Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Want to improve your students' writing? Go Google.

Hi all!

Well it is almost spring break.  Here is a little tip to look into while you are resting on the beach, or skiing the slopes, or watching Netflix on the couch.  I don't know about you, but trying to constantly conference with my students about their writing is overwhelming.  I have discovered a trick.  I wish I knew where I first heard of the idea, but it changed writing time for me forever.

When your children are writing, have them write in google docs.  They should set the document up to share with you right away, right when they set up their document.  Then from that moment forward, you can comment on their writing as they type their stories.  You can conference during class, but you can also conference during your down time or prep time.  And, I find the students love coming to writing to see if their teacher has left any comments on their writing.

For example, right now, we are working on our student autobiographies.  We decided to do it in google slides, so that it will print and look like a real book, but could also easily be turned into a movie.  Here is a screen shot of my student's writing, and my comments.  She has already started editing based on my comments below her slide.  It's easy and powerful.  Give it a try!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mini-Golf, Math, and Me

So, I have continued my robotics/coding journey.  It just keeps getting better and better.  The kids are really starting to understand the language of coding.  And, it has been amazing to see who has stepped into the expert texspert role.  It is not the usual student leaders.  I have found that coding is a leveled playing field.  Some kids that are gifted at school are not gifted with this required "thinking outside the box."  I have also watched gifted students struggle with perseverance issues.  Since they have not had to work hard at school, they do not have their grit muscle strength like some students that have to persevere every day.  Fascinating to watch.


video
It has also forced students to really understand angles.  To give correct instructions, the students have to inform the robot at what angle it should travel.  A lot of discussion, trial, and error have brought a greater depth of understanding than any curricular math lesson.