Setting the stage
As Gru from Despicable Me exclaims… “Light Bulb!”
This is exactly how I felt when I saw the transformative learning in my classroom this past week. I have been using HyperDocs for two years now, first learning of HyperDocs while attending the Google Summit in Denver 2016. My DTL picked up the book “The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps” by Kelly Hilton, Lisa Highfill, and Sarah Landis. Let’s go back to 2016...I POURED over this book.
I sat in the HyperDoc session (and honestly the others I attended) going through my current lesson plans in Google Drive, trying to figure out which ‘activities and lessons’ I can turn into a HyperDoc… I mean, it's just a glorified webquest right? Throw in my digital link for my note catcher, attach the same news article for kids to read.. And boom ‘HyperDoc!’... Right? I was so wrong.
The past year or so I have been reinventing my so called ‘HyperDocs’. I have been very pleased with my latest HyperDoc - The Bill of Rights Restaurant, A Learning Menu.
I teach 8th grade US History at Summit Ridge Middle School. Knowing that freshman year the students will have an entire semester of government, I wanted to make sure that the students understood how citizen can participate in government. Moving forward into freshman year, they then can fully understand the role of a citizen in a society and how citizens can affect change.
As we know, menus are all about choices. And with a variety of choices comes a variety of prices. The ‘price list’ on my learning menu indicates the level of activity students can expect if they choose the menu item. $ = not there yet, $$ = ready and waiting, $$$ = yes and I’m off! Presenting level indicators allows students to self-reflect on their own current ability, yet provide opportunity for students to challenge themselves with the next activity or text set.
As with most HyperDocs, having students engage and explain are pretty common. These menu options include a Smart Songs Rap, Mr. Betts Video, History.com article, and Scholastic books I have in the classroom as resources. Just because the HyperDoc is digital, does NOT mean EVERYTHING on the HyperDoc must be too. Many of my students picked the Scholastic books over the internet articles. But the important part was the choice. This differentiation of resources allows ownership on the students part to decide how they will acquire the information. If the resource is not a good fit, then they have other options handy, as happened several times over the course of the week. This self-awareness of student learning is incredibly powerful when in action.
Next on the menu, drinks. Here I provided three different articles with three different content topics related to individual rights. My students love to read about real world examples. They also love to see what their peers think about these real world examples. After reading the articles, student used Padlet to answer a form of an analysis question. Students can also read/comment on each other's posts, creating a dialogue that goes beyond the classroom walls. A student from my period 1 class can read the same article as a student from period 5 and they are dialoguing about how our rights as citizens are protected or bent in order to provide security in America. That is powerful.
Dinner is the next thing on the menu, where the application occurs. Here students were able to pick from 3 application activities. A Summit Ridge Bill of Rights, Analyzing the Bill of Rights to real world situations, or Petitioning their local, state, or federal representatives about a topic of their choice. Again, the $ indicators reveal the level of each of the activities. I hyperlinked each of the activities directions and expectations via Google Docs. Additionally, I allowed for students to partner up for this part of the learning menu, further expanding the dialogue and learning beyond the computer. The product topics range from changing school cell phone policy to a federal ban on certain assault style weapons. Students are transforming their learning and applying real world issues in the classroom. Many are researching who their local representative is in order to petition for change. Why did they drain the Blue Heron Lake?
Finally, as with most Americans who dine at a new restaurant, we want to leave that Yelp! review to praise or warn others. I am extremely excited about this part of the menu, as this is the sharing and self-reflection and evaluation of the dinner option. Flipgrid allows students to posts videos, much like a digital bulletin board (padlet). Students were given three prompts to answer, one required and two choices, but must do in video form. For many students, recording themselves is a risk, so I am allowing them to use their dinner product at the visual for the video. To calm their nerves, I posted several video explanations on how to use flipgrid (and ridiculous stickers on my face). Check out my student A.K. and his self-reflection. He wants to run for Congress! After recording and posting, students can, once again, view and comment on eachothers product and self-reflection. The opportunity for self-reflection provides students ownership of the learning and deeper processing of the information. They were able to identify their own gaps in learning, if any, and where to focus their attention moving forward. Check out my Bill of Rights Flipgrid HERE
If you are like me, I am constantly trying to reinvent my teaching. I do not think the old saying ‘why reinvent the wheel?’ applies in education…..we’re not even using wheels anymore. We are provided with an almost infinite amount of resources for our students to transform their learning into something deeper and long sustaining. When we teach students to use the technology as a tool, not a toy, they tap into their creativity and ingenuity.
The possibilities become unlimited.