Best Teaching Practices 2016-17

Kristin Wolff's ePortfolio



News Item and Course Syllabus Image - Before You Begin the Course PiktoChart - Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

For the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters, my TOOL colleague, Joyce Bearden, told me about PiktoChart, and how this image may be used to create News Items, etc., for our online courses. She shared with me an image that she created, and I tweaked it to be used in my classes.

This is an excellent tool for differentiation, because this visual provides students who are ADHD / unorganized with a clear, step-by-step procedure for successfully beginning the course.

I included this in a News Item, as well as the first page of each of my course syllabi for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. I will definitely continue this practice.

Many thanks to Joyce for sharing her excellent idea!

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Course Update & News Items: Smore Newsletters to All Stakeholders - All Classes - Fall 2016 - August

As I reached my third semester in teaching at GAVS, I realized that I needed to begin utilizing Smores for more than just Course Updates, ELOs, and lessons for students.

Since students were already familiar with the Smore format, I decided to use it for our Course Update emails for all stakeholders, as well. This format allowed me to include invaluable information for all, including reminders to check grades that were just posted, post important, recent News Items, such as GAVS Late Policy calendars, study tips, GAVS parent account information, Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Student Handbook links, office hours reminder, Adobe Help Session reminders. I also added current unit of study information, including resource worksheet images, links, and other helpful Course Content page screenshots and info.

I decided to send them in Welcome and Course Update emails, as well as post them in our News Items and User Links, to assist all users in navigating our GAVS courses, as well as additional GAVS sites. I have shared a few of these, below, and the SOC Smore is courtesy of the World Languages Department - many thanks!

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Smore - All Classes - Superior Student Samples - Fall 2016-Spring 2017

Last fall, I decided to create a Smore based on the superior student projects and papers submitted in my classes.

While wanting to reward students for the excellent work, I also wanted students who were struggling to see samples of what could be done for their assignments.

I posted this Smore in the User Links section of my Course Home page, as well as in a News Item.

As you can see, this Smore was quite popular - 167 students have accessed it as of May 2017.

All work is in accordance with FERPA guidelines - no names have been revealed, and I received written permission from each student.

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News Items: American Lit/Comp-B - Spring 2017

In an effort to lessen the fear of Final Exams / promote more studying on the part of students for the Final Exam, I posted numerous reminder News Items to remind them to study, plus an advertisement for my upcoming Adobe Final Exam Review Session, in which I played Kahoot! review study games of their major readings, including The Crucible, Huck Finn, and The Great Gatsby, so that all of my classes, American Lit/Comp-A, B, and AB, would receive meaningful review. I also hoped Dr. Evil and minions would help lighten their Final Exam mood.
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News Item - April 2017 Best Practice - Test Prep

I posted a Final Exam / EOC Test Prep New Item to help students begin thinking about their final tests, and setting-aside time to ensure they receive the maximum points, possible - also to ensure that an accurate picture of their academic growth is reflected within their final test scores.

This communication is also Differentiated Instruction, because it is communicated to face-to-face, hybrid, and homeschooled students.

This News Item also supports our GAVS school-wide goal of using resources for the EOC test.

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Discussion Post Replies to Students - 8th Grade Middle School English - Fall 2016

For all future courses, I have continued my commitment to respond to all students' initial discussion posts - and I responded to every single post in every single class, all semester, as you can see from the images, below.

The Tool Access report shows that students accessed the Discussion Board as much as our Course Home page, which highlights the importance of the DIscussion Board, and also demonstrates a truly amicable classroom community.

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Curriculum Smores - American Lit/Comp-A - Fall 2016

This semester, I wanted to have a place where students could look at all of their resources for each unit in one place. I chose to use, as it is visually appealing to students, is user-friendly for all stakeholders, and allows educators to load a wide variety of visual tools and files. I also like its use of analytics, as it shows the number of visits to each Smore. Once teachers were allowed to take down the original Class Bulletin Board informational screen, each time we began a new unit, I posted it as a Smore in our Class Bulletin Board for my 16-Week students. Then, I added it to User Links, so that all students were able to access each Smore as they began a new unit. I also posted them in our News Items, when I needed to teach a certain aspect of the unit, and recorded a Screencast-O-Matic using that Smore.

March 2017 Best Practice - Resource Smores for Students

Ever since my first semester with GAVs, I have noticed from the first paper each semester that most students had trouble writing them from the very beginning.

In March 2016 I dedicated time to create a library of Smore resources for students, which discussed many different aspects of the writing and editing process.

I was pleasantly surprised and amazed at the number of students who actually took advantage of these Smores, and noticed significant improvement from all students with each new paper.

Each semester, I have added new Smores to assist students in writing their essays, and they have received thousands of views in the past year and a half.

I am most proud of my MLA and "1-2-3 Rule" Smores, which have received 471 and 1,171 hits, respectively. It is a testament to the fact that, given meaningful resources, students will rise to the challenge, and work to improve themselves every semester.