JPS Teachers Explore Alternative Ways To Build Student Engagement

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JAMESTOWN – Jamestown Public Schools kindergarten through second-grade teachers spent a recent afternoon exploring alternative and innovative ways to foster student engagement with District Instructional Coach Christina Spontaneo and Technology Integration Coach Jason Kathman.

The teachers reportedly used iPads, green screen technology and creativity.

“We want to get tools like the iPad in the hands of students so they can show their understanding in different ways,” said Kathman. “We don’t want kids to just recite what a teacher told them. Can they take the iPad and create something new that shows that they understand? That’s the goal.”

After planning for their individual grade level projects, pairs of teachers took on the role of the student to experience first hand how to use technology to create one of three projects. Kindergarten teachers created green screen videos on the topic of recycling. First grade teachers used keynote to create journal entries, along with audio, from the viewpoint of a frontier explorers. The path of food throughout the digestive system was captured in the stop motion video that was created by second grade teachers.

Jamestown Public Schools’ English Language Arts and Math Communities of Practice are district-wide (PLC) professional learning communities in its third year. There are currently four district-wide groups that support teachers from grades K-6 in the areas of English Language Arts and Math with sixty-five participants. PLCs meet three times a year.

During each session, Spontaneo leads teachers through a variety of research based best-practices, engagement strategies and technology exploration. These cross-district sessions promote collaboration, planning, and the application of innovative teaching practices with the goal of increase student learning. K-2 teachers also spent the morning exploring alternative assessments and ways to foster students’ math fluency. They also participated in a round table discussion on their current math practices.

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