Final Project

MY FINAL PROJECT

UbD is a philosophy for teaching and learning. Once I understood this philosophy, I started to use it as an everyday practice; it influences my learning as well.

I checked my assessment and rubrics before opening the first Unit 1 of Course 1 and decided that I want to improve the Unit School for my grade 4 students. 

My grade four students are at the Intermediate Low-Mid level in Russian and I needed to create an authentic environment for students to be able to make connections and comparisons between different school systems and recognize the cultural aspect of each system and encourage students to use different types of technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals.

As a language teacher, I always had in my mind that the main focus is communicative competence, I focused on developing the ability to use language correctly to communicate appropriately and effectively in a variety of social situations. However, nowadays, students are influenced by new media forms that allow them to socialize and learn differently. 

It is genuinely intriguing to see how education has been moving forward.   A vivid example that comes to my mind is how students use different forms of resources to do their presentations. I remember in the early 2000s, students of my school (Anglo-American School of Moscow) would always submit something unique and creative on paper. They would always ask me or seek resources that would help them. However, everyone would usually work by themselves, or they were not fully engaged in the process. There was also a limit to the resources they could use. I do remember that some students were not fully engaged because they could not come up with something unique or a result that they would be proud of in the end. Nowadays, it is different, since the students mostly use online programs to present their projects. Since there is a variety of online applications, such as Google Slides, PowerPoint, iMovie, etc. It allows them to explore and develop new skills in the process. I can see in my classes that the students are more engaged when it comes to presentations. They are willing to work in groups to create an online presentation or present any other online project. Each project that the students create, I can tell how much effort and dedication they have put into the online projects. Each student can set different IT tools into the online project (such as video, drawing, an activity to engage their audience and many more). What is added through this group work is that each student can create or build their character and perception through the different online projects that are expected from them when learning. 

I was amazed by the results. Each of my students shoots a short video advertising our school. They were fully involved in the process, they tried different apps, they helped each other to take a photo, to record the sound. 

MY HIGHLIGHTS

I was thinking to add criteria to evaluate IT standards as well, but we have the common rubrics as a team. I have realized that it will take some time when I can sell this idea to my colleagues.

Students’ self-reflection improved they started thinking not only about their language competence but also about their IT skills.

MY STUDENTS’ REFLECTIONS

Week 4 – Thinking about Tech-Rich Learning

In Russia, we have a very good saying: “Man proposes and God disposes”. In English, it is “Man plans, and God laughs”. I did not want to use the second version of this saying because it is not the time for laughing. As coronavirus continues to spread around the world, people’s everyday life has been changing tremendously. 

Credit: alphaspirit/Shutterstock
Psychologist explores how meaningfulness cultivates well-being,  Clifton B. Parker, Stanford University, 2014.

I had my plan of action on how I will learn during Course 1 and implement new ideas and new tools in class. Suddenly, our life became hectic, the plans were changing every day. So, I could not find a minute to sit, read and reflect. Now, after the first week of distance learning, I was ready to come back to my COETAIL learning (on Thursday, I had a few hours to read and think).

BUT on Friday, I started my working day at 06:30 and finished at 23:19. I have only 1 hour break (16:00-17:00), when I actually had my lunch or dinner, I am not sure.

Footprints to Recovery, Mental Health, “5 HABITS THAT MAKE MILLENNIALS STRESSED OUT AND LESS PRODUCTIVE”, 2017.

My takeaways from reading Resources were:

Relevant to the students

When I am planning a new unit or think about learning engagements I need to find the topic that is relevant to students today. I am a World Language teacher, and we, as adults and educators always choose the topic, texts, videos that we think would be useful for our students. Probably, it would be interesting to ask students what they want to learn.

Authentic audience

I agree that students’ motivation will be increased if they know the audience. When we had a Russian school to communicate with, the students were engaged fully in writing letters, in preparing a presentation about our school because they knew that the real Russian kids would come, and they would give them a tour.

It is challenging to develop a real-world task as well as an age-appropriate task, especially in the lower primary and in a foreign language (in my case). We are teaching skills and knowledge that will allow them first to survive in a country and then maybe to enjoy living in this country. We teach them not only a language, but we also try to give them a taste of culture, explaining some phenomenon, finding similarities and differences, teaching them to be tolerant of things that are different or do not understand. 

“How have you planned for tech-rich learning in the past?”   

I am a Russian language teacher in Elementary School.

What have I used in the past?

Smart-board games that we were creating as a department. 

  • To teach new vocabulary
  • To teach how to read and write

The results were incredible.  My five years old Russian learners were able to read (recognize?) the main vocabulary and write familiar words, phrases, and sentences in Russian after one-year learning, using these games. 

BUT the software was updated, and WE HAD LOST  all the games that we have created for the last three years. It was such a pain and discourage.

What tech-rich lesson I am facilitating

Now the school buys different apps such as Linguascope or FluentU that support the learning of vocabulary and structure. The problem is that Linguascope is developed for the total beginners for the Russian language and it can be used for a while and this app does not allow practicing vocabulary in context and does not have different levels for the Russian language.

Another problem that I have was FluentU subscription policy. I can have a subscription as a teacher, but I can not subscribe to my students.

This week and the other 5 weeks is going to be distance learning. All learning engagements will be through Seesaw.  This platform is familiar to my students. And so far, the results are incredible.

Week 3: Connected Learning

The week 3 task was to identify my personal goal(s). After reading and watching the provided resources, I had a lot of ideas (how can I help students thinking about identity, privacy on-line, how do I support kids engagements gigging and messing around in WL, what are the strategies to reinforce the students’ IT skills in WL class, what on-line resources I can use to differentiate, reflect on their learning). 

BUT

Distant learning happening due to a new disease
Inspired by Pacman and Coronavirus
Artist: Alexandra Grom (my daughter)

As we all know, our plans do not always turn out exactly we plan them.  

Once the COVID-19 situation has happened, I have to rethink my professional goals. 

My goal will be to learn about the apps that I can implement during distance learning.  

My steps will be:

  1. Explore Google Apps (Google Classroom, Google Meet, Screencasify) that are recommended by the school and can be used for distant learning
  2. Organize meetings to share ideas with the colleagues to collect the bank of ideas on how these apps can be used for ES students
  3. Create learning engagements that can be interesting for ES students
  4. Try these learning engagements in class that ES students will be familiar with these activities
  5. Collect feedback from students about these learning engagements
  6. Discuss students’ feedbacks with the colleagues
  7. Make some changes based on feedback and discussion