Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tracy's Tuesday Tech Tip: Start the Discussion!

I developed a new lesson where we are doing a film study - starting with a story map, my students are describing the characters, setting and plot of an old school Mickey - The Opry House. They identify what is happening in the beginning, middle and end, as well as what Mickey is doing in the scenes.

Here's the catch: they watch it in SILENCE.

Taking this a step further, they are beginning the process of composing music to accompany what is happening, but planning out what instruments and sounds would "make sense" with what's going on in the scene. As they began the discussion, the atmosphere became lively as they started debating what they should use and why based on the scene.

Building in sentence starters and prompts for oracy, and in general just the collaborative aspect of sharing can help build students' levels of deeper thinking and language skills. Therefore, as I shared in an earlier post, an online platform can be a useful tool for students to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment about those happenings in your classroom instruction in connection to any subject.

Those discussion boards or blogs are becoming ever popular to allow students to GET WRITING and describing their own thoughts as an evidence piece to deepen their thinking and making it visible. Additionally, seeing others' thoughts and perceptions can also help and clarify their own understanding on any subject! Kidblog is a great tool to get you started!

As a teacher, I always think of myself of as a "big kid" - still learning and having fun (despite a few gray hairs these days), but know a valuable strategy is those discussions portals online or in person to the wheels turning of creating something new with and for my students!

How do you make thinking visible in your classroom - is it digital? We'd love to hear some of your practices and share out what's working for you!

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