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Putting Activities Through the SAMR Exercise

Part of learning in 2014 is NOT to just CONSUME information, but to also contribute and create information.

If you enjoy reading the information and resources shared here on the Langwitches blog or via my Twitter feed, consider taking the time to contribute. There is no grade assigned to your contribution, there is no certificate attached and there is no one waving their finger at you, if you don’t turn your homework in.

This is about self-motivation and self-directed learning in professional development. This is about being part of learning through the power of the crowd versus alone.

This is your chance to collaborate , contribute and pushing forward in education (and LEARN along the way)! Read on…


Using the SAMR template (based on Ruben Puentedura),  Silvana Meneghini and I have developed  and  described in my previous blog post, here is an your chance to participate in a crowdsourced opportunity! (It will only work if the crowd gets motivated)

How to participate:

  1. Read through the SAMR Template Framework for Professional Development, if you have not done so.
  2. Think of a traditionally taught lesson/activity. What is the entry point on the SAMR model for your lesson/activity.
  3. Take a look a another example (High School History Essay) described below the survey.
  4. Fill out the  survey  below to contribute examples of activities and their movement from substitution to redefinition.
  5. If you would like us to share the results (examples shared by others) with you, please make sure you enter your email in the form below.

Here is an exercise example from Silvana Meneghini for you to follow:

Name of Activity:  History Essay

Grade Level: High School (Grade 9-12)

Activity Description: Essay writing is a very traditional form of assessment in HS History.
As a formative assessment for the “Ideas that Shaped the Modern World”, students were asked to write 5 essays following chosen prompts covering all the different topics learned throughout the year. Traditionally, the essays were just handed in to the teacher.


Students use computer to type up essay, then print it to hand in to the teacher.

Goals Process Technology Communication
literacy-basic consume-produce Writing 1-1
 Basic Literacy  Consume>Produce>Feedback  Writing 1:1


Students develop a design that is inviting to a broader audience and also translates the spirit of the eMagazine. The design follows a magazine style with columns and illustrations searched mainly under Creative Commons.

Students research information using Internet, Databases and Books.

Students use a shared Google Presentation to get organized in the creation of the eMagazine sections, cover, table of contents and Editor Notes.

Students cooperate to create an eMagazines organized by topic sections. Each section shows individual student author interpretations of the prompt for the topic. An Editor’s Note is added to explain the tone of the eMagazine. The eMagazines are published online on Calameo with the open possibility for Comments. (Example http://www.calameo.com/books/00242383955b5bde7fdba)eMags:

Goals Process Technology Communication
literacy-basic consume-produce-feedback Writing 1-group
 Basic Literacy  Consume>Produce>Feedback  Writing 1: Small Group
 Media Literacy
Information Literacy



Students collaborate in the writing and thinking process by developing a Section Editor’s Note that analyzes common ideas and disagreements and also a “Bio” of student authors focused on individual political perspectives. Students argue and defend ideas through the eMag comment section.

Students follow twitter hashtags that may lead to interesting information and organizations that will help connect to modern day history.

Goals Process Technology Communication
literacy-network consume > produce > feedback > revise Writing 1-group
 Network Literacy


 Writing 1: Small Group
 Information Literacy

Media Literacy


Students collaborate with classes from other countries to create an eMag with a global perspective analysis.

Students invite Historian experts to contribute to information gathering and analysis.

Students manage collaborative platforms to interact with other classes and experts around the world, generating an eMag with a global approach and reach.


Goals Process Technology Communication
literacy-network consume > produce > feedback > revise Writing global
 Network Literacy  Consume>
 Writing Global Communication
 Information Literacy
Media Literacy
Global Literacy


3 Need-Scenarios to Engage Students with Authentic Tasks


Alan November’s concept of the Digital Learning Farm, asks schools and teachers to empower students by giving them relevant responsibilities that allow them to contribute in  meaningful ways to their learning community (class/school/etc.). How can we give students the opportunity to CONTRIBUTE versus completing projects that end up in the trash, bottom of their backpack or at best on the refrigerator door for display in their house.

