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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?

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