Friday, September 11, 2009

Back in the Saddle...

The highlight of my week was the ability to get back into the classroom. I spent some time in a 5th, a 3rd, and a 4/5 combination room. Although I've experiemented with our new equipment and software in the past, the ability to actually use it with a class has been an invaluable experience.

I took a statistics lesson that focused on data gathering/organizing, line plots, and bar graphs, and then infused our technology into appropriate places. I was able to use the CPS responders to check for background knowledge and to check for understanding. The data we gathered was # of letters in the students' first and last name. (We decided this as a group). As an anticipatory set, we discussed how we were named. The "Pick a Random Student" part of CPS was a wonderful tool in helping choose which students to tell their story.

The document camera proved useful while we compiled our data in cooperative groups. I used the Interwrite Workspace to create a class T-chart of what "Working Together" behavior looks and sounds like. (I had made the template earlier.)

When I instructed the fourth and fifth grade students to organize their data "any way they choose," a look of bewilderment appeared on their faces...until I showed them just one example I saved in Interwrite. What was really cool about this part of the activity, is that each group came up with a different way to compile and organize the data. We saw word-webs, tables, and a couple orignial graphic organizers. We were able to display these on the doc. camera so the entire class could see the different strategies for organizing the data. They then had to create a statement about what they noticed in their data. The Audio Enhancement microphone was a great way to allow the entire class to hear and stay attentive to each group as they presented their findings.

This led us into line plots and bar graphs, and how that is another way to organize the data. I like that CPS gives specific feedback to each question in the form or a bar graph, so that part was a very easy and natural part of this particular lesson.

We created a class line plot using the Mobi and an Interwite template I had previously created. It was really interesting to watch the hand-eye coordination with the Mobi, and students quickly found the "undo" button! Students then created either a line plot, a bar graph, or both on graph paper. It is my hope to return and be able to transfer their paper graphs into an Excel Spreadsheet...which would require a lab setting. And, now that they have complied this data, it opens the door for many future lessons--mean, median, mode, etc...

The biggest thing I noticed while teaching this lesson was that EVERYONE was engaged. No one was off task. Everyone worked together in their cooperative groups. And I absolutely loved the microphone. I didn't have to project my voice at all.

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