Tag Archives: interactive

Days 3 & 4: Interview A Friend


This is the fourth post in a series about launching the use of the app Book Creator in a kindergarten classroom.  You can read the first three posts by clicking on the links below.

During planning we thought that a great way to get the kids going would be to have them interview each other.  We wanted them to have an opportunity to talk about and connect with learning that they were already doing and to share some questions they had.  This was also a way to get them into book creator before their was much action with the chicks.

Day 3

I did a simple illustrated chart to try and support their efforts.  We discussed a few guidelines for contents and agreed that each student should say three things they knew about chicks and one to two things they wondered.  Our send off directions were “Think, Practice, Record,” and we chanted it a few times together before partners went off to their working spaces.  We also discussed what it meant to be professional so that they could elevate the quality of their work.

The recording was a bit bumpy at first as it was the first time they had recorded another student.  They found themselves rerecording a lot because their initial attempt was too quiet or focused on someone’s feet.

This is my terrible chart.  Luckily Kindergartners are very forgiving.

The most exciting part of Day 3 was that one of the eggs started to crack!  The students gathered close looking at the crack and trying to take a picture for their book.

The first egg begins to hatch
Students work as a team to edit a page in their book.

Day 4

Several students still needed to record by day 4 and we also wanted them to go back and look at their work to see if they had done what we had decided on.  Laura typed up this little editing checklist for teams to use as they went back and reviewed their videos.  Many students found that they had said three things they knew but forgot to share a wonder.  To avoid frustration we suggested they just make a second video on their page with their questions.  This was also a helpful strategy for students who were struggling to get the whole thing done in one sitting.

A checklist for video revision.

By the end of day 4 most students had completed their videos, revised their covers, and were excited to see that some of the chicks had hatched!  Just in time for us to get some content for our book.

The first hatched chicks!  Complete with decorations for the box.

We identified two areas to go next; partner work and content.  Partner skills were getting rusty at this point and we found ourselves mediating a lot of disagreements.  On the other hand we also felt like it was important that they begin to use their knowledge of nonfiction features to get some meaty content in their books.  We discussed it with the teachers and they agreed that the social stuff needed to come first.  So we were left wondering…what strategies could kindergartners use to help them work together?

Come back tomorrow for a guest post by Laura Meehan, iDal Coach and my daily work buddy.  She will be blogging about Day 5: Strategies for Working Together.

The Value of Screencasting

Building on our recent digital artifacts discussion I thought we might take a minute to look at the value of using screen casting in the classroom.  When I first learned about screen casting my initial thought was “what a great tool to use in math!”  I began to create quick tutorials for students to help them learn concepts and strategies.  These were shared on our website so that any student (or parent) who needed to could access them.  I would use QR codes on class charts to provide quick access to certain tutorials and make the charts come alive.  And all of these things were great, but…

I was starting to feel like my own little Khan academy.  Sure it was personalized to our curriculum and the learning we were doing directly in class.  But I  couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that this was a tool that should be in the hands of STUDENTS!

You see, unless you can sit and watch kids solve and think through problems there are essential pieces of information that you miss.  I would look at papers and see erasure marks, sometimes down to holes in the paper, and wonder what process had taken place to get the student to the end goal.  Where was their understanding breaking down?   If they caught a mistake in their process how and why and when?  I thought perhaps if I could get them screen casting that I would have answers to these questions and I could be a better math teacher.  In the end, I was right.

Let’s look at an example of a screen cast from a former student of mine.  In this screencast she is doing something that we call an “interactive” screencast.  This is where the student is creating the screen cast for an audience and is tasked with engaging the audience to solve the problem, then provide an explanation as to the correct answer.  It’s one of the many formats we brainstormed as a class so that students understood that screen casting is not just a digital quiz to be turned into the teacher, but that we often have different purposes and audiences for creating them.

As you watch think:

  • What does this student already know?  What is she able to do?
  • What questions do you have about her process?  What do you assume she had done mentally that we don’t see?
  • What evidence do you see that she understands the concept?  At what level does she understand it?  (Is there evidence that her understanding goes beyond just being able to apply an algorithm?)
  • What feedback would you give this student about her screencast?  About her math process?
  • What are some next steps for this student?

We’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments!