Innovate to Educate Entry

Pequannock School District

Jeryl-Ann Charlene and Asaro Valero, Teachers

What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?

Using the common core standards for writing, and the specific skill of argument writing, the fifth grade students in one of our elementary schools wrote argumentative essays, which is likely one of the more difficult tasks. Using rubrics and guidelines based on the same common core standards at both grade levels, the grade eight students in the middle school, who write those same types of essays at a more advanced level, reviewed the grade five essays and developed comments, questions, and mini-lessons
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What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?

The Google Hang-out (or the computers or the ) did not provide sound well for ALL the discussions, and it took some students longer to get online with their partners. However, everyone was able to get on an participate. There were also not an equal number of eighth grade to fifth grade students, so we had to do some doubling up in areas. Initially, this was a concern, but it worked out fine. The whole process of the eighth grade having proper time to 'edit' and evaluate with fifth grade work took an extra day, but it was well worth it.

What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:

High levels of cooperation on many levels, even district-wide! If collaborating with another class or teacher, a relationship between the collaborators that is open, honest, and free of competition.
Expert planning! Thinking through the whole process from beginning to end to ensure success when the technology is in front of the students.
A practice run, although we did that and it was still not foolproof! A plan B needs to be in place!

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