Tag Archives: Video

In the Midst…

Yes! We have started our new NGSS unit, Systems and System Models with our grade 9 students, and so far, so good! I want to use this next blog post to organize my thoughts and get some feedback from you before I get too deep in this unit and project.

My Ideas


My idea for the organization of my video is to highlight each part of the SAMR Model and demonstrate, through a variety of means, how I am achieving each part of the model with my students and how it is impacting their learning. So, the idea is to spend about two minutes on areas of my unit plan that involve 1) no tech, (and the following parts of the SAMR model) 2) substitution, 3) augmentation, 4) modification, and 5) redefinition. Below you will find some of my examples for each area.

No Tech

There will be certain aspects of this unit that involve absolutely no technology. One example of this that I may showcase is the “carbon cycle discussion and poster.” This activity will represent the “before” picture of what our students understand about the carbon cycle before doing any research or getting any kind of instruction on the concept. I am choosing to include this in my final project video, even though it doesn’t represent how I am incorporating technology into my lessons, because I wanted to get student feedback on the use of technology vs. no technology for certain classroom activities. Now on to some tech talk…

By Lefflerd (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This part of the SAMR model is when “technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change.” There are some aspects of this unit that definitely exemplify this part of the model. One example is posting a case study and lab handout that we used in class to Moodle (our online learning forum). Instead of printing out the case study and lab handout for each student, we, essentially, posted it online so that all students had access to those documents. Another example would be using a Google Doc as their “notebook” for this unit. Instead of doing their classwork in a notebook, my students are using a single Google Doc to house all of their information and resources (data collection, images, links, etc.) pertaining to this unit. And the best part is they can’t exactly “lose” it!


This part of the SAMR model is when “technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement.” One example of augmentation from this unit is a Socrative “Space Race” quiz. We used this activity as a diagnostic quiz at the beginning of this unit. Instead of printing a quiz and handing it out to each student individually, we allowed them to work in small groups on their computer to answer the questions. On the screen in the front of the room, students could visualize how many questions each group had answered and how many questions each group had gotten correct. It created a bit of competition among the groups, and our students were WAY more engaged 🙂


This part of the SAMR model is when “technology allows for significant task redesign.” Now that I know about the SAMR model, I am constantly thinking about how I can improve my classroom practice so that I am striving to use technology in a manner more indicative of the modification (and redefinition) stage of the SAMR model. For this unit, we have included the use of The Carbon Cycle Game. It is an online “game,” where you travel through the carbon cycle as a carbon atom based on your answers to each question. This is definitely not something that the students would be able to do without their computers. We haven’t used it yet, but it is planned for this unit. And I am very excited to see how it works out!


And last but not least, this part of the SAMR model is when “technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable.” I believe that we have two clear examples of redefinition in this unit. The first example is not only using Google Docs as their “notebook” for this unit, but the fact that it is shared with me so that I have access to all of the students’ “notes.” I have the ability to comment, chat, and edit their work in real time, as well as the ability to check their revision history. Such functions were unheard of not so long ago. The second example is a product that we are having the students complete toward the end of the unit, which is to create a documentary. They will be creating a documentary on the relationships among the Earth’s systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity. Without their computers and certain software, there is no way that my students would be able to take on a task such as this one!

Now What?


Well…now that I am in the midst of it, that’s what I have so far! I believe that we have a pretty solid plan for this unit that successfully incorporates a variety of technology in a meaningful way for our students. But I want to know what you think! What do you think of my categorizing of the planned activities? Is any of my categorizing mislabeled? What could I add/delete/modify to make this unit plan better? Luckily the unit has just started, and I have a bit of wiggle room if needed! I warmly welcome your comments below 🙂

Who Are YOU? Revisted

Who doesn’t love a good story? My personal favorite is a story that I hear first hand from the person it happened to. For me, those stories always seem to be the best because the storyteller has that experience. They know what it looked like, what it felt like, what it smelled like, what it sounded like…

Some Rights Reserved: bgblogging

I have NEVER used digital storytelling in my class, and I am having a hard time coming up with how it could be used in my classroom or even in my subject area. As stated in one of my previous blog posts,

I am THE worst storyteller ever!

I am working on that with including visuals into my presentations that allow me to “tell the story” of the scientific concept that we are discussing in class. Check out this TED Talk from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about “The danger of a single story” and why storytelling can be SO important in our lives.

YouTube Preview Image


I have come up with one idea so far. In the middle of January, my students finished their “Chemical Identity Mask Projects,” which were a part of my Course 1 Final Project. After much scaffolding on my part and much research on my students’ part, my students created a physical mask of their own face. They decorated their mask so that it was representative of themselves (answering the question, Who Are YOU?) AND an element from the periodic table. In addition to the mask, students were also asked to create an artist statement video that communicated their “chemical identity.”

