Saturday, February 7, 2015

Unit 2 Web 2.0


I currently teach a 4th and 5th grade split. I started with only 4th grade but due to enrollment numbers, I had to do a 4th/5th split again as last year. My situation is somewhat unique because this is only our 2nd year of the schools opening. Our students are diverse, coming from Detroit, Pontiac, and Waterford.  When viewing my student examples, keep in mind 90% are operating 2-3 grade levels lower than their current grade. I had 5th graders who couldn't read or subtract and I'm asking them to divide. There were no examples of prior IEP's. I was elated after tons of documentation, we were able to get IEP's for these students. We have a 6th grader who is 13 and was constantly being held back, no intervention ever given according to her records. We had no curriculum, besides the Common Core requirements, and our ability to effectively search for free products. I had a slight advantage because I used to work for NAT GEO learning as an installation specialist, so I had some exposure to many educational products and having educators and administrators as my clients, I received a lot of feedback.

Having said that, since we don't have many textbooks, almost everything I use is technology based or printed out.There are subscription based online programs I use. The main one I use for reading and math also has features available for messaging me and each other called "the wall". I had to disable this feature rather quickly after reading their posts of insulting each other. I wish I hadn't had to to that but I felt it necessary. I have received facebook requests from students but I never accept because I am afraid of the ramifications. I have friends from high school who use inappropriate language or post unsavory ideas which I do not want my students to associate me with. I never post anything on twitter and mostly just follow educationally based accounts. I have considered creating a teacher only facebook page since our school has one, I would like to put my donors choose project there.

I do have a classroom website via weebly which we use on a daily basis. This does have a blogging feature but I have not used it, and my students have asked about it. I use it as a long-term project page and announcements.

I believe the following would fall under  the category of modification.
I have also created a google site with a google group where students can submit assignments via the group and I can return.    
 Curriculum web

On the same site, I created a page where students evaluate the project by competing a survey using a google form I created. It can be seen here

 The one problem I face is email addresses. Many parents at this age do not want their kids to have an email address. I also did a project under a generic gmail account and students worked on presentations in google slides under the same account and I could check on their progress. They could also access this from home, which they did. The problem arose, though, that sometimes they would go into another students project to mess around with it, infuriating that student. Why? I have no idea, because they thought it would be funny.
On one of the pages of my weebly site, I have examples of student work where they created a prezi or the google slides for a book and movie comparison. for the 2014-2015 school year, they added an option that allows for easily adding music.

You can click the student link above to view the presentations. The problem we had was adding music. At that time, prezi would only allow a certain file type of music files, and I could not figure out on the fly how to add free royalty free music files to the google slides. Prezi used to be cumbersome to use, but they have updated it and my higher level students were able to master it pretty quickly, beside the music aspect. To get around this, they added a youtube video in the background, but you couldn't do this if you presented in auto mode, only in manual mode.

We have not had students create any videos as of yet, I have made videos of the class and shown them. However, due to the levels they are behind, this has been put on the back burner. We, as a whole, have made our primary goals of getting these kids on grade level in reading and math. I have tried doing videos of my students, but many have low confidence levels and run away from this. I do have students who would love it. I have one student in mind who hates reading a writimg (English is his second language), but loves talking about himself and his opinions, so the I believe would surely be doable for him.