Friday, August 21, 2015

Reflections on a year of 1:1 in 6th grade

In this post, some of our 6th grade teachers reflect on their first year in a 1:1 setting. 

Please feel free to respond to their reflections and continue the conversation in the comments section below. 


"In my 6th grade Science class this year, the chrome-books enabled us to try some new projects using technology.  Students observe the life cycles of the Cabbage White Butterfly and the Wisconsin Fast plant each year. This year the chrome-books were a great tool in helping to do a long term project over a six week period. Students took pictures of each of the developmental stages of these organisms throughout  their life cycles. They also recorded data and observations on the chrome-book. The finished product was a Google presentation of the life cycle stages of each organism and examples of how they are independent upon each other in different periods of their development. The students loved using their chrome-books to take pictures and record data about these living creatures as they grew in the classroom!"
Gene Buck, Science Teacher
Thomas Grover Middle School

"As a first year teacher, the idea of having CBs in my room was overwhelming. On top of learning a new school, new students, and a new lifestyle, I was encouraged to learn about a technology I had little prior knowledge of. During my interview process, I quickly faced this reality while participating in a demo lesson. When I asked students to design an irrigation system for the Nile River, they went right to their CBs. I knew then, that my thoughts of teaching and engagement would have to change.

This year the 1:1 initiative brought challenges and successes to my teaching. Though I cannot point to one particular app or procedure that worked well, as a whole the CBs allowed my students to interact with history outside of my room, without leaving their desks. Students were more confident and curious when the CB was utilized; a wealth of information was at their fingertips. Research assignments were more authentic because students were not just learning skills meant for a library- the skills could and would be used in everything they examined, each time they logged on. The CBs also allowed many of my students to have a voice in the room. Backchannels, video presentations, and blog posts allowed my quietest students to become active participants in daily activities. Now in June, these students are more confident both online, and in person.

Next year I hope to continue to explore uses for the CB. The 1:1 initiative has meant a lot of professional development goes on during my down time, as my chronic “pinning” proves evidence of. The students are always looking for new things to learn on their devices, and I am always looking for new ways to direct their learning. As technology continues to grow and new sites and apps are developed daily, I will continue to look to my students, colleagues and online communities for more. More than continuing to utilize a particular website, extension, or procedure, I would like to continue to make the time for earnest exploration and professional development."

Kaity Haley, Social Studies Teacher
Thomas R. Grover Middle School


"A course that starts with the Big Bang and extends into the Common Era offers myriad opportunities to differentiate and give students freedom to select from a wide menu of topics to pursue. Symbaloo provides teachers with the ability to present many options on a single screen, allowing students to safely pursue their interests and even suggest websites to consider adding. The students love to share their discoveries. Symbaloo is colorful and user friendly, making it a delightful destination. Symbaloo has become a favorite of several of the foreign language teacher here at Grover, too. They use this software in the classroom as a key tool in their “carts.”

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