AR Your Worksheets

Worksheets have been a big part of school for years.  They can be found in virtually all subjects and in every school in America. With the advent of Augmented reality you can now make your paper worksheets interactive and more engaging for students. In the following video Johnny Kissko demonstrates what a worksheet can look like with this new technology.

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Keeping “I GET IT!” & “WHAT?” Students Engaged

A special education teacher assists one of her...

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Every teacher knows that students learn at different rates.  We know that students need their own time to process the content that they are presented. The problem is that in many cases they are required to move at specific times to keep up with the scope and sequence of the class. This causes problems for some students.  While some are ready to move on early and are stuck waiting for the class others are just not grasping certain concepts and need more time.  Both scenarios cause students to be disengaged with school. This dilemma really seemed to be a problem with my students this year.

Sound familiar? We all have those years where we have two kinds of students the “I get it!” kids and the “What?” kids.  So it has caused me to rethink my delivery method and class organization.  Through some experimenting I came across a method this week that does show some promise. I call it pod learning.

My room is broken up into three groups. I have them color coded by rugs on the floor, red, black and green. At the beginning of each unit I give a pretest to see where my students are at. Depending on how they score on that test they are placed into each of the pods. The black groups is for kids who are struggling with the concept. Green students have a basic knowledge of the content and red who seem to have a good understanding of the concept. Once they are placed in their groups each pod has scaffolded instruction to their specific needs. Black will receive a lot of my attention and I will move them along slowly while green and red can move more at their own pace. My scope and sequence has not changed I have just added some enrichment activities to the green and red groups.  In some cases my red students get into their own course of study on the subject. This process really seemed to work well over the past couple of weeks and has led me to begin looking at refining this system even more.  While this is not true differentiating instruction it is allowing students to move at their own pace and has not created an excessive burden as far as planning my lessons. I am optimistic about this concept and wish to hear your thoughts on this little experiment. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

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Student Centered = Student Engagement

Well due to state testing I had to post pone my Augmented reality game until today.  But something happened yesterday that got me thinking and I wanted to share.  During lunch on Mondays a group of teachers meet in our building to watch and discuss a video on an educational topic.  We call it Motivation Mondays.  The purpose of this is to find new and inovative ways to teach.

Yesterday, we watched a video on TED called ” Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover.”  Not being a math teacher I contemplated not going to this meeting but I am glad I did.  This talk which you can see below was not just about math but rather about teaching.  He brought up some profound points about having students getting involved in their learning.  Not just by participating but by helping to create the learning process.  This can be done in any subject and creates engagement and a link for students, so that they see the relevance of their learning.  Teachers must get away from the canned approach to learning that has become so previlant in our educational system.  This canned approach often cause student boredom and creates a disconnect with what they are learning.  If students do not see the relevance and purpose for what they are learning they will have a hard time being engaged.  This was a great video. I recommend it at any faculty meeting.  It will bring up some great discussion.   Check it out below.

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The Equation of Education “TEACHER+STUDENT+PARENT=SUCCESS”

Education is like a math problem TEACHER + STUDENT + PARENT = SUCCESSFUL EDUCATION.   To get the correct answer you must have all of the data correctly imputed into the equation.   If you are missing any one of the three, your answer will be incorrect.  In education today we seem to be focusing on one aspect of the equation – the teacher.  While this attention is good and the ideas being generated are beneficial, it is still only part of the equation.  Often times we over look the role of the student and parents in this equation.

Over the past week, I have had three different conversations with students that have made me ponder this topic.  My conversation went like this.  “Billy – what’s going on buddy? I’m not getting much in the way of work from you.”  Billy responds with, ” Yeah I know.”   “Well Billy if I don’t get some work ,how are you going to pass this class?”  Billy then responds with, “I guess I won’t.”  “Don’t you want to be able to get a good job and provide for a family in the future?”  Billy responds with, “Yeah but my parent never graduated, and they do just fine.”  The equation in this instance is broken.

Often times educational reform does not consider the needs of the students and the culture in which the student lives.  These are two critical components of the educational equation.  Without addressing these needs, we can fire every teacher, create new laws, and new curriculum; but we will still get the wrong answer, because we have only addressed one aspect of the equation.  All of the government plans and programs address the teacher and set goals for schools, but none of this can be achieved if we do not address the needs of the students and our country’s view of education.

Everyone agrees that education is a priority in our culture.  But is it truly?  If it is a priority, then we as a society need to do whatever we can to support and improve education.  Currently, all we see are cuts  in education, so obviously this is not a priority.  If  it was, we would look at other areas in budget to make cuts.  This is not to say that we should not make any cuts in education, but rather if it was a true priority cuts would be minimal.  To reform education we must address all of the parts of the equation.

If we as a society truly support education, then we need to show that we do.  When we look at educational reform we must look at student needs, society’s view of education, and teaching standards and address all aspects of the equation to truly alter our educational system.  We have to remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  True reform must contain all of the elements of the equation to truly be successful.

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