Marker Mic Drop, Marker Mic Drop Moments, Tech Tools

Marker Mic Drop #5: Karen Knight, Spanish Teacher and LOTE Department Chair

Image created on Canva.com

My department chair, Karen Knight, and I were discussing assignments for our remote learning experience that could potentially extend through the end of the year. “I want to give them a memory, Padrah. I don’t want to assign them 150 questions that won’t mean anything to them later.”

Exactly.

Karen proposed an idea that I absolutely love and will adopt for my classes in the coming weeks. Her students will be creating a scrapbook about their lives and the world during this global pandemic. The project builds upon itself with new themes or chapters for each week, with flexible expectations of responses written in the target language. Here is a breakdown of themes we brainstormed:

Week 1 – Current events headlines: Students gather current events articles and explain and summarize COVID-19, how it started and has evolved over the weeks. Students could elaborate on how it has specifically affected their community.

Week 2 – Family, activities, and the “New Normal”: Ask students to gather pictures and tell about their family. What are their ages? Jobs? Do they no longer work or work from home because of the pandemic? Most importantly, have your students discuss what their lives are from day-to-day now that they are at home. Have they been on more walks or spent more time with family?

Week 3 – A little humor: The memes, the GIFs, the videos of what people are doing to pass their time during stay-at-home orders are all pulling everyone through this with a smile. Have students recreate their favorites in the target language.

Week 4 – Twenty years from now…: What do students think the world will look like post-pandemic? Will we be more prepared and learn from this experience? Many schools and businesses have had to alter their ways. Will there be an overhaul to how we operate?

Week 5 – Reflection: Give your students an opportunity to express how they are feeling during this time and how it has impacted their lives. I would strongly encourage different mediums in which the students could present. Some are more comfortable with written or spoken words. For others, a drawn picture alleviates the pressure of speaking. Give an outline of reflection questions that can guide the students.

Presentation styles: There are various presentation options that a student can choose from for his or her final product. While we are living by the motto of “Keep it simple” in this teaching era, I believe that the more options you present, the better. Students only need to choose one, but by giving them alternatives, it accounts for their learning style preference as well as resources available to them. I could not possibly list all the resources available but here is a start:

Paper is always an option. Karen Knight proposed to the other Spanish teachers to accept this project at the beginning of next school year for a grade or extra credit.

Flipgrid presents a user-friendly video option. Even if students have a hard copy of their scrapbook, they could bring it to life by narrating it in a video.

Wakelet allows for beautiful digital storytelling, easily allowing students to add current events headlines as well as paragraphs with their own commentary and reflections.

Book Creator, Storyboard That, StoryJumper, Adobe Spark are other creative outlets for digital storytelling.

Google Slides can include text, pictures, videos, and be customized to the student’s taste.

Handwritten, recorded on video, collected into a digital format…no matter which option your student chooses, you gave them choice. Most importantly, though, you gave them a memory.

Tech Tools

Tech Tool Highlight #5: Wakelet

Image source: https://www.emergingedtech.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Wakelet-logo.png

Video tutorial: Wakelet Tutorial

Check out these updates! Wakelet updates (July 2019)

I recently published a post with tools to help organize and manage various aspects of your life. Wakelet is certainly at the top of that list. Here, I will detail more about Wakelet’s features as well as how educators and students are using it in and outside the classroom.

What is Wakelet?

Wakelet provides an extremely user-friendly platform to save, share, and organize content from across the web into beautiful collections. I love Wakelet because it reaches a variety of sources so that my thoughts and ideas aren’t scattered across email, Twitter, Pinterest, bookmarks, Google docs, etc. I can save all of these to one location and easily add text with descriptions to each item. I can also search for other collections and make a copy or export it as a PDF, as well as share it with friends and colleagues.

Let’s get set up!

Sign up for a free Wakelet account and also add the Wakelet Chrome Extension. By adding the extension, you will easily be able to add to your collections while perusing the internet.

How does it work? Once logged in, click on “Create a new collection.” Add a cover image (upload your own or choose from Wakelet’s library), give your collection a title and description, and start adding items by clicking on the green “plus” icon. You have a variety of options available (see photo below):

Image source: http://www.wakelet.com

Once you have added an item, click on the pencil to edit any description or notes you might want to add. When you are at the Wakelet home page, your open browsers will appear on the right. You can drag and drop them to automatically be added to a collection. Click on the “Easy reorder mode” and hover to the right to move items up and down.

Note! You have the option to make your collections private or public. You can also search for public collections by topic or people and easily add their items to your own collections.

Saving from the Chrome extension: If you are on a website, in a Google Doc, etc., you simply need to click on the blue Wakelet extension icon at the top of your browser and you will be prompted with this screen to save the item to a collection. It’s as simple as that!

Teachers and students can organize and collaborate with ease.

Wakelet published this article on how teachers and students are using Wakelet with beautiful examples of student and teacher work. Here are a few ideas:

Teachers:

  • Collaboration among other teachers & idea boards
    • Tech coach: Compile tech tool sites and video tutorials for your team.
    • PLCs: Create a collaborative board with ongoing resources. Add a document with your weekly agenda plenty in advance to promote preparedness and discussion.
    • Professional development organization: Encourage teachers to make a collection with their own notes and sources regarding the PD topic, especially if reoccurring throughout the year.
    • Speaking pictures: I have an Google Doc of random pictures that serve as speaking warm-ups. I added the doc to a collection but like the idea of being able to see all pictures at once without continual scrolling within a doc. I will be adding more pictures to this public Speaking Pictures (Padrah Gatewood) Wakelet. Feel free to make a copy!
  • Weekly newsletter: Share your collection with parents to keep them apprised of what is happening in your class, along with any upcoming events or important announcements.
  • School website: Some schools have opted out of overloading their website with information and instead share out a Wakelet collection with parents on a regular basis.
  • Student resources: Share your notes, articles, videos, and supplementary materials with your students in a public collection.
  • Search for public collections by topic or person: Easily make copies or choose a single item from a collection to add to your own.
  • Save your tweets and articles for later:
    • My “Read later” collection contains tweets with links to articles, or other materials I don’t have time to read until later.
    • I read a recommendation to add tweets in reverse order to see them from start to finish if saving a Twitter conversation.

Students:

  • Digital storytelling: This is a beautiful example of digital storytelling featured in the above Wakelet article. The author weaves the story of a dressmaker in Khair Khana, Afghanistan, who risked everything to protect her family from the Taliban. Audio accompanies the text at key transitions. The author’s voice navigates the reader through the dressmaker’s story in her writing by simply adding the “text” item in Wakelet. Further resources are included, such as the Council on Foreign Relations website, a Vimeo video bringing visual and audio to the reader. Imagine the possibilities and how expressive presentations could become beyond the standard essay.
  • Collaborative research: The ability to collaborate on a collection means that students can be at their respective homes or study spaces and still working together toward their common project.
  • Portfolios: Students can keep a collection of their work and see their progress from over the year.

Personally:

  • Recipe collections: Add a friend as a collaborator and see their favorite eats!
  • Activities and resources for kids: My Pinterest was just taken over by Wakelet. I love the ability to add notes or just simply the picture if I don’t want to navigate Pinterest –> find a board –> click on Pin –> scroll, scroll, scroll through pages to finally see the activity.
    • Collaborate with other parents to post upcoming events and times.
  • House projects: DIYs, decorations, etc.
  • Book club: Add future book ideas with commentary and reviews.
  • Travel:
    • Plan a trip collaboratively as a family with links to sites of interest, hotel and flight info, comments on top places to visit.
    • Create a collection with your family photos and favorite memories!