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Thursday, July 2, 2015

CEP 800 Technology Lesson Plan Reflection

After implementing my technology lesson plan, I reflected on the process.

Lesson Plan Description:

This lesson is a summative activity for a Forces & Motions science unit in my fifth grade classroom.  In this activity, students create a physics sportscaster audition video using WeVideo and their Chromebooks.  Students apply and demonstrate their knowledge of Newton’s Laws of Motion through their script and audio commentary of a sport clip while answering the question: What forces and motions are involved in sporting events.  A rubric was not collaboratively created, due to time constraints at the end of the year.

Implementation of the Lesson:

I implemented this lesson at the end of this school year with my fifth grade students.  After introducing this project at the beginning of our forces and motion unit, my students were very hooked on the project.  Many of them have an interest in sports and athletics, so this project was perfect to capture their attention.  As noted in my lesson plan, students were given at least three days of 40 minutes of working time over a period of three weeks to work on their projects.  They were also going through a series of hands-on lessons and labs in which they engaged in the 5 E’s (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate) for each of Newton’s Laws of Motion.  They recorded their observations in their scientific notebooks and we drew a concept map on the back whiteboard to help us visualize our thinking and progress along the way.  When they were working on their sportscaster videos, they applied their knowledge first in their script and storyboards.  I conferred with each student at least once a week, making sure to check back in on anyone who needed more support.  Overall, the lesson/project accomplished my goal: for students to apply aspects of physics (the laws of motion) to everyday events (sports).  

Here are two examples of this lesson’s product:
Group 1

Group 2


In completing this science & literacy project, students demonstrated their learning of physics in terms of forces, motion, and the laws of motion.  The learning goals for this project were for stu
dents to be able to notice, identify, and apply areas of physics in a brief clip of a sporting event.  It was my intention for this to be an integrated summative assessment that was more authentic than a paper and pencil test.  I grouped students based on ability levels, social skills, and cooperation, taking individual learning needs in reading and writing into deep thought throughout the process.  Learning was taking place constantly.  Students would come in from recess and describe how they saw an application of Newton’s laws on the playground or during practice.

Much of the classroom learning was done constructively, in small groups during the labs and activities leading up to the end of the unit.  If there was a problem with using WeVideo or a finding a video, students didn’t hesitate to ask each other for help, or to come up with ways to share their knowledge.  For example, many students struggled with uploading content into WeVideo initially.  Two of my students decided to create a Google Document with step-by-step directions for uploading media into the web app.  They shared it in our Google Classroom for everyone to access.  And they did this without prompting from me.  

For my first time through this project, it went very well.  However, I would have liked to have been able to work with students on creating crisper audio recordings and incorporating more elements of dynamic video editing to give these videos a more ‘ESPN’ feel.  My students and I had only one other experience using WeVideo before this project.  I know that with further use of the program, students will be able to create more dynamic videos.  I assumed my students knew what ESPN sportscasts looked like, and we watched several together so they could hear the ‘voice’ of the reporter.  This project required a lot of patience and monitoring to be sure students were on task and on schedule.  

Throughout the project, I conferred with groups and individual students, monitoring how tasks were shared and allocated.  I checked for understanding of the laws of motion with thoughtful questions, often asking students to show me what they meant by their explanations.  Students were also given a mini assessment at the end of each learning cycle, where they demonstrated their knowledge and understanding of one of the laws of motion with a Google Drawing.   Using our Chromebooks, Google Drive, and WeVideo allowed students to create a dynamic presentation that displayed their knowledge.  Even though these technologies and skills are still emerging, they made tremendous gains in their knowledge, above and beyond literacy and science.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

CEP 800 Technology Lesson Plan

For my latest CEP 800 assignment, I was asked to create a lesson plan that incorporated technology hollistically and dynamically. I took a lesson for a unit project I have done in the past and revised it to incorporate the 1:1 Chromebook technology I have available in my classroom.

Lesson Plan:

Unit Project – Wanted:  Physics Sportscaster

To apply aspects of physics (forces, motion, speed) to everyday events.

3-4 weeks

Focus Question
What forces and motions are involved in different sporting events?

