Sunday, January 4, 2009

Connecting Classrooms, Part 2

(This is cross-posted on our shared blog.)
On December 18th, Kate's 2nd grade class and my 4th grade class connected via WizIq for a second online math lesson. We would have liked to connect sooner, but conflicting schedules, pesky assessments, and various holidays thwarted us. Still, Kate and I prepared using the same website, and we were able to successfully implement all the parts of the lesson we wanted to try. So, how did it go?
The lesson went... fairly well. There were some lingering technological issues, but I feel both classes were able gain some educational results from this math lesson. My class prepared for this lesson by first adopting the mindset that the 4th graders would be teaching the second graders, and we had a discussion where we tried to spell out the steps of learning. I gave them the goal the 2nd graders wanted to achieve, and then guided my students towards what they would have to scaffold for the younger students. We hoped the 2nd graders would be able to identify the values of coins, name the coins, and then select multiple coins to "purchase" various items. My students helped me create multiple pages, and for the final page we found images online of popular toys (they were particularly excited about the trampoline) and created prices for them.
We started the lesson, and the 2nd grade class joined us. The pages we created on WizIq were shared seamlessly, and both classes were able to simultaneously interact with the online tools. The biggest problems was that the video wouldn't work (despite working just fine in practice) and that the sound was behaving oddly. The amplified speakers in my class, and maybe in Kate's too, were giving all sorts of weird feedback, pretty much making oral discussion useless. Nonetheless, we watched as Kate's class worked through the pages and added up the coins they needed. I think for our next connection I would like move towards giving all my 4th grade students an opportunity to blog or discuss a science or language topic online.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

(This was cross-posted on our shared blog)
Just before Halloween Kate, my mentee, and I connected our classrooms for a cooperative project. Using the online WizIq service, we tried to share a lesson on the four basic math operations between Kate's second-grade class and my fourth-grade class. My class created math problems, in both English and Spanish, and discussed how to teach the math to the younger, but no less eager, students.
Well, the lesson did not go as smoothly as we would have hoped. While we did test run the WizIq service ahead of time, multiple problems still cropped up on the day we tried it. Kate scheduled the lesson, but we were unable to share control at the same time. Her students' work solving the problems never appeared on my Smartboard, so we couldn't quite guide her students through the problem. We also couldn't get me webcam video to appear on her board, no was the sound clear enough to really be helpful. Needless to say, the lesson did quite meet our expectations. Still, our students were very engaged by the experiment, and we look forward to try again sometime this month with another collaborative project. Have any ideas about another service where we could work together online?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fourth Grade is Underway!

While we are well into the fourth grade year by now, I an excited by many of the successes I have seen so far. We have just about completed a unit on the solar system, and we have learned revealed many mysteries of the cosmos. In writing we are working on factual reports using various science texts. This has been challenging for a lot of the students, as understanding the language and developing our own main ideas is not easy.
We rotate for reading groups and math groups each day. The groups that work in Mr. Robinson's class have ambitious goals; and we are working on standards that exceed grade level expectations. Perhaps the most anticipated part of each week are Friday's Clicker tests. All of fourth grade is working hard, and there is a lot of collaboration between each fourth grade class. I am always looking forward to what we may do tomorrow!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Return to the Blog

I know, I know, I have not updated this blog for quite a bit of time. It is difficult for my students to reach the blog, for the vast majority of my students lack internet access at home. For them to check it in school involves a somewhat time-consuming process of directing to the link on my class web page. Of course, whatever I write for them on the blog I can relate to them in class in less time.
Therefore, I should write this blog with a different audience in mind. Hello Global Learners! I do feel I have been neglecting some aspects of the project. I have been actively using technology in the room. We use the Smartboard daily, with both pre-made lessons and spur-of-the-moment work. We have also done many Clickers assessments and are working on student films. Technology is part of my classroom, though I may not be documenting it too well. I do feel like when CSAP testing winds down we'll have more time to do some technology-related projects. The tests are only a month away!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hello Class!
I have passed out a lot of corrected work this week. Please do not just recycle your hard work- take a look at it and then pass it on to your parents. By checking my comments and marks you can get an idea of how you are doing in class and at home. While many of you have made a great effort so far, I know we can still do better. I know the work can be confusing sometimes- reread directions, ask a friend, or try paying a little more attention in class. Let's keep working as hard as we can. Ask me if you have any questions.

Mr. Robinson

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The school year is underway!

Hello students!
I think the year is off to a great start. While I can see that you have learned a lot in 4th grade, I have noticed a few things we need to work on in order to get ready to use more technology. I want us to work on our typing skills. Faster typing will help a lot of your computer become easier. I think games would be the most fun way to practice, but we will also be typing up some of our writing too. I am also putting up a poll- that is a type of survey where you can answer a question and everyone can see what others answered too. Do not worry- I do not know which answer you picked! Thanks for reading the blog. If you would like to leave a comment, please do!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Welcome New Students!

Back to school! Just the sound of those words means big changes. Whether you are a returning student, parent, or just a visitor to this blog, I am glad you found it. For students, your first day of school will be testing, PE, and some games. It is not really a true first day, as the normal routines of our class won't begin until Friday. I'll probably be pretty nice, and I won't enforce tough rules unless I need to. So, act like a 5th grader should, and we'll have an awesome first few days.