I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t like Canvas when it was first introduced. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to use Canvas in an effective way with my first graders. As the administrators in my district continued to push Canvas, I felt the urgency to begin using it more in my classroom. I wanted to find a way to use it to better my students, not to do it just to cross off another thing on my to-do list. That’s when I discovered the media recorder in Canvas!
The media recorder has changed how I view and use Canvas in my classroom.
Did you know that you can use the media recorder to record yourself asking questions in a quiz? Did you know you can record a video of yourself teaching a lesson? Did you know you can use the media recorder to record a read aloud for your students? Did you know students can use the media recorder to submit assignments and discussion posts?
The media recorder has endless possibilities! It has allowed me to create meaningful content for my students, which they can work through independently. Even my struggling readers can be successful, because the media recorder allows me to read everything to them.
My students also use the media recorder. Students are required to record themselves each week reading a list of high-frequency and phonics words from the week. All I have to do is create an assignment that allows media submissions. Students then use an iPad, or laptop with a camera, to record themselves reading. This allows me to do one-on-one assessments, while still meeting with all of my reading groups! I can then go back and watch the videos at home, on my prep, or after school to grade them. This has taken time away from assessments and given it back to instructional time. And, to top it all off, students love it, too!
Today's thoughts come to us from Ms. Brittany Reid. Brittany teaches 1st grade at Richmond Community Schools.
If you ever watch young children write you can typically tell what the teacher has focused on recently in instruction. For example students have started to notice that dialogue in the books the teacher reads aloud is a good way to show characters’ feelings. All the sudden their writing includes dialogue, lots of dialogue. Sometimes so much so it’s hard to follow the plot. And sometimes it is not even used conventionally making it difficult to understand the dialogue itself. The over use and misuse of this new learning is also taking attention away from previous mastered skills such as developing a clear plot and effective use of conventions like capitalization and punctuation.
Some might the ask “Why would we allow students to try something new when it causes their work to get worse?”. I would answer “Because it’s a must!”. We must allow them to make attempts and provide feedback. We must expect students to evaluate and refine their new learning until it they are capable of adding dialogue effectively without that work getting in the way of what they previously had control of.
We introduce other techniques or ways to show characters feelings. The cycle starts again. It is through the attempts and approximations they learn and refine new techniques that make the work better or more effective.
Eventually they have multiple tools and techniques to choose from when they need to show characters feelings in their writing. They have learned options and what they do with them matters in creating the desired outcome in their writing.
This cycle is one I find myself in as I utilize technology through the work I do with students and adults. I hear about or observe others using a new-to-me approach or tech tool. Some I learn to use but haven’t applied yet. Others I’ve learned enough to utilize in real ways. I sometimes misuse them or over use them. I get feedback from my mentors and I reflect until I figure out my most effective use of the tool or approach.
Once I feel comfortable with a few new approaches or tools I’m ready to learn more. Building my knowledge about these tools allows me to have a collection to choose from that I feel comfortable using and that bring the desired experience and outcome for the group(s) I’m working with.
My goal has always been to put the learning at the focus. As I have come to understand more about tech tools and techniques I have expanded not only my knowledge of the tools but more importantly what these tools allow me to do to engage, enhance, and extend learners that I couldn’t do before. Most recently through Next Gen Cadre’ work I have been introduced to the Triple E Framework developed by Liz Kolb at the University of Michigan. I appreciate a framework and questions that guide me in working in the most effective ways.
As I continue to build my knowledge of tech tools and techniques I also have a framework to help me focus on what I do with them, which is what matters more.
Today’s post comes to you from Ms. Cynthia Kirk. Cynthia is currently serving as district instructional coach focusing on the literacy skills and growth of RCS Learners K-8 (and occasionally ventures into the 9th -12th world). She earned her undergraduate degree at Berea College and taught for one year in Kentucky before moving back to Richmond where she has spent her teaching career. She has been blessed with many opportunities to continue her professional learning and extend her knowledge including certifications in Reading Recovery and as a Literacy Collaborative Coordinator through Perdue University and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education through Ball State University.