6th Grade Teacher
Appleby Elementary School
Marathon Central School District
Congratulations to Tricia Ludden, our September 2017 Feature Teacher! Tricia is a Cortland County native and currently teaches sixth grade at Appleby Elementary School in the Marathon Central School District, where she has been teaching for 17 years.
How has this teacher brought innovation to his or her classroom?
Tricia’s social studies classroom is set up as a student centered, inquiry-based learning environment. Students are required to collaborate with their peers to investigate and learn about life in the ancient world and the impact it has on life today.
At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, Tricia decided to make a concerted effort to incorporate more technology to enhance the student experience. During the first week of school, however, it took students an entire 45 minute class period to log into their new Gmail accounts and sign up for their Google Classroom accounts. While this delay was unexpected, Tricia knew the value of technology in the classroom and that not using the available technology would be a disservice to the students. With this in mind, she moved forward with the integration with a different assignment.
Tricia started small for the first assignment, to allow students more time with learning the technology. For the assignment, students were required to research a chosen artifact or fossil and present their findings in a short Google Slides presentation. Despite a small learning curve, the assignment went well. For the next project, Tricia enlisted the help of a CNYRIC Technology Integration Specialist. Tricia and the CNYRIC specialist co-taught the classes as students completed a “CSI” style investigation, which involved gathering and analyzing evidence about the last days of Otzi the Iceman. Students created a Google Slides presentation, turned the presentation into an iMovie, uploaded it into Google Classroom, and presented their findings to the class. Student self-confidence concerning the use of technology really blossomed after completing this project.
Moving forward, the sixth-graders used Google Drawings to create advertisements for inventions from the ancient world while comparing them to how we use those inventions today. When learning about world religions, students were assigned to small groups to research one of the five major religions. The students collaborated with their peers to complete a four square summary, then created a Google Map with important locations and information concerning each religion. Students quickly became the teachers, as they shared their maps with their classmates and taught them about each religion.
When learning about the geography of ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, students worked with Google Earth images to insert text boxes and document important facts about the geography of each location. As a culminating technology project at the end of the year, the students used Google Sites to create their own e-portfolio that showcases all of the tech projects that were completed throughout the year in sixth grade social studies. This portfolio can be used as a reference for their future technology use and when they go to seventh grade, where they will have one-to-one (1:1) devices.
Part of the students e-portfolios was to reflect on their use of technology. Many of the students commented on how far they had come from where they were back in September. The students expressed that they were glad Tricia integrated the use of technology, as it helped get them to where they are today.
How have students and staff benefited from Tricia’s technology integration initiatives?
Tricia has been a leader among staff at Appleby Elementary School regarding technology integration. Several teachers on her team have come to her for assistance and she has helped them get started with Google Classroom. She has also re-designed the sixth grade modules to infuse her technology integration with the modules.
Regarding student benefits, Tricia has been able to teach the students not only how to log on to the computers, but how to navigate and use the G Suite applications. Tricia used computers as much as possible in her classroom in order to make sure her students were ready to enter a one to one environment. Her students are now fluent with Google Apps and are well prepared to enter seventh grade. Students at Marathon Central School District grades 7-12 all receive their own device, as the Junior Senior High School has a 1:1 model. Tricia’s students are also now proficient with using movie editing tools such as iMovie thanks to her use of iPads/iMovie for two digital storytelling projects. Tricia’s students are expected to be able to work together in a group to complete classroom projects, as collaboration has become the norm in her classroom.
Is This You?
Are you the type of teacher who thinks about technology integration and new ways to enhance instruction, engage students, and make learning fun? Know someone who fits the profile? Recommend a "Featured Teacher" so we can recognize and celebrate great work in the area of instructional technology!