My Lesson Plans

  1. Foreign Language Comics
    • Have students create comics in a foreign language using ToonDoo.com. Use similar usernames to make it easy to search for their comics by username.
    • Teacher or students (peer edit) correct the dialogue before adding text to comic
    • Assessment includes grammar of their own comic or oral presentation of their comic.
    • Additional projects include adding an additional scene to another students' comic or an oral presentation of another students' comic.
    • Download all of the comics as graphic files, add them to a Word document, make them into a PDF and upload them to issuu.com as online magazine.
  2. Foreign Language Voicethread
    • Find a picture or comic.
    • Ask students to write what is happening in the picture.
    • Teacher or students (peer edit) correct the dialogue before recording it to voicethread.
    • For more advanced students, ask them to imagine and what happened in the the next scene.
    • Ask students to listen to another students' voicethread and transcribe it.
    • A fun introductory project is to have them create an avatar because voicethread recordings show up as an avatar.
  3. Math Investigation
    • Teach a topic in math using an investigative approach. This approach provides opportunities for students to learn at different paces and do deeper problems (extra credit) when they are far ahead of the class.
    • Direct students to various websites that demonstrate math concepts.
    • Ask benchmark questions at important steps to ensure their understanding.
    • Some websites may provide feedback or scores that students can save via a screen capture. Other websites assist them solving problems and they write the answer on a worksheet.
    • Consider using a URL shortening service like Tinyurl.com to make user-friendly web addresses and sequence them (e.g., fractions1, fractions2a, fractions2b, etc.)
    • see the fraction unit here
  4. Correcting student papers
    • Writing a paper often takes weeks for students. Along the way, they need feedback on grammar, paragraph structure, sentence flow, thesis support, etc. There are several ways to correct student papers online so that they can get comments in a timely fashion and read the teacher comments. Teachers can also make sure that students are making incremental changes to each draft version.
    • I recommend having students peer edit other students' papers. I would have preferred this as a student. For some reason, I have "blind spots" when I revise my own papers. I miss grammatical errors and sentence construct errors.
    • If you want total control, you can use the revision tracking feature of Microsoft Word. You will need at least one class to teach students how to use it. You will also need a mechanism for collecting the files and returning them to students (an online drop box or online storage may be better than e-mail).
    • See table below for brief comparison of Word Processing products:

Acrobat.com

  • free (trial account)
  • online
  • signup required
  • manually highlight text
  • comments
  • easy to use
  • no simultaneous editing

Google Docs

  • free
  • online
  • signup required
  • manually highlight text
  • no comments
  • easy to use
  • simultaneous editing

Zoho.com

  • all of the above and
  • comments
  • online and offline

Microsoft Word

  • free (already own)
  • offline (manual submit & return)
  • automatically highlight text (insertions & deletions)
  • comments
  • not easy to use
  • easily accept/reject changes
  • no simultaneous editing

  1. English Blog
    • Blogging is a great way for teachers to see what each and every student has to say. It is more powerful than asking questions in class because it tends to involve students who do not speak up much in class. It is also a great tool for providing a range of perspectives that are created by the class - rather than a textbook.
    • Blogging makes it easy for teachers to read lots of writing because they can be fed into an RSS reader. Teachers can add questions as a comment to the blog entries and push students beeper. Students can never say that they lost their blog entry. In addition, it is useful to have students review and revisit writing from earlier in the year to see how their writing has grown.
    • Create a blog to have students discuss a novel and for daily journaling assignments. Students are required to read blog entries from other students and comment on them. Students either create their own blog entries or add comments to a teacher's blog.
    • An advanced type of assignment would be to have students find blog entries of fellow students that have a similar perspective and an opposite perspective.
    • We chose Edublogs because it allows teachers to easily create blogs for each student and maintain an administrator role (although we had to become a premium users for $40)
  2. History Backchannel
    • Backchanneling enables teachers to "see" what students are thinking. Without backchanneling, teachers can only probe the class understanding by asking questions. Teachers can spot important tangents, areas of confusion and when to move on. It is a great avenue for students who do not normally speak up in class. For students who participate regularly, it will provide them with alternative perspectives.
    • It is a new classroom tool that students already know how to use. The challenge is to harness it and direct the conversation. In preparation, teachers should build a foundation by discussing (i) online safety and etiquette, (ii) discuss the purpose of backchanneling and set expectations, (iii) let the kids experiment by spending 5-10 minutes on a fun discussion, and (iv) critique the fun discussion and make sure that the students know it is time to "get serious"
    • The discussion can supplement an oral discussion or the discussion can be completely online. It can be especially useful when one part of the class did not do their homework and is not adequately prepared. The teacher could lead a review discussion, while students who did their homework have a higher level discussion. You can even segment the class to have their own backchannel and compare the conversations. The segmented class can discuss the same topic or each can have a different topic (ala jigsaw).
    • Other uses of a backchannel are to discuss a political cartoon, historical newspaper headline, speech, or movie clip. It can be an "outer circle" as part of a Socratic discussion.
    • Consider saving the backchannel discussion to evaluate how much the class understands in preparation for the next class.
    • Products include: Twitter, Twiducate, Edmodo, Chatzy, CoverItLive, BackNoise, Chatterous, TodaysMeet. Some of these products work with cell phones.
  3. Make a Book