At some point in the school year, students' scores may indicate the need for intervention. Whether in math or language arts, students need help, reassurance and validation.
Just say no to "drill and kill"
As a busy wife, mom and English teacher, I had hoped that the computer would manage it all. Much to my dismay, I found out quickly, that the "drill and kill" computer-based curriculum planned for the class, was not going to work. I started feeling stressed with the idea of having another prep and not enough time. Students were bored out of their minds and acted up daily. They all dreaded that class. I didn't blame them; I did too. It was a snore fest!
The students were not happy. They had two strikes already. One: an elective class was replaced with the intervention class. Two: they were told they were not meeting in a core academic area. It was not unusual for many of them to act up enough just to get out of the class.
How could I reach them? How could I engage them in an effort to teach them what they had to know in order to meet academic standards and keep us all sane?
I had to show them that I not only wanted to help them, I had to prove to them that I respected their opinion and most of all, trusted them.
Come up with a plan
After reviewing scores and asking them what they thought they needed (students were very accurate), I developed several project based lessons using ELA Common Core State Standards for 7th and 8th grades.
I brainstormed as many multimedia tools I could think of and had the students help me. This showed them that I valued their input. We wrote down every single idea.
My only requirement was that it had to be as cutting edge as we could manage with 10 iPads, a few school MacBooks and my personal devices which included 64GB iPad 3, iPad mini, and a MacBook Air. Students were excited at the prospect of using the various tools. I had them explore:
Students all voted that the completed project should be a published iBook.
Here is day three of the iBook Project:
Researching and Note Taking
Let them lead the way
If you know me, you have heard me say more than once, "let's lead the way" when it comes to educational technology, BYOD policies and iPads in the classroom. Here is the one time you won't hear it. Through this experience I learned that by letting my students figure out what they needed, they willingly took charge of their own learning. Each was given a choice of topics and tools to create their end product. With guidance and expectations explained, students were eager to help each other and even help their student selected iBook editor. This freed me up to be a facilitator; not lecturer.
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