Archives For Google docs

Freshman year is hard: new school, new people, increased responsibilities, increased work load. By June, however, most freshmen feel a sense of accomplishment. They are 1/4 of the way through high school, and they are no longer intimidated by the urban legends of pool passes or promises of being stuffed in lockers by seniors.

Successful completion of Grade 9 is indicated by a final grade, a percent that indicates the material student earned in each subject. There are other ways, however, to measure success and self-reflection is an excellent way to wrap-up the year. One way to have students to reflect is using a Google Doc form. The form can be tailored for subjective or objective questions. The quantitative data collected (checkboxes, multiple choice, polls, true/false) can be summarized in graphics (see picture below). Students can write longer responses in paragraph form or short answers.

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 9.47.21 PMGoogle Doc forms were used all year to measure student understanding or to allow students to record opinions. In September, the 9th grade had started with the theme “Journeys”, therefore, we returned to this theme to have them reflect on their year’s journey. They took this survey after they completed the final exam for credit points only.

The form was titled “My Memoir of 9th grade” and featured 10 questions that required the students to imagine writing a memoir or autobiography about 9th grade. Several of the responses were very “21st Century” addressing the complications of living with the temptations of social media, but other responses from students were timeless and not entirely different from the high school experiences of generations of students before them. Some responses were funny. Many were very clever.  At least one was alarming. Each response captured both a student’s self-awareness in reflecting on the year and a willingness to be critically, sometimes painfully, honest.

There were 79 responses to the questions; here are some highlights:

What is the title of your memoir?

  • No Procrastinating 
  • Thank God for 9th grade
  • The Spin-Cycle that this Year has Been
  • The Story of a Teenage Drama Queen: Or Something Like That

What is the significance of the title?

  • Like a spin-cycle on a washing machine, everything in my freshman year seemed to be moving very rapidly around me as I was caught up in it.
  • This means that the year was torture but in the end I have learned so much more than I did in middle school.
  • The significance is that some parts of this year will be wounds turning into scars that will be with me forever. The wounds weren’t caused by bad things but good things and that’s why I would want the ever lasting scars so I can remember.
  •  It shows how to get through 9th grade without being stupid like some other people because they could do something stupid and not make it through the year and will have to repeat it sophomore year.
  • It is the first level of your high school campaign.
  • I want my memoir to be named the dirt road because a dirt road is bumpy and rough this had been one of the hardest years for me and I want to show that by showing that the road is bumpy and hard to drive on and this year has been bumpy and hard and there is no way to make it go by any faster.

To what novel, myth, epic, fairy tale, or other non-fiction work will critics compare your story? WHY? What is the connection?

  • I’d compare it to Icarus. I’m not the best at listening
  • Of Mice and Men because I go through struggles that many other people are going through at some times I mostly feel like the main character George because sometimes I have to clean up my friends or my own mistakes and live with them behind me.
  • They will compare this story to Phaeton because he has something great that he is using to proceed but it might be the end of him.
  • Probably The Odyssey because of some of the trickery.
  • This can be compared to Hercules because people always told him he couldn’t do it, but in the end he finished strong no matter what other people thought.
  • This would be like The Odyssey because of my constant battle with each teacher in every class, some harder than others.
  • The Wizard of Oz because I always get home in the end. And being here really makes me realize that there is NO place like home. (Not that I hate school I’m just really over it by June)

What would the synopsis or description say? What is your memoir about?

  • This memoir is all about freshman who find out high school isn’t as easy as middle school.  They have to grow up to get all their work done, and not to mention worry about other stuff like sports, extracurricular activities, and friends.
  • My memoir is about my experience in 9th grade and how I got to where I am now. (Maturity, strength, knowledge, etc.)
  • Basically the adventures of this year but in more detail, the fast flying year for a 9th grader who has had fun on field trips and days when there has been a sub or no work.
  • i think it would say that if you are stressed out in high school and need some metaphorical advice then read this book.
  • A young man new to the world of high school embarks on the greatest adventure to see how any ways he could get in trouble. You will be with him in the ups the downs the tragedy the success.

What is your protagonist’s (your) greatest challenge or conflict? What is the goal?

  • The Internet, so alluring and wonderful, but deadly and destructive to my career.
  • The weakness that interfered with my goal is that I was too overwhelmed with after school activities that I had no time to do my homework. I think by next year I’ll figure out.
  • Annoying kids
  • Weaknesses include: being annoying and clingy, losing your best friend over something that you don’t even know what happened like really what happened ugh, being lied to about important things, holding extremely long grudges, and being bothered by simple memories from like years ago, and never having enough video games.
  • Not wanting to talk to new people at first.

What strengths help your protagonist (you) succeed?

  • Some days I just do the work to get through it, not because I actually care about it. You’ve got to keep going through the stuff you don’t like to get to the stuff you do like.
  • My strength is my stubbornness because no matter what the challenge I refuse to give up.
  • Probably not having a phone, that stunk so I made sure I did all of my work to try and get it back.
  • I have a great ability to focus when I wants to. I need a little bit of a push to get going but after that it’s smooth sailing.
  • Time management.
  • Getting sleep helped me succeed alot because I could never focus when I was tired.
  •  My family and my teacher.

