“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” —Bill Gates

Friday, September 26, 2014

Simple Assessments with GAFE

Hello everyone!

Every time I walk into a classroom, I feel very fortunate to be able to witness how the student's confidence with technology has increased over time and how well they can work independently. 

This week I spent some time in two 4th grade classrooms and I'll share a couple of projects  the children were working on. These activities, used to assess the students' learning, are simple and engaging applications of Google Tools.

Project: Character Suitcase
Tool used: Google Drawing
After a read-aloud, the teacher needs to check for understanding and comprehension. Instead of a series of questions and answers, or having students take a quiz, how about having the kids do a character suitcase? What's this? Ask the students to imagine that one of the characters in the book is going to take a vacation. What would they pack in their suitcase? Pretty simple, huh? Well, in order for the student to accomplish this task, he has to place himself in the character's shoes, and that requires having a pretty good understanding of the book.

Take a look at the kids working on their suitcase:

Project: Matter Quiz
Tool used: Google Slides
How can you assess if your students learned everything in the unit about Matter? Give them a quiz? Maybe. What if you have THEM create a quiz? 

This is what 4th grade students did. They created a "quiz" in the form of a game. In a similar format as "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". This is a great activity because it pushes the student's thinking. They try hard to make the game difficult for the other classmates that will be playing it. (Read a post I wrote some time ago about a similar activity.)

Below are two sample games. Go ahead and test YOUR Science knowledge! 

(The games work best if you only navigate through the links provided in the slides.)

Do you have other simple activities that are used for assessment? I'd like to learn about them.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Email Tips for Kids

Hi everyone!

Hope you are doing fine. Second grade students are our youngest users of Google Apps. They received a brand new Google account a few weeks ago. Basically, what this grade level does is use Drive and Gmail. One of the assignments these kids will have in order to use their tools for the first time will be to write emails. 

The "Writing for Many Purposes" unit is coming up. In this unit the children learn about different writing genres: lists, thank-you notes, invitations, persuasive letters, and writing emails. Yes, emails! 

What an awesome opportunity to develop 21st century skills, such as digital citizenship and communication & collaboration in such a meaningful way!
In order to support the second grade teachers, I have prepared a ThingLink (reviewed in the previous post) with information on how to create a well written email. 

If an image can speak a thousand words, imagine an interactive image!

Just hover the mouse over the red circles and stars to see more information.

For more information about working with kids and writing emails, I recommend visiting the Common Sense website.