Thursday, February 12, 2015

Smyser Uses Chromebooks to Increase Academic Language Use, Emily Porter, Smyser Elementary School

One added benefit to the library that has come through receiving the Chromebooks is additional jargon associated with the new technology.  Getting used to calling the device a “Chromebook” instead of a laptop has been difficult. One way to break myself of the habit of using the wrong word when teaching students to use the device is to create a simple word wall that contains the terms we need to use.
The students and I researched the definitions online and compiled a list of words to add to our Academic Language display that hangs on a bulletin board in the library. I did this with students in 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 8th grades - all the groups who are currently using Chromebooks for library projects.
Right now, our focus is learning four specific words: Resource, Cloud Storage, Dongle, and Chromebook. I leave the words up indefinitely. It is important to allow students to master the language before adding more words to the list. The students respond to the idea of “sounding smart” when using the correct term for the new technology. It has been a lot of fun for them to correct me when I accidentally

slip and call the Chromebook a laptop… a students’ teachable moment - ha ha!
In addition to increasing our word knowledge, it reinforces the academic language used across the curriculum and establishes common language for our learning community.  For example, I had a very robust discussion with the 8th graders about “Cloud Storage” because they were already familiar with the term, having taken technology in 6th and 7th grade.
The Word Wall isn't only for new technology terms, we also use it to learn research terms and vocabulary related to Common Core. Words and vocabulary are integrated in to all of my library lessons, which become part of year-long Big Ideas in my lesson plans.

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