AR Focus Statement
With students’ instructional levels ranging from kindergarten to fourth grade, several languages spoken in my classroom and different learning styles, my students are not getting the personalized instruction that they need. My goal is to reach each student using digital technology, various learning styles and differentiated instruction to meet each child’s very different needs academically.
1. Will my second grade students show growth in the area of telling time based on individualized instruction that is tailored to their specific needs?
2. Will the use of digital technology in both learning and expressing learning be an effective way to increase the engagement of second grade students?
The target audience consisted of 25 second grade students; 12 boys and 13 girls in Oklahoma. The mean age was seven and a half years old. There were eight English Language Learners (ELL) with one student that had just recently moved into the United States. There were two students with special needs including Autism and an auditory processing disorder and both students received special services based on their Individualized Education Plan. There were three students that were in the process of testing for learning disabilities. The students’ instructional levels ranged from kindergarten to fourth grade.
Summary of Cycle 2
Cycle 2 had much less direct instruction as compared to Cycle 1. At this point, the students already knew the basics of telling and writing the time to the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour and five-minute interval. I reviewed the basic principles of time-telling with the students and gave them instructions for the projects they would have to complete. I also gave them a demonstration on how to plan for and complete their projects by showing them examples of how to screen-cast using the iPad app “ShowMe” as well as how to take and annotate photos on an iPod Touch using the app “Skitch.”
The purpose of this project was to prove that they understood the concepts of telling time well enough that they could teach someone else. Students had to use proper vocabulary, explain the parts of a clock and describe how to tell time. They could choose if they wanted to explain how to tell time to the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour or five-minutes. Students also had a choice of how they wanted to present their projects.
The medium choices given to the students included creating a screen-casted video on the iPad, recording themselves using a demonstration clock with the iPad, taking, annotating and posting photos and descriptions on their blogs or creating a book. One option that was added based on student request was creating a comic book.
Students had one week to plan for and complete their projects. They worked on them during math time and after they had completed other work.
In order to assess the projects I used a four-point rubric. The highest possible score on the project was a 20 based on the five portions of the project that were graded: overall appearance, vocabulary, explanation, content and completion.
The average score for overall appearance on the projects was a 2.5. Most of the deductions came from lack of color, sloppy handwriting and poor audio/video quality. Most of these mistakes were due to students being in a hurry to get finished or a lack of familiarity with creating videos with an iPad.
The average score for vocabulary was a 3. Ninety percent of the vocabulary used was used correctly, but many students only used three to four terms in their projects.
The average score for explanation was a 2. Most students struggled heavily with this portion of the project. Many talked in circles or did not fully explain how to tell time. Only 16% adequately explained how to tell time.
The average score for content was a 3. All projects included a clock and 88% of the projects included an explanation of the parts of a clock.
The average score for completion was a 3. Several students did not complete the project on time.
The focus of Cycle 2 was to allow students to use a medium of his or her choice to explain how to tell time. Students were able to decide which of the multiple intelligences they were most comfortable with and use their skills to complete the project. Student choice led to more excitement and better student engagement. Students used the differentiated instruction they received in Cycle 1 to explain their thinking and teach others how to tell time.
Very little in Cycle 2 went as I had envisioned in my mind. Student scores were much lower than I anticipated and I credit that to the fact that they’ve had little experience having to explain their knowledge and thinking. I also don’t feel that I gave enough direction or explanation in the beginning to show what I expected from this project. A final factor that surprised me was how much time was needed with the digital technology tools. The use of digital technology as the mediums for the projects was popular (blogs and videos) and I am limited on the amount of technology tools available in my classroom. It was difficult to make sure each student got the time he or she needed with the tools to create their projects.
I feel like the next logical step in my teaching is to make sure I have my students explain their thinking more often. I have used this since implementing Cycle 2 by having students tell a partner how they solved a problem or showing the class the methods they used. Students are becoming more comfortable sharing their ideas and their explanations are becoming clearer. I have also made sure to model how to explain something to someone else and use the proper vocabulary when teaching someone something new. Overall, this cycle made me re-think the way I give instruction to my students.