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Amy Benson CEP 800 December 1, 2013

Lesson Plan Reflection Paper Description The purpose of this instructional experience was for my 8th grade students to gain a deeper understanding of the vocabulary terms used during a new unit of study. Specifically, the unit of study is Diseases and Biotechnology, and the seven vocabulary terms included: disease, microbiology, microorganism, unicellular, prevention, treatment and antibiotics. This lesson was intended to supplement the existing curriculum set forth by the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. The learning goals of this lesson included my students ability to accurately define the seven terms in their own words as well as illustrate them to demonstrate understanding through the creation of a paper slides video. A paper slides video is a series of hand drawn slides that include original artwork. Each slide is described and elaborated on by the audio component. The slides are pulled by hand to reveal the next slide. Students first received teacher-generated definitions and then used them as a scaffold while they worked in small groups to develop their own, new definitions for each word; these definitions served as the script for their videos. The groups then created a slide to go with each vocabulary term. The slide included the term and hand drawn images. To record the videos each group used an iPad, and then they uploaded their video to my Edmodo (educational Facebook) site for sharing and assessment. In the original draft of my lesson plan I planned to teach this lesson to all four of my science classes. However, since we only have one class set of iPads at my school it was not possible to check them out all day long for several days. I instead taught this lesson to only my science enrichment class, a small group of 20 students that I see for 30 minutes a day, as well as for an hour during science class. The lesson was still relevant since I teach these students science as well, but I only had a half an hour each day and the lesson ended up taking six class periods instead of the intended three. I also was only able to check out five iPads, so my students worked in groups of four instead of three. A final change that was made to my lesson plan again had to do with time. At my school, enrichment groups rotate every few weeks and I ran out of time to require my students to watch each others paper slides videos and leave comments on the video posts. Instead we had a quick, full group discussion where students shared what they liked about other videos and areas they thought could be improved. Implementation This lesson was taught to a group of 20 eighth grade science students. This group is considered my science enrichment class, but it is made up of students that I also see for regular science class. This means that although I altered my lesson and did not teach it to my regular classes, the students who did receive the instruction were still required to know and understand the vocabulary terms that we focused on. This decision was made as a result of the availability of the iPads in my school. They were already checked out for weeks during normal class time but it was easier for me to get my hands on a few of them during enrichment time. Teaching this during enrichment time also affected the time frame of the lesson. Regular classes run one hour
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Amy Benson CEP 800 December 1, 2013

long, whereas enrichment time is only a half an hour long; this meant the lesson ended up taking six class periods instead of three, and there was much more starting and stopping than I had originally intended. Since my students received the vocabulary word definitions in their regular science class, I began introducing the paper slides project in my enrichment class by setting up seven stations around the classroom. Each station included the vocabulary word and the same teacher-given definition that the students already received and wrote down. Students travelled around the room to each station with their note sheet where they wrote down the definition and at each station they were prompted to draw a picture that represented the word. For this, students worked individually and began to create a bridge between what they learned about the words in science class (the definitions) and what they were going to create in enrichment class (a paper slides video). This was the end of day one of the lesson. On day two, after creating visuals individually, I began describing the project slides movie assignment. I showed the students a YouTube clip that is a paper slides movie about how to make a paper slides movie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf6L1PTG3p4) and explained that they would be using their seven vocabulary words to create one of their own. I explained the guidelines and discussed with my students that they would need to include seven slides, one for each vocabulary word, which included the word and images. I then told them that their narration would be their own unique definitions for each word. I ended my description of the project by showing my own paper slides video that I made about photosynthesis and respiration. This served as another example as well as inspiration for the students. Next, I broke the students into small groups of four. For this I used colored strips of paper to randomly choose the groups. I ended up with two groups of all male students, 1 group of all female students, and two groups that were equally mixed. These pairings led to interesting dynamics and my students had only a few minutes to get started before our time for that day was over. I began day three by reminding my students of the project expectations and I also set a deadline for them to work towards. I had been able to check out the iPads for two consecutive enrichment class periods, days five and six. I reminded the students that their target was to be ready to record on day five, which gave them two class periods (1 hour, total) to prepare their slides and scripts. For the most part, the groups worked diligently on days three and four; however I was beginning to notice one group was falling behind. This group was composed of all males, and they were all good friends (just my luck!). They spent a majority of their time chatting about other things and the project did not seem to be a top priority. Since the other groups seemed to be working well together and were on target, I decided to stay in closer proximity to my struggling group. The boys were lacking a plan. It was not clear to me or to any of them who was responsible for what. They were struggling with where to begin since there was no clear leader of the group. I worked with them to divvy up the tasks and they made better progress after that.

