Preparing my students for the future

Today, while I was finishing my reports cards, doing final calculations to figure out my students final marks, writing their comments and giving them feedback. I couldn’t help but notice that the marks I gave my students were all quite high. Usually, my average marks are around a B. This year, I am teaching grade 9 for the first time and my approach, especially teaching in an IB school, (Académie de la Capitale) is quite different.

First of all, I don’t accept a mark lower than 80% this year (this idea I got from my online course that I am taking). When I mark a student’s assignment, I give them feedback and ask them additional questions for them to answer and in doing so, they will better achieve the learning outcomes while coming back to me with a higher quality assignment.

One of the courses that I teach this year is also an online course. Therefore my students are constantly emailing me for clarification and to ask questions. Their success rate is higher because they are completing an assignment to its fullest. I even have students that submit their assignment to receive feedback before I mark their assignment, thus allowing me to guide them in the right direction to achieve the outcomes. In an IB school, there is also the flexibility in learning methodology and so if I see a student who doesn’t get something, then I will create another task or change the activity to allow them the highest success rate.

I was sharing these present observations with my fiancé, who is starting out in a law firm, and we came to the conclusion that this approach is often used to train people in the real world. For example, in work, he will have to draft a legal document and then share it with his supervisor. She will provide him feedback and then he will go and make the necessary changes before returning with the best possible product.

As a teacher, our lessons can be peer reviewed, but often, experience is our guide: good old trial and error. We may try and teach a lesson one day and it doesn’t go as planned, but do we give up and end it there? No, we go home, evaluate what worked, what didn’t work  and make the necessary changes before going back the next day to start again.

successpointconsulting.com

My point here is that by allowing our students the opportunity to try until they succeed and by providing them with the tools to do so, we are better preparing them for their future. In a rapidly changing world, they must have the courage to try once, receive feedback and then give more effort until they reach their goal

And that is why I love teaching IB! The structure of an IB approach creates the setting to prepare our students to be hands-on learners, to find the courage to succeed, to ask for clarification, to give feedback and to work collaboratively just like in the work force. This approach favors the classroom without walls approach that I have become very interested in integrating into my own teaching. Break down those walls!

Virtual Stamps!

It is report card time!

As I am sitting here marking my student’s assignments (on paper, which is more and more rare), I began thinking of how I give feedback to students using stickers and stamps. From here, the idea of a virtual stamp came to mind.

Most of my marking this year is done online using Google Docs. When I do mark students work done on paper, I always stamp or put a sticker on their work. I realized that I have yet to do such a thing when I mark my students work that is done online.

So, I quickly put together some images (using Google Drawing) to put on my students’ work.

Check them out:

I especially love the idea that I can make my own in French!
Happy Marking!

 

Tools for using YouTube safely in class!

For me, YouTube has become one of the first places I look to get a great “hook” to catch my students attention at the beginning of a new unit (and throughout). When I’m in the drivers seat, I can control what my students see.  However,  more and more my students are driving and this year I am offering an online course to my students,  therefore, I have been paying a lot more attention to the content on YouTube. Whether it be the comments at the bottom of the video, the video’s that are available in the sidebar, the video’s that show up after the video chosen is done, etc,  I am much more conscious of the video links I share with my students….until now!!!

After attending another fabulous Webinar organized by SimpleK12 (http://simplek12.com/tlc/webinars/),  I was introduced to some amazing tools that let you chop and purify those great videos!

1)  TubeChop allows you to easily chop a section from any YouTube video and share it. (You can also embed your chopped video into your website, wiki, blog, etc.)

2) Safe Viewing
  • Safeshare: http://Safeshare.tv – Generate a link without the comments and related videos. (Ability to share the video via Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • QuietTube http://quietube.com/ – This provides you with a button to put on your toolbar. When you open YouTube or other video sites, click on the button, and your video will be displayed without any ads, comments, etc.
Now I can share video’s with my students without having to worry if something inappropriate or offensive will show up while they are viewing the video’s links I have shared with them.
Did you also know that YouTube has a section for educators?
As well, for all the history teachers out there, this is really neat: YouTubeTimeMachine – http://yttm.tv – Where you can get videos from any year. Your students might really enjoy searching and watching video’s of a certain time period!
For other additional resources visit: http://livebinders.com/play/present?id=172921 which also includes a list of YouTube alternatives.
Enjoy!

My first attempt at using Google Forms and Fluberoo

Beginners mistake:

I worked really hard last night preparing my very first online exam for my grade 9 students. I even had a mixture of questions to evaluate all the levels of Blooms Taxonomy. However… when I shared my quiz with the students today, somehow they got a copy with most of the answer’s. Luckily there were still enough questions to be able to evaluate them properly and it was a good drill to get them to verify the answers that were already there.

Needless to say, my lesson learned today: Always send myself a copy, before I share anything with me students. My students lesson today: Patience, understanding and flexibility with using online tools is key in a online course 🙂

On the other hand, I am very grateful to have learned about the application Flubaroo integrated with Google Forms. It saves a lot of time when marking your exams. However, another beginners mistake : Don’t forget to exclude your long answer questions before you submit to have your exam marked, otherwise your students marks will be much lower as it is not able to correct long answer questions. ( I had to send an email to my students apologizing for the amount of emails they may had received with various results of their quiz).

My suggestion and lesson #2 for today: Make a 2 part exam
a) Multiple choice – short answer (User Fluberoo to evaluate)
b) Long answer ( Have students share their answer’s with you in Google Docs)

I hope you will all have much more success when it comes to your first time using Google Forms and Fluberoo.

Feel free to share your experiences!

Supporting Bloom’s Taxonomy in a Digital World

On October 6th, 2011, I participated in an amazing Webinar, offered by SimpleK12, that shared a lot of very useful tools for our classroom.

visualblooms.wikispaces.com

I hope you find these applications useful as they are also very well organized for each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Blooms chart (New Version)

  • Creating
  • Evaluating
  • Analysing
  • Applying
  • Understanding
  • Remembering

Knowledge and Rembering

Comprehension and Understanding

Application and Applying

Analysis..

Evaluate (Formerly the top)

Creating

Links from the webinar:
http://www.diigo.com/user/mrplough07/bloomsSK12

If your interested, check out : http://simplek12.com/tlc/webinars/ for their upcoming FREE webinars!