Project Scenario for Physics Sportscaster
Various 2-4 minute video clips of sporting events interesting to students
Video Cameras (as an option for filming students doing different events)

Teacher Preparation
Decide how many options to offer students for this project (ideas include using movie maker and computers, live commentary, videotaping sporting events in action.
Decide if projects will be done in groups.
A script should be required to go along with voice over project.
Select sports clips to show during the introduction of this unit to peak student interest.
If using video clips from the internet, it is helpful to pre-select clips that might be of interest to students and let them pick from those you have chosen.
Have students begin to think of a sporting event they  might be interested in using so they will be able to reflect on how their learning applies to the project that is coming at the end.
Set up a poster that can be displayed and added to throughout the unit.
Concepts of forces and motion should be recorded as they are discovered.
At the end of the unit, design a rubric with the class.  Discuss requirements, point values and what the end product should look like.

Classroom Procedure
  1. Introduce unit with sportscaster scenario
  2. Play sport clips to peak student interest.
  3. Go over the Wanted: Sportscaster project sheet.  Allow students to ask questions and for clarification on the project.
  4. Students will be given 20 to 40 minutes three days a week to work on their projects.  They will create their scripts in Google Docs, being sure to share them with group members and the teacher.  WeVideo has a storyboard option.  Encourage students to use this as they plan out their sportscast audition.  
  5. Upon completion, students will share their video clips by posting the link in our Google Classroom.  Students will then view and offer constructive feedback to on at least two other video clips.

CEP 800 TPACK Self-Evaluation of Lesson Plan

  1. Content:  The content that is taught with this lesson is the application of everyday physics, forces, and motion.  It is intended to be part of a unit in which student are introduced to the forces that make things happen and how these forces can be both helpful and harmful to motion.  Students examine how forces are overcome and how they can be used to do work in everyday scenarios.  Students will also keep a scientific journal for ideas, reflections, and to collect observations.  The unit is aligned to the fifth grade science GLCEs provided by the Michigan Department of Education as they pertain to physical science and scientific inquiry, although the lessons within the unit follow the NGSS teaching philosophy of the 5 E’s: Engage/Elicit, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate.
  1. Pedagogy:  This project is a combination of many pedagogical strategies used throughout the lessons in the unit.  It is also dependent on the learning targets and focus questions within each learning cycle.  Students observe and explore each of Newton’s Laws of Motion, documenting and reflection on various experiments, videos, and experiences in their science journals.  Some of these lessons involve hands-on challenges that represent or focus on different parts of each law such as inertia or speed.  Behaviorism, Social Constructivism, Information Processing and Cognitive Constructivism all inform my strategies.  Much of the learning takes place in small groups or learning pairs.  I base groups and partnerships on ability levels, social skills, and cooperation.  I take individual learner needs into consideration, especially with reading and writing skills.  
  1. Content & Pedagogy:  These strategies help me teach the content because much of the content is co-constructed among the group members and shared at the end of each lesson.  Many of the project requires cooperation among group members, each selecting roles and communicating, planning out each part of the video clip.  I choose these because a majority of my students work better and are more creative when working collaboratively.  For the select few who do not, they are allowed to work on the project by themselves, but I do not encourage this.  Technical constraints include WeVideo collaboration.  I allow each group to figure out how they will overcome this obstacle, with guidance as necessary.  Some technical skills, such as video recording and creating a video/editing can be an issue, but are learned throughout the process.
  1. Technology:  The technology used in this project includes a mix of hardware and software.  Each student will need access to a Chromebook and/or computer.  If they wish to create their own sport clips, they will also need a video camera of some sort.  The software used will be Google Docs/Drive and WeVideo.  Google Docs allows for simultaneous collaboration on the script for the video clip, allowing learners to communicate more effectively in real time and make changes more quickly.  Unfortunately, WeVideo does not have the collaboration abilities that Google Docs has.  One student will create the video clip, and the groups will need to work out how access to this portion of the project is shared and managed to allow everyone the opportunity to create a piece of it. and are also used to model what sportscasting looks and sounds like.  While there are other technology options available, this project requires some type of video presentation software at the very least for the creation of the video clip.  
  1. Technology & Pedagogy:  Google Docs fits my pedagogical strategies because it allows immediate collaboration within a single document.  Group members can leave comments, make editing suggestions, and create their scripts all at the same time while working cooperatively and constructively.  They learn from each other through the process.  WeVideo allows for students to show their understanding and application of the laws of motion using animated and visual models, while combined with technology.  When students encounter problems with video editing or publishing, they would ask other groups or me and often problem solve the issue together, then share the results with the rest of the class.  
  1. Technology & Content:  Using the Chromebooks allow students to readily access and other sport websites that have video footage they can analyze for examples of laws of motion and physics.  They also have access to our Google Classroom and Google Drive for sharing and collaboration.  This hardware we are so fortunate to have 1:1 access to is a gateway vehicle for their learning and knowledge acquisition.  I am able to teach the ‘big ideas’ using main stream and current sports athletes that students are familiar with and seeing the video and action happening.  The ability to stop and play over and over again allows for more in-depth analysis, leading to a deeper understanding of how physics are used and found in the real world.
  2. Assessment:  I want students to know and identify Newton’s Laws of Motion when applied to everyday events, such as sporting events.  I will know that they know and understand these concepts as I go through the storyboards and video clips with them.  I am able to see their projects grow through the sharing of Google Docs and comments.  By conferring with groups and individuals, I am able to assess their understand and misconceptions as they experiment, engage, and explore Newton’s Laws of Motion and seek to identify them and explain them to each other and in their projects.  I will formally assess what students learn through a rubric that we create together for their video clips and storyboards as well as informally assess their scientific notebooks and collaborative process.  Technology plays a huge role in the sharing and communication of the project’s expectations as well as how I am able to monitor each group’s progress.  When groups submit projects through Google Classroom, I am able to report grades and communicate with them.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Learning How to Fly a Drone: A Digital Story

