UDL-There’s an app for that!

My current assignment involves UDL. Do you know what that it? It stands for Universal Design for Learning and is about presenting ideas through different perspectives. It is not just about technology. It is not just about those students with special needs. What it is about is an approach to teaching that provides equal opportunities for all students to be successful, no matter how they learn. Think about a history lesson, for example. How is typical history lesson taught? Yep, through a lecture. Now, what if, in addition to the lecture, there was a video you could watch, or a game that you could play, or a song you could listen to. Wouldn’t that help you learn the material better? Not everyone learns through lecture. Not everyone learns watching a video. But UDL looks at how students learn and finds ways to meet these different learning needs so everyone in class can be successful.

As Dr. Z states on his blog about UDL, “Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a combination of pedagogy and technique that acknowledges the different levels of needs. UDL uses brain-based research to identify the need for addressing multiple methods of representation, expression and engagement of learners with information and knowledge. It involves instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments. ” (http://selectintegrate.blogspot.com/)

Here are a couple of sites to help you learn more about UDL:

The Difference between UDL and Traditional Education

National Center on UDL

Center for Applied Special Technology

For my assignment with UDL, I wanted to look at different apps that I could incorporate in my classroom to get students extra practice, better engagement, different/alternative method to learning, and so forth. My list includes some apps that are already being used and are life savers, as well as some apps I am excited to incorporate.

Here is my compilation: There’s an App for That. The link includes descriptions of the app as well as how I do (or will) use it with my students. But, to give you a preview, here are my 10 apps…..(in no specific order).

  1. Google Translate
  2. Translate Photo
  3. iSpeech-Text to Speech
  4. Dragon Dictation
  5. VoiceThread
  6. Remind
  7. Duolingo
  8. FluentU
  9. Khan Academy
  10. Text Caption on Photos

TPACK Lesson Plan

Title: Citing Text Evidence

Summary: Students will practice finding text evidence to support claims.

The next lesson after this would be having the students use the text evidence to make logical inferences.

Primary Core Goals/Outcomes:

Key Ideas and Details: RL9-10.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the texts says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students can

  • define evidence.
  • explain why textual evidence is important in writing and speaking.
  • cite textual evidence to support claims.

Pedagogical Decisions:

  1. Teacher-Centered —> Student-Centered
    1. will required some teacher centered as lesson needs some explicit instruction. Brainstorming will be more student centered. Practice will be given by the teacher but more independent on the students’ part.
  2. Type of Learning —> Alternate Type of Learning
    1. similar understandings-I want students to have the same basic understanding of skill. When students demonstrate their thinking when they create their video, this demonstrate different thought process each student uses to arrive at the end but they need to have the same understanding of what text evidence is, why it’s important, and how to find it.
  3. Few Prior Experiences —> More Prior Experiences
    1. some students will have prior knowledge of this skill, having worked with it before in English class. This is still a struggle for some students and more practice/support is needed to become better at this skill. Writing (using the sentence frames to answer the question) will be more difficult as they struggle with how to answer questions when they have to include text evidence.
  4. Surface Comprehension —> Deep Knowledge
    1. More so surface level understanding. I want the students to know what text evidence is, why it’s important, and how to find it. Deeper knowledge will come in future lessons.
  5. Shorter Duration Plan —> Longer Duration Plan
    1. 2-3 class periods. Students will need time to practice finding text evidence and feel secure in this task. I could also see it taking at least one class period to create the video but I feel the video will be worth it because it is a record of the student’s thinking process (as well as could provide another video for others to watch who may be struggling with this)
  6. More Structured Learning —> Less Structured Learning
    1. Learning will be structured in this lesson.
  7. Whole Group —> Small Group —> Individualized
    1. whole group for discussion and teacher modeling
    2. pairs for practice
  8. No Additional Resources Required —> Multiple Additional Resources Required
    1. those listed below in materials

TPACK Activity Types:

Activity Technology TIM Cell
brainstorming Padlet Collaborative Adaption
Exploring/deepening understand of skill Videos on Youtube Active Adaption
Practice finding text evidence to support a claim/question Google Docs Active Adaption
Demonstrate understanding Video/Screencast or other mode to record Constructive Transformation

Assessment Plan: Formative assessments will include the google docs in which students find and highlight text evidence and answer the given questions.

