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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.

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