tasks for 21st century learning, other than letting students play math or ela games during free choice). Getting into one of these rooms means this teacher may potentially spread the word to others on the team about the possibilities of technology in their instruction...
This week I'm feeling fairly inspired! Typically, the TK-2 classrooms have been slower to integrate technology into instruction for a variety of reasons-- lack of confidence in students' abilities, lack of understanding of what tech-integration could look like, teachers' fears of inappropriate use by students, lack of teachers' confidence in their own tech skills, and more. Teachers allowing me to come visit and teach is a HUGE step forward-- more are interested in learning and shifting their instruction to include 21st century skills. I'm looking forward to next week!

    Sunday, May 1, 2016

    30 Demo Lessons in 30 Days: Week 1 Reflections

    Day 1

    Scratch Jr. in Kinder... 
    • Getting apps loaded...ugh. Love our iPads, but worse part of those tablets is app management. The site TOSA ended up loading 5 apps onto 24 iPads, one by one, to make sure I was set up for success. I feel guilty/heart her!
    • Dig cit mini-lesson to open... I open every tech-integrated or digital lesson with a digital citizenship/expectations lesson. These Kinders were so well trained, it was more of a review than a lesson.
    • I did a whole group mini-lesson on how to use some of the blocks in Scratch Jr. and then set the kids off to figure most of it out themselves.
    • The goal was to have students create a short animation about the shapes that they're learning in math. This being their first time on Scratch Jr., most ended up playing around, the math may have gotten lost, but they did learn how the blocks work, and a couple actually did create their math animations.
    • Before leaving, I asked the students what worked for them in the lesson and what was challenging: 
      • What worked well per students... hands on learning, and help from teachers
      • What was a challenge per students... remembering how to create characters in Scratch Jr. (felt they needed more instruction on this & knowing that only characters can be made to do something)
    Hyperslides math lesson in 2nd grade... 
    • I'd only done a lesson like this once before with 3rd graders, so I was excited about this.
    • I quickly found out that this class did not have much experience with Google apps, in general, so not only were they going to be working on their math lesson, they were also going to be learning how to use Google Slides.
    • I also learned during the lesson that they're teacher needed a little training in Google apps as well... she was trying to help students, but got stuck a few times.
    • The students were really engaged the whole time-- good sign! And I loved the way they kept trying even when they hit road blocks!
    • Again, I wrapped up the lesson with a couple of reflective questions for the students:
      • What worked well per students... videos for learning
      • What was a challenge per students... learning the tools in Slides
    Began week long experimental unit design in Kinder...
    Our Literacy TOSA, ELD Coordinator and I talked one of our 1st year Kindergarten teachers into letting us take over her math and ELD class for a week so that we could work on developing and testing strategies to support language acquisition and reading in math (lots more reading than students are used to in our math curriculum). We planned for weeks, and this was our first day of teaching.
    • Our plan:
      • Station rotations model for math lesson
      • Explicit integration of vocabulary in math lessons
      • Language acquisition strategies
    • 3 teachers leading this all week with the actual classroom teacher mainly observing, but helping as needed/desired
    • We delivered LOTS of new stuff all at once to the Kinders... and they took it really well! The classroom management and culture in this class is amazing!
    • Good first day-- during debrief we picked up on some skills gaps and reworked Tuesday plan a bit to teach to those (sentence stems and vocab instruction geared toward lack of ability to talk about counting collections)
    • At the end of the day, the students told us their brains hurt... yeah, we're on the right track!

    Day 2

    Book Creator in Kinder...

    • Tech fail! In communicating with the site tech coach, we thought that Book Creator was all loaded up on the iPad cart... it was, but it was the free version :(
    • I got the Kinders onto their devices only to discover that they couldn't make a book! Ack! Thank goodness for flexible and patient teachers and students! On the fly, the classroom teacher I decided that student should just open the 1 book another class had already created (we broke our "do not touch other peoples' projects" rule...) and make new pages in that book in order to learn the tools today.
    • Once we got over our roadblock, students picked up on how to use Book Creator in no time at all! 
      • They were recording themselves telling stories, illustrating their work, inserting photographs... it was fantastic! 
      • And the classroom teacher really liked the app, too, and has already decided to use it during centers time so that students can write their next math stories in Book Creator.

    2nd day of week long experimental unit design in Kinder...
    • Another long day of "new" for the Kinders, plus a videographer showed up with the principal, site coach, and district PR rep to shoot footage for promotional videos, so at one point, we had 8 adults in the room either teaching, observing, or filming. Somehow, the students didn't skip a beat!
    • Lessons went well in our station rotations, and I learned a lot about where the students are conceptually with the topic of composing/decomposing teen numbers. 
    • During long debrief with my co-teachers, we scrapped just about all of Wednesday's lesson plan and rewrote based on the day's exit tickets. 
      • And, unable to find an already-made activity that I liked, I ended up spending my evening making a "Teen Numbers Book" for the students that would have them practice the idea of composing numbers using "1 ten" and "some ones".

