Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Take a risk with technology! What do you have to lose?! #bmswired

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Monday morning I had the pleasure of joining Mrs. Kocian, a 6th grade Language Arts teacher at #bmswired.  Mrs. Kocian has been trying to incorporate technology into her classroom this year to peak her students' interest in writing.  The best way we have found to do this is with the ChromeBooks.  They're easy to use, last all day, and the kids can very easily turn in digital work by sharing their Google Docs directly to the teacher.

Here's what I love about Mrs. Kocian: SHE IS NOT AFRAID TO FAIL!  {Wow!}  I love it when a teacher says, "You know what, if it doesn't work, we'll try something else!"  Mrs. Kocian said this to her class on Monday.  The best part of this story - SHE DIDN'T FAIL!  The kids did a GREAT job and Mrs. Kocian and I were smiling from ear to ear and giving each other high fives!

The assignment was to create a newspaper with a group (they had just finished studying informational writing).  The kids got themselves into groups of 3-4, one of the team members created a Google Doc for the newspaper (some used a template from the gallery) and that team member shared it to the others.  It was beautiful!  Mrs. Kocian gave them 3 goals to complete for their first session:

  1. Give your newspaper a title.
  2. Determine what your lead story will be.
  3. Determine what your supporting stories will be.
It was easy to walk around as the students worked and check off these three goals - a tangible way to monitor progress!  It was also cool to see how each group interpreted the project.  The room was loud (this type of project is messy and that's OK!), but the kids were helping each other and having meaningful conversations about the assignment AND the technology!  I also noticed that the BOYS were just as engaged in this writing activity as the GIRLS were!  So cool!

I encourage you to TAKE A RISK and get comfortable saying these things:
  • I don't know the answer to that, but I can find out.
  • I don't know how to do that, but you can ask a friend.
  • Ok, that didn't work - let's try something else.
Don't be afraid to fail with technology use in your classroom.  Don't be afraid to NOT know the answer!  We have to accept (and embrace!) that sometimes the kids may know more than us.  Let's use that to our advantage and work to build a community of learners (including ourselves!) in our classrooms.  Take a risk with technology.  What do you have to lose?!




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