Pre-Service Teacher at Bluffton High School
Bowling Green State University
This is my first submission to the Cardinal and I am so excited to be apart of this organization! This school year, I am completing my student teaching in Bluffton, Ohio under the mentorship of Mr. Kevin King. After being in the classroom the past three years, I am ready and excited to get into the classroom to try out all of the ideas and activities that I have learned about and planned for.
The most important thing that I have learned this year is how important it is to incorporate both literacy and technology into the classroom. The best thing is when I can use them both at the same time. My project this year for myself was to use Google Classroom to conduct both reader’s and writer’s workshop in my Spanish 1 and 2 classroom. After working on a proposal and article for CSCTFL with Dr. Brigid Burke on writer’s workshop and literacy in the World Language classroom, I knew that this was something that would not only benefit my students, but also myself.
By using Google Classroom for writer’s workshop, I post the writer’s workshop instructions and announcements for the entire class to see. I create a document for each student, and that is where they do their writing. I also share my mini-lesson powerpoints and notes with the students as well. I use mini-lessons as a time to teach grammar more explicitly. By contextualizing the grammar in the mini-lesson with examples, students can make meaningful connections and develop strategic and communicative competence. When it comes time to conference with the students on their work, I make comments and notes by using the “Comment” tool on Google Docs and easily communicate with the students on their progress. Students can write comments back to me and I have the notification settings set so that I am notified instantly. The best part is that I can grade their paper by using the Google Sheets add-on, “Goobric”, and grade their written work 100% online. The topics for writer’s workshop that I have chosen for this year allow the students to incorporate images, create brochures, participate in peer writing, and writing to pen pals in Spain. The topics are structured in ways that the students have guidelines to meet but still have the freedom to write about what they want. The more creative my students make their writing, the better!
For reader’s workshop, I still enjoy going the traditional route and providing students with paper copies. During the first semester, I would give them a paper copy, and I would pick a reading strategy to work on that day. This worked, but was not as meaningful to the students as it could have been. This semester, our reader’s workshops will also be online. Since the school provides us with Chromebooks, I will be changing the settings to Spanish, and students will practice reading and navigating websites in Spanish. I remember that when I studied abroad, it became difficult to use a computer at the library or the office; and I struggled to understand. I hope that these tactics will bring my students a better sense of understanding of the Spanish language and improves their reading proficiency.
As a student teacher, I find it to be very beneficial to use as much technology as possible to keep the students engaged and my desk organized. Since the classroom is not my own, using this technology has cut down paper usage and I am not constantly finding new folders and space to place papers that need graded or passed back. I can easily keep track of what has been graded and what still needs accomplished. Google Classroom makes it impossible to lose student work, and it keeps students accountable for turning in their work on time. Gone are the days, “My dog ate my paper” and “I left it on the table”. I encourage all teachers to incorporate literacy and technology into their classroom. It has already helped me and my students so much, and it is a great way to turn something boring into something meaningful and exciting.