A Bit About Me

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tech Plan, From the beginning

Currently working on creating a Tech Plan from scratch.

It's times like this when I'm thankful that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) exist. I remember last year, working in a school district where the technology standards were so dated that they were not even intertwined with the general curriculum.

The Elementary (K-5) Technology Standards were literally as follows:

1.  Use a variety of technology tools to gather data and information. (e.g., Web-based resources, e-books, online communication tools, etc.)

2.  Use a variety of technology tools to organize data and information. (e.g., word processor, graphic organizer, audio and visual recording, online collaboration tools, etc.)
3.  Use technology tools to present data and information (multimedia, audio and visual recording, online collaboration tools, etc.)

In a way, the above standards were great because it meant that there were endlessly possibilities for implementation. However, in another way, they felt so very drab, because the language was so separate from that which was used in defining the standards of the classroom teacher.

Now, working in a position where I have the authorization to create a curriculum, I've also been finding ways in which to set up technology standards for each grade level from preschool thru 12th grade. In addition, to the technology integration that is included in the CCSS, I strongly believe that there should be a basic set up technology skills and operations that students should have a strong foundation in by the culmination of each grade level.

Below is a simple grid highlighting some of these skills, which is still currently undergoing construction, so please excuse the holes. The complete version will be posted soon...

A Lesson Activity on Presidents

Wow, I can't believe it's the 20th of January, already. Tomorrow is the Presidential Inauguration, and though I live within a stone's throw of Washington, DC, I have no interest in being crammed in a Metro like a bunch of sardines, so I guess I'll be viewing the Inauguration from home.

That being said, I've found some nice websites that teach students about the roles and responsibilities of a President in a fun and interactive way.

The one described in this post is a two-part activity that I plan to utilize in my 4th grade classes.

Be the President

In this activity, students read a brief description about the activity, then they proceed to answer multiple choice questions regarding the decisions they would make if they were the President.

Students also have the option to read about some additional facts on the activities of previous Presidents. At the conclusion of this activity, students get a newspaper story that auto-fills their name and some of their favorite activities based on what answers they chose.

My Plan:
This week, my 4th grade students will complete the above activity and take notes. This will increase their knowledge of past Presidents, which they can then correlate with facts that they acquire within their classroom instruction, and will prepare them for Part Two.

Next week, we will commence with Part Two of the activity where students will be split up into 3 groups and will partake in a Jeopardy activity that questions them on Presidential facts that they learned from Part One.

As a personal note, the one thing that I must remember is to tell students this week that they will need to take notes in preparation for next week's Jeopardy game. For, if I don't share this important detail with them in the beginning, then they'll likely be very slack about pulling key facts and information from the text that they'll be reading.

The great thing about using Jeopardy labs is that you can select up to 12 teams, so if you have a large class, there can still be equality. You can choose your own questions, or use/edit one of the pre-made templates. As teams answer correctly, you click the green plus sign (+) once in order to add the points. If they answer incorrectly, then you have the option to click on the red minus (-) sign in order to decrease the points by the correct amount.

I have very high hopes for this lesson, as it teaches the students many great skills (reading online text, finding quality information, note-taking, teamwork and collaboration) that will build character as well as knowledge.

Let me know how this lesson activity works for you, if you happen to try it. :)