Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sharing Best Practice--EInstruction!

New learning for me happens everyday! I get so excited by new found discoveries because I have a natural curiosity to know as much as I can about the instruction in my building. I also can't stop until I've shared my learning with someone else. I guess that is what fundamentally tugs at the heart of a coach--sharing best practice.

A 2nd grade teacher in my building submitted a proposal to present at the America's Choice National Conference in January. Her accepted proposal was based on the integration of technology for teaching in the content area of science. So, she wrote a letter to EInstruction asking for a donation of a teacher chalkboard and a class set of response pads. Her grant proposal, too, was accepted and her new teaching tools arrived! She mentioned this to me in an informal conversation and I told her to let me know when she implemented them in her class so I could drop by. Two days later, she was up and running. Now, I've seen response clickers in the past, but I have to tell you, this technology has come a long way!

The teacher, Melissa, had the wireless teacher chalkboard resting comfortably in her lap. The students sitting in their gathering area each had a response clicker in their hand. The computer screen was projected onto the whiteboard. Melissa had programmed about 10 math questions that students had to answer. She projected one question at a time and the students used their response clicker to type in A,B,C, or D. Melissa could see on the screen who had answered the question and then went to the answer. The technology allowed her to see how many students had answered correctly and how many incorrectly. (There is also a way for her to see who it was, although she didn't do so on this day). She also can graph the results along with a slew of other options. Now this is instant assessment and a student accountability system! No longer does she have to only know how one student will respond when she poses a question, but with this tool she knows how they will all answer! No more hiding behind the kid in front of you!
This handy e system can do much more including printing a plethora of valuable reports to help the teacher prescribe instruction.

The coach in me wasn't content to just sit and watch. My wheels were already spinning... Who would love to have this technology in their classroom? How could they use it? How can this help accelerate student achievement? I immediately called another teacher (who co-teaches) and asked him to come to Melissa's room. He did. Now, he's inquiring about purchasing the technology for his own classroom. If you are reading this and you are a teacher in my building, stop by Melissa's room to see this in action. I guarantee it'll be a must have on your next purchasing list!
Getting others excited about new ideas (or old ideas that I'm finally excited about) is a real thrill for me. At the heart of my love for coaching is assisting others in making new discoveries, or in implementing oldies but goodies!

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