Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Two Activities Ideas - One with Tech, One Without

Tech Activity
As part of the guidelines for teachers at my school to receive technology equipment they have to create a blog or message board for their students to respond too.  The issue is trying to get teachers to not see this as "just another thing we have to do" but an opportunity to provide for them.  You constantly hear teachers saying I don't have time.  Well, our students do have time, and lets make them use that time to help us.

So I challeneged our Math teachers who I am working with this trimester to create a Blog Post or a Message Board and have their students find a website that has tutorials, resources, videos, blogs, wikis, lessons, and/or acitivites related to what THEY are teaching that they can use in their classroom.  The catch was that no student could repeat any website already submitted.  This requires students to HAVE to read other students post and view the webpages other students had submitted.  It also will make students want to work on the assignment so that they are not last and having to search harder for material.  Our Math teachers are always saying that a lot of what they find on the Internet deals with K-8 Math.  If that is the case, let your students see what they can find.

The students assignment is to post the URL, describe the website, and then comment on a resource or aspect of the website that they have used or could use in their classroom.  Our teachers then will have math resources at their finger tips, and our teachers did very little of the leg work!

Non Tech Activity - 5 Finger Discount
A big movement in education is the idea of Exit Slips.  Have your students draw their hand and on the hand they write 5 things from that days lesson, or even 5 things from the unit that they have learned.  The top 5 students with the best 5 fingers receive a discount on their test...meaning if they miss a question you don't count it against them.  Of course you can change the number of questions they get credit for, or even per finger if you want.  You could also keep a tally and give students bonus points at the end of the grading period.  How you use it is up to you.  But most teenagers are aware of the terminology of "5 Finger Discount" so just announcing it in the classroom will catch their attention and it will probably be something they end up looking forward too.  It also creates competition. 

You could even take the information from the hands to create a test, quiz or an assignment.  Use it how you can adapt it to your classroom, but if by chance a student does not have 5 fingers, make a drawing of your own hand and have it "handy" just in never know.  You have to meet the individual needs of your students.

Wednesday Wiki #2 - Open Thinking Wiki

The Open Thinking Wiki is the creation of Dr. Alec Couros, who is the ICT Coordinator of the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina in Canada.  The purpose of the Wiki is to compile resources for the courses that he teaches.  There are categories that are useful to all educators: Digital Story Telling, CyberBullying, Digitial Citizenship, Videos, Emerging Technologies, etc. 

I was introduced to the site via Twitter, but the site I was given a link to was the information on Digital Story Telling.  A great resource for understanding the importance of DST in education, but also links to resources for using DST in your classroom as well as samples of other DST's that people  and students have created.  There are several that I thoroughly enjoyed watching, but I suggest that you look through and find the ones that interest you.

When trying to return to the home page for the Wiki, I was actually taken to another Wiki.  It appears to be the Wiki for the course that he teaches at Regina University.  It is worth looking at as well for information regarding Social Media and Open Education.  The video on the front page is worth viewing....seems to be the feeling of a lot of teachers in education.  Seems like an interesting course as well.  Seeing the Syllabus on a Wiki like this provides me a great idea for trying to get teachers to do the same thing at our school.  Creating on Word and uploading to a website is so 2008!

An informative Wiki, but also a Wiki that provides inspiration and ideas for how you could use a Wiki in your own classroom.

I found myself after school the other day watching many of the videos posted on this Wiki.