Course Outline #eci834

Overview/Description: The focus of our unit is “Bullying”, a novel study with grade 7 and 8 students across 3 different schools. There are a variety of novels which we hope will engage all students at their own reading levels. Throughout this Online/Blended learning experience, we are going to use technology which enables us to connect with the other schools as well as within our own building contexts. Each student has a specific teacher they will working with in regards to their assigned novel. Their connected teacher could be a teacher from a different school, but the classroom teacher is also there to support each student in their classroom environment. Students will report weekly via weekly blog on their section of the novel. They will also complete a creative component pertaining to that section of reading. In addition, there will be a weekly online discussion forum(chat) on each section of the novel. Students will be reporting to the teacher in charge of the novel, to which they have been assigned. This allows for diversity of needs as well as connectivity of students outside of the classroom.

The unit will begin by having all 3 classrooms meet together on zoom to review the expectations, course outline, weekly assignments, and connect each student to their “lead” teacher in charge of their particular novel. This will be our only synchronous meeting until we have finished our novels. The platform which we are sharing/collaborating on is: https://onlineunit.home.blog/

This way, all teachers have collaborated together to share the weekly assignments and it is made readily available for all students to access from school or at home. The link can also be shared with families for quick access to check in on what their children are doing at school. There would be no login required and no need to recall a password to access the website.

We have chosen 13 Reasons Why, The Outsiders, and Wonder as our main focus. We have listed additional resources that could fit well within this unit.

The Novels:

  • 13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • The Outsider – S.E. Hilton
  • Egghead – Caroline Pignat
  • Wonder – R.J. Palaci
  • The Only Game – Mike Lupica
  • Blubber – Judy Bloom

Course Format: For our unit, we have split up our novels into five different weekly sections. The expectation would be that students complete the required readings for the assigned period, whether that be reading on their own, with a partner, or listening to an audiobook. The audiobooks help learners who have lower reading comprehension, keep up with the pace of the weekly reading assignments. As stated earlier, students will be assigned a novel, a teacher, and also a learning partner from a different school. Students are able to connect through Zoom to talk to their learning partner about their weekly tasks that go along with the reading. This promotes collaboration and creativity.

Course Toolset:

  • WordPress Bloghttps://onlineunit.home.blog/
    • This is where all of the student assignments will be posted.
  • KidBlog
    • Each week, students will be required to complete several questions based on reading strategies and they will publish their answers to their blogs.
      • Kidblog provides K-12 teachers with tools to safely publish student writing. Teachers can monitor all activity within a community of authors. Posts can even be public, but nothing goes live until a teacher approves it. Kidblog empowers students to write with a meaningful purpose for a real audience. Connect with other classes down the hallway, across your district, or around the world. Students practice digital citizenship within a secure environment.
  • Postermywall 
    • In some weeks, students have a choice on how they want to represent their creative component. They can use postermywall to design a poster related to their novel and assignment. For example, creating a poster that demonstrates why kindness matters.

Overview of our features for schools:

  • Create projects to organize designs created by students.
  • Students are not required to create an account.
  • Students see only student appropriate content.
  • Students’ projects are never made public.
  • No ads.
  • Completely free to teachers. We believe in supporting our schools. You can help keep it free by sharing a link to PosterMyWall.com with your parents. Their purchases help to fund the PosterMyWall.com Classroom Accounts Program.
  • YoTeach 
    • A set time for each week has been designated.  The teacher in charge of each novel will invite students to the group chat to respond to questions in real time.  Students will discuss a series of per-compiled questions and dialogue with other member of their group about their assigned novel.  This gives the students a weekly opportunity to connect on a weekly bases.
      • Yo Teach! lets you create online backchannel spaces to facilitate discussions. To get started on Yo Teach! simply go to the site and name your room. You can get started by just doing those two steps, but I would recommend taking a another minute to scroll down the Yo Teach! site to activate the admin function, the password function, and to select “avoid search.”  The “avoid search” option will hide your room from search results so that people cannot find it without being given its direct URL. The password function lets you set a password that must be entered before students can participate in the chat. The admin features of Yo Teach! let you mute or remove students from a discussion, delete your room, and view statistic about the usage of your room. The admin function that reveals statistics will show the names of participants and how active they have been in your Yo Teach! Room.
  • Adobe Spark  
    • Each week students are required to complete a creative component. An example would be having students use Adobe Spark to create a post with the key quote (or quotes) from your novel. The background must represent you think the setting of your story looks like.
    • Features:
      • Graphics: Pick a photo, add text, and apply design filters to instantly stand out from the crowd.
      • Webpages: Turn words and images into beautiful, magazine-style web stories that will impress readers on any device.
      • Video Stories: easily add photos, video clips, icons, or you own voice. Select from professional-quality soundtracks and cinematic motion.

