Women’s History month is the perfect time to raise awareness that multicultural views and perspectives must be part of the curriculum all year around. Wow! By far one of the best group projects I have seen recently is about Women’s Rights, created by Larry Reiff, an English teacher from Roslyn High School, NY.
Using Proboards.com, Mr. Reiff has set-up an online forum for his students’ group based discussion on women’s rights around the world. Each group is assigned a video clip for viewing along with several thought provoking questions to discuss together during class.Â When they go home each student must watch the remaining videos and blog the answers to their questions using Proboards.
Proboards allows teachers to set up free forums for their classes to interact on.Â Mr. Reiff set his pages up so that the students could easily find their assignments by clicking on the tab that had their group number on it.Â More importantly, the content of each video expressedÂ authentic, real-life struggles and successes of women from around the world such as the Dowry Killings in India or the moving speech “Ain’t I A Woman” read in honor of the author and abolitionist Sojourner Truth.
This is exactly the kind of rich multi-cultural content that ELLs and all students need exposure too.Â When it is delivered to the students through tools such as Proboards and video,Â the diversity of the world comes to life in the classroom, the content is more comprehensible and the students will remember it!Â By the way, I discovered that Mr. Reiff is currently a participant in the Apple Distinguished Educator program.Â Congratulations to him!
Â I recently saw my daughter’s 5th grade comic strip writing project and was amazed at the creativity and simplicity of bringing creative story writing toÂ life .Â Her 5th grade teacher, Ms. Lawniczak, uses technology as the instructional tool for writing.Â Â Â She empowersÂ her studentsÂ with the necessary tools andÂ ideas needed to develop 21st Century skills.
Ms Lawniczak effectively meets the needs of all learners within her classroom by designing lessons that do not rely on traditional textbooks and teachings, instead, the instruction provides engaging and meaningful technology-based activities.Â The comic strip writing activity includes picturesÂ given toÂ each student andÂ the use ofÂ programs such as Paint & Moviemaker.
In the lesson, the studentsÂ create storyboardsÂ using the Paint program.Â Â The Paint program is a drawing program that allows the students to draw, paint, and add text to their pictures.Â These pictures can be saved as a jpg file and imported into MovieMaker to create a slide show.Â The final steps include the addition ofÂ transitions, effects and musicÂ to their comic strips.Â
TheÂ project is publishedÂ onÂ Moviemaker and shared with the class and parents.Â Â The Paint and MovieMaker programs allow English Language Learners (ELLs) the opportunity ofÂ using visuals to express their understanding.Â Â In particular, beginner ELLsÂ may have a hard time creating stories, so you can help them along by giving them a sentence starter, such as “I wish I could…” or “If I could be a Superhero, I would be….”
Today at the Celebration of Teaching & Learning Conference, the NYC iSchool discussed howÂ it is changing pedagogy and is utilizing 21st century tools to differentiate and individualize instruction, as well as monitor mastery learning for high school students.
What makes this concept unique is iSchool’s approach to prepare students for college and to the global changes in the work environment. Â Traditional classes are conducted along with increased virtual interaction, and self-selected coursework.
In addition to online courses used to prepare students for New York State exams,Â other learning opportunities include AP courses via Skype, andÂ modules based on student suggestions that teachers create and offer as courses. Â
Modules are interdisciplinary challenge-based courses. They last nine weeks. Modules are not like project-based learning which is mapped back to a curriculum, but are about real-life problem solving.
Technology supports the instructional vision of the school. Some of these technology tools include video conferencing, mobile devices, laptops, interactive whiteboards, Moodle LMS, and virtual desktops.
The school reports that students earn over 10 credits per year and that 45% of the students complete all five regents exams in their first two years.
Technology’s Touch on a Time-Tested Teaching Tool
Flashcards have been around since the stone age butÂ nowÂ letâ€™s take a look at a technology tool that will help ELLs learn metacognitive skills while practicing vocabulary.Â We recommend that ESL teachers use electronic flashcards on their iPods to help reinforce content and at the same time teach students valuable study skills.
Everyday, teachers and students are discovering that iPods have a use beyond downloading music, movies and entertainment.Â When used creatively, iPods can bridge the classroom with the outside world. This has tremendous appeal to todayâ€™s tech savvy students- aptly named, Digital Natives. 1
There are several ways to create flashcards that can be used on your iPod. One quick and easy way is to use digital photos (jpeg, gif, or png) and create a photo album in your iTunes library.Â Take pictures of labeled objects in your classroom. After selecting the photo album, view the photo album as a slideshow by simply hitting the play button on your iPod.Â Go to the settings menu to add music from your iPod and to adjust the timing and transitions.
Through the use of iPod technology, English Language LearnersÂ can increase and reinforce academic language proficiency andÂ content area knowledge.Â Â Â The capability, versatility, and popularity of iPods among the school age demographic make it the perfect crossover teaching tool between learning in the classroom and embracing the outside world.
1 Presky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9 (5).