I always used to tell my students that they would probably forget 90% of what they were taught in school. I know, conservative estimate... but my point was/is that unless we all stop and think about what we are learning, how we can use it, or what it can teach us about how we think, how we learn... most of the "stuff", the facts students cram into their skulls- will simply fade away from disuse.
How often do we take the time to actually reflect on what we are learning, or on the lessons we teach ? I know that I always made a point of doing this after any projects. I used Padlet to put both my own reflection as a teacher and to solicit the reflections of my students. Simple questions: What went well? What would I do differently next time? What mistakes did I make? What did I learn? What are my next steps? Stop and make the time to answer/discuss these questions and offer students and teachers the time and space to think about the learning and put it into some context. Richard Byrne has a nice quick video to walk you through how to use Padlet. (Just a side note: we used this in grade 3, easy peasy.) If you're not ready for Student Portfolios, try Padlet or ReCap to gather some reflections.
An application that I am just starting to play around with is called ReCap. This is a "a simple and free video response and reflection app that lets teachers and parents see how students learn." This looks like a great way to provide quick and easy reflections, exit tickets or even a more thorough examination of how things are going in class. Students can use the iOS app or a chromebook or PC/Mac to make a quick video in response to a question/assignment. No scary blank paper/doc staring at the students who have trouble getting words down on paper. No raising your hand or shouting out an answer. All students can have their thoughts, questions about the work shared privately with the teacher. I think it has great possibilities in class as a reflection tool. Here's a couple quick videos- an intro from the company and one from Jeff Bradbury at TeacherCast.
Fun & Games with Google Tools
I'm not going to try to rewrite Eric Curts' posts here, but he does really cool things with Google Tools. Yes, kind of geeky- but the learning and planning that have to go into these is pretty amazing. I would never, ever have thought about using them to play games, but check it out...Battle Sheets! Chess & Checkers with Google Drawings! Emoji Writing Prompts! Choose Your Own Adventure Docs! Check them out.. use the templates or ask your student to give it a go.
Don't Forget- Free PD this WeekEnd
Education on Air
Join the folks from Google and thousands of educators this weekend for 2 days of free professional development- Google Education on Air. There are literally hundreds of sessions to attend- facilitated by educators- teachers who are in the classroom, not just talking heads. Lots to learn, build your PLN, interact with teachers across the world. Beats the heck out of shopping.