Self-reflection is a great way to have students express what they feel they learned, and a Google Doc form is easily created and accessed. The student answers are digitally recorded and because of the Google Docs platform, these responses will be available for the freshmen in 2016, when they are graduating seniors. Hopefully their entire high school experience remains 0% horror!

Today is Digital Learning Day! To mark the occasion, let me take you through a quick walkthrough of the halls of Wamogo Regional Middle/High School and give you a snapshot on how digital learning looks in the English classrooms grades 7-12. We have 1:1 computers in grades 7 & 8; in grades 9-12, we have a “bring your own digital device” policy. Here are the digital learning activities on Wednesday, February 6, 2013:

Grade 7: Students responded to a short story they read, “The Amigo Brothers”. They accessed the wiki (www.PBworks.com) in order to respond to “close reading” questions on the author’s use of figurative language. (Students are required to use evidence in their responses; digital copies of text helps student correctly add and cite evidence).

Grade 8: Students uploaded their reviews of the books (Mississippi Trial, 1955; Chains; The Greatest) they have been reading in literature circles to www.edmodo.com. These reviews are connected to the Common Core Writing Standard #6:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Grade 9: Students responded to a “writing on demand” journal prompt in preparation for the novel Of Mice and Men. This prompt is connected to the theme of hopes and dreams, and the students were asked:

What is your hope for life, your goal, or even your dream?  What do you think you want from the future? What would you live without, dream-wise?  What couldn’t you live without?

The students also posted their responses on a www.Edmodo.com discussion thread. Selections from responses included:

  • Something I couldn’t live with out would be my grandparents because they are like another set of parent to me, just better. They mean so much to me, that I really couldn’t see my life without them.
  • I hope to be a plant geneticist in the future, that is my hope but no matter what happens I would like to have a career involving plants and even if I can’t get a career in genetics I know it will always be a hobby of mine.
  • My house will be by the ocean, so close I can see it out of my kitchen window. I will grow old and drink coffee on my porch, while I read the paper and wave to my neighbors who walk by!
  • I could live without being famous around the world but I would like to be known town wise. I cannot live without family and their support in my decisions. They help me to stay confident and get through whatever I want to accomplish in life.
  • I think I could live without wanting a huge house or a huge boat “dream-wise”, but that still doesn’t mean I don’t want those things. I couldn’t live without music or my family.
  • My biggest hope and dream is to have a really big plot of land and have the world’s biggest tractor and a bunch of snowmobiles and ATV’s.
  • I want to be able to adopt kids from Uganda but also have my own, and I want to live in a nice house with a big yard. I want to work with little kids as a job.

10th grade Honors English students are reading Great Expectations. They took a quiz on www.quia.com, a software platform for timed quizzes. The College Prep English classes are reading Animal Farm. Today, they had to access “The International” MP3 and the www.youtube.video of the Beatle’s song “Revolution.

For homework tonight, students will write their own “protest” song.

Grade 11: Students can access the vocabulary list from the film The Great Debaters through the class wiki (www.pbworks.com) while the Advanced Placement English Language students watched a YouTube video of a Langston Hughes poem “I, Too, Sing America” read by Denzel Washington:

They prepared responses to the following questions which were posted on the class wiki:

  1.  To whom is the poet writing?  How do you know?
  2.  Choose one stanza and discuss what you feel is the key word in this stanza and explain why you chose this word?
  3.  What feelings does the poem create?  Which words create this feeling?

Grade 12: Students in the Grade 12 Mythology class accessed the following Google Doc Template and filled in the chart with their own research about the mythologies of different cultures. This activity meets the CCSS writing:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 11.43.41 AM

The Film and Literature class “flips” the content by having students watch films for homework in order to discuss them during class. Tonight’s assignment? Watch the following YouTube clip and be ready for an open note quiz:

Students in the Advanced Placement English Literature class read the short story “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner that was embedded with a quiz on www.quia.com. They then created a list of four themes from the short story on a Google Doc. Each student selected a theme and placed his/her responses in the Google Drive folder to share with other members of the class. Examples included:

  • Actions we take with the grotesque: Shun? Avoid?

This story embodies an ultimate grotesque atmosphere. Even Colonel Satorius Snopes’ sisters are described as, “hulking sisters in their Sunday dresses” (2). These sisters are emulated throughout the story as disgusting, rotund, lethargic, and hog-like beings. This grotesque physical trait emulates the family’s condition in society. Satorius’ clothes are described as, “patched and faded jeans even too small for him.” (1).

  • Family over law or law over family

For the boy to go against his family in the end further proves his actions of courage and strength, and portrays the theme of law over family. “Then he began to struggle. His mother caught him in both arms, he jerking and wrenching at them. He would be stronger in the end, he knew that. But he had no time to wait for it” (10). His whole family is holding him back, but he chooses to go against all of them and do what is right.

This quick walkthrough demonstrating the use of technology in the English classrooms on one day demonstrates that for the teachers and students at Wamogo, everyday is a Digital Learning Day!