Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What Works Wednesday

In this week's installment of What Works Wednesday, I thought I would discuss computer apps and programs I use with my in-flipping. All of my students do not have technology at home. Instead of flipping my classroom, I started to in-flip the room. I use video and apps to free me up to give more individual instruction. One of those apps/websites that I really like is Edmodo.

Edmodo is a free website and app. I like that I can load individual and group lessons for the class or small groups. You do not need individual email addresses for students. When you sign up and claim your school, it allows you to use Snapshot. Snapshot is a quick pretest on a set of skills. In a "Snapshot" you see at grade level, behind, and intervention students identified. You can either assign a skill from the results, or use other apps within Edmodo to address weaknesses.

I started my in-flip and pretests with math. I have three math groups, but could have four. Two students are above grade level, but need hand-holding to get them through lessons. The next is at grade level. Another is at grade level, but struggles (my inclusion and RTI students). The third group is one student working at late first/early second grade level. If I could squeeze out a few more minutes, I would split the struggling group into two groups and have one leave the fifth grade material for fourth grade skills. I just cannot seem to be able to make the move.

My in-flipping is at least allowing me more time to work with students that are not "getting it". In a perfect world, every student would get quality teacher time each day. In my world, the struggling get the most. I individualize the single student, and cheer on the top two students as they watch a power point. I cannot get videos made for each group.!

 I use Voki Presenter ($29.95) to make my instruction videos. The kids like that the avatar I use is an improved version of me. They are begging to teach a lesson themselves, using their own Voki. Voki is like having 25 clones of me. Unfortunately, the Voki cannot answer questions they may have. After the Voki lesson, students may have task cards, a practice worksheet, or an online lesson.

Check out Voki Presentation

My students like the improved Mrs. H provided by the Voki avatar, but also love having a dog, of famous person teach their lesson for the day. Their curiosity gets them to want to see the lesson just to see who the guest teacher is for the day. A few students are giving up recess time to record the voice portion for a lesson their Voki will teach.

As a note: if you use iPads for your in-flipping, you need a browser like Puffin that allows for Flash.  Puffin is free, but I still need to download it on our grade level iPads. Some of the Edmodo features works better with Puffin and Google Chrome.

Edmodo has several apps you can add-on. CK-12 Math Practice is one I use for skill practice after my lesson.

Yesterday, I used a math exit ticket to assess their ordering decimals knowledge. Today I assigned a Tenmarks lesson as a review of the skill for the students that scored earned a 1 or 2 out of the 3 questions on the exit ticket. Tenmarks is a free site. I assign a lesson with ten problems.

Students have three hints they can use. There is also a video clip. The site will read the problem for students by chosing the speaker icon. It is a great supplement to my lesson I have already taught. It also uses a format similar to our standardized test, where multiple answers might be correct. This is helpful practice with M-Step test scheduled for April. I hate the thought of having to teach to a test. In-flipping gives my students experiences that prepare them for the test, while covering my curriculum expectations. Reading math and solving math on a computer may be a difficult thing for some students.

Do you do any flipping or in-flipping? I am just beginning to use this format. I like what I can do with it, but need more time in my days and nights to make the videos.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Currently March 1

With the weeks of cold, and the fact we haven't see grass in well over a month, March crept up slowly! I cannot believe it is March 1st already. This means it is also time for Farley's Currently.

I like listening to television while I work on the computer. It usually doesn't matter what is on, just that it is on. Funny, when I work at school, I prefer silence. Maybe because it is usually noisy there. At home, the dog likes to sit at my feet or cuddle on the couch. The youngest is home, so the dog is with her tonight. 

My son and his girl friend recently announced their engagement. She compliments him. They are beginning plans for their wedding. Cannot wait for their visit in two weeks!

My lesson plans need to be completed. So many extras to fit in before we go to camp in two weeks. I have a special guest coming this week, a PLC meeting during the day Wednesday, and a Mystery Skype this week. We also have a planned Fire Drill. Snow is still about a foot deep. That should be fun for the classes that go out side doors without sidewalks. Lol! Looking forward to it all, except the substitute plans for Wednesday morning. 

The house and my classrooms are both in desperate need of a good cleaning. That may be my Spring Break plans after all! I need to at least clean some before son's visit.

We have had so many inside recess days, but only three snow days. The few inches of snow today won't keep us from school tomorrow. They are predicting snow, sleet, freezing rain, then rain for Tuesday. We will likely have school as it standardized testing for Juniors in Michigan. Also, our superintendent takes great pride in not cancelling school. 

Spring Break for me isn't until April 2nd. We have Parent Teacher Conferences all day on April 1st. It will be our longest spring break in my 32 years. With family all on different schedules, my break will be uneventful. I hope to get some cleaning, reading, and projects completed.

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