End of Course 4

The Sitch

filled white coffee cup
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

The majority of students I work with admit that they are not currently reading at home as they find it difficult and frustrating. My hope is that this project will provide them with a purpose for daily independent reading practice that can be monitored and measured. I will work with six students from grades 2, 4, and 5 for this project.

 

The First Plan

 

How does this project reflect your learning during COETAIL? How might this unit be different from or similar to other units you have designed/facilitated?

 

My first idea for a unit really builds off the project that Shalene, Julija, and I worked on during course 3, experiences over this semester, and some feedback from students during distance learning. My struggling readers have always enjoyed the opportunity to read stories aloud to younger students. The lexile level tends to be closer to their independent reading level and they are able to build confidence in their ability to read aloud while developing fluency comprehension skills. The difference between this and my previous units is a greater emphasis on independent reading at home. By providing students with higher levels of technology use, I hope to also encourage daily reading practice and therefore support students’ progress towards their reading goals.

 

 

Describe the unit: What will your students be able to do? What will they understand? What skills will they build? What ISTE Standards for Students will you prioritize?

 

Throughout this 10 week unit, the students will be selecting books to read aloud in front of the camera with an intended audience of students in younger grade levels. The goal is for the students to read 5 books aloud in order to build reading fluency and comprehension skills as measured by DIBELS and Fountas & Pinnell assessments. I want to prioritize the Empowered Learner ISTE standards as students will be creating content and sharing it with the school community.

 

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

 

I think this is a good course 5 project as it helps tackle a big issue I am seeing with my students. Namely that they are avoiding reading when they are outside school. Reading aloud is frustrating and some students report that they do not see the purpose behind cultivating this skill. It will also provide an opportunity for both myself and homeroom teachers to monitor student progress and allow us to give feedback. I want to improve in aligning SSP and ILP goals with the classroom teacher’s goals to allow for greater transparency with how I am supporting students.

 

What evidence might you collect to support students in demonstrating their understandings?

 

Weekly reflections will be a big part of this. I want to make the reflections easy enough so that students will complete them, but also use this as a tool to hold students accountable. In order to monitor students’ comprehension, I plan on adapting the Wilson reading recount rubric.

 

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

 

My biggest concern is that students still try to avoid reading at home. I am struggling with how to ensure that they are held accountable in a way that is empowering. My larger goal is to instill a love of reading in each of my students, but I am worried that this could backfire. By increasing the expectation for independent reading, I am cautious not to inadvertently causing more stress or pressure around an already challenging task.

My other big concern is related to how students share their readings. Living in China means that I am limited in some of the programs I can use. My school’s technology policy restricts me from using any apps with students that require a VPN so that means no YouTube, Google Drive, or (frustratingly) Thinglink. I’m also unable to use Padlet or FlipGrid as they are currently unreliable in China. I am leaning towards students sharing content through SharePoint and using Handbrake to shrink video sizes.

 

What shifts in pedagogy might this new unit require from you?

This unit will require me to share more of what I am doing with classroom teachers, something that I really want to do. It will also provide me with an opportunity for getting back to new learning partnerships. I have found myself more in the role of a traditional teacher during class times and I want my students to feel as though they are doing more than being passive learners. I want to put them in charge of their progress towards their learning goals.

What skills and/or attitudes might this new unit require from your students?

The students will need to show grit throughout this 10 week unit. I would like to provide them with the opportunity to discuss difficulties and frustrations while simultaneously providing them with an opportunity to plan for their next steps.

The Second Sitch

person holding a book and pen
Photo by Lewis Keegan – Skillscouter.com on Unsplash

My second idea stemmed from working with a few students who are finding Maths frustrating. This unit would focus on fewer students. Four individuals in grades 4 and 5. These students are struggling to make progress towards their Maths goals as they do not know their multiplication facts and have found learning them frustrating. As a result, these students are becoming increasingly disengaged in Maths classes as they feel they are unable to do the work.

The Alternative Plan

 

Describe the unit: What will your students be able to do? What will they understand? What skills will they build? What ISTE Standards for Students will you prioritize?

 

This six-week unit will harness the concept of remixing and have students create Maths music videos for multiplication facts. They can have the freedom to choose from their favorite songs so that they can take ownership of their work. We would begin the unit by looking at examples that already exist online and then students would have the opportunity to write their own lyrics and produce their own videos in collaborative groups. The ISTE standards I would focus on for this unit would come from the Creative Communicator strand.

 

 

How does this project reflect your learning during COETAIL? How might this unit be different from or similar to other units you have designed/facilitated?

 

This idea really started to grow over course 4. From the very beginning, I had my first idea taking shape and I was excited about starting it. Then, I started thinking more about how I could use technology to support student’s learning in meaningful ways and I tried helping a fifth-grade student by having her create a video to walk herself through the process of two-digit division. This really helped her and she started to become more confident in herself. This opportunity to use technology at a higher level instead of just for information consumption really helped to jolt my thinking. It got me excited for other ways to integrate technology meaningfully and provide students with more deep learning opportunities.

 

 

 

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

 

I think this unit would be great for taking technology integration beyond simple substitution and augmentation. I also believe that it could help excite students about a subject that they are finding difficult and frustrating. The combination of integrating technology in a meaningful way through supporting student growth towards their goals is something that I feel excited and passionate about.

 

What evidence might you collect to support students in demonstrating their understandings?

 

The end goal would be for students to be able to apply their new-found knowledge of multiplication facts to solve maths problems with greater confidence and fluency. I think the use of personal reflections from students would be paramount to see if they felt a change in their attitudes towards Maths, as well as their own abilities. Just today, I had a student tell me that she felt “stupid” because she could not solve a fractions problem in the classroom. I think that having pre- and post-unit reflections from students would be vital evidence.

 

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

 

My biggest concern for this is that the end product might only prove to be valuable for the creator rather than for any audience. I am questioning whether this is necessarily a big issue or not and I am settled somewhere in the middle. My intention is to have these four students learn their multiplication facts in a meaningful way and then share them with each other and their classmates. This feels a lot smaller in scale to my other unit idea, however, and I am worried that the focus is too narrow. I am also thinking about the enduring understandings box on the UBD planner and I am unsure of what the enduring understandings are for this unit.

 

What shifts in pedagogy might this new unit require from you?

 

I think that one of the things that really came to the fore for me over course 4 is that I have found myself drifting away from incorporating technology in meaningful and authentic ways. This has definitely come with the change in my role this year and feeling as though my time with students is very limited. I also believe, however, that this unit can be integrated into students’ service hours.

 

What skills and/or attitudes might this new unit require from your students?

 

Video production skills will be a review for all of these students. They have all participated in filming and editing projects either in the classroom or as part of after school clubs. Choreography, lip-syncing, and a shift in attitude towards Maths classes will also be necessary.

 

2 Replies to “End of Course 4”

  1. Great set of ideas, Simon. I like how both empower your students as learners but also in their learning. Option 1 sounds a great way to build confident readers but might be frustrating with some of the tech elements. Option 2 sounds creative and exciting which will help and support your students grow as Mathematicians and with their use of technology. Decisions…Decisions!

  2. I like how you have incorporated feedback from students into the design of the unit. Challenging our assumptions for the reasons students do or don’t do certain things is key!

    Music is one of those connectors (like food!). It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t appreciate it. I wonder if you have an outlier or two, who would find writing lyrics and learning ‘musically’ a challenge. Would those students have an ‘out’?

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