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Author Archives: Stefanie Pitzer

About Stefanie Pitzer

Educator for 10 years Wife for 5 years Mom for 3 years

Tech & Long Term Subs

I recently went on maternity leave from February-March. Since I am a piloting teacher with touchscreen Chromebooks, tech is embedded everywhere into my classroom. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious, excited, and nervous to leave a long term sub with all of this technology.  I was so excited for students to show the sub all the amazing things they could do but anxious and nervous about how it would be managed.  The good news is my students had been using their devices 1:1 since the first day of school.  I knew in August I would be leaving around February, so I made sure to utilize the gradual release of responsibility model.  This allowed me to model using technology, provide guided instruction, and then independent time to show me what they had learned. It was this groundwork that showed students how the devices should be used as well as provide them with time to learn how to be mature digital citizens.

I learned a lot throughout this process and wanted to share tips and tricks to help you if you are 1:1 and in a similar situation as I was.

1.) Binder: I left a binder with everything in one place.  This included passwords to any and all websites, a brief explanation of how I use them, and guidelines that students should be able to follow.

2.) Consistency: I tried very hard not to introduce any brand new technology while I was gone.  This allowed me to let my sub know students who were experts in a particular program, device, or tech tool.  These students served as helpers, teachers, and or trouble shooters.  There is something to be said about exploration and allowing students to do this with new technology.  However, I felt that while I was gone, the sub would appreciate students having prior knowledge.  I feel this would depend on the level of tech

3.) Screencastify Videos: Before I left, I did record some videos using Screencastify.  This allows you to record your screen, just yourself and or both.  You can use it for free for up to 10 minutes of recording time.  It automatically saves to your Google Drive and then I can share it with my students.  If they needed help remembering how to use a tool or turn in assignments, this video was at their disposal.  While I realize not all leave for teachers is planned, making a few of these videos to have in your library is a great idea. If your leave is planned, you can create a video library.  This way a sub can play you teaching a mini lesson! Once these videos are made, you will have them forever.  You may even want to make some generic ones that could be watched if need be.

Check out these poetry mini lessons I had my sub play during our writer’s workshop.  She played one video each day!
Poetry Prewriting
Poetry Examples
Poetry Drafting
Poetry Revising & Editing

4.) Organization: Oh my goodness your tech must be organized and easy to follow.  In my situation, the long term sub was able to text/email me with any questions if there was a problem.  If you don’t have that option, I recommend making sure all things are published in your learning management system so students can access their assignments. I also recommend your learning management system be up to date and laid out in a way that anyone could follow.  My district uses Canvas, so it was vital for me to make sure modules, assignments etc. were published.  If it wasn’t published, students couldn’t view it and this caused a disruption in learning.  I twas because of this I plan publishing everything but set it up so students must complete one module and all of the assignments before moving on to the next module.

5.) Classroom Management: I left a Chromebook reflection sheet that students would have to fill out if they were breaking any of our expectations.  I also outlined acceptable use policy and basic guidelines for what students should be expected to do independently.  I placed this in my binder.  Our district also uses GoGuardian and this was an amazing tool.  It allows the teacher to see all the screens at once, push out messages and announcements, and give you a daily report of any and all websites visited.  I didn’t leave this log in information with my sub but as I become more familiar with this tool, I feel this would be a great things for subs to have access too.

6.) Let it go: This of course was and always seems to be one of the hardest things for teachers to do.  As I looked through assignments that students did while I was gone, I noticed it wasn’t quite up to my standards and or not completed in the way I thought they should have been.  I truly think this is because no one will ever replace the classroom teacher. No matter how wonderful your sub is, they aren’t exactly like you and their knowledge base or tolerance level or even philosophy may be different.   That’s ok.  There were some assignments that were a wash or didn’t go like I thought they would.  I took away a few things from this:
~~Even if an assignment was a failure, it didn’t mean the activity was a failure.  Students still were receiving practice and opportunities to utilize technology and enhance their learning.
~~Some of my rubrics and directions were unclear.  It made me re-evaluate rubrics, criteria, and steps students should take with a more reflective eye.  I also had stopped providing video directions rather suddenly.  Next year, I plan on gradually moving toward written directions.
~~Less is more. Some of the reasons why things didn’t go as planned, is students were overwhelmed and or there were too many steps to follow.  This allowed me to really reflect on making directions concise and more clear.

