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Quarter 1 Ending Soon October 24, 2010

Posted by fafeeley in Uncategorized.
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My 7th and 8th students have two more weeks to complete their current projects. The effort and progress of individual groups has varied widely to date. A couple of weeks ago I became particularly concerned about whether or not most or all students would produce something respectable. At one point it looked like “Benchmark testing” (one of SEVERAL series of tests that interrupt instruction throughout the year at my school) would result in the loss of a whole week of 7th and 8th grade “specials” class meetings. However, I appealed to the principal and vice principal to schedule the testing sessions in such a way to allow those classes to meet, and they did it!

About ten days ago I provided each student a paper “progress report” to take home to their parents. The kids signed on the dotted line to commit to taking it home and returning a tear-off portion signed by their parents in which their parents indicate that they are aware of the project and will support the completion of it. Here is that document: 1 Parent Progress report letter. I also attached print copies of the detailed assignment and the assessment rubic, both of which can be accessed here: http://iamslibrary.wikispaces.com/7%C2%BA++8%C2%BA+grados-7th+8th+grades .

I conducted individual interviews with the small groups from the computer/library classes over several days. We reviewed the content requirements for the research wikis and the voicethreads. We applied the portions of the rubric related to the wikis to their research wikis as of the dates of those interviews. We established the effort level and the progress level (minimal, adquate, or outstanding) for each student’s progress report. We identified elements of the project that were incomplete and assigned primary responsibility for those elements to specific students.

The result of the interviews was good. The students apparently were awakened to the fact that the clock is ticking and that they will graded according to whatever they complete – no more and no less. I immediately heard from the computer teacher (who is supporting the same project in her program) that the groups were working more diligently in the computer lab. More students began working in a more focused and purposeful manner in my classes as well. The process also seemed to help smooth over some of the personality conflicts among students in the assigned groups.

The art students have begun to access information from their classmates’ research wikis. Last week many of the art students visited the library computer lab to consult with my students. Several of those students have acquired the information and inspiration for their final art projects of the quarter, many of which will be photographed and integrated into the final products (voicethreads) of the library/computer class students. For me this is where the rubber meets the road in terms of utilizing technology tools to support collaboration and communication.

I am confident at this point that there is going to be some great student work at the end of this process. I anticipate a mad dash to the finish line for several groups. I want them all to be successful!

I was really impressed with the outcome of the interviews and the issuing of progress reports. In the coming quarter I will send home all the information about the project (assignment, resources, and assessment rubric) on the first day of the project! Although I conducted interviews at the outset of the project with many groups to discuss task definition, I will do so in a more systematic way with all groups in the second quarter. I will issue progress reports again, but by then the parents will already be well informed of the project (as opposed to receiving the information at the mid-point of the quarter).

I am going to nudge a few specific groups to the finish line this week so that I have finished student projects to show at my presentation this Friday, October 29, 2010, at the Annual Conference of the Illinois School Library Media Association. Here is the description of that presentation as it will be listed in the conference program:

Web 2.0: Have No Fear!
Francis A. Feeley, School Librarian, Inter-American Magnet Elementary School
Successful curriculum projects using online tools will be showcased with student work
products. Web 2.0 tools featured include VoiceThread (digital storytelling), Glogster
(interactive digital posters), Wallwisher (online bulletin boards), Wikispaces (wikis), and
online data collection (Google Forms). Connect these tools to your curriculum. Find out
how easy it all is!       Room: Turquoise A        Level: K-12

Creative Commons License
Fran Feeley’s Blog by Francis A. Feeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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Comments»

1. leperez1 - October 25, 2010

Fran: The project that you have described is really the epitome of what we hope for in every library program. I’m glad to hear that you are sharing it at ISLMA. Do you have any thoughts about going to the AASL Conference next year? If so, the deadline for proposals is coming up. You should present this topic nationally (leaving it open-ended enough to include subsequent projects.) You should also write it up as a journal article submission.


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