Thursday, November 19, 2015

TodaysMeet Meets the Socratic Seminar - Microblogging in a Digital Classroom

Today’s Meet Meets the Socratic Seminar - Microblogging in a Digital Classroom

Written with Marissa Grodnick, NJH ELA Teacher - @marissagrod

I saw THE COOLEST thing last week. Coolest. Some teachers decided to take an in-class discussion (Socratic Seminar) and integrate the iPad, transforming the learning for their students. It was the best of all possible worlds, fusing some "yes" answers to Alan November's 6 Questions and the CLR strategies that we've been working to develop.

Above: An image from Alison Rubbelke's ELA7 class

"ELA 7 loves Socratic Seminars (student-run discussion analyzing high-level questions using proof from concepts and ideas learned in class) as summative assessments because they are student-centered, student-led, CLRT and graded on the spot--easy for teachers.  However, with a class of 25+, not everyone gets a chance to say what they want.  After doing a little digging, Alison Rubbelke and I discovered TodaysMeet as a possible new twist to our seminars.  

We revamped the Socratic Seminar into a fishbowl-style discussion with an inner circle orally discussing questions and an outer circle (backchannel) using TodaysMeet to comment on and discuss the inner circle's conversation.  

Above: An image from Marissa's "1st block ELA room" in TodaysMeet.

The day before:
Kids were given a Socratic Seminar prep sheet with guiding questions.  They had to come up with ideas and support them with quotes and examples from the texts we've read.  
Kids also did an exit card stating inner or outer preference for group set up

Create two even groups.
Login to TodaysMeet and create rooms for each block.  
Each room gets it's own url for kids to simply click and join. Make rooms open for as long as you want (I did one week so I could grade later and have inner circle kids read outer circle as part of reflection piece)

Above: Students were asked to provide evidence to support their opinions.

Day of:
Set up room with inner and outer circle.
Outer kids join TodaysMeet room--I just linked rooms to my moodle agenda--make sure they use real names.  Start conversation with asking one question, and let kids do the rest.

During & Grading:
I used a black spreadsheet to grade while listening.  I also glanced at TodaysMeet and added some helpful prompts or comments to keep them on track.  I let the discussion go for about 30 minutes.

Reflection.  Inner circle was asked to go and read outer circle comments as part of reflection.  Outer circle was asked to summarize and add some things they wish had been said or discussed."

Above: Another image from the backchannel discussion in TodaysMeet.  It helps for the teacher to check in and write prompts to encourage students to dig deeper.

TodaysMeet was super easy for kids to use and easy to set up.  It took less than 10 minutes of setup and kids were in immediately.  No login, no account, etc.  It also acts like twitter in that it is character limited--which makes kids concentrate on quality not quantity.  

Here’s the blog Learn it in 5’s quick how-to tutorial (a great site that allows you to either watch a short tutorial or read some quick info to help you get started including a brief synopsis, benefits, & drawbacks to the app).

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pick kidPicker For Your Class

Written with Johannah Olson @olson_johannah, NJH Science Teacher

What is it and why should I try it?
KidPicker is super easy to run and use. Essentially, it's the digital version of the CLR popsicle sticks meaning I never have to "borrow" Beckman's tongue depressors ever again! However, it is important to note that unlike the analogue popsicle sticks where you pull a kid's name and set them to the side, this script is truly random in that it can (and will) re-pick the same kid immediately as they "go back into the bucket."

Andrew Stillman, author/creator, describes it as a web app (i.e. it's just a URL, no gallery installation) meant to ensure that within a given class period you don't call on the same student twice unless you've already called on every other student first.  Andrew Stillman kidPicker post on Google+

How to get started?
If you're a first time user start by collecting all your student's names (and blocks) in a Google Form - this makes it easy to copy and paste them into the pre-made spreadsheet the script spits out at you.

Next, open the kidPicker script URL

“Allow” kidPicker to run in your Drive account.

Now open the Sheet that was created.

For the final part of the setup, cut and paste the first and last names from the form you collected them on to the kidPicker sheet the script provides.  The spreadsheet given to you holds all of the classes that you have (it starts with two as the default) as tabs at the bottom - rename these to your class names and add pages as you need them.

How do I use it?
Go back to that script. Tip: Make it a bookmark so you have easy access when you’d like to use it for class.

Tap “pick next student” when you want a new name to pop up.  Easy-Peasy.

kidPicker Step 4.png

Bonus! Attach some formative assessment to this activity! Assign a score by pressing one of the buttons “1, 2, 3, or Absent”.  These button values get recorded on the spreadsheet, along with the date.  You don’t even have to use numbers - you can add words to the buttons too! Pretty cool.

(Interesting) Note: The script will only create a column in your sheet once per day, so if you want to record the button choices (1,2,3) and then later change the buttons to, say, “red, yellow, green” those words will be in the same column as the original number choices.

Questions?  Tweet Johannah to see how she's using it in her classes. @olson_johannah