Thursday, March 5, 2015

Interactive Activities with Notability

Posted by Linda Ashida

We would like to give a big shout out to Katie Owen, Special Education teacher, for facilitating this week's 8th hour Peer Learning Group and inspiring this post.  Katie shared a variety of interactive language arts activities that she has created for her Strategies for Learning class using the apps Notability and Flashcards+. After Katie's demonstration, our group enjoyed brainstorming the many way we could adapt the activities in our own classes; we discussed applications for varied disciplines and varied levels.

In this post we will highlight some creative ways that Katie uses Notability with her students.

Instead of simply writing and annotating documents, Katie also wanted her students to be able to manipulate words and phrases, to do varied vocabulary, categorizing, and writing activities.  Prior to her 1:1 days, Katie recalls the "old-fashioned" manipulative word-sort and sentence-sort activities where either she or her students would spend SO much time cutting out the words to prepare the activities.  Collecting and organizing all of the word and sentence pieces was also time consuming.

After transitioning to a 1:1 classroom, it ocurred to Katie that her students could do the same manipulative activities using Notability. She could do this by posting documents in Schoology in as Notes, instead of PDFs. That way, students could still write on and annotate the documents, just as they could with PDFs, but the .note format would also give them the ability to manipulate words or phrases using the scissors function; they could easily be "cut" and moved around the document into category boxes, or organized in a series, etc. They could also modify or make corrections on documents using the eraser function.  

Before sharing some specific examples from Katie's classes, we'll first share the steps that she uses to upload each activity to Schoology in "Note" format:
  1. Create a PDF document on her laptop and open it in Notability on her iPad; OR, create a document right in Notability on her iPad. 
  2. Option: Annotate the document with additional instructions, or examples.
  3. From her iPad: Email the document to herself as a "note" from Notability.
  4. On her laptop: Open email and download the document (now in .note format) to her desktop.
  5. Upload the .note document to Schoology Resource folder.
  6. Move the .note document to Schoology Course Page for student access.

The sequence of  visuals below show how to choose the Note format and move it to the Schoology Resource folder:

And now, some specific examples from Katie's classes.

1)  Word sort/categorization activity:

Katie created this document in Notability, emailed it to herself, opened it on her laptop, and then uploaded it to Schoology.  Students open the document in Notability and then manipulate the words to categorize them. You can see on the Note that the students choose the "scissors" in the top menu bar, circle the word to "cut" it, and then move it over into the correct category.

2) Cloze Activity:

Katie started with this document in PDF format.  From her laptop she emailed it to herself and then opened it on her iPad in Notability.  In Notability she wrote the words in the word bank in blue.  She emailed it to back to herself as a Note.  She then opened it on her laptop and uploaded it to Schoology.  Students open the activity in Notability.  Once again, they use the scissors to "cut" the words in the word bank and move them to the correct blank.


3)  Sentence structure / Sentence corrections:

To prepare this activity, Katie used the same steps to prepare it as she did with the Cloze activity above.  Katie annotated the sentences on a PDF document in Notability, emailed it to herself as a Note, and the uploaded it to Schoology.  The students open the document in Notability and then use the eraser in the top menu bar to erase and correct Katie's annotations.

4)  Modeling annotations with "I do, We do, You do" color-coding:

Katie has embedded in all of her classes a strong routine of modeling for her students.  The "I do" activities, those that the teacher models, are always coded with the color red in the instructions box. The "we do" activities, those that the students do together with the teacher, are coded in yellow.  The "You do", activities, those that the teacher directs the students to do on their own, are coded in green.  In the example on the right, you will see that the first section has instructions coded with red, and has annotations that Katie completed as a model for the students.  The next section's instructions are in yellow, so the students move on to do annotations with the teacher's guidance.  The final step would be for the students to do their own annotations without guidance, and those instructions would be in green.  You can see an example of that above.  Notice that the sentence correction activity instructions are in green, so that is an activity that the students were prepared to do on their own, after modeling, and guided practice from the teacher.

Katie also shared examples of interactive activities that her students enjoy using the Flashcards+ app.  We'll save those examples for a future post. After Katie's demonstrations, we brainstormed applications for our World Language, English Social Science and Math classes.  Have Katie's activities inspired ideas for your own classes?  Please share your ideas in the comments below.

And, if you are a teacher at EGHS and you'd like to try these activities with your classes, stop by and see us in the Collab Lab! We'd love to brainstorm ideas and help you create activities for your own classes!

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