Knowing your students…

March 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm 5 comments

Lately I am struggling a little bit with my Collaborative Project. Students are to create a Digital Story using two different tools, BUT before they can begin using the tools they need to submit their written story to be approve by Kayla and I.

As I do not know these students and their abilities some of their stories are baffling to me. I am shocked at some of the grammar, spelling, and lack of structure (introduction, climax, conclusion) of their story submissions. While some are impeccable, and better than I could have written. I realize the varying levels of ability is common in the classroom today, it is still difficult as I do not know these students.

Perhaps the ones that are struggling are EAL students, or attend a Learning Tutorial in addition to regular classes. I do not know. While I can, and will ask about some students to the cooperating teacher it is still frustrating as I do not know these students, and understand what supports they require from me to be succesful.

For me this is a peril of online teaching and learning. As I am very much a people person, and like to have a face to face interaction to gage where my learners are at this experience is new to me, and a bit of a learning curve.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike Wolf  |  March 20, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Hopefully Lance doesn’t read this. I could imagine he’d had some kind of comment about you being a people person.

    It’s incredibly hard dealing with language deficiencies in EAL and tutorial students. I tried to teach figurative language in a grade ten class, and it was a struggling for a few of the EAL students.

    Hang in there, and do the best you can with what you have.
    I look forward to seeing some final products.

    Reply
  • 2. Nicole Reeve  |  March 23, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    If you do find out that some of your students are EAL students that might be the reason you are having some issues deciphering their writing. I am taking an EAL class right now so I can try and help you a little bit!

    One of the things our text book, The More Than Just Surviving Handbook by Barbara Law and Mary Eckes, talks about is participating in shared writing. This is where the teacher and the student compose a piece of writing together. You are using the students ideas but the teacher does the transcribing. Maybe this is something you could work out with the teacher you are working with? I don’t know whether this takes away from their actual interaction with the online tool but it does allow them to share their ideas.

    I would be interested to hear if you use this, to see how it works!

    Reply
  • 3. shiels3k  |  March 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Assessment is very time consuming and I can see your frustrations with trying to edit these stories without being able to sit side by side with each student to help edit these stories. A couple things you could try:
    1. Keep the stories short.
    2. Try providing feedback using a different colour of text. This allows you to ask questions to the writer, for example are you trying to say this or something to consider is. This way the student can rewrite or fix something if it is unclear to the audience.
    3. I wonder if you would be able to skype with the students individually, where the student could wear head phones so that it is between you and the writer you are working with?
    4. Could you have your mentor help edit some of the stories and then you work with the tools for publishing the story online?
    Good luck with this project! I am also very excited to see the final products!

    Reply
  • […] grammar errors that it is hard to understand the story. Amy also expressed her concerns with this here. Although having the students email us has proven to be an effective, quick way to communicate with […]

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  • […] level each student is at, which ones might struggle at bit more, and which ones needed motivation. Amy posted her frustrations with this a little while ago and I agree that it would have been more difficult to assess their work had I […]

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