Here’s a preview of my new post for Edutopia – click on the link below to read more!
When students come to school each morning, they have tons of stories — stories to share with their friends as they unpack or move through the hallways, stories to share with the class during morning meetings, or stories to share with a teacher about something that made them happy or sad. In the classroom, writing can happen in many different ways, whether it’s free writing in a notebook to gather ideas or publishing stories to share with the whole school.
The Common Core State Standards expect that children across the grades can write for three specific purposes:
- Opinion pieces that persuade a reader and make an argument
- Informative writing that explains an idea and relays information
- Narrative stories of real or imagined events.
As students move from one grade level to another, the complexity of these tasks will change greatly. The persuasive writing that takes place in a second grade classroom will look very different than the work that a seventh grader produces. From kindergarten through 12th grade, students are expected to share their writing through technology.
Earlier this year I introduced Frolyc as a terrific tool for teachers to design lesson-based interactive activities. Users can now purchase individual activities to use with students or they can upgrade to a premium service where all activities are available for unlimited student assignment. Kind of like signing up for Netflix and having access to all of the content all of the time. Frolyc is also giving activity authors the opportunity to sell the activities they create and post on the site.
The premium service supports student creativity by letting students access the authoring interface straight from the Activity Spot iPad app. Students can create activities as part of their daily lessons, and demonstrate their learning and thinking. These student-created activities can be assigned by the teacher to other students, facilitating peer-to-peer learning. Frolyc is also starting a Premium Authoring program where users can be compensated for activities they create – you can learn more about this new program by signing up on their site.
Frolyc can be used in both 1:1 iPad classrooms and learning environments with just a few iPads. Check out their blog to learn how this platforms supports differentiated learning with one or more iPads by giving every teacher the power to curate and create instructional and assessment activities quickly.
As a former elementary school teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, I know how powerful iPads can be as learning tools in the hands of students. This mobile device is so much more than a content consumption tool, because students can use an iPad for hands-on learning. They can move items across the screen, write about a topic, and document their learning using audio and visual tools.
No Rubber Bands Required
I want to introduce you to a virtual manipulative app and demonstrate a few different ways that it can be used in an elementary school classroom to address concepts outlined in the Common Core State Standards while promoting higher-order thinking skills. Geoboard, by the Math Learning Center is a versatile app that provides a rubber-band free alternative to traditional geoboards. It lets students pick and choose from two different boards and lots of virtual rubber bands to create shapes.