Instructional News
News and Celebrations

April 17, 2015

Week-in-Review

Using Tackk in the Classroom

Every consider using Tackk in the classroom? Tackk has created educational tools for teachers to use in the classroom for collaborations, simple creations, to spark creativity and it's free! Spark discussions between students and give assignment feedback with their fun, interactive Tackk Stream. Search Google images and YouTube without leaving your chat. Mr. Rinks recently used Tackk for an educational presentation for graduate school. Follow the links below for more information on using Tackk in your classroom.

20 Ways to use Tackk in the classroom:

  • Persuasive writing
  • Lesson Planning
  • Collaborative projects
  • Presentations to students/districts/teachers
  • Parent communication
  • Class photo memories
  • Embed to blog or LMS
  • Peer critiques/feedback
  • Skype classroom collaboration
  • Student ePortfolios
  • Tablet collaboration
  • Tutor communication
  • Video/audio display
  • Event promo + RSVPs
  • Research organization
  • School/class newsletters
  • STEM problem solutions
  • Essays and book reports
  • School announcements
  • With other edu apps
  • Collaborating for Eco

    Jets are collaborating to create a small garden for ecology studies, work experience, and  entrepreneurship. The DD students worked with the APES and Environmental Science students to promote recycle, reuse, and reduce in the classroom. Mrs. Lilavois's students worked together with our DD students to plant herbs and vegetables in reused  soda bottles. Students will study and chart the growth, and eventually transplant the seedlings to the new garden area near the track.

    Back in class, DD students predicted how long it would take the plants to grow. All the students are excited that the plants will sprout soon. Mrs. Hyams hopes that next year sells of basil, parsley, squash and various other herbs and plants will be possible.

    Collaborative Half-Day

    In our "whole-group" initial meeting for the collaborative half-day, Jets analyzed artifacts from last week's instructional rounds. We completed a gallery walk examining the 4 Square charts left behind by participants. After the walk, table discussion and personal reflection focused on:

    Identify the practice, either pattern or contrast, that you agree has the greatest potential for  increasing student thinking and learning should all teachers at JCHS make it a focus for improvement.

    What might you do tomorrow in your classroom to enhance your use of this practice?

    How can we work collaboratively as a team to learn and improve in this area?

    What resources and/or other assistance would help us improve practice in this area of focus?

    Jets explored questions left by the visitors in their groups using the think-puzzle-explore protocol. Questions included:

    *In what ways can you spur more student initiated questions?

    *In what ways can you shift the cognitive load from teachers to students?

    *In what ways can you increase the level of the task to increase the level of engagement?

    *In what ways can you make questions equitable across content and levels?  ie AP versus Inclusive classes

    *In what ways can we ensure fair distribution of questioning?

    *In what ways can JCHS ensure student choice?

    What are our next steps, Jets?

    Trends and patterns in table talk conversations kept coming back to the ideas of backward design, becoming more of facilitators than teachers, and turning it back over to the students. Teacher led small interest groups were mentioned as a way to support growth. It was also mentioned for students to have the opportunity to participate in learning walks, make suggestions, and to see and value and the importance of evaluation and self-assessment. "Evaluations do not stop when you graduate, " said one teacher. We discussed students being afraid of failure, and how that can contribute to set backs. Step back and think, Jets. What are you afraid of doing in your classroom? Can you give up some control and allow students to lead more of their own learning? What are our priorities to increase student thinking?

    A Next Year Notebook

    As the end of the school year approaches, do you find yourself thinking about new things you want to try or do, but think- "I have five weeks left with the students. Ain't nobody got time for this!"?

    I have been there every year. I would hear about a new approach or decide I wanted to revamp units or projects, but right at the end of the year, who has time for that?

    So here's a tip for you. Begin keeping a "Next Year" notebook. I kept one every year. As I'd think of something new I wanted to try but felt too rushed to try it so close to the end of the year, I'd put it in my notebook as a reminder. I also kept notes on things that didn't work in my instruction that I wanted to change the next time I taught that particular lesson, lists of books I wanted to read, things I wanted to create over the summer.

    After a few weeks of sleeping in and watching my fill of The Today Show, I'd break my "Next Year" notebook out, and be inspired again by new ideas for the upcoming year. Things I had completely forgotten about would fire me back up. I still keep one as an IP. A "Next Year" notebook is always a great way to keep yourself motivated, reflect on your practice, and fire you up for the next school year.

    Things Jets Are Tweeting About

    Flight Crew Instagram

    There's Something for Everyone on Pinterest

    Contact Me

    Kristi Combs, MFA

    Instructional Partner, James Clemens High School

    Madison City Schools, Madison, AL

    256-216-5313

    kcombs@madisoncity.k12.al.us