As teaching is such a vast world of planning, techniques and assessment. In order for us to keep up we must sometime magpie ideas from eachother. This week I took an idea that was shared on Teacher Toolkit #teachertoolkit. I have adapted it slightly but it is working well in my class.
The article layed out a blueprint for different classroom zones. One area for adult support, another for working independently and the other for working collaboratively. I have adapted this in my classroom so the collaborative zone has large bits of paper for the children to share their ideas on. It has been really effective for getting children to discuss and develop their learning through conversation. Children in the class of all abailities have chosen to work in the one area and astonishingly it seems that all of these children seem to discuss and develop ideas at a level field.
Already you can see the LA children wanting to achieve what the HA children are discussing and likewise the HA children are keen to help others, leading to them developing their own deeper understanding.
“While we teach, we learn,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca
Seneca definitely has a point and I am really relishing the use of collaborative learning.
Taking IT further
February saw Nearpod (A leading teacher tool app) release a new interactive feature to their presentation creation software. It is called, yep you guessed it, 'collaborate'. The feature allows children to post their ideas on a virtual clipboard. Meaning that all children can access the notes of others. It has proven to be a really useful app for assessing children's prior knowledge at the start of a topic, and great for sharing concepts and discussing/addressing misconceptions. There is still some teething problems to iron out i.e allowing students to delete a post and allowing a teacher to organise the posts for data analysis. But there is certainly potential here.
Chromebooks: Excuse me banging on about these. But they are really so very effective. Collaboration on these is so useful. Children can edit documents simultaneously and this just seems to inspire everyone to pick up their work to it's very best. So far we have created slides presentations on Victorian inventors, research docs on toys and worked on Maths sheets together.
It is certainly an exciting time. I can't wait to see what comes next and to see where else these features can take us.