As educators, we all know that having subs is hard. I am however, so grateful for this experience.  It really allowed me to look at my tech from an outsiders prospective and be more reflective.  I can’t wait to apply these to my lessons for next year so having a sub in my room can be as seamless as possible!

What tips do you have for leaving technology for subs? Has anyone tried leaving a Substitute HyperDoc? I recently saw a teacher who created a HyperDoc for her students to work on throughout the entire day.  I would love to know what the management looks like and the content involved

 

#323learns Tech Summit!

When you have known for a couple of months that Matt Miller, author of Ditch that Textbook, will be presenting at your teacher’s in-service AND giving a keynote….this day can’t come soon enough! My school district had the pleasure of having Matt Miller visit our school district, and I’m still jazzed from this amazing day of PD. One of the things that I enjoyed the most was having the opportunity to select the sessions that were most interesting to me. It just goes to show, that like students, teachers want to feel that ownership in their own learning too.

The day started by making sure to get their early to meet this amazing author!
file_000file_003

Next up an amazing keynote and a day of presentations.  The staff was able to choose one of Matt Miller’s sessions and then the rest of the day was spent learning from other teachers in our district.  I attended:
1.) Google Genius: Practical Google Activities to Use Tomorrow
2.) Real Tech Real Talk: Moving Beyond the Basics (I presented w/ my sister on Google                 Docs, Screencastify, Google Slides, HyperDocs, and Padlet.)
3.) SAMR Model & Blooms
4.) Power Up: Personalize Your Own PD

WOW! There were so many amazing things I learned I felt the need to Storify the day:
https://storify.com/StefaniePitzer/323learns-tech-summit-highlights

I left this teacher’s institute re-energized, pumped up, and in an amazing mood. It was positively refreshing to see teachers sharing their areas of expertise and learn new things at the same time. Not to mention meeting an author whose message is inspiring! I am hoping there can be more PD in our district like this and more opportunities for us to continue down the path of becoming connected educators.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Teacher PD, Technology

 

Math Workshop!

This year I embarked on Math Workshop and I will never look back.  I have always wanted to implement the workshop model to my math instruction but let too many things stand in my way.  For me, literacy workshop came naturally so it was hard for me to wrap my mind around how to take what I was already doing and mesh it with a guided math format.  I didn’t even know where to start other than I knew students needed more opportunities to practice and explore math.  The best way for students to get better at anything is to practice so why not be practicing with math?

My sister was the inspiration I needed to take a risk and get started!  She teaches 4th grade and has been using a math workshop model for over a year.  She shared with me how she uses MATH to set up workstations.  My sister found the templates here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/MATH-Workshop-Templates-1275903

What I loved about these work stations was that there was more than one choice for each letter and the acronym was short and sweet.  This would allow for more focused practice.  I chose the following work stations from her list:

M: Math Facts
A: At your Seat (mainly the group I focus on)
T: Technology (Current favorite resources: FrontRow & HyperDocs)
H: Hands on

So here is how the rotation schedule works over the course of a 5 day week:
Monday: Students complete first 2 rotations
Tuesday: Students complete last 2 rotations
Wednesday: Students start over so same rotations as Monday
Thursday: Students complete last 2 rotations just like they did on Tuesday
Friday: GAME DAY! Students join if or as soon as all of their work is complete

I love that after 2 days students have already completed 4 rotations.  Then they have 2 more days which gives them another opportunity to go through again.  Sometimes I will change the activities or part of an activity but this depends on the concept being taught and what the students need.  In the link I provided above, it showed how the teacher set up her board and here is a picture of mine:

math-board

Now it was time to discuss with my sister what a typical math lesson would look like.   Here is a 65 minute math block:

