Students are rocking and rolling with their “Education Remixes”! After analyzing their data from fall NWEA testing, we saw that typically informational text was their lowest score. Therefore, students have been taking on the challenge of creating Informational Text Remixes. They have reviewed the Common Core State Standards for informational text and have selected a standard to design their Remix around. As I have scaffolded their Remix experience, they have now become familiar with the process.
Using our lesson plan template shown above, students start with defining the content knowledge. After identifying the standard, they have to break it down to understand what it really means. Students then identify a learning target (essential outcome/objective) for their lesson/activity. Once they have defined their target and the language is student friendly, they begin their research! The students research the content itself so that they have a clear understanding of what needs to be taught. Most often, students also research lesson plan ideas for the concept to see if they can find something that sparks their own imagination. They then use the following discussion questions to determine the best way to teach the concept:
- How can we make the content easier for students to understand?
- How can we make the learning more engaging?
After developing a strategy for teaching or reinforcing the concept, students either start independent research to find an appropriate technology or they conference with me and we determine a technology that fits their needs. Just like adults, the students sometimes got so eager to jump into using a technology that they already knew (or found interesting), that they were trying to mold their content to fit the technology. As we know, the pairing of the content, pedagogy, and technology should be a best fit if we’re going to hit that sweet spot! I circulate during our entire time together and hold a conference with every group before they embark on using a specific technology. We review how the technology interacts with the whole of TPACK to increase student engagement and understanding.
Students are then ready to get into the mix and create a student sample using the technology that they have selected. As they work through the sample, they keep notes on the steps necessary to create the end product so that they can provide clear and specific directions in their lesson. Here is an example of a student’s completed Informational Text Remix and their student sample:
We have displayed the finished Remixes on our class website. Our next step is to actually complete each remix, evaluate them, and provide feedback to the creator. Everyone is super excited to see what others have come up with- we have lots of new technologies being discovered!
A Totally Cool Note . . .
We begin each class period with students defining the expectations for the day (using “Tech it Out”), and the students have taken full ownership of this now. Two weeks ago we were delivering lessons on personal web-enabled device expectations and a group of about 40 students were in the session. As they came in, two students I have in one of my technology enrichment rotations came right up to me before sitting down and asked if they could Tech it Out for the group. I asked them if they really wanted to- I hadn’t intended on it and a bulk of the students were unfamiliar with the procedure. They insisted and were so excited to share. They got the attention of the group and set the expectations for our time together. Pretty cool to see from two seventh graders! I was like a proud momma and even more excited that this idea was something they consciously noted when coming into the space. They truly set the “tech”spectations high!