Success of Teaching to Teachers, Using Demonstration Classrooms to Improve Pedagogy and Practice
I was asked to lead a demonstration classroom to 8 other teachers within my school board. I was nervous at first, as I knew I was going to be one of the newest and youngest teachers there (which turns out I was). I was also very excited to share some of the ideas I have tested and receive feedback.
The session was called Incorporating Literacy & STSE to Engage Digital Learners. I firmly believe a great way to engage applied students in science is to pose a problem that is relevant to them. We started off by watching the trailer to the documentary called H2Oil (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xenYLY5lU58) , and then an ad from Cenovus Energy, a company wanting to extract oil from Alberta Oil Sands (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1mZMOP-wbY) . I had the students write on an oil drop if they believed we should remove the oil from Alberta and sell it to other countries. The students had various opinions, and were given the option to change their opinion once they watched both trailers. The following week we actually screened the full H2Oil documentary to the students.
The other teachers came into the room and watched how the students used netbooks to create a wiki about power generation. The lesson plans will be placed below the post. The idea was a new island was formed in Lake Ontario that needed its own type of power generation. The students needed to make a wiki to make a pitch to the mayor to choose their best power generation (nuclear, coal, solar etc.). Students had time to research and then use Wikispaces to create the site that included diagrams, picture and YouTube videos. The teachers were very impressed with how seamlessly the technology was integrated into the lesson. That is how technology should be integrated, the curriculum and concepts are more important, technology is the tool used. We can grow our technology skills and transfer them to other areas as well. We ended with an Exit Card, which had the students write down 3 things they learned, 2 things they wanted to learn more about and 1 way they can make a change to help the environment. This allowed me to read them and see what they learned from the lesson and what I needed to add next time, as well as their interests.
The debriefing of the demo class went very well, we worked together with the Instructional Leader for science to provide feedback and also how the other teachers could do this same lesson this year. I really enjoyed running the session and hope to do another soon. It is very important as a teacher to step out of your classroom and try a new project once and a while. The most important thing about technology that I have learned is that the students will always surprise you by doing something beyond or even helping you when you are stuck.