Monday, January 26, 2015

Using VoiceThread for Quizzes

For the past two weeks we have been studying the features of the ocean floor. I wanted a creative way to assess students' understanding, so I thought...why not use VoiceTread!  VoiceThread is an interactive collaboration and sharing tool that enables users to add images, documents, and videos, and to which other users can add voice, text, audio file, or video comments.

First, students were given a grading rubric for this assessment.  I wanted them to know exactly how this assessment would be graded.  This rubric was given several days in advance, as I wanted them to have it as they studied.  

Part #1 of the quiz required students to illustrate the ocean floor.  As they created their illustration, the rubric pointed out which features needed to be included.  After they created their illustrations, I then took a picture of each ocean floor and uploaded them all to VoiceThread.  Part #2 of the quiz required students to go into VoiceThread, find their illustration and record themselves using the drawing tools to identify and describe the features of the ocean floor. Just as they can upload and record, I, too, can do the same. As you can see on the first illlustration I have provided feedback.  I can provide either a video, text, or voice feedback.  Not only can I go in to provide feedback, the students can also go in and provide feedback for their peers.  Take a few minutes to click on the arrows to check out some of my students' work!

The students enjoyed this assessment.  It was different from paper pencil and it gave them the opportunity to be creative and to use their speaking skills.  Now, off to grade this assignment I go! If you would like to learn how to use VoiceThread I will be more than happy to create a post on it!  What are some ways you might be able to use VoiceThread in your classroom?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blended Learning in Math

I am always looking for new and innovative ways to engage my students and ensure that they are learning at their instructional level.  This year I decided to try blended learning. Blended learning is where  a portion of the traditional face-to-face instruction is replaced by web-based online learning. Here is a great video that does an awesome job explaining blended learning.

I started my blended learning journey by taking a professional development class offered through my school district.  After several sessions, the instructor decided he wanted to come visit my class to see how I was coming along.  Needless to say, I was very hesitate having him come to observe.  I had just started the learning process and felt like I wasn't ready for anyone to come see what I was doing! Based on his feedback he was very impressed with what he saw, to my amazement! At the beginning of this week he sent me an email asking if he could send several teachers from my district, who are interested in blended learning, come see it in action.  My response was, "See who? Me!?"

So on yesterday, I was put on display...Ready or not!  Lol!!  I have been implementing blended learning into my math instruction, so this is what the teachers observed.  To being my lesson, I wanted students to assess their own understanding of division.  I used a Google Form to gather this information. Using the information, I created several activities to help review division. The activities included watching a teacher created review video, coaching sessions with task cards, working with a small group of students, and creating a lesson teaching other 5th graders how to divide.

I created my video review lesson using Educreations, which is an ipad app (this is the web-based online learning part of blended learning). Those students who felt they needed another lesson before the test watched the video.  While they were watching the lesson they were to complete a handout I created.  Having students complete the handout required them to be accountable for their learning.  I also added a QR code to the corner of the handout so that students will be able to access the video at home, if needed.

 I also worked with a small group of students who felt they needed more instruction and practice with me.  While these students were working on problems I assigned, I would walk around the class to assist any other students who needed additional help and to check on their progress.  This was also a great time for me to answer any questions they may have had.

Other students had coaching sessions with their peers using division task cards from Math Mojo.  Students enjoy coaching sessions as it gives them the opportunity to explain their thinking and to learn different strategies from their classmates.

Finally, students who felt like they were experts on division were given the task of creating a video teaching a group of 5th graders how to divide.

At the end of the lesson, we came back together as a group and had a class discuss.  There are many ways to use blended learning in the classroom.  If you are using blended learning, I would love to hear how you use it!  

Blog Header Update

I am not sure if you have noticed or not, but my blog header has been updated!  Thank you to Christi Fultz from Designs by Christi for the update.  I absolutely love it!  I really like having my social media buttons located at the top of my blog. My Twitter account has now been added, so if you are on Twitter be sure to follow Diary of a 5th Grade Teacher by clicking the Twitter button at the top of the page! 

Once again, thank you Christi for your amazing work!  
How do you like the new look?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Scoop - January 11, 2015

Happy Sunday!  It's time for the Sunday Scoop!

Be sure to head over to Teaching Trio to check out what other bloggers are doing today.  Here is what Diary of a 5th Grade Teacher has on her agenda for this wonderful day.  Enjoy!