  1. Counting Circle (2-4 minutes): I got this idea from the book Number Sense Routines by: Jessica F. Shumway. (HIGHLY recommend) We sit in a circle and count. I know that sounds so very simple but the amount of number sense it has given my students has been a game changer.  We have counted by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 1’s from any given number and go forwards and backwards.  We make sure to make eye contact with the counter and they are learning how to ask for coaching.  This allows the circle to be completely student run.  As the year goes on we try to predict what number we will land on.
  2. Number Talk (5-8 minutes): I always have one number projected on my SMART board or on a Padlet (see link below). Students then discuss, with their learning partner, as many ways as they can think of that would represent that number. Depending on the concept we are working on I may or may not suggest they come up with one subtraction equation or think of expanded form.  I have loved seeing their mental math skills and their ability to find patterns grow.
    https://padlet.com/spitzer/MathStretches (These are links to school wide Padlets)
    number-talk
  3. Mini Lesson (15-20 min MAX): This is where I teach the lesson and or concept for the day. My district currently uses Math in Focus as our curriculum. I took the chapters and broke them down by concepts.  We then spend a week on one concept.  At first I thought this might put me behind the scope and sequence but so far we are right on track. I try to only do 2-3 problems that will model the strategy or concept I am teaching.  The beginning of the week is more I do, then we do, then you do.  I still feel that gradual release of responsibility is vital in their mathematical success.  Instead of spreading that out day by day.  I get to really focus on what is most important and help them more toward mastering concepts instead of memorizing them.
  4. MATH Rotations (1st Rotation: 14 minutes): Students travel to their first workstation. I set a timer for 14 minutes to allow 1 minute of clean up. Most of these work stations are meant for students to work independently. This gives me the flexibility to either stay with a group, float, or split my time depending on what the student’s needs.
  5. MATH Rotations (2nd Rotation: 14 minutes): Same as above. I do have the board where students can double check to make sure they are going to the right place and or what their activity is. I also post directions on our learning management system.  Students can access their Chromebook to double check if they needs.
  6. Reflection (5 minutes): I have been using Emoji Google slides for students to reflect. They choose the emoji that best describes how they felt at the end of the lesson and then they reflect on why they chose that emoji. This document can then be shared back with me via their Google Drive or they can upload to a learning management system.  This was often the piece I left out of my previous math instruction and I feel I can no longer go without.  I love giving the students an opportunity to reflect on their own learning and then offer feedback for me.  Digitally works best for me but you could also have a “math huddle” at the end to discuss glows and grows of the lesson.  The biggest hurdle for 2nd graders is specifically articulating why they feel that way.  The first time we did this I received a lot of this was fun, I like math, I finished my work.  This time we have started to trying to explain why or what made us feel that way.  They are even becoming more aware which I think only has helped them learn even more.

I LOVE WORKSHOP! Why in the world did I wait to long?  Within 2 days, I already felt like I was reaching more students, meeting more specific needs, challenging my gifted learners, assisting my lower students, and also finding more opportunities for all students to shine and build confidence!  I also loved that every single student is practicing math.  For 65 minutes my students are engaging in math activities that challenge, encourage, and strengthen their mathematical knowledge.  I also love that instead of trying to cram in so many lessons, I’m focusing on concepts.  I feel this helps guide students to a mastery level vs a memorizing level.

Now I have seen other workshop models out there and I think teachers must pick the one that works best for them.  I love the MATH model because it is 4 days of workshop and 1 day of gaming fun.  Students are motivated to work hard and focus so they have the opportunity to participate in our game.  I also love the MATH model because it is very manageable, at least for me.  I can implement and not give up halfway through because it is becoming too stressful.  I actually feel like my workload went down.  I honestly do not understand how I taught math before and why was I so nervous about jumping in.

My advice to anyone thinking about giving the workshop model a try: DO IT RIGHT NOW!  JUMP IN! Take a risk and I promise it will pay off.  It is OK if it is the middle of the year.  Introduce it slowly or maybe a workstation at a time. You will not be sorry and will see your student’s mathematical abilities soar!  I highly recommend reading these resources: Guided Math by Laney Sammons and Number Sense Routines by: Jessica F. Shumway.  Please also feel free to follow my class on Twitter @PitzersLearners #2Pmath to check in on our math adventures.

I would love to hear from other teachers who either have tried or are currently trying MATH workshop.  What is working and or not working?  What advice do you have?

