For my third year now, I’ve been using the Livescribe Pen in the classroom with students. Over the years, I’ve taught different grades and changed my program delivery model, but throughout it all, I’ve used this special pen as a teaching and learning tool. I’ve used the Livescribe Pen for …
- a talking word wall. I did this in Grade 1 a couple of years ago. Students that could not read the word on the word wall could go up with the Livescribe Pen, click on the word, and listen to see if they were correct. This allowed all students to independently find the words that they needed to write.
- talking rules. This was really helpful at the beginning of Grade 1 when many of my students could not read the classroom and/or school rules that they helped to create. We read these rules together for shared reading, recorded this reading using the Livescribe Pen, and had the audio recording pasted on the chart paper. Then all students could re-listen to it if they needed to, and review the classroom rules throughout the year.
- assessment. I write and record my own notes on student work and have students self-assess and peer-assess work.
- audio recordings. Students have recorded themselves reading out loud, discussing books, discussing various curriculum topics, and sharing thinking in all subject areas.
- creating media texts. Students have created podcasts and “radio shows” t0 share their thinking and learning with others.
- descriptive feedback. I’ve given students feedback on their work to help them bump up their work, and students have given their peers feedback on their work as well.
- an audio Bump It Up Wall. Recording for students how to “bump up” their work has allowed all students to access suggestions that can help them improve the quality of their writing. Students that struggle with reading the suggestions now have a way to hear the material instead.
- teacher planning. This is something I started doing this year. My teaching partner and I record our meeting minutes, and we share them on our class blog. This is a great way to let students, parents, administrators, and other teachers know what’s happening in the classroom and give us suggestions on our plans. I am so glad we started doing this!
- connecting with Evernote. This allows me to easily organize and share my notes on all students and all subject matters. It’s been a great way to track student growth and help me as I plan for upcoming activities.
- sharing content online. It is so easy to embed a pencast and share them on student blogs, class blogs, and professional blogs. This allows my thinking and learning to be visible, and it allows my students to share their thoughts with a wider audience. Our pencasts have started some great discussions with other classes, allowing us to learn from them and them to learn from us.
- teaching others. Last year, a former student came down to my Grade 1 and 2 class to teach my students an art lesson. Another student used the Livescribe Pen to record the lesson and show how to draw the cartoon. I posted this pencast on my blog, and Karen Lirenman, a teacher from BC, used the pencast in her class so that her students could learn from my former student as well.
- testing. Students that have difficulty reading a test can listen to the questions, and then write their answers. Those students with writing difficulties can orally record their answers for me to listen to later. The Livescribe Pen allows all students to be independent during testing situations.
- reviewing content. This year especially, I’ve used the Livescribe Pen a lot to record pencasts of how to solve different math problems. I’ve posted these pencasts on my class blog, so that students can listen back to them and review content that they might find more difficult.
While I can definitely see myself using these same big ideas in different subject areas this year, I don’t know what else to try with the Livescribe Pen. It’s as I attempt something new that I share my learning on this blog, and I’m finding that after having blogged every week for 2 1/2 years, I am struggling with what else to share. What would you suggest sharing now? What else could I try? Could this be the end of my postings on this blog? I don’t want to think that this is the case, but I’m wondering. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Last weekend, I was marking the reading comprehension activities that the students do each day. These activities include a few multiple choice questions as well as two short answer questions. I always offer the students descriptive feedback on these answers, and then for my own tracking purposes, I level the answers based on the Success Criteria. I use Evernote for all of my assessment data, so usually after marking the student work, I open up Evernote, type in the comments that I wrote, and then add in the marks. This system works, but it’s a time consuming one. That’s when I had a thought: what if I wrote the feedback on the Livescribe Pen sticky notes?
If I used the sticky notes for this feedback, then I could sync my Livescribe Pen to the computer, send the electronic version of the sticky notes to Evernote, and tag the sticky notes by the student names and the activity to easily organize them for tracking purposes. While this is a multi-step process, I think it will be a much quicker process than what I was doing before, and more importantly, it will ensure that all of the information that the students receive, I have in my notes as well. It’s the ultimate win/win!
Have you used the Livescribe Pen sticky notes in this way before? What are your thoughts on doing so? I’d love to hear your opinions!
I’m looking for some advice here. The other day for our math congress, the students explored and discussed various answers to a problem that we did on mean, median, and mode. I wanted to record the follow-up discussion with the students, so I thought that I’d use the Livescribe Pen.
Our conversation evolved into some topics that I didn’t expect, and all of a sudden, I wanted to use the whiteboard and calculator with the class. As I moved to do so, I realized that the Livescribe Pen would record our audio discussion, but not the visual one. Writing just in the notebook though wouldn’t help the students see what they needed to see. I was torn.
I used the tools as I’d planned, but in the pencast (above), this visual piece is missing. Now I’m starting to wonder if in the middle of the recording, I should have had a student videotape the rest of the discussion, so that the video and audio pieces could be combined. What do you think? What would you have done? I’d love to hear your ideas!
