Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tools and Strategies for Performance Based Education

Two second grade teachers, Jessica Melcher and Michelle Ledue, inspire me to be a great teacher as much as I hope that I inspire them. Recently they taught a session covering Performance Based Education Tools and Strategies during our district inservice day. The strategies they presented include Shared Vision, Code of Cooperation, SOPs, Multi-voting Hot Dot, Fist to Five, and Parking Lot. Please watch the videos at the end of this article to witness how they use some of the strategies in their second grade classrooms.

I also attended another PBE tool session on the same inservice day lead by Amanda Blunda (gr4) and Michelle McPherson (gr3). Two more wonderful teachers in our school district. The take-aways from their session included some strategies that integrated technology into "Keeping PBE Alive". Sometimes we start a strategy in a classroom, but tend to phase out that strategy before giving it a real chance. Just like training a puppy, we need to be persistent for awhile and there will be pay-offs in the end. I am not saying that students are puppies, but rather that we need to continue with the classroom management routines. Once the strategies are established and embedded into the students' routines the classroom atmosphere will be perfect for learning and collaborating. Of course, if the strategies are a flop after consistently trying them for awhile, switch to a new one. One of the ideas presented by Amanda and Michelle is to keep the Code of Cooperation alive by using Class Dojo. Class Dojo is a behavior management system that helps to keep students on-task throughout the school day. Other sites suggested to support PBE learning and differentiation include Tenmarks, Xtramath, Edmodo, Schoology, Khan Academy, Show Me, Educreations, and Evernote.

During both sessions I attended I was concerned about all of the sticky notes that are used throughout the school year in order to "Keep PBE Alive". Therefore, my mission the last couple of days has been to come up with some ideas on how we can encompass even more technology into the PBE tools and strategies. I have yet to test this out with a class, but one thought is to use Popplet for the Parking Lot. Teachers can keep a computer in their classroom signed into a class account and students can add to the Popplet as needed. If a teacher has an iPad, the students can use the Popplet Lite app. The one downfall to this idea if using an iPad, one tablet will need to house the Parking Lot Popplet, so if a teacher does not want students to have access to his/her tablet or does not have an extra iPad, then this solution is not going to work with the free Popplet app.

Because Popplet is not the perfect solution, I decided to investigate further and found an alternative, Listhings. This web based site allows a user to add virtual sticky notes to a cork board. The creator can share their cork board via email, therefore teachers could email the Parking Lot cork board to the students in their class. Then the students would click on the link from the email message and sign in using a password that they share with their teacher. Voila, the students can use the parking lot anytime throughout the school day from either an iPad or a computer. Students will need to remember the password that they use when they sign in the first time in order to work on the Parking Lot Listhing another day. Listhing is a real time cork board. I witnessed the immediate effect as I was adding a note to the board with my iPad on one account while logged into another account on my computer. A student could be in charge of clearing the cork board at the end of the school day so that the class can begin with a fresh parking lot the following day or the classroom teacher could delete the entries as she/he addresses each item. Update: April 25, 2013... Once students are logged in to Listhings, they can click the share button on their iPad while in a browser (the one with the arrow going through the rectangle) and then click add to home screen. Anytime a students accesses Listhing from the button on the home screen they will not have to log in. A class was willing to try Listhing for a parking lot recently and we discovered a few things that needed to be addressed. 1. It is easy to delete someone else's note. 2. It is slightly quirky on the iPad. 3. If students can not receive email outside your domain, you will need to set up permission with your IT person to allow email messages to be received during the time when the teacher shares a Listhing with their class. 4. Listhing is a great place for students to have their own board for reminders and other school work, as it can be accessed from any device anywhere on the internet.

Videos Created by Jessica and Michelle

Multi-Voting Hot Dot from Jessica Melcher on Vimeo.

SOPs from Jessica Melcher on Vimeo.

Fist-to-Five from Jessica Melcher on Vimeo.