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Math Workshop

 

Chrome-flections: Redesigns in Canvas Part 1

I have now been using Canvas (our districts learning management system) since February of 2016.  When our pilot first started, it was toward the end of my school year.  Not only was I learning how to implement Chromebooks, but I was also navigating the waters of using an LMS as well as building effective content.  To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement.  However, I learned so very much and those failures allowed me so many reflective opportunities.

Despite failures using Canvas though, I am so glad I had the opportunity to start in the spring.  It was because of these failures, I felt I had a much better idea of how to start the school year off right.  I started at a much slower pace and created less complicated assignments.  I did this not because I felt the students couldn’t do it  but more so as a way for me to model proper use, functionality, and logistics first. I had students start in my reading course, since that is the content I am more comfortable with teaching.  I started with a discussion board with how students felt about reading.

canvas-reading-discussion-board

I loved this way of introducing Canvas to my students.  They learned how to find the reading course on their dashboard and how to type in the text box.  It was a quick way to not only get to my know student’s reading life but to also have them practice using Canvas.  It also provided them the experience of using a discussion board.  We even had great face to face conversations about what makes a good posting and good reply.  Stressing a balance between face to face communication and using a device must be at the forefront.  Students need to learn how to manage this in order to better prepare them for life!

When it came to assignments in Canvas last year, I felt I was all over the board.  My first assignments were with Phonics.  I had students watch YouTube videos and go on digital scavenger hunts for phonics pattern words.  Then I wanted students to type those words into 3-4 sentences.  I remember thinking that since it was February my students would be able to do this no problem.  We were writing 3-4 pages in writing and working hard on forming paragraphs correctly.  What I didn’t consider was the typing component.  It is one things for students to write a sentence but typing that same sentence becomes a whole new ball game.  My first phonics assignments were also filled with multiple step directions that were overwhelming for my students because we had never done this type of work on a device before.  I had also typed out most of the directions.  After seeing my students struggle with this last year and seeing what their completed assignments looked like, I knew something had to change.  I wanted to avoid this stress and use the gradual release of responsibility model to prepare them for more difficult work.  I often think as teachers we assume students are so familiar with technology that they don’t need as much guidance.  While it is true they are more comfortable at their age then say we were, they still need the I do, we do, you do practice model.

Therefore I redesigned my phonics assignments to have video directions instead of typed ones.  Students have the opportunity to listen to me give them directions and then could refer back to this as many times as they needed.  To record these directions I use the record/upload media button (looks like a film strip).  **(Has anyone else had trouble with the sound when recording videos in Canvas?  I have found them to have very low sound quality.  This gets somewhat better using a headset with mic attachment but is there a better way?) ** 

Then I embedded the YouTube videos that focused on our phonics pattern of the week.  Instead of taking a point grade, I made the first assignment a complete vs. incomplete.  I had students record the words they found in their reader’s notebook and come up and show me their list.  I then had SpeedGrader opened and marked complete/incomplete.  I would record my observations in the comment box.  If a student struggled with directions, focus, handwriting, finding the correct words, etc. I could type that as a comment.  Students could then immediately see my feedback and hopefully use that to improve for the next assignment.  They also had a list of words they could use a resource during writer’s workshop.  I designed 3 phonics lessons in this way.  Once I felt students were mastering this, I added points to the process as well as a text box for students to type their list. The next step, I feel is having students use the words in a sentence or two.

phonics-assignment-3-2

What I learned in this process is video directions are a must!  This way as I am monitoring, assisting, and or working with smaller groups of students, the class has access to the directions at all times.  It allowed me the freedom to assist in other ways instead of just repeating directions.  I feel this helped my students become more comfortable with Canvas and digital learning.  It also held them more accountable for solving their own problem and become more independent thinkers.  The quality of the work was higher and students were more focused.  This was definitely a lesson in less is more and remembering the gradual release of responsibility model.

 
 

Chrome-flections: Beginning Year 2!

I am about to wrap up the first quarter of the 2016-2017 school year and I thought this would be a perfect time to reflect.  Since I was a pilot teacher last year for our districts 1:1 initiative with touchscreen Chromebooks, I was able to continue the pilot this school year.  This meant instead of receiving my devices in February, I would get to start the school year with them.  I was very excited knowing that while I was introducing students to the experience that is 2nd grade, I would be helping them learn how to safely use their device at the same time.

