Welcome back to another installment of TOS Rocks!
This week we have the pleasure of highlight Gina Ballesteros, who is a Learning Support teacher for the Grade 3 team at Parkside.
She found a way to empower students to practice basic skills independent by incorporating QR codes which provided customized tasks.
1. What did you want your students to know or understand?
I wanted to give students agency so they could learn how to practice on their own. Additionally, my goal was for them to build their confidence through this independent practice.
2. What skills did you want your students to gain?
Independence is the main skill I wanted them to gain.
Not to just wait for a teacher to walk them through the process, but having the power to take charge of their own learning.
As a team, we created two system which allowed them to do this.
First, we provided customized tasks where the skills could be tracked. For example, we tracked multiplication skills in mathematics.
Second, we provided tasks just for enrichment, as we found they need to be able to explore on their own as well.
3. How did you teach this lesson in the past?
Physical tools or manipulatives like flashcards and board games were used in the past.
4. How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?
Due to the nature of my role as a Learning Support teacher, I am only able to see a specific group of students two to three times a week.
This makes it challenging to track, identify, and support a large number of students.
Thus I asked,
“How can I best use my strengths to support the needs of language learners to access content in all areas?”
“How can I come in as a Learning Support teacher and produce a greater impact on all student learning?”
I am a firm believer in learning efficacy, or the ability to pool the knowledge of a group or team to maximize the output. In our case, we worked as a team and used our strengths so we could help all students learn basic skills independently
Thus, that is what I set out to do. Knowing we (Teachers, TAs, and myself) were all busy and did not have enough time to create physical manipulatives, I searched for other ways we could do this.
We live in the country of QR codes, thus I researched, tinkered, and taught myself how to use QR codes to connect websites, apps, and games to provide customized tasks.
This allowed me to organize and group all the digital resources we had organized as a team. Then, I added a QR code to specific groups of tasks, which then made it super simple for students to scan and work independently.
It has been powerful and the systems we are building are providing support to a greater number of students.
Let me know if you are interested in collaborating and learning about what we are doing, I am more than willing to share.
Book: “Visible Learning” by John Hattie
Dives into what has the best effect on learning.