Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cardinal Innovation Center Today: Forrest Gump, Math Blogs and a Green Screen

Last week, the Cardinal Innovation Center continued to buzz with activity. For the 'ol Tech Coach, this is a dream come true. To my surprise, I was able to make some inroads with a teacher who has been known to be tech resistant. But as Katherine Goyette and I say in our coaching session on tech resistant teachers, you have to find an "in." For this teacher, the "in" was Math Blogs.

This teacher was looking for a new way to get her students motivated to study for their Advanced Math final. With our district putting an huge emphasis on writing across all disciplines, Math Blogs are able to kill two birds with one stone. 

A Math Blog is simple. Students start a blog with Blogger. From there, they work out groups of math problems one at a time. They use the webcam to take a picture of their work and insert it into the blogpost. Below the picture, they must write a rationale and or explain how they solved the problem in as much detail and in as many ways as possible. The teacher creates a hyperdoc with each student's name linked to their blog URL. This makes it easy for the teacher to evaluate student work and see student thinking.

With my world history classes, students, as part of their World War I unit, were given the option to write a Forrest Gump blog. What is a Forrest Gump blog? It is simply creating a fictional character and inserting them into historical events a la Forrest Gump. 

It is a chance for students to be creative and engage in writing some historical fiction. Wonder Woman's actions during World War I and Captain America in World War II other examples. Students were given a list of 8 events during World War I and tasked with writing blogposts for each event showing how their character was involved. 

Students who didn't choose the Forrest Gump blog option could have chosen to do the Green Screen Live News Report. They were given a list of 6 events from World War I and used the green screen to conduct "live" news reports on scene. Some pretended to interview "eye witnesses" while others used costumes and props to enhance their reporting skills.