So we’ve been having these great workshops on how best to differentiate in our classrooms, spurred mostly by the administration’s focus on classroom teachers working with small groups throughout the day rather than teaching to the “whole”. Although this comes naturally to K-3 teachers, for those of us teaching 4th and up that’s not necessarily the case, even though it makes so much sense!
Well, one of our last presenters shared the wonderful strategy of using a tic-tac-toe board with choices of assignments to meet certain academic goals. Yes, this strategy has been around for years and years, and I had used it eons ago, but just like going to the grocery store, you get into ruts in teaching and find yourself doing the same old things – often forgetting other great tools!
Given our 1:1 situation, I decided to create a tic-tac-toe for our spelling program to include technology activities. You can check it out on our Cove Spelling Page HERE. This week was our first stab at it. The kids were so involved! Most of the skills were fairly new, including the part about uploading most of their artifacts the spelling page of their wiki (you can check it out HERE). So it took a little longer to get things done than it will once they get used to the actual technology skills. I had some quick learners who became my experts for others, which was wonderful!
Now, I know there are pros and cons to sharing grades publicly, but I decided to grade their components right on the wiki so they could have immediate feedback. They loved being able to open their page and see their grades. And since we’re using the wiki as a digital portfolio, their parents can see the grades right away as well.
Well, today was the big end of week test. Just so you know, last week my class scored an average of a 79.8 on the 20 word test. Nothing to phone home about! I don’t think many of them glanced at their lists or the “old” practice activities more than the 5 minutes it took them to mindlessly get them done. This week was different! They were engaged with their spelling words every day. The difference shows up in the scores! Our average for this week? Are you sitting down? A whopping 93.9! Eleven of my 19 kids scored a 100 on the test. Proud? Yes, I was proud, but they were even more proud! Proud that they learned some new technology skills, proud that they completed some more interesting tasks, and proud that they knew the words (easily!) come Friday!
A great way to end the week!
Photo Credit: Refrigerator Letters from http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterbox/