With buses already unable to deliver students to school and the snow forecast worsening, I got the message that school is closed for the day. Brilliant! That means my students can get on with their Mystery Thriller writing instead of all that Maths and Science stuff that clutters up the day.
I’ve tried the small groups function on Edmodo this week, which allows the teams of students producing novels to collaborate away from the main group. They are able to use resources from the folder shared with them but I have also been able to direct some differentiated support material to those who might need it without it being too public.
My student really like the silly headers from fodey.com with the Talking Tomato being particularly popular! I like their newspaper headline too to brighten up my posts.
Explain Everything is as good as I’d heard it to be. I used it first to create a reading of a tricky text my students needed to be able to access.
I was concerned that losing a day meant that one of my RE classes would miss the ‘feed’ for the assessment next week, but using Explain Everything I was able to give them a reasonable overview or what they need to think about and combined this with links to the videos I’d already put into realsmartcloud. For those new to it, Explain Everything allows you to create a series of frames with text, images and sound that you can then save, send or upload to YouTube etc for sharing.
All in all, I think the potential damage of a missed day was largely overcome thanks to the 1:1 iPad scheme and a bit of help from some great apps. But more importantly, it brought home to me that producing resources is perfectly manageable and would be great when students are absent. Flipping the classroom then becomes a much shorter step than I’d feared.
There has been a palpable excitement in classes this week. The Library had a ‘Full’ sign on the door at lunchtime. Student have taken on the role of patient teachers. Concentration, independence and resilience have been everywhere.
I always expected this to be a bit of a honeymoon week, but even I have been taken aback by the transformation. It has been a joy to see my Year 7 English students compiling digital anthologies of their own poetry to share and peer review. Using nothing more complicated than Keynote and the camera, they have brought together photographs of drafts and final versions, created illustrations and explanatory labels and added video clips of themselves reciting poems.
Edmodo has been fantastic! The classes have used it at home since September, but it has come alive as a place to share the work in progress on presentations and invite (and receive) helpful, specific and kind advice from their peers. This seems to be encouraging student to push themselves that bit further, be a bit more precise and to learn from each other. Final versions are going to be collected through the assignment Turn In function which will automatically set up a helpful mark sheet for me.
We’ve also run Edmodo as a sort of ‘back channel’ during the lesson: a place to record progress, pass on hot-tips or ask each other for help. Two students propped up their iPads on the corridor floor and made an excellent little tutorial on how to upload Keynote to Edmodo, uploaded it to YouTube and then linked it back to the class page ready for other student to learn from.
Meanwhile, the Realsmartcloud has been useful for several groups organising a trial in an RE project. Defence and Prosecutions teams are sharing comments and notes where all can see them. It’s comforting not to have to worry about bits of paper being lost or ,forgotten when we conduct the trial scene next week. And, as I said to the students, if any of us get eaten by lions in the next week we needn’t worry – because someone else can pick up their notes! They didn’t seem entirely comforted by that though for some reason.