I understand that it is unreasonable to make EVERY assignment, EVERY project a relevant and  meaningful contribution

Need 1: I am in need for icons to use as I create infographics of the school’s core values . The school’s core values are: Balanced, Communicators, Critical thinkers, Curious, Inclusive, Innovative, Reflective, Responsible, Risk-takers. Why not ask students (7th graders) in one of our computer graphics classes (Thank you Jennifer Kagohara!) to create them?

The benefits are mutual:

  • I receive custom designed icons
  • Students are given an authentic task versus a made up activity which might elicit the traditional question of “Why do I have to do this?”
  • They will see their work being used for additional purposes
  • Students will see and feel first hand what it means to create with remixing in mind
  • They will be part of the cycle of creating, licensing, using and attributing under the Creative Commons license.


photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5


by Giulia


by Tibet


by Mathaus and Ji Won


Need 2:  We are in need of music under the Creative Commons license to allow and promote sharing of original music (with attribution of course). Students are creating more and more videos as evidence of their learning. The issue of using copyrighted songs as background music has become a problem. Our Media Basics class (6th graders)  decided that we would contribute original music for other students in our school community to use, but also to make them available to a global audience. We are hoping to continue to grow a music library for students to use in their projects and at the same time teach  and experience the effects of Creative Commons.

Feel free to share and use the sound file, created by Graded School students and made available under Creative Commons. (If you use them, leave our students a comment (here on Langwitches) so they can track their impact.

You are free to use them under the following conditions:

  • Attribution- please give proper credit  (ex. Music licensed under Creative Commons by Simon)
  • Non-Commercial- you are not to gain financial benefit from using these files
  • Share Alike- you must share the work created with the above files under the same Creative Commons license

Music by Maya- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/maya-happy-song

Music by Pedro & Rafa – https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/pedro-rafa-happy-song

Music by Noah- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-noah-1

Music by Amanda- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-amanda

Music by Felipe M- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-1

Music by Anna Clara- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song

Music by Toribio- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-toribio

Music by Belen- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-by-belen

Music by Rens- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/rens

Music by Rodrigo- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/rodrigo-happy-song/s-oH6Qe

Music by Simon- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-by-simon

Music by Jessica- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-by-jessica

Music by Felipe L-

Need 3: I was in need of posters to display around school to promote PD opportunities for our teachers.

Again, an authentic need in the school, required students to learn specific tasks (In this case 6th graders had to figure out how to use the tool (Photoshop), about QR codes, typography and color schemes). They saw their final products displayed around the school, fulfilling the intended need.



by Belen



by Maya


by Rens

What are some needs at your school or in your community to connect your students with an authentic task? How can you connect these needs with your curriculum content? How can you help your students see that the skills and learning objectives are valuable in the real world? Please share your ideas and scenarios for all of us to learn from.

Global Students- Global Perspectives Projects

I am pleased to share with you an opportunity for Middle School Students to collaborate on a global perspectives project.

Mark Engstrom, the Assistant Principal and Middle School Geography teacher at my new school  in São Paulo, Brazil,  and his collaboration partner, Laurie Clement, a MS teacher in Windsor, Canada, have put together various projects to connect middle school geography students from around the world and to facilitate collaboration among them. This past school year, our students in Brazil worked together with students from Canada, USA and Sweden. They are expanding this opportunity to more schools and countries.

Take a look at the outline of the project below and get directly in contact with  one of the Program Coordinators:

Mark Engstrom
Graded School
Sao Paulo, Brazil
via Twitter (@markaengstrom)
email mark.engstrom@graded.br

Laurie Clement
St. Rose Catholic School
Windsor, Canada


Marble earth

Purpose: To facilitate student growth within a global environment.  Students will have the ability to acquire skills in research, critical thinking, teamwork and leadership while fostering partnerships with peers around the globe.

