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How to help students find their voice.

I’m always looking for new ways to hook my students and get them working. Our focus for the next two weeks will be formal writing essays. We saw a teacher in San Francisco using Doceri and that gave me the idea to try something similar using the app Explain Everything. On Friday I tried the following lesson and I was pleased with the way it went.

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Steps to take:

1. Leave bags and iPads on desks.

2. Sit in a circle.

3. “Huddle up” for class discussion.

Instead of having the whole lesson mapped out on Explain Everything, I just had the main ideas and treated the presentation as a working document.

The simple idea of removing desks made all the difference!
When I asked for ideas, students who have never contributed suddenly found their voice. Maybe it was the removal of desks, maybe it was because I was sitting in the circle with them, but I was blown away by how responsive they were. One student who is extremely shy emailed me on Friday night with her ideas. Teenagers thinking about school work on a Friday night, there’s something wrong with that picture!

As they gave their ideas I jotted down as many as I could onto a blank slide that I had in the presentation. Great discussion ensued.

They went back to their places and in pairs they developed their research question. They worked in Educreations which is a free app. They are going to do a teach back session in the next lesson where they show another group what their topic will be and how they will set about doing the formal writing essay.

Finally, I added some voice overs to the presentation and uploaded it to YouTube and our LMS for my students to refer to if need be.

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