I believe in the power of writing while learning. I beleive in the power of a pencil and a clean sheet of paper. I beleive that if a student hears me say something, and then has to convert my words into notes they scribble there are all kinds of learning going on. AP CSP students create a Course-In-A-Box (aka CIB) throughout the term.
Problem: How can I re-create that during remote instruction?
Solution: Fortunately, our district is allowing AP students to come and pick up textbooks, so each AP CSP student will be given their very own notebook and some full stick stickies for organization. So step one is complete, they have the materials they need
Problem: If we were in Room 112, I would wander as I lecture and could see them writing, sketching, and otherwise interacting with the materials. But I can’t see that through all the screens. So I want them to turn in their notes (at least in the early stages as they learn how I teach)
I googled and googled and googled, what I didn’t want was yet another APP or system or program. I know, Onenote notebooks are ideal for this but I don’t want to start a new system. Also, if we are ever allowed to teach children in person then I don’t need the One Note. So I wanted an easy way to submit, that would work every time – despite the number of pages we created together.
Solution: Google Slides. I changed the page layout to mirror the dimensions of their notebooks. I set notebook paper as the background of the slide and they can duplicate as many pages as they need.
Problem: One downside of remote instruction is students doing asyncrhonous work that might require them to read and understand what I am asking for. I have been teaching with CIB for 4 years, but they are new to the concept.
Solution: A four minute video explaining what I actually want that they can watch one time and get a better understand of what on earth is happening. Also – when they message me with a question I get to ask “Have you watched the video”…and when I get no response I know they are now back on track.
Unintended Soltuion: The video gives me a chance to explain WHY I want their notes. If they are taking great notes but NOT scoring well on assessments, then we need to work together to figure out the problem. If they are taking sad notes AND not scoring well, then there is a easy solution to their problem. Another way to transfer the responsibility of learning to the student.
The inspiration for my notebooks came from the amazing women at Abstracting CS. What happens in Room 112 is not nearly as clever as the work of Jill and Gina but it works for me and my ducks.