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Mr G Online
Jun 09

In my role as Maths Leader in Grades 5/6, I have many opportunities to work with groups of children in both Grade levels. Sometimes I find it hard to report back to the classroom teachers what learning took place during my lessons with their students. This year I have increasingly turned to Padlet, a collaborative, interactive Online Board, to record the teaching and learning experiences I facilitate. Here I share my lesson documentation through an embedded link to my Volume Padlet (note: Padlet needs the latest version of IE, Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view and use)

My basic use of Padlet follows this structure:

  • I post the outline of Tasks to be attempted during the lesson.
  • I add the initial image resources and models/examples that are needed for the task.
  • Students scan the Padlet-created QR Code to quickly open up the Padlet on their iPads.
  • The students start working on the task as outlined by the instructions on the Padlet and begin recording their responses. With the online Padlet wall visible to everyone on the iWB, students can start responding to what others are recording and as a teacher I can monitor from anywhere in the room or on my iPad and identify students to support or extend.
  • I pause during and after each task and invite students to share their responses. As they are already recorded on the shared Padlet, no time is wasted waiting for them to rewrite their work. As a class we can utilise all the time on collaborating, sharing, discussing and questioning.
  • If tasks involve using physical or digital resources, the students can quickly post screenshots, photos or images straight onto the Padlet wall on their iPads or laptops. Using a range of familiar iPad apps, children can record and/or annotate their working out and post it straight to the wall.
  • At ant time during the lesson, with constant access to all of the work being done by the students through the visible workspace on the iWB, I can reconnect with the students and offer feedback, teaching support or ask questions to call on children to explain their learning.
  • When the students leave me, I can immediately post the Padlet wall with all of the students’ learning documented onto their class blogs for their teachers and parents to view.

This particular lesson, embedded below, began with students viewing four rectangular prisms of varying dimensions. The students were asked to order the objects from largest to smallest and justify their decisions. In a traditional classroom setting, a teacher may call on 3-4 students to share their opinions and move on without having a true indication of the other students’ understanding. In using Padlet, I have an easily accessible, permanent record of all of the students’ understanding of volume concepts.

TASK 1

TASK 1

The next task was to verify their conjectures by calculating the volumes of each prism. This particular group of students were high achievers and needed little assistance in calculating the volumes ( the LxWxH formula was not the focus of the lesson, anyway but with a second group of students, I needed to do some revision and monitor progress). They were asked to record their working out directly to Padlet, with the option of recording the detailed calculations on Explain Everything and posting screenshots of the work. This group were able to simply write their calculations directly into Padlet. This provided a record of their work for their teachers to see later and was also a way for me to view their capabilities on screen in case I needed to assist. This was not needed with this group, but with the second group I was able to identify students with gaps in their learning simply by viewing their work on the Padlet wall.( At no stage did any student notice what others were doing – they were engaged in their own work.) What was also good to see was the variety of ways students calculated the volumes in terms of selecting which numbers to multiply first. This initiated a discussion about factors and the commutative/associative laws for multiplication. With all possible combinations visible rather than the 3-4 examples that would have been shared in a traditional setting, we were able to enhance the understanding of the range of dimensions that can result in the same volume. This also allowed them to refer back to their initial misconceptions of volume ( taller is bigger, etc) and led to a quicker transition into the final task.

TASK 2

TASK 2

Now that they had come to the realisation that there are many ways to construct a box of the same volume, we moved onto the final task which was constructing prisms of varying dimensions that would make a volume of 72 cubic units. At this point, they were introduced to an already completed example of the final product I was expecting of them ( which was already embedded on the Padlet wall, but out of view until needed) and the iPad apps available for the task – Think 3D and Skitch. They were also given the option of using physical blocks if they preferred a more tactile method. The simplicity of the apps required little instruction and the students were quick to start experimenting, further developing their understanding of the Volume formula by constructing rather than just calculating. The idea of factors were utlilised as they constructed layers based on the factors of 72. Again, with the use of the Padlet wall, students were able to post their annotated ( using Skitch)  constructions directly on to the wall, providing a record of their work that can be accessed in the future. Seeing other students’ constructions on the wall enabled students to consider other possibilities and further built on their understanding of different dimensions, same volume, which they were then able to reflect on later when the wall was embedded on their class blog. Having the lesson documented on line means that students also have the opportunity to add to the wall later on at home and explain their work to their parents.

TASK 3

TASK 3

I see many benefits in this process of documenting the learning and not just in Mathematics.

  • In this new era of collaborative teaching, it’s a great way of recording a lesson for other members of the team to view.
  • As a Maths leader/mentor, it’s a useful way of modelling a lesson for teams to discuss.
  • For students, it gives them access to previous learning that they can revisit at different times of the year to review/revise and support their learning
  • For assessment purposes, it can provide a record of the different stages of learning that took place during a lesson or series of lessons.
  • the use of Padlet itself opens up personalised access for students to work at their own pace ( not evident in this lesson as it was more of a guided lesson rather than an independent task)

This week, I was involved in a school based ICT Conference at my own school, during which several teachers led workshops on various ICT tools and practices. I presented this lesson structure and use of Padlet to the staff and they saw great possibilities. I am going to continue to develop a range of learning experiences using this documenting method. I see it having great benefits in enhancing the learning at our school.

