After reflecting on last year, I decided to move more purposefully this year. I want to excite the parents as well as the kids about the benefits of VT. To help the parents see the benefits and find their place in VT, I introduced VT to them by emailing a direct a link, prior to the start of school, to a VT titled "Meet Mrs. Frazier." In this VT I introduced myself, my family, our latest vacation and of course our new classroom! Parents and kids loved the virtual meeting and we were well on our way to experiencing the many benefits of VT! Since this VT I have continued to use VT's to help parents by creating weekly newsletters in VT and by uploading our curriculum night presentation into VT. Parents are beginning to leave comments, share with other family members, and a few have even created their OWN avatars for commenting!
Step Three~ Making Comments~
The next step was to introduce commenting to the class. To make commenting purposeful and motivating for all the kids I choose to create a VT that would include everyone. So during math workshop I took photos of each group and their work. In the VT kids were encouraged to explain their thinking. This gave each student an opportunity to be featured in the VT and friends to see various strategies and ways to use math tools.
I also took this time to talk about tech safety and etiquette in making comments.
We discussed ~
- Connecting comments to the topic
- Refer to other comments when possible
- Avoid the use of names when there are photos of friends in the VT ( we don't connect photo and name)
- Speak clear and loud
- Never share your exact location
- Plan your words before you press "comment"
Introducing comments this year was a whole class experience. With the benefit of the Smart Board we were able to all come together, view the VoiceThread and plan the comments together. Once the plan was made a student was invited to the screen to push "comment" and record the comment. With all students watching we saw and HEARD the importance of being quiet when comments are being recorded. I didn't need to teach this to anyone, we heard it as comments were played back! Kids were also quickly aware of the volume necessary to make a quality comment that can be understood and heard by the viewer. Needless to say we quickly learned how to "trash" or delete a comment and record again.
As we worked kids began to ask about the "flower" button at the bottom of the screen. I encouraged them to push the button to see what it would do, and… the pen was discovered! On the Smart Board, once the pen is selected you can actually write on the VT as you comment! This allowed the kids to draw the viewers attention to the part of the slide they were talking about.
I emailed a direct link of the VT to our families and our principal. The kids were excited to view this VT at home with their families! I keep this VT open each day during math workshop giving the kids the opportunity to view for ideas or to leave comments. A few have asked "Can we add to it if I have a new math learning?" Which I said, "What a great idea!"
In my effort to move slowly this year (and because we created this VT as a class in the classroom) everyone commented under my password, but using their own avatars. This allowed us to move more smoothly, no need to log out after each comment and sign in as a new user. To do this I created multiple identities using their avatars. This is an easy fast way to work in VT. I would not recommend this if students were working outside of the classroom as you would have to share your password with them.
Our next step~ Log into YOUR VoiceThread account, view and make a comment! Hope to post this one later this week...