That day when the technology works, the lesson goes well, the children are completely engaged, and your fellow teachers come sign out technology so that they may take the lesson to the next level.
Friday was such a day.
Each Friday, I have one grade in for a brief lesson and a checkout. Two classes each period times six class periods. I get the students for 20 minutes -10 of which are for book checkout, so the lessons must be compact and include some sort of enticement to check out a new book.
Last week, I had the idea that I needed more information about each class to help tailor my book talks to the students in front of me. Our school has recently implemented Google Apps for Education (GAFE), so I wanted to include some aspect of technology in my lesson.
- I began the lesson with a brief story about my son, who does not like to read, finding a book that interested him and how describing it to me helped me find other books he liked.
- Prior to the lesson, I created a Google Form that necessitated each student logging into his or her GAFE account to complete. The Google Form asked each student to list three words that would describe books they would be interested in reading.
- iPads for each student were on the tables and I gave them 5 minutes to complete the survey
- For spelling help and modification purposes, I had a list of 99 adjectives that described books for each student. (Thank you Laura Candler - http://www.lauracandler.com/)
- Once the results were in, I opened the results spreadsheet on the SMART board (modeling how Google Forms work to students – CHECK!)
- I copied and pasted the results into the Create box on wordle.net and created a word cloud, explaining that the more times a word occurred, the larger it would appear
- Using the word cloud, gave a quick book talk on some titles that fit the class profile
The students loved seeing which words were the most popular, they got a chance to practice logging in to their new GAFE accounts, and I now have waitlists for almost every book I talked about.
The teachers loved seeing their classes' word clouds – most of them asked if I could email them the results. One of them is now creating a Google Form as part of an assessment, something she had not done before, and two others are incorporating Wordle into lessons. It was a great way to end a long and stressful week.
Some days, magic happens.