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Great E-Learning Tool!

I was recently reading Jane’s eLearning Pick of the Day blog and she highlighted a hot e-learning tool for the classroom, Sketchpad.  It got me thinking about how to use computers with the development of emotional and social literacy in our students.

I wanted to explictly demonstrate how you can use technology to increase social literacy in your classroom.  You can use this activity to easily link intellectual learning with the development of SQ competencies.  You can do this activity if you have a smart board or computer available.

  1. Divide the class into learning teams of 4 or 5 students
  2. Give each team a geometry problem to work out or, if you want to turn it into a competition, give the same problem to each team
  3. Give them a time limit of 15 or 20 minutes depending on the difficulty of the problem
  4. Ask them to use Sketchpad to create visual representation of their solution
  5. Teach them to approach the activity strategically by dividing the work into different elements
    1. write the problem on paper
    2. solve the problem
    3. diagram a rough draft of their presentation
    4. computerize their presentation using Sketchpad
    5. decide who in the team will present each part to the class, ensuring that all team members stand and share a portion of their results

This activity is great for scaffolding SQ skills, such as Collaboration, Cooperation, Listening, Teamwork and Communication.  These SQ competncies are implicit whilst the students are focussing on their problem solving skills in any subject that you choose.   The activity can be used in mathematics, reading, literature, social studies or any key learning area that you like.

I was recently used this scaffolding strategy when teaching my anti-bulling curriculum to a fifth grade class.  In four sessions I had even the shiest and most withdrawn of students participating fully with team members and presenting with confidence in front of the entire class.

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