Yes, it's true, I've been sorely neglecting my blogging duties. It is certainly not a result of turning away from technology in the classroom, au contraire! The thrilling reality is that I've been blessed to be able to teach in a 1:1 setting virtually the entire school year to this point, and due to some restrictions that I can't solve quite yet, building and grading portfolios takes a bit more of my time than I'd like.
Today, however, I am posting to celebrate two of my rockstar 8th graders that impressed me so much I just had to share!
I have thrown quite a lot of technology at my eighth graders this year, and I must say, there is a noticeable gap between their willingness to use new technology, experiment, and exist in a mostly paperless environment and that of my sophomores. Maybe it's simply a product of personality, but I am amazed at the reluctance of students just two years older to embrace technology in a way their middle school counterparts can and do.
But back to my rockstars. A little background on some of the tech they've used in my class: We've used Voki to record their voices introducing themselves in French. We used Blabberize when they described celebrities. Partway through the Blabberize project, a number of my students began having trouble recording via the website, so we switched to Audacity, and uploaded the files into Blabberize.
Fast-forward to the weather forecasting project. This was to be step 2 in an ongoing project where students learn about a French-speaking country (step 1 -- make a flag, and record yourself describing what the colors stand for -- using Audacity). My rockstars used Google Images to download maps of their countries. They added "stickers" representing weather conditions using Picnik (undoubtedly this will be a future post). The final step was supposed to be (at least in my narrow little teacher mind) to take a screencast of the map with a voice-over by the students giving the weather forecast, using Screencast-o-matic. (yes, I realize how far behind I am!!).
The students were already familiar with Screencast-o-matic from using it to record themselves taking listening assessments, but apparently the rockstars couldn't wait for me to explain exactly how I wanted the weather forecasts done, so by the time I got to checking on them (during "free" time they had to explore what their classmates had been doing on their portfolios) they informed me that they had completed their forecasts using Audacity and Blabberize. Knock me over with a feather and color me stunned! They knew what the end product was that I expected, and found a more than acceptable solution all on their own, by thinking outside a box I was all set to build for them.
So what did you learn from YOUR students today??
Here's one of the "Weather Blabbers":