Graduate school continues, now with CEP 800 Learning in School & Other Settings.  For this assignment, I was asked to create a digital story about learners learning.  Now that school is out, my son and I are the most convenient learners I have on hand.  We also had a drone, given as a gift earlier in the spring, and no idea how to fly it.  So here is our story of how we learned to fly a drone.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  

Remember to spend some of your winter break recharging for the rest of the school year and enjoying your friends and families!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

CEP 812 Reflection

As I reflect back on my most recent graduate class and the work it has inspired me to do, I am in awe of the changes in technology and the professional culture surrounding it within my PLN (professional learning network).  1-to-1 initiatives are popping up in districts left and right, students are more and more aware and making use of technology tools in and out of school, and educators are scrambling to integrate the tools and skills 21st century learners need while changing curriculum standards.  It seems very much like a perfect storm...or the perfect opportunity to think 'outside the box' and take advantage of my own professional passions and curiosities.

Thomas L. Friedman (2013), says that in our hyper-connected, technology-driven world, the individuals who will succeed "won’t just be those with more I.Q. [They] will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime."  So being 'smart' or 'intelligent' isn't necessarily going to be enough to be a successful individual anymore.  Problem solving, creative/inventive thinking, the initiative, passion, and curiosity to seek information and reach goals matter more...when applied and used correctly.  Technology is so easy to come by.  Information is so easy to access...but what we do with that information and the path we choose to take with it...that is the true test of technology adaption.  I have a vision of where I want to go with my new-found technology skills and I truly believe I have the passion and curiosity to get there. 

Here is my take on my own professional PQ and CQ in the form of a PowToon. 

Friedman, Thomas L. (2013, January 29). It's P.Q. and C.Q. as Much As I.Q. THe New York Times. Retrieved from

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Flipping the Classroom: a Wicked Problem Project for CEP812

With the push to transform, redesign, and create 21st Century classrooms and learning spaces, educators are looking for ways to stretch and extend technology resources in and outside of the classroom.  One innovative way some tech-savvy teachers are meeting this expectation is through the "Flipped Classroom" model. 

The basic premise behind a flipped classroom is fairly simple:  the 'lecture' is a video or web-tutorial students complete at home on personal computers; the 'homework' or 'independent practice' takes place in the classroom where the teacher can provide scaffolding and support to the students.  This is not online learning, but rather a way to meet individual learning needs in a more student-centered approach.  How often do students encounter questions, frustration, and helplessness while completing a homework assignment?  When could they use a teacher within arm's reach most often?  Not during a lecture or other teacher-centered approach.  Flipping the classroom changes this...and it is working.  But not without the wicked issues of implementation, technology skills and access, funding, and support.

For my graduate class, CEP 812, three classmates and I have worked for the past few weeks (and over several time zones!) to research and discuss the flipped classroom and the wicked problem that surrounds it.

Here is our multimedia mash up of our WPP Project - Flipping the Classroom: A Wicked Problem in a Community of Practice.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Infographic & Analysis of Technology Within a Community of Practice

This week in the world of MAET, I created my first survey using Survey Monkey and my first professional infographic using The purpose of this survey, was to explore the practice of technology integration within my professional learning community.  I chose to focus on a small sample of my colleagues, who represent all grade levels within my building. 

Here is a brief analysis of my survey and my thoughts on the results.

UPDATE:  I shared the results of my technology sample with my it looks like this is going to snowball into something much bigger with in my building!  Trying to problem solve the 'wicked problem' of needing more technology training and tools with out the funding to back it.  The brainwaves are already going!