Friday, December 12, 2014

Lynn Timmer 20% Project for the Collaborating Community Course

Small Steps Lead to Leaps
Digital Citizenship
for Middle School Students

Lynn Timmer, Special Education Teacher

This project follows the standards-based learning targets my special education students have for reading and writing with the added bonus of incorporating Digital Citizenship for students who have difficulties with reading, writing, and communication skills. The students completed reading informational science texts (two reading levels), learning and practicing taking modified Cornell Notes on their devices. After vocabulary and comprehension assessment, they filled in a structured story plot organizer to compose a creative story that includes facts from their Cornell Notes. These stories will be shared with a class at Cornelia Elementary School.


4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility-Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. Teachers:

c. promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.
d. develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools.

   Small Steps Lead to Leaps 

SMALL STEPS: One of my small alternative language arts classes (grades 6-9) uses personal devices nearly every day in order to increase both reading and writing skills. Some of these students have begun to use voice recognition through the Read&Write for Google™ Chrome extension, which has had the benefit of increasing their thinking about words to say and editing the text if the microphone doesn't pick up their voice accurately.

A link through to Anne Collier, a youth-tech advocate, the word "digital" should be dropped "because we're really just teaching citizenship. These are the skills and knowledge that students need to navigate the world today. We must teach these skills and guide students to experience situations where they apply knowledge. Citizenship is what we do to fulfill our role as a citizen. That role starts as soon as we click on the internet." 

How Did I Spend My Time?

I designed lessons to begin with SMALL STEPS.
STEP ONE: Identify Personal Connections. What do all people have in common? 
STEP TWOWhat is Etiquette?    
STEP THREE: What is Digital Etiquette? ( etiquette) 

High Fives for Digital Etiquette

STEP FOUR: Develop Cornell Notes regarding text details and get BONUS points for sharing your notes. 

STEP FIVE: Practice DIGITAL ETIQUETTE by sharing Cornell Notes with a classmate. Then COMMENT on someone's notes that have been shared. Here are brainstormed ideas for what might be said when commenting on someone else's work using digital etiquette.

STEP SIX: Color-Coded Story Planning Template (open link to view)

Write a creative story, including at least three facts from your Cornell Notes. These will be shared digitally (video sharing or folder sharing) with 4th graders at Cornelia Elementary School. This is a LEAP for students who can often struggle with reading, writing, and speaking.

The resources I found the most valuable were one posted through the Edina Technology web page and the Edutopia blog (link posted above). I need to break down tasks into small segments for modeling, including using visuals. This project was a blend of what my students have learned with their devices (using Google Drive) and adding new practices (sharing with classmates, commenting, preparing to share with students in another school). I have also observed exciting success for some students in using voice recognition or word prediction technology through the Read&Write for Google™ Chrome extension. 

The open-ended nature of this project was useful for me since it allowed me to incorporate the ideas of Digital Citizenship right into lessons I was already planning. It enriched the learning. My students are working harder to make the details of their stories more elaborate by using creative words (tab opened to, by Showing, Not Telling (, and by writing longer stories than they might otherwise have written. They are excited to show off their work!

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