Thursday, December 18, 2008

Donors Choose Request

Here is part of my request for Donors Choose that focuses on needing a technology tool for doing PBL:

"I teach in a school focusing on the visual and performance arts that is located in a high-need community.

I am doing problem-based learning activities with my students. In each activity, students are given a certain job and problem to solve, for example students become network executive in charge of creating and producing a new game show to review literary devices, meanings of words, parts of speech, or punctuation. Students have to research the problem or situation and then decided what to do about it. In the above example, students decided what game to create, what topics to cover, and designed the game/logo/theme songs. These activities appeal to a wide variety of learning styles and allow students to use individual talents to shine and make learning real.

At the end of an activity, students do a presentation for authentic assessment. That presentation is why my students need a Flip Video Camera. Students can use this to film each other and post their presentations on our classroom blogs. This will allow my students, as well as other students, parents, and individuals, to see the results of the learning that is taking place.

My students don't have much access to technology outside of school, so I am doing what I can to provide them with a wide variety of experiences to better prepare them for the future. We are trying to be 21st century learners."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

AIG LIcensure Class

Here is a copy of several emails back and forth between Dr. Dole (Gifted Education Classes as Western Carolina) and I :

| | Your final products are excellent, Melissa. The only thing that I would suggest is to indicate the weight on each category on the rubric. It appears that they are of equal weight but I don't know if that is what you intended.
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| | | With your permission, I would like to use your products as examples for future classes. I would like to post examples of exemplary products in the AIG Resource Room in the Virtual School.
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| | | You really should consider continuing in the MAED gifted program if you don't already have a master's degree. Dr. Dole

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| | Dr. Dole,
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| | Thank you for the nice comments on my product. Of course you can use them if you want.
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| | I just graduated with my masters degree in reading education in December last year before I started the AIG classes. I have really enjoyed learning and working on the projects in this program. What are the other classes like in the masters program?

| From: Sharon Dole
| Subject: RE: Curriculum map, unit, and rubrics
| Date Sent: December 12, 2008 5:21 PM
| To: Melissa Edwards
| There is a new course, Current Issues in Gifted Education, that I'm teaching this semester. We are using a wiki and the students are doing collaborative research projects on the wiki. Their projects have been outstanding--they have integrated all kinds of multimedia including videos of student interviews and videos of teach/counselor/administrator interviews. After the initial technology hurdles, the students really took to it and did amazing collaborative work.
Dr. Dole
|That class sounds really neat. I am just starting to do the wiki thing and going to have my AIG students start working on it after Christmas. Is any of that stuff going in the Virtual School or anywhere that I might be able to look at some of it?
| | |

Friday, December 12, 2008

Assessment Observations

Earlier this week, I sat to the side and observed my 3rd grade AIG students while they were working on vocabulary lessons. To see them give answers and try to prove why their answer was the correct one realy showed me the learning that was taking place. Just from listening to their comments (arguments) I could assess their learning, which I guess is a form of alternative assessment.
Listening to the 4th grade students talk about the book they are reading for class also gave me information so that a traditional test was not needed to see what they learned.
We did a Math activity exploring area and perimeter using cubes. Students had to see how many shapes they could create and then find the area and perimeter of those shapes. Students figured out (on their own) that shapes may have the same area but that doesn't mean they have the same perimeter. They also figured out that any shape the created with 4 cubes would have an area of 4 square units.
Working with the AIG and Enrichment students is really showing me how various forms of assessments can be used effectively.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

1st Grade Creativity

I brought a blue plastic container (it held coffee) from home for students to do a creative thinking exercise. I was planning on doing a SCAMPER activity with my older students using it, but ended up doing a brainstorming activity (that kinda started as a SCAMPER) with my first graders. The longer we brainstormed, the more creative students became with their ideas. I think it worked well for us to do this activity aloud as a group since students got ideas from each other. They constructed knowledge together.

Students started off suggesting that the object could be used for a trash can or a recycling bin (first grade classes are studying recycling right now) and ended up with ideas like attaching a stick to it to make it a hammer or using it to make a clock.

I may have the first grade students type on the blog (learning log) today. I could have them pick one idea and elaborate on it (I will have to explain elaboration . . . I forget that I work with first grade students . . .since I am so used to 4th and 5th graders . . .)

Friday, December 5, 2008

New plans

We have been doing some PBL related activities but I just haven't kept track of them very well . . . uh oh. We have also been involved in lots of testing and meetings . . . not to mention being out for Thanksgiving break. I have recently tried to start a wiki for PBL brainstorming. I am not really sure what I am doing but I am trying.
As I was making my lesson plans for next week, I included lots of PBL activities for each grade.
3rd Grade will be working on using map sources with the PBL activity called X marks the spot and one called Do you know where you are going?.
2nd grade will be working on problems involving Science and Math (Boating Bears and Metric to the Rescue). I can't wait to see what kinds of idea students come up with for the Measurement PBL. These students just finished some projects involving writing, like adding more to the ending of a story and writing the beginning of a brand new story.
On one first grade teacher's blog, there is some information about solids, liquids, and gas, so our next PBL activities will also deal with those forms of matter.
I am trying to use a lot of technology while doing these various activities.

I sat in on collaboration meetings with many of the grade levels and ordered some PBL kits from CERTL to go along with the ideas being introduced next in 2nd grade.