Last year as I embarked on my Canvas Journey, making modules became like a game to me. What could I do better and differently than I did in the last one? What was it that the students liked or disliked about how I put together a module? As I watched them interact with Canvas, what was it that caught their eye in each part? I took each of those questions, when I sat down with my laptop, and used them to challenge myself to make the next module better. Yes, of course, I asked my students what they liked or disliked about the modules.
This year I started off week one with Canvas. I was diving in head first, bound and determined that my kids were going to be on track, and this was going to be a great year! I wasn’t going to have my “homeroom kids” for reading like a typical elementary classroom. We were going to switch our kids up. This took some time to figure out, and slowed things up for me getting started with Canvas. Once, we figured out what was best for our groups, we switched out kids in Canvas and off we went!
As my kids were working, I saw that they were staying in one area of my module and not proceeding to the next area. What had I done wrong? Did I not show them the “next button”? Were they fixated on that part of the module; did they not know how to “do” something? We talked it out. They simply just liked what I had at the start of the module and were not moving past it. Hmm.
In my next module, students were doing the work but not completing all the tasks. What do I mean by that? They were doing the reading part, but not completing the assigned task that went with it. Or, they were doing the activity, but not the follow up. Ugh. We had another discussion about it, and I again showed them what was to be done.
After contemplating things for my next module, I sat down with my kids. I asked them what THEY wanted to learn about, and HOW they wanted to learn it. After hearing what they had for me, I created a module based upon what they told me. It was amazing; the kids followed every step of the module and completed it, some a lot more quickly than others. They would tell me, “I’m done, what can I do now!?” I wasn’t expecting them to finish so quickly based on other modules, so I had to make a quick adjustment.
I was beyond excited with what they were doing. They were excited with what they were doing, and they were eager to get into Canvas. One teacher came to me and said, “Ms. Benner, I don’t know what you are doing in reading, but kids are asking me every day when they come back if they can log in so they can work on your assignment!” That’s it! They were hooked!
I’m ready to build another module for my students, so what will I do? You had better believe I’m asking my students what it is they want to learn and how they want to learn it! They have changed up some things, and given me some new ideas for the module! They even asked me to look into a new program for some books online. (I hate to burst their bubble when I tell them it is a paid site now.) However, I’ll keep looking for something else that they may like!
Giving the students choice in their learning has brightened everything up! They are so much more excited, they are eager to learn, and share about it. They are coming up with new and different ways that are, at times, more challenging than what I may come up with. It is one more step out of my comfort zone that I’m willing to take after seeing how this group has handled it.
Today's post comes to us from Ms. Kathy Benner. Born and raised in Richmond, Kathy Benner graduated from RHS in ‘97. She attended IU East and earned an Associate's Degree in General Studies and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Kathy started her teaching career in Centerville, IN and came to Richmond in 2008. In 2011, she earned the No Excuses Award and REA Teacher of the Month. Kathy has taught Special Ed, 1st, 4th, 5th, but the majority of her career has been in 3rd grade. She loves working with technology: Spheros, Ollies, and Osmo. In her spare time Kathy enjoys singing, playing guitar, and putting together Lego sets. This is Kathy’s second year in the Cadre