Recently, one of our English teachers tore his Achilles Tendon at Cross-Country practice (Note: I will not be disclosing how the injury occurred, but it SHOULD be a completely separate blog post). His injury required surgery last week, obviously placing him on the teaching disabled list. His 4th Block class is Advanced Placement English III, so many of us were anxious about how to supplement the lost instruction in such a rigorous course.
Fortunately, this teacher implemented two effective technology-based strategies to interact and engage with his students:
1. Early in the week, students were assigned various aspects of the Harper Lee novel To Kill A Mockingbird. Students were placed in groups and were required to "teach" their peers. On Thursday, students used my iPad to connect with the teacher using the FaceTime feature. The teacher was able to prompt discussion topics, ask questions, and simply observe the presentations for accountability.
2. On Friday, this teacher implemented and facilitated a strategy I have been encouraging some of our teachers to apply to their classes: His class participated in a twitter chat, or as he called it, a "Tweet Up". The class used the hashtag #tkam4, representing the previously mentioned literature. I was able to observe the chat (not physically, of course) and was very pleased with the active engagement demonstrated by students. Students without a twitter account and/or mobile device were able to work in pairs. The teacher posted questions, ideas, and discussion points. Students made specific references by citing examples and quotes from the text. At times, the teacher only needed to prompt a topic and students generating the conversation. I suggested the use of Storify to archive the tweets for future use.
Mr. McAlister-we look forward to your return, but I commend your technology-based initiative while recovering.
Thanks for reading,
The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.