MiddSouth Innovates

2018-2019 Issue #1

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome to the MiddSouth Innovates!!!

The MiddSouth Innovates is the official, world-renown (sort of), digital newsletter for teaching and learning at Middletown South. In each edition, we will highlight best practices that are occurring in the school as well as explain a tech tool that you can use in your lessons. Remember that you don't need to change the world to be innovative; you just need to find ways to improve on what you've done in the past. We hope you enjoy what you see!

Do Nows, Chat, and Polling?! Mentimeter does it all.

The problem with many digital tools is too many of them just do one thing. Polleverywhere.com is great for a DO NOW or Exit Ticket to gauge the students' understanding of a topic, but terrible for student interaction. Backchannel tools are good for an exchange of ideas, but not visually appealing. Enter Mentimeter.com

Mentimeter is an online polling system that allows you to collect student comments to a prompt (through pictures, video, text, or even a sliding scale tool), to communicate with students (or have them engage with each other!) through a side chat window, and even allow students to vote on their peers' responses to the prompt. Mentimeter makes formative assessment a breeze with it simple interface and user templates. With Mentimeter you can:

  • Measure the students' understanding of a lesson through a class Exit Ticket or DO NOW poll.
  • Start a class discussion on character traits by having the students submit the themes they recognized from a nightly reading that turns into a class word cloud.
  • Let the students evaluate their peers by voting on a post made by a classmate and then sorting the posts based on the responses.
  • Get feedback for the next lesson by having students give short responses of their takeaways from a lesson.
  • Informally quiz the class on their understanding by using some multiple choice questions.

How you use mentimeter is entirely up to you and your imagination. On the left, you will find a screenshot of a mentimeter poll that asked educators what they wanted their students to do with technology. As you can see, both text, pictures, and video are available options to the responders as well a chat window on the side in case someone thinks of an additional response after the poll has ended.

The First Day Of School: Teacher Edition

Check out the fun the Middletown South Educators had on the first day of school. The numbers they are holding are the number of years they have been an Educator. Look at all those smiles!!!

More Science. Less Fear

The beginning of Chemistry is always tough for students because Atoms, Elements, and The Periodic Table are very hard for students to visualize and there are few hands-on activities for you to do. Think of it: how do you hold an atom? But Ms. Denman discovered a fun activity to get her students more engaged in understanding the relationship of all of these pieces.

Giving elements their own personalities goes a long way toward helping students remember seemingly disconnected pieces of information. In her Periodic People activity, Ms. Denman asked the students to find common traits among a group of cartoon characters seen on the right. They then had to make a chart of these people so that there were common traits among all the people in the same row or the same column (just like the elements on the actual Periodic Table!). After they had a table they were happy with, Ms. Denman through them the curve by giving them a newly discovered Periodic Person who had to fit into their existing system. Some groups could add the new element and some had to redesign everything again.

After they understood how the different elements were connected, they discussed some traits of the different groups and how they would look if they were actual people through the Periodic Personalities graphic organizer. As you can see on the link, you might think of the Noble Gases as the snooty, English butler or the Halogens as greedy, business types. The best part of this activity is the level of differentiation Ms. Denman could give to the students. She could provide a lot of support if they were struggling or let them figure it out for themselves as an inquiry activity.

Check out Ms. Denman's Twitter feed for more activities from her classroom. Activities were adapted from Karla of @SunriseScience. Check out her blog for more amazing Science activities.

Hungry For More?

Marc Seigel, South's Educational Technology Specialist, is available to help with all your tech or non-tech planning needs! Need help with:

  • Google Apps (Docs, Classroom, Drive, Search, Chromebooks)
  • Flipped Classroom
  • Blended Learning
  • SGO/PDP development
  • Essential Questions for lesson plans
  • Virtual Reality Expeditions
  • Random ideas to help shake up your classroom

just email Marc and he will be happy to assist! Or you can schedule an appointment directly on his Technology Training calendar. No idea is too big, no job too small.