Written on October 3, 2012 – 1:09 pm
| by Catina Chapman
Last year was my fourteenth year teaching, but my first year in elementary schools. I’d spent the first thirteen years of my career teaching middle school. I’m still learning that little kids are not just smaller versions of tweens and teens.
Last week, I made an interactive flipchart in ActivInspire. It is only four slides, meant as an assessment students in the grammar they’d learned so far this year. Because Virginia is using technology-enhanced items in their standardized tests, I want to mimic “drag and drop” type questions, and ActivInspire and SMART Notebook 10 offer these possiblilities easily. Every laptop in our computer labs has both of these programs. Students can open my file via the server, manipulate, and print. Teachers can then grade these assignments.
Here is a student paper:
The first slide has a text box that says ”Name:”. Originally, I wanted students to type their name. I wanted them to start using the keyboard, and this seemed like a good way for them to practice.
The second slide was is a straightforward drag and drop activity on Concept of Word. I was proud of myself for changing color of each option. My reasoning was so that students could ask for “the red one” or “the brown one” to be read.
The third slide’s directions tell students to click on the highlighter and highlight the letters to be capitalized. It then says to drag punctuation marks where they are needed. The sentences consist of pretty small words, each in a differently colored box so that students could request for which one to be read.
My last slide is really just an enrichment slide. I wrote four sentences, each with at least one spelling word from this school year. There are three mispelled words, so I provided three draggable red x’s. The directions tell students to drag an x to each mispelled word. There is clipart next to each sentence to aid in comprehension. This time, I numbered sentences in case students needed them read. The bottom part of the slide has directions saying to type each mispelled word correctly in the box. Since they’d used a textbox on the firs slide, I’d expected this to be simple.
In reality, students did really well until the third slide. There, several would move the highlighter instead of click it to turn their mouse into a highlighter. They could highlight without trouble, but then needed help changing back to a mouse to grab punctuation marks. On the fourth slide, they could move the red x’s easily, but had a horrible time with the typing. Of course they were slow keyboarding, but they could find the letters–except for I because several thought it was a lowercase L. The big issue was text boxes in general. If they clicked outside the text box, their word’s letters weren’t connected (pi g). Some did not space at all. Some typed the word incorrectly again. Some had text boxes that were too big, or off the slide.
I tried the file with another class. I showed them how to use the tools on the first three slides, but then I could sense that several of them would not be able to process another slide’s worth of different tools. I have two more “guinea pig classes”, so I’ve considered using the file whole class via an interactive whiteboard, then having them complete the activity individually, with different letters, words, and sentences.
Instead, I’ve revamped the file. The new one has them drag ovals over the letters that should be capitalized. On the text box slides, I’ve infinitely cloned every letter of the alpabet so they can drag to the box. I may try to organize the letters QWERTY style in later flipcharts, and integrate a tool or two in individual activities as the year progresses.