Most of my readers know that I got a PTSA grant this year for six IKEA whiteboard easels. And you know I group my class collaboratively in six groups of six. This gives me one whiteboard per group.
I know what you might be thinking...not very technological for a tech website. HOWEVER, I would like to point out that collaboration and communication are key ISTE standards that can be addressed in many different ways.
It is incredible how much these whiteboards come into play in an inquiry-based classroom. We can have students collaborate together and write their answers on a piece of paper but this means not everyone in the group can see it, no one in the class can see it, and (if your students have tendencies to be as immature as mine) goofy responses tend to be written. Whiteboards give the whole group the opportunity to see what is written AND they are held accountable by all the other groups because their board responses can be seen. Any class discussion in my class now has a "write the three best ideas you talked about on the board" instruction.
So what happened today that made me feel like a ROCK STAR TEACHER?
It is really simple. My students were totally, 100% engaged. We are reading 1984 and I wanted them to analyze the three classes: proles, outer class, inner class (clearly this can work for any topic). I gave two groups each one of the topics and told them they were competing against each other for a bonus point (Yes I said ONE point). Suddenly the easels were turned away from the class view and all six members were crowded around them with their books and devices- anything to give them an edge. This makes me feel good, right?
WELL I'M NOT DONE!!
I don't want to judge. They'll be mad at me. SO I HAVE THEM JUDGE EACH OTHER! Some (Bloom) would call this evaluation. My students call it diabolical. So the Proles groups had to evaluate the Outer Party group boards, etc. Were the losers happy? Nope. BUT!!! They've already decided what they are going to do next time to win.
Did I mention I thought of this about 2 minutes before the first class walked in? I wanted to change it up.
There are many reasons I feel rock-starish today, maybe even EduAwesome.
Simple right? It's the little things. :)