Maureen Cohen and I had the opportunity to walkthrough a bunch of Nipmuc classrooms this past Friday. We were so impressed with all of the engagement of the students in each class. As is so often in walkthroughs, we were unable to see the “before” and “after” of the walkthrough and know that a great deal more happens behind the scenes, when we are not able to be in the classroom. After the walkthroughs, Courtney Henry, a Nipmuc English teacher reached out to us with the following comments:
I was disappointed that you didn’t get to see the awesome work the kids did with Verso earlier in the block. The question was “Did you like the end of the book? Support your opinion with evidence from the text.” Each student was required to submit his/her own response and comment on/refute at least one other person’s comment. Students were very engaged during class time, and as I reviewed the 27 original comments and 107 additional comments over the weekend, I was very impressed. I love that they were allowed this venue to give their ideas-some of them brought up analysis I hadn’t thought of after 12 years of teaching this book! I believe the anonymity prompted more risk taking. This was my first time with Verso and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve used on the IPad.
Below are some screenshots of the conversations the kids were having online, with student names removed. This is a great example of online discussions that occur in Verso and other learning management systems you may use (like Edmodo, Google Classroom, Moodle, etc.). By setting some simple guidelines and providing directed prompts to the students, their conversations from the class period can be extended online and outside of the school day.
Thanks for sharing, Mrs. Henry! It’s exciting to see teachers giving students opportunities like this to expanded their discussions online and, in turn, their thinking.