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Third Graders- Called Upon As Experts

Third graders had the opportunity to be called upon being experts. They were asked to skype into an educational conference presentation being given by Kelly Hines from North Carolina and share their experience of using Skype at school.  Students were excited and prepared well by being assigned different job responsibilities during the Skype call.

Here were their job descriptions:

  • Answer and Hang Up Skype call
  • Greeter (Introduce ourselves)
  • Q&A
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Live Blogger
  • Note-Taker- laptop
  • Note-Taker- paper & pencil
  • Note-Taker- Doodler – iPad

Distribution of Job Responsibilities

Mrs Hines sent us three questions ahead of time. As a class, we collaboratively brainstormed how we could best answer these questions.

Question: Preparation & Brainstorming

Skype Prep

Skype Prep

Here is the post from our Blogger:

Today we are skyping with about 50 teachers learning to skype. We are telling stories about our skyping. We are teaching teachers. We had three people to answer questions. We are telling stories of why it’s good to skype.

Here are the notes they took on the laptop about our Skype call:

* Skyping with North Carolina
* Teaching teachers
* About 50 teachers learning
* Answering questions
* Telling stories
* Never skyped
* Showing our teacher
* Asking to check out our blog
* Learning how to skype with other teachers

Here are the images taken by the student photographer (remember third grader!)

Note-Takers

Note Taker- Pencil & Paper

Videographer & Q&A

Doodler/ Illustrator

Here is the screenshot of our “doodler/illustrator” from the iPad.

iPad "Doodler/Illustrator"

Here is an excerpt of the video taken by one of the third graders to document the connection.

It was a fantastic opportunity for the students to practice their oral presentation skills, learn about specific audiences (in this case teachers learning about using Skype in their classrooms) and documentation skills (paper & pencil, video, images, illustrations and blogging).

Digital Learning Farm in Action

Alan November’s article Students as Contributors: The Digital Learning Farm has inspired me in my professional life beyond words and guided many of my research and actions in the classroom and professional development since then.

We have come full circle as globalization quickly becomes the norm, and it may now be essential for our students to compete with peers from around the world. Today, we can restore the dignity and integrity of the child as a contributor. Across the country, pioneering teachers are providing students with new roles that have students making contributions to their learning communities. We have powerful, easy-to-use tools such as screencasting and podcasting that give students opportunities to contribute content to the class. At the same time we can also provide them with rigorous and more motivating assignments and better prepare them to become more productive in our new global economy.

You can read the following posts on this blog where I shared thoughts and examples of students as contributors:

I wanted to share yet another example of The Digital Learning Farm in action with you.

Mystery Call

Fourth graders had a blast with a “Mystery Skype”. Two classes connected without knowing WHERE each one was geographically located. The idea was, by asking targeted questions, to find out the city we each lived in.

This mystery-type-call was a lot of fun and reinforced critical thinking skills as well as collaboration, communication and geography skills!

We stated the rules at the beginning of the call:

  1. One class starts asking a question to determine the geographic location of the other class.
  2. Questions can only be answered with “Yes” or “No”.
  3. If the class who asked receives a “Yes” answer, they continue to ask another question until they receive a “No”. It will be the other class’s turn then to ask a question.

On our end, we gave students different jobs to help figure the location out.

Questions & Answers

  • Q & A: students were in the “hot seat” asking and answering questions in front of the webcam

Scribe

  • Scribe: Student who wrote the clues we received on the board to keep track of positive and negative responses

Researchers

Researchers

Researchers

  • Researchers: Students were ready and waiting with Google Maps open on their computer or with an atlas to take the clues received and narrow the search down and to feed information to the Q&A speakers.

We had a blast trying to figure each other’s location out and learned that we need to learn to ask good questions that will narrow possible answers down. We also learned that we all need to work together (Q&A, researchers and scribe) and communicate in order to solve the mystery of our Skype connection’s location. Here are some of the clues we figured out: Our skype mystery connection lives:

  • in the USA
  • where it is cold right now
  • in the North of the USA
  • does not live in North Dakota
  • in Michigan
  • about an hour from Detroit
  • close to a lake
  • in a small town

We needed some help to continue finding their exact location: We received the following clues:

  • they are close to the border with Ohio
  • the first part of their city’s name is a “baby sheep”

Our mystery class was from Lambertville, Michigan!

Backchanneling-Movie Watching-Note Taking- Information Scribes

The issue of copyright came up with our 7th graders as they were creating Gloggs about different characters of a story. The Language Arts teacher asked me to join them to reinforce and discuss copyright, creative commons, public domain and fair use. Not an easy task…

I decided to show the class the ~10 minute The Fair(y) Use Tale video clip.

At the same time, I wanted them to take notes collaboratively. I chose to create a Today’s Meet chat room and then directed them to log in by sharing the URL with them. To make sure that all of them were in the “room” and signed in with their first names only, we performed a simple roll call by asking to quickly write a “Hello”. That let me know too that all of them knew how to post to the channel.

Sign in and Roll Call

We had a talk about:

  • appropriateness (or not) about social comments to the channel like “This is sooooooo cooool!!!!!! or “You said this already…”
  • How do we focus on the content?
  • spelling and format- text talk ok? full sentences? Length? 140 characters or less?
  • collaborative writing: don’t repeat what the person before you shared, add something new
  • note taking: What is important from the video? What will help us later remember key points of the content?
  • organization of the notes: How can we show when a new segment starts in the video? How will this reflect in the notes?
  • multitasking: listening, summarizing, writing, reading

7th graders backchanneling while watching movie clip

As we switched the Todaysmeet chat screen on the projector to the video, we reminded students that their teacher was the chat room moderator and would be following along what they were writing. We made sure we stopped the video at appropriate intervals to switch back to the chat screen to go over the notes they had taken so far. We also started asking them what they thought would be discussed next or if questions they had would be answered in the next segment? That helped them focus on content and listen in on specific facts.

Organizing and pulling out information

The TodaysMeet log was copied and pasted into a Google Doc that was shared with all the students. Then the “Backchannel Clean-up” started. Google Docs allows all collaborators to edit the document at the same time. You will see each other’s cursor in different colors and with their username attached.Remember that the backchannel log will appear in reverse chronological order.

Someone is responsible for:

  • deleting the time stamp and author’s name from each Today’s Meet entry
  • deleting duplicate entries
  • double checking for fact accuracy
  • adding (if they were not added via Today’s Meet) and bolding relevant segment titles
  • add bullets, if appropriate, for visual clarity

After the clean-up is completed, students can add further notes that were missed during the live backchannel or connections to other information or facts (via links) that they thought of later.

I can also see a student use different highlighter colors in Google Docs to color-code and group certain information and segments.

Using a backchannel tool like Today’s Meet, is a great way to give your students the role of “Official Scribe”. The official scribe is one of the six roles Alan November advocates to empower learners. Alan furthermore says that

Do all of your students take excellent notes everyday? What if there were online collaboration tools that would give your class the opportunity to collaboratively build one set of perfect notes? Using a shared blog, wiki or another collaborative writing tool like Google Docs (http://docs.google.com) students can share this responsibility and create a detailed set of notes that can be used by the entire class.

Students leaving a lesson with the PERFECT NOTES….We are getting there…

Adapted from Alan November (pp.188-193), Curriculum 21 (ASCD, 2010) by Heidi Hayes Jacobs.

Interested in other blog posts about upgrading and teaching note taking and summarizing to your students? Take a look a:

Have you written a blog post about note taking? Do you have ideas and resources to share? Leave a comment with a link on this post or use the Twitter Hashtag #notetaking to add your voice.

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