Summative assessment will include students creating a video/screencast that demonstrates their thinking and process in how to find text evidence to support the question and how to use the sentence stem to answer the question.

Materials and Technologies:

Used by the Teacher:  

  1. 3 different Padlets for answering questions (links on Schoology or other platform so students can access all the links in one spot)
  2. White board/eraser or paper/marker to write definitions and main points of discussion
  3. Videos for citing text evidence (links on Schoology or other platform so students can access all the links in one spot)
  4. Short article and questions to demonstrate how to find text evidence
  5. Sentence stems posted/printed for students
  6. (Several) Articles and questions posted on Google Docs for students to practice.

Used by the Students:

  1. Laptops for each student
  2. Schoology access
  3. Youtube access and headphones to watch videos
  4. Google Doc account
  5. Camera/screencast to record video

Instructional Procedures:

1. To begin, students are going to answer the question “What is evidence? What does it mean? What are examples of evidence?”. These questions will be posted on a Padlet and students will provide answers. After 5  minutes or so, teacher will stop the class and have the class look over the responses and come up with a class definition of “evidence”. Post on board or piece of paper.

2. With a new Padlet, teacher will pose the following questions in which students will answer on the Padlet:

    1. How might evidence convince others to believe you?  
    2. In what situations have you used evidence to prove a point?
    3. Does strong evidence always convince others to believe you? Explain

After 5 minutes or do, the teacher will stop and discuss what the students wrote on the Padlet. The teacher will add this below the definition of “evidence” so the students can see why evidence is important and what it can do.

3. With a third Padlet, students will answer the following questions:

    1. What is textual evidence?
    2. Why is it important to cite textual evidence?
    3. What does it mean to “cite”?

Again, after 5 minutes or so, the teacher will stop the class for discussion to determine the definition of text evidence, cite and why it is important. Add this to the other 2 items on the board/paper for students to reference.

4. Before getting into demonstration and practice, students will take some time to watch the following videos. These videos are short and have a short explanation/demonstration of finding text evidence to support a question/claim.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzMOAllSvnY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhKZ5PG4dnI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C36nczcgcyM

5. Teacher will demonstrate how to find text evidence to support a claim. Teacher will project a short article with a question (this article will also be posted on Schoology site for reference). Teacher will model thinking of how to find text evidence to support the question. Teacher will also model using sentence stems and text evidence to answer a question.

6. Students will then practice in pairs. Teacher will have articles (reading materials) and questions set up on a google doc. Students will work together to find textual evidence to support the answer to the question. Students will highlight the text evidence and answer the question using a sentence frame and the text evidence. Teacher can monitor the documents as students work and assist those as needed.

7. After students have received the practice they need, as an assessment, students will create a video which demonstrates their understanding of the task. Students will be given an article and questions (or they can find their own and create their own question) and create a video which will demonstrate their thinking in how to find text evidence and how to answer the question using text evidence.

Ultimate TPACK Game

 

Content Pedagogy Technology Rationale
1.  Note Reading Skills Brainstorming Powerpoint I could see a lesson where students brainstorm their ideas of different reading skills, what they mean and then create a powerpoint to present their ideas.
2. Argument Writing Flip classroom Google Classroom Videos of how to write argument essays and examples (as well as other necessary instructional materials) could be posted within Google classroom so students could work outside of class to for the learning and use class time to work with the teacher to improve their work.
3. Compare/Contrast Modeling Drop Box Teacher would model how to compare/contrast, such as with using a Venn Diagram. Students could then take pictures of items, add them to Dropbox, and students choose pictures from there to compare and contrast. DropBox would probably not be my first choice of technology but I could see how it could provide a source of pictures for students to use to practice comparing and contrasting.  
4. Problem Solving Video Presentation iMovie I don’t know if video presentation would be good pedagogy for this skill. I think it would depend on what is being taught. If this pedagogy did fit into the content, then students could then use iMovie to demonstrate how problem solving is used with a particular task.
5. Shakespeare Play Compare/

Contrast

iMovie Compare/Contrast could be used if the students have read multiple plays by Shakespeare or if they read a play and watched a movie and were comparing them. If this were the case, then students could create a imovie demonstrating the similarities/differences in a more visual way and interactive way than paper/pencil.

