Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Señora Madory’s Spanish Class

 Last week, I visited Sra. Madory’s 8th grade spanish class.  I was curious to see how they were using the iPads as part of our 1:1 program at RMS.   As students entered the classroom, a video from a website “Señor Wooly” was playing on the screen in the front of the room.  The video repeated the conjugation of the verb “ir”, which means “to go”.  As the video played, Señora Madory and the class sang along through several repetitions of the conjugation.

After the video, students used their iPads and went to Sra. Madory’s course on iTunes U to find and start a worksheet using different forms of “ir” in sentences.  Students wrote their answers directly onto the worksheet using an app called Notability.  A few minutes later Señora Madory called on different students to review their answers from the worksheet and answered some questions from the class.  When students completed the exercise, they electronically turned their work into a folder they share with Señora Madory via Google Drive.

Next, Señora Madory pointed to a map and described the geography of Granada, Spain which is near the southern coast and features mountains and the ocean nearby.  She informed students they will be writing a letter in Spanish describing themselves to students their age in Grenada.  The class brainstormed different things they could say in Spanish like, “I am _____ years old”, “I like to play sports.” etc.  Señora Madory typed a dozen or so phrases the students came up with on a Google Doc and shared it with the class.  For the rest of the period, students began composing their letters.

As I watched the class unfold, I thought about how the 1:1 with iPads made things different?  What would the class be like if every student did not have an iPad?

1.  Students were on task.  Every student in the class was fully engaged and their interactions with eachother and with the teacher were focused on class content. 

2.  During the class, no papers were being passed out or handed back.   It took just seconds for students to access worksheets and resources and it took seconds for them to turn in their work to Señora Madory.  If the class is not wasting time passing papers or looking for papers, there is more time for instruction and learning.

3.  Students are able to easily learn beyond the classroom about people in different cultures.  Google Docs makes it easy for students to correspond with their counterparts in Granada, Spain.  For security reasons, Señora Madory and the teacher from Grenada distribute the correspondence between students, but the technology makes this communication beyond the classroom and into another culture much easier.

Thanks to Señora Madory and her Spanish class for the visit!

Señora Madory helps while a student smiles!


Señora Madory demonstrates

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Managing Digital Devices at Home

Kate Rohdenburg of Wise (www.wiseoftheuppervalley.org) in Lebanon, NH presented to RMS parents on Wednesday evening in the RMS Auditorium.  The focus of Rohdenburg’s address was how to talk with children about being online.  Setting limitations, creating structure and providing guidance were all components she cited as good strategies for managing technology use at home.

While setting limits, Rohdenburg recommends telling children why the limits are being set.  She also encourages parents to ask their children to share what they’re doing online and create healthy communication about what’s going on.  The group also talked about family media contracts where the parameters of technology use at home are agreed upon and spelled out.  It also gives both parents and children something to go back to if things go bad.

The discussion concluded with parents sharing strategies they have used successfully in their families.  Thanks again to Kate Rohdenburg and to Wise for visiting with us.