Sixth grade teacher Heather Hicks says that the new Chromebooks have transformed aspects of her Language Arts class this year. Because not every student is equipped with a device entering middle school, the Chromebooks have enabled every student in 6th grade to have access to Faith's enhancing technology resources.
The Chromebooks have also empowered students to be responsible for more activities in the classroom, reducing the amount of homework, as well as the amount of paper used in class.
For example, one of the students’ monthly assignments includes finding a book with specific requirements to complete a book report and comprehension quiz. In the past, students had to take the list of requirements home, search with tools listed on the instructions, and complete the quiz at the end of every month as homework. Now, using the Chromebooks or their own personal device, this assignment is completely managed in class.
Students can search and check out for books via our online library, search Scholastic’s website for reading levels, find out awards the books have won, page requirements, and take quizzes–all in class. Students are also able to complete their reading inventory assessments in class, giving Hicks an updated account of their current Lexile reading level.
Writing has also been impacted in several positive ways, Hicks says. Biweekly, the students are assigned work through iXL Language. By providing students with the opportunity to work with numerous aspects of language through this online resource, each students’ progress is assessed and monitored over an array of content areas. It allows for each students’ work to be differentiated, based on their ability with the skill they have selected to work on.
Also, the Chromebooks provide aide in each of the steps of the writing process. Students are able to use their Chromebooks for brainstorming, should they need outside research for a specific topic aside from what is provided in class. During drafting, students are able to access online dictionaries and thesauri to enhance their word choice. Students type their final drafts, allowing them practice with MLA formatting with formal papers, and also providing them practice at using tools such as Office 365, turnitin.com, and their Outlook email account by attaching documents. By typing their final drafts, students are aided in the editing process of their writing to help them adjust grammar, conventional, and spelling errors.
As the students continue to get more comfortable with the Chromebooks, Hicks says her class will delve deeper into the researching process, and will continue to build on the pieces of an MLA essay (including page numbers, title page, and works cited). They will also move further into using the Chromebooks to aide in their Shurley grammar curriculum.