CC0 Public Domain: johnhain

This year was the first time that I had my students create a video. In years past, students would always submit an essay that described how their mask depicted their personality and the unique characteristics of an element from the periodic table. Since this was the first time I incorporated a technological component, I left the video requirements quite open.

BUT, what if, next year, I require my students to create a digital story to accomplish the artist statement video portion of this project? This would allow my students to explore the use of digital storytelling and give them more concrete requirements as to what I expect for their video. (I would have loved to post some of my students’ videos. Since my students appear in these videos, and I did not feel comfortable asking parents for permission, I will not be able to post any of their videos.)

Again, I am not the most creative person, but I am working on it! I can see digital storytelling as an excellent tool for both learning and assessment. I am trying to bring back creativity to my science classroom, which all too often gets lost in everything else that needs to get done!

Some Rights Reserved: Wesley Fryer

How do YOU use digital storytelling in your classroom? How do you think I could use it in my classroom (please, help!)? I warmly welcome your comments below 🙂

Course 1 Final Project: Who Are YOU?

That’s the question I am asking my students. Who are YOU? With our school theme this year, You, Me, Community!, I thought that incorporating a project that allows my students to answer this very question was fitting. AND the end is near…for Course 1, that is! It went by very fast, and here I am presenting my Course 1 Final Project on my blog 🙂

Some Background

For my Final Project, I decided to use a unit that I have previously used at another school. I have been planning on revamping this unit and using it at my current school, and now, I finally had a chance to do just that! This unit plan has been designed for a grade 9 Integrated Science course specifically the chemistry portion of the course. The main topic is the periodic table, and the title of this unit is: Chemical Identity Mask Project. In short, my students will create a physical mask that is representative of themselves (answering the question, Who Are YOU?) AND an element from the periodic table, as well as an artist statement video that communicates their chemical identity. Here are some examples from my previous school:

Element Fluorine
Element Helium
Element Tungsten
Element Potassium


Upon the revamp of this unit, I have slightly modified the steps leading up to the creation of the mask to allow for increased understanding of those steps and how they relate to the overall project. I have also added in two crucial technology components. The first technology component is the use of a Google Doc for students to document and collaborate on their work, and for me, as the teacher, to more easily review their work, check for their understanding, and provide feedback as the project progresses. The second technology component is the creation of a video in order to communicate and share their artist statement.

My Learning in Course 1

This unit plan links to my learning in Course 1 in a number of ways. In Week 3, we learned about designing and adapting relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity. During that week, we were assigned to read 21 Things for the 21st Century Teacher, where these “21 Things” were outlined with important information and accompanying resources. Google Docs was mentioned in two of the “Things” – cloud initiation and collaboration. I was able to easily and purposefully incorporate Google Docs into this unit plan to further promote student learning. And in Week 4, we learned that teaching and learning are changing with the introduction of new tools. During that week, we were assigned to read Adopt and Adapt: Shaping Tech for the Classroom, and it briefly discussed how videos, like those found on YouTube, have become much more popular in the classroom in recent years. The use of videos in the classroom today is one way that teaching and learning are changing. So, I decided to have my students create a video as part of their project in order to communicate and share their understandings of the chemical elements on the periodic table with their peers while promoting student creativity. 

Course 1 has definitely influenced my attitude and mindset about using technology in the classroom. I can honestly say that I am moving from an educator that is using technology just for the sake of using it towards an educator that is trying to incorporate technology into her teaching practice in a more meaningful and productive manner. The use of Google Docs and video in my unit plan are a primary source of evidence of my mind shift.


When my students have completed this unit, I am hoping that they can identify with and make meaning of the periodic table, as well as make scientific connections between themselves and the world around them. This will (hopefully!) be evidenced in their chemical identity masks and artist statement videos. You can see my full unit plan below:

Final Reflection

I believe that my Final Project is not perfect and has the potential to be improved. It’s a work in progress, like everything in my life! But I also believe that this unit plan shows how I am attempting (and hopefully successfully!) to incorporate and implement technology use with my students in an authentic way. During this unit, my students will be engaged with technology throughout their learning process. In future course final projects, I plan to implement the key theme from Week 5 of Course 1, which is: collaboration on a global scale is a key component of 21st century learning.

Enjoy my Final Project! I am still in the process of developing rubrics for this project – one for the mask and one for the video. If anyone has a particularly excellent rubric for a physical product (like a mask) or a video, please do share! I warmly welcome your comments below.