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Suzanne Sheppard
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Both Flip Grid and Recap offer great video options for student responses. While Flip Grid definitely focuses more on video, Recap offers three modes of delivery and naturally differentiates by offering student choice. It is for this main reason that I prefer Recap.

There are many positive features for both. The platforms are free to the user and operate on a number of platforms: ios, android, website, chrome. Flip Grid and Recap allow teachers to post a question for students to respond to. Flip Grid uses a kind of message board where videos are posted. Students will like how much it resembles a Snapchat look to it. Recap offers more control over this stream of responses that students post. Both platforms integrate with many learning management systems such as Canvas and Google Classroom.

There are drawbacks, though not many. Flip Grid only allows for one grid, even though you can have many topics on it. It is hard to organize if you are using it for multiple classes and subjects. It seems that Recap will be closing their doors in January. They will be coming out with a new product (Synth) that they claim will alleviate the core issue they had with Recap: by allowing students more of a voice, the workload of the teacher increased. They are now focusing on voice recordings similar to podcasts.

That being said, if we want to continue offering students video response platforms, Flip Grid will be the option moving forward. One way I have not yet used Flip Grid is for book clubs and book reviews. I also have not used it much to push ideas out to my students. I would love to try it as way to post a daily reflection or mindful moment students can return to.

DIscussion Board #2: App Review

Mentimeter code 15 73 29.

Both AnswerGarden and Mentimeter have very useful applications in the classroom. However, Mentimeter seems to have more features. Mentimeter is a way to create your presentations in a way that is interactive. It sort of combines an on-the-spot assessment and a poll.

Mentimeter is simple to set up. When you choose to get started, you can sign up with either Google or Facebook. The free account for educators has great features. The option to create your first presentation is easy to find, offering many types of templates. These include multiple choice, image choice, word cloud, quiz, scales, open ended, and more. Because the class will be submitting feedback in real time, it allows the teacher to move the instruction in a way that best meets the needs of the class. The feedback is anonymous so there is no fear of responding publicly.

There are so many ways to use this interactive tool in the classroom. One way that comes to mind might be to encourage variety in word choice. Perhaps offer students the word “said” and ask them to generate as many alternatives as they can to create a word cloud.

Mentimer is a low cost solution for the classroom and requires no downloads. Class size is unlimited. Students have instant access without a login and feedback is instant. This tool encourages timid students to have a voice and exposes all students to various points of view. Responses can be added to Google Slides (or PPT) for use in the classroom.

Discussion Board #1: Google Classroom
Google Classroom is a valuable tool for teachers that has revolutionized classroom management. I am still amazed that these Google products are free for our use. Google Classroom is extremely intuitive and easy to set up with students using a join code to enter the classroom. Teachers can post announcements, questions, assignments, or materials for student to access from a computer, tablet, or phone. Google Classroom integrates seamlessly with other Google products in the education suite such as Docs, Slides, Drawings, etc. Google Classroom allows a teacher to stay connected to students as often as needed. Grading student work has never been easier. No more bookbag full of papers and notebooks to grade! I love that I can type comments for immediate student feedback, and can “check in” on students as they are working.

Along with teacher created material, students can benefit from resources to support learning that can be accessed over and over, as often as the student may need. The teacher can attach these resources to an assignment, and can differentiate these resources for each student. Students can collaborate with teachers and peers,

It seems that the classwork page could be organized more efficiently. The assignments are in a long stream and, other than the topic, there is no way to categorize the work. Color coding might be an option that could work.

I would definitely recommend this product to other teachers as a tool to encourage student discourse. The platform allows for many ways to encourage communication. Commenting on others’ work or sharing of documents, as well as posting on the stream, allows students to have discussions among themselves.

