Monday, April 15, 2013

Web 2.0 Tools and Gifted Students

I have been harassing teachers for years in a sad attempt to convince them to try blogging with their students. Until this year I have been unsuccessful. I'm very excited that I finally found a teacher that is adventurous enough to give it a go. Last week I introduced blogging and Smore to her 6th grade gifted and talented related arts class. We are using Kidblogs and so far it has been super easy to set up for us and easy for the kids to get started. They will also be using Smore, Google Sketchup, Gamestar Mechanic and other web 2.0 tools for some of their projects.
My favorite quote from their first blog posts is "We are finally moving on from Power Points and Movie Maker."
Kelly Knight was kind enough to share her lesson on blogging so that I could adapt it to use with my kids. We talked about what a blog is, looked at a few examples, discussed netiquette, proper commenting and reviewed how to use the Kidblogs site.
This collaboration came about because this teacher wanted to try something different the last nine weeks of school. Normally our gifted and talented class has its own curriculum separate from the standards addressed in the core classes, but the teacher and I talked about how we could address standards and integrate technology.
My first step was to get a roster of her students and look at their test data. Even though these students are in the gifted and talented class they still have their weak areas. I looked at how many did not score examplary in each tested area of our state standardized test. Writing had the most with 6 students not scoring exemplary, which is why we wanted to focus on blogging as the core of the new assignments. Social Studies and English Language Arts (ELA) each had 5 students not scoring exemplary and 2 in Science.I looked at each student's Fall benchmark testing results. Benchmark testing is only done in Math and ELA. There were 3 students below grade level in reading with scores in the 5th grade RIT level (reading norm score) and 2 on grade level. The remaining students were above grade level in reading. The teacher and I talked about incorporating literature circles into the nine weeks to target this area. Using this data we could divide them into groups and better select reading material for them. When reviewing the Math data we found that only one student was on grade level for Math, while the remaining students were above grade level by at least one grade. Using this information we knew we could really challenge them in this area. This is why we wanted to explore Google Sketch Up even though both of us are considered beginners with this tool.

In addition to looking at their test scores I surveyed their teachers about which standards or topics they felt could use the most review before state testing this Spring. The math teachers asked for review in measurement and geometry, the science teachers answered plants and weather, social studies requested review of Mesopotamia, Ancient Africa and the Aztecs, and ELA requested help with research. Students will use Google Sketch Up projects to address measurement and geometry.

Students will be using Gamestar Mechanic to create games that will review plants and weather for science.

Students will use Smore to create flyers about one of the social studies standards that they wanted reviewed.

Everything they use from the web for these projects will have to be cited. I reviewed citation with them and taught them how to use Son of Citation Machine to create citations.

They have only been working for two days, but when they finish I will be sure to share some of their work. I'm looking forward to seeing what they create.
The content area teachers are very excited about these projects. One of the science teachers came into the library and asked me if I had lost my mind. I told him, "Yes, a long time ago. Why?" and he said he had never heard of a librarian that tried to help teach science. I'm hoping that these projects will lead to more collaboration with some of our content teachers when they see what the students are capable of and learn more about these tools.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is really quite informative blog such qualitative info I have never seen anywhere.web 2.0 service