I did it again! It’s been several weeks since my last post. Why is it so difficult to keep up with a blog?! I’m tempted to use “I haven’t had time because I’ve been trying to learn new things to use in my classroom” as an excuse, but that’s not logical. In fact, because I’ve been experimenting with my iPad and Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner is the precise reason I should have written some new posts.
The first grading period just ended and our shared Evernote class notebook is filling up nicely with notes, assignments, resources, practice tests, and other miscellaneous classroom things. I teach a grammar-focused 8th grade English class, so we have been diagramming sentences lately. (Remember that? It’s a definitely a lost art.)
Typically, students take notes in class and go over practice sentences, but many would get home and feel lost. I posted “extra” samples to our Evernote notebook, and that seemed to help a little, but many of my students had a hard time “following me” to see how I got the right answer. They saw only the final product.
I stumbled across a great app called ShowMe which allows me to post a tutorial video link walking students through different homework questions. Students typically have 8-10 sentences to diagram, so I post 3-4 ShowMe examples for them to follow.
Click below to watch one of the most recent tutorial videos I’ve posted. It may not be the greatest quality, but I’m still learning. (And believe it or not, it’s way better than my first few videos! Wow, they were horrible!)
Yes, I am giving answers to some of the homework, but more importantly I am giving direction and showing how to do the work. As a result, students seem to “get” how to do the other problems, which is the ultimate goal.
Because I’ve created a shared Evernote class notebook, I am able to post the ShowMe links indefinitely along with copies of the assignment and additional class notes. If a student misses a day, needs a quick review, or feels lost, there’s a designated place to go for help any time of day. My students’ parents seem to like it, too. Most of them remember having to diagram sentences but don’t remember the first thing about it. Several of them have mentioned “getting to relive the 8th grade again”… but I’m still trying to figure out if that’s good or bad.
Do you use ShowMe or a similar app in your classroom? If so, share below. I’d love to hear about all the other great classroom apps available.