The other day, I tried something with the Livescribe Pen that I haven’t done before. I had a student record our read aloud. For modelled reading, we’re reading the book, Tunnels of Treachery. Many students are finding it hard to keep track of the different events and various characters. I thought that the Livescribe Pen might help.
There are various benefits to this type of pencast.
1) Those students that need to, can listen to the read aloud again to gain more information about the text. What a simple way for differentiated instruction.
2) Students that are away, can listen to what they missed and catch up on the story. While many students could borrow the book and read the story on their own, some students would understand it better if they listen and read along. The Livescribe Pen allows for this to happen.
3) Students can re-explore the book and book discussion at home with their parents. Continuing classroom discussions at home is a great way to extend the class beyond what happens at school, and have students demonstrate their understanding of a text by elaborating on it again with a new audience. I love the option for this home/school connection.
I may not have done a read aloud using the Livescribe Pen before, but I will certainly do more from now on. How do you use the Livescribe Pen during modelled reading? What benefits do you see for students? I would love to hear your thoughts!
I love that my principal, Paul Clemens, is so eager to be part of our weekly grade team planning meetings. When he sits in on these meetings, he asks many great questions that get us thinking and makes many terrific suggestions as well. I’m so impressed that Paul doesn’t just want what’s best for students, but wants to work with teachers to ensure that students really do get the best.
For the last couple of weeks, the timing of our planning meetings unfortunately haven’t aligned well with Paul’s schedule. Today, my teacher partner, Gina, and I decided that we would use the Livescribe Pen to record our planning meeting. Then, not only could we send the meeting minutes to Paul, but we could also send them to our vice principal, Tammy McLaughlin. Allowing both of them to listen in on our discussion, not only helps them know what’s happening in our classrooms, but gives them a chance to offer feedback or new ideas to make our programs better.
At first, it was really strange to know we were recording everything we were saying. There was a point at the beginning of the discussion that I had to choke back a chuckle because the conversation seemed scripted. Is this what we really sound like? As the planning evolved though, I think we both seemed more relaxed, and it was actually great to capture our exchange of ideas as well as our excitement about our plans.
One hour and 22 minutes after we started recording, our meeting was done and so were the minutes. Strangely enough, we actually reflected once we pressed, “stop,” and here is what we both thought of this new planning process:
1) Recording our meeting kept us on track. We knew that others could listen to what we were saying, and we knew that we would be sharing this recording as well. We stayed focused. The Livescribe Pen is equally as good for accountable talk for teachers as it is for accountable talk for students.
2) Recording our meeting resulted in us planning more than usual. This actually links to point #1. Since we were so focused, we actually got more done in a shorter period of time. Usually we plan for two hours on a Saturday morning, but only plan a single week of instruction. This week, we planned two weeks of Language as well as our one week of Math, and in half the time. Success!
3) Recording the meeting is good for review later. While we often plan on a Saturday morning, we don’t always complete our prep work until later on the next day or even sometime throughout the next week. It’s hard to remember exactly what we discussed. While we take jot notes, the notes are brief, and they’re not always easy to decipher later. Sometimes we forget the specific details of our plans. Thanks to the Livescribe Pen, we can listen back to what we discussed, as well as read the notes from our meeting. We won’t forget our planning now!
4) Recording the meeting not just lets us share notes with our administrators, but lets us share notes with parents and other educators as well. Our classroom is truly open now. We welcome feedback from anyone that reads or listens to what we shared below. Why limit whom we learn from?
Without a doubt, we will definitely be using the Livescribe Pen again as we plan for the week. Have you ever used the Livescribe Pen in this way before? What were the results? Please share your stories too!
As we begin a new TLCP, my teaching partner and I thought that we would have our students go through the Language Document as we co-create Success Criteria. The plan was that we would introduce the Big Idea and Learning Goal to our students, and then have them work in partners to identify specific expectations that could be reworded as Success Criteria. Just like us, they need to keep in mind the four levels of the achievement chart: Knowledge and Understanding, Communication, Thinking, and Application. The plan was to take their ideas and reword them as the Success Criteria that we had established during our last PD session.
This seemed like a good plan until I listened to this pencast that one group of students recorded. (Please note that in order to make the pencast not as long, I took a screenshot of the writing, and uploaded a shorter audio file).
I love how these students are making sense of the expectations. They are deciding on word choice together. They are highlighting the important components of these expectations, and linking them to our learning goal. In my opinion, this is not just an example of rich dialogue, but deep understanding.
This got me thinking: how can I take what these students have done, and then just use my own Success Criteria? How is this lesson valuable, if I’m simply going to reword what the students wrote, so that my Success Criteria is the same as my teaching partner’s Success Criteria?
Yesterday morning, we had a Directions Team Meeting, and I brought up my concerns during our discussion. What came out of this meeting is that our wording of Success Criteria does not need to be the same, as long as we’re focusing on the same expectations.