Module 6: Extensions
I chose to review Magicscroll reader. Although all three apps had definite classroom benefits, I thought this one was exceptionally valuable. In a nutshell, Magicscroll turns web pages into ebooks, allowing students to read longer web articles with much less distraction. In my classroom, we use the internet every single day and I am acutely aware of how difficult it is to read this way. The nature of scrolling vertically impedes comprehension by causing the reader to slow down as the text moves. For some students, this makes reading on the internet extremely difficult and we may not even realize this is why. Magicscroll reader is free to use, does not require a login of any kind, and will even save books that have been uploaded. In addition to creating a page-turning experience, there is an auto scroll feature. You can set the speed to a comfortable reading rate (or challenge yourself to speed it up) and a line traverses down the page as one reads. The app allows you to change the text size, color background, and contrast to personalize the reading experience even further.

I would use this app in my classroom every day with all students. I feel anyone reading on the web can benefit from this app, however, particularly struggling readers. We are a 1:1 classroom and are using our chromebooks more and more for research, as the benefits of doing that outway the negatives. However, reading web material is difficult, and for some, it is a significant obstacle. This app is a tool that will notably improve the reading experience.

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Module 4: QR code lesson
Using Vocaroo, high level, fluent readers will record themselves reading stories that have been chosen for their particular story element: perhaps a book that is excellent for teaching theme, another that focuses on character development and analysis and still another that may have excellent examples of author’s craft and figurative language, etc. When the recordings are complete, the readers can design a book cover using Canva (or another design tool) and embed the QR code to their recording. Google forms will be developed with questions that will become evidence of the listener’s understanding of a particular concept (theme, character, plot, etc.) Another QR code to this form will be embedded on the book cover. These will be laminated and placed on a display board in the classroom based on skill. The audio recordings along with printed text of the stories will be made available during readers’ workshop.

These activities will serve many purposes. First, the high level readers will enjoy the activity of reading for an audience. The students accessing the material will have a multisensory reading experience as they will hear text being read as they read along. It will expose them to fluent reading, higher level sight vocabulary, and will strengthen critical listening by offering targeted questions.

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Module 2: Lesson Plan using News ELA
This lesson will focus on opinion writing following the following Grade 5 standards:
5.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. a. Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose. b. Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details. c. Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically). d. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

Students will be exposed to many opinion writing pieces. Students will learn the difference between opinion and arguable claim. Using copies of mentor texts, students will analyze the text in order to identify the main and details presented in the text and how the author presents an opinion.
Using NewsELA, students will read opinion pieces of their choosing. NewsELA has a section under “News” that is all opinion. Students will read those that interest them. Using BackChannel, students will comment on what special features they noticed about opinion writing. We will then collect and organize the genre features. To guide this process, I will present questions such as:
Where have you seen this type of writing before?
How does the author introduce the topic?
How is the essay organized?
Can you tell who the intended audience is?
Did the author present facts?
Did reading this article cause you to form an opinion?

Students will then be given a text set about the controversial issue of whether or not girls should be allowed into the Boy Scouts. I created the text set in NewsELA for this part of the lesson. They will collect facts surrounding the issue by annotating the texts that have been assigned. They will form an opinion and organize the facts to back it up.

Using the organization structure we discovered through the mentor texts, students will formulate an opinion piece of their own.

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Module 1: I took time to review the list of literacy based voice threads. Very inspiring! I was particularly moved by the poems for two voice about the Great Depression.

My students have been working on creating booksnaps. As they read, students think about parts of the text that they would like to expand on. Perhaps a place in the text they can draw an inference, ponder a question, or make a prediction. Perhaps a place in the text that they are fascinated by the author’s choice of words. Perhaps a place in the text that they have made a connection. The students take a picture of the text and annotate it with evidence of their thinking, pictures, emojis, etc.

VT would fit nicely into this lesson. Students would upload the booksnap into VT and then add voice to their work, further sharing their thoughts about their reading. Once posted, other students can question and comment on what the student has presented, hopefully encouraging him/her to dig deeper. Here is an example. https://voicethread.com/share/11326127/
Booksnap
Booksnap
voicethread.com
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