One of the first things we “do to” our students is bore them to death with an Orientation. Rules, procedures, what we will learn this year… Yak. Yak. Yak. Snore. Snore. Snore. Sometimes, I think we should just herd them all into the cafeteria and do it all at once. Get it over with- like ripping off a band-aid. It’s a necessary evil. We have to do it, right?
Maybe we do have to do it, but it doesn’t have to be boring- for your students or for yourself. They only have to hear it once. You may have to do it 6 to 25 times! Enter a solution. Orientation 2.0 Style. On Saturday @ the IMC I’ll be teaching a Saturday Matinee about modern ways to teach the same old thing. We'll look at websites that offer free digital tools. For example, we’ll learn how to make a Voki, like the one here (click on the play button to get your homework assignment). I'll show you how to work smarter by looking at what other folks have done. For example, my class for elementary teachers has its own website- Best of the Best- Top 100 Web Resources for Teachers or a wiki like Web 2.0, Cool Tools for Schools.
During our quick hour, I’ll introduce you to PowerPoint games that you can adapt for Orientation- Jeopardy, Millionaire and Smarter than a Fifth Grader. These interactive games can be adapted by your older students and played by your younger students. They can be used later in the year as pre or post tests for your curriculum units. The more students are involved in the learning, the more likely they are to remember.
We can also take those same slides, add some pictures, and create movies in Photo Story or other video programs. One of the best uses of this media is that it saves your voice (and retains your enthusiasm). You can play it all day long without having to repeat yourself, ensuring that all students get the same message. Once your movie is created, you can also place it on your website and students or parents can watch it when they need to do so. Be sure to do “best practice” and introduce your video as well as discuss it afterwards.
You can also use your interactive whiteboards for your orientation. You could create a flipchart that has students take a test. Use Inspiration and have older students create a chart of rules and procedures. You can easily use it with the PowerPoint games you created.
Online voting is another interactive way to use 2.0 technology is You can create a survey that students have to complete online. As the creator, you can get their compiled answers. It’s a great way to test students who ought to know the answers. There are many free online sites for creating surveys- Survey Monkey, Google, or even your school website. Our district uses School Wires which has surveys as a component.
Another fun way to use technology is to create a QR code. Anyone who has a Smart Phone can scan the QR code and it will take them to your website. It’s a great marketing tool. Once you create it, put it on your brochure or newsletter. How about a bookmarker for your parents?
And because I am a firm believer in working smarter by collaborating, I have added a page on my wiki- Libraries Matter for Orientation. As folks create their orientation, I'll invite you to post yours to my wikispace page. Then, as we add projects, we can borrow what someone else created and adapt it to suit our needs.
And yes, I know everyone doesn’t have a Smart Phone, interactive whiteboard or even an LCD projector, but just like everything else we do, we need to reach out in all manner of ways. Different fish are caught with different bait. Why not try some new bait this year? You never know who might actually bite.