Cotsen principals, administrators, and teachers had an opportunity to observe signature literacy practices at Acacia Elementary School in the Fullerton School District. Their staff has implemented instructional technologies to enhance their Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop. Over 70 participants assembled at the Acacia school site to see how student comprehension can be strengthened by successful integrative technologies.
This observation gave participants an opportunity to observe technology integration inside a live classroom at Acacia. The Acacia teachers instructed their students using some of the digital tools provided below. We’ve also added the notes from their lesson plan. The Acacia teachers also share these practices and tools with each other by using the S.A.M.R. model (Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition) to support every stage of the Workshop process with technology integration ranging from gathering ideas to publishing.
LITERACY AND TECHNOLOGY LESSON PLANS
- Strip Designer
- Strip Designer
- Pic Collage Kids
- Google Docs
- Green Screen by Do Ink
- Google Classroom
- Google Classroom
THOUGHTS FROM THE OBSERVATION
Alan Pantanini, Cotsen Principal, Washington Elementary School
- “Getting to participate in this observation gives you a vision of where things could be. Then you have to inspire your own teachers to really want to learn this with you as well, because this a new way of teaching. The only way you’re going to share that learning with teachers is to show them that it can be done. Then it’s just about spending time with the teachers that are implementing it and exposing them to this new teaching direction.”
Robyn Stankiewicz, Cotsen alumni fellow, La Verne Science and Technology Charter
- “As a kindergarten teacher, I feel limited at times. These students can’t type, or if they can, it’s going to take 20 minutes for them to type three words. These tech tools are great because it gives all of us options. Instead of testing them one-on-one, I can think outside of the box. I can put them on an iPad and they can retell their stories into the iPads. Then I can take the iPads home and BAM! I’ve saved myself over five minutes times 25 students of retell.”
Rasheka Henry, Cotsen alumni fellow, Robinson K-8 Academy
- “It’s important to let the students know that one approach doesn’t always work. We teach that often in math with CGI. Just let them know that when you’re doing your research, it doesn’t have to look the same as someone else’s research. It’s about what works for you, and that helps the students to set their own goals.”
Nikki Mahar, Cotsen current fellow, Fisler Elementary
- “It’s incredible how quickly these students got busy and how engaged they were with the technology. They knew exactly what they were doing and you could see the, “Aha!” moments. Kristina Cathcart didn’t have to guide them through the applications, they were teaching each other.”
Each observation was followed by a Q & A debrief to allow the teachers to explain how they utilized these tools to support literacy within the classroom and answer any questions that may have risen from the observation. Participants also received hands-on time to handle the tech tools and design their own lesson with Acacia teacher guidance.
Students today are communicating, collaborating, thinking critically and creatively with 21st century skills. But these 21st century skills are tangibly influenced by the omnipresent reach of technology. In the last decade, school leaders and teachers have been increasingly interested in bridging learning with technology. A study done by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in California, showed that students using iPads saw their math test scores increase 20% in one year compared to students using traditional textbooks. With research studies supporting the use of technology to facilitate and enhance learning, teachers more than ever want to know the best way to use these tools and the visit to Acacia opened a world of possibilities for some of their fellow Cotsen educators.