"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Always, Always Learning...and wouldn't change a thing

I strive to develop curriculum-based lesson plans, solid planning templates for the students, appropriate exemplars for the project, and a management plan for the technology.  

I strive to do this, but inevitably there is one area (if not all of them!) that does not quite go as planned and envisioned, or that I haven't quite thought through. On these occasions, I get frustrated with myself, but even more so, I feel badly that I have created a frustrating situation for the students.  I try to tell myself that I am modeling flexibility and creative thinking.  *when at first you don't succeed*

Today was just such a day. The third graders are reconnecting with their Library Pals in Minnesota. Over the previous two years, these students have been connecting over such topics as: books; space shuttle research; and, their school communities.

My friend and colleague, Laura, and I wanted to give the students a way to connect more personally. We decided to try out the app, Aurasma.  This app allows students to overlay a video of themselves on an image that becomes a trigger image for that video. 
(I love their the trigger images)

The videos are housed on a private channel. The students will exchange their trigger images and then with the iPads in our respective libraries be able to learn about each other. Our hope is that these videos are the start of individual conversations that will continue through other technology tools.  

SO, where, oh where, was I learning? Why was this such a day? 

I created this planning template. I thought it would help the students: frame their thoughts; have a plan for what they were going to say; and, help them remember all this the following week, when recording would happen.

This week (recording week), I realized that I should have changed up the order of the items on the planning template. Here's the revised version of the planning template.

I also realized that the planning template should have a line for the number iPad on which the student filmed and created the Aura, which brings me to....

2. Managing the work of 75 students on 5 iPads.

I should have preassigned students to specific iPads and had that number on the planning template as well. At the end of three back-to-back classes, there were iPads, papers, and books in many piles. I had to sort and organize all that work and those books, which bring me to....

3. The Books

As it is Picture Book Month, the students were also sharing picture books that they have enjoyed reading. There was too much stress today to find the books that they wanted to share. Next time, I will have the students put aside books in advance of this. Picture book month circulation statistics have been off the charts and our shelves are pretty bare. The students also put undue pressure on themselves to find their "favorite" book. I tried to emphasize that it can be a book they have enjoyed, not necessarily their favorite.

BUT wait!

It's not all bad news! I listened to about sixty of the students' Aura's this afternoon and they did a fine job of introducing themselves, sharing something personal, and promoting a picture book. This project allowed the students to practice:

*framing their thoughts;
*expressing themselves;
*speaking into a camera;
*filming someone speaking;
*sharing limited resources;
*cooperating with each other.

One wouldn't have known that this day was not as planned or envisioned. The students were engaged and productive. it was mostly the behind-the-scenes aspects that I will change in the future. I like being an always, always learning type of teacher. I am happy with where we ended, I just hope to make the journey there smoother next time! 

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