Before school started, I made log in cards for all of my students.  I have blogged about this before, but here is a picture of what they looked like last year:
IMG_3904
I went through and made changes to what websites we would use and cleaned up the layout design as well.  I had them laminated and students store them in their pencil box for easy access.  The first week of school was spent going over expectations, signing the contract and learning how to get and put away our devices carefully.
one-to-one-first-day-2016
I also made sure to communicate with families, that we would be documenting our 1:1 journey using the hashtag #2Pis1to1

Next up was to update passwords and learn how to log in using our Google log in.  Knowing from last year that this could be tricky, I modeled first on the SMART board, then I had a student do it on my computer so everyone could see, and then finally they went to their own device to try.  We set goals for ourselves in order to get faster and I really stressed typing with 2 hands on the key board.  I use the Whole Brain Teaching method and would award Super Improver points for students typing with two hands and for beating their previous log in times.
one-to-one-logging-in-2016
I must admit that this went much better than last year.  I think that is largely due to modeling more and giving them more time to practice.  The first several times students used the device, it was strictly to log in and log off.  Now it is a part of our morning routine.  Once students have completed their lunch count, they get their Chromebook and log on.  Their goal is to be logged in before they hear the music which signals them to clean up and meet on the carpet.

The new addition this year was headphones for each student.  Last year the Dunlap Grade School Parent’s Club graciously donated a class set of headphones that included a headset mic.  After much Pinterest-ing and brainstorming with other teachers, I ended up putting a label on each headphone that corresponds to their classroom number.  Then each headphone is placed in a bin and organized by tables.  This way the table captain can get the bin as needed and headphones are stored away with no one tripping over cords.
img_7595
The headphones have been a game changer in terms of each student having their own as well as each student being able to focus on their own work.  Last year anything that required sound made it hard to focus.  Each student would be in a different place and it was hard to get far enough away where you could focus on your own work.  I love how more focused and engaged students are because background noise has been eliminated!

The next thing I modeled for students is how to locate my classroom blog.  I had them all on the carpet and would give one direction.  Students then went to their device, followed that one direction then would come right back to the carpet.  Whenever we learn something new we go over directions in this fashion.  I had started doing this in March last year and it really helped us all stay on the same page as well as give me time to help individual students as needed.  I showed students the long way to find my blog by going through the Dunlap District webpage, then the Dunlap Grade School webpage.  We did the long way for several days.  After two days, I called on a student to tell the class what to click on.  After this was mastered, I then showed them the short cuts and how Google Chrome would start to notice websites they frequently visited.  I wanted them to know how to find it multiple ways so that if one way wasn’t working, they could problem solve on their own to find it another way.  It is important for me to mention that during all of this digital citizenship was stressed, modeled, practiced, and encouraged.  We want to be safe on the internet and do not want to get click happy.  We also learned how to be patient with internet connections, how to refresh, and steps to take if the internet wasn’t connecting correctly.

I then showed them how to navigate our Symbaloo page.  I have a Symbaloo that bookmarks several of the sites we will use throughout  the year.  I went over what each site was, how we will use it, and that some sites are closed for business until we can prove we are good digital citizens!  You can access our Symbaloo here: https://sososeussey.edublogs.org/1-fish-2-fish-seussville-tech-fish/    

While I do find value in students typing in a website in the search bar, I also want students to spend a majority of class time engaged in an activity.  I have found that with all of these websites in one place, students can not only access them in a timely fashion at school but then they are more than likely to use them at home as well.

 

Chrome-flections Week 8!

Yep. Technology and I were meant to be friends! I think this pilot experience is ranking up there with one of the best learning experiences of my career as an educator.  I have learned so much, change my views/ideas, and become more familiar with Google tools (which as an iPhone/iPad girl, it was good for me to branch out!).  I’m so glad that even though initially I was bummed to not be piloting iPads, the powers that be, knew better.  It just goes to show even when you think you know, you really do have no idea. 🙂

That being said here are my new jams: Padlet, Screencastify, & video/audio directions in Canvas (my school district’s LMS)

Padlet
If you haven’t had a chance to check out padlet.com, I highly recommend it.  This website is like a giant bulletin board that is perfect for collaborating and sharing.  I first heard about this during a #ditchbook Twitter Chat.  During this chat, a Padlet was created where people were adding and sharing resources for other educators: http://padlet.com/mourakd/kg7szw5nerr9 I loved the idea of having a board to post and add to so I immediately went to the website. ANNND it’s free!  They do have a school option that is paid but I have found the free version to be just fine.

