Technology is an awesome resource that we have at our fingertips. It creates accountability, gives accessibility and can foster creativity. But technology isn’t a bandaid that should be used to fix a lesson. It also isn’t something that your lesson should morph around in order to incorporated. As we always say, start with your content and then see if there are ways to foster more voice, involvement and creativity using technology.
But even an avid #edtech user like myself loves some good old analog analyzation in my ELA classroom. Teach plot was our target for this particular week and we were focusing specifically on character traits and evidence supporting our descriptions. We started by reading the book The Most Magnificent Thing.
You could read any great book with a well developed character but I like this one for the beginning of the year. Its message is one of determination, hard work, frustration and the confidence that develops when you persevere. It fits nicely into the previous SEL lessons we do first week. But again, you could choose any story that fits within your current unit.
After reading, each student set out to work on their own characterizations. Using EdPuzzle to review the story, students were give three tasks:
1) Find evidence from the story they could use to support the character embodied the set of traits they were given. (I gave them the list of traits for this activity. They were responsible, innovative, confident, engaged and reflective) Students went back and watched the story read aloud on EdPuzzle pausing it along the way to record the evidence they found for the various traits.
2) Rank the traits based on how much they felt the character showed them throughout the story. This is where the students were able to pick up, rearrange and move the post-its after finding the various evidence points. This was an important part of the lesson and really the foundation for using the post-it notes in the first place. This step allowed students to reflect and revise their thinking after they worked through all the evidence. Many students changed their original thinking of how the traits should be ranked once they took the time to support the thinking.
3) Explain the ranking order they chose and discuss the importance of that #1 ranked trait to the theme of the story. In the story we read, the character sticks with her project and works through the frustration to accomplish building her creation. So for example, if confidence was their most important trait, students explain the importance of needing confidence to get through tough situations.
The next step will of course be for students to share their rankings and elaborate on their thinking using Flipgrid. But in this lesson, working out thoughts first before sharing on video was the way to go. Feel free to grab the template to use if you can or use the one without a title for you to rank and explain in another subject or with another standard.
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