TPACK…what is it??

This week is the first time I have heard about TPaCK. What is it you ask? It is Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge. As I understand it, it is using the content we teach, the pedagogy we use to teach and technology and uniting these ideas to support good teaching.

imgres.jpg

https://ictevangelist.com/technological-pedagogical-and-content-knowledge/

I found the image at the above site. I like this image because it provides an explanation for each area of TPACK within the diagram. All of the definitions of each area are right there and easy to see.

The writer of this blog also has some interesting comments and observations about TPACK and SAMR as well. The writer of this blog, Mark Anderson, wrote something I think well written and speaks the truth:

             “Educators are already going to be the masters of pedagogy and content knowledge in the classroom. It is their domain of expertise. These two areas will have been studied, examined, researched and developed during their training as educators. It still goes on in their every day practice too as they further develop their knowledge understanding and skills in these areas. For many however, technology knowledge is not their everyday area of expert knowledge. It goes to say then therefore that teachers need the support of their respective schools in order to facilitate this development so that teachers can make the informed decisions about when it is right to use (or not to use) technology within the classroom.”

I also found this image that also helps to explain the different parts of TPaCK. This is obviously adapted to help someone who teaches music to think about the different areas of TPaCK and how it relates to her or him but it could be easily adapted to our own content areas to help guide us along this journey.  TPACK Samples.png


I have this (growing) understanding of TPaCK and what it includes so how about how this relates to me and my classroom? Dr. Z had a video about on using TPaCK for grammar in middle school (https://youtu.be/FSrthogFrK8), which gave me an idea on how to teach the boring grammar as well as has me thinking about different ways I can incorporate technology to teach other content as well.

In my search, I found this presentation of a lesson plan and how it breaks down according to TPaCK. Now, I realize that not all lesson plans teachers write and use are as detailed as this but this presentation demonstrates how all the elements of TPaCK can be included within a lesson.

This lesson, Lesson planning with TPaCK, takes a more traditional type of lesson and demonstrates how it can be changed to meet TPaCK qualifications.

TPACK in K-6 Literacy education really breaks things down. First, it goes through the different parts of TPack and gives examples and ends with sample TPACK lesson plans for K-6 literacy. I think looking at the ideas on this page will help me develop lessons for my own classroom.


I feel I have a lot of work to do. I want my students to be engaged and motivated and learning and I do feel incorporating technology will help. But, it has to be meaningful incorporation and that is one of my goals. I would love to develop some lesson plans and share these with my staff. I need to get to work 🙂

 

 

 

 

Podcasting..Probably not for me

I had my first experience with podcasting and I have to admit I did not enjoy it as much as I did taking pictures and editing them. Maybe because it was a new experience. Maybe because I was not familiar with Audacity, the program I used. Wait, who am I kidding? I am not familiar with any audio programs. Maybe it was because I tend to be perfectionist and I couldn’t be…at least not on my first try.

So here is my experience: I knew what story I wanted to use to tell about me and that is the story of when I received the phone call the night my mom ended up passing away. I ended up rewriting 4 times?? I would record it, then not like how something sounded so I would change the wording and rerecord and then I wouldn’t like it and then end up rerecording the whole thing instead of bits of it. I think it was because my voice would sound different in the different recordings so I would just do it all again so my voice would be the same. Have I mentioned I can be a perfectionist and sometimes the little things make me crazy?I still kept trying to change things as I added sound effects and the background music.

Sound effects: 3 am. Not really much I could think of outside of snoring and my phone ringing, which is what woke me. I found these sounds at freesound.org. I did play with this, with fading in and out, and increasing/decreasing the loudness in order to get them to blend better. But of course, just when I think I have it…I change the effect. I decided, at the last minute, I did not like the sound effect I had chosen (a phone vibrating) so I changed it. Ugh.