Last year middle school students from Brazil, the U.S., Sweden, and Canada connected to work on projects that require many Modern Learning Skills:

Creativity and Innovation
Students generate and extend ideas, suggest hypotheses, use their imagination and look for innovative ways to present their ideas.  In the Utopia Project, students create what they believe a Utopian country would look like.  They work together to determine the history of their country, the physical characteristics of their land and how that would impact their economic security.   In their groups, they also collaborate on social and political issues such as the education system as well as what type of government will run their country.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Students are encouraged to use knowledge, facts and data to effectively problem solve.  They learn that thinking through an issue, assessing problems and looking for multiple solutions is more important than identifying an immediate answer to a problem. While studying land disputes, students will investigate the land in question, the causes of the dispute as well as what negotiation strategies have been used to attempt to solve this conflict.  As a group they will also evaluate the current geopolitical situation and discuss possible resolutions.  Groups will then select images and visual representations to accurately portray the struggles that have occurred as a result of that particular piece of land.

Communication and Collaboration

Technology has transformed the way we communicate in the classroom.  It has allowed us to step beyond our classroom walls and collaborate with students across the globe.  In these projects students communicate and collaborate with their international peers throughout the learning process.  For example, in the Five Most Pressing Problems on the Planet project, the first task is for students to survey people in their lives/community in order to determine which global issues they think are the most “pressing”. After this communication, students collaborate around which issues their group will focus on.

Empathy and Global Stewardship

The Internet along with the various forms of social media used on a consistent basis by our students has provided them with instant and consistent access to global issues.  As a result, it is more important than ever to educate our students on what it means to become a global citizen. Our projects have been designed to provide students the opportunity to explore global issues and increase their awareness of social, environmental, political and health concerns that are present in our world today.

Curiosity and Imagination

Students will have the freedom to explore, negotiate and make choices.  They will be empowered to take ownership of their learning and become active participants within their groups.  Each of the projects have been designed to provide a significant amount of choice within a well structured environment.

Information/Media/ICT Literacy

Students will analyze and evaluate a wide variety of sources in order to determine what information is valuable.  In addition, students determine the best platform with which to share out their final product.

We now have complete links and almost all of the dates.  Is there any chance you could edit it so that it looks like this:

The 2013-2014 projects will be:


Side note: These are probably best done not as whole class projects, but rather for those students who could use enrichment or a non-traditional learning experience.  Each project runs for two weeks and there is a rubric for the grading of each one.

Parent testimonial

“This project is excellent. Children are collaboration each other and try to learn more. Also this project is also helping to bring children from different country different society and discuss the issues.” - Sujit Biswas

“I think this was a great experience for my daughter. She has never done anything like this before where you work with people from another country. She really seemed interested in it and was happy to be a part of it. However with all the projects and tests, piling up at the end of the quarter, she did at times get a little frustrated, but overall I think she really enjoyed it and would be glad if she can do it again!” -Hiroko Kawahara

Student testimonial

“The Five Most Pressing Problems project was my favourite project this year.  I liked working in groups with students around the world and getting to talk about real life problems.  I learned a lot from my partners by talking about which problems we thought were the most important. To help my group in ranking the issues, I created a survey that was completed through multiple forms of social media.  I received responses from over 600 people in over 20 countries.  I think that I’m more aware of global issues now that I have learned so much from the project”. - Carly Jacobs

* Read more about Carly’s experience in this article featured in her local newspaper,  The Windsor Star.

Partners in 2012-2013



Houston, U.S.A.

Nehemiah Middle School

Windsor, Canada

St. Rose

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Graded School- The American School of Sao Paulo

Karlstad, Sweden

Internationella Engelska Skolan

Partners in 2013-2014

Atlanta, U.S.A.

Atlanta International School

Esigodini, Zimbabwe

Falcon College

New York, U.S.A.

Avenues School

Belgrade, Serbia

International School of Belgrade

Campinas, Brazil

Escola Americana de Campinas

Astana, Kazakhstan

International School of Astana

Chicago, U.S.A.

Round Lake Middle School

Other Potential Partners for 2013-2014:

  • Delaware, U.S.A.
  • Lusaka
  • Singapore
  • The Hague
  • Sydney
  • Cairo
  • Zagreb
  • Melbourne
  • Hanoi
  • Hong Kong
  • Meknes, Morocco
  • Settat, Morocco
  • Karachi
  • Teaneck, New Jersey
  • Kuwait
  • Zurich
  • Managua
  • Caracas
  • Brussels
  • Piedmont, OK, U.S.A.
  • Jakarta
  • Macao
  • Prague
  • Doha
  • Dubai
  • Lisbon


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