Showing posts with label composition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label composition. Show all posts

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Google Classroom - The New Classroom

In the first semester of 2014, Casa Thomas Jefferson gained access to Google Apps For Education (GAFE). In August, 2014, Google released the Classroom App as part of GAFE, and so our journey began. 

In the month following this release, we started phase 1 of our New Classroom project. With the help and support of our EdTech Department Head, Carla Arena, and her team, we began using Classroom in two of our Advanced Course groups. We decided we would have our Advanced Course teenagers use it to write their compositions throughout the semester. Once the semester came to a close, we sat together and shared our experiences. We decided it was worth continuing the project the following semester, so we thought about getting more teachers involved and using Classroom. 

Phase 2 of our New Classroom project has been named 'Classroom Gurus' project. One of our goals for this next stage is to create and strengthen a core group of teachers who will become multipliers of the knowledge and skills they will acquire during their engagement with their students, using Google Classroom to optimize the writing process that Advanced students engage in throughout the semester. 
Our first Classroom Gurus meeting

A group of fourteen teachers were invited to join the project this semester, and just yesterday we had the chance of sitting together for a couple of hours to launch phase 2 and get the "Classroom Gurus" inspired and motivated with the project. Our main goal was for them to get a feel for the platform, the new possibilities, the challenges and opportunities ahead through a change to a paper-free paradigm for the compositions students write in the semester with a focus on feedback rather than on the bureaucratic aspects of the writing process, as now this is going to be taken care by Google Classroom. In the platform, much of the back and forth of papers are automatically handled by the system with the automatized creation of students´ papers in Google Docs and the creation of folders for each assignment.






Here are the teachers´ first impressions:




It is a brave new world ahead where we know adjustments, failure and new learning will take place as we move forward. We feel, though,  that it is time to experiment and move on. Another point of the project is to value the human resources we so highly consider in our Institution, Casa Thomas Jefferson. We have a very potent humanware, educators who are ready for the edgy jump into pedagogical innovations when they are recognized, treasured and supported in new edtech endeavors.

Last but not least, there´s the learner spectrum. By promoting a new type of process not only are we reaching them in different ways, but also helping them enhance their own digital literacies that will be so essentially demanded from them in their educational and professional contexts. We, as an educational institution, feel responsible for students´ success in their language learning and life in general.




Sunday, September 08, 2013

Compositions and iPads in the Classroom

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/
I would like to start by pointing out that this post does not refer to essays, since they are too long and it would take forever to type 5 paragraphs on an iPad (at least for an old dog like me). However, if we are dealing with single paragraphs or shorter compositions, it works brilliantly. 

Let’s take the first composition topic of 3B, for example. The students are supposed to write about a place that they would recommend to tourists. The example in the book is the Great Wall of China, but students can choose any place they have visited, be it in Brazil or anywhere else in the world.

After handing out the iPads, you could start by asking them to find a picture of that place (using Flickr – creative commons pictures, for example). After that, they can start writing their paragraphs. They can check spelling and find alternative words using a Thesaurus dictionary. Also, they need to write about the history of the place and give suggestions to tourists. This could easily be done with the travel apps that we already have in our iPads, and/or with the help of Wikipedia.

In the end, they can send their final product straight to your email account. This activity will keep the students focused and they will have fun doing it. What a great way to refute the students’ preconception that compositions are boring.

By teacher André