Saturday, April 3, 2021

EnRICHed in the Writing Process!


What if you had a million dollars to help America? How would you spend it? Money talks and we can not wait for you to hear from our writers. 

Progressivism is a new unit for NISD 5th graders. Instructional Technology joined forces with ELA coaches Kelli Palmer and Laura Maunsell to make this year’s Progressivism DBQ not only digital, but interactive. The use of Pear Deck and Jamboard allowed for meaningful class dialogue, collaboration, critical thinking, and published communication for both in person and remote learners. Mrs. Rebone’s 5th grade remote class including students from Nance, Lakeview, and Seven Hills along with Mrs. Sprowls in person class at Granger Elementary share their experience. 

Collaboration and Critical Thinking: Jamboard Hook

Mrs. Sprowls In Person Jamboard Work
Mrs. Rebone's Remote Jamboard Work

The unit unit began by capturing student’s attention and allowing them to explore major problems in our country. Task #2 of the hook states, “Pick one problem and explain how solving this one problem would help in solving the remaining six.” This hook was eye opening for students. Jamboard allowed them to discuss and take notes with their partner, whether in break out rooms or in class. Groups brainstormed ideas and thought critically together about problems they would explore later in the unit. Jamboard allowed Mrs. Sprowls and Mrs. Rebone to see each group’s responses in real time. With tools like Jamboard and Pear Deck, students are held accountable to have a response. In fact, remote learner Imanmachi pointed out, “I like the technology we used because it’s not a big worksheet you have to complete. With technology, we had to have an answer for each question. It helped us not get behind.” 

Individual Note Taking: Marking Up Our Text in Pear Deck

Annotating in Pear Deck

It’s important that students connect with texts. Both Mrs. Sprowls and Mrs. Rebone modeled for students as they read the background essay titled, “Where will you put your Million Dollars?” Pear Deck allows students to use annotation tools to mark up their essay for close reading. Additionally, teachers have the ability to toggle between teacher and student paced mode. When modeling, teacher paced mode was used, however, It will be important for students to be able to go back to the document as they progress through the unit to look at their notes and annotations. 

Comprehension: Exploring Documents A-D in Pear Deck

Pear Deck Teacher View During Self-Paced Time

Within the Pear Deck slides, students explored four different documents. These documents covered forestation, child labor, women’s suffrage, and food safety. 

Remote learners explained “We really liked exploring the different problems because it helped us learn about the past. Imanmachi  comments, “I thought way back when, America was perfect, but it definitely was not.” Narrowing the focus and exploring each document stirred up different passions for each student, which was helpful as they started thinking about where they would put their million dollars. 

With Pear Deck, teachers have the ability to comment on individual student responses anytime throughout the unit. They can see which slide each student is on to best know who needs support. Teachers can also toggle to teacher paced mode to lock screens, project anonymous responses, and discuss important topics as a class. Imanmachi adds, “Mrs. Rebone shared some of my responses for the class to see. Sometimes we will say thank you so others know the answer was ours, but sometimes we like to keep quiet.”

Communication: Bucketing and Drafting Our Write in Pear Deck

Mrs. Rebone Projecting Student Responses on Pear Deck

Once the research was done, each student chose where they would put their money. With Pear Deck, each student was held accountable to mapping out their write and choosing their three topics. Mrs. Rebone chose to project anonymous responses and chat about the different paths students in her class had chosen.

Grace explains, “I have a short memory span. Having the Pear Deck slides has helped me organize my thoughts, especially when I get ready to write.” 

Students learned to support their topics with research, They knew everyone would have different essays based on where they decided to put their money. Madeleine from Mrs. Sprowls class mentioned, “My table partner wanted women’s suffrage, but I thought food safety was most important.” However, Elijah and his table partner both chose food safety to be their number one priority. 

Communication: Published Letters to Aunt Bessie

Sample Letters from Mrs. Sprowls In Person Class and Mrs. Rebone's Remote Class

The unit culminated with the students sharing their voice in a final letter to Aunt Bessie explaining and justifying where they would put their money. 

A Big Success

All in all, this unit was a success both for in person and remote learners in NISD. Remote learners in Mrs. Rebone’s class have learned “we all have different opinions. Sharing our thoughts on Pear Deck has taught us to respect different opinions and relate to the opinions that are the same.” Madeleine from Mrs. Sprowls class comments, “I think next year’s 5th graders should do this unit because we didn’t understand the history of America and I bet they don’t either. We learned about history, but also got to provide our own opinions on how to make it better.” Remote learner Grace adds, “I love the mix of working all together, being in groups, and getting time to work alone.” Both Mrs. Sprowls and Mrs. Rebone have done a great job allowing for self-paced learning, teacher led lessons, and student led discussion. This unit was a great example of gradual release and engagement in the writing process.  

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