I was discussing this more with my teaching partner today, and what we decided for our next TLCP is that we’ll break down this Success Criteria lesson into two lessons. For Part 1, students will work in small groups to highlight the specific expectations that they think match to our Learning Goal and should be reworded as Success Criteria. We’ll then look at the options as a class, and we’ll make sure that we narrow the student options to the expectation that we have decided to focus on for the TLCP. Then for Part 2, students will take these expectations, and reword them as Success Criteria. Groups will share their ideas with other groups. They’ll make additions and changes to what others have said, and then we’ll finalize Success Criteria based on the ideas shared by the groups.
No, the Success Criteria will not be worded the same way in different classrooms, but yes, it will address the same expectations. More so, the Success Criteria will not be about what we’ve created on our own, but what we’ve created with our students. I think that this makes this Success Criteria far more meaningful for them, and hence, far more useful.
What do you think? How have you addressed these concerns in your classroom and in your school? It’s amazing what changes can come from one pencast.
Today, we had our second radio show on 105 the Hive. Students were very excited, especially since we now had everything working to broadcast LIVE from the school. Just as I was getting everything set up this morning though, I realized that I didn’t have a way to record the show. As I was problem solving with Andy Forgrave (@aforgraves) – one of the wonderful creators of The Hive, who came to my rescue last week in addition to Heather Durnin (@hdurnin) — I decided that I would either use Audio Memos on my iPad or Audacity on my laptop to record the show. I really didn’t like the idea of using a device just for recording the broadcast, but at the time, I didn’t see any other options.
Then, an idea came to me: what if I used the Livescribe Pen? I first thought that I could use the pen as a portable podcaster, and just leave it on the table near the speakers during the radio show. Then, just as the students were coming in and we were getting ready to go on the air, I had a thought: what if a student used the pen to not just record the show, but write notes about the show as the recording was happening? With two minutes to airtime, I asked for a student volunteer, and Emily M. happily agreed to help. Below is not just her recording of the show, but a summary of what was discussed while it was discussed.
I’m so impressed with what she shared here. To write all that she did, Emily needed to listen to what the students were saying, think about what they were saying, decide on the important details to include, and write everything down at the quick speed in which the conversation was moving. She did it, and now we have a comprehensive visual to accompany our audio recording.
The Livescribe Pen really is about more than just recording, and today proved that to me! Have you ever used the Livescribe Pen in a similar way? What were the results? I’d love to hear about your experiences too! I’ll definitely be doing this again.
At ECOO last week, I got involved in lots of discussions on the Livescribe Pen in education. I heard about some great ways teachers were using this pen, and many of the ways included audio anecdotal records and audio feedback for students.
I used to use the Livescribe Pen for recording many hours of audio files. I loved the concept of this. The problem is that I never went back to listen to all of these audio recordings. I need notes too. Last year, I really tried to merge the audio and the visual: I would write down a few key words or phrases, and expand on them with my oral explanations. Then I would have a guide for what I was listening to, and I could choose when to read, when to listen, and when to do both.
While my approach worked for me, I saw the excitement of so many educators at ECOO, and I started to wonder if I was missing something here. What do you think? Do you balance the audio and the visual when using the Livescribe Pen, or do you use this pen for primarily a recording option? If you are recording hours of audio, how are you ensuring that you hear what needs to be heard? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This weekend, my teacher partner, Gina Bucciacchio, and I were planning for our upcoming math test. As usual, we met at Starbucks to do our planning, but today, we decided to try something different. As we discussed the topics for the math test, we created a pencast of all of the information that the students will need to know.
Yes, we’ve already sent home a review sheet, and yes, we’ve given students questions to help them prepare. Some students need more than this though. This math test covers many key concepts in Number Sense and Numeration, and these are concepts that will continue to be discussed throughout the year. Sometimes students benefit from reminders. Sometimes students that are struggling benefit from the ability to listen back and see how the question is solved as well as hear how it’s solved.
We’ve posted this information on the website now for students and parents to see, and I decided to post it here as well:
What do you think about using a pencast in this way? Have you ever done so before? What were the results? I would love to hear about your experiences!
I’m thrilled that I have the opportunity to facilitate one of the discussions at Minds on Media on Wednesday, October 24th. The topic for my discussion is on documenting student achievement in the K-3 classroom. I think that the Livescribe Pen can be a very powerful tool to do this.
Here are some ways that I’ve used the Livescribe Pen for this:
- Record students reading over the year. Compare the different results.
- Record students self-assessing their work.
- Record students offering feedback to peers.
- Record students discussing how they have “bumped up” their work, and what other changes they may want to make.
- Record students having discussions with other students in the class: showing their knowledge of the topic area, and their ability to interact with their peers.
- Taking notes and offering audio feedback to students. Storing these notes in Evernote for a record of assessment throughout the year.