    Day 3

    After a morning full of weekly meetings...

    3rd day of week long experimental unit design in Kinder...
    • Language usage in math has already grown immensely! We're already hearing students use their math language (compose, decompose, addition...).
    • Realizing we need to revisit dig cit rules tomorrow... Ss playing on Seesaw instead of doing exit tickets.
    • Gave more responsibility to students in terms of putting away iPads. The classroom teacher usually does all the passing out and putting away, and we needed to shorten the amount of time it's taking to pass out/put away... the students did great with the extra responsibilty and took their "tech manager" jobs seriously!
    • Want to regroup whole class tomorrow since we missed some group time with all of the visitors on Tuesday and a short day today, so we rewrote the lesson plans to open with whole group fluency and mini-lesson on input chart tomorrow
    • Notice students struggling with commutative property of addition... going to address that on input chart and with manipulatives
    • Students are still working on place value understanding and idea of 10s and 1s...will have to continue to focus on this for rest of week
    Co-planning Hyperslides for 1st grade...
      • Teacher requested me to come in and help her plan based on lessons she saw another teacher do with me... love this!
      • Teacher driven lesson planning (I just asked questions to guide thinking)... love this!
      • She was working out of her comfort zone, but was patient and created the lesson with me on the side coaching her through the steps... love this!

      Day 4

      Co-teaching Hyperslides & Google Classroom in 1st grade...
      • Just like every other day, I opened with a mini dig cit lesson... love hearing 1st graders talk about technology expectations... "Don't throw the iPad." Um, yes, good call.
      • The students were really excited to try something new, which excited me! And excited their teacher, who was taking a risk doing something out of her comfort zone.
      • Tech fail... this classroom only has access to shared MacBooks, which I love, but not when 1st graders have to log in to their Google accounts
        • It takes students a long time to type their usernames
        • Saved password settings in the browsers kept defaulting back to the last used student account and wouldn't let us add a new user... ugh!
        • It was a mess, but the teacher and I managed to get everything pretty well fixed for the moment, and even with the wasted time, all but one student was able to try the new lesson style
      • The 1st graders were definitely patient and resilient, considering all the tech trouble that set us back... I was very proud of them!
      • The student feedback on the lesson was super positive! They loved the independence that the hyperslides provided them in math... embedded videos let them watch and rewatch for help as needed, they liked moving things around on the screen and creating visuals for their math, and turning in their work in Google Classroom.
      4th day of week long experimental unit design in Kinder...
      • We started off on the wrong foot, messing up the times we had communicated to arrive with the classroom teacher... thank goodness she's flexible
      • Each day we've seen growth in the students' language skills and some are improving with their understanding of teen numbers being composed of a ten and some ones... I actually think the language is helping with this
      • We had one less teacher-led station today, to start students working in stations independently while the teacher focuses on the students at her table... we still had 2 teachers stations, but the two tables without teachers ran pretty smoothly! 
      • This was the fourth day of students using FrontRow at their tech table and I was worried they'd be bored, but they still love it! Good to know... I'll share this tool with the other Kinder classes.

      Day 5

      Scratch Jr. in grade 1...
      • I got to return to my old site for this lesson, which is always fun. It's great to see all of my students again.
      • This time we used Scratch Jr. on the Chromebooks (I just wish my district already had it pushed out... we had to have each 1st grader load it on their device, which wasted some learning time)... love the new Chrome app!
      • Only one student in the class had ever heard of Scratch Jr. when we started... at the end of an hour, most had created a very short animation on the characteristics of rectangles or triangles... it was fantastic!

      5th day of week long experimental unit design in Kinder...
      • The poor Kindergarteners were spent by the time Friday afternoon came around, so we had to play this final lesson by ear
      • We made it through the 30 minute ELD lesson, which included some time outside "hunting" for counting collections the teachers had planted and then counting them... at this point, though, we were already losing the students who were playing with their collections more than counting them
      • The students' only job in math today was a performance task. The task required students to represent an assigned teen number in as many ways as they could with the provided materials. My directions were obviously not that great, because it took a long time to get students to a
        point of understanding...
      • Students were supposed to work in teams, which worked for most, but there were a few who did not like this... I'm not sure they're used to collaborative work and in reflecting on this, we should have asked the classroom teacher if this is indeed the case, and planned accordingly
      • Students had fun working with the manipulatives and recording their work in their Seesaw digital portfolios... we then projected the class's Seesaw stream to the whole class and shared each team's thinking with the whole class. Students really liked presenting their work to an audience-- you could see their excitement as their picture came up on the screen.

      All in all, I think it was a good week. I enjoyed working with students, got to practice my skills, and I learned a lot. Now, I plan to use what I learned in week 1 to tweak my plans for week two. Repeating some lessons in order to improve on them, and also trying some new things in other classes.