I’ve seen, and heard many stories, about teachers using technology, but not setting the students up for success. As adults, we know how to navigate through sites and find the information we are looking for. However, students many times, don’t have this level of sophistication, yet. I have been guilty of, “Your topic is X, go research it on the computer.” Looking back, I’m embarrassed. I really should have set the students up for success.
Setting Students Up For Success
Since those fatal flaws, I have learned a thing or two about giving the students all the information needed in order for them to be successful. For example, I am having my 5th graders do a Poetry Slam/Rap performance to learn and show understanding of Hernan Cortes and Montezuma. So for this project, not only did I give them parameters, I gave them examples of a Poetry Slam (kid friendly), 3 Grade appropriate online articles (that I read through first) [article 1, article 2, article3], 1 PBS Video, and an template for the poem. The students are allowed to throw their own spin on the poem and are not bound by the template. They are, however, held accountable to show the information that I have asked for. Many students need a template to get started. Staring at a blank page can be intimidating for kids, and adults! I also assigned groups. This let them get started instead of bickering about who’s in which group. That, was more for me than them!
That’s A Lot Of Work!
Yes, setting all this up is a lot of work in the beginning – for me. But, I’m a teacher. It’s my job to set my students up for success. There is not room for laziness when you’re a teacher. In addition to setting the students up for success, I have allowed them to focus on the content, not where to find information, what does a poem look like, what the heck is a poetry slam, and all the other anxieties that comes along with projects.
Let The Fun Begin
Now I get to have fun! I have all this collected in Google Classroom. This way all the information is organized in one place. While the students begin their writing (collaboratively), I walk around and conference with the groups and guide them. The result? A – MAZ – ING! While they aren’t finished yet, and some final corrections need to be made, I am quite pleased with their level of engagement.
Check out what I had to say about the final product!