Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Digital Learning Day Link-Up

I'm so excited to be linking up w/ a great group of teacher-authors from the TPT Google Drive Inspiration group for Digital Learning Day!  With the constant push to integrate technology into the classroom, I'm always in search of ways that other teachers do this in their classrooms.

This year I started using Google Classroom, and all I can say is... AMAZING!!!  It has been a true gift!  I teach 6th grade at a Title I school, which serves a large percentage of minorities.  My classes are full of all learning levels, which is a challenge in itself.  Trying to find a way to keep everyone on task and engaged, all while helping them master the material seemed almost impossible a few short months ago.  That all changed when I began to use Google Classroom.  Fortunately, our school system has Google accounts for all teachers and students; however, if your school doesn't have this, you can still utilize the Google Drive features.  All you need is internet access and a Google account.

With the Common Core shift, we've spent a lot of time working on sentence variety.  This can be EXTREMELY hard for students to grasp.  After working through compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences, one of the activities that has really helped my classes to wrap their brains around this concept is using these digital task cards...Compound, Complex, & Compound-Complex Task Cards- Google Drive Edition.  This includes:
  • 4 task cards that review each type of sentence
  • 16 task cards that focus on compound sentences (using commas and conjunction words, as well as semi colons)
  • 8 task cards on complex sentences
  • 8 on compound-complex sentences 
  • 8 that review all of the above
From my experience, grammar has never been a favorite amongst middle schoolers.  Once I began using task cards, I found that they were more interested (yes, I said interested) in the material.  Now that we're using DIGITAL task cards, all of my students can hardly contain their excitement when I tell them to login to their Google accounts.  Even those that struggle in this area are raring and ready to go!  This makes my job sooooo much easier!

Another aspect of using the Google Drive that I love is using Google Docs for writing, as well as Google Slides, depending on the activity.  Now when I mention that they are going to be researching a topic for an essay, I don't have to hear those dreadful groans....again, this makes my job easier!
Trying to teach students how to write strong essays can be tough to say the least.  So I decided to break it down by first teaching the basics--topic sentences and supporting details using expository paragraphs.  I found a great lesson from Lovin Lit's Interactive Writing Notebook and used her example paragraph to get my students started.  I typed it up on Google Slides, and they did all the annotating/color coding, etc. from their laptops.  Then they put all the info into a graphic organizer in order to break it down and get a good visual of all the necessary parts of the paragraph.  I've included a pic of our topic sentence and supporting details activity to give you an idea of what this looks like. Once we went through the entire, they began writing their own essays, as you can see in the pics, using Google Docs.  Then they can simply share their essay with me by clicking the "share" button and adding my email.

We also use this Argumentative Writing Unit to work through the steps of an argumentative essay.  My students absolutely love it, and I was amazed at how much there writing scores improved after completing this unit!
I'd love to hear how you integrate technology into your classrooms!  Sharing our resources is the best way to not only help our students grow, but ourselves, as well!


































Digital Learning Day 2016--Why Should You Try Something New? Because Your Students Will Thank You.

My students thank me all the time for the new “stuff” we are doing this year. Go ahead--take the plunge! Believe me, if you have access to any sort of technology (even one device), then do it. That one tablet or laptop can open up a window to a universe of instructional opportunities. Your students will want to get to that tech center. 

Digital Learning Day, February 17, 2016, is ultimately about bringing equal opportunity to our classrooms, regardless of location or socioeconomic status. It is about the importance of having access to Wi-Fi and up-to-date technology in our schools. Many schools have technology that is not working or that is out-of-date. State and local governments are now focusing on getting it all fixed so that our school children can succeed in the 21st century.


Here's the challenge--On February 17, 2016, try a new lesson that focuses on discovery, analysis, and exploration. Give your students the gift of a new opportunity by using Google Classroom, MS OneDrive, or an App. And don’t forget to share what you are doing in your classroom on social media to celebrate Digital Learning Day with #futureready. To help you get started, we’ve teamed up to share an amazing selection of blog posts and classroom activities that are designed to propel you and your students into your digital learning adventure.


Digital Learning Day 2016--Why Should You Try Something New? Because Your Students Will Thank You.

My students thank me all the time for the new “stuff” we are doing this year. Go ahead--take the plunge! Believe me, if you have access to any sort of technology (even one device), then do it. That one tablet or laptop can open up a window to a universe of instructional opportunities. Your students will want to get to that tech center. 

Digital Learning Day, February 17, 2016, is ultimately about bringing equal opportunity to our classrooms, regardless of location or socioeconomic status. It is about the importance of having access to Wi-Fi and up-to-date technology in our schools. Many schools have technology that is not working or that is out-of-date. State and local governments are now focusing on getting it all fixed so that our school children can succeed in the 21st century.


Here's the challenge--On February 17, 2016, try a new lesson that focuses on discovery, analysis, and exploration. Give your students the gift of a new opportunity by using Google Classroom, MS OneDrive, or an App. And don’t forget to share what you are doing in your classroom on social media to celebrate Digital Learning Day with #futureready. To help you get started, we’ve teamed up to share an amazing selection of blog posts and classroom activities that are designed to propel you and your students into your digital learning adventure.