I wanted them to understand they could reach an audience greater than just their peers in class.

Welcome back to Teacher of SIS rocks!

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Sherri Banner, a third-grade teacher at Parkside.

She started using the student-driven portfolio app Seesaw to turn simple math station reflections into an empowering activity where her students share their learnings to the broader SIS community and the world.

What did you want your students to know or understand?

I wanted them to understand they could reach an audience greater than just their peers in class.

The world is so connected today, and I wanted them to realize the work they create can be shared globally. With one click a person in Mongolia or NY can view and learn from the products of they share.

I wanted them to know that world is large, yet, at the same time, small enough to make educational connections anywhere. Especially, with the technology tools, we have at our disposal.

What skills did you want your students to gain? 

I wanted to highlight three main skills.

First, presentation. I wanted to give all students, especially the shy ones with low voices, an avenue to share their learning.

Second, voice. Both in identifying feeling in a text when reading and also speaking with it in mind.

Third, confidence. I wanted them to be able to share their understanding with their peers, who then could appreciate the insights they came up with. This, in turn, would help them gain confidence in presenting more in other public situations.

How did you teach this lesson in the past?

In the past, I used Kidblogs (taught in first grade).

Although there were pains using it (get to that later) it was a good platform for the students to reflect and share their work. Additionally, it was a way to create transparency with the parents surrounding their child’s work, which I would also show them during conferences.

How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

It started from using Kidblog. Like I mentioned above there were a lot of pains and friction points for both students and teachers to get on and make a post.

So what do you do…research.

I wanted to a tool that would give my students more agency, while at the same time, provide them with a greater audience than their peers.

Thus, when I saw all the reviews about Seesaw, I knew I found something I could use.

Actually, It seemed too good to be true as everyone said how user-friendly it was, how it could be used iPads, and how it eliminated frictions points of other portfolio tools out there.

I actually started using it as a math center to highlight what they learned that week, but it has transformed into so much more.

Students are now able to take a picture of a piece of work (math, reading, writing…) and then voice over with narration or draw on top of the image to show their understanding in real time with three clicks on an iPad.

It has morphed into a powerful reflection tool for my students and it houses their learning journey.

The students have become quite adept using the tool (along with others). This being paired with my attendance at the Shekou EdTech Summit conference led me to start my own SIT (Student Innovation Team). They are becoming student innovation coaches…watch out MR. K!

The SIT team will help in rolling out new apps to their peers in both our class, but also other third grade classes as well.

Thus, if you want some student innovation team to come to your room to roll out an app, let me know.

Sherri

Resources

Seesaw.me

Educreations – interactive whiteboard where kids can show their learning. Multiple pages and can link within Seesaw

 

“I want my students to be able to communicate effectively … with each other and the big world around them.”

Hello and welcome back to another installment of Teacher of SIS, where peers nominate other teachers highlighting their practices.This week we are pleased to have Clayton Dowty, teacher of english and drama here at our Bayside campus! She was nominated for integrating movement in order to increase student engagement.

Here are her responses to the questions regarding her lesson.

What did you want your students to know or understand?

Well, obviously I want to teach them reading and writing and speaking and listening skills but what that really boils down to is communication. I want my students to be able to communicate effectively with both each other and the big world around them.

What skills did you want your students to gain?

I want them to have very strong oral skills, very strong writing skills and very strong reading skills. I want them to be able to dissect language. I want them to be able to know how language is used  both to edify and to manipulate. And I want them to be able to use those skills for their own reading writing and speaking.

How did you teach this lesson in the past?

I used to do a lot more writing-based activities where the kids would write in their journals individually and then would share with each other – and that was pretty much it. But since I have introduced kinetic learning into the classroom I have a lot more engagement. The kids are out of their seats, they are engaging in creative tasks and constantly moving around and finding other people. With the brain breaks, they are able to have a moment without the intense focus of writing and when they come back to writing and come back speaking they are twice as engaged. So, I’ve managed to just triple the amount of student engagement … now they are much more apt to really want to do the activities in the lesson and not just do them because I told them to.

How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson? 

Well.. the tricky part was how to use these concepts within the context of an English class in order to teach the skills need in English class. Essentially, what I did was to use some of the garden variety strategies that I learned in some of my training over the summer and I infused them with the skills that we needed to cover and teach in English  – so rather than having the kids get up and move arbitrarily to play games, they get up in order to complete a task.

Resources

https://padlet.com/dowty_drama/kineticz

 

 

“I wanted to foster a new mindset…multiple entry points and avenues to explore”

Welcome to Teacher of SIS, where peers nominate teachers highlighting their practices.

This week we are pleased to have Nadia Erlednson, a Kinder teacher who works at Mountainside campus.

Here are her responses to the questions regarding her lesson.

1. What did you want your students to know or understand?

I really wanted to change the mindset my students had towards mathematics.

Most students, me being one of those for many years, thought math was about solving a single problem by getting one definitive answer.

I wanted to foster a new OPEN mindset about mathematics with my students, where they had multiple entry points and avenues to explore to reach the answer.

This is so important, as every student approaches the problem differently.

Furthermore, this new mindset would foster “patient” mathematics, where students can be introduced to an idea, apply, learn, modify, and keep iterating until they reach their understanding.

2. What skills did you want your students to gain? 

Mathematically, the ability to count and use numbers between 1-10.

More importantly, I wanted them to create their understanding of the problem and what it meant to them within the task of counting.

The Common Core does this and it is what I am passionate about; solving problems in various ways with mathematical skills.

3. How did you teach this lesson in the past?

I feel I have always taught math a little open-ended, but I did not use Digital provocations with this lesson.

Their use has enhanced this lesson tremendously, as before it was a lot of direct instruction where I told them what to do.

Whereas, now, they are able to see the question and try to make meaning of it within the task on their own.

4. How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

It all starts with my old entrenched beliefs I had about math ( a tear rolling down her cheek).

I was never taught to think of math in an open-ended manner. For me, it was really just something in separate boxes. Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1…

WHY?

Well in high school I took AP Calculus. However, I was a low student in a high class. I tried really hard, but I never had a complete grasp of derivatives and integrals. At the end of the year, you pay to take the test, but my teacher (I still remember this vividly) said,

You can save your money, just don’t take the test

Unfortunately, a lot of adults have similar traumatic stories where they have solidified the idea that they are not a “math person.”

I was awakened to a new reality when I went to a workshop on Inquiry and Mathematics. It changed my life…I cried, actually, there was a group of us on the floor just balling, as we all had these crazy stories of why we had such fixed ideas about math.

This opened me up to a whole new view of math and how it can be taught.

The key takeaway was to keep the task OPEN ended. This allows for multiple entry points and students can create their own understandings within the task they are given. Essentially, individualize instructions and learning.

This opens up so many possibilities.

For example, I am collaborating with a 5th-grade teacher and we give both of our classes the same task. We meet every week and discuss their responses, which are fascinating! Similarities, differences, but all because students were given multiple entry points to the task.

I am passionate about spreading this OPEN-ENDED way of teaching math to both students and teacher, as it will bring a whole new understanding of math and of learning.

Please reach out if you have any questions about Open-ended (inquiry-based) math!

Resources

101qs.com        Digital provocations where you can find pre-made questions to introduce in your lessons. Great for “I see, I think, I wonder.”

Nrich.maths.org       Digital provocations and open-ended tasks.