Amy Benson CEP 800 December 1, 2013

As I had predicted, a couple of my groups focused much more on their pictures than they did on their script and when we had the iPads on day five, only three groups were ready to record. I allowed them to step out into the hallway to practice and they recorded at the end of the period. This worked out well because on day six, the remaining two groups recorded while I worked with the three that already had recorded to login to Edmodo, join my group, and upload their video. When the final two groups were finished recording we were able to quickly help them upload the video with just enough time left to watch all five. Each video averaged about one minute long. My enrichment group was going to change the next day so as a final wrap up I had students volunteer to share things they liked about the other videos and things that could be improved. For the most part, my students were very polite with each other, commenting that the videos were clear and had good pictures. One student even gave the suggestion to write out the script on a note card next time so that it is easier to read when one video had somewhat choppy audio. Overall my students did well with the assignment. They did not seem to struggle at all with working together to come up with pictures and original definitions, which shows me that they truly understood the words. Time management was a small obstacle, but each group was able to submit a final product. Reflection In this lesson, learning took place through creativity. Students received the definitions of the key terms in class as given by the teacher. After that, the teacher took a step back and the students assumed more of the thinking load about these terms and found a new way to present them. This is constructivist teaching in that the teacher was moving around to provide guidance and assistance when needed, but the students were working towards accomplishing the task on their own using the teacher given definitions as a scaffold. It is important to me to try to appeal to each learner in my classes at least in some small way. I think there is something to be said about teacher led instruction; I believe it is necessary in some cases, but modern research has shown that students appreciate choice and variation in type of activity. These things were some of the main focuses of my lesson. Using the iPad technology changed the pace and engaged more learners in my classroom. The way we used the iPads invited multiple learning styles to come out of their shells. Students who learn best through visuals were able to draw out their understandings. Students who learn best verbally were able to work to define the vocabulary words in their own terms. Students who like hands-on activities were engaged by pulling the slides (moving the papers) and working the camera. I think that this lesson reached many different types of learners and there was a lot of freedom for my students to choose how they wanted to best represent their vocabulary. I received vastly different and varied final products, and this is representative of the differences amongst the learners in my class. During this lesson I expected my students to feel highly motivated to truly understand their vocabulary words as a result of the presence of the technology. I expected my students to be excited to get hands-on time with the iPads and as a result, I expected their paper slides videos to be high quality. Since we had several days of prep time before I could get the iPads in my classroom, I expected my students movies to include quality pictures and a well-rehearsed
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Amy Benson CEP 800 December 1, 2013

script. I wanted them to finish the project feeling confident that they deeply understood their vocabulary terms. Technology played a large role in terms of student engagement with meeting my expectations. An advantage of using the iPads was the fun aspect of the project. My students are technology lovers and being able to use technology in school for a school project engaged them more than using a lined sheet of paper and their pencil. Upon using the technology, the students did not seem as surprised as I thought they would. I had never used iPads in my class before and I was expecting them to see it as a little bit more out of the box. They all seemed very comfortable using the features of the iPads and since they were working in groups, they were all very willing to share. Though the students were not bouncing off the walls with excitement as I had originally predicted, they were all able to complete the project in the time allotted and each group uploaded a video to my Edmodo page. This shows me that even though their expressions may not have shown it, the fact that no one refused to work or argued against the project proves that the iPads did increase motivation, if only just a little bit. Using the iPads in class also provided my students with skills in using touch screen technology, video software and file uploading and sharing. Additionally, this was a highly visual task. What is presented on the screen are the paper slides. The student definitions of the vocabulary words are spoken, but not actually written on the page. This presented a constraint for some of my students. Some groups became overly focused on what their slides looked like, and did not spend as much time working on what they were going to say. An additional constraint of using this technology was for my students who are not visual learners. They felt discouraged and that they couldnt draw a good enough picture to be the highlight of the movie. Throughout the lesson I received several questions about the requirements of the paper slides movie. I believe that having so much freedom and choice in a project is somewhat strange to my students and they were not sure if they were hitting the correct marks. I explained my expectations for the project several times, both to the entire class and to small groups individually. In the future, I believe that having some type of rubric may prove helpful to guide students. Most of the groups in my class began the project by making the slides first. This means they wrote out the vocabulary terms and drew pictures before re-working the definition into their own terms. Some groups drew one picture and some drew many, but I think that drawing the pictures first forced my students to think critically about the meanings of the vocabulary words. They could not have come up with an image to draw if they did not know what the word meant. Creating the audio seemed to slip a few students minds and their scripts were not as well-rehearsed as I would have liked, however no groups restated word-for-word the definitions I gave, which demonstrates a deep understanding of the terms and that they were successful in making sense of the content.