Monday, April 21, 2014

Tearing Down Walls for a Community Classroom….

What do you get when you open the wall between two ELA classrooms?  Well...50+ students in one 7th grade classroom taught by Mrs. Heather Bjornberg and Mrs. Andrea Driver at Truett Wilson Middle School which equals LOTS of choice and digital creativity!!  

The lesson challenged students to analyze the relationship between theme and choice using the structure of Mythology.  Of course the teachers - YES TEACHERS - offered digital choice to their students by allowing them to choose any web-based program or app to showcase their knowledge.  Two student projects really stood out amongst the others: Jamie and Ashley. Jamie created a digital myth that explains the relationship between Demeter and Chartus that cautions readers to heed warning signs.  Ashley created a digital myth that showcases the conflict between Zeus and Gaea.

The creativity began flowing when both students used their devices: ipad, netbook, and smartphone, along with applications such as stop motion technology,  and multimedia presentations to animate their stories.  

Both Mrs. Bjornberg and Mrs. Driver knew they were not experts with the tools, but they encouraged their students to explore and become their OWN experts!  The teachers invited the campus I.T. Coach to help with planning and preparation before the execution.   I asked both students “What is your favorite part to having so many students and two teachers in your class?” Without hesitation Ashley said, “I always can have different perspectives about what we talk about in class.”  Jamie replied, “more collaboration and students to interact with on projects.”  

This is the first year that Mrs. Bjornberg and Mrs. Driver have been co-faciltators of a 7th grade ELA class and they are excited to continue this type of teaching for future years to come.  

Animation, Book Review, Choice, Collaborate, iPad, Presentation, Smartphone, Stop Motion, Storytelling, Middle School, 6-8


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