Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 3: Improving the Learning Plan...and Finally We're Off!

Today the class came in to find a list of 5 steps to follow on the SMARTBoard.

1. Escribe la tarea: Prepare (estudia) to do your first mastery check(s) (pruebas) tomorrow.  Bring ear buds/headphones to class from now on.

2. Get your Chromebook and log in to Google Docs.

3. Open and read the document: "Spanish: Sample NSE Learning Plan."

4. Rewrite or add to your "NSE Learning Plan" document.

5. Levanta su mano cuando has terminado.

I then spent the rest of the class walking around and looking over their shoulders.  I gave them feedback on their learning plans, answered their questions, showed them how to download flashcard sets to the iPads, and kept them on task.  I didn't have to do much of that though.  They all worked throughout the class period with very few reminders to stay on task or choices given to work with paper.  Both classes went very smoothly and some kids even began to show me that they had mastered concepts by getting perfect scores on grammar practice quizzes or going through vocab flashcards out loud while I look over their shoulder.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 2: Writing a Learning Plan...and Analyzing the Pre-Test

My plan was for each student to complete their learning plan and get started during class, but that was obviously not going to happen for about half of the students, so the learning plan became homework.   Some students wrote their learning plan and started reading tutorials or watching videos though.  I even had a couple of students add new resources to the wiki (a Google Site that I created that contains links to various learning and practice resources organized by topic).

One student tried to play a game unrelated to his learning goal, and I simply told him, "Bobby, if you can't stay on task, you can learn this stuff from a book or a worksheet instead."  He didn't seem to like that idea, and he got right back on track.  In the future, I will probably say, "Bobby, if using the computer is too distracting, I have books and worksheets you can use to study."  It's true.  I do, and anyone is welcome to use them.  They're actually listed on the wiki as resources.  Has any student asked me to use them?  No.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 1: Analyzing the Pre-Test

All of my 8th grade classes have now taken the National Spanish Exam practice test, and most students have finished typing their information into a Google Spreadsheet based on a template that I provided them.

It was really a pain to do though!  I wish NSE had an application that would not only tell you what questions you missed but what grammatical concept and/or vocabulary set was involved with that question.  Instead, the kids had to provide me with the keywords from the question, the correct answer, and their answer.  Then I used that information to tell them what concept was involved.  A lot of students grumbled and moaned as they did it, especially those who missed a lot and had to spend an entire class period or more just collecting the information.

Their homework tonight is to make an individualized learning plan for Monday on a Google Doc based on a set of questions that I provided.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I have an idea...

I'm planning a brand new unit format for the next three weeks though, so I want to document how it goes.  I'm really excited about it!

Every year my 8th graders take the National Spanish Exam online over the course of two days near the end of March.  This year I'm going to throw out most of what I've done before to prepare them, and design this unit to be more student-centered and data-based.  Hopefully high scores on the test will be the result...

Today 8B and 8A will take a practice exam on the Chromebooks and record their results in a Google Spreadsheet.  Stay tuned for what happens next!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"I feel like an adult!"

That's what one little girl in Mrs. Myers' 2nd grade class said when she sat down with her Chromebook at her desk today.  Mr. Darr and I took them down there and had the kids log in to test the new wireless access point.  It was probably the first time these kids had ever used a laptop in their classroom, so it was very exciting for them!  The table I was standing by talked excitedly about how it felt like an office, and was "so COOL!"