MiddSouth Innovates

Issue #5 2018-2019

Let Us Now Pause For A Moment Of Science

For the MP1 Quarterly, the Biology teachers decided to take a slightly different approach for their students. Since they had been giving regular assessments all Marking Period, they felt they had a good measure of what their Students knew. They decided to focus the Quarterly on the most important topic, and the only topic they had yet to give a summative assessment: Animal and Plant Cells.

The objective was simple: " to explain the parts of an animal or plant cell and their functions.." But the bar was quickly raised when they explained to the students that in no way should they just rattle off textbook definitions; they needed to get creative. When I talked with Mrs. Bach about the project she explained that the students really liked it because it wasn't a test with right/wrong answers and they could demonstrate their understanding in whatever way worked for them.

For the project, students could choose to create podcasts, poems, comic strips, 3D models, or even an entire "cell city." The teachers met with students in small groups throughout the weeks leading up to the Quarterly day, providing feedback, checking progress, and getting tech assistance for them when necessary. We can't show you all the amazing submissions, but below you can find some of the favorites.

Put me in Coach, I'm ready to write!

Any teacher who has ever had to read numerous student writing submissions (which is probably most of us) will tell you that sometimes you wish there was a way to clone yourself so that there could be more coaching the students on their writing throughout the writing process. We lose track of the number of times where basic grammatical mistakes could have been caught earlier if we just had more time to read and provide meaningful feedback to the students. Enter ProWritingAid.

ProWritingAid came up as one of the top tools for 2019 and there are tons of reasons. Like Grammarly, Students are able to let ProWritingAid proofread their work and provide feedback. It will analyze the text and provide a report to the Student for things such as overused words, grammatical errors, change tense, and even awkward sentences. The Thesaurus tools will provide writers with alternative words as they type and their Word Explorer will allow them to expand their vocabulary and tackle writer's block. The Word Explorer has built in dictionaries (yes, more than one type) including alliteration, cliche, and rhyming word choices.

ProWritingAid comes highly recommended because it not only corrects, but it teaches as you type. It can provide detailed explanations for incorrect uses of punctuation and a report on sentence length to help keep readers more interested in your writing.

The program is web based so it is available on MAC, PC, or as an app. Free Integration with Google Drive as well!

Let Our Powers Combine!

Just a reminder that Marc Seigel is ready to support you in being the AWESOME Educator that you are. Feel free to email, Tweet, or grab him in the halls for any of your tech or non-tech needs. Something amazing happening in your classroom? Let Marc know and he will come take pictures, post on them on Social Media for you, and tell the world how AWESOME you and your students are.

Need help ironing out he wrinkles in a project? He helps with that too! No idea too big, no tech too small.