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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Let's Make Some Inferences! (Part 1)

We have been studying all about making inferences for the last week or so in fourth grade. We started with the very popular "What's in Ms. Smith's bag?" activity, and we continued through several different passages, pictures, and task cards.

[Sidenote:]
This year I've been on a quest to do a better job incorporating hands-on technology into my lessons. I've ways used my ELMO and my computer at the front of my classroom, but I really think its important for students to be interacting and manipulating the technology instead of just staring at it. In my classroom I only have three iPads and two desktops, so I have to get creative. I have awesome coworkers, so whenever I ask to borrow a set of iPads, someone always helps me out. With another teachers iPads, I have the ability to break my students into groups of 3 or 4, and so far that has worked best.

Ok, back to inferencing...
I wanted to come up with some way to incorporate some fun technology into my inferencing unit so I set off to Pinterest and TPT in search of ideas. There are TONS of fabulous short Pixar films that are great for inferencing. I have shown several of these short clips on my projector (and we have discussed as a class), but I wanted to take that a step further for this lesson.

Because I only had 6 iPads (I borrowed 3 from a coworker), I knew I would have to involve some non-technology aspects of my lesson as well. I stumbled across an awesome freebie on TPT's Facebook page on inferencing and it is a fabulous resource. It is by Buzzing with Mrs. B and it is a forever freebie! How awesome is that? Check it out here! I mainly used the task cards in this pack because we had already been studying inferencing for several days when I found this pack, but I am definitely saving and using the whole thing next year!

I decided to create 5 tasks for my students to complete. I laid out the 5 tasks on a worksheet. I told my students that they needed to complete all five task cards, working on whatever resource was available. I started each group on a different task, and I told them to find an empty task to move on to when they finished the current task they were on. Three of the tasks were task cards from Ms. B's resource, and two were short pixar films from Youtube. (I must say I was worried about not having a "rotate now" system, but it worked great. I did tell students to not do both video tasks back to back so that everyone could work with the iPads.)

Y'all, my students were SO engaged. It was amazing. I felt like angels should be singing and I wanted to do a happy dance. Technology won me over and I'm now trying to figure out how many different ways I can use it in my classroom. My goal for now is to try to incorporate at least one hands-on technology activity per week. With only three iPads (and having to borrow other teachers' iPads) I feel like thats a good goal.

[Check back for Part 2... coming soon.]
Part 2 will include the AMAZING Pixar videos I used for inferencing, along with the task page I gave my students. This will be a free resource. Woot. Woot!

Until then.. how do you use technology in your classroom? I'd love any awesome ideas that have worked for you! = )