My students are working on writing a five paragraph expository paper on their  goals for the New Year.  I found this cute craftivity that I am going to use to display their writing.  I had to run out to Michael's to pick up some cute ribbon to use for this craftivity. Check back later this week as I plan to blog about this craftivity! :)

I use blended learning in my math class and I have to create my videos using Educreations for the lessons.  We are finishing up dividing with decimals so I have about three more lessons to complete.  I also need to create the handout the students complete as they watch their videos. Here is an example of one of the handouts students use.

One of my goals for the New Year is to be better prepared each day.  Ironing my clothes for the week helps me with this!  I don't have to worry about what I am going to wear each morning.  If my clothes are already ironed I can just  go in the closet and pick out the first thing that is on the hanger!

I am currently working on a fractions product for my TpT store since this is the next unit we will be studying in math.  I am hoping to finish it up today.  If not, maybe tomorrow!

Relax, relax, relax!!  Everyone loves it when they can relax!

Finally, I am happy to chat with my olderest son.  He leaves in Charlotte, North Carolina and doesn't come home as often as I like. So anytime that we get a change to chat is always great!  I miss him to pieces!  

I hope you are having an awesome Sunday!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

First Day From Winter Break

We had a blast our first day back from winter break.  I was a little worried that the students would be a bit tired and lack focus, but this was not the case!  They were eager to share their holiday experiences with classmates.  We did this by playing Find Somebody Who...  The students had to mill around the room to find students who did certain activities listed on a handout.  This got them up and moving and sharing all the fun and exciting things that went on over the break!  I love Find Somebody Who.. and was able to grab this freebie from Fourth and Ten.

I also wanted my students to focus on what they would need to do to make the rest of the school year a success for them.  This included letting me know, as their teacher, what would they need from me. So we reviewed writing SMART goals (Specific, Measureable, Acceptable, Reasonable, and Timely).  We also had a huge discussion on some things that they wanted me to consider changing. For example, I don't give very many study guides. Instead I provide other engaging tasks that take the place of study guides (that's another blog post!).  This, of course, was one of the things students want me to change.  So, I have decided to give out study guides; however, they will not be the kind that just gives them the answers.  They will require the students to think and to put in some work!  I can't wait to see their reactions when they get their first science study guide that I am currently working on!  So totally not what they are expecting!! :)

Anyway, students had to answer the following 4 questions:  
1.  Our classroom should be ________ everyday.
2.  What is one SMART goal you have the 2015?
3.  In order to be successful in 2015 I will _______.
4.  What do you need from Ms. Scriven in order to be successful for the remaining of the school year?

Students had a great time with this activity and I enjoyed the discussions that came along with it! Now it's time for us to hit the ground running so students can begin working on some of their SMART goals!  What did you do the first day back from winter break? I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Scoop - First One of the Year

 Happy New Year!  I have been away from the blogging scene for a minute, but one of my goals for the new year is to blog more in 2015.  What a great way to start the New Year by linking up with Teaching Trio for the first Sunday Scoop of the year!  So here we go...

Like the rest of you, I have to complete, or should I say begin, working on lesson plans for the upcoming week.  I know what we will be working on, I just need to complete the plans.  In math we will  be finishing up our unit on division, we will begin reading Lyddie by Kathering Paterson in reading.  This novel will tie in with out unit of study of the Industrial Revolution in social studies.  Students will also be introduced to the ocean floor in science.  

I am such a techie person and I LOVE finding and using new forms of technology to enhance my instruction and to engage my students.  Over the break I have been playing around with VoiceThread and absolutely love it!  I will be using this to introduce the novel, Lyddie.  I also flip my classroom and I am always looking for tools to use to create my videos so that I can easily share them with my students.  While I was up at 2:00 a.m. this morning I ran across Office Mix.  Office Mix is an add on to Power Point which allows you to transforms them as videos!  You can embed quizzes, polls, other videos, and websites.  I can't wait to play with this!  Oh, and I will be blogging about it! Check out this intro video. 

I am always happy to spend time with my 10 year old son!  To finish up his winter break we will be reading together while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate under the electric blanket!  We will be reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.

Be sure to head over to Teaching Trio to link up with the Sunday Scoop Linky and to see what others are doing on the first Sunday of the New Year!

What will you be doing today (besides lesson plans) :)?