Thursday, August 27, 2020

Conducting a Live Movie Talk via Zoom

I am a huge fan of doing Movie Talks, because I feel that they are a great way to preview vocabulary and language structures prior to a targeted reading. As much as students will complain about me stopping the movie clip to narrate it and to ask questions, when we go over the actual reading of the movie clip in various ways, they actually like the fact that they have a visual image in their heads of the passage already and know what to expect. However, in the digital learning classroom environment, the question for me has been "What is the most effective way to conduct a Movie Talk via a Zoom session (or Google Meet, Microsoft Team, etc) with a class of 25-30 students? Is it even possible?"

The answer is both yes and no. Yes, it is possible to conduct a live Movie Talk via Zoom, but in some ways, it is going to be different from how students fully experience it in the physical classroom. There are going to be some aspects which are identical to a classroom usage, but at the same time, there are other aspects which you will have to sacrifice and therefore will have to address in other ways.

The way in which I conducted a Movie Talk via Zoom was through the use of Google Slides. Now this is actually not a new concept at all, because I know of many teachers who have been using Google Slides for Movie Talks for years. When I created the Movie Talk Google Slide, I actually liked the layout very much, because everything which students and I needed was there on the slide itself. The layout of the slide was very basic and only had the list of target words and the video clip itself (directions for inserting videos into Google Slides). Below is my actual Google Slide for the Movie Talk (it is an active Google Slide, so you can push/play pause to see how it works):

I used the screen sharing function so that students could view it on their computer or device. 

  1. Asking questions and having students respond back and forth does not work too well in a Zoom session. I tried doing this, but since students were already muted, it took too much time for students to unmute themselves and to respond. As a result, it ended up being more of a Story Listening experience. I guess you could make it like Dora the Explorer by asking a question, pausing, and then answering it yourself.
  2. Having the target words on the slides is very helpful, and if you set the cursor for "laser," it helps draw attention to which word you're pointing and pausing at.
  3. Because I was not asking questions, I repeated the sentence an overly amount and used different variations of sentences using the target words to get in repetitions. At the same time, sentences need to be simple and short and full of repetitions with pointing and pausing to work in this environment.
  4. Whenever I pointed and paused at a target word using the laser pointer function, I truly had to pause and count to 4 in order to allow for student processing.
  5. In many ways, you are talking into the nethers. I found myself talking extra slowly and self-defining a lot of words as I went along to ensure that students were understanding. 
  6. I had A LOT of screens and tabs open for this (Zoom, Google slides). This made it kind of tricky at times.
  7. if possible, use the chat function for student comprehension check. They can enter in a number of 1-5 letting you know their comprehension level. Make sure it is set only to "Communicate with host." At the same time, depending on how many tabs/windows you have open, it may be too much.
  8. I would set "students cannot unmute themselves" during this, because I had a student who kept sneezing and there was a lot of background noise from students who were unmuted.
  9. This took about 25-30 minutes - maybe too long for a Zoom session, since it was just a listening activity? I told students get comfortable before we did this.
  10. My colleague John Foulk suggested that we use Google Slides for doing Movie Talks when students return face-to-face again. I tried it out by projecting it onto my classroom screen, and I really liked having everything there that I needed on the one slide. 
How is your Movie Talk experience going in a digital environment?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Creating Manipulatives Using Google Slides - Picture Sentence Matching

School has now been back in session for 1.5 weeks (albeit virtually), and my technology goal for this year is to learn Google Classroom. Even though my district uses the Brightspace learning management system (with which I am familiar using it as a grad student so I understand the student perspective), I have been wanting to learn more about Google Classroom, especially since we are currently teaching in a digital environment. Wow - why did I wait so long?!! Although there is a definite learning curve involved, I really like it!

One of the tech tools which I am learning how to implement is using Google Slides to create manipulatives - thanks to my colleague Rachel Ash for introducing me to this! It is a wonderful way for students to interact with material and to manipulate it in a digital environment. Even better, it lines up perfectly with Google Classroom, because I can assign it to every student, who then can work on it and turn it back into me all within Google Classroom. On her blog, Rachel has written about how she has used manipulatives to create a My Favorites and Opinion Board assignments for students (which I too have implemented in classes with great success thanks to Rachel!). 

Just recently, I did a Movie Talk with my classes via Zoom (it was an interesting experience). As a post-reading activity, I created a manipulative for students to interact with the story in a basic way - basic, because I myself am still a novice at this. Using screenshots from the movie talk clip, I created a 5-slide manipulative where from a list of sentences, students had to drag the sentence which best described the picture. 

Rather than write out a list of directions of how to do this (it is kind of complex to write out), let me show you to do it. Once you learn the basics of creating manipulatives on Google Slides, it is not difficult. 

I hope you found this helpful, and I have a ton of ideas now about how to use manipulatives, so I hope to write about them here. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Different Ways to Use Google Forms for Digital Learning

I originally sent this out on Twitter, but I figured I should post it here so that I have a record of it.

Since a majority of us teachers are starting the school year in a somewhat virtual environment, personally I have found it very overwhelming to learn lots of new web app tools. As much as I want to implement them, I also know from experience that it is best to learn 1-2 new tools and then to master them. I also know that I also need to take the web app tools which I do know and to learn new ways to facillitate them.

In the spring, when we abruptly had to change to digital learning, I knew how to use Google Forms, so here are different ways in which I milked Google Forms for all that could I during that time. These were set up as self-grading quizzes. Students could do these up to three times, and I would take the best grade. These forms are based on the Latin novella “Perseus et Rex Malus.” Students would receive their scores immediately upon completion, but I did not provide the correct answers.

A key component: in order to get in repetitions of language, i did 3-4 of these activities for the same passage. Students were able to get in necessary repetitions of language and to interact with the messages in different modalities without it being repetitive.

Some of these examples are better than others, because some of these I just threw together to create something for students to do when I couldn’t think of anything else. However, I do plan on adapting many of these for better usage. I have written up directions for many of these activities on this blog - do a search in the side bar for "technology":

  1. Reading Comprehension/Sight Reading 
  2. Picture/Sentence Matching 
  3. Character Matching 
  4. Support the Statement
  5. Emoji Sentences
  6. Derivative/Cognate Matching
  7. Using Video Clips
  8. Using Audio Clips (I would suggest using Formative for this instead. When you create this using Google Forms, your audio clips are stored in Google Drive, but Google Drive has a daily download limit of media. I found this out the hard way when many students could not access the audio files.