Friday, November 11, 2011

Teleprompters, Astronomy and Differentiation

One of the wonderful things about putting technology in the hands of students is seeing how they adapt it to meet their needs. A group of 6th graders were seen using the library iPads with their built in cameras to see themselves on the screen for further primping before their photos were taken. Our 5th graders are also  pretty creative in their adaptations. The latest problem-solving took place when a group of students was video recording a skit and they needed help in "remembering" their lines. While one student was using an iPad to record the skit, another iPad was being used as a teleprompter with an enlarged version of the script on the screen. See the image above for a visual example. 

The 5th graders recently used several software programs to complete an activity for the astronomy science unit. The goal for each team of students was to come up with something they wanted to research about the solar system and make a plan as if they could travel to the actual planet, moon, asteroid, etc. They then were to produce a map showing the pathway they would take to their destination along with the return route. Each team began the process by using a website that locates the positions of all the planets by the current or future date. The next step was to open the Inspiration mind mapping software to populate their screens with images of the suns and planets. They then positioned them from what they learned at the location website. After taking a screen shot of their work, the students imported the image into a photo editing software. There they used the paint tool to draw the route of their cosmic journey. See above for an example.

Haiku continues to offer our students a rich virtual learning environment that helps support their various learning styles. The forum learning module in Haiku offers students and teachers the opportunity to either start new discussions or extend ones that began in the classroom. Forums give students who want more time to reflect the chance to share their ideas when sometimes they don't choose to in the classroom. Forums also help our learners further construct their understanding by going deeper on topics that they might not have had time for in class or to pursue new topics that come up after class.

One way Ms. Cook uses forums is for literature discussions. It was something to review one Haiku forum discussion with several students building off one another's ideas as they discussed a reading. New ideas were shared as well as having students clarify and take the role of subject matter expert. This learning community whether taking place in school or virtually is one of the ways our teachers work to help our students develop the very important skill of knowing how to learn.

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