I decided to create a Padlet for my classroom and I then added links to our other Padlets.  Please check it out here: http://padlet.com/spitzer/SeussvilleWhoNotes I have especially loved using it to help enhance my student’s learning experience during our poetry and figurative language study. Here is a link from the Ditch that Textbook Blog that has wonderful ways to use Padlet in the classroom:  http://ditchthattextbook.com/2014/11/03/20-useful-ways-to-use-padlet-in-class-now/

Screencasitfy
I was introduced to this from our TOSA (teacher on special assignment) and then learned even more at a free webinar through SimpleK12.  This is a Chrome extension that will video record your screen.  You can either choose to just have your voice or your voice and a little webcam in the bottom of your recording.  This got me thinking about the idea of an in class flip that I had heard about at a conference last fall.  It is like flipping your classroom but instead of students watching the video at home, students can watch the video in class.

2 weeks ago, we started our poetry genre study and this was the first time all writer’s workshop activity was on a Google Doc.  I had every student share the doc with me and then I used Screencasitfy to go over their writing piece with them.  I highlighted words/sentences/phrases that I wanted them to go back and revise or edit.  I then added a comment with a link to their first video writing conference.  The next day, students were able to access their video and get right to work on their writing.  This allowed me to conference with 15 students.  I then had the rest of my class at my back table for more guided support in the writing process.  For the first time in a long time I felt I was able to reach each and every student during our writer’s workshop.  I was amazed by the amount of time this saved, how engaged my students were, and how helpful it was for them.  They can now watch the video at any time.  I am hooked and can’t wait to continue using this in the future.  The gears in my head are already turning for how I can use this with reading conferences too.

Video Directions in Canvas (LMS)
If you read my last post, you are probably aware that I’m trying to navigate the waters of an LMS.  Over the weekend I was going back through some of my notes from our webinar and I happened upon the option of inserting videos in assignments.  Then it clicked.  I could create a video providing students with directions that they would be able to watch and watch again if they needed help remembering. Yep.  This was happening.  I went ahead and created an assignment for students to learn and practice plurals that end in s and es.  I opted for the directions to be a video too so that students could see my excitement. 🙂 After recording the directions, I inserted YouTube videos that highlighted plurals.  Part of the directions were to watch the videos, and record plurals in their reader’s notebook at the same time.  They made two columns and separated the plurals by s and es.  When they were done watching all 4 of the videos, and had at least 10-15 plurals written, they were to show me their notebook.  Instead of having students submit something to grade later, I simply checked that they had completed the assignment. OH MY GOODNESS. GAME CHANGER.  I wish I would have done something like this at the very beginning of the pilot.  It went so smoothly and students were 100% engaged.  I walked around during their working time and offered support and guidance as needed. I cannot wait to use this again and even tweak it to make it better.

These tools are so simple yet have been game changers for my classroom.  Do you have any tech tools that have been game changers for you?

 

 
 

Chrome-flections: Canvas & SeeSaw

I am just about to end my 6 weeks into my 1:1 pilot and I thought I would take a moment and reflect on my experience with Canvas (our learning management system LMS) and SeeSaw (an online digital portfolio).  Before the 1:1 pilot had started, I had been using Seesaw since October. I have been using Canvas for 5 weeks.

