Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Continuing Forward Towards My GAME Plan

This week was filled with strong advances in one part of my GAME plan, and no appreciable movement for the other portion. The area where there was no significant progress was the digital citizenship of my students. The original plan was to insert a project that would incorporate the opportunity to stress these principles. I sat down with my peer Language Arts teachers, explained my intentions, and solicited their advice and direction. One admitted that she does a poor job of enforcing the proper citations, and the other lamented about how difficult it can be. They also referred me to the director of their curriculum to get more information, and asked that I not mention their situations. I reached out to get this information, but have not gotten a response. I am looking into a lesson where we will include simple items to start the process, like photographs.

The other goal is to incorporate more digital-age learning experiences into my classroom, and this is progressing right along where I would imagined it would. I incorporated responders into an existing lesson; specifically, a lesson on time management when taking a standardized test. The software not only records the responses of the students, but also records the response time for each student. I reduced the number of questions from the original lesson, which allows for the students to reflect upon their timing. The students became quite aware of the timing, particularly exceeding an average time per question. This typically occurs when the student gets stuck on a question, and obsesses on finding the answer. This stall on a single question robs time from other questions, and the result is typically a series of questions at the end of the exam being unanswered while the student rushes through to fill in the circles. I purposely included a tough question, and modeled the act of skipping the question. I was pleasantly surprised at the high number of  students who almost immediately skipped to the next question, and they found it easy to complete the practice test. There were a few who stayed on the question too long, and it reflected in their responses on the final group of questions.

This adaptation of the lesson was not entirely difficult, so I feel that my original goal of one lesson per week through the end of the school year is realistic and achievable. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I intend to continue on this pace. I also posted this lesson to the three other teachers who utilize responders in their classrooms. It was met with mixed results; one wondered how I had the time to do it, one asking me to adapt a few more for them, but all were grateful. I hope the flow comes back to me. Thanks for the read.


  1. I know that it can be difficult teaching citations and proper format to students. It is hard to learn, and many adults have problems with it as well. I always had difficulty getting my 7th grade students to create a proper reference page. Not only did they not format correctly, but they would always list Google as a source even though I specifically told them NOT to use Google as a source. I guess that the only way for them to learn is through practice, and we should give them adequate opportunities to practice these skills.

    I love using the responders. My county has just made a substantial investment with SMART Response Remotes. Using the ‘clickers’, creating multiple choice assessments is quick and easy. Plus, the Notebook software will not only grade the assessment for you, but it will accumulate all the necessary data over multiple assessments and provide a graph for easy viewing. You can even print off the data for individual students, which is great for parent communications. And depending on how you use the remotes, you can give an assessment to an entire class or the students can take an assessment individually and move at their own pace.

    1. Chris -

      Thanks for the read, and for the response. My students love the responders, and we are on our second set. The first set were the PE type, and they could not do exponents or fractions, so we moved up to the XE type. Because of the switch, we refer to the PE type as clickers and the XE type as responders. These look just like equation editor in PowerPoint or Word. I am getting used to creating the lesson/assessments, but I am still learning how to grade them, and use them to the full extent.

      I am getting observed this week, and we are going to be playing SmartBoard Jeopardy using the responders, and doing a review of the student work. Between now and then, I have to figure out how to print out the individual reports. Doing this in class would be very powerful.

      Thanks again for stopping by!