Was just recently introduced to Twine, and started to look at it. I used to have students write Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books using computer programming a LONG time ago, when it was necessary to work a lot harder to produce text that linked to other text successfully. This is SO much easier. I haven't investigated the advanced features that will supposedly allow you to add pictures, but I intend to when I get a bit of time.
Glenhaven's theme for this year is "Making Good Choices" and so, following that theme, I created a VERY short Choices example using Twine. It contains just two of the everyday opportunities students have to make choices.
You can find it here:
I encourage you to check out Twine. I like the possibilities.
Please let me know if you try it and consider sharing a link to your student's creations here.
I LOVE Twitter. Mostly because it's like a waterfall of PD. I reach my hand into the waterfall, pull out the few droplets I can handle that day, use them sometimes immediately, and then, when I'm ready, reach in for more. I haven't contributed a lot to that endless supply of ideas and opinions and plans and products because most of the time, I just feel that what's already out there is so much better than anything I could do.
Case in point is this infographic on personalizing learning by Mia MacMeekin from http://anethicalisland.wordpress.com
I think it is a highly useful reminder of what you can do when trying to help a student personalize their learning.
I was in a car accident a few years ago, which wasn't my fault and which, happily I walked away from, but the insurance agent wrote off my car. I went alone to the yard where my car was kept to clear out my belongings. As soon as I saw her sitting there, I started to bawl and I could hardly see what I was pulling from the trunk. My car had taken me so many places that it was like losing a friend. I thought that I wouldn't experience something like that again.
About a month ago, my laptop started displaying "patches" of gray pixels on the opening screen and then would freeze on start up. I took it in for a check up, the salesman reset the graphics card and that seemed to fix the problem. Of course he counselled me that the computer was "old" and that should his "fix" not fix the problem, they no longer carried the part I needed and I'd be best to buy a new computer. When I got home and started her up, the problem was still there. Without a doubt, my computer was done. The tears started to flow down my face. I have all my data backed up so it wasn't the loss of work that was causing my grief. It was again the loss of, dare I say, a friend. That laptop has been part of celebrations (she's created end of term slide shows for years, and a wedding movie). She's been a major part and force behind many of my most significant achievements. She's been there while I struggled with ideas and relationships and countless other moments involving sound, pictures or text.
Right now, she's sitting in my bedroom, and I can't bring myself to dispose of her. I know it's crazy, but I'm actually mourning her loss. I can't even begin to think about her replacement.
I did watch the Joaquin Phoenix movie, Her, where he has a relationship with his operating system, and thought it was ridiculous, but now, given how sad I am, I'm rethinking my whole relationship with my laptop.
There is no denying that iPads or other tablets can engage a group of students who normally might not be inclined to embrace certain activities. But should they be used for that purpose?!?
It saddens and frustrates me to realize that in some classrooms, iPads have become the new silent reading. Some teachers put an iPad into the hands of a student and then sit back and in some cases do their marking or check their Facebook page.
It's awkward if teachers haven't asked for my help or planned the project with me because I don't feel like I have the right to intervene, but at the same time, I see the potential of the technology being wasted, and know that the teacher who wanted to use those iPads for something involving modification or redefinition (the SAMR model), can't because they've been signed out for Internet research.
The easiest way to guard against the misuse of technology is to continually ask, "Why am I having students use a tablet?"
If your only answer is "to keep them engaged" or "to keep them busy and quiet", rethink your use of that technology.
I feel like I haven't done a good job in guiding and encouraging my colleagues to always be asking why when they sign out the iPads, but I'm going to try to do that more often in the new year.
So, for those of you who followed my 100 word challenge, which I might have forgotten to post :-( but which can be found here .... let me give you the sad but useful update.
I couldn't do it!
Try as I might, words just spewed out of my mouth during my 45 minute classes. Each class, I'd vow to do better. At the end of each class, I'd silently brainstorm ways to cut down my word count. My strategies included: continue to post the learning goals but have a student read them, have the instructions already on a board, have every conceivable action as a gesture and just mime what I needed or have the actions on a board and just point to them. I even started to get desperate and rationalize cheats to myself like, "If I already said it, I don't have to count those words if I repeat it for a student who was out of class at the bathroom." The revelation was pathetic and wonderful. I talk too much. End of story.
So now comes part two. Having realized that I can't limit myself to 100 words, I will continue to try. I will continue to try my best NOT to be the person who does the most talking in the room. I am firmly convinced that less of me talking and more of students talking is going to be the game changer. We are going to get there... it just might take a little longer than I thought. If you haven't ever tried something similar; limiting your lesson to 100 or so words, I strongly suggest it. You don't need fancy technology, the collaboration of a colleague, the funding behind a full scale study; its beauty is in its simplicity. The results are just between you and your classroom walls (and your students if you choose to reveal your plan to them). You might discover some interesting results. Let me know how it goes.
Today during our CILM (Collaborative Inquiry into the Learning of Math) we recognized that students were having trouble 1.understanding problems
2. creating a plan and
3. clearly communicating their understanding and plan.
With the help of our resource teacher, Adam Bell, we looked at some of the talk moves and came up with a plan. Later though, I needed to know more so I was looking up accountable talk and found this:
which I really liked. That then led me to thinking that one of the most effective ways I can get students to talk is to stop talking so much myself. So... drum roll please... for the next eight school days, I'm going to secretly (at least a secret from my students) limit myself to no more than 100 words per class. My theory of action is If I talk less and encourage my students to "tell us more" they will talk more. Wish me luck. I will be using no more than 100 words per class.
Created a Kahoot for my library orientation. I worry that the message is lost in the fun of playing the game. Students certainly enjoyed themselves however. It's super fast to make one.
One of the problems with vocabulary walls is that often the kids who need them most are sitting near the back of the room and can't see them. Imagine instead a piece of paper, created by them with the word and then a QR code that links to a video of them explaining the word, or a definition written in their own language or something meaningful to them. I know we're trying to get away from paper and pencil but this would personalize the word walls, would be MUCH faster and use more media than just definitions written in ink on a page. Might try to experiment with both kinds to see which one makes a difference.
The student could create something as simple as this using https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/
and could then use their device whenever they wanted it. Creating the personal word wall could be one of their in class assignments. Or they could contribute to a classroom Padlet math glossary.
I've started to rediscover sites that I used to use a lot. Answer Garden is one of those. It is described as a digital place to scribble. You pose a question and then everyone can respond with their answers.
I've decided to post one for the first day of school so that kids can see that their worries are pretty much shared by lots of other people.