WordPress in the English Class
Today I began to update my marks for our final reporting period. So, I handed out a sheet to both of my English classes (grade 8’s and 9s). They had to go to their blogs and make sure they’d completed each of the blogs for their current units. Each blog ‘unit’ was worth 50 marks. 50 marks! I realized just how often my students are responding to literature, class discussion, and lessons on their blogs. I’m so loving using wordpress! In the past, I’d always used Weebly but since introducing the iPad, I’ve switched to wordpress. I found that it’s the most compatible with the iPad because it has such an amazingly user-friendly app. Check out our English blogs at http://www.andersoncwenglish.wordpress.com
Creating Shared Folders in Google Drive
With Google Apps for Education, we are jumping into all that is offered. Creating a shared folder within Drive has always been an option, but moving forward with Apps for Ed has encouraged us to try ‘new’ tools. Grade 8’s now have a shared folder with me in Social Studies, thus creating an online portfolio. This folder holds tests, quizzes, best works, etc… Being saved on Drive means that valuable storage space on my iPad is not consumed. Both students (in a ‘read only’ capacity) and myself have access to this folder.
The Beauty of iBooks
Today I had an iBooks revelation! I have taught the grade 9 novel, Of Mice and Men, for three years. Every year, I have to read a chapter and then spend at least another class or two going over the chapter to talk about novel terms, literary devices, and important themes and characters. Suffice it to say, that these “going over” classes are not hugely appealing to the students. I’m lucky if they’re all awake by the end of the class. Today, however, was a completely different story (no pun intended). Today I plugged my iPad into the Smartboard, projected the novel in iBooks and began going over the chapter with the students. We highlighted important novel terms and literary devices in yellow, important quotes in green, and relevant vocabulary in red. We created explanatory notes for each highlight; when students were listening instead of reading, they quickly searched a key word to find the correct page to highlight; and, to my absolute disbelieve, ALL the students were asking on-task, interesting and thoughtful clarifying questions. They were alert, engaged, and excited to finish the chapter. I can’t believe how much of a difference simply being able to touch and highlight the novel made to these students. They now have complete ownership over their novel and are genuinely interested! iBooks made me a better teacher today 🙂
Grade 8’s use StudyBlue
We started our review of the Fall of the Roman Empire this week and decided to put our vocabulary terms on StudyBlue, Flashcards, iPad style! StudyBlue was a hit as students appreciated the ways in which their cards were organized, allowing for easy access now and 5 months from now when exams start. One unique feature is that the app allows the student to evaluate their progress, showing students which terms still need a bit of work.
English 9 and Researching Success!
My English class did an O.W.I. (Observe, Wonder, Infer…) with a picture from the Great Depression. Once they filled out the O.W.I., they needed to research the picture. Two of the three groups of students immediately went into Google Goggles, took a picture of the picture and were directed to three or more google sites dedicated to their picture. Ha! It was amazing to see. Alas, the third group was googling like crazy, typing in key words and images and finally, after 20 minutes, hit on their picture and tried like mad to catch up with their research. All the students then created a google doc in Google Drive and wrote up all their research findings together. What a wonderful learning experience today!