Friday, March 14, 2014

Teaching Middle School Students to Create & Share Products

I LOVE teaching elementary school students!  There is never a dull moment!  My friends who teach PE, music, art, and library have their fair share of entertaining, priceless moments with students!  My PE teacher friend, Stacy, and my music teacher friend Betsy, and I share emails with the subjects titled "Harding Funny."  I save these emails in a special folder and we plan on reviewing these emails at the end of the year as a way to celebrate the best job we all have!

While I just declared my love and passion for teaching elementary students, I also have to admit that this week's school library practicum of 40 hours in four days in a middle school library allowed me to realize that I could also teach middle school students!  You can read about this amazing 40 hours in four days practicum experience, by clicking here.

So, what exactly was the best part of teaching middle school students?  Actually getting to see students use and implement technology resources, without much modeling, explaining, assisting, modeling, explaining, assisting, and the cycle repeats on and on in an elementary school setting!

It is one thing to learn about the latest, greatest Web 2.0 tools, but it takes it to a completely whole new self-fulfiling level when sharing these Web 2.0 tools and actually see them being immediately implemented!  This week, I had the opportunity to collaborate with 8/9 Ankeny Northview Middle School Teacher-Librarian Ms. Kate Lechtenberg and 8/9 Science Teacher Mr. Charlie Knight.

8/9 Ankeny Northview Middle School Teacher-Librarian Ms. Kate Lechtenberg

8/9 Science Teacher Mr. Charlie Knight

On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, Ms. Lechtenberg and I met with the 8/9 Northview Middle School science teachers department for their Personal Learning Community (PLC) meeting.  Each department meets during a class period to continue their work as a PLC.  Ms. Lechtenberg meets with each PLC on a regular, consistent basis to assist with content, resources, technology, creating rubrics, and so much more.  This is where I learned about Mr. Knight's assignment for his students to research and complete a product (formerly known as a project) on Plate Tectonics.  I will be the first to admit that while I had to brush up on my earth science subject content on plate tectonics, I immediately could brainstorm some potentially awesome Web 2.0 tools for students to use to create and share products of their learning!  I was eager to jump in and help out, and thankfully Mr. Knight and Ms. Lechtenberg warmly welcomed my eagerness and willingness to take over the product proportion of this unit.

Ms. Lechtenberg has been wanting to use Symbaloo and add webmixes to her school library website for staff and students to easily locate and use.  This was a perfect timing for the two of us, as I LOVE Symbaloo.  Symbaloo is my absolute favorite source to bookmark websites and locate them all in one place!  So, I created a Symbaloo webmix with resources of Web 2.0 tools to use for creating products.  You can check out the Create symbaloo by clicking here!

On Thursday, March 13, 2014, I finally had the opportunity to present these awesome Web 2.0 tools on creating products to three class sections of earth science!  Students were given an assignment to research a topic and create a product (formerly known as project) about "Plate Tectonics."

It takes on a whole new level of excitement and meaning to actually see these tools implemented and used.  It would take me two, maybe even three days or more, to model, explain, and teach elementary school students how to use just one of these Web 2.0 tools.  To be able to show and explain a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools, in a small amount of time, and to see students quickly learn how to use these tools, was quite pleasing and fulfilling to observe and experience.  The reactions from students who used these tools was priceless!  Students LOVED Smore, Powtoon, Prezi, and Telegami the most.

Common feedback I received from students was...
  • "I can't believe how easy it is to use this particular website."
  • "I can't wait to actually finish my project over spring break."
  • "I am definitely going to use these websites in my other classes."

Here are pictures I took of students using the websites I shared!  Truly, it was self-fulfilling and quite pleasing to actually see websites I know a lot about, actually being used and implemented!  Finally I got to see my knowledge of advanced websites actually being implemented and used!

Student using Create and Share Symbaloo Webmix to select a Web 2.0 for her Plate Tectonics product (formerly known as project).

I introduced Powtoon to this student on Wednesday, March 13 during his earth science class period.  He actually went home that night and continued to work on his Plate Tectonics Powtoon! He informed me that it is easy to use and there are so many awesome features to make this project actually fun to make!

Here is another student using Powtoon for his Plate Tectonics product!

These girls are all using Smore to create newsletters to communicate their newly gained knowledge on Plate Tectonics.

This female student admitted that Prezi was entertaining to use!  She loved how the slides transition!

It was exciting to see this student use Little Bird Tales to create a book that would be read to elementary grade level students to teach them about Plate Tectonics!

It was exciting to see this student download Tellagami and immediately start using it to create a "newscast" about her Plate Tectonics project!  She told me that this was a super fun app and she can't wait to play with it more during her spring break!  She said, "I don't even realize that this is a school project!"

Based on the pictures and my blog post, it is easy to see how pleased I am about this awesome experience of sharing and implementing Web 2.0 tools!  As I mentioned earlier, it would take me two, maybe even three days or more, just to teach my elementary students how to use one of these Web 2.0 tools.  So, to actually share these Web 2.0 tools in a 10 minute presentation and see them easily implemented is PRICELESS!