Friday, March 31, 2017

Trying Something New

This is my eleventh year at SCC. After being here for so long, I wanted to mix this year up a bit. My goal for my 5th grade class was to do everything brand new. I would still teach the same skills and content, but I would try to create new ways of explaining and new activities for students to participate in. As you can imagine, sometimes this worked great and sometimes it was a totally flop.

This week it's been one of those in-between times.

I heard about this new tool called Symbaloo Lessonplans where you can make a game board using Symbaloos tile program that would allow students to "play" through content at their own pace. This sounded great! I could put a bunch of things I wanted the students to learn in this game board and they could go to it. I made it extra difficult for myself because I decided I wanted as many different kinds of tiles in my game board as I could get -- text with questions, Quizziz, EduPuzzle, YouTube video, a "look at this website and tell me a thing" problem, outside practice websites using Flash. This was going to be every tool I've been wanting to try all in one lesson plan.

Good Things!

  • Students liked being able to work at their own pace.
  • Having the ability to embed content into a single platform was nice because they could just click "Next" instead of trying to get to the right place.
  • They liked the game aspect of it, moving your game piece from beginning to end at the flag.
  • Could mix provide multiple ways to get to the end point, meaning that students had a choice in how they engaged with the content (video vs text vs quiz).

Not so good things....
  • Poor connection between Symbaloo and Google Classroom meant it was multiple steps to get to it to begin with.
  • Not all of the embedded content would load or be completely visible when loaded.
  • I made it to long!!! I was a bit over-ambitious and included to many things. For a first time out it was overwhelming for the students to try to get through.
You can see some of the students working on their Symbaloo Lessonplan this week by watching this video.

So would I try Symbaloo Lessonplans again? Yes. But I would make it shorter so students aren't as stressed out by the amount of things to get through. Picking specific things that I'm sure will work within the platform might also be a consideration. 

Trying out new things has made this year very exciting, but has reminded me a lot of my first year when I was creating things on the fly. Some of it works and some of it doesn't, so finding a balance of trusted lesson plans vs new activities is going to be my goal going forward.


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