Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Working the GAME!

In evaluating the the progress of my GAME plan I see where there is some progress being made. There is still a lot to continue working on but at least I am moving in the right direction.

 In looking at my first goal, I am able to implement more technology into my lessons. I am also giving my students a little bit more freedom than in the past, trying to make them responsible learners. There are numerous resources I have located that correspond with classroom instruction. I have implemented a few in the class but not as many as I would like. I am still working to compile my resources into content and standard files so that students can access the areas they need to work on. The state assessment is coming up soon and I would love to have these available on my class web site for students to practice skills they are weak in. The resources I am finding will meet the needs of my diverse learners while keeping most of the students engaged in the learning process.

My second goal has not progressed as far as my first. I have looked at and Smart Exchange for activities which I have implemented in my classroom instruction. However, I really would like to look at other programs such as Google documents, podcasting as well as video programs, such as iMovie, so my students can make videos for their project based assessments. Little research in this area has taken place so far. I know that I cannot use iMovie with my school computer but I do have a personal I Pad that I can use with my students to create videos. I also have looked as some websites that correlate with some of our class readings that allow the students to expand their knowledge in areas that interests them. These resources go along with our Social Studies weekly and Super Science Magazines. I am keeping a notebook of what I am learning (and the numerous URL, username and passwords for each).  I write down my ideas for how to implement them into classroom instruction and which content areas I feel they best fit. I am hoping that by the end of the school year I have learned more so that the class I currently have will benefit from my insight. I know my future classes will!

-Judy Spears


  1. Hi Judy!

    I think it is great that you write down your ideas and record your ideas. This is one of my areas of weaknesses. I always say I will record things down in a journal, but never do. Then I forget and I waste time repeating myself. I really need you take your example to heart and do this as well. I would not be hard on yourself about your second goal not getting as far as you hoped. You really have so much in this goal that it is probably impossible to do this all even within a year! I would focus on one or two things in this goal and try to be the expert in those things. Otherwise, I think you will overwhelm yourself. I know I would be! Great job with all of your hard work and learning!


  2. Joe to Judy

    I am curious about the ways you have been able to implement more technology into your lessons, and just as important: what level and content area. In math, I often struggle to find “just the right” application of technology at the high school level. Most of what I find is geared towards elementary and middle school teachers. I think it is great that these resources are available in what seems like incredible amounts (perhaps that is my perspective spawn from not being able to find all of the resources I would like for my students). If you are fortunate enough to be one of these teachers, congratulations!

    One thing that I have been working on is incorporating a project where students utilize the interactive whiteboard in my classroom to give a presentation. From all appearances, it utilizes several cross-content skills and gives those students who are not as proficient in my content area a chance to succeed on their own terms. Grading these presentations can be difficult. I believe I need to record these presentations so that I can accurately assess their performance. Most likely a rubric will be the best choice; it should keep me consistent when grading their work.

    My concern about this project is videoing the students and I look to you for a little guidance. Have you ever used video to assist in assessment? If so, do you think it is appropriate to include student perspective as well? Also, I think there would probably be a concern with respect to permission from parents to video students. Have you addressed this with your district? I have yet to fully implement this aspect and I was hoping that I could learn a little from your experiences employing your GAME plan.

  3. Judy to Jill-

    It took me a long time to realize I really needed to start writing things down. If I do not then I tend to forget my thoughts and ideas. I keep them in a separate notebook so I know where to look. Sometimes I write down ideas on sticky notes, because they are always handy and then stick it in my notebook.

    I am trying to work on only one or two goals at a time so that I can stay focused and learn how to implement them effectively. We have our state assessment in five weeks and everyone is trying to get prepared for this. I will try to work on the podcast after the test. Students will be tired from testing and with only two weeks left afterwards, it will be a good activity to keep them engaged.

    I hope your goals are coming along well and good luck working on your journaling. It takes time to get accustomed to writing down your thoughts but it will pay off.

  4. Judy to Joe-

    In working towards my goals I have been searching the web for interactive activities to implement with my instruction. I teach third grade and most of the activities have been with math and reading. Our district has recently purchased a subscription with Teacher Toolbox and it is loaded with resources. The resources cover activities in all content areas and I have been looking at some to incorporate into my science and social studies curriculum. I also use Smart Exchange to find activities to use with my Smart Board. These are coming in handy with my implementation.

    I have not used video in my class yet. It is something I would like to learn to do. As far as permission, our district sends out permission forms at the beginning of the year to see whose name, video and photograph cannot be made public. You could create your own letter to send home. If you are only going to use the videos with your class and is not going to be made public it should be okay. I can publish any work within the school; we only have to have permission if it goes on the Internet or outside the school. I hope this has been helpful. Good luck with your project!

  5. Koreen to Judy

    I love that you are looking into Professional Development in areas that will benefit your students. I think that the programs you mentioned are very worth while in a classroom. I like iMovie and have used it to make Storytelling Festival videos. It is a great way for students to look back and critique there own work and final product. In addition, students can edit and revise their video before the final publishing.

    I have not tried podcasting with my students as a whole but think it could be a great tool for a project based assessment. I think you are doing great and I commend you for realizing that this process takes time and we can not master our plans all at once. I was at a district meeting on Thursday and they mentioned changing 10% a year. I thought that seemed small but the idea is to implement change and slowly so that we don not burn out and end up back in our old ways. I thought that 10% seemed quite possible. Keep up the good work!
    Koreen Humphries

  6. Crystal to Judy

    I am right there with you in the fact that I have a hard time allowing the students more freedom. However, I am learning along with you that this is what our students need in order to be able to learn how to learn on their own, which is a skill that they need to have. This year, I created a class website and have been able to put links to different educational sites for the students to use. One of the links is to the Ohio Department of Education, where they can access practice test questions that will help prepare them for the State Assessment. I have also put a link to a program we use called Study Island, this also helps them practice for the big test. For my Ohio History unit, I created an online Jeopardy game and put the link to it on my webpage. Then the students could study for the test by playing the game. I received a lot of positive feedback from parents about making studying fun for the kids. I even had some students tell me that their whole families played the game together. I thought that was great. So I think having a class website is great, especially if it engages the students. What sort of things do you post on your website? I am always looking for ways to improve mine and add to it, so any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

    I saw that you mentioned Social Studies Weekly. I teach Social Studies to fourth grade and we actually have a subscription to this newspaper. It is fantastic. The teachers edition offers many different resources and it helps the students understand the material better than using just the textbook and they enjoy reading them and seeing the illustrations. It is an excellent resource. I like your idea of using iMovie. I have never used it. It sounds really neat and I am sure the students will love it. Let me know if you have any tips for using iMovie, that might help me in using this software. My problem is finding a video camera to video tape the students. They love posting videos on YouTube, so I am sure they will love creating a video for class, if I could find a video camera. Now I am going to have to find one and try it out. Good luck working on your goals and continue to share your progress with us! :)

    Crystal Moyer