Todays contributor: Sarah Price
My name is Sarah Price and I am the CIC and an Instructional Support Specialist and teacher at Barton Hills Elementary. I love collaborating with teachers to use technology to boost the quality of instruction and also to help honor student voice and choice in the classroom.
Early this fall one of the second-grade teachers at my campus, Allyn Rich, reached out to our Technology Design Coach, Erica De Los Santos, and myself with a challenge. She wanted to find a way to engage her second-graders in goal setting and making choices about their own learning, specifically reading. The result of our collaboration is an exciting example of how you can take existing data- in this case, I-station, and use it as a way to personalize instruction and empower students in their own learning.
Here’s how it works:
The teacher meets with her students once a month to look at their I-Station Progress. She uses the I-station student summary handout to help students track their goals in their own “student tracker.” All the kids track their overall reading and then together with the teacher they choose a goal area from I-station for themselves. These goal areas include fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, or spelling. Then the next month they can see how the progressed. I-Station “level 5″ is outlined by month for reference.
From here the students are given a Playlist that they use each day to work on their chosen or target skills. Their chosen skill becomes their “Must-do” and the skills from all the other areas are their May-do. The teacher is incorporating this choice time right after handwriting so you can see that handwriting is also a “Must-do” for everyone.
The students then select their daily activities from a “Menu” posted on the wall of the classroom. This allows the teacher to respond dynamically to student needs. The classroom has 12 Chromebooks so a 1:2 ratio, and the teacher factors this into the activities she selects. At the end of the period, the student fills out their playlist with the “code” to the activities they completed that day.
Incorporating Blend to practice Fluency
One of the latest additions to the activity menus is the students are using Blend to practice and evaluate their own fluency. The students practice a reading passage, and then they use the video feature to record themselves in a Blend assignment. Finally, they listen and evaluate themselves so they know what to work on next. The students use a fluency tracker similar to this one.
Fluency Assignment in Blend (teacher video instructions also included).
The Magic of Playlists and Student Choice
It is exciting to watch these second graders take ownership of their own learning. They love their choice time and have grown very independent and responsible. The systems are in place, and it is easy for the teacher to make changes based on student needs. At this point, during the choice time, the teacher has the freedom to pull a small group or work with an individual student on their Must-dos because the students are in charge.