Monday, September 28, 2009

Worth 1000 Words

Geography terminology doesn't always inspire enthusiasm in students, so I am always looking for new ways to make learning vocabulary engaging and most of all memorable in the educational sense. In order to share the work, and spread the knowledge of terminology so we can move on to the more complex understandings I decided to have each student make a Smart Recording that can be part of a 'Geo Bank' and used as a class resource, as well as beyond the walls of the classroom. The image above was used on the first page of the example given as the visual guide for students, and inserted in a word document along with Word Art and a text box for the definition. All simple. Clean, clear, effective.

The second page includes a world map and three diverse examples of the term - e.g. isthmus. Upon completion the students then make a recording describing their visual and using their document, picture and Google Earth to clearly show examples and locations of their selected term.

The big project is the creation of their own island and culture so these should provide a rich resource of their island and neighbouring countries.

As more than 1/2 of my classes are below the 43rd percentile in the area of vocabulary(according to recent testing) it is imperative that visuals be clear, and catch the viewers eye and provide that hook for learning. Not only will curriculum content be supported by these images - it will be enhanced. In Medina's Rule of Thumb for presenters, the increase in understanding is clearly shown that recall is 3x stronger with visual and 6x stronger with a combination of visual and oral. Not only for the ESL students - for all.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Always learning

Teaching two streams of classes - humanities and IT class is quite different. One is teaching skills (keyboarding, programs etc) and the other much more using skills to support learning of curricular content. What is evident is the transfer from one class to other - cross grade, and over time. In the IT class the students learn to make movie clips and focus on Excel or Word to feature in their clip. One year/class later in the mainstream classes they transfer the knowledge to the geography terms to collaboratively form an on line resource for Geo Terms.
That's just one small example but what it does is allow so much more shared and peer supported learning. Students can focus on the content and not the application. I'm lucky to work in a very competent IT team and as I follow in their wake I am able to consolidate what I do know and constantly incorporate new ideas to support learning.
Reflecting - I know it is a combination of what this course forces me to do and what I find useful and applicable. I'm simply on a journey of absorption and adaptation of IT skills.