Below is the whole Padlet wall as developed during this lesson. (If it is not displaying, it is likely you are running an old version of IE, as mentioned above)

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14 Responses to “Documenting Learning in Mathematics (or any other subject) using Padlet”

  1. Julie Thomas Says:

    Outstanding work. What fabulous activities. I will be sharing this with teachers at my school. Thank you so much for sharing and for including such great detail.

    • mgleeson Says:

      Glad you found it useful, Julie. I like to share lessons in detail when I can. Tech tools make it so much easier and it makes it simpler to explain to colleagues what I mean. I’ve been TALKING about my Padlet pedagogy for weeks at school but when my coworkers SAW it during our ICT conference last week they finally got it and were inspired to give it a go. Hope your school gives it a go.

  2. Viviene Tuckerman Says:

    Wonderful lesson Mark. I love the seamless integration of different tech tools. One question – where do you have the qr code for the padlet – do you project it onto the IWB?

    • mgleeson Says:

      Hi Viv. Sometimes I print out multiple copies of the QR codes and stick them around the room for students to scan. Recently, though, I just add a large version of the code onto the Padlet, enlarge it and students can Scan from their seat.

  3. Mrs B Says:

    As an assessment and tracking for learning document it is innovative

  4. Pat Says:

    Hi,
    I love the lessons and the use of Padlet. When you first started using Padlet how did you keep students from posting silly comments? Also when they posted their answers did you have the problem of their answers stacking on top of each other. In your example the answers are spread out nice and neat but when I have tried to use Padlet I have to go in and arrange them after the students finish posting their answers.

    I love Padlet and students are excited to use it but when I have used it there has been issues with answers stacking on top of each other and then there is the management part of keeping them on track and not doing the silly stuff.

    • mgleeson Says:

      One or two kids tries the “hi” comment at the start but once they lose the right to use Padlet and have to use pen and paper while the rest are on iPads, they get the point quickly with me. With it on the screen for everyone to see there is plenty of peer feedback on pointless posts as well. After one attempt at a silly post, they quickly realize they are getting a good opportunity to engage in good tech use and get back on task. I haven’t had a real issue with it but I get good respect from the kids at our school and they know what reaction they’ll get from me so most don’t even try.

      As for the post on top of post issue, yes that did happen early on a lot but my students are now very good at noticing the overlap issue and moving their posts themselves. I move the odd one when I notice too. It’s just part of our routine now so we deal with it collaboratively. I use it with 5/6 students and they are responsible enough to deal with it. I also set up specific areas on the wall sometimes for groups to post to minimize the overlap.

      It takes a bit of effort but when Padlet becomes part of the routine, the issues seem to go away.

  5. Yasemin Says:

    I have just looked at your blog, and how you used Padlet for record and monitoring.. It is very impressive. I would like to practice with my kids. I teach maths to 10-11 years olds in the mornings. What I wanted to ask is how much preparation time you need? Do you record each lesson or only special tasks?

    • mgleeson Says:

      Using Padlet is a matter of drag and drop. If you have images already prepared, you just drag them onto a padlet wall and they are uploaded. You just drag corners to resize and double tap the image to add text. The QR Code for sharing the wall is created by Padlet itself. I took about 10 minutes to draw the four objects on my computer then took screenshots and dragged them onto the wall. Other than that, i typed the tasks into a padlet note and tht was it.
      The reef of what is on the page was generated by the students during the lesson. As for how often i record lessons, it depends on availabliity of the ipads and nature of the task. I will continue to use this method during the year as much as I can as long as it continues to engage the students and the lesson time allows opportunities for the students to record . Since i only take some lessons during the week, i dont have control over the timetable

  6. Beverley Says:

    As a Primary School Teacher, it was always my wish to be a specified maths & commerce teacher and to be a role model to other teachers and assist them how to teach maths & commerce. By learning this Documenting Learning in Mathematics (or any other subjects) using Padlet would be of great help and also a wish come true, though I may be new to this program. It is a privilege.

  7. Linda Says:

    Thank you Mark. I have used Padlet for Science activities going across six classes and find it very easy to use. I really like the idea of using a QR code, I will follow up on that.

  8. Laurel Says:

    Hi. You said that your completed Think 3D model was already embedded but out of view. Was there some sort of hidden action on that object or did you just have it way out of frame and pull it in/move it later?

    • mgleeson Says:

      Laurel, I just had it off screen near the task description and scrolled across when I wanted to show it. You can see in the embedded Padlet on this post and also in the screenshot.

  9. Tonia Says:

    I love this but have never used it. How would you suggest a newbie like myself get started?

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