Background music: I think this was probably the hardest for me to find. I wanted something mellow, because it was at 3am yet something that said there was a little worry going on…I think what attracted me to my final song was the title “One Hour Before”. The title said a lot to me. It is hard to explain but it was like all this happened one hour before (ok more like 2) my mom passed away. I did try to play with this a bit and get it lined up with quiet moments, where I added silence, during my speaking so the music was a little more “there” and quiet it when I wanted my talking to be more prominent. I actually ended up playing with it and messing it so much that I ended up cutting off the music before I was done speaking. Then I listened to it and I decided I liked how the music ended and I kept talking. Like, what I had to say was so profound that there shouldn’t be music.

What did I learn through this project: How to find videos on Youtube on how to use Audacity. There is a lot on there. I did get to play with sounds and music and recording. It is a harder skill than I thought. It takes time. And patience. And the willingness to make mistakes. And I don’t like the sound of my voice on recordings. Oh! and having a mic besides the one on the computer does make a huge difference in sound quality.

I can see how using podcasts could be beneficial in a classroom for both teachers and students.I do, however, see students taking a lot of time to create one. I think about the amount of time it took me…but they are more tech-savy so maybe it wouldn’t take them as long.

As for teachers, if you taught the same content, such as a math class, year after year, I can see how creating podcasts would be beneficial. You could use these if there were a sub or to create a classroom where students could work at their own pace by moving through the podcasts as skills were acquired. I don’t feel, with my content changing daily/weekly based on student needs and the support they need from me for their content classes, I don’t think I could do it. I do see how I could create podcasts to help them with grammar aspects. This is something I think I could manage…something without sound effects and music that would consume my time trying to figure out 🙂

 

 

Photo Experience

My assignment was to choose two words from a list that described me and take pictures to represent these two words. So I chose them (Kind, Helpful, Friendly, Organized, Neat Relaxed, Happy, Sympathetic, Bored, Enthusiastic, Creative, Ambitious, Shy, Energetic, Athletic Outgoing, Sociable, Manly, Girlie, Industrious, Intelligent, Old, Courageous, Cooperative, Confident Distracted, Messy, Quirky, Grouchy, Comical) and off to take pictures I went.

Because I spend most of my day in my classroom, I figured this is more than likely where my pictures would come from, so I warned my students and they agreed, and wanted, to be a part of my assignment. I tried for candid shots but they didn’t seem to turn out right so I decided I would have to “stage” my shots a bit. This worked better.

My first subject was Laurence. She is in my classroom working on a test. She looked so serious and was concentrating extremely hard on her test that I had to snap it. She was so absorbed in her work, she didn’t even realize I had taken the picture, which makes it better because it was more natural.

Here is the first, unedited picture. I liked it but the purple pencil case kept taking my eyes away from her face, where I wanted the focus to be, to it.

20160126_084909_resized

I did not do much editing to this picture. I cropped the picture, which brought her face closer and putting that as the focal point, which is what I wanted. I also tried to crop out the purple pencil case, because it was distracting, but it wasn’t working, which is why I decided to go to black and white. I also like how dark her hair looks in contrast to her face, again putting more focus on her the look on her face.

Can you guess my word?

IMG_20160126_201107_resized

(intelligent)

My second word was a little more difficult. My original idea was that I would take shots of the students talking, being social, with each other but every time I tried, they would look at me or would stop talking or there would be too much going on in the background (such as other students or the whiteboard). Then Hannah came in during her lunch and was scrolling through her Facebook. A light went off. I snapped several pictures and I tried to get different angles. This is the picture I decided to go with: 20160127_115106_resized

But there is a whole lot going on. I wanted the focus to be “social” media and as the picture was, I didn’t feel that was the focus. It was not in the center and your eye was not drawn to her phone. So with Fotor app, I did some editing. share_tempory

I cropped the picture to bring the phone to the center. I blurred out the surroundings to make the phone stand out more and put a focus bubble (not sure of the specific term for that) over the phone. I feel the eye focuses more on the phone to emphasize “social” for my second word.

