Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GAME Plan Update

      Last year our fifth grade class adopted the program, “Alias”, to increase and refine vocabulary development and ignite deep level critical thinking skills.  The program also included a writing component that required students to use text content to respond to related prompts.  While reviewing its merits, my co-teacher and I decided that technology can effectively be integrated into these same lessons.  Assessing progress toward my GAME plan, I have come to realize how complex the task is.  During our first discussion my co-teacher and I agreed to review parent permission slips regarding the use of technology.  For those students not able to participate, we will have to plan alternative activities that align with our instructional goals.  Another important consideration is the availability of computers for student use.  Prior to this meeting, I did not take into consideration how the sequence of the lesson would have to be planned to coordinate with computer lab time.  We agreed to plan our instruction around our scheduled computer time so that the integration of the technology tools will seamlessly support our goals.
       Collaborative learning communities have not been a part of my school’s landscape.  My co-teacher partner and I were both surprised at how productive and beneficial a short lunchtime planning session could be.  We both were able to contribute our knowledge and access to the resources necessary to ensure our lesson’s success. We also discussed two different back up plans in case of a technology glitch that interferes with our access to technology resources.  Heterogeneous grouping for our problem based learning activity was also discussed.  In addition we decided, as suggested by Dr.Ross (Laureate, 2010), that since written conventions were not a focus of this lesson, students would be encouraged to make use of word processors spell and grammar checkers.   
     One question that was generated but not yet answered included, “how can we differentiate instruction to facilitate the different prior knowledge levels of content and technology. Another yet unanswered question is how much guidance and direction should we provide our collaborative learning communities in their follow-up problem based learning activity?  These questions will be revisited at our next planning meeting where we will use formative assessment to adjust our teaching in accordance with student learning (Cennamo, Ross & Ertner, 2009).
     Independently toward my goals, I have engaged our resident “techies” to show me how to use available lab technology as well as to share their class blogs.  Using the tutorials I procured from the internet on my chosen technology tools, I have begun to create examples of how students can demonstrate knowledge learned.  Although the tutorials are not always complete and effective, as I practice on these tools I find increased confidence in my proficiencies
     In addition to collaborating in a fifth grade class, I have connected with a former Walden graduate who feels that she has returned to her digital immigrant status she had prior to receiving her master’s degree.  Although afraid to take a risk independently, she has welcomed me into her classroom to support her in setting up blogging to support her children in learning to write letters.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2009).  Technology integration for meaningful classroom use:  A standards-based approach:  Mason, Ohio:  Cengage Learning.
Laureate Education, Inc. 2010 (Producer). Assessing Student Learning with Technology (DVD).  
            Integrating Technology across the Content Areas.  Baltimore, MD: Author.


  1. For the sounds of it, you have a very well thought out Game plan taking place. The great thing about your plan is how closely you are working with your co-teacher. Together you both seem to work through problems effortlessly while taking all the important factors into consideration. Working with technology can be tricky when deciding the timing and sequencing of the lesson. There's also plenty of unknown factors that you need to be prepared for, such as whether or not the technology is going to work when you want it to. I learned this the hard way and now always have an alternative in mind just incase my original plan fails. Overall, its easy to see you're well on your way to implementing a successful game plan!

  2. Nicole,
    The experience working with my co-teacher has been both enlightening and extremely informative. I am so excited to share our expertise as well as to collaborate in order to meet the needs of the diverse students in her classroom. The technology aspect has been quite a challenge as there always seem to be some unexpected quirks. It is surprising to me how long it takes 36 students to all get to the same place just to start. Having two teachers available certainly helps. As you stated, I alawys have a backup plan.

  3. Vicki,

    Do you use YouTube or another site to find tutorials? I recently found a great site for tutorials. (atomiclearning.com) Tutorials can be good for learning new technology or brushing up on technology you have used before. Have you used tutorials to teach your students how to do something? I have wanted to try this, but haven't had the chance.