Canvas LMS

What I Love

  • Course Creation
    • easily hits substitution component on SAMR model
  •  Grading
    • Create rubrics that make grading a breeze
    • When grading submission simply click on score, then automatically totals points/percent
    • Can leave comments and attach files to provide feedback to students
    • students can resubmit assignments
  • Discussion boards
    • can set up so students can only see feed after first submission
    • when you grade you see all of their comments on one screen
  • Differentiation
    • Create courses and you can choose students to invite
    • I created book club for one of my second graders who is reading at an 11.2 level
    • Love the idea of using this as a way to do any type of differentiated group
    • Great Hub and opportunity for more
  • Support
    • Great videos and resources available to help you learn
    • Webinars are a must

What I’m Still Learning

  • Navigating the site
    • seems not very user friendly at first
    • constant practice is necessary
    • students struggle with navigating
      • does get easier but still wonder what this will look like with 2nd graders in August vs. now
      • with time things do get smoother but just something to keep in mind
  • Course Creation
    • must determine how you want to organize first
      • One whole course vs. each subject being a course
      • modules and file folders
      • can feel like a lot to wrap your mind around
    • feel this could set up teachers to create busy work at first because of the push to use program
  • Grading
    • K-2 has standards based report cards so our grades are not pushed into Powerschool.  While I’m starting to feel they don’t need to be, this makes Canvas less of a selling point for K-2 teachers.  Also will upper grade teachers change their mind of loving this option as they move toward standard based grading?
  • Time
    • creating courses can be time consuming depending on teacher
    • especially at first, it will require work outside of school day which I don’t mind but I know some teachers do
      • For the first 3 weeks, I worked on Canvas every night anywhere between 2-5 hours each time. I do tend to want things to be perfect, cutesy, and unique though
      • After week 4 and 5, I pulled back feeling that less was more and that I was creating unnecessary busy work
    • Will need to front load at the beginning and perhaps will get easier
  • Commons
    • not sure I know how to use to its fullest
    • not a lot out there for my particular grade
    • a lot of times files are blank templates
    • would love to see more examples of lessons created that hit all levels on SAMR model

Overall Reflection: I LOVE the grading component but that would probably be the one thing that I think would be hard to replace or that SeeSaw doesn’t have.  Has anyone else who is new to using an LMS noticed that they started creating tech lessons for technology sake?  I know that as you go through any process you modify and get better though. We will just have to keep that at the forefront so we don’t fall into that trap which could create a drop in community support.

***I do hope we are able to discuss use of the parent portal because I would be interested in what this looks like.

SeeSaw

What I Love

  • Navigating the site/app
    • kid friendly
    • easy to use
    • less to click on
    • easy to organize
  • Set up
    • user friendly
  • Support
    • great resource page filled with ideas
    • Twitter chat every 2nd and 4th Thursday night at 6pm CST
    • Free hands on webinars
  • Portfolio Based
    • can upload photos, videos, drawings, notes, and links
    • Students can take a picture of learning, record voice to explain and draw over it as well
    • showcase student learning in easy format
    • promotes reflection
    • hits more components of SAMR model
  • Grading
    • supports K-2 standard based grading system due to portfolio based setup
  • Parent Access
    • parents can comment and like their child’s work
    • student can then see that
    • opens up communication
    • strengthen’s home school connection

What I’m Still Learning

  • Grading
    • grades aren’t automatically calculated
    • can’t click on rubric and grade not determined for you
  • Course Design
    • I feel it isn’t designed to to this, doesn’t mean you couldn’t
    • Feel this lends itself more toward a digital portfolio
  • Google Drive
    • since hyper docs are my new favorite not too sure how it would work within SeeSaw.  I participated in a webinar recently where it said you can save digital creations from other apps, links, or PDFs and Google Drive was one of the ones mentioned.  I would need to explore this more thoroughly.

Overall Reflection: I really want to know if there is a way to link SeeSaw within Canvas.  At one of the Canvas webinars I attended, I learned you can link to an electronic portfolio but I am just not sure how to do that.  While I feel there are elements of Canvas that are similar to SeeSaw, I feel SeeSaw can feel bit more kid friendly.  I did really enjoy the SeeSaw webinar that shared lots of amazing ideas. It had me rethinking how I currently use Seesaw.

Final Thoughts

I feel both allow for students to create and submit their learning!  I feel both have great features and both have things I’m still learning or am not a huge fan of.  The problem is there will never be the perfect one just like there will never be the perfect community.  It will all depend on what the teacher brings to the table.  While I may struggle with one area that might not be the case for everyone.  It will be vital to find out where people’s strengths lie, what people are struggling with, and keep communication on going.

I will be curious to hear how other teachers in our pilot feel and what their experiences have been.  What does your school use and what positives and negatives have you seen with it?