Teacher Tech Cafe

Differentiating Student Products with Technology - Choices!

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Master Concepts by Creating Differentiated Products

This week's tip is more like a challenge! I challenge you to give your students choice in showing you they understand what they are learning.

I want to expand our focus for our weekly tutorial. Let's think about differentiating for our students with technology. To borrow a phrase from Mark Barnes and his team, we want our students to hack their own education (Barnes, 2016). Our vision is to build digital literacy in our students and to see them run with the tools to find new ways to own their learning!

Consider Having Your Students Create a Mission Statement or Rules of Engagement

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When it came to using technology in the classroom, my students and I had a certain Code of Honor we followed. We held the power to innovate, and we dared to live in beta; however, we focused on learning content 100% of the time. Please feel free to use any part, or all, of our poster.

Dare to Innovate!

Multiply Your Voice - Lab Station Instruction Videos

Our students need to be at the center of their learning, and they need to have the ability to take control. As a scientist who became a teacher, I believe kids have to experience science. Science is something you do...not just something you read about in leveled readers or passages. Because students worked at multiple lab stations at once, I needed to multiply myself for instructions. Have you ever given the instructions for four or five table stations before beginning and, then, repeated yourself several dozen times after students began? Me, too. Consider using video instructions for stations if you have the devices available. This also works well if you are a BYOD classroom.

Here is a sample video done with Tellagami for a fifth grade science work station where students are introduced to a production assignment.


Set Your Expectations High and KEEP THEM THAT WAY!

Expectations and Rubric Sample

Have a set of instructions and expectations at the station, as well. This gives students an opportunity to hear your instructions and to refer back to the written words.

Set high expectations for every student, and provide the scaffolding they need to get there. Do not accept second-rate work from any student!


5.8 Earth and space. The student knows that there are recognizable patterns in the natural world and among the Sun, Earth, and Moon system. The student is expected to:

(C) demonstrate that Earth rotates on its axis once approximately every 24 hours causing the day/night cycle and the apparent movement of the Sun across the sky; and

(D) identify and compare the physical characteristics of the Sun, Earth, and Moon (Texas Education Agency, 2010).

The following link will take you to the full Google Doc Expectations and Rubric.

Characteristics of Sun, Earth, and Moon Student Sample

If you noticed in the instructions, I limited the choices for this activity; however, I left the door open for those students whose creativity screamed to do something different with the concept. I added that particular line after a year with a wonderful young lady who never quite chose one of my choices! It always seemed to morph into something else, and it turned out to be, quite often, a better idea than my suggestions.

Here is a sample student product done in iFunFace - an app that is not considered an educational app!

Tech in the Classroom - Sun, Earth, and Moon Interview
Sun, Earth, and Moon characteristics can be found in the TEKS Resource System (TEKS Resource System, 2015).

My Challenge to You

Dare to live in BETA in the coming weeks! Give your students permission to innovate. You know...
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