Reading Part 2: Reflections

by Katie Trask

Why Reflect...?

"Teachers, like children and everyone else, feel the need to grow in their competencies; they want to transform experiences into thoughts, thoughts into reflections, and reflections into new thoughts and new actions." -Loris Malaguzzi

A Few Teaching Strategies...

Four Corners
Inside-Outside Circle
Carousel Brainstorm
Save the Last Word
Three-Step Interview
World Cafe
Tickets Icebreaker
Spell Off

Teaching Strategies I Have Implemented: Four Corners

Four Corners
1) Pose a question which prompts students to choose the position of strongly agree, agree, strongly disagree, or disagree. Students go to the corner representing their position, and discuss with peers. OR
2) Post comments, images, or quotations related to a topic and students choose which corner resonates with them, and discuss the connections they have made with their peers.

How I Used this Strategy in My Classroom

1) Before beginning our unit on Harassment in Health, I posed the question "Making comments based on someone's appearance can be harassment." Students had to choose their position on the quote and go to that corner. They then paired up with another student in the same corner, and discussed their thoughts and reasoning.

2) After learning about different groups of people in Canadian History, specifically New France, I posed attributes about each group of people to my students. Each corner belonged to a different group. Once hearing the attribute/characteristic, students then had to choose the group of people they thought the characteristic belonged to.

Teaching Strategies I Have Implemented: Think-Pair-Share

Sets up partnered talk once each person has had the opportunity to quietly think before engaging in discussion.

How I Used this Strategy in My Classroom
I have used this strategy in all classes I teach, but most recently during Language Arts, when I posed the question at the beginning of our new unit, Laugh Out Loud, "What makes something funny?" Students Think-Pair-Shared, and then wrote out the brainstormed ideas between them.

Alternative: I have given students the opportunity to Think-Ink-Pair-Share. This allows my students, especially my IEP and ESL students, time to write their answers down so that they can remember their ideas during the discussion.

Teaching Strategies I Have Implemented: Inside-Outside Circle

Inside-Outside Circle
Half of the students form an inside circle facing outward, while the other half forms an outside circle facing inward. Each person engages in discussion with the partner directly facing them.

How I Used this Strategy in My Classroom
After learning about Aboriginal and European contact in New France, and after viewing the points of view, students discussed each point of view (the inside circle represented the view of "Source of Conflict", and the outside circle represented the view of "New Opportunities").

Teaching Strategies I Have Implemented: Spell Off

Spell Off
Divide students into 2-3 groups (or more depending on the size of your class). Each group has 26 cue cards (each cue card has one letter of the alphabet written on it). Place each group of cue cards at one end of the classroom, and students at the other. Call out a vocabulary word, or word wall word, you are working on in your classroom. Each group will figure out how many students they need to spell the word, and will carefully run to their cue cards and spell the word by each person holding a different letter of the word. For example, if the word was Canada, six students will run to the cue cards to spell Canada.

Considerations: I added 3 sets of vowels to each set of cue cards, so that students could spell more words. I also added more than one of a specific letter, depending on the words I wanted my students to spell.

How I Used this Strategy in My Classroom
I used this activity to introduce key vocabulary at the beginning of a unit (e.x. New France in history, Elements in Dance, Types of Dance).

How Are We Using Technology in the Classroom?

SAMR in 2 Minutes

I found this a very interesting perspective on how we are actually implementing the technology available to us in our classrooms. This presentation and video made me reflect on where I actually fall on the ladder, Substitution, Augmentation, Modification or Redefinition? I am still working on creating the most meaningful and interactive activities for my students, and realizing that sometimes I fall into all four categories. A goal for myself is to work towards Modification and Redefinition as often as possible.

Apps for the Classroom (follow the links for tutorials and some applications for the classroom)


Chirp is an app that allows you to send "chirps", similar to texts, to students. Chirps can include reminders, links to websites, or photos for example.

This is an app I can see using in my classroom for simple tasks such as chirping out homework, reminders to students, or links to websites that may be useful for students.

Aurasma is an app that allows you to add interactive detail such as video, animation, or 3D scenes, to items such as images, objects, or even physical locations - calling them Auras.

I am not quite sure how I would use this app in my classroom...yet!
Popplet Lite

Popplet Lite is an app that allows you to create connected ideas, such as a mind map or brainstorming. You can add text, your own drawings, or photos to your popple.

I would use this app in the classroom for a variety of activities. We just finished creating a "movie pitch" in language arts. If I had known about this app, I would have had my students create their character pages using Popplet Lite, as well as their storyboard. You could also use Popplet Lite as a brainstorm activity when introducing an activity, or as a flow chart on a process. For conferences next year, I am going to try Popplet Lite as the platform for my students' portfolios. Students can take photos of the work they are proud of/would like to improve on, and write out their thoughts/what they would like to tell their parents about their work. Will have to wait and see how it goes...
Show Me Interactive Whiteboard

Show Me is an app that allows you to record voice-over whiteboard presentations. You can also include your own images and photos in your presentations.

I can see this app being used in my classroom for book talks, where students can have photos of their book cover, and photos of pages from the book, or photos of quotes from the book that resonated with them, and they can record their thoughts and ideas. It could also be a good tool for myself to record my feedback to a student about a project.
Screen Chomp

Screen Chomp is an app similar to Show Me, where students can record over, or write over, their ideas about an image or picture that they have uploaded.

Screen Chomp could be used for the same applications as Show Me.
Nearpod - Tutorial Part 1, Tutorial Part 2

Nearpod is an app that allows you to share content with students. Students can follow a presentation on their iPods, iPhones or iPads, and can participate in real-time assessment and collaboration activities such as quizzes, polls, drawing tools, etc.

This app would be beneficial in the classroom for gauging how much content of a presentation students are understanding as you go along. You can imbed a one or two question quiz or poll of what has been learned so far. If students' answers are correct, then a teacher can move forward. If students' answers are incorrect, a teacher understands that more teaching needs to be done on a topic before moving forward. This app could also be used as an exit pass.

Socrative is an app that is similar to Nearpod, and can be used in the same manner.

iMovie is an app that allow you to create videos using your picture library, video library, or by shooting directly into the video timeline. You can add enhancements such as slow motion, split screen effects, music and sound effects, and the student's own narration.

This is an app I now plan on using in my classroom this year to create a video on one of the short stories my students will read from the book "The Secret Knowledge of Grown Ups."

Other Apps for the Classroom

Story Telling Apps

1) Little Story Maker
2) Story Creator
3) Toontastic

Assessment Apps
1) Ask 3

Interactive Whiteboard Apps
1) ScreenChomp
2) Educreations

Mind Mapping Apps
1) Ispiration Lite
2) Mindomo

Collaborative Apps
1) Whiteboard
2) iBrainstorm

Video Creation Tools
1) Videolicious