Saturday, November 15, 2014

Doin' It For Themselves

One of the ultimate goals for the Digital Passport Initiative (DPI) and the Instructional Technology Facilitators (ITFs) in each school are to get teachers and students comfortable with using and exploring the Internet with their MacBook Airs even when we are not in the classroom with them.

The teachers at Elkmont High School, even those not yet a part of the Digital Passport Initiative, are enthusiastic about integrating these devices into their classrooms as a natural part of the curriculum.

This week I walked into two different classrooms to the exclamation, "Look what we did!" First, Ms. Anita Bates showed me how her students were using what they had learned about researching and Google Slides to create presentations about the American Revolutionary War.  Next, Ms. Luann Adams told me about how she was getting ready to assign her students to draw examples of a food chain and then thought to use Google instead.  The class tried using a Google Document to make their food chains but found this to be a bit cumbersome.  They search and found Google Drawing (which I haven't even introduced them to yet) and created great food chain examples.  They had them already printed out and posted in the classroom when I arrived!

Judson Meadows, Middle Grades Social Studies teacher & basketball coach at Elkmont High School, has embraced BYOD in his classroom. This week he created a formative assessment quiz that grades itself using Google Forms and Flubaroo. Voila...simple, easy, success!

Tina McMunn, 3rd grade DPI teacher, discovered Soft Schools, a website filled with a dizzying array of games, quizzes, worksheet and more for grades Kindergarten through Middle Grades. Ms. McMunn also search the Internet and found great supporting videos and lesson ideas for their unit on Poetry via LearnZillion. Her kids used LearnZillion to read and analyze the poems "The Fog" by Carl Sandburg and Who Has Seen the Wind? By Christina Rossetti.

Anita Bates, 4th grade DPI teacher, started her unit on the American Revolutionary War by challenging her students to create a Google Presentation based on their own research using the Alabama Virtual Library and other research sources like Kid Rex. Without the Instructional Technology Facilitator in the classroom, the kids had no problem jumping right into the project, as they had learned these skills earlier in the school year.

Atina English, 3rd grade DPI teacher, has tackled using Google Classroom head on with her students. Ms. English is doing an incredible job mastering this new technology and her students see using their MacBook Airs and Google Classroom as a natural part of their everyday classroom experience.

Luann Adams, 4th grade DPI teachers, has incorporated the MacBooks and Google into her daily morning bell ringer to get students started for the day. Ms. Adams has also worked hard to get her students organized with Google Drive folders and using the calendar to keep track of important dates.

I am so proud of the teachers at Elkmont High School for not only being open to learning new technologies but delving into experimenting and discovering new technologies and applications on their own.

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