My First Foray into Facilitating Tech in the Classroom

I was assigned to teach a sixth grade language arts class about Diamante Poems as a part of the class’ poetry unit.  As I approached planning the lesson, of course, the first thing I did was some internet research on what a diamante poem is.  There was a good deal of information on this relatively simple form of poetry, but what was most valuable to my goals was a program for guiding students through process of writing diamante.  I am linking the website here for anyone interested.

Once I found this website I started thinking about how it might be a way to get more students in the class involved to a higher degree.  I also thought it would be cool for the kids in my class to use the computers they have in the classroom but are rarely — maybe once that I have seen in my time in the class — used.  I really liked the idea of using this website.  However, a new issue cropped up once I committed to using the poem writing tool.  How do I get my students to the website?  Simply saying the link out loud or having it printed on copies did not seem to make sense.

Since we were going to be in the computer lab I figured out the best way to get all students to the same website simultaneously would be to share the link on some sort of easily accessible forum.  I decided to use Wikispaces to share the link easily and quickly created this for my students.  The last line on the page is linked to the web app for writing a diamante poem.  This seemed like an easy way to get students to the complex link since the actual link to the wiki space was simply:

otto6.wikispaces.com

Rather than:

http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/diamante/

Less to have students type made good sense to me.  I wrote up a procedure so students knew when I would be teaching and modeling diamante poems and when they would be going on the computers.  As a class we wrote a diamante poem, using student input.  My one mistake here was not using the web app to model writing a diamante.  Instead, I wrote it using Microsoft Word projected on a screen.  This was only a mistake in that when students went to write their own diamante poems they encountered a program they had never experienced before.  After some decent confusion most students were able to write their poems and, one of the most convenient aspects of the web app should you want your students to print (my mentor teacher did), it will ask for a name and send to any printer installed on the computer the user is on.  Pretty cool.

All-in-all a fun experience in using some very simple tech in a sixth grade classroom. Can’t wait to try more stuff!

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