By PioNear Jennifer Williams

​Welcome back to our month long blog series visiting incredible schools across our country and highlighting great ways teachers are engaging students and positively impacting learning. Last week, we learned about the newest Nearpod feature Collaborate!. Offering immediate benefits for classrooms, including student engagement, crowdsourced ideas, and formative feedback for teachers, Collaborate! brings an interactive discussion board to Nearpod lessons. Over the next three weeks, we will “travel” across the country to meet some extraordinary teachers and their students to learn new ways they are putting Collaborate! into practice.

Our journey takes us first to Ridgeview Global Studies Academy in Davenport, Florida. Here we meet K-5 Global Studies Teacher, Ms. Amber McCormick. Amber is known by many for her amazing sketchnoting talents and her ability to infuse technology meaningfully into instruction to create fun and interactive lessons for her students. With collaboration being a major focus in her classes, Amber always is seeking out ways to bring her students together through inquiry, exploration, and cooperation. After learning about Nearpod’s new interactive discussion board, Collaborate!, Amber was ready to jump in!

Lesson 1: Identifying and Counting Canadian Currency
Audience: K-5 Students
Nearpod Collaborate! Objective: Student Sharing of Responses/Photos

Studying Canada this year, Amber’s objective this week was to introduce Canadian coins to her students. I caught up with Amber as she was preparing by both creating an interactive Nearpod lesson and cutting out many, many laminated Canadian “coins.” Check out her amazing Nearpod lesson where she not only incorporate Collaborate!, but also explicit vocabulary instruction, real images, related videos, and interactive Nearpod features, like DrawIt and Memory Test.

For Amber and her students, learning is always connected. In this lesson, Amber brought together the interactive Nearpod lesson, direct instruction, group work, and hands-on learning experiences to maximize understanding of concepts. To help her students identify and understand how to add the Canadian coins, Amber started with a guided lesson paired with the Nearpod presentation introducing new concepts. Next, the students worked in small groups to find ways to make 50¢ with the cutout coins. Once they found their solutions, they used their devices to take photos. Returning to their Nearpod lessons and the Collaborate! slide, students added their photos and ideas and submitted their responses. To finish up, Amber engaged them all in a reflection activity where the students evaluated the responses of their peers and indicated with the heart icons ones they felt were correctly solved. According to Amber, “Collaborate! is an amazing way for students to see that there is more than one solution to a problem.” In addition, she expressed “they were able to see how others thought or solved a scenario.” [Click here to view the Class Board]

Lesson 2: Study of Canadian Sports: Focus on Curling
Audience: K-5 Students
Nearpod Collaborate! Objective: Crowdsourced Responses

For part two of the study of Canada in Amber’s classes this past week, she created a lesson focused on the study of Canadian sports. After sharing on popular Canadian sports through a discussion around her Nearpod presentation that was both projected up on the class screen and also out on individual student devices, the students played tabletop-versions of curling (and, Amber brilliantly connected back to previously learned information from the coin lesson by using real coins as the “rocks”).

After, they worked together to create the “largest list of Canadian sports” they could come up with using Collaborate!. Amber shared that one of her favorite parts of Collaborate! was the fact that her students were able to work with one another in real-time. She shared “I could see this being a fantastic tool for group projects or classwide brainstorming.” More, her students liked how the heart icon offered the feel of social media. For Amber, she noticed that this feature offered validation of answers. As students indicated preference, Amber was able to arrange responses by “likes” and crowdsource ideas to give a visual understanding of order for her students. [Click here to view the Class Board…and, if you look closely you can find a “Ms. McCormick photobomb”]

More ideas Amber has for using Collaborate! in the future:
•  Color scavenger hunt, in French
•  Writing your name in Inuktitut (Inuit)
•  Brainstorming for ideas
•  Posing opinion questions about current events
•  Creating a gallery of finished projects for classmates to evaluate

Special thanks to Amber and her students! Be sure to connect with Amber on Twitter at @EdtechAmber.

And, to keep the learning going…check out other ideas from the field from more PLN friends!

View the original post by PioNear Jennifer Williams on her blog here. Join her this month as she continues her journey of using Nearpod Collaborate!