Course #3 – Reflection …

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I’ve enjoyed this course a lot, as it has pushed me in many different ways, and as always, made me think about technology in my classroom.

First, new technology. Both screencasts and digital storytelling are tech ideas I would love to incorporate into my teaching. I think one thing I have learned, making the move this year from Grade 5 to Grade 3, is to keep it simple though. Too many steps confuses 7/8 year olds … and long spells of instruction lose them. Also, quite often projects which I find straight forward and fun are exactly the opposite – confusing and frustrating. Kids in Grade 3 need to learn the basics first, and then push them as far as they can go without making them “hit the wall”. A good example of this was recently when I thought that converting our Reading Logs into an excel file would save time. Oops. Yes, the computer does the calculating for you, but watching my group of students take 10 seconds to locate the “c” key was  … well, an eye opener. Will these ever get finished? I don’t know actually. I have reintroduced them to Excel, but made it a much simpler project linking to our Math program, which is right now “Data Analysis”. Students are entering data they gathered through a survey (simple), and then using the program to choose a graph which best represents 2 sets of data – our class compared with another class at ISB. The question – What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time? It is going much better, because they are spending more of their time experimenting with the program, rather than typing in text. I may have to redesign the Reading Log spreadsheet …

Before I do anything too tech heavy, I need to go over the basics. Things such as:

– how to save their work

– how to locate saved work

– typing or keyboarding (we need to spend time on this, so I proposed to the Grade 3 team that we assign 10 minutes a night as homework, using the BBC Typing website)

– introducing them to software

– giving them a chance to play with it

– explaining the possibilities within each program … what it can be used for

– lessons need to be simple, step-by-step, with volunteers from the class who are my “assistants” … who have some experience with the program we are using at the time

And, I am sure there are many others that will come to me as I get further into the year.

The final project for the course was a good one. We worked collaboratively on a digital story which we all plan to use in our classroom – Choosing A Just Right Book. It was interesting discussing with teachers at other grade levels what would be a useful project. We all had similar needs, regardless of the grade level. It isn’t only students in Grade 3 who get to the Learning Hub and forget why they are there, or can’t locate a “just right” book. I feel this project was practical, engaging and definitely relevant. I can’t wait to show my students this week …

Finally, I like how the course has once again given us a chance to play. This is how I learn best, and when I am shown a new tool that I think I can use within my teaching, I want to have a go. Thank you Jeff and Kim for giving us this time, encouraging us, and supporting us when necessary. I am really looking forward to Course #4!

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~ by yamaguru on November 3, 2009.

One Response to “Course #3 – Reflection …”

  1. So glad you enjoyed the course Mike! I totally agree that it is quite a switch to go from grade 5 to grade 3 – especially when using technology. Your ideas to keep your lessons simple and step-by-step are right on. Sometimes I break down lessons into 3 small parts and do them at different stages to make sure that each stage is “chunked” to the student’s level, but still interesting and exciting enough to keep them engaged and motivated. By learning how to teach to a younger grade level you are making yourself a better teacher all around!

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