I enjoyed this assignment. I think I enjoyed playing with photo editors more than actually taking pictures as I thought it was fun to play with the features to see what I could come up with.

Gamify Grammar!

I have attempted (and I think have been successful) gamifying grammar in my classroom. Here are the details:

Why you selected this theme/game:

My motivation for my gamification project was to give students motivation to practice grammar topics. I looked through a couple of platforms (Chorewars and others I cannot remember),  before deciding on Classcraft. I have to admit, I was confused at first. I did not understand how it worked so I did some playing around (because heaven forbid I read directions first…and of course that is where I ended up). I came up with the conclusion that the free version was more of a behavior management type game. While I liked that idea, my goal was grammar. I wanted something for the students to get engaged with grammar. Direction reading and playing around led to me purchasing the premium version so I could add my own content (and train pets!) I began adding content and away I went.

Game Name: Classcraft

Link to Game: classcraft.com 

                 Student example:   username-klint

password-password

Audience: 10-12 ELL students. This content is geared towards advanced ELL students but different classes/content could be added to meet the needs of lower language students. 

Learning Goal(s) of the Game:

At first my learning goal for this game was to use this as a tool to create motivation to practice grammar (since grammar can be so boring). I have slightly changed it to also included motivation for behavior as well (for example, more points for working the entire class, being engaged in discussions, points taken away for being disruptive). I have even told the students I am not above being bribed for XP points 🙂

Game Description:  

With ClassCraft, students each have Health points, Experience Points,  Action points, Gold Pieces, and power points.

  • Health Points can be lost for negative behaviors. These points can be restored with the help of teammates.Some of these consequences were built in but the teacher is able to go and adapt to meet her class.
  • Experience Points (XP) are gained by completing activities or showing appropriate behavior. Since I have the premium version, I have added class content, or assignments, for the students to complete. I have assigned XP and gold pieces to each task that they students can collect when the task is completed. Currently, I have it set for students to level up after 500 XP but this can also be adjusted. I also award XP for positive behaviors and this is where I also allow the students to bribe me 🙂
  • Action Points (AP) are used for powers. If students want to use their powers to help teammates out, then they use AP. If they don’t have enough AP then they can’t use powers.
  • .Power Points (PP) are gained when students level up. It is with these that students can buy powers; powers cost between 1 and 3 PP.
  • Gold pieces are used to buy things. Students can customize their clothing and train their pets.
  • Here are more detailed directions and explanations if you would like to take a look: Classcraft teacher

As students complete assignments and show positive classroom behavior, they gain points. As the Gamemaster, I can award points for anything or take away points for anything. The more points students gain, the faster they level up and right now there is a competition going on with my students to be have the most XP. I have told my students that the student with the most XP at the end of the semester will when a $10 gift card.

Right now, my outcome for this is to get students practicing different areas of grammar. If you were to check out the game, you would see I have included present and past tense activities. I will continue to add grammar areas where I feel my students need more work. I think I will probably expand this into other areas as well, such as reading or listening activities.

For the future, I would like to make this more individual as well as group, such as each student will have assignments under his/her name and those assignments are tailored to that student’s needs. I think this would allow for more individualized learning and a more student-centered classroom.

My students ask everyday if we are going to work on ClassCraft. Like everything, there are students who are really into it, and others who don’t but it seems to be going over well for the most part. Students have made comments about completing more work than they did before (and I have to agree). I have students working together, asking questions…it’s almost like a real class :). They have asked if we are going to continue it next semester. The answer is yes…for as long as they continue to be engaged in their own learning we will continue the game.

 

 

 

 

 

Life is a game (apparently)

One of my assignments for class was to play a game. Kingdom Rush to be more specific. But of course the professor throws out that we actually have to think about the game and the process of it and our reaction to it. Dr. Z also ruined when he said we had to read things and watch things about gaming and education before we could play the game. There goes the fun assignment, huh? It was nice to tell the husband I couldn’t do the housework because I HAD to play this game for class 🙂

Screenshot_2015-11-05-13-11-00

I read and watched what I was supposed to and played the game. I talked to the little soldiers and yelled at the ugly spiders. I got frustrated. I kept playing cause I wanted to win (or I was winning), and I would stop playing because I wasn’t winning.

