24 February 2015

Checking-in with student understanding using ActiVotes - Reinforcing concepts about narrative writing at Finch P.S.

Exploring the elements of a narrative

Maleka Kaderbhai, Home School Program teacher at Finch Public School wanted to find different ways to engage her students using assistive technology which meets their learning needs and styles. So during an individual referral co-planning session with itinerant teacher Valia Reinsalu, a lesson was planned about the elements of narratives which incorporated the use of ActiVote (learner response systems) and the Promethean Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) desktop annotate feature. The response systems allow students to have a voice by voting in responses to questions posed. Once votes are all in, both the teacher and student get immediate feedback. They see their group results in a graph format - which is a springboard for discussion and allows to immediately address misunderstandings of concepts.

"(The itinerant referral experience) was an extremely worthwhile experience for me as it help me to further develop my skills with the Promethean board by integrating it into the language program and an excellent opportunity for the students to be able to use the ActiVotes throughout the lesson," said Ms. Kaderbhai. 
(Left) A student uses the ActiVotes for the first time. Buttons are colour coded and easy to read allowing for ease of access. (right) The results of a multiple choice question is compile. Students and the teacher can see which answer was most popular as well as two choices that were different.


 "I especially like the results feature of the ActiVotes which allows me to engage in a discussion with the students about the results of their votes," Ms. Kaderbhai said. "The integration of technology appealed to all the students and was both exciting and engaging for them. They're looking forward to using them again tomorrow! Thank you so much!"



(Left) The results of one poll question where most students voted one way as seen in the pie chart display. (Right) A student determines how many students voted yes for a question, tracing the top of data display in a bar chart across to the axes.

The lesson started from an on-line story which had visuals and was read out loud which supports the students comprehension. The on-line site had questions and built-in feedback. However, Ms. Kaderbhai used the IWB Desktop Annotate feature to have her students vote collectively and then discuss what they thought the best answer was, prior to them using the interactive features of the web site. 

Prior to voting on the setting, Ms. Kaderbhai writes letter beside each image.
Students then voted on the answer they think is the most appropriate. 
Throughout the lesson Ms. Kaderbhai reinforced concepts and had students give definitions that they though were important and appropriate to add to their Word Wall about a story or narrative. 

Adding to the Word Wall of terms about elements of a narrative.
Teachers can ask students multiple choice or true/false yes/no type questions using ActiVotes. In this example, when reviewing elements of a plot. Students worked in pairs to determine the sequence of events in the story. Then the group voted yes or no if they agreed on a specific solution.
By actively engaging with the story, voting on elements and discussing the answers, students used accurate and appropriate vocabulary. Students had a kinesthetic means to engage in the lesson and voting supported on-topic follow-up discussions where students were able to use evidence and expand on concrete examples from the text they had read.



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