Course Content/Learning Objectives:

  • CR 7.2 → Select and use appropriate strategies to construct meaning before (e.g., formulating questions), during (e.g., recognizing organizational structure), and after (e.g., making judgements supported by evidence) viewing, listening, and reading.
  • CR 8.2 → Select and use appropriate strategies to construct meaning before (e.g., previewing and anticipating message), during (e.g., making inferences based on text and prior knowledge), and after (e.g., paraphrasing and summarizing) viewing, listening, and reading.
  • CR 7.6 → Read and demonstrate comprehension and interpretation (including thoughtful and critical response to content and craft) of grade-appropriate texts including traditional and contemporary prose fiction, poetry, and plays from First Nations, Métis, and other cultures.
  • CR 8.6Read and demonstrate comprehension and interpretation of grade-appropriate texts including traditional and contemporary prose fiction, poetry, and plays from First Nations, Métis, and other cultures to evaluate the purpose, message, point of view, craft, values, and biases, stereotypes, or prejudices.
  • CC 7.1Create various visual, oral, written, and multimedia (including digital) texts that explore identity (e.g., Exploring Thoughts, Feelings, and Ideas), social responsibility (e.g., Taking Action), and efficacy (e.g., Building a Better World).
  • CC 8.2Create and present a group inquiry project related to a topic, theme, or issue studied in English language arts.
  • CC 7.4 Use pragmatic (e.g., use language that demonstrates respect for others), textual (e.g., use common organizational patterns within texts), syntactical (e.g., ensure agreement of subjects, verbs, and pronouns), semantic/lexical/morphological (e.g., avoid overused and misused words), graphophonic (e.g., enunciate clearly), and other cues (e.g., use appropriate gestures and facial expressions) to construct and to communicate meaning.
  • CC 8.4Use pragmatic (e.g., use appropriate language register), textual (e.g., use artistic devices such as figurative language), syntactical (e.g., combine sentences to form compound and complex sentences for variety, interest, and effect), semantic/lexical/ morphological (e.g., use words to capture a particular aspect of meaning), graphophonic (e.g., correctly pronounce words with proper emphasis), and other cues (e.g, arrange and balance words and visuals as well as fonts) to construct and to communicate meaning.

Assessment Strategies: Each week, throughout our unit, the students will receive immediate feedback based off of a rubric to offer, suggestions, and compliments by the assigned teacher.This will allow students to improve their next post prior to it being submitted.  Each week will serve as a formative assessment, with the final assessment at the end being summative. In addition, the students will complete peer assessments each week with their “blogging partner”. The students are required to use the format:  “3C and a Q” – which means they must compliment the student, comment on the students work/contributions, make a connection (via text to text, text to self or text to world) to that student’s post, and pose a question as well. This will keep the dialogue going and provide students with a set structure.

Considerations for Common Concerns: Overall, our main consideration for common concerns is as follows. For those students who require adaptations for their reading, there is access to Google Read and Write which assists in completing assignments. There is a word prediction tool, spellcheck, voice to text, and many more tools. We will also have access to audiobooks for those students who require them. All books are at different reading levels to accommodate the diverse needs in the classrooms. Fortunately, all schools working on this project have easy access to technology at school. In some cases, students who have homework and limited/no access to technology at home, may have trouble if they cannot keep  up with the academic demands and there would be a need for a teacher intervention to support those students.

Rationale: Our rationale is to make connections with other schools, teachers and students alike. We will be spending our time creating a product that will be utilized in our own classrooms! We chose a relevant educational topic that is part of the curriculum for every grade and we hope that all students will be able to create many “takeaways” from the readings provided. We have chosen this forum as it is easily accessible to all of our students and our school all have availability to the apps or websites. Each of the sites provides their to be multiple leaders or teachers which is necessary for a project like this to work.  

Group Chat: The questions listed below will be distributed to the students prior to the weekly chats.  Students will be provided with the opportunity to reflect on the direction of the questions and the answers they would like to give.  This is an adaptation that allows students not to be put on the spot and to feel comfortable with their contribution to the chat.

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4 thoughts on “Course Outline #eci834

  1. Wow! Great job. I love the idea of connecting 3 different schools/classrooms. I will be anxious to hear how this develops and what the students think of it all. What a great way to facilitate online/blended learning!

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  2. I really like this idea of connecting different classrooms in different schools! It creates so many options for novel studies instead of students being forced to read one novel because that’s what the teacher picked. Looking forward to hearing more about your plan!

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  3. This sounds amazing! Your kids are going to benefit huge from having the cross school contact – what a cool thing to be able meet new people and look at tough topics from many walks of life. I would imagine it will be a HUGE benefit to you three to work together too and have the support good colleagues offer. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this turns out and maybe even trying something like this with primary classes! 🙂

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  4. I love this idea! I think using books to demonstrate and teach kids about bullying would be a lot more relatable than lecturing them about it. The term ‘bully’ is used so much now, that it seems to have lost some of its effectiveness. My kids are younger, but they use bullying to describe anyone that is doing something they don’t like. 🙂

    It is great how you will be able to use technology to connect the class across three schools. You mentioned the tool YoTeach. Is it similar to Zoom, where the students can use a webcam and/or type in the chat function? Or is it more of a gather place with just the chat function?

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