Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Setting up your Digital Classroom Part 3 (Digital Citizenship): Technology Tuesday

Digital Citizenship in the Classroom

Its the first few days of school and students are learning the rules and procedures of your class.  They are told they need to be respectful, they need to honor each others opinions, to not make fun of others answers, and speak in complete sentences.  Were they taught that the same rules apply when they are on the computers or iPads?  With all this amazing technology entering our classes and more and more students coming to school with smart phones there is a need to teach about digital citizenship.  

         It is so easy to just post a comment or picture about something or someone and not really think about the results of that post.  Cyberbullying is now taking the place of physical assaults with almost 60% of students now saying that something mean has been said about them online.  If we are going to use technology in our classes than we need to teach our students what is acceptable and what is not.  There are a few ways we can do this.

Digital Citizenship in the Classroom:

There are 10 parts to digital citizenship but I feel that 7 of them really apply to the classroom.  These seven should be incorporated into your rules of your classroom.  I like to have my students do a blind pole and ask, how many have had someone say something mean about them through texts or Facebook or other online means.  We talk about why it happens and how it makes them feel.  Then I introduce the seven parts of digital citizenship

1. Digital Rights and Responsibilities: Right to privacy and the Responsibility to use technology in an appropriate manner.
2. Digital Communication: The exchange of information electronically
3. Digital Etiquette: Digital users are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner.
4. Digital Security: Protecting themselves from digital thieves and using virus protection. (I also use this time to talk to them about security on their phones.  Many of my students have smartphones but do not have find my phone or similar apps installed or activated)
5. Digital Literacy: Knowing when and how to use technology.
6. Digital Law: Legal rights and restrictions.  This is an excellent time to talk about the illegal downloading of music or movies or using copyrighted material.
7. Digital Commerce: Knowing how to buy from legitimate companies.

We talk about the Do's and Don'ts.  
*Do listen and think first           *Don't forget the human behind the screen
*Do use proper English             *Don't shout by capitalizing every letter
*Do be careful about what you share    *Don't share images or videos with strangers

I also use sentence frames to help my students practice digital citizenship and reply to posts using academic language.

My students are constantly having online discussions and collaborations so one thing I like to have posted in my classroom is this THINK poster.  Before we start our discussions or online collaboration we review it.  I also find it helpful for me to review every now and then as I do collaborations online with other teachers.

What have you found to be helpful to help your students with digital citizenship in your classroom?


A great way to integrate social media into your classroom in a safe non-digital way is with exit tickets.  Students can "chirp" what they learned or draw a picture of what they learned

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Blended Learning Science Stations: Science Saturday

Digital Learning Day is February 17. How are you going to go digital? Follow the blog hop to discover the different ways teachers are going digital 

Blended Learning Science Stations

Students learn in different ways which is why the blended learning model is such a great way to differentiate your teaching and help them understand the concept in a way that works best for them.  There are four basic models with blended learning: Rotation model, Flex model, A La Carte model, and Enriched-Virtual model.  I will be focusing today on the Rotation model with an emphasis on Station-Rotation.  

      When I do Station-Rotations I like to have 2-3 stations that the students move through. The three stations I generally have is an online station, a group collaboration station, and a teacher-led station.

Online Station:

In the online station students work pairs to investigate the topic by either doing a virtual lab, watching a video, completing a digital interactive notebook, or using thinklink to navigate through different websites, videos, and pictures that will then allow them to learn the topic.  The important part about the online station is that they need to work in pairs and discuss what they are doing and seeing.  Some people put students in front of computers for the whole class time and the students are silent, there is no interaction with someone else to discuss what they are learning.  This is, in my opinion, is not a good thing especially for EL learners.  They need to talk about what it is they are doing, what they are seeing, their understanding of it.  Another important part about the online station is that their needs to be interaction with the information and an accountability piece.  When my students do a virtual lab one student will have their computer open to the virtual lab and the other student will have theirs open to either a google form where they will be answering questions or a lab template that they are filling in on google sheets.  If they are watching a video or doing a thinklink investigation, they are taking notes, answering questions, and summarizing the main ideas of their investigation.  I have also given them a digital flip book that they work on together to complete.  Using an LMS like Schoology or Google Classroom makes it easier to give students directions and lead them in what they are suppose to do.

Group Collaboration

Group collaboration stations allow students to do some hands-on learning.  The students work together to do a lab, create a poster, work with manipulative's, or complete a learning task.  To help with the organization of this station it is important to assign students roles, to have clear instructions, and to make sure they have a finished product at the end that they are held accountable for.  I try and incorporate more of a business setting so I have the CEO (leader), Reporter (speaker/writer), the IT director (materials person), and the Ambassador (person that can talk to other groups or the teacher).

Teacher-Led Instruction

This station is my favorite station out of the three.  Sometimes as teachers we find it difficult to really meet the needs of all our students and give them that special one-on-one attention they deserve.  Especially in a secondary setting when you might have 36-40 students in a class and you only have an hour with them.  That is why this station is so important.  Instead of working with the whole class you are able to work with a small number of students.  You can keep this station the same for every group and teach the same thing or you can differentiate it for each group.  Most of the time I like to divide my students up by ability level for that topic.  When I do that I am able to meet the needs to the students when they come to my station.  For the students that are struggling we might practice the information, I might reteach it, or we will do some basic activity.  For the students that have a good understanding I might have them learn about some real world applications and help them work with higher level thinking tasks to see how deep we can go in their understanding.  My students love the more one-on-one this provides and feel that they were finally challenged in ways that are more difficult to do in a whole class setting or that they finally understand the topic because of the individual help.

Keys to Successful Station-Rotations

1. Clear instructions at each station
2. Clear expectations for the activity (I usually have a poster and refer to it at the beginning and during each rotation)
3. Daily review for groups to share out what they learned from the rotations each day
4. Engaging activities that challenge them but aren't so difficult they give up

If you are interested in doing science station rotations and more information on how one is done, check out my science station rotation for the scientific method.  It is a great place to start to incorporate this model in your classroom

If you do the station-rotation model, what are some things you do to make it successful?

Digital Learning Day 2016--Why Should You Try Something New? Because Your Students Will Thank You.

My students thank me all the time for the new “stuff” we are doing this year. Go ahead--take the plunge! Believe me, if you have access to any sort of technology (even one device), then do it. That one tablet or laptop can open up a window to a universe of instructional opportunities. Your students will want to get to that tech center. 

Digital Learning Day, February 17, 2016, is ultimately about bringing equal opportunity to our classrooms, regardless of location or socioeconomic status. It is about the importance of having access to Wi-Fi and up-to-date technology in our schools. Many schools have technology that is not working or that is out-of-date. State and local governments are now focusing on getting it all fixed so that our school children can succeed in the 21st century.

Here's the challenge--On February 17, 2016, try a new lesson that focuses on discovery, analysis, and exploration. Give your students the gift of a new opportunity by using Google Classroom, MS OneDrive, or an App. And don’t forget to share what you are doing in your classroom on social media to celebrate Digital Learning Day with #futureready. To help you get started, we’ve teamed up to share an amazing selection of blog posts and classroom activities that are designed to propel you and your students into your digital learning adventure.