While this is not very creative, as per the Dr. Z’s directions, here is my reflection on playing the game.

Screenshot_2015-11-05-13-11-36

As you can see, I did not get terribly far in my 3 hours of playing. It was difficult for me to get into the game. Well, I cannot actually say I ever got into the game or if I ever will. There are other games I have played (Candy Crush, Gummy Drop, various word games, free flow, etc.) on my phone. Some I play frequently, others when I am bored. If I don’t get into the game right away, I usually delete it and move on to another game, which is what I think will happen with this game now that my assignment is complete.

I can’t pinpoint what it is exactly that attracts my interest in games. Perhaps this one it was because it was too much strategy? Like you had to place your soldiers in just the right spots to beat the enemies. Or maybe it was because I never really figured it out and that made it a struggle. Like, I still don’t know how to kill the Ogre. Maybe it’s too much to remember with the all the tips and the different information about enemies and their powers, like you need to know the ugly little spider things will lay babies and have some type of resistance to magic? I don’t know. I don’t see me giving up Gummy Drop to be an avid Kingdom Rusher anytime in the near future.

Screenshot_2015-11-05-13-25-30_resized

So I can’t say I got into The Flow. Not with this game anyways. I have with others but not this one. I think it goes back to I just was not in the game. I could not get hooked. Which makes me relate this to my students, if they cannot get hooked, or get into The Flow, they are going to go through the motions like I did. Complete the task and move on, whether this be with a (learning) game or an assignment or an activity. It has to be interesting for them.

I did not seek out help when I got stuck on level 3. I saw another student had posted she was having difficulty with the same level and I read the comments/suggestions but honestly, I think it was because I did not care if I progressed. Now, with Candy Crush and other games I have played, I have sought out help on the internet. The difference between my games and Kingdom Rush-I wanted to play. I wanted to progress. I wanted to win. Yes, I wanted to complete level 3 of Kingdom Rush but because I did not feel completely invested in the game, I did not put a whole lot of extra time in it. I think that is part of the answer-investment. We (educators) have to get students to want to invest their time in education. Once they “buy into the game” they will become invested and WANT to learn more and progress. Hey, they might even want to play certain levels again and get more than one star when they can get three.

With reflecting on this game, a game I did not get to choose to play but was “told” to play, and with the readings and the videos related to gaming, I have learned, or have begun to recognize/think about a few things

  • Students get “told” to play games (well, kind of a game) every day by their teachers. If they are not invested in this “game” (learning), they are going to go through the motions, just as I did, to complete the task. No learning is going to happen. They are not going to want to “level up” or “advance” or  search for “cheats” so they can continue. They are going to stay stagnate.
  • Life is a game-something I really did not think about. Retailers, restaurants, credit cards, they all play games and we participate. How can this be incorporated into classrooms? How can teachers reach th level of motivation we have when we play games to succeed? What kind of rewards (besides grades) can we give students so they will want to advance their learning?
  • Paul Anderson brought up a big pointer for me when he was describing what he had learned after turning his class into a game. Students struggle with reading-and he realized this when he stopped talking to them and made them do the reading. This is profound to me and it made me reflect on how much I read to my students and how much I make them read on their own. Yep, I need to do some changing. https://youtu.be/4qlYGX0H6Ec
  • Seth Priebatsch in The Game Layer on Real Life talks about the Influence and Status gaming dynamic. He gives the example of kids taking and retaking a quiz until they pass. Essentially with standards based grading, this is what should be occurring because it is supposed to be about getting the kids to learn the standards in whatever way possible. We are moving to standards based grading, some teachers use it and some don’t at the moment, but kids are not buying it. Why do they buy replaying levels in a game to get a better score but not into retaking assessments? How can we get kids to “buy” into this? https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/seth_priebatsch_the_game_layer_on_top_of_the_world.html

I could go on with my thoughts and revelations gaming has brought on but this has to end somewhere and I have some things to think about and consider in regards to gaming and its place in the classroom. I have been enlightened.