Shall I pause so you can finish the song? If you are like millions of Americans, some of your tried and true grammar instruction may have come from the classic but catchy School House Rocks grammar videos. The series had a knack for taking dry topics, like grammar, and making them come alive. Grade 5 students in Rooms 101 and 102 recently had an opportunity to breathe life into their standards-based grammar lessons through a blended approach that was as easy as one, two, three.
One: Setting the Stage
The teaching team gathered instructional resources and shared them with students through the Blendspace.com platform. Blendspace is a web-based application that allows teachers to combine materials in a variety of formats including images, documents, websites, videos, and quizzes. It is a great tool to build opportunities for students to participate in self-directed and collaborative learning. In this grammar project, students navigated from their teacher’s website to the blendspace for their assigned part of speech. Working in teams, they researched the carefully curated materials and took notes in preparation for their video while teachers provided support.
Two: Creating Tutorials
Nestled among the grammar resources was a video tutorial on how to create instructional videos using the Explain Everything app. Students used iPads and Explain Everything to create instructional videos for their peers. Explain Everything allows users to create dynamic video presentations through a combined interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool. It can record anything written on the interactive whiteboard or annotate inserted images, websites, or videos, and it allows for students to narrate their thinking as they create. While it really can be used to explain anything, in this case the teams used the tool to make a tutorial defining the part of speech and how it functions within a sentence with a special emphasis on the 5th grade learning standards.
Three: Sharing Knowledge
Gathered in the traditional class setting, students then viewed the videos and took notes in a self-created flipbooks as the teacher reinforced concepts from the tutorial. This step, which rounded out the instruction, is where the magic really happened. Students were engaged in learning from each other’s videos and eagerly took notes provided by their teacher. The notion of students directing and taking ownership of their own learning is percolating through the education community. While research points to the perks of motivational and cognitive components inherent in self-directed learning, for one Hopkins teacher, her students’ reactions were proof of the concept.
“This is the first time they haven’t moaned about grammar!”
To prepare for a project on food advertising tricks, students in third grade Health Class at Elmwood visited the PBSKids website using laptop computers. At this site, students learned about marketing strategies and then created their own cereal box and billboard advertisement.
Students will now put their knowledge to the test when they create actual commercials or advertising schemes to market their new healthy food items. They can create a tv commercial and film it using an iPad, create packaging for a healthy food, or create a sign or billboard advertising their product.
Custom themes, mobile app improvements for Google Classroom
Google has announced several improvements to Google Classroom. On the web, teachers can now bring their own personal touches to Classroom by uploading their own images to use as themes. They can add their own custom images, or choose from our gallery of options, which has been updated with 18 new images and 30 pattern themes.
For the Android and iOS Classroom apps, Google added the ability for students and teachers to view the class resource page, and a few other features for both Android and iOS.
The Classroom app allows students to do their work anytime, anywhere and is designed for schools with iPads or Android tablets and students’ personal devices. To make sure students have a great experience using the Classroom app, be sure to install the Drive and Docs apps (Docs, Slides, and Sheets) to the devices at the same time.
To learn more about Google’s native mobile apps, please visit the Classroom Help Center.