I’m working on new units this weekend. It’s a “long weekend” as we have Monday off for the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. The re-opening of school after the Christmas/winter break has been stressful. A good number of parents have chosen to keep their children at home due to the rise in COVID-19 numbers in my state. I have been juggling in-person teaching with virtual options to accommodate those students who are at home. I am trying to figure out ways to present information to students in ways that encourage them to take charge of their own learning.
My sixth graders are learning Greek mythology this quarter in anticipation of our study of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. I became acquainted with Riordan’s work when I read the Kane Family Chronicles with their emphasis on Egyptian mythology. I became a fan. Now, I use the Olympian series, books I and II, in my sixth and seventh grade classes. Students are engaged and enjoy the adventures of students. And for my students with learning disabilities, Percy Jackson is a protagonist with whom they can relate.
So, I am looking for new ways to engage with students. Here are some resources I’ve found:
- Padlet has been around for a while, and I know there are many teachers who use it regularly. For me, it’s like using sticky notes in my notebook to organize ideas! Students enjoy using it and creating Padlets that incorporate words and images.
- Nearpod is another program that my students enjoy using. I like it because I can create Google Slides and add “activity” slides such as open-ended questions and collaborative responses. Nearpod also allows me to add videos and images to engage students in learning.
I found two other resources today that I want to experiment with. As I was researching a project for my mythology unit, I came across Animoto and Symbaloo. I really want to learn to use Animoto. I can see so many possibilities for students to use this to respond to their reading or to create their own animated stories!
And how cool is Symbaloo! Learning paths! I hope I learn how to create learning paths for my students. More and more, I realize how important it is to curate resources for students, especially when they are just learning how to evaluate sources.
There are also hyperdocs and other means of rolling out curriculum to students. I admit that I am struggling with some of these new ways. I keep looking for the template that is going to help me magically create the learning paths that I want students to take. These times are uncertain as COVID numbers continue to rise and remain high. Right now, my little school is able to remain open five days a week for in-person instruction. I am so glad we can offer this option to our students because they need the opportunity to socialize with their peers. It is important for their emotional health as well to have something is close to “normal.” Yet, there are families who are choosing to have their children stay at home and learn virtually.
I am on a continuous search for resources that will make it easier for all.